There are many ways to access the same feelings, the same sensations and types of visions. Drugs, meditation, breathwork, sex.
I have a distaste for relying on external sources to get to that place. If a trip is your first entry into that kind of experience, fine.
But there is an Alan Watts quote that I really love: “When you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen.”
If you’re continually going back to an external source, whether it’s a person, a place, or a drug, to connect deeply with the fluidity of life, you’re missing the point.
If you think you can’t get there on your own, you’re also missing the point.
Your body is already a part of this planet. Your body already contains everything within it in order for you to have an experience where you are wildly, magically connected with all of life.
Many psychedelics are being studied for their ability to heal commonly experienced human conditions; depression, for example, is one of these. This is nice, I’m happy people are getting these experiences in some way.
And I also have to wonder about the root of the problem. The root is not a lack of access to certain plants or chemicals.
The root is a society that is functioning in a way that is not sustainable.
The root is a society where plants are items to be cleared away or trimmed rather than fellow entities.
The root is a society where emotions are shut away.
The root is a society where people have to be productive in order to survive, so that they must spend their attention working for someone else’s dream just so they can live, let alone consider the fact that they are a part of an entire world of beings.
The root is a society that is killing what gives it life.
There is an entire world around you that is already happening.
This world is a world of sensation.
Sensation allows us to experience what is happening in the present moment. We can smell a flower, we can imagine rain hitting our bodies, we can breathe in the air, notice the temperature of the room. We can feel the sensation of our hair on our shoulders, of our fingers stroking our arm.
Sensation is where we find pleasure. Pleasure allows our bodies to relax into a sense of safety. Safety is where healing occurs.
Sensation is also the way we understand the world. And most of us aren’t feeling even close to the amount of sensation that is possible for our bodies.
Do this for me: feel into your pussy, your cock.
What do you notice? Is there a temperature, a tingling, a numbness, a feeling?
It’s worth considering, tuning into different pieces of your body and noticing how they’re feeling.
Trauma gets healed when we can feel past experiences we’ve stored in our bodies. When we can physically move them through us and release them.
If you’re not continually working with your past experiences in a body-centered, feeling-and-allowing-all-emotions way, no amount of ayahuasca trips are going to bring you the transformation you’re looking for (and certainly, neither will psychiatric drugs).
When you’ve committed to exploring your body and shown your body that it can trust you – that you won’t bulldoze your nervous system in honor of “growth” and “healing” – your body will open and allow you to access states that only get infinitely deeper.
Through just your breath, just silence, or just sex – you can bring yourself into states of ecstatic joy, bliss, orgasm, and even have visions and intense healing experiences.
Here’s an example from my sex life:
The other day, Jordan and I were having sex. I can’t remember the details of the sex itself; it doesn’t matter. He may not even have penetrated me, he was just helping me orgasm. I had a few orgasms, where I cycled my breath through my body and I breathed more and more deeply into myself.
As I neared the next orgasm, I felt a weird resistance in my body. This felt like a subtle, uncomfortable sensation of resistance; almost nausea or thirst, but not really either. I know my body well, and it wasn’t a “stop” feeling, but rather a feeling of “uncomfortable emotions are beginning to arise.”
On days where I don’t think my nervous system can handle it, I stop there. On this day, I erred on the side of curiosity, and I relaxed and resourced into my own sense of being able to hold myself, into a sense of safety.
I came, and as I came, I began to cry. Visions began to flood through my mind, moments pulled from different periods of my life, moments when I’d learned my body was not my own. I let them be there, let them move through, and I continued breathing into the physical sensations I was feeling in my body.
I sobbed, and as I sobbed I felt the urge to scream. I felt an old part of my mind want to chime in for a moment, saying it’d be weird to scream and tell Jordan I needed to scream, and it was too much and blah blah blah, but that piece is dry and cracked and only gets a flicker of a moment anymore.
“I need to scream,” I said, still staying with the sensations of my body. I was in the room and also not in the room, I was in my body and also witnessing from the outside.
Jordan handed me a pillow and I screamed out the sensations I was feeling in my body. I felt it move through me, this anger that my body had not been mine, that my pleasure had not mattered or ever been taught to me. The anger and despair that most people don’t have this available to them, and don’t know it can exist.
As I felt into my body, I got words, images, moments of my life. A boy smacking my butt in high school. Times I hadn’t said no. They floated through, I let them come as I screamed, and I kept noticing my body.
Periodically, I connected to the pleasurable feeling of my hair touching my head, the feeling that I was in the present moment, I was safe, and that I could choose to feel these things and process them safely.
I eventually began to see a dark space in my womb. I could feel it in my body, and I knew it was dark, heavy, down on the left side.
I began to feel nauseous. As I breathed, I felt it more and more, and I understood the message that whatever this piece was needed to come out.
I tuned back into my cortical, “thinking” brain for a moment. I told Jordan I needed a garbage can, he brought it. He began to reach for my hair, I told him not to touch me and he listened without speaking, and he stood and held space behind me.
I sat on the bed on my knees, pillow in one hand and garbage can propped up with the other. I breathed into the space in my womb and I screamed out the sensation there, over and over again. I threw up into the garbage can, I sobbed. I felt the pleasure of my hair touching my back, I felt that I was safe. I felt into my womb, I breathed into it, and I growled and sobbed and threw up again.
Eventually I began to hear a song, like I was in a trance. I slowed my breathing, I got the sense that the piece in my womb wasn’t entirely gone, but it was gone enough for that day, and that my body had reached its desired amount of healing. I rocked back and forth slowly, making tiny sounds in the song.
I calmed my breath, I let tears fall down my cheeks, neck, and breasts, and I held my body until the swaying turned to stillness. And then I asked Jordan if he could give me space while I wrote in my journal for a while.
This isn’t what it “looks like,” there is no way that it always looks. Sometimes I feel a lot of emotion without nausea. Sometimes I have visions without as much physical sensation. Sometimes it’s bursts of pleasure and joy and hysterical laughter that turns into tears. Sometimes it’s just pure ecstasy.
(And sometimes, of course, we have sex that’s… normal and uneventful!)
But these states, all these states, are accessible to us through our bodies. Our bodies naturally do them, when we clear the societally-conditioned appropriateness away, and we remember how they naturally experience the world.
Our bodies will begin to process emotion even a fraction of this deeply and transformatively when we allow them the space and permission to do so.
It doesn’t have to come from an external source.
And it certainly doesn’t have to happen with another person – I’ve had massive experiences during my own self-pleasure or breathwork practices – but it is true that we can always go deeper when we have someone holding the energetic container for us.
Your body has this within it already. If you’re searching for healing, your body knows how to do it already.
It’s in the willingness to practice, to have patience, and to slowly allow your body to open.
Trauma happens from feeling too much, too fast, too soon and not having the resources to cope with it. We don’t want to heal in the same way we are traumatized.
As Jung said, “Be careful of unearned wisdom.”
You don’t need a shortcut.
Your body has endless capacity for sensation, experience, pleasure, and healing.
And it’s already inside you.