Teaching #1 - Seeing reality as it is and landing back in the world.
I will pause telling the real stories I lived in the jungle and start writing what I learned.
I'd like you to please read this as a share of what I learned, not as a lesson. I am just speaking, writing, and sharing. Please decide for yourself what you feel resonates or not. I am not trying to teach anyone here; claim what I am saying should be anybody else’s truth or give advice. This is just my truth at the moment I am writing this. Do not trust anyone other than yourself, including the speaker (me).
My years of work on myself gave me one most important gift from which a tremendous change inside started - seeing everything with new eyes.
It can be achieved in other ways, particularly with meditation, but this was the fastest and most efficient for me.
I naturally started to think about the most important lesson I learned. It might sound very obvious to you.
Separation is an illusion.
No past, present, or future; only the present existed.
Some call it “the brain’s default mode network going off.” I was not thinking about the past or the future at all. I was very present with either the emotions or feelings I was having, what I was seeing, eyes opened, or even more eyes closed with the new visions I had never experimented with so clearly.
No separation from “outwards” between me and others or me and nature.
The “I” disappeared. First, I could see “myself” from outside of my body. I was looking at that “I” as a part of the world. Then, in many visions, I could feel that any human being, animal, or plant I saw was no different than myself—a very simple yet impossible to describe in words. There was no “I’ anymore.
I found myself watching the beautiful work of ants for hours or simply the beauty of a tree as if it were part of me. I could hear water flowing inside. I was not separated from the world, and the world was not divided from me.
Reality is an illusion. I can only see everything from what my mind created in the past.
When I meet someone I have never met, no memories and images I created about that person exist. When I see or think about someone I know very well, I only see them with that mental image that I already have of them from the past. Everything we lived together, all the beautiful moments, but also all the arguments and judgments come in the way, and what I see is not what I see with my eyes but from the image I have in my mind.
I can also “see” everything only with the conditioning of my education and past experiences. My education, how I grew up, the books I have read, the talks I listened to, what my friends or strangers said about it - all of this is conditioning and is not mine.
With the tools I used in the jungle, my conditioning of a lifetime appeared distinct from how things were.
Hierarchies, systems, nations, and religions vanished.
I have an incredible (sometimes challenging) sense of freedom in the jungle.
A bird flying from the United States to Mexico won’t have to show a passport or stop at the border. Why are we obliged to? What are the fundamental differences between humans? Between a French, a Spaniard, or an Italian? Between a Jew and a Christian or a Muslim? Between a businessman, a factory worker in China, and a farmer?
I have always felt like a “citizen of the World,” so this artificial separation did not vanish for me in the jungle; I just noticed it felt momentarily gone. When I sat in many circles with new friends from around the world and all cultures, there were no more differences between us, particularly going through the challenges the plants were starting inside of us.
Landing and “integration”.
Like modern technology or Western medicine, which learned a lot from plants, the “medicines” I worked with under Indigenous supervision are powerful tools. I only worked in the Amazon forest's most traditional and ancient traditions and context. The Indigenous could not tell me what to do when I returned to the city, as most had never left their villages. This is what we call “integration,” to be fair, I have not had much and learned by myself. I had very challenging times I could have avoided should someone “from our world” and with experience have guided me. There are no mistakes; this is how I worked my path. I learned the lessons one by one, sometimes in a brutal way, as I walked back into the modern world.
Since I started to work on myself in the jungle, I have been looking for Western teachers or sources to learn by myself. I looked at what was available. Religions never appealed to me, but I like knowing what resonates. The practice of meditation in Tibetan Buddhism is fascinating to me, but any mythology tends to trigger me.
The human mind wants to find solutions outside of himself. Countless gurus of spirituality or modern gurus claiming quantum physics explain everything with very pricey retreats and classes. I know people who spent tens of thousands of dollars in those retreats and are not feeling better now. Many modern gurus use science and technology to manipulate people, while spiritual gurus have been using Gods and mysticism to do the same for thousands of years.
I was looking for a way to find clarity by myself and not depend on anyone and eventually on anything, including plants.
Among the many sources I have read, two sound to this day true to me.
I have read the short pamphlet of Sri Ramana Maharshi a few times and wrote about it in “Who am I?”. I highly recommend it.
I am limiting my social media intake to the minimum and now use it primarily for what I see as a precious gift of modern technology. Most knowledge in the World is widely available at any time, and there is an infinite abundance of current and spiritual teachers available through text, audio, and video recordings on Instagram or YouTube—the same abundance with psychology, philosophy, technology, and science authors.
All it takes is to filter and “lock” on the ones I resonate with. I focused only on those teaching me to find clarity inside myself and not in the teacher or the guru. In other words, I have been working on being my own master and not trusting what anyone tells me as they all speak from their conditioning and shadows. I have enough with mine.
All my life, and like all of you, I have accumulated experiences, books, classes, and teachings. I learned a lot, and for the first time, I am looking at all of it as conditioning (some excellent) and working on finding my truth.
The author that I found so far embodying this goal in all his talks and writings while he was alive is Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986), an Indian philosopher. For those of you triggered by the “Krishna” in his name, he has nothing to do with the “hare Krishna” cult that I know nothing about, “Krishnamurti” is just the name given to him by his parents. Krishna is a primary deity in Hinduism, but Krishnamurti encouraged whoever listened to him to avoid religion or cult, so he has only the name. If you are curious like me, do not get triggered by a word; it’s just like me being called Loic Le Meur by my parents. Mine has no deity name, and I thank my nonreligious parents for that. We do not choose our name.
I find everything Krishnamurti explains very difficult to argue with unless it is hard to apply in our complex world, but I will still study it. I am just aware of this difficulty. Krishnamurti also encourages people to rely on something other than any substance or plants to live their lives fully. He was friends with and an inspiration to Aldous Huxley, though, another philosopher well known for his writing and discussing the benefits of psychedelics.
Krishnamurti uses a different vocabulary to explain the same phenomenon I tried to describe earlier, that separation is an illusion. He says that there is no separation “outwards” (with the outside world and other human beings) and “inwards” between the observer and what we observe. In other words, we leave our conditioning aside between ourselves and the object or person we observe.
What I find particularly interesting is his analysis of conflict. For Krishnamurti, the “outwards” and “inwards” separation is the source of all conflict. If we look inside, the separation between us and our conditioning since birth explains all conflict and lack of harmony within ourselves.
I find this particularly powerful and have studied some of his talks and books. I will write more about this, but if you want to hear for yourself, I highly recommend this video on meditation; he even takes his distance from any meditation method, particularly those tainted by any religious or “cultish” conditioning. More soon.