These journals will be quick, unfiltered, and random. I reserve the right to rethink any and all of this. There are no answers here, just life, questions, and thoughts.
I’ve spent the past week recovering from a foot injury that’s been bothering me since late last year, so I’ve been walking much less and unable to enjoy London’s beautiful Thames Valley Parkway as I normally do.
In lieu of walking, I’ve doubled down on my mindfulness practice, sitting in a meditative state in our backyard for extended stretches. I’m working on two things when I’m “on the cushion” the first is to develop the ability to pause when negative emotions arise, specifically anger. This has been a major issue for me throughout my life, it’s proving to be a tough nut to crack but it feels like I’m gaining some traction on it.
The other thing is love. Since I started on this personal journey six years ago, I’ve been increasingly feeling like I can’t express my feelings of love well. This year I’ve been reading a lot on the subject, especially where it involves masculinity and patriarchy (a word that was triggering for me for many years). Something inside of me catches when I have an urge to express love to my friends, family, and even occasionally my wife. I don’t know why this happens. Maybe years of introversion and maybe/probably it’s caught up in my struggle with the black dog. It’s not likely to get fixed tomorrow, but I’m finally putting real effort into it. LovingKindness meditations have helped a lot (although I need to do them more of a habit).
One thing that could potentially help with both of the above is something radical (for me) that I’ve been revisiting lately, a second attempt at a psychedelic experience.
A couple of years ago I went on an ayahuasca retreat that didn’t work out well – it wasn’t a bad trip, just not a productive one. Looking back now I can see why it went poorly and I’m tinkering with the idea of giving it another try. While some understand this desire to tinker with a guided journey, many of the people closest to me give me strange looks when I discuss it. After all, the use of psychedelics for the “betterment of well people” is not something that’s widely discussed or accepted in society.
As one small step on the path, my wife and I have been watching Michael Pollan’s new Netflix series (based on his books How to Change Your Mind and This is Your Mind on Plants) and it’s helping her to understand why this has a such a strong appeal to me. I can’t recommend this series strongly enough.
Many have told me that meditation can eventually get you to the same place that an intentional psychedelic experience can and, in spite of my relative beginner’s status on the cusion, I’m quite sure that it can be a portal to an awakened mind. The problem is that it can just take a long, long time and let’s be real, the road ahead of me is shorter than the road behind. I’m willing to take a leap to overcome the things that are holding me back from a better, fuller life.
That’s it for now. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering. May you be at peace.