errantember: (Anthony)
[personal profile] errantember
The second night I had more confidence in my ability to navigate a) The Experience and b) To The Bathroom, despite taking seriously the practitioners insistence that it was never the same ride twice. And, having drunk probably hundreds of times by now, they should know.

I had talked to a veteran earlier in the day, and he said that his progress has been substantially accelerated by having a specific intention. Having had the experience of using the more general "Clear what needs to be cleared, heal what needs to be healed, teach what needs to be learned" on my first night, I gave some thought to what might work as focus. I went back and forth a few times, not wanting to force it, but to use the residual in my system to offer guidance. I finally chose "I want to locate and clear repressed memories." After additional thought, i added "If it's especially traumatic, I don't need the full technicolor pornography, I just want enough of a reminder to place it in context."

I don't remember if they did it the first night, but the second night they did a Buddhist/Hindu ceremony where they invoked spheres of protection around the space. A later conversation with the female presenter revealed that they had started the practice when they were traveling more, encountering whatever residual spirit entities were in a given venue instead of their sanctified and finely-tuned setup at their home base. She said that after they started doing it, they encountered far fewer disruptions from random entities.

While staying with this intention, I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I would go back for a second drink. The best choice was obviously to wait and see. However, the night before my experience had been pretty intense, and it seemed like I was asking for a bit more nuance from Aya tonight, so i was leaning toward not taking more. It turns out I never heard the request, because it came during my one brief visit to the restroom.

When I'm modified, I like to break the rule about not looking at oneself in the mirror. While it's easy to understand why this could be a difficult experience for many, I've long achieved a level of self-acceptance that makes it a positive experience. I used my red and taped-dimmed headlamp to have a conversation with myself. I checked in to see how I was doing, told myself that i loved myself, thank myself for participating, then headed back out to my mat.

In an effort to be less in the way by the exit, I had left my long thermarest upstairs and set up a thick wool blanket instead. The night before I had managed to lie down as though I were sitting in a chair who's back was the floor and who's platform was my leather zafu. It seemed comfortable the first night, and it meant I took up a lot less space on the way out. However, when I tried it the second night, it felt very constricted, and I wasn't able to physically relax. I kept having to push my bedroll further out until i could like completely down again. Then I had to figure out where to put my dishpan, etc. I eventually found a way to make it work, though i was once again making it hard for people to exit out my side.

I suspected from the night before that it wasn't necessarily that I needed more of the drink to get things moving, but simply that it took longer to hit in my system for some reason. This turned out to be correct. Many other were clearly having intense experiences as early as 30 minutes after drinking, but once again it took me over 90 minutes to really feel it come on. Once it did, my intention worked quite well.

I wasn't treated to any really crazy repressed memories. I knew of two or three things that would fall into that category where i had heard from others they had happened, but had no conscious memory. However, I was given a consistent tour of many, many formative events that I had almost totally forgotten and not thought about in years. I think i counted between 15-20 over the course of the evening. Here's one example. Other's were similar.

The was a bully name Ben that lived down the street from me. We had several run-ins back when I was still a hopeless nerd wearing maroon slacks and not washing my hair more than once a week. I very reluctantly faced him down in a "After school!" fight challenge near the end of elementary school. It was pretty much exactly like a martial arts movie. I tried to leave several times, but once it became clear I couldn't escape without a fight, I assumed a karate stance (I believe i was a yellow belt at the time) and waited. He actually backed down in front of a good portion of the student body. At a later time he and his friend stole my bike, and when I went to retrieved it, he attacked me. I remember kicking him in the thigh. He told everyone I kicked him in the balls. At any rate, I hopped on my bike while his bully-worm ally looked on and did nothing and rode home. Looking at all this from an adult perspective, I was able, for the first time, to wonder *why* he might have had such bad feelings for me. I had been to his house only a few times. I remember his room was literally over a foot deep in toys and dirty laundry, and felt like what I now know to be a hoarders house. Although we lived in the same neighborhood, I felt his family was much poorer than mine. At the time, my father had a Porsche 911, and I rode a Redline BMX bike and carried around a Victorinox Swiss Army knife. I was also an only child. To Ben I probably seemed like a spoiled rich kid, and he likely felt a lot of the negative feelings I feel about really rich people today. At any rate, this ability to re-evaluate trauma from the power perspective of adulthood helped clear the previously subconscious tendencies the repressed memory might be causing. A very similar dynamic is used in Re-Evaluation Counseling, or Co-Counseling, with which I have some experience. This continued happening throughout the night, and was probably the best example of using an entheogen to get specific results I'd ever seen. One fundamental idea of RC is that these kinds of experiences get triggered in adult life, and instead of reacting authentically in the moment, we end up playing back our tapes of trauma instead. As this happens over time, normally positive and zestful people end up functioning at a fraction of their normal capacity. By re-evaluating the experience from the perspective of a powerful adult with help from another adult, we can get them out of our subconscious and into the light of day so they won't be as triggery. Eventually their hold on us lessens and we're free of the original trauma.

It might have been the second night, but also maybe the first, that, shortly after taking off, I heard a booming voice, too Hollywood to take seriously, say "You will never eat meat again!" I broke immediately out of the more spacey, contemplative headspace I was in, looked it straight in the eye, and said "Bullshit." There wasn't the slightest feeling of threat, or hesitation about my reaction. If this was the medicine, it had overstepped its boundaries, and I wasn't taking any shit. It sounded a lot more like an ego projection or joke than the other more gentle guidance I'd gotten before. Later I heard a similar voice say "I had to try. :)"

The second night I was more able to observe the way the practitioners rotated through duties. During the dark they mostly sang, coming out just once to check on us, or to perform Ventiatos, or special blessings, on people who were really having trouble. After the candles were lit, two of them would rotate among the attendees, performing blessing, while the person in charge would call each person up to sit in front of the Mesa in the power spot.

The second night we had a gentleman get stuck at the power spot. He was somewhat argumentative, and clearly not fully cognizant of what was going on. Many extra blessings were performed, and he was checked in with regularly. He became something of a roadblock, parked in the power spot as he was. The leader that evening joked gently but with increasing vigor to get him to move back to his place, or help him get there. Eventually they were able to get him to back up enough to get another person in the power spot again. He stayed in the center for most of the rest of the evening. He had come from part of the world wracked by war, and was unsurprising he had some shit to work out.

I made a bit more of an effort to sing along the second night, but was stymied by shyness and my voices inability to do a soft-start. I really wanted to sing along, though, and i hatched a plan to check in with those near me the third night so I could be more bold without excessively risking other people's experience.

I was super grateful for the cold coconut water after the closing of the circle.
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December 2015

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