Archive for Drugs

Like a monkfish out of water…

Posted in Asceticism, Fighting, martial arts, Monasticism, Reality Bites, Relationships, Religion, sex and violence, society, Stayin' Alive, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2008 by wizardsmoke

It is interesting how monks, nuns, and those who take religious vows learn to defend themselves from social harms and ills. And those vows to abstain from drugs, sex, violence, harmful speech and behavior are all the more possible because of a secluded monastic environment. But the monastic environment is not meant just to shelter the religious from the world, but to create a safe environment in which they can build a base of profound mental awareness. The ordained may not necessarily ever stop practicing or living in their ordained community, just as any martial artist (let’s say anyone who follows the fabled-to-exist practices of budo, chivalry, gongfu, etc.) does not stop practicing or teaching at their school despite their adept level of ability. Furthermore, religious monastics and martial artists  are both ideally practicing to ward off negative elements in their surroundings.

Wait, are they both? The martial artist parallel stops short because of the outcomes of these different methods of practice. An honest religious disciple is learning to see troublesome elements in the mind before they arise, and easily avoids these things. A martial artist is usually learning to sense violence before it appears in their surroundings. On the one hand, a good monk is exempt from pernicious social atmospheres which may result in lust, greed, crime, violence, etc. and intuitively learns how gauge these things. A martial artist might not learn to perceive these elements, but is better poised to deal with violent confrontation should it happen (which is almost always due to stupid social conflicts, but let’s say we’re talking about horror-story confrontations with occasional, random, mean-spirited groups of thugs, Clockwork Orange-style, or even complete psychopathic nutcases). Here the combat training — in a “do-or-die” scenario with no other choice but to fight — becomes useful.

But what has always bothered me about a number of fighters and martial artists is a subtly angry disposition. I’ve met people in this line of practice who are virulently aggressive people with dysfunctional social problems. They’re not the majority of the people involved (a lot of the angry violent types end up in questionable lines of work anyway), but martial arts rarely has anything to curb a penchant for anger — except to let the person go berserk on another person. And even if a martial arts practice does succeed in warding off negative elements, does it have to be done through the practice of violence (even if in a controlled environment)?

So I admire this about religious vows: even if the ordained do not keep to such precepts or vows, the idea of giving up anger, greed, lust — this is very impressive and admirable to me. Because a number of people who take these vows succeed in keeping them. I know from experience that during the periods one gives up these things, so many formerly conflicting aspects in one’s environment, social sphere and daily life just float on by without causing any mental disturbance.

But talk is cheap, and here I am hanging out with the angry people.

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Painkillers (+ Love)

Posted in Beauty, Drug Abuse, Happiness, love, Mysticism, The Arts, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2008 by wizardsmoke

I am routinely amazed by the utter incompetence with which people recognize artistic and emotional depth. My guess — no! intuitive reasoning, is that all people feel the same emotional sensibilities but have different poetic capacities for experiencing them. So a person with lousy taste in music does not need particularly good music to satisfy their emotional needs (or maybe they don’t care about music, but whatever — adding that variable to the discussion just makes things complicated).

For me, the best music that I have found makes me feel like I’m on some opiate-type painkiller. You know the drill — total basking in the emotional depths of ecstasy and melancholy simultaneously, with complete tolerance and compassion for all creatures and situations in existence. Everyone, absolutely anyone, who takes painkillers will feel this way under their influence… and yet when the same emotions are evoked by music, art, literature, social interactions, etc. many people will either consciously attempt to suppress them or dismiss them as completely cheesy, saccharine, trite and so forth. Whyyyy is that?!?!?!

As soon as I perceive a piece of art, a person, a location, a picture, anything, I’ll sense the energy coming from it. It’s the most basic thing a human being does. I guess the ecstasy I describe as emanating from some really great, “virtuous” music is similar to the cliche description that most people adhere to when they mention that they get a “natural high” from meditative practices. That natural high is pretty good: a cross between psychedelics and opiates. Absolutely fantastic. But it takes so much work to maintain! Not that I mind, but…

I once read a Kurt Vonnegut interview where he points out that Freud’s famous comment about how religion is “the opiate of the masses” would be better translated as “the aspirin of the masses”. I agree with that general notion, that religions are just medicines for headaches. It just makes the headaches tolerable, it doesn’t necessarily delude the person. But then again, what if religious practices bring the opiate-induced pleasure I was describing? Then maybe Freud was right. But I wouldn’t have expected him to have any understanding of that…

Sword of the Warrior

Posted in Asceticism, Drug Abuse, Monasticism, society, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 5, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Amazing that even this universe is nothing but a single clumsy brush stroke. And every single action just an exponential manifestation of the universe. This whole cosmos, it’s just a single tear-drop! But knowing that doesn’t satisfy me. That’s boring. I’ve been losing interest with all phenomena at a rapid rate.

A while back I realized I hate drugs and all mind-altering substances. Don’t be confused. I’m not against anything and I certainly don’t think anyone else needs to share my view (it’s funny because wizard smoke seems to be a brand of “legal hydroponic drugs” so I get a lot of hits from people looking to smoke their brains out, hee hee). Despite doing drugs for so long in my teenage years, I have long ceased to enjoy them. The last one to go was alcohol (and maybe caffeine). My friends all talk about how great certain beer or ale or wine is. But on drugs I just feel like I’m watching TV or hanging out with hoodlums — it’s going nowhere and is a waste of time. I practically pass out when people talk about wines and ales.

Now, I’m sort of an idiot about cuisine in general, but when it comes to figuring out fresh ingredients and cooking techniques, I can pay attention. With alcohol, this is never the case. As a result, I have no interest in going to bars or any such things. No problem for me. I think bars are the seediest acceptably mainstream social experiences possible! I should note: if you never drink caffeinated beverages, having a couple of cokes instead of beer is a much more intense mood alteration! Makes you feel so good, ambitious and enthusiastic in a way where your senses are overly sensitive rather than merely dulled. Not advocating, but it’s an interesting alternative…

Too bad I feel uninterested like this about so many things in the world. People peg me as some kind of nihilist, but I live in a deep level of self-indulgent illusion and say it’s more of a “warrior monk” type thing. Ya dig? I figure I could become a complete recluse or monk, but part of me feels like that’s too easy. Not that it’s too easy for everyone but just for me. Of course, people only do what is easiest for them, so I could be totally delusional… Still, part of me feels like following some extreme outlying experience (isolation or perversion) is totally crazy. And not in the good, Wizard Smoke way!

Things appear naturally in life and everything comes and goes so fast. From a bigger perspective, it’s all just a single brush stroke. As they say, “even the saints and patriarchs are but lightning bolts across the sky”. No time to waste!

…And It’s All Happening

Posted in Beauty, Happiness, love, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , on March 20, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Some of my earliest vivid experiences are of moments of samadhi-like clarity. Basically, up until a certain age (until whenever my sex drive kicked in) I would periodically stare at one thing in front of me or in my environment and just repeat to myself that it was real. This is all real. This is really happening. This life, right here. It’s happening. Right now. Bam!

Seems like such an obvious thing to do, right? If I concentrated hard enough I’d come to grips with that idea as an experience and not a speculation. It’s still a pretty incredible phenomenon to me now. Only now I recognize that it’s a practice in itself. It wasn’t until years later, after I had been done being a dumb-ass teen that I recognized this was a basic form of meditation concentration practice. You know, focusing on the single object to reveal the whole awareness around you, living here in the present moment.

And it isn’t just some meditation practice that brings this about. This is just being alive for real, in the moment. Everyone experiences it every so often, it’s just a matter of getting so you’re “in the zone” all the time. Like a mean jazz legend playing an instrument, every moment is free but also segueing into the next.

But it isn’t just being “in the zone” as far as getting into a rhythm. It’s when you see the pinnacle of perception, when you see the eye of the cosmos in something finite. It’s perceiving the timeless essence of the orgasm, or the climax of a musical piece, or the impeccable sensations of a masterfully and lovingly prepared cuisine. This is reality. But unfortunately these are the only times most people see reality. Ahh… so that’s why everyone’s addicted to sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll!

People have said, that when you get enlightened, everybody is enlightened with you. I mean, how could it be otherwise? You’re not some separate individual at that point. Whether you are or not in the conventional social sense is not the issue; an enlightened being sees the very border between self and not-self and can freely go between the two without association. No definitive limits!

When I was younger, I was a bad student. I had no interest in schoolwork, had a dysfunctional family, was angry, frustrated, ad infinitum. My youth was like a great exploitative coming-of-age film script. But the thing that always jerked me around even in my intoxicated emotional state was the idea that this is all actually happening. I think that’s the thing that was so crazy about doing psychedelic drugs at one point. It snapped me right back into that samadhi-like clarity of when I was a little kid!

Of course, the problem was that I had all these emotional impulses and issues by this point, so the state of deep awareness was no longer peaceful or useful. I actually got attached to it! But I got pretty pumped up all over again the way I did as a kid. It’s all happening. So, gradually stopped doing drugs and started taking up meditative practices and became really interested in religious philosophy.

What’s so amusing is that to people using drugs, anyone who goes straight and sober and lives for a new, “natural high,” seems absolutely nutty! But really, who is the most nuts? What about people who aren’t taking any kind of drug? There aren’t many people like that around. So many people don’t fess up and take responsibility for their spirit. So many just give up, become an evangelical/fundamental religious peon or get involved in a cult. It’s pretty hurtful to see.

The happiest, most heart-warming stories and ideas, aren’t they so sad? At the bottom don’t you want to cry? It’s only natural, because once you wake up and realize we’re all alive and this is really happening it totally melts your heart. It destroys the fabric of emotional complexity and hatred and anger and so on. It’s just really distressing that people live in absolute ignorance and hurt themselves constantly or aren’t strong enough to destroy their problems and their demons. When life is most real is when someone dies, or when your heart is broken or when you’re so happy you just want to hug sharks and jellyfish and don’t care if you get punched in the face.

But what about me? How do I know I’m not just nuts? How do I know everyone doesn’t feel this way also? And so, life goes on. We all go about our business, feeling this or that way inside, and never share it explicitly. To open yourself up too much is to be fatally wounded. That’s why we aim to disappear completely. Nobody left to wound!

Scary business, those people who go all the way…