Recently I started a new job. It comes after an incredibly difficult year for me in this area of my life, and by contrast it feels like a real blessing. By way of illustration, last week a visiting director took everyone in the office out for sushi after work. No pep talks, no propaganda, just a friendly meal on the company dime.
I felt a real admiration for the guy. He came across as a solid, dependable, straightforward middle class American; the best that our society is likely to produce. At various points during the time he was here I heard him describe the love he had for his children and the devastation he felt when he learned of his father's death. I also heard him talk about his enthusiasm for firearms and dedication to the 2nd Amendment. Some people judge this harshly, but for me it was consistent with his whole being and I felt no animus towards him for it.
Above all, I just felt the decency and honest simplicity that he exuded, and I appreciated it.
This guy will almost certainly never drink ayahuasca.
Why would he? It's a grueling experience, and he doesn't have to. American society has worked well for him. Blessings.
In one sense I think that's fine. In another, I question it.
The problem is that American society works so disastrously for the bulk of the people on the Earth. Our consumption, our pollution, our wars, our cultural domination - they may not look like such a problem seen from an affluent subdivision of a Western American city.
They look very different seen from a Brazilian favela or a Mayan village in Central America. These are the kinds of places my father's employment with the CIA took him. Or, at any rate, they're the kinds of places that were on the receiving end of his work.
The same way that I, as a helpless young boy, was on the receiving end of his work. My father did field assignments in some of the most brutal places on earth. He brought it home with him.
Suffice it to say that I have never imagined feeling devastation when he dies. For a long time I imagined dancing on his grave, then pissing on it. I take it as a sign of grace that these thoughts no longer trouble me.
At this point in my life I feel that I have no other good option than drinking ayahuasca regularly. I wish I didn't have to. The taste is gruesome, the emotional component is wrenching, and the aftershocks can linger for weeks. I get shaky as I even contemplate the space in which the ceremonies occur.
It's a bitch.
But the healing is profound and unlike anything else I've ever experienced. Grief and anger that blotted out my heart for decades seem to have been simply lifted from me. Actions (like writing this blog) that used to torment me because of my inability to execute them now simply come. I can't explain it. But I'm experiencing it. And for that I am grateful beyond measure or expression.
God bless you, whoever you are.