Transcendence: The Gift of Human Life
Transcendence is the act of rising above something to a superior state. When most people hear the word “transcendence” they usually think of experiences that involve going beyond the physical body. Experiences of transcending the dimension of time and space through meditation, dream states, and psychedelics, such as astral travel, lucid dreaming, time travel, and the list goes on.
I went through a stage in my life where I loved seeking any kind of experience that took me places that I couldn’t normally access within my normal waking consciousness. Transcending the mind and body to access the realm of spirit with practices, such as transcendental meditation, becoming conscious in dream states, and with the use of the sacred psychedelic plant medicine. These practices allowed me to shift my awareness beyond my physical body, mind, and senses so that I could see the different dimensions of reality.
Just as animals view the world differently, such as birds being able to sense more subtle changes in the earth’s electromagnetic field, allowing them to predict and flee from environmental disaster, when our consciousness shifts in form and connects with spirit, we are able to see reality from a different angle.
I had experiences going forwards and backward in time and astral traveled to different countries and planets. I once went to Saturn’s moon, Titan. From all of these experiences expanding my consciousness outside of my normal waking consciousness, I have come to understand that reality is in fact multidimensional and infinite. I have witnessed first hand that everything is created out of thought, thereby making everything possible. As John Lennon once said, “I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind”. Quantum physics also backs this, acknowledging that everything that can happen does happen.
For a good couple of years, I became quite fixated on having experiences where I could transcend the senses and the physical body. I practiced lucid dreaming regularly taking guayusa tea and I loved using psychedelics. Any opportunity to experience something out of the ordinary and I was there. Well, that was until I started experiencing what it felt like to capture these same experiences within the physical body in my normal waking consciousness.
The first time I truly understood how amazing it is to experience the gift of human perception was the first time I ever tried the psychedelic plant medicine, Mother Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca called the ‘mother’ because of her feminine presence of divine love, is the ‘the vine of the soul’. She is an ancient Amazonian plant medicine that has been used traditionally by Shamans, or medicine men, in a ceremony to induce altered states of consciousness to help communicate with other realms and for healing purposes.
Psychedelics, such as Ayahuasca, expand the consciousness beyond the physical body and mind, where you are able to experience what it feels like to come into contact with spirit. When I am talking about spirit, I am talking about the inner essence of the soul which is in absolutely everything. And to come in contact with spirit is to come in contact with the ever-changing and morphing energy which sustains all of life. I could attempt to explain more about how this feels, but it’s not something I can really put into words as it is a feeling that can only be known through direct experience.
Just as you can’t really describe the colour purple or the smell of a rose, you can’t describe the experience of coming into direct contact with the energy of spirit.
The psychedelic experience is entirely unique from one time another and from one person to the next, but most commonly involves people having highly visual experiences and spiritual revelations about the self and/or reality. I myself have had a myriad of experiences taking the medicine, from purging old emotional wounds to feeling the bliss and joy of being touched with the divine. I have time traveled, moved through parallel dimensions and have experienced my consciousness morph with those from other realms, from the spirit world to the animal realm.
I remember one particular experience where my consciousness merged with an ants and I felt tiny, helpless and terrified. I can honestly say that ever since that experience I have developed great compassion for all animals and have never squashed a bug since. Well, intentionally anyway.
Why Explore Other States of Consciousness?
In both psychedelic and deeply meditative states of consciousness, where you are able to connect with your own spirit, you gain access to parts of yourself that you normally wouldn’t be able to in waking consciousness. You can go deep within yourself to places and spaces you aren’t usually aware of, to find deep stressors and memories that are stored within you that are the cause for emotional, physical and mental suffering. When you go deeper into the fabric of your existence to the level of your energetic body, or spirit, you are not only able to witness these old wounds, but you are able to move past them so that when you come back into physical presence, your body and mind feel are less weighed down by these old emotions and memories.
It helps you to free yourself from emotional and mental behaviours and patterns which limit your ability to experience your spirit, or inner joy with freedom of expression.
The first time that I took Ayahuasca, she connected me with my own inner essence, or spirit and I became pure spirit form, morphing into all kinds of different colors, shapes, and geometry. At first, the experience was incredible- a bit like transcendental meditation, but on steroids. And as much as I enjoyed the experience, after about an hour I really started craving being able to feel with my physical body again.
I distinctly remember the moment I sank back into my body- it was one of the most blissful experiences I have ever had in my life. I couldn’t help but continuously touch my own body. It felt like I was reborn again, experiencing being in a body for the first time. I remember crying with such joy and gratitude- how could I normally be so ignorant of how amazing the experience of being alive is? It was a huge wake-up call for me.
I realised just how much I normally take for granted being busy and caught up in my head analysing life instead of simply dipping my feet in its joy.
I spent a couple of years going deep into myself with meditation, yoga, and psychedelics. I used these practices to shift my awareness into parts of myself, or what some call the ‘subconscious’ to heal the emotional wounds of my past. Accessing these deeper states of consciousness, I was able to go in and release the stresses in the body that were causing me discomfort in my mind and body during my waking state. And by releasing the discomforts within the mind and the body, I started noticing that I was able to remain more present in day-to-day life. By entering these altered states of consciousness and deep states of meditation on a regular basis, I was able to clear any parts of myself that were limiting my ability to reach my full potential to be my true, uninhibited self.
Eventually, I started to learn that as amazing as it felt to connect with spirit outside of the body, I could do this within the body. The more I learned to transcend the mind, such as with meditation and psychedelics, the more peace and stillness of the mind I experienced when I came out of these states into my waking consciousness.
The state of stillness, or meditation, that I was gaining access to, which is known in Hinduism as Turiya, or ‘pure consciousness’ was starting to become my normal state of consciousness. Instead of being consumed by discomfort within my mind and body, I was able to feel a profound sense of peace, or watchfulness.
I was starting to learn what it was to be one with my soul, or spirit, within the physical body. Not only was I able to stay more grounded and present in the moment, but I was also able to really feel more. Without the distractions in my mind, my senses started to become more heightened. My psychic senses, such as my ability to feel and hear telepathically, including being able to communicate with animals and plants, started growing developing stronger.
Since starting to feel more alive within my body, being able to see, hear, taste, smell and feel more sensitively, I have come to realise just how amazing the experience of being a human is.
A couple of years ago when I was living and studying in a Buddhist monastery, my teacher kept emphasizing how lucky we were to have the opportunity to experience life as a human, expressing that reincarnation into human form is very rare. I never truly understood this at the time. But now I get it. There is so much that can be experienced in the human body that cannot be experienced in other forms. There is so much potential and so much beauty that can be witnessed with the human body, mind, and senses.
We are pure spirit form before we enter the human body and again when we leave, so for now, I am happy to wait to have any more experiences outside of the body. I now know that what’s more important is that we enjoy every moment that we are alive in this amazing human body that we have been gifted.
After having all kinds of amazing experiences, I can now see that the ultimate form of transcendence is to be present and alive within my own body so that I can experience human life to its ultimate potential.
Chögyam Trungpa: Poetry, Crazy Wisdom, and Radical Shambhala
I was entranced with the beautiful writings of Chögyam Trungpa for many years. His book, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of The Warrior became a staple in my life. It opened my eyes to the spiritual potential and deepened my understanding of life, love, and the divine.
The more I learned, the more I craved Chögyam Trungpa’s books. When I meditated on him, I could feel his playful and loving heart. He had died a few months prior to my first experience of his unique spirit and work.
My favorite Chögyam Trungpa quotes are, “Everyone loves something, even if it’s only tortillas,” and “The ideal of warriorship is that the warrior should be sad and tender, and because of that, the warrior can be very brave as well.”
A prolific writer and Buddhist meditation master, Chögyam Trungpa (March 5, 1939 – April 4, 1987) is among the first masters who brought Buddhist teachings to the west and made them accessible.
The holder of the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, Chögyam Trungpa was a brilliant man who lived a remarkable life.
Besides being the 11th Trungpa Tülku, an incarnating line of Tibetan lamas, Chögyam was:
- A radical, groundbreaking teacher in the Vajrayana school of Buddhism
- A re-imaginer of the original visions of Shambhala (a mythic Buddhist kingdom)
- A Tertön, someone who discovers ancient, hidden, Tibetan Buddhist texts
- The Supreme Abbot of the Surgmang Monasteries
- Globally adored Poet, Artist, and Scholar
“Enlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment.”
― Chögyam Trungpa
The Adventurous Life of Chögyam Trungpa
While studying meditation, philosophy, calligraphy, painting, and monastic dance, Chögyam Trungpa became a monk in 1947.
In the 1950s, when Chinese communists repatriated Tibet, the Rinpoche trekked over the Himalayas and narrowly escaped capture. He reached India in 1959 and began teaching Buddhism to young lamas in Delhi, India.
Fluent in English, Chögyam Trungpa studied at Oxford, and taught throughout North America and Europe, giving thousands of talks to eager initiates.