“… it is easier to overcome people’s judgments than to overcome our own self-judgment…”
Arianna Huffington

The Element

Mushrooms, second encounter

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Though I am gradually moving towards a better energy equation with work (it could be that I am simply “getting back in shape”) it still consumes most of focus. This means that I tend to end days and weeks tired. This last week I also allowed, for the first time, urgency within the organization infiltrate into my energy body. It was a negative experience. I enjoyed my work and did it calmly but I the agitation was in me and I could feel myself needing to ward off a sense of urgency. This negatively effected my breath, sleep and ultimately brought to me an end-of-week crash.

This converged with a wish I’ve had some time to meet with mushrooms one more time. Josh described a potential for a kind of mental reset. A long weekend (due to holidays), alone for two weeks, no need to speak for 3 or 4 days, mentally overloaded … the conditions felt right. The previous experience was a sense of exhaustion that remained with me for what felt like a couple of months (though I think it was also due to the materials that surfaced). That left a bit of wariness in me to repeat the experiment. So this time I opted for a small dose. And so Friday morning, I decided to ingest a small 1.5 grams (compared to the larger dose I took previously) before morning practice.

For the first hour or so of practice I did not feel anything. The first manifestation that got my attention was sound. I realized I was hearing with cure clarity the sounds (my eyes are closed for most of practice) of my hands grazing the mat or the rustle of my clothes. It was a soft transition so at first I wasn’t sure something had changed, but then I realized it did. By the time I got to pranayama I was applying this sensitivity to the sound of my breath which I was able to modulate with great sensitivity. The short chant at the end of practice sounded also vibrant. The acute listening created a positive feedback cycle that brought confidence to my voice.

When I opened my eyes I realized that my sight was also effected. I was seeing brighter and sharper. I felt a bit lighter and softer inside, but other then that the effect felt marginal.

Outside was a cloudy, wet, cold and generally miserable looking day. I needed to go outside and pee. I also felt drawn to visit the poplar tree that I so connected to during the previous experience. But I felt hesitation. That would require putting on boots. This kind of weather usually keeps me indoors. But I overcame my hesitation, put on my boots and headed out to the poplar tree.

Sound was the medium through which my connection to the poplar tree was established. On the way to the true everything was really moist. A late cold wave brought snow that had just melted. I paused numerous time on the way to the tree. I though I could hear water infiltrating into the soil. It seemed unlikely to me, but I stopped numerous times and that was my experience.

The rustle of the gentle breeze through the leaves captivated me. Now the tree was bare and silent. So I greeted the tree, peed on it and then placed my hand on it to see if touch would evoke something. It didn’t, or so I thought and still think. But I was then met with an urge to go and visit the Linden tree I’d planted when I first purchased this place. I came here with a wish to stay in one place long enough to watch a tree grow. This Linden tree is the tree I’ve been watching grow for almost 12 years.

I found the tree filled with new reddish shoots expanding the volume of the tree and ready to burst into life. But my attention was drawn to the barbed wire lying around it. Years ago, when the tree was still young and fragile, I erected a small barbed wire fence around it to protect it. A herd of sheep and goats was moving around here with a careless and incompetent shepherd and they posed a threat to the tree. However, it has since grown and become a resilient tree (I think it has passed 6 meters, could be more, but it is hard for me to estimate). The fence poles collapsed and the barbed wire was all around the tree, embedded in grass and dirt and enmeshed in some of the shoots that came out of the base of the tree.

I felt compelled to disentangle the tree from the barbed wire. And so I found myself, in cold, wet, miserable weather, working with my bare hands to disentangle and collect the barbed wire. It took quite some time, I am not sure how long (not because I lost sense of time, I was aware of time and effort, just compelled to complete the task. My hands froze and I got cut twice. But I felt indifferent to the physical discomfort.

I eventually got the barbed wire free from the tree and took it away. When I was done I stepped away from the tree and it looked so much lighter and brighter. I felt relief coming from the tree. I felt gratitude resonate between the tree and myself. I placed my hand on the tree. It told me it would finally flower this year. I believed it.

What else got disentangled?

I then ate and got on with my day.

Next time 2.5 or 3 grams.

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