|So recently I thought I should try getting round to reading some of the books we bought ages ago, a lifetime ago, that involve the use of psychedelics. I randomly picked up ‘Ayahuasca’ by Joan Parisi Wilcox. A couple of people trashed it on Amazon.com and after reading it for a bit I felt tempted to do the same (trash it in a ‘review’ on Amazon.com). Except. Well one reason is I think after going over the reviews I’ve done there already in the past on various books and cd’s etc. I felt conflicted ~ it sounded like I was a whining brat. I didn’t feel like what I’d said was said really well, I didn’t particularly still feel one hundred percent the same way about whatever the products were, and I didn’t feel qualified / entitled to comment on what for someone else could have been a big deal to do.
The other reason is what is it that is bothering me about her book? I mean, I’m not sure how to put this; is it possible I can see myself a little bit in it? Is that what hurts? To see from the outside how I look, what I sound like? When it comes to this subject material do I also sound like a pretentious little git? There’s this thing about having experiences and acting like you know what they were about, or like they centered around you somehow, and even if you did know and even if they were centered around you what does it look like to the person you are relaying this to? It’s a bit of a contradiction. I mean you’d think the person who this involves would exercise a little humility considering the sacred element of this journey, not go round blowing their trumpets about it.
That kind of thing.
“But wait; there’s more!” (Read the rest at your own peril ~ much patience required ~ possible side-effects include getting bored to death). I’m not sure I’m getting this down right. There’s a part in the book Joan has a vivid experience in a dream involving a man and a small girl. In the dream Joan is craving a cigarette and keeps asking the man for one. Eventually he points at her bag on a table which has her cigarettes in. But also asks her if she realizes she’s “Studying through the Field of Love?” At that point she no longer craves a cigarette and wakes up. Joan struggles to make sense of this and another experience involving an alien – is “left largely adrift in a sea of unknowing.”, and realizes they were “somehow tied up with the coming jungle experience”, involving a trip to the Amazon to go on an Ayahuasca retreat.
She continues about the cigarette dream emphasizing what the man said to her concluding that “we must remember that in this life we are all bound together and grow through the force called love”. Maybe I had felt a bit impatient at points before this in the previous one hundred or so pages but not so much that I’d felt like throwing the book in a bin, to stop reading it, but at around this point that’s how I started to feel. So this is the sentence that pulls it all together. Weird how this was a two minute thing in my head. Always is, I guess. Anywhoo. The Joan Parisi Wilcox book; continued. Except in this piece I try to understand, or at least try to explain why I was feeling like I should throw the book away.
The first bit of it involves the cigarette dream. I guess maybe why this got complicated for me might have to do with how I feel about cigarettes. I’m not a very big fan. I don’t have very nice things to say about people that smoke. It’s a very big deal. Yes I’m the guy that will give you a dirty look, or even complain at you if you light one up in public, even if it’s a designated smoking area. And no it’s not cool how in the sitcoms it’s the guy that does this that gets a bad rap, and the one who smokes remains the fan favorite. Not cool at all, pretty much pathetic. So I could carry on and on, and on, but I think I’ve made my point.
Thing is… that bit involves Joe Public… the faceless masses. In general I could almost expect people to continue to smoke, to do something so stupid ~ they’ve got a good track record when it comes to behaving like idiots, this sad fact gets rubbed in my face just about every day. But someone that’s on some kind of trip, a path? A path that involves something sacred? Joan takes as many opportunities as possible to point out her shamanic (expertise, qualifications, heritage?) something. She uses some pretty specific words that make it sound like she knows her shamanic shit. The fact that she’s getting involved in Ayahuasca, and going to spend time with Shamans in South America on a Dieta is a testament to that.
So in a way, compared to Joe Public, Joan gets put on a little bit of a pedestal. She’s different, she’s trying to better herself, she’s trying to separate herself from the crowd and be / become someone who can inspire, or position herself to make a difference in the lives of those around her (be healed, heal). To make a difference in this world where there is such a big demand for people that can make a difference. When the cigarette thing came up my temple throbbed. If I’m disappointed in people in general, if I’m disappointed in people in general especially when they smoke, that disappointment only gets magnified tenfold when it involves someone whose on a path that’s meant to make that person better somehow.
Maybe I’m not being fair. But I am trying to be honest, and that’s where I think I was coming from in feeling the way I felt. And… there’s still more. Believe it or not. There’s something going on about her having that dream, that very vivid experience, and even getting to a point where she figures out it had something to do with her upcoming trip to the Amazon (to work with Ayahuasca). But to not think at all about the possibility of it having to do with her smoking? Or at least seeming to not think at all about that possibility – I mean she doesn’t mention it in the book. And here I was reading and thinking it was so obvious; it was as clear as day to me. I couldn’t believe that there was no discussion at all from her around the subject of smoking.
So what was I missing? Did I get it wrong somehow somewhere along the line? Maybe I did. Maybe where my head is at involving this stuff is completely off track. The one thing that I ever got out of spending time under the influence was that I had a lot of work to do if I ever wanted to get something useful out of going under the influence. By a lot of work it isn’t really rocket science, I mean there is a lot you can do that isn’t difficult to figure out needs to get done before needing to knock on anyone’s door asking what it is that needs to get done (I mean knocking on the door of a teacher plant), and if that’s not what you are doing when you use psychedelics then what exactly are you doing?
By needs to get done I mean getting yourself in good shape – healthy. Maybe figuring out what that means in terms of what you need to do can be tricky – how to eat, how to live, but in terms of what you should not be doing it’s a slap in your face easy; no fast food, no alcohol and definitely no smoking. It shouldn’t take using a psychedelic to figure that out, it shouldn’t take having a vivid experience in a dream to figure it out. And yet here I was, reading that Joan had had both and yet for all intents and purposes completely oblivious to the fact that smoking is an issue. And instead, gushing all sorts of warm and fuzzy involving a force called love, which reminds me, about that…