Birthday retreat - part 1

Birthday retreat - part 1

Aug 21, 2022

Doctor: "Do you smoke?"

Me: "No."

Doctor: "Do you drink?"

Me: "No."

Doctor: "What do you do to enjoy life?"

Me: "Hmm... I make art?"

When I was lying in the doctor's diagnosis chair, I was looking back to try to understand why my life could cause me enough stress to get this immune system malfunction/meltdown. There must be something my body dislike. But I changed life path for a reason, from a High Street Finance career to being a Freelance Artist (in another word - jobless) supposingly to be easy and I free myself from most material attachment. I have no TV for 6 years, no luxury items, sold my car and most of my jewellery, no handbags and a few clothes that can fit into one luggage. What is it that I am stressing about? That needed a pre-cancerous condition to shake me up?

Doctor: "So we don't know the cause and it may never be curable, but sometimes they cure on their own. We just don't know."

Me: "Are you saying no more spicy food for the rest of my life?"

Doctor: "You just have to live with it, like having high blood pressure or diabetes"

Me: "There are really not much joy left in life then..." (what a privileged life I have lived!)

As much joy I can get from good food around the world, the fear of dying (relatively) young wins. Well, it's nothing terminal (fingers crossed) but what is the joy of life if you take such a big chunk out. Since I decided to change my path, I have been on this journey to seek purpose. Is there really purpose? To be fair, I figured if there weren't any purpose to start with, we should just enjoy this ride, the good food in life, treasure the encounters with lovely and interesting souls along the way and hopeful reach enlightenment someday. But yea, smoking any kinds of substance, drinking alcohol or the alike have been part of my past 35 years of life. If that's considered to be having a "healthy lifestyle" and I am relatively "healthy person". Not to mention any mental breakdowns in this regards.

I was sitting in my room in London, thinking "if there are anything I need to tick off before I die (or turn 35), I would like to be on a psychedelic retreat". Am I crazy? There must be a reason that I don't know yet but I bought the ticket.

In Michael Pollan's book "How to Change Your Mind", he wrote: "...on nothing more than the ingestion of a pill or square of blotter paper -- could put a big dent in such a worldview? Shift how one thought about mortality? Actually change one's mind in enduring ways? The idea took hold of me. It was a little like being shown a door in a familiar room - the room of your own mind - that you had somehow never noticed before and being told by people you trusted that a whole other way of thinking of being! lay waiting on the other side. All you had to do was turn the knob and enter. Who wouldn't be curious? i might not have been looking to change my life, but the idea of learning something new about it, and of shining an fresh light on this old world, began to occupy my thoughts."

I am reading this book as I am writing this down, because I just freshly came out of the retreat with thousands of threads to untangle. Exciting threads and valuable thoughts that I can yet fully comprehend, therefore borrowing words and logical descriptions are helpful.

"For peer-reviewed scientific paper, it had a most unusual title: "Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experiences Having Substantial and Sustained Personal Meaning and Spiritual Significance."

Are you saying - forget the effort of years of meditation, yoga, practice of mindfulness, art study, etc, things can be achieved in one trip?

"The study demonstrated that a high dose of psilocybin could be used to safely and reliably "occasion" a mystical experience - typically described as the dissolution of one's ego followed by a sense of merging with nature or the universe...What was most remarkable about the results reported in the article is that participants ranked their psilocybin experience as one of the most meaningful in their lives,..."

Well, in a short conclusion, yes it's true. To me this experience ranked just in parallel to seeing the aurora in Fairbanks (though in different aspects) and nothing goes before it.

So as I read the book, I will try to analyse the information I"downloaded" from my trip. Please be patient.

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