On Suicide and Self-Destruction

[This could be triggering — but that’s the last thing I intend. If you are suicidal, please reach out. And if you have no one you can talk to, please talk to me.]

So you want to die. Maybe you’ve already opened your skin a little, to see blood and feel alive. I’m not going to tell you how to live — I’m going to tell you how to kill your Self, your ego that hurts so much. And maybe it’s the weirdest advice you’ll ever hear, but life is fucked up sometimes, so hear me out.

You can be free from yourself, and it’s just as thrilling as jumping into traffic. It’s as hardcore as cutting and the risks are high.

Imagine you’re already dead — your Self doesn’t matter — life doesn’t matter — you’re a ghost. Kill yourself in your mind, now, and cut your soul so deep you might never be the same.

You’re already dead; so you have nothing to fear. No responsibilities to worry about.

Have you ever dreamed of throwing yourself in front of an 18-wheeler? With all the thrill of pain and terror and meeting the unknown? I have a different way, and I won’t tell you it’s any better, but why not try? You’re already dead, so what have you got to lose?

Throw yourself in front of a lonely stranger and ask them if they’re okay. Then just listen, like the ghost you are.

I don’t know what will happen. No one does. But you’re dead, so don’t take things so seriously. Laugh like it’s all a joke, this life, and give up all the fear you have left.

Be free from yourself for a little while. It’s a terrifying and thrilling thing. You might find it more exciting than opening your skin or getting high. Instead of giving up your blood and pain, give up energy and time. It’s as risky a sacrifice as physical destruction.

Try something just as exhilarating as standing on the very edge of a bridge. Jump off the edge of your Self and its fears. If you’re into risky behaviour, take risks with your heart and soul.

It may not feel better. And I know you just want to feel better, at the heart of it all. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a reason to stay out of traffic and get in front of other people’s rushing souls instead. Maybe if you kill yourself and your fears in your mind, you’ll find the freedom to be yourself in life.

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Childlike Wonder

If you have a young child in your life, or are in touch with your inner child, this song I created is for you. It captures the awe and wonder of a little one looking at everything in the world and saying, “What’s that?”

(I might be hormonal because my own damn song made me tear up. I like to think of a child encountering heaven or the wonders of the universe, gleefully pointing at it all.)

The Infinite Paths to Spirit

There is no single path to spirit and our wildest dreams, but an infinite multitude of trails. It should be obvious, but sometimes we forget that there are no rules for connecting, accessing, and communicating with the non-physical world.

This is why I have felt distanced lately from labels like “shaman”. It has become clear to me that I do not agree with the shamanic worldview as it is generally understood. I cannot, myself, ascribe to any perspective that lays out the non-physical world as if it can be mapped at all. To draw a map is to impose limits and boundaries, while often reducing space to 2 dimensions and condensing data or details to the point where it all
becomes a metaphor, or even just a symbol. The spirit world, meanwhile, has no boundaries. No limits. There’s no containing it, and no laws need apply there. I believe contradiction abides peacefully in the spirit world, untroubled by the human mind which cannot comprehend it. I tend to think that the spirit world cannot be usefully mapped at all.

I’m not even saying that the shamanic description of the spirit world is wrong. For instance, it is said that there are three layers to the spiritual dimension: the Upper, Middle, and Lower worlds. I don’t have a quarrel with the concept; I don’t quibble about the somewhat vague meanings of the three categories. And I understand the compulsion to use physical terms that people are accustomed to, as if spatial directions
are relevant outside of spacetime. But this map is far, far, removed from the entirety of what the spirit world is. It’s just a napkin scribble that might help you get where you want to go — or where a teacher wants you to go. And it’s important to realize this. Who are we to think we know the landscape of infinity??

The less we think we know, the better.

But what I really want to say is that the label “shaman” imposes a distasteful distinction between “regular” folk and “special” people who can commune deeply with spirit. I disagree with this notion completely. While some people may be more confident, or even more skilled, in the ways of connecting with spirit, I maintain that everyone is directly in touch with the spiritual realm, even if they don’t realize it, and most can easily build on this innate ability. It is damaging to the spiritual growth of humanity to think we need to follow any elite group or person in order to get information about the spirit world. In truth, we do not actually need spiritual books or teachers, although learning from others does deliver new insights and perhaps helps push us along our journey. Just as you can see (or otherwise sense) the physical world and learn from it directly, for yourself, we are all given the opportunity to directly sense and learn from the spirit world.

My belief comes directly from how I define spirit. To me, the simplest way to define spirit is: something that exists which is not physically manifest in the world. And I believe that what we call spirit is the same thing we call potential. Potential by definition is non-physical, perhaps even the opposite of physical. Once potential becomes manifest, it is no longer potential, but physical. For me, if spirit can be equated to potential, then we are all hardwired to sense it: even animals dream, which is an exploration of potentiality. Things that aren’t physically happening; things that could happen. As I have said before, our imagination is a direct sense of potential, which is spirit. Imagination allows us to freely explore the landscape of the spirit world.

I have more to say, much more; but I wanted to offer a brief overview of why I will no longer be labeling myself as a shamanic practitioner, or any other label. I am but a human being who explores the spirit world.

Inner Space

She shut her eyes to see
a universe within, stunned
at her own second coming
home.
Here, she was the artful creator;
here, she reigned
by her own decrees:
she imagined joy, and thus was joyous
as a newborn god, enthralled
by making herself
happen.

Creating Space for New Possibilities

By changing your perspective, you can make new models of reality emerge. The benefit of doing this is to prevent an unbalance of mental “closure” – a word Kenneth Smith uses in his book “Shamanism for the Age of Science” to describe being stuck or too rigid in one way of thinking. Closure is like fundamentalism in that it closes off your capacity to see potential and transform or awaken yourself to new levels of knowledge. So I have a few exercises to offer that I find useful, which can open you to new experiences, new insights, and expand your awareness in all directions, pushing against any limiting boundaries you’ve perhaps unnecessarily accepted.

These exercises are actually fun – to me, anyway – and they stimulate your imagination and challenge your attachment to particular models of reality. They are meant to tease your perceptions of being, creating room for new possibilities.

  1. Walk as if you are not moving forward, but actually turning the Earth with your feet. When your feet glide over the ground, push a little and imagine that you are bringing the environment directly in front of you closer, rather than walking to it.
  2. Imagine reality is merely what you see, exactly as YOU see it. For instance, the distant trees are really that small and objects are fully solid (not full of mostly-space and atoms). Perhaps the Earth now seems flat; or try to come up with a new experience of perception other than the examples I’ve listed.
  3. Consider: everything you can imagine must be real. What does that imply? If everything you imagine must exist, can you therefore imagine a spirit, decide it must be real, and have a whole conversation with them that must also be real? If you imagine a future self that can communicate with you, are the thoughts you imagine your future self saying therefore real?
  4. Imagine yourself pulling the future against you in order to experience the present moment. You are not helplessly flowing forward along with time – you are pulling time past you.

After these exercises, where you go next is up to you, but I think it creates a prime stage for self-reflection and creative work.

You, a Palimpsest

You author reality with metaphors

and verb to make a living

while the ghost writers circle

like carrion birds, waiting to rip

your soul from your flesh.

You, a palimpsest, have shed

covers, switched genres, crossed out

every adjective you used to be;

and I, your avid reader, await

your next page, enthralled

and close to tears, overlooking

your plotholes.

Our Soul’s Purpose and the Higher Self

The higher self can be viewed as a fractal, of which you are one single iteration. I believe the higher self ultimately transcends space and time, containing every possible version of your soul in every possible circumstance, across all possible realities and parallel universes. The essence of your soul, the one thing that ties all these potential versions of you together, is thus revealed in the shape of the fractal and describes your soul’s purpose.

Yet if you’ve ever played with the scale of a fractal image, you can imagine how only an infinite being could perceive its ultimate complexity and shape. So how do we even begin to approach an understanding of the higher self and our soul’s purpose?

I think it is important to allow for evolution here: if you’ve come upon an inkling of your soul’s purpose, or even created a statement about it, don’t call it a day and stop. Your soul’s purpose looks different at different scales and the scales represent your levels of conscious awareness, your ability to see and know what your soul’s purpose is. So as you develop your awareness, your concept of your soul’s purpose will evolve, perhaps even completely change, like any living thing, so why not allow for this growth?

My point is that the higher self is infinite and your life can be a journey of exploring it, learning deeper and bigger truths. It never really ends. If today you think your purpose is to teach, allow this statement some room – or else be stuck forever at one level of seeing and knowing yourself.