When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain –
I often think about how rewarding it would be to work with people who are dying.
Which is the biggest niche there is of course.
Because we’re all dying. Some sooner than others. And I guess that’s the general rule of the race. To always be in the later camp.
Run, run, run. Keep looking straight head. But not too far ahead. Just enough to stay on your feet.
Because if you look far enough, you’re going to trip, at the end of the trip, one way or another.
Some days I really fear dying. Other days, not so much.
But my fears are more about withering and weathering away.
I fear getting old. I fear my body breaking.
I fear my vanity shaking.
I fear failing to have accomplished much of anything at all – and as things go, that appears to be a well founded fear.
I’m pretty sure death isn’t the end.
I’m not sure what it is. Exactly.
But I think I’ve seen a slender slice of a much wider world. It’s difficult to really talk about, because language fails.
And because my intuitions of what awaits don’t arrive or appear from conventional places or spaces.
I’m not religious. I recently told someone I didn’t like organized religion. He asked me if I preferred “disorganized” religion. Which was a great line. And a great reminder why these conversations tend to go badly.
But other than on Match.com, where the options are a bit limited, and your chances of getting laid go down exponentially based on the boxes you check, I cringe to describe myself as “spiritual, but not religious”
It feels so trite. And cliche.
I used to think of myself as a (culturally) Jewish Atheist.
But with a twist.
Because I do believe I’ve seen something bigger. Beyond.
Bright, big, blissful and beckoning. Somewhere close to here. Yet, still – entirely somewhere else.
The more refined my own practice becomes, the more often those places and spaces seem to appear.
I know that many people think this sounds crazy, but I believe that psychedelics can change the world.
Not because I do them. (at least not often, or recently) But because they open up something sacred and special.
Something that’s close. But so hard to see.
But when you do see it, it’s carved into your consciousness and welded onto your worldview in a way that becomes impossible to ignore.
Meditation can get you close to that space.
And certain practices, closer than others.
And these days, that’s my preferred path.
And if you are really, really good, or really dedicated, or really lucky when it comes to having the right sort of brain, you get there faster than others.
But, as the late, great Terrence McKenna once said – and I paraphrase – meditation is like lifting a safe and sturdy sail on the trail to transcendence – whereas psychedelics are like climbing on the back of a rocket and hitching a ride.
I really feel more and more called and purposefully pulled to write about these experiences.
More the meditative ones.
Both the magical, and the mundane.
I spent a good portion of the last week tethered to my TV, watching about 10 hours of documentary footage of folks doing work with various plant “medicines” in exotic spots all over the globe.
I have such envy for those who dive in and make this their life’s work….as I truly believe, without any reservation – that access to this information – and exploring these experiences will change the world in big and beautiful ways.
I’m so incredibly inspired and excited to see work being done, safely – and compassionately – and the sick. To see people transformed.
Their fear of death – gone.
The sense of something bigger, bolder and more beautiful beyond – having an experiential ring of truth you can never get from a book.
When I think to the times in my life that I’ve been at the death bed of a loved one – it’s those ethereal experiences, those strange sacred trips into wild, weird and wonderful worlds – those are the healing words that could have been spoken with truth and power – that I regret never having had the courage to share.
It may be the one “disruptive innovation” that can change us.
From killing ourselves.
And each other.
And most likely – the punchline has always been – it may have been the only battle ever worth fighting at all.
He would keep touching the nodules on his neck, where the cancer had announced itself. He flew to Europe to celebrate the end of treatment and his graduation from college, but abruptly returned to New York, terrified to be away from oncologists. He began drinking daily, hard, jeopardizing his fragile health.
Alarmed, doctors suggested the psilocybin study.
He took the capsule and began tripping. After seeing himself on a hospital stretcher, he recalled: “I had an epiphany.”
“Why are you letting yourself be terrorized by cancer coming back? This is dumb. It’s in your power to get rid of the fear,” he told himself. “That’s when I saw black smoke rising from my body. And it felt great.”
Three years later, Mr. Mihai, now 25 and a physician assistant in Las Vegas, said, “I’m not anxious about cancer anymore. I’m not anxious about dying.” The session, he added, “has made my life richer.”