Yesterday at the Emergency Room, after the doctor examined my ears and consulted his peers, he returned and asked me, “This might sound strange, but do you believe in God/spirituality and have you had any experiences recently?” I told him the truth, that I had seen and heard angels and deities like Lakshmi and Shiva this week, and that it seems likely they are not merely mythical but also real interdimensional beings existing outside our everyday perception within consciousness that science doesn’t know how to access because you need conscious instruments to “measure” consciousness.
You would of course expect a person like me who studies Indian religion to have these kinds of experiences, especially when working with plant medicines. My inner skeptic concurs, but nonetheless, I find it quite difficult to explain the accompanying life circumstances, the so-called synchronicities wherein the visions correspond with things that happen in the material world of the physical senses, with a strictly secular, materialist “these are just hallucinations” paradigm.
How exactly myth and ontological (actual) reality come together in spiritual and religious experience and how they don’t is a deep problem and fascination that has been debated for millennia within the Indian psychospiritual ecosystem–something I look forward to studying and writing about!
The doctor asked me what I did, and I told him I study Indian Religion at Oxford. “Seriously!?” he replied, amazed. I could tell that he was from India from his accent and appearance. He asked me about what I had learned from my studies and about what I had seen and heard, and I shared a few anecdotes. He could see nothing wrong with my ears and he told me he asked me that question out of curiosity, but he could only give me a medical opinion.
They did a CT scan just to be sure nothing more serious was up, and I was released from the hospital. I had just spent a week at Boom–a psytrance festival in Portugal with 80,000 people from around the world–and I was exposed to loud music in abundance (but I had earplugs in) and I was mildly ill from all the partying.
I experienced a kind of double hearing layered over loud sounds at times and I could hear harmonic frequencies in people’s voices, and things sounded out of tune. When I got home from the festival, I was concerned about my hearing and the sickness, so I went to the ER. After examining me and not finding anything obviously wrong and after hearing my description of my symptoms, the doctor asked me the question about spirituality and then asked if I’d worked with plant medicines, which I told him anxiously (although they’re decriminalized in Portugal). He used the word hallucinations next to refer to my experiences and told me that his question was not medical advice, but curiosity.
As of today, with rest, my hearing symptoms have mostly gone away, but I’m still “hearing things.” To put this in context, a week ago, I prayed a prayer that I would awaken spirituality through music and sound, as I was listening to choral music in my tent, and as I also had discovered psytrance was my guilty pleasure.
They call divine hearing clairvoyance, or psychic ability. Several years ago, an astrologer had told me this would happen to me at around this time, but I did not believe in astrology at the time I had the reading. Yet undeniably this week, as this thing was happening with my hearing, I was seeing and hearing things that were also happening in the external world. Reflecting on this experience, I could not help but notice how I may have had real physical things happen to my ear (perhaps mild hearing damage, sickness, earplug damage), but also real, interconnected spiritual experiences. It seems that the two realities often coincide, and spiritual and secular people frequently reduce the reality of the experience to one side of the coin or the other, explaining one side by the other and flatly denying the other. Is this not what nonduality–the unity of all existence–implies, that both coexist? But although both realms are always present, one may have more explanatory power, depending on the scenario.
That aside, let me zoom out for a moment and take you into my bigger life picture. A lot has shifted for me in the past few weeks. But this past year of moving to Oxford was one of the most challenging and painful years of my life. Before I embarked on this journey, a wise mentor presciently told me, “You will experience the most suffering and greatest joy and you must learn to embrace life with its suffering.” Until recently, fully accepting life in this universe with its suffering and evil–the darkest kinds–personally and collectively, had not been possible for me. I now believe attained I have this acceptance, along with a belief that even the worst of sufferings someway, somehow contribute to our liberation.
The move to Oxford was hard for me and I encountered a series of personal devastations and long-held internal struggles rose to the surface. This, combined with the intensity of the workload and lack of groundedness in a new country, brought me to a place of despair. I was deeply weary (not actively suicidal), and at one point I even let the universe know I felt ready for the next life if the time seemed right. Such was the intensity of pain. God/source/the universe answered my cry with an emphatic NO!!! (MAJOR DISCLAIMER–Of course, I would have continued to do my therapy and self-care practices if this had not happened, and it has not always happened this way in the past. If you’re feeling suicidal, don’t leave things up to fate, but please choose life and seek help from a professional.)
I also struggled with doubting my decision throughout most of the year, and it took me much longer than it usually does to find my people here. At certain points, I had lost my connection to my passion for the subject I was studying altogether, and I was operating on sheer commitment. I felt like a hypocrite. This is not how I should feel if this is “the right thing.” I should feel a sense of flow and ease. I remember picking up these beliefs from various places, especially from Charismatic Christianity and spiritual teachings. And they’re not wrong, they’re just incomplete. The other side of the picture of abundance and flow lack and fortitude. If we only possess partial truths, we will have trouble navigating life’s twists and turns.
In the past weeks, however, things have been turning around for me in every major area. The past few weeks and particularly the last at Boom festival in Portugal have been among the best and most life-changing weeks of my life. A week of working with plant medicines, amazing new friends for life in Oxford, developments in love life, and other countries, and divine timing all led to this. I have seen many prayers from years past and on the same day be answered. Again and again, I have received outpourings of love from people, life, and interdimensional beings.
I was also told by another astrologer, who gave me an unsolicited reading, that I would be shifting into a season of abundance, broadly speaking, around this time. It appears to be unfolding, although I am cautious not to take action ahead of what I actually experience. I have indeed already experienced abundant loss in life, yet nothing is lost. My intention for this shift, as it naturally unfolds, is to be a living expression of abundance in the highest service to love and humanity, to the greatest extent possible now, and to receive the same level of abundance without craving or efforting.
Ready or not, my writing is about to shift drastically. If anyone had any suspicions that I wasn’t out already, I’m coming fully out of the secularly-appropriate-spirituality closet (according to current definitions of secularism that reject consciousness as fundamental) – I’m going full-blown, so-called New Age, Hindu, and nondual any portion of any religion or spiritual or atheistic group that aligns with Truth in my best discernment.
My friends–this universe is weirder and wilder than anyone could have predicted, and infinitely so. I was the biggest skeptic, and part of me continues to be so, but I must go where the evidence leads me.
I’ll not hold back to protect or construct any kind of image that parts of me have believed I needed for protection. The angels have my back. And in so doing, I remain unwaveringly committed to science, and to allowing science to change any deeply held, cherished beliefs.
At some point in the future, I aspire to be a nondual theologian and full-time writer and speaker traveling the world. Through plant medicines and life experiences this past week, it was revealed to me that this is not only possible but realistic. I prayed for the Vedic Goddess of speech Vac and Saraswati to possess me. (Tantra does contain possession/mediumship rituals and for good.) This comes not from ego, but from a place of pure flow and joy–expressing myself through words is the highest form of bliss and art in service to others I’ve experienced in life. But I don’t believe myself to be ready for this level yet because I still suffer from performance anxiety, which is egoic, and I still have a long way to go in my spiritual journey.
There is still anxiety embedded in my nervous system that, if I am to believe what I’ve seen with ayahuasca, has to do with being tortured in past lifetimes for my opposition to religious oppression, among other things in this life. I’m embarking on new healing ventures this summer, and I will continue to say yes to my healing for as long as it takes. I will eschew all-or-nothing quick-fix thinking about my healing path and be open to rapid, miraculous change. Come what may, I trust the path and timing more than ever, though I am also very ready to be relieved of this burden.
I intend to do work on healing my Pentecostal Christian lineage, which will include a visit to Azusa Street where the Pentecostal revival took place and people believe they received the gift of speaking in tongues–purportedly foreign languages–to go evangelize the whole world. That’s what I lived out for some time as a minister and missionary to India. How will speaking in tongues be integrated in a new way in my work and writing, and other siddhis, or so-called supernatural powers, and pseudo manifestations of the same? When the time is right, I’ll be taking a tour of Azuza St. with the right person, possibly with a little toad medicine in tow.
This week, I also remembered myself preaching sermons as a Christian minister years ago. God/source showed me the shift, how to use the Bible but bring a nondual perspective to it that aligns with Truth, not fundamentalist, dogmatic enslavement of consciousness. Specifically, I remembered a sermon I had preached as a youth minister about how to hear the voice of God. I learned that it is not so much about learning how to hear God, but how to pay attention to divine words/messages in our lives with intuition when they are revealed to us as such, messages that can come from any source, and what inner knowing looks like, and integrating this with critical thinking and science. I am still working out how to balance this with the kind of grandiosity and altered reality testing that can result from psychedelic and spiritual experiences, and how “living by faith” harmed me as a fundamentalist Christian. At the same time, these alterations in perception enable us to lift the hood of what we believe is possible and see and dream bigger things for ourselves. Preliminarily, integration work is critical.
I may be studying in Oxford for the next two years. During this time, I intend to increase my service to the psychedelic movement here and learn how to optimize my sleep. At some point, I may potentially study for my Ph.D. in Germany. We’ll see what happens – I probably don’t need to know. Yet I may have also seen specific things about my future death (at an old age, I believe) and past lives. All of it will work out as I hold it all lightly, with discernment and openness, and focus on living here in the present moment, which includes thinking about the future and past when that’s relevant.
I am choosing to trust boldly in my intuition and what comes to me through the medicines, with discernment and mentorship, and a mind open to things working out differently. This is something like “faith”, but it is more a matter of seeing and acting on that sight balanced with discernment, especially when it comes to spending money and making life-altering decisions, rather than believing blindly in someone else’s ideas.
I beg you, please always decide for yourself what you believe to be true, and please never take me as claiming to have absolute knowledge, though I speak with confidence.
So here are a few things I’m going to be writing about that I believe to be true based on my experiences and studies:
-Angels! They are real and can incarnate as people. I’ve encountered them with and without plant medicines, so have many, and so can you.
-Gods. The so-called gods of many religions and tribal groups are real, hyper-sentient, multidimensional beings who can inhibit multiple ego states at once (so can we, actually). They are not mere archetypes, although they embody archetypal functions, and they are not all mythical, though myths have surely been developed about them that are not factual. They can be dialogued with and seen directly.
-The integration of sexuality and spirituality is going to be a big part of my work and studies within Indian religion and Tantra.
I’m also going to be studying politics more because we are entering a time of ecological crisis and global tragedy, and I believe more light-workers will be coming online and serving humanity in this arena than ever before. From an eternal point of view, it is an exciting and karmically fruitful time to be alive. Yet there will also be religious fundamentalists and with their fascistic governments, so avoiding the trap of spiritual-political fundamentalism is crucial. Let us not be overtaken by climate paralysis, we are the light and it’s our time to come online! Death is merely a transition between lifetimes, not a thing to be feared… but many of us will live and thrive and all will work out as needed. But I think this work will come into my writing more in the future.
What is next for me is some intensive healing immersion, fun, community, and additional studies this summer. It appears my plans to visit India will be delayed, and Burning Man appears to be in the cards, resources permitting. Thank you for following and supporting my journey. If you read this whole thing, I’m really impressed!
-With love and gratitude, Andrew
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