A haunted man. A searcher. A man with a burden. All describe me.
I always felt that there was something I just didn’t get, something just out of reach. A mystery. It seemed that I was preoccupied with knowing what I later understood to be the philosophical questions. Only several thousand books later, maybe I would have things figured out (ha).
I read a book called “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker, published in 1973 and winner of the Nobel Prize that year. While I had earlier grasped the concept of ontological anxiety, this book furthered my understanding by a factor of thousands, and gave me some understanding that all humans that have ever lived, no matter their privilege or time in history, experienced it. It is “an anxiety or tension” concerning one’s survival, and no healthy human has ever been exempt. As this sunk in, I came to believe that this was what I had been feeling, that this was a normal, if not slightly elevated response. Check off another box.
More books, more workshops, more TedTalks, more YouTube videos. Then came ayahuasca, a way that I thought would possibly expand my mind to see a broader view. It did that and more, much more. As I have written in earlier posts, I was re-introduced to the repressed memories of being abused as a kid. Many ceremonies followed, then some wildly expansive evening with MDMA only 2 weeks ago that was so extremely necessary for me to understand the breadth and the scope of my childhood traumas. I was left shaken by the enormity of my experiences. In the week that followed, I could only be described as frantic, searching for the next level of help that I was surely to need if I was to soften the pain. I talked to a few counsellors and body workers, but found that their recommendations were more clinical than I wanted. I had been sensitized to these memories through a shamanic practice, so I felt that I should continue to follow the same route.
One caught on to this and suggested I look into the West-African shamanic practice using the Iboga root, as it’s healing properties differ from Ayahuasca. Soon I was enrolled in a ceremony, which finished earlier today. The experience itself is not something I want to describe here at this time. It is too “new”. However, I can no longer deny that the repeated “advice” coming from all of these efforts has been unified: the knowledge and guidance that can be attained from such inquiries is not a detour around the pain. I MUST experience the pain. No person, no medicine, no surrogate, no helpers.
I cannot even begin to imagine what this is going to be like. I cannot imagine doing it alone, but it is the only way.
I thought I had already been to my lion’s den, but alas I am only on the doorstep. Even though many times I left the doorstep, I also kept returning. Tonight, I am there again but with new eyes.
Just as huge as it gets.