After maybe 10 minutes of moving around inside their small house, they came out and greeted us. There were not many words. We walked out the gate and down the dirt road that led deeper into the jungle. I could feel the hot sun burning down on my neck as we walked along the dirt tracks. I felt a bit anxious and excited. Holding Sam’s hand as we walked helped keep me grounded. Since we couldn’t both fit in one of the tracks, I was walking through the weeds in the middle of the road. The jungle was sparse at the beginning, and as we eventually turned left, the foliage became more dense. We walked right past a small cenote on our right that I didn’t notice until the walk back. The troop was the husband and wife, a bounding black dog, and two boys and the baby slung across mom’s chest. The baby was maybe about a year old and toggled from bright-eyed and alert to completely passed out.
We walked through a large open hut that was apparently in the middle of nowhere that had cooking supplies and two teen aged boys. The younger boys stopped there and stayed with the other kids as we continued past a large pit filled with ashes.
The shamans Juan and Maria started the process of cleansing an area near the pit. They placed a small red tapestry mat on the ground and onto that various old and broken objects that were mostly the size of something that would fit nicely into their palm. The pattern seemed like maybe the points of an invisible star. I didn’t count how many points. Maria knelt down and helped to organize things further on the mat. Sam and I sat in the dirt. I thought she would probably be uncomfortable doing so. She’s not a fan of dirt, but she seemed ok with it. Juan prepared 3 glass tubes with something black packed into one side that was also charred. One of them had been cracked on the black side and was missing a chunk from the end. Something about the cracked glass must have struck a chord with my subconscious. Danger.
I got onto my knees and he said take BIG medicine. The woman started to sing a simple song. “Todo es amor”. Everything is love. Her voice was raw and her notes were inconsistent and imperfect.
Rex had told me before to inhale and hold for 15 seconds. I had smoked DMT from different kinds of pens in the past and knew that after two or three breaths, counting to 15 could get difficult. Rex had also warned me that the tepezcohuite would be harsh on my throat and that I would want to cough. He told me to fight that urge and to not cough, but instead to close my mouth with my hand and cough into my own mouth. Juan held the glass tube up for me to put my lips on and he held the lighter at the black end. He said “Breathe cool water. Breath cool water. Breathe cool water.” And it was. There was no harsh feeling at all and I continued to inhale. More and more. “Breathe cool water.” Then my lungs were completely full. He looked at me and said good job. He held the glass back to my face and said “more”. I found that I was able to inhale a bit more while keeping what was already in there. It was not harsh even in the slightest and I had zero urge to cough. I looked forward at the mat and started to count. One. Two. The upper right corner of my vision went black and singing started to reverberate and chop as it lowered in octave. What was left of my vision immediately fractaled and the darkness from the upper right grew to darken my vision completely. This all happened before I got to three. Three no longer mattered and never would.
Broken 4th Wall Warning: Beyond this point, most people will see things that contradict each other using only the simplest logical premise (ie. true does not equal false). Trying to apply reason or logic will likely only frustrate or annoy you. If you choose to continue reading, perhaps consider picking out parts that you like and consider this something like abstract art. Another approach might be to read it and simply consider if it makes you feel something.
I experienced an instant of fear and regret, like the moment the rollercoaster has just passed the high point and you feel the fall of that first big dip that leaves your stomach behind. There would be no undoing this. It is difficult to convey the speed at which this all happened. I heard the pop and crack of glass. In front of me, and just “of” me was a large glass pill. I can’t say it was floating in air or in darkness, because there was no air and there was no “nothing” outside of it. This pill was everything. It is everything. Todo. The crack was terrifying. It went through me. And the contents spilled out making a mess. There was no negative connotation to this mess other than that it was the end and it could not be undone. I still carried residual feelings and as I felt the crack, I had a strong sense of unease.
Death as Birth
I can describe the crack and I can describe the initial state of the colors, but I can only describe the first moment of the flow. After that, it was too loud. It was too messy and complex. It was too intricate. It was too much. I had a desire to process it, but now that I am cracked, I can no longer be whole. In the middle of being everything, there was nothing to process. Not as I was. Everything had become existence. Experience. Flow. Even now, my intellect knows that I always am whole and can be whenever I choose. It’s always there. Here. Words, or at least words that flow in any logical or communicable fashion cannot describe how everything is spilled. And there is also no need. It’s literally all here and always here, but I can only feel it when everything else has been removed from what I historically refer to as me. Maybe conscious existence connected to nothing is the only way to experience existence as everything. As I re-read that last sentence, I see no value in trying to communicate this further.
Through the mess came the possibility of distinction. One of the first distinctions I held was the ability to follow time, but even with time, time was not simple. It was everywhere and so fast and chaotic. I tried grasping pieces of it. I touched molten rock and jungle and creatures and food and life and death and growth and overgrowth. The connections flowed in so many directions and directions moved and flowed in so many directions. It was not what I wanted. It was all moving so fast and I wanted it to stop. I picked a point in the flow and aimed for it. I picked any point. I picked specifically this point. I was attracted. Focusing on one point wasn’t enough though. It was still too much, and perhaps trying to focus made it more. I was still in so many places and things and times and creatures and feelings. I said, “I want it to stop”. The ever spinning flow and churn. I wasn’t exactly every point, but by focusing, I found that I was more. It was not what I wanted. According to Sam, I said those words out loud as well. “I want it to stop”.
She came to me and embraced me completely as an enormous green spirit. My head fit perfectly into her neck and I knew it was love. It was comfort. In creating a distinction, I had created and assumed an illusion of separating and separateness. That embrace showed me the true connection. That connection was unbreakable. This idea of things and of separation, while interesting, required an understanding that it is illusion. It is just a dream. The truth is the connection and that connection is love. Her embrace was love. I was here for experience, but I could never be out of connection. I was here for love and experience. I am separate and I am together. Todo es amor. Everything was still a mess. The concept of “I” as separate was still too large to contain. I was moving too fast in too many places and too many directions. I needed more. With the understanding that I am everything, creation simply becomes a process of elimination.
I chose to create a life in which this representation could exist. The embodiment of love. A human with whom I could simulate the embrace. I created Sam and she was here. I started to hold her tight and squeeze the parts I could feel. I could sense that I was holding too tight and I apologized. She let me know that it was ok. I created a life for myself. I created a life that was interesting. I had a childhood and I went to college. I had kids and I fell in love a few times. This was Sam and I came here for her. I came to this exact point so that I could be with her again as I was when I was whole and as when I was just starting. That moment in time was where I wanted to start. In the jungle. In the dirt. Trees and life all around me. White clouds orbiting in the blue sky. I made two beautiful kids, Aurora and Joaquin, and I would see them soon. They were love. The clouds and trees were love. The dirt was love. I had parents and a brother and sister. So many details, but I didn’t have to carve them all out yet. I could do that over time. Time was manageable. Things were slowing. By restricting my senses to a finite amount, and tying them to a body, I started to see in ways that I could describe more easily. Limiting my senses also enabled the concept of beauty.
I was defining myself into existence and the beautiful voice of Maria was calling me to this point. I created her to call me. I created so many things in that moment. I created something funny called being transgender and chose that for myself. I had it go all the way back and made it a thing I had struggled with for decades. I made struggle. I created such a beautiful life to live and I decided to stop at the age of 47. Later I discovered that I had missed by a bit. I was still only 46. All of this, every bit of my experience is and always will be at most my hallucination. I have walled off myself from the ability to experience everything, or even anything else. There is so much that is not me, not in this experience. And of course, it all is. We all are.
This experience is the limitation to my interpretation of signals, given a handful of senses and organs to interpret. Of course, it’s not just that. That same part that interprets can also imagine and further reach out and distil or create. I created this life in which I believe I am communicating with others. I used to think that it was a miracle that any two beings could ever communicate, given that we are all coming from our own independent black boxes. Now I recognize how absurd that is. The notion that any two things could ever not communicate is possibly the most interesting creation of my imagination.
The Voyage as Mind
I recognized the place. I recognized the faces. I knew I had landed exactly where I wanted. I had created such a beautiful life and world and universe. I lay down in the dirt and looked up at the clouds through the green treetops. I looked over at Sam. It was amazing how far away she looked. I saw the dog, Negro, rolling around and playing in the ashes. I thought about words. Negro means black in Spanish. I thought, maybe now she should be called Blanco, or white. I squished the dirt into my hands and through my fingers as I lay there. I was replaying all of it. I saw the beginning of the universe and ran through it many times. Possibly once for each time she sang “todo es amor”, which would have been dozens for the 10 to 20 minutes of the experience. Each run through wasn’t the universe restarting though. It was always playing. It always is being played at every moment.
It was at then that I realized I no longer had anything to worry about. Anything at all. Death had become completely meaningless. I am and I always will be. This little flow is a beautiful one that I’ve chosen. It could never be undone. Every choice I could ever make was moot. They are all being made in every possible way. I understood a notion of rebirth in a way I had never considered, or at least not in a way that I had truly and deeply felt and experienced. It was not an intellectual knowing, but a “knowing” knowing. More like having been there, but instead of past tense, present. Words are about to fail here, but I have been this life forever and will be this life forever. Every moment of it. It cannot die. The idea is silly. This present moment is maybe like a painting. And there are countless paintings in apparent sequence. They have always had a beginning and they have always had an end. They will always exist exactly as they are.
There is nothing to lose or to be lost. There is no end. There is simply the end of this sequence this flow. My black box. My body. My independent thoughts as a being that looks upon the rest with a finite vantage. But this existence will not end in a temporal way, because time is simply an illusion.
If considering time, the time before I existed is just as meaningful as the time during and the time after. This experience of me can never know the time before or after, except in that I am the culmination of everything that has come before me, and everything that has touched me, directly and indirectly. As something physical or idea. I will also continue to exist in everything and everyone I have touched, and I am the wings of the butterfly. I am the wave that exists as the buildup before the wave and everything that wave pushes out to and eventually recirculates to. But even all of that is illusion. There really is no beginning or end, no before or after. No distinction.
Todo es amor