June 3, 2020
I am writing this as a provocative thought experiment; a premonition, if you will. So together let us transgress, embrace some unique fringe perspectives, and see how deep this rabbit hole goes.
What if there already exists a viable means of discerning and reframing the intensity, pervasiveness, and existential rattling that is the COVID-19 experience? Furthermore, what if mystics, sages, and counter-culture icons have already traversed this terrain and left us tools, insights, and knowledge to help guide our way? Simply put, what if there exists a parallel between a hallucinogenic experience and the current COVID-19 reality? If we can suspend our judgements momentarily and stay open to this analogy, we just may have an emotionally curative and renewing way of handling this COVID-19 trial. This is not a pro-drug or anti-drug treatise, but instead, a non-judgmental dive into the wisdom gleaned from the counter-cultures experiences with hallucinogens. I will excavate and extract these understandings from Eastern mysticism, Buddhist teachings, Jungian concepts, and LSD icons so that we are better positioned to utilize and benefit from them during our current “COVID-19 Trip”.
Upon initial ingestion of a hallucinogen, reality shifts. Perceptual experiences can become heightened, confusing, and emotionally overwhelming. Sense of self and our relationship to our own ego investments come under attack with unending fervor. As the trip continues, we may try to cling on to what was before the hallucinogen entered our body. We may hold on to our own ego resources and “fight” the hallucinogenic experience but to no avail. At this time, we may long for the trip to be over and attempt to bargain or plead our way around it, but again, to no avail. Finally, we surrender. We give in to the hallucinogen and allow it to unfold and work itself in and around our psyche. At this moment, things shift and change and we may experience reparative emotions or paradigm shifts about who we really are and our larger purpose. Our ego is diminished and we feel connected to everything, including the earth, other people, and the larger world.
As COVID-19 became part of our experience, we were in disbelief. We slowly realized that this was inherently beginning to dismantle our way of life, our perceptions, and our ego investments. We fought it and used denial as a means to cope but to no avail. We then decided to approach it differently and shelter in place as a means of controlling the virus and re-engineered our “attack”. However, COVID-19 wasn’t through and began to dismantle and destruct our economy and our capitalistic way of interaction. We bought masks and decided to re-enter society, focusing on getting our economy growing again and holding on to our ego investments and prior narratives regarding self-determination. However, it may again be to no real avail. Protests, violence, and political discord are all primed and sharing space with COVID-19. We are still “tripping” about whether we’re tired or scared or uncomfortable. So here we are looking for something to hold on to, looking for some firm ground... let’s find it together.
Breathe... so COVID-19 is here and is happening. It’s not fair or right, but yet it still remains. We don’t know for certain just how long it will visit us or be a part of our lives. It will eventually come to a close and it will inevitably run its course. The bigger perspective requires nothing of us; there’s nothing to do, and there is no where to go. We are simply along on this COVID-19 trip together. We are all “tuned in, turned on, and dropped out”. Perhaps it’s time, in the words of counter culture icon Ram Dass to effortlessly just BE HERE NOW. We can’t control what tomorrow may bring or where this trip will lead. We may benefit most by simply leaning in and cultivating greater compassion for ourselves, increasing our bandwidth, and understanding that we’re all along on this ride.
The COVID-19 experience will not simply be met with open arms and flowing vulnerability. We’re not going down without a fight. Our egos are threatened, our values are being challenged, and our way of life co-opted. This friction point is a natural and normal part of the trip. So, let’s steady ourselves and remain calm because we are preparing for battle. Our ego is going to continue to make plans, misconstrue information, displace our frustrations onto the more marginalized, march in the streets, stay locked in our homes, buy out toilet paper, or parade on the beaches of Florida. All of which is to protect our ego structure from the dismantling stamina of COVID-19. Although our ego can fight, that doesn’t necessarily equate to its victory. It can’t “win” this one. This battle can last a while and can become ugly; some folks, perhaps many, will become entrenched and stuck in this stage. They will bog down and only try to utilize their power, inevitably becoming more scared, angry, and righteous. At its most destructive, the ego will fabricate a villain and project all of its hostile rage onto this villain causing carnage and reinforcing the survival of the ego. However, according to our hallucinogenic sages of the past, there is an alternative way. “There does exist a more profound reality; we are not our egos. Moreover, our psychological attachment to our ego is a contributing factor in all of our suffering”, including our suffering pertaining to this COVID-19 trip.
This is where it starts to get real and real interesting. So here we are with this trip just starting to unfold and morph, while our egos are locked and loaded and ready to take on this “annihilation threat”. If we choose the ego path, the most readily available and “western” option. We dig in hard and attempt to cut COVID-19 off at the knees. We challenge our opponent, facing it head on with a conquering mentality. This inevitably works (although we still don’t “win”) because we will make it work. We will force it to fit into our narratives at any costs utilizing rationalizations, denial, and illusionary perspectives as battle scarring. And, yes, our ego just may be satiated, but it comes at the cost of stagnation, greater ego frailty, and perfectionistic control. “Locked and loaded” is not expansive energy; it’s constrictive.
However, we may just see our coping strategies evolve if, instead, we pursue the alternative strategy of “opening” to this abyss, allowing our ego to loosen its grip, soften, and let go.
Furthermore, through this process, we may come to realize that we are indeed more than our identities, our jobs, our relationships, our various roles, our ethnicity, our plans, or our power. The truth is that all of these iterations of “you” will all fall short as the COVID-19 trip continues to shift, entangle, and encapsulate our lives. So, how do we stay safe while also creating expansion? Our hallucinogenic allies give us a bit more guidance. What if all of those roles are simply clothes that you can put on and take off or even throw away? What if safety is created by actually going deeper into ourselves using COVID-19 as the conduit. Furthermore, what if there lies deep within incredible collective wisdom and inner knowledge that our ego attachments hinder? What just might be waiting to arrive if we continue to peel the layers back, acknowledge the fear, breathe and continue to let go?
COVID-19 is still barreling down and ravaging all around us. The societal stress, angst and rage is now becoming violent. Protest behavior is starting to escalate as some choose to revel in the ego struggle. Given the state of our union and this COVID-19 “crisis”, it makes absolute sense why some would choose this path; they just may not have a conscious alternative. Interestingly, for those whose perspective is one of surrender, fears are now subsiding and a curiosity and overall ease is now beginning to take root. As we look to our psychedelic guides, they provide much needed support and direction as we traverse the path less traveled. “You will begin to experience a deepening of your perceptions and you will receive glimmers of your connectedness the whole. Stay open and embrace this surrender for it has something to teach you” they share. Now, this is a provocative shift. We’ve moved from denial and resistance to surrender and opening. You may notice yourself begin to feel some resistance or judgement around this, so keep in mind that this “way” is only possible after the death of the ego, so if you’re hearing this with ego still intact or leading, then it may feel confusing or objectionable. However, if you’ve reached the point of surrender then it all may be just at your fingertips.
So COVID-19 is still upon us and furthermore, it has become our new reality. The mystics and seekers of the past continue to advise and guide. “The whole world is within you” they say and they invite us to allow for this worldly experience. We then can begin to tap into the collective, gain sight, and our third eye broadens. At this point we are a conduit for spirit guides and collective answers and information. We begin to channel insights instantaneously with no barrier or filters. Interestingly, it is at this point that true, genuine, and profound answers are created not through our rationale brain but through our surrender. Additionally, our rationale brains are simply unable to provide in this way; these type of answers are more declarative and expansive. “Good things happen over time, but great things happen all at once”. Welcome to the joy and life affirming answers that you’ve been blessed with via your COVID-19 trip.
By mastering the “allowing”, we now enter into a compelling bliss state, as we transcend the mundane. Our hallucinogenic mentors continue to guide and share their wisdom during this phase. They suggest that we are able to rest easy and simply just “be”. They acknowledge the challenge it took to arrive here and they suggest that we can now trust that our ancestors and guides will whisper our path forward. As we are still and rest in this bliss we can enter into a dream like state where death becomes an illusion and fear is a far far away memory. Profoundly, just as we fully accept this “trip” and have begun to receive its gifts, COVID-19 will subtly take a turn and lesson it’s grip. It will not do so out of power or defeat but from an understanding that our lessons are with us and therefore its path is now complete. It will reside into the ether and effortlessly fade away.
We awaken. Our hallucinogenic guides provide one final piece of advise. “Use what you have learned to serve mankind”. Simply put, we have changed, and we now have a new direction, clarity, and aim. It is now time to re-enter the world but as a changed, clearer, and more grounded individual. It is time to integrate what we have experienced; we begin to live again and become the quintessential Phoenix rising from the ashes. We have learned a different way, a way beyond our roles, our ego, and our defensive positioning. We have now gained the ability to be still and effortlessly trust; allowing for reciprocity from the universe. With this experiential knowledge our pathway now will be decorated with richer experiences, broader care, and greater personification of love.