Recently, I published an article entitled "Terence on DMT," where I strongly critiqued Terence McKenna for his popular lectures on DMT. The gist of the article was that what Terence described as the "DMT experience" should more properly be described as "Terence's DMT experience" as I showed that the majority of what he had to say on the subject, at least at the popular/public level, was generated by his ego and therefore is best understood as personal projection. To illustrate these conclusions, I applied what I have come to call the "Entheological Paradigm" to Terence's public talks, as available on Youtube videos. The article generated a great deal of resistance and backlash, as expected, as well as some serious questions. Issuing a no-holds-barred critique of a well-loved and extremely popular public figure isn't exactly a way to win friends, but it is effective for provoking people. My main aim was to demonstrate that entheogenic experiences are not mysterious and can be fully explained and understood from a naturalistic perspective that does not require belief in any "other realms" or "other beings." When entheogenic experiences are properly understood for what they are -- energetic experiences that exhibit a dynamic relationship between the ego and universal self -- the most bizarre experiences can easily be identified as expressions and constructs of the grasping ego. Another aim was to raise the issue of human liberation from self-generated illusion and the suffering that results from such illusions. The purpose of this essay here is to follow up on this particular idea with a clear analysis of the energetic nature of entheogens and their relationship to the energy mobilized and structured by the ego.
The Entheological Paradigm
I will begin by mentioning that I have made the Entheological Paradigm available to the public as lectures on my podcast, "The Entheogenic Evolution," in my book, Being Human: An Entheological Guide to God, Evolution, and the Fractal Energetic Nature of Reality, as videos on Youtube, as a website, and as public lectures at events like Burning Man. In my book, Being Human, I write, on page 57, "A common effect of working with entheogens is attachment to story. People see visions or encounter other beings' and then proceed to weave fantastic stories around their experiences. Terence McKenna and the infamous machine elves are an excellent case in point."
I have yet to receive a single complaint from a reader of Being Human for that passage and the sentences that follow. My recent article was simply the full analysis of the reality of that claim. Therefore, for those who have followed my work, this was nothing new or unexpected. However, for many readers, I'm sure that this was their first exposure to the Entheological Paradigm (and my provocative communication style). My suggestion for all interested readers is to take a look at Being Human and see what you think. At the least, it is my hope that this article will help generate deeper understanding of the Entheological Paradigm and why it is significant for understanding not only entheogenic experiences, but reality as a whole, including one's understanding of the genuine nature of the self.
The Entheological Paradigm is not a system of beliefs, metaphysics, or spirituality. As the name suggests, it is a descriptive model of reality based on direct experience through entheogenic states of consciousness and energetic awareness. As such, it can be confirmed directly by anyone willing to go through a rigorous process of self-discovery and analysis through highly specific entheogenic methods. It is not a belief system generated through the use of entheogens. It is a direct experience of the energetic nature of reality using entheogenic tools. Beliefs and direct experience are two radically different things, and there are no beliefs in the Entheological Paradigm.
It is a very strong claim to say that something does not contain any beliefs. This is especially true when one is making statements about the ultimate nature of reality. It is a popular belief today that all beliefs are equally valid when discussing the ultimate nature of reality, and many tout such obviously sloppy thinking as some kind of vaguely feel-good "new paradigm" thought. Many people are of the view that if you believe in something, then, it is, in some sense, true. The corollary to such a view is that it is assumed that all statements about the nature of reality are, by definition, beliefs. In other words, genuine knowledge is seen as dubious, at best, and impossible, at worst, and therefore all we have are our beliefs. These beliefs then seem to get support from various experiences that we might have, or we might feel forced to change our beliefs when a given experience does not conform to our previous expectations. Beliefs, therefore, both shape, and are shaped by, our experiences. But at the popular level, at least, questions of ontology and epistemology have fallen by the wayside and there is something of a free-for-all in the reality belief game and much "new paradigm" thinking is a morass of pseudo-scientific mush mixed with incompatible and contradictory spiritual metaphysics. What is sorely lacking is clarity, discernment, and a realistic model of what constitutes "reality."
The question of, "How do we know what we think we know?" is epistemology. The question of, "What actually exists?" is ontology. These questions are intimately related, for how we answer one affects how we are able to answer the other. The Entheological Paradigm provides an ontological answer, coupled with a system of epistemology based on mathematics and a careful analysis of the phenomenology of entheogenic experiences, with special attention paid to non-dual, or unitary states of being.
The Entheological Paradigm is not something that I learned from anyone. Nor is it something that I have intellectually constructed through studying the works and systems of others. It is not based on any pre-existing religious, philosophical, metaphysical, spiritual, or scientific system, though it shares certain concepts and truths with other systems. It is the product of my personal exploration into myself, and the conclusions I was forced to reached about the nature of the self and the nature of reality. Despite having reached these conclusions subjectively, I argue that they are in fact universal. In other words, I am claiming to have discovered the genuine truth about the nature of the self and the nature of reality. This is not "my" belief system, nor is it "just my perspective." This is objective truth and others can confirm this for themselves. In fact, that is what is preferred. "Believing" in something is utterly meaningless. Experiencing the truth directly is the only way to genuinely know reality. There is no need for beliefs in the Entheological Paradigm.
How I came about the Entheological Paradigm is complex story. I've shared much of it publicly on "The Entheogenic Evolution" podcast, and will provide a very short summary here. In essence, almost three years ago, I decided that I had been holding myself back and endlessly compromising myself in my life, and found the courage to do something about it. I left everything stable in my life and ventured out on a process of self-discovery. A central component of this self-discovery process was entheogens: in particular, Salvia divinorum, Ayahuasca (in the form of Daime), and 5-MeO-DMT. To put it quite simply, what I learned and discovered about myself was that I was God, a "being" that I had no prior "belief" in, and that this being had absolutely nothing to do with any of the religions or spiritual teachings promoted by different human societies and traditions. This was anything but an easy process for my ego to go through. In fact, it was, by far, the most difficult and radically challenging thing I had ever been through in my life. It's one thing for an ego to find out that something it had no necessary belief in existed, but that this being was identical with the self, was quite another matter.
Having my Ph.D. in Religious Studies, I was certainly aware of the widespread beliefs in God and a "mystical," unitary reality, as these are common themes in many religions. However, what I also realized, in discovering the genuine nature of myself, is that the vast majority of what all religions have to say about God and the ultimate nature of reality and the self is wildly off the mark, and in many cases, seriously wrong. In truth, it became immediately clear that all those belief systems, religions, and spiritual teachings were mere nuggets of truth wrapped in multiple layers of ego-generated illusion and fantasy.
This was quite startling for me. For one, it meant that all those "possibilities" for which I had once held out an open mind, and in some cases, and yearning heart, were just illusions. It also meant, even more shockingly, that somehow, I had come to understand things that others hadn't -- even the so-called "great mystics" and "masters," because it was simply too clear to me where their egos were influencing what they were saying and teaching. Even Buddhism, I found, my personal favorite, was seriously clouded in illusion at many levels. And it wasn't simply a matter of differences in beliefs. It was a difference in our experiences of energy. I found that I could immediately distinguish between ego and truth at an energetic level in my entire being. A visual metaphor might be useful: For those who have eyesight, it is obvious when the light is either turned on or off. You can simply see it. It is not a matter of belief. It is reality. What I discovered in myself was the ability to energetically perceive and experience the difference between when "ego is on" or when "ego is off." What I experienced was that what often passed for "enlightened teachings" was anything but!
I was able to accomplish this in myself because I chose to permanently surrender my ego to my true nature as an infinite energy being (and reaffirm this choice on a moment to moment basis). My ego is still a part of me, but I have learned that is it most definitely not me, nor are its ideas or beliefs. In surrendering my ego, virtually everything about me has changed, including my voice, my body, my energy, my thoughts, and my perceptions and experiences. I have experienced what I can only call genuine human liberation. I have freed myself. Through teaching about the Entheological Paradigm, that is what I hope to share with others: a genuine path to true liberation. To get there, though, all illusions must be overcome and released, including those generated by our most beloved entertainers and cultural icons, as well as all religions, spiritual systems, and cultural belief systems. It's a big job, and it progresses one person at a time, one ego at a time. It must be directly experienced by any given individual as this is not something that can merely be understood intellectually or "believed" in. Beliefs and ideas about the nature of reality are completely meaningless. Only by truly learning of your genuine nature as an embodied energy being can you begin to understand the true difference between reality and that which we impose upon it through our own thoughts, choices, and beliefs.
So what is the Entheological Paradigm? It is a complete analysis of reality as the integrated and interrelated expression of a Unitary Energy Being, otherwise known as "God." To put it simply, all of reality is a unified energetic system that is conscious, self-aware, and evolving according to energetic laws. There is no real difference between organic, inorganic, subjective and objective as ALL manifestations within reality follow the same set of energetic rules and laws. Everything that exists is a form of energy and it is all unified within a singular self-awareness and consciousness. The rest of this essay will present an overview of how this works and the role that entheogens can play in bringing about direct experience of the fundamental nature of reality and the process of undergoing self-liberation through awareness and the exercise of personal responsibility.
Consciousness is not a specific energy, material, or substance. It is an inherent property of reality. In other words, consciousness is not a "product" of biological systems. Biological systems organize and utilize energy in ways that allow for self-referential awareness and expression. Another way of saying this is that all of reality is alive and aware and this property is uniquely expressed in biological beings but is not a product of their biological system.
This understanding of life/consciousness obviates any need for beliefs in "spirits" or "souls." These concepts identify life and consciousness as a particular substance, material, or energy, and then give it a name and an identity. Besides there being no scientific evidence for any such "substance" or "energy" of consciousness that mystically and mysteriously "relates" to or "inhabits" the body, there is also no reason to believe in such entities or energies when consciousness is properly understood as a property of reality itself, not a particular energy or construct within it.
The ego is a self-referential program within the structure of human consciousness. The ego organizes its understanding of what is occurring to it within its energetic field (that which it experiences and senses through the construct of the body) as relationships between what it chooses to identify as its "self" and that which it chooses to identify as "other." The problem for the ego is that there is no inherent "self" within human consciousness. Therefore, in order for the ego to construct an identity, it must make what are realistically arbitrary decisions. If there isn't any real energetic divide between self and other (there is no fundamental "self" with which the ego can identify), then all such designations are by definition conventions and illusions.
In constructing its sense of self, the ego develops countless energetic programs based on choices it perceives for navigating the artificial/conventional world of "self" and "other." These energetic programs take the form of habits, beliefs, body postures, movements, vocal expressions, tone of voice, gestures, and behavior patterns in both thought and action.
As the ego is ultimately made up of arbitrary energetic constructs, it continually seeks to reaffirm its sense of self and world and validate the conclusions it has made about the nature and identify of the self. The last thing that the ego wants to is to be confronted with the reality that, "You're full of shit," as that does not reaffirm its sense of self and world. In fact, it conflicts with it dramatically. When such a confrontation occurs, egos have a couple of choices. One is to pretend that nothing happened, and go about business as usual. The other is to hold on even stronger to the self-generated illusions, especially through finding others who share similar illusions and allow for group identity, or, embark on an existential crisis that may or may not resolve beneficially. If beneficial, the individual will find a new state of liberation from the constructs of the ego. If not beneficial, the ego will simply adopt a new set of beliefs and structures in place of the old ones.
The Difference between Egotistical and "Egoic"
It is extremely important to understand that saying that something is a product of the ego is distinct from claiming that someone is behaving "egotistically." Saying that someone is being "egotistical" is a social approbation of someone's perceived selfish behavior. To say that someone's ego is creating illusions and distortions in their experience of reality is not to say that they are being selfish. For this reason, the word "egoic," as in, pertaining to the nature of the ego, would be a better fit when discussing ego-generated illusion. For example, Buddhism is well-known for teaching selflessness and is believed to be a path to lessen the ego and free the mind from its illusions. However, under the analysis provided by the Entheological Paradigm, we can see that while Buddhism might promote unselfish behavior and thinking, it is thoroughly egoic in its constructs of reality. Buddhism teaches, for example, that while there is "no-self," each individual is ultimately a "stream of consciousness" that is "trapped in manifestation" through repeated "reincarnations" until "karma is cleansed" and the individual reaches Nirvana.
According the reality of the Entheological Paradigm, none of those claims are true statements about either reality or consciousness. These are just ideas constructed by the ego and are not energetic realities. Consciousness is only seemingly individuated in biological beings. The evolution of "consciousness" is therefore identical with, first, inorganic, and then later, organic evolution. This entire evolutionary process is the evolution of the Unitary Energy Being that ultimately is all of organic and inorganic reality. This One Being is already every being. Living beings are not expressions of a "stream of consciousness" that is "trapped in manifestation" in a linear series of individuated evolving forms. There is no energetic corollary in reality that equates with these illusory concepts. As such, these concepts are constructs of the ego. In essence, Buddhists do not understand either consciousness or the nature of biological evolution and have covered over their lack of understanding with a spiritual metaphysics that has no basis in reality, despite their teachings of "selflessness".
But aren't these concepts generated from the experiences of mystics? Didn't the Buddha experience these things? Don't some people recall past lives?
These are all possible questioning rejoinders to the claims made above. Certainly many people have had "past life" recollections or experiences, so there seems to be some curious data present. However, even specific memory recall does not provide evidence of "reincarnation" of an individuated stream of consciousness. Given the reality that there is only one being that is manifested as all living beings simultaneously, there's no reason that data from one manifestation couldn't be accessed by or transferred to another manifestation. The more interesting question is more along the lines of: why? For what purpose? Seeing that all of reality is the expression of one being, it would seem that that being is, in a very real sense, playing games with itself. It's going about pretending to be "self" and "other," when it is, in truth, All. Any ego that chooses to see itself as anything less than "All" can experience and perceive any myriad of fun "reality games." The possibilities are endless.
So a "past life" experience doesn't preclude other possibilities, including the understanding that there's really only one being "pretending" to many beings at once (and over time). The "experience" does not prove a "reality." It is also important to keep in mind that the Buddha, as a historical person, took many of his teachings from the cultural milieu in which he lived. While his teachings challenged many of the great assumptions of the Brahmins, including their assumption of the immortal soul or self (the Brahmanic atman versus the Buddhist an-atman), he never questioned their teachings on reincarnation and karma (though he rejected the idea of incarnating into stratified social and economic castes), which is why Buddhists had to explain (quite problematically, and to my mind, quite unconvincingly) how a non-existing self is reincarnated via karma by means of a "stream of consciousness." Here, Buddhists are showing an egoic attachment to the idea of individual spiritual and conscious evolution. They also hold onto an egoic idea of some kind of end "release" or "extinguishing" of repeated incarnations and define this as "liberation." That is pure ego projection and rejection of reality as it is experienced here and now, in all its perfection. Any notion of getting "out" of reality is pure ego-fantasy. Thus, Buddhism may teach selflessness, but as a "religion," it is purely egoic in nature. What redeems Buddhism, at least at the practical level, is that it also comes with numerous meditative techniques for stilling, calming, and clarifying the mind, all of which can be quite beneficial for individuals. These techniques do not necessarily produce "enlightenment," however, and certainly not in the sense of Nirvana as being a final extinguishing of endless linear individuated incarnations.
God, or the "Unitary Energy Being"
It might be construed that the use of the word "God" is meant to imply a specific religious or theological view. This would be incorrect. God is described within the Entheological Paradigm as a Unitary Energy Being, which is quite distinct from any religious construction of a mythical being that stands outside of or beyond its creation. God, as a self-aware energy being, is reality itself. Energy, as we know from physics, functions according to energetic principles, and as such, can be expressed mathematically. Mathematics are universal descriptions of energy: math is not bound by any culture, religion, or belief system. Math, however, contains its own rules: these are the rules of energy and the transformation and expression of energy. Reality is mathematical in nature. It is energetic in nature.
"Objective" science has grouped mathematical and energetic descriptions of reality into different areas of focus and study: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, ecology, etc., all of which are able to map and describe patterns of transformation of different spectrums and conglomerations of energy. However, when we look across scales, what we find is that the mathematical proportions of geometry, symmetry, and fractal mathematics hold across all levels of reality.
When "consciousness" and "life" are understood as expressions of energy, it is easy to see that here too we find geometry, symmetry, and fractals. Physically, living beings are all geometric and fractal energetic constructs. Yet these patterns of energy extend into behavior patterns, choices, thought patterns, means of expression, etc. All living beings exhibit patterned thought and behavior. With complex beings, such as humans, it is easy to see that our "small" behaviors, choices, and actions, share similar patterns of thought and reaction to our "big" behaviors, choices, and actions. In other words, though it might seem a bit abstract to refer to behavior as a fractal, in the sense that fractals are iterations of repeating patterns across different scales, then the energy starts to become clear. The "little things" reflect the "big things" because they're part of the same ultimate pattern.
We also know that our heart, the immediate physical source of our life energy, emits an electromagnetic field that extends indefinitely beyond our bodies. That electromagnetic field is holographic in nature and is powered by the fractal iterations of our heartbeat. Humans, as well as other living beings, are, quite literally, living fractal energy beings. Even our DNA is structured as fractal patterns!
Why is everything that exists a geometric/fractal pattern of energy? Because the Unitary Energy Being that is all of reality is a fractal energy being. This fact is reflected in the particular and "individuated" manifestations of this one being, which we call, from the human perspective, the objects, beings, and occurrences within reality. The only limits within reality are the energetic limits that are inherent to energy itself (which we tend to call physics, etc.), or those that we impose through our beliefs, ideas, and choices, which may or may not be congruent with actual reality.
What this all means is that the only limits to recognition and experience of unitary being are the limits imposed on the self by the ego. In other words, the one and only thing that prevents anyone from directly experiencing themselves as the Unitary Energy Being that they are is their ego and the beliefs, ideas, and illusions that the ego uses to artificially construct its sense of self. It's actually all quite simple. There is no need to introduce complex metaphysics, religion, or spirituality into the picture. It's a simple energetic reality. And as such, the solution to the problem of "separation" is energetic in nature. To be clear, this is NOT a "spiritual" or even a "mystical" issue. It is an energetic issue. Once this reality is understood as such, all religions and spiritual traditions can be seen for what they are: obsolete egoic constructs that are not able to deliver on their promises of liberation or salvation because they are based on energetic illusions that in fact create the separation they claim to overcome!
Once the projected illusions, false beliefs, and ideational and behavioral constructs of the ego are understood to be energetic in nature, then seeking an energetic solution becomes a natural and effective choice for addressing the problems created by ego. And rest assured, ego creates all kinds of problems! How could it be otherwise, when, in principle, ego functions to create artificial constructs of the self and protect these constructs from anything that challenges them? That is an energetic recipe for drama, conflict, violence, hate, fear, judgment, jealousy, rage, victimization, self-pitty, indulgence, and on and on. On the positive side of things, it also creates an energetic recipe for questioning, challenging boundaries, exploration, inquisitiveness, inventiveness, and all manner of ways of engaging the world to satisfy our ego's curiosity about the objects of its experience. However, as exceptionally able embodiments of the One, we are intelligent enough to pursue the benefits of our nature without the drawbacks. To do so, however, we've got to get beyond our egos and their reactionary and illusion-projecting nature.
The central key to such a liberation and unleashing of human potential is entheogens. The word, "entheogens," means, "generating the experience of God within," and is meant as a substitute for the more general term of "psychedelic." I prefer the term entheogen to psychedelic, personally, but perhaps, for my purposes, an even better term might be something along the lines of energen, to indicate the idea of "generating the experience of energy." This is what I have come to understand is the primary function of entheogens or psychedelics: they alter our ability to perceive and experience energy. At peak moments, especially of extraordinary medicines such as 5-MeO-DMT, they allow an individual to experience the immediate nature of infinity energetically. This is what might be called a "union with the Infinite," "being one with God," or "being pure consciousness/energy."
Rather than terms such as "enlightenment" or "awakening," the most powerful of entheogenic experiences can be more readily understood as being full energetic openings or expansions. Such experiences are what are traditionally labeled as being mystical in nature. Different mystical traditions have advocated different techniques for reaching such seemingly rarified states of consciousness, from years of meditation, to the traditional use of entheogens. Some traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, have developed sophisticated symbolic systems to describe and harness the energy of such experiences, and structured them into teachings of "subtle energy." These teachings are often combined with other aspects of the traditions' belief systems, and while practical, in some respects, are also made obsolete by a more grounded understanding based on the bio-energetics of the human body rather than ideational realities of a "subtle," yet, unseen body or realm.
Hinduism, for example, teaches that there is a kundalini serpent at the base of your spine that you can mentally coax along the axis of your subtle energy centers, which are specifically understood to be independent of your actual physiology. This is ultimately a mental energy trick - a way of playing with the mind to move energy. It can be effective. It is also unnecessary. Entheogens are far more effective in moving energy and hold open the reality of cutting out the "middle man" of mental tricks, symbols, and cultural systems. Entheogens go directly and immediately to the source: your actual energy that is present in your body.
Structurally, entheogens are actually crystalline compounds that function as neurotransmitters. Two very powerful entheogens, 5-meO-DMT and N,N DMT are endogenous compounds in the human nervous system. When we ingest entheogens, these crystalline compounds act at receptor sites in our nervous system and dramatically affect our ability to perceive and experience energy. Perhaps this effect is due to the simple reason that crystals work to focus and amplify energy as a physical property of their geometric structure.
Different entheogens alter our ability to perceive and experience energy in somewhat different ways, but underneath any unique presentation is the universal presence of fundamental energy. Salvia divinorum presents very differently from DMT, for example, but both alter one's ability to experience energy. Some medicines are more visual in nature, whereas others are more somatic or kinesthetic. Some medicines can produce high levels of vibrations in the body as the energy works through the biological/energetic system, and others produce slow waves of energy that might feel as though they are pushing one over and smearing one out (a common experience with salvia).
Egoic Reactions to Energetic Opening and Expansion
Egos tend to experience themselves as existing in a state of paradox. On the one hand, egos are often terrified to let go, surrender, and just "go with the flow," and on the other, egos relish and crave the release that comes with complete surrender. At base is the issue of trust. When an ego is trusting, it can let go. When it feels a lack of trust, it holds on to fear, and refuses. It is always ultimately an individual choice.
Virtually any entheogenic experience will require the ego to let go, at least to some extent. Egos that refuse to let go at all tend have what is described as a "bad trip," as the individual is just fighting the energy the entire time and refusing to trust. However, different medicines have different abilities to truly open one up, energetically. Letting go all the way on a small dose of mushrooms, for example, is hardly comparable to letting go all the way on a high dose of 5-MeO-DMT. One can achieve different experiential results with the use of different tools.
The most effective tool for an immediate energetic expansion into one's full energetic state is 5-MeO-DMT, with DMT coming up as a somewhat distant second. Even with the infinite power of 5-MeO-DMT, ego still has a choice, however. The infinite expansion is so overwhelming, especially when one is new to the medicine, that ego can either quickly give up and completely let go, or react in absolute horror and terror at coming so quickly "face to face with God."
Even when ego lets go, however, that is not the end of how ego can affect the experience. If the individual has energetic holdings, in the ways of beliefs, ideas, fears, judgments, etc., these will start to work themselves out energetically within the experience. Ego may have let go, but it is still comprised of energetic patterns. As the infinite energy of one's true being continues to expand, it eventually pushes up against these energetic egoic constructs. At this point, the individual may start to have a deeply introspective experience that can take on the form of visionary awareness. Eventually these patterns will gain the upper hand and even though still "tripping" very hard, most individuals will feel the grip of their ego reassert well before the entheogenic event is over and the medicine ceases to have an effect.
Ego can also play off itself not necessarily in the form of introspective awareness, but of extrospective awareness in the sense of seeing and experiencing seemingly very real "exterior" realities. These realities can either be confusing realms of bizarre otherness, or can take on a more archetypal, educational quality where the ego experiences things as being revealed to it by guides and entities. These are all projections of the self, however, and are a method for the self to communicate with itself through simultaneous multiple role playing (similar to dreams in that the dreamer only egoically identifies with one perspective within a dream but is in fact all the characters and the total environment). It is a trick of the mind in an interior space: an energetic virtual reality, as it were. These realities too will eventually disappear as the ego beings to reassert itself and reconstitute its "normal" energetic and behavioral patterns.
When analyzed carefully, all "visions" can be comprehended as messages from the self, even when seemingly completely "other." This is especially the case when appreciated from the perspective that there is, in reality, only one being, and it is communicating between its unitary perspective and the perspective of one of its individuated selves/ego. Often the game-like nature of the communication also becomes apparent, as well as the intrusions of ego and the ways it attempts to overlay the experience with its own sense of meaning.
In other words, visionary experiences are you giving yourself what your ego is able to process at that time.
In the absence of specific visionary imagery, the most common perceptions with entheogens are simply perceptions of energy. This energy usually is of a highly complex geometric and fractal nature. This should come as no surprise, since all of the energy of reality is geometric and fractal in nature. It is from this geometric matrix of energy that visions and visionary content arises. People with clear egos tend to primarily see the energy and do not have "visions" for they are immediately experienced as self-evident projections. Clear egos don't provide any energetic constructs for the energy to "bounce off of" and form pictures.
Of far more significance than any visionary content is the experience of energy in the body. Visions are an excellent means of communication from the self to the self, but they can also become an object of distraction and attachment. There are times when individuals can benefit from spending more time energetically "in their heads" in that visual space, but in order to ground into actual reality, individuals must, of necessity, get fully into the energy of their entire being, and that primarily means getting their awareness fully into their bodies. This is the difference between living in fantasyland and actual reality. The difference is crucial and real.
One of the great benefits to working with 5-MeO-DMT versus DMT is that, not only is it far more powerful of an energetic opener, but it is also less visual, though its visual nature can be pronounced. The primary nature of the 5-MeO-DMT experience, however, is the overwhelming feeling of fractal flows of energy throughout the body, and not only throughout the body, but throughout all of reality, as well. The feeling is centered in the body, however, and most especially the heart (the location of the largest electromagnetic field produced by the body). There is infinite balance and infinite perfection to this endless outpouring of this symmetrical energy. It is the pure energy of being. It is radiant. It is love. It is what is. It is the Self.
Most people can't maintain that perfect unified awareness of infinite energy for very long, however, and ego begins to collapse in on itself very quickly, even with 5-MeO-DMT. As this happens, energy flows shift and change in the body. The body is the ultimate vehicle for the expression of the full spectrum of your energy and holds the patterns of everything you ever think and do. Anywhere that your ego has created constrictions in your being, or holdings of fear or judgment or lack of trust, will be pushed and aggravated by the energy of one's infinite expansion. This can cause muscle trembles, vibrations, purging, coughing, crying, laughing: any manner of energetic release and letting go.
It is these energetic releases that we tend to call "healing" events within the use of entheogens. Often, entheogenic healing is performed in the context of shamanism where the language is that of spirits, possessions, purification, etc. Energetically, this language is unnecessary, confusing, and promotes lack of personal responsibility. Each individual is personally responsible for his or her energetic holdings, for they were the one who chose to create it in the first place, and only they can release it. There is no magic or mysticism involved. There are no spiritual energies involved. It is all personal energy in your body/being. The Entheological Paradigm promotes radical personal responsibility for all of ones energy. No one is a victim and there is no one to blame. Everyone is personally responsible for themselves and their energy.
Disassociating from ones energy is a pathway to trouble. The way that we relate to our energy inside our bodies and inside our minds is directly reflected in our exterior relationships with others, and indeed, the entire "exterior" world. Our subjective experience is mirrored by our objective experience and vice versa. Energetically, there is no real boundary. Disassociating from any aspect of ourselves, including supposed "others," is a recipe for energetic imbalance, disharmony, and withholding. It is only by taking responsibility for our energy on all levels that we can overcome our egoic energetic tendencies. And taking responsibility means owning our energy and not looking to others either for salvation or blame, in any way. Each individual is 100% responsible for him or herself.
A key component of getting to know one's energy is the issue of symmetry and symmetrical movement and expression. I first encountered this key feature of energetic balance in myself in my entheogenic sessions and subsequently observed it in others. I now incorporate this as a primary feature of all entheogenic sessions and insist on it for any client who would undertake a session with me.
My first encounter with symmetry came with my very first 5-MeO-DMT experience. The overall experience was so overwhelming that I didn't take much notice of symmetry that first time. However, upon subsequent sessions with this medicine, I quickly learned that symmetry was a central component of the experience and it was anything but inconsequential. In fact, it is probably the single most important element of energy work with entheogens and its significance cannot be overstated. The fact that there is not a single tradition, shamanic, mystical, religious, metaphysical, or otherwise that mentions the key importance of symmetry is a clear indication that there is something very unique about the Entheological Paradigm, and a gaping hole in our collective traditions that supposedly offer awakening and oneness.
The human body, just like all other biological forms, is structurally a fractal, with various subsets of fractal patterns within it. Early life forms exhibit radial, branch, and spiral symmetry in their structural features. Later, more complex life, exhibits bilateral symmetry as a universal structural feature. This evolutionary development and energetic blueprint allowed for the development of complex nervous systems and sensory organs (energy receivers) with brain, spinal column, and fractal branches of nerves (that in mammals are lined with DMT). The overall pattern of the human body, along with countless other species, is one of bilateral symmetry.
What I first discovered in my 5-MeO-DMT sessions, and then shortly thereafter with ayahuasca, was that as soon as my energy opened up and my ego let go and released, my body would instantly behave and move with coordinated bilateral symmetry. With the absence of my ego-generated constraints on my energy, my limbs would naturally mirror each other, and it felt as though my arms and legs were moving in tracks of energy. Not only that, but through the palms and fingers of my hands, I could feel fractal waves of energy connecting my heart, the center of my being, to everything else in existence, that poured out of me in explosive, bilaterally symmetrical forms. When I went into symmetry, there were no energetic barriers and I was in a state of complete unitary consciousness and energetic connection.
The best way my ego could make sense of these experiences, where my arms and legs would flow in fluid, graceful movements as my spine undulated and my voice modulated to very deep frequencies with numerous overtones and harmonics, was to accept that "God" appeared be taking over my entire being and moving my body and using my voice (which no longer sounded anything like "my" voice). It was a long process for me to understand what was happening here, and these events of spontaneous fluid symmetrical movement with alterations in my voice (and consciousness and perception) started intruding into everyday events and situations in ways that deeply unsettled my ego. For a time, my ego was convinced that I might be losing my mind.
What I came to learn with time, patience, and a great deal of entheogenic persistence, was that yes, this energy was indeed "God," but it was also me, though it wasn't the "me" that my ego had constructed as its sense of self. In essence, what I came to understand was that to be human meant to be the perfect bio-vehicle for God to experience reality in. Human beings are perfectly autonomous embodiments of God. All of life is One, as is all of reality. But humans are special, because we have the ability to actually know and experience the truth of this reality. It is the gift of the ego that allows for genuine awakening to our full energetic natures. As direct embodiments of the Unitary Energy Being, we have the capacity to fully know who and what we are as living energy.
Eventually, within myself, there ceased to be any distinction between a full energetic opening and "normal" experience. What had originally presented itself to my ego as an experience between "me" and "God" eventually just became the experience of myself, in all my energy, freed from the limiting confines of my ego and its energetic structures. In essence, I came to know and experience my true nature on a permanent basis.
It was through working with symmetry that this was possible for me, and it is the number one tool I use when conducting sessions with others because the difference is real and immediately noticeable. Non-egoic energy, or ones true, genuine, and infinite energy, is, in the human form, bilateral in symmetry, centered, and balanced. Egoic energy is asymmetrical, non-centered, and imbalanced.
What happens, physically, when someone undergoes a full energetic opening? The immediate physical/energetic response is to lie back and open the arms and legs into a "spread eagle" position. Physically, this is when the body is most open. It is also when a person is most energetically open, trusting, relaxed, centered, and balanced. Anyone who has a full energetic opening and is completely surrendered will automatically and immediately go into this position. Imagine an infinite orgasm that instantly explodes you into pure radiant light as you melt into the fabric of the universe and you can start to get an idea of what I'm talking about.
However, not everyone can maintain this level of radical openness and energetic intensity. If someone chooses to let their ego react, it will always do so asymmetrically. The individual will turn to the side, reach out with one hand while closing the other, open their eyes and look off to the side, or they may start to move from side to side or vibrate. Whenever ego decides to react negatively or with closed resistance to infinite energy, symmetry is always broken in one way or another.
Egos who are struggling to remain open and not resist can still maintain some symmetry, but they tend to exhibit grasping and tension in the body. Ego can hold on by attempting to regulate breathing or through griping the hands. The body remains symmetrical, but it is not relaxed, fluid, and supple. It is ridgid, firm, and tense. Breathing is labored, being either too shallow or too deep. Generally, these kinds of body movements and signs indicate any combination of lack of trust, fear, lack of personal permission to let go, or even attempting to over-think or intellectualize the experience.
Egos that manage to completely let go fall into spontaneous movements where the individual may or may not be able to recall what occurred during that portion of the entheogenic session. At this point, ego is entirely relaxed and the individual has completely embraced their genuine energy. When this occurs, arms and legs never cross the centerline of the body. Everything the right hand and arm does is mirrored by the left, and the same for the legs. Individuals will undulate along their spines, but never move from side-to-side. All movements are perfectly symmetrical and mirrored.
Even for egos that let go all the way, the energetic structures of ego will eventually reassert themselves. For those who had been doing spontaneous movement, there is generally an abrupt recognition where ego suddenly intrudes and says, "What in the world am I doing?" This moment is easy to spot as someone will suddenly stop moving, or the nature of the movement will change, or break into asymmetry. You can sense the embarrassment of the ego that suddenly catches itself doing something it wasn't aware of. Hands immediately drop to the chest, or come down to the side. The person clears their throat and asks for a glass of water, attempting to regain "normalcy" through asymmetrical action and interaction. When I'm conducting sessions, that's usually the point where I say, "You're ready for more medicine."
Consciously maintaining symmetry in one's entheogenic practice is a way of keeping oneself open, present, and centered. If someone finds it difficult to maintain symmetry, it can really help to have a coach to offer reminders, or even physically help an individual back into symmetry. For advanced guides, I recommend practicing what I call "energetic mirroring" where both the guide and client take medicine together, facing each other, while maintaining bilateral symmetry. The guide is there to be a mirror for the client to help them maintain symmetry and stay completely open and trusting throughout the experience. Obviously, this only works with guides who are practiced at staying symmetrical and working in this energetic manner. Currently, I am the only such provider that I personally know of who is able to work with people at this level of energetic unity and openness.
When seated, legs should be kept open. Think of how small children sit. They never cross their legs as most adults do (who are much more thoroughly entrenched in their egos and energy patterns). They sit with the soles of their feet touching in front of them, making a diamond shape with their legs. This is an ideal and symmetrical seating position. Sitting with crossed legs in lotus or meditation posture is not effective for maintaining symmetry or experiencing full energetic openings. If lying down, legs should be slightly open and never crossed. Arms should be kept open with palms up, either on one's lap, or by one's side. This is what I consider the "neutral" position. Whenever you find yourself breaking symmetry, return to this position (either seated, or laying down). If you find yourself moving in bilateral symmetry, go for it -- but don't think about it. Just feel your way through the movement and breathing. Any time your break symmetry, however, return to the neutral position and wait for the energy to move you.
While maintaining symmetry, it is most effective to set one's resolve to not act from one's ego. This means choosing not to move, speak, or do anything "normal" during the course of the medicine session. When the ego is "quiet" and not acting out, it is much easier for one to feel the flow of symmetrical energy that is the source of being. Once that genuine energy opens up and starts to flow, movement, vocalizing, and other activities are common. However, these are not the actions of ego. They are the actions of genuine energy. Experiencing the difference is the first step in learning how to recognize the difference between ego energy (self-constructed illusion) and genuine energy (reality) in all contexts, not just entheogenic sessions. This, however, is where it begins.
I have been told that yoga originally developed from spontaneous, fluid, symmetrical movement. It is also highly likely that yoga developed as a system of techniques to mimic the entheogenic experience (meaning that use of entheogens was historically precedent and yoga a later derivative). Whatever the roots, various yoga traditions, as they are practiced today within Hindu and Buddhist cultures, are a far cry from fluid, symmetrical movements. Most yoga and meditation postures, both within and without the trantric traditions, are either asymmetrical in nature, or feature crossed legs, arms, or hands and fingers. This is a clear indication that these traditions are not fully tapping into the nature of genuine energy but are still dealing with contrived, egoic projections of energy. Keep in mind, again, that a full energy opening naturally comes with bilateral symmetry in one's energy and body. The fact that these traditions don't teach bilateral symmetry indicates, by necessity, that they do not teach about full energetic openings. Given that a deep level of awareness and understanding of one's energetic nature as a bilaterally symmetrical being is necessary for a genuine experience of reality, any tradition that teaches "enlightenment" or "awakening" through asymmetrical postures is simply missing the mark and still embedded in ego and the energetic constructs of ego. This is a simple energetic reality.
Opening to the full potential of entheogenic experience means going beyond what religious and spiritual traditions are able to offer. Meditation and yoga are certainly effective means for altering consciousness, and can help produce better health, wellbeing, and personal happiness and clarity. However, they are limited and are often structurally asymmetrical. Moving into spontaneous symmetry means moving beyond all the confines and structures of all the products of the ego, including our most cherished spiritual traditions. Working with entheogens is a different modality than meditation and yoga, and therefore is in need of its own methodologies. While there is some overlap, the differences are significant. As practical energetic tools, entheogens make a level of clarity and liberation available that nothing else can provide. They are the method. Everything else is a substitute and imitation.
Using entheogens and having "mystical" experiences are fundamentally useless if one is not seeking to integrate their experience of energy into everyday, ordinary reality, and working to take responsibility for the self here and now. The truth of our being comes with both tremendous freedom and tremendous responsibility. Given that each individual is an embodiment of the One, right here and right now, how that individual chooses to be and act is completely a personal choice. All individuals can be true to themselves and their genuine energy, or not. It is always a personal choice. All choices come with consequences. That is reality. Each one of us is a fully autonomous version of the Unitary Energy Being. Everyone is God, and God is energy. That's pretty liberating.
This fundamental truth resolves all existential, spiritual, and metaphysical questions. Any system of belief or "knowledge" that claims that a human being is anything less than a full and complete embodiment of God is an ego-generated illusion, pure and simple. That means that virtually nothing of what any religion has to say bares any real weight or value for humans - they are fantasy systems. It also means that no one has a soul to save, a mind stream to evolve, or some other perfected world or state to get to. Reality, as we experience it, here now, on Planet Earth, is what God is doing. This is it. Any talk about "other realms" and "higher states of being" is pure nonsense and promotes ego-generated irresponsibility and illusion. This is it, so get real.
It also means that if you want to "wake up" or "be enlightened," all you have to do is relax your ego and let your energy open up, and then learn how to take full responsibility for yourself and your ego. The most effective means for doing so is using entheogens, but this is a practice that applies to every moment of every day. We are continually presented with opportunities to either act from a place of genuine energy, or act from a place of egoic attachment, projection, fear, and desire. Since so many people have no idea what that difference is, it can be hard to begin. It comes down to something simple, however: the truth. When you chose to act from a place of energetic truth (not "truth" in the sense of what you think you know), you act with genuine energy.
Unfortunately, egos use all kinds of methods to avoid acting from genuine energy. It is very rare that people give themselves permission to "be themselves," and even if they do want to give themselves that permission, they probably have no idea who they actually are or what "being themselves" means. Egos are firmly attached to their sense of identity and don't want to give it up. Egos hold onto culture, religion, tradition, politics, the teachings of their beloved icons, and all manner of ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, proper and improper, to structure how they choose to identify and express energy. In an attempt to "fit in" to a society, culture, family, etc., an ego takes on the patterns and projections of the other egos around it. Children quickly learn how to mimic and master the ego games their parents and community members model for them. They learn how to identify and believe. They learn how to curb their natural energies to "fit in" and "be a good person," generally according to local, and ultimately relative, standards. Ego then gets attached to all of these ideas, practices, and patterns, as that's how it makes sense of itself and its world.
Genuine energy that is not released authentically will always find other ways to try and escape and discharge, or will force ego to create more and more elaborate energetic structures to try and hold it in and sublimate it. For example, humans are sexual creatures. Sexuality and all that comes with it is a natural part of our energetic make-up and is something that needs to be expressed in order to have a healthy, balanced energy. Most religions place all kinds of bizarre restrictions and taboos on sex and sexual activity, often placing the strictest requirements on those who would get "close to God" or "be holy". This is highly distorting of natural human energy, however, and the consequences can be severe, such as with epidemics of celibate Catholic priests sexually abusing young boys. In the eastern tantric traditions (tantric traditions as currently practiced in the West have almost no actual relationship to traditional eastern tantric practices), sexual energy is recognized as a means of altering consciousness, but ever there, sex has been turned into a largely symbolic and mental process. While tantric practitioners may have avoided the abuse problems of Catholics, by making sex a mental, as opposed to genuine physical, process, tantrics are not fully engaging with their full spectrum of energy and are operating more in their minds than their bodies. In other words, these practices are tending to push them into rarified and sublimated "mystical," ideational realities, rather than living in actual reality, here and now, in their bodies, in their lives, and with their genuine sexual energy.
So we are all free to choose how we think, what we "believe," and how we act. All of these choices bring consequences. Choices that are made with clarity and centeredness in regards to one's energy are choices that bring the best possible results for the individual because they are in alignment with reality, rather than what we choose to think or believe about reality. Genuine energy is often in complete disagreement with egoic energy, however, so making choices authentically can be difficult. Operating from genuine energy means not being concerned about what others think of one's choices or actions. Choices are made and actions are undertaken because the individual understands that such choices and actions are authentic for them at that time, and living true to one's self means being true to one's awareness of energy. When this is lived fully and completely, there is no one to blame and no one can claim to be a victim. Reality has its natural limits and consequences: this is the nature of energy. But within the possibilities presented to us, we are always free to choose. We can conform to what others expect of us, or what our ego expects of us, or what we know is true for ourselves because we are fully aware of the presence of our genuine energy in our body and what it is asking of us.
Trust and Liberation
It all comes down to trust; trust of the self, trust of one's life and one's energy. Its as simple as trusting your heart beat, or trusting your breath, and trusting that when you act in congruence with your heart, you know you've made the right decision for yourself, no matter what the consequences. In the end, what we're talking about is liberation from fear. Liberation from fear of being oneself. Liberation from the fear of reality. Liberation from the fear of life and the fear of death. Liberation from the fear of succeeding or failing. Liberation from trying and relaxing into infinite nature of being, right here, right now.
Only you can trust that you can be yourself and take the responsibility and courage to live your true energy.
Image by Felipe Venancio, courtesy of Creative Commons license.