“They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuvre; stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous maneuver from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators’ mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.”
I found myself in conversation recently about the strength of medicine different places use. People will always critique the strength of medicine as one of the main factors which determines if their experience was powerful or disappointing. Importantly, they leave out that any experience with plant medicine is a relationship between a human and a plant. The strength of the brew is only one part of the equation. The state of the person is the other. Try to remember also that you don’t get what you want, you get what you need, which is of far greater benefit.
From years of being in ceremony the number one state I see people enter into the space with is fear, which can also be described as resistance. An unwillingness to trust and let go into what is.
A completely understandable state given the enormity of the experience and the behaviour of our mind.
When I imagine the mind I see a really annoying secretary. She’s trying to file everything away into orderly little cabinets. Everything has its place and there it shall stay unless something monumental comes along and forces her out of necessity to move it.
The plant medicine experience is that something monumental, it comes in and tells her to move everything into completely different cabinets and then it tells her to move them back again. Whilst it does this it begins dropping more and more files into the inbox, they start to stack up all around her, there’s no way she can file them quickly enough. It tells her to open the safe, reveal the secrets she has hidden away for shredding at a later date. The things she’d rather ignore and brush under the carpet.
She either screams no and closes the door. Resistance. Or she lies back and starts making paper aeroplanes, throws bits of paper in the bin, dances all over the paper, admits defeat and says to the plant, you sort the files out. Acceptance.
At which point the plant tells her there are no files. She screams no again, it makes no sense to her.
This is the mind when it meets the plants, it either surrenders or it fights. It accepts and sits back for the ride, or it cries in anguish because it’s being told that it’s life work must be burnt to the ground.
Unlike Don Juan, I’m happy for my mind to stay around and tell me all sorts of things, I just don’t always listen to it. It has its uses but within the plant medicine experience it’s like a Soap Box in a formula one race. It’s just not going to keep up, so I tell it to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
How can it possibly comprehend concepts such as infinity? No beginning and no end. It can’t, it isn’t built that way. Your soul knows it only too well, for your mind it’s like hanging over the edge of a bottomless pit. The abyss.
For your soul, it’s home.
The problem comes when you believe you are your mind, you are it’s fear rather than something in communication with fear. You are its judgement rather than something in communication with judgement. We resist experience and accept what our mind is saying we are or its fear about losing control of the files. This all happens internally. In that sense, it's a choice. It has to be.
Whenever I welcome people into the ceremonial space I must first congratulate them. They followed their own unbending intent and made it to where their soul needed to be. Yet the mind is cunning and always two steps ahead. It’s the minds job after all, to use fear to protect us from danger. To make sure we don’t try and clean a crocodile’s teeth. It is always feeding us situation reports about the dangers. It does its job.
Like any good leader it’s our job to constantly thank the mind for these updates and make our OWN decisions, lest we have the mind taking over at the wheel.
Follow your soul, it knows the way.