As I frequently write about mystic states, and psychedelics, I want to clarify a few points up front. So as not to be misunderstood.
Am I a Buddhist?
No. I read a lot of primary and secondary Buddhist books, and I meditate. To be honest: I use the day to do small short "meditation" moments. Basically, they now consist in switching into a particular view and then doing nothing. So, it´s more the meditation of non-meditation. I took only one single 6-day online retreat.
I see Buddhism as consciousness technology outside of any "ism". I follow the only meditation teacher I ever met in person (online) Daniel P Brown: be aware of the traps of bliss, clarity, and non-conceptual stillness. It is all empty, including meditation!
Also, I don´t consider myself to be a "spiritual person". First, I have no clue what this is, and second, I associate it - from olden times - with Osho, sandals and incense sticks.
Am I really qualified to write all this?
Not at all.
At university in the 1970ies when programmers still used punch-cards, I studied sociology, political science and German literature. I also took a Fortran course - with punch cards.
After uni and joblessness, a much more foresighted person (my wife) shoved me into Information Technology where I spent 30 happy years with dBase, Basic, and Cobol.
After retirement, I turned toward what´s really interesting: psychedelics, neuroscience, meditation, therapy and coaching.
In Buddhism, I am fairly limited to what I met first: Mahamudra and Dzog Chen. But I have by now read a fair amount of original and secondary literature. Heroically, I even read Dr Daniel P Brown´s 1981 dissertation on the stages of Mahamudra meditation and cognitive science.
As a newly born "psychologist" , I took basic training for couple therapy with a renowned US couple therapist, and I know more or less everything about development trauma (C-PTSD), adult attachment theory etc. But, what I do is just interest and fulfilment, not a business.
The purpose of this blog
Mainly, it is a place where I try to think things through, so that I get a better grasp of what I think. And maybe, in 20 years, my grandchildren when looking up their ancestry will find it as a curious relic. I also like to write.
The posts may be updated from time to time.
What about my psychedelic experiences?
In 2016 at age 62, I accidentally stumbled into an Ayahuasca ceremony. That changed me forever. I then participated in 13 further ceremonies, all with Ayahuasca. That´s all I know, except some modest microdosing for physical and mental fitness, and continuing neural growth. But my Ayahuasca experiences were deep! One of them brought me to Buddhism as the closest approximation.
Luckily, I did that before the current wave of commercialisation and standardisation that comes under the name of the psychedelic renaissance.
But let me warn you of really dangerous drugs: be VERY careful with alcohol. It is damaging, can create addictions, and thousands of people die every year from alcohol. Please check your suitability, and be very moderate. Do not drink alcohol unless you are in the presence of two therapists, one male, one female, in a safe setting (that's how modern psychedelics therapy works).
And: things can go really wrong with Ayahuasca. Check out an extreme.
10 books I recommend
The Mind Illuminated. A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness. By Culadasa. I came across it through Peter Attia. The German title is "Meditation Handbook". The deepest honor Germans can give a book on anything. Vorsprung durch Technik.
Pointing out the Great Way. The Stages of Mahamudra Meditation. By Daniel P Brown (please: only after having read and studied Culadasa for a while!). Or, for the adventurous, his dissertation on Mahamudra and cognitive science from 1981. The most profound and systematic way to get the inside view of a true yogi's mind.
The Antipodes of the Mind. Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience. By Benny Shannon. And, or: The Ayahuasca Experience. By Ralph Metzner. To get an idea how much of our minds we normally never see.
A Canticle for Leibowitz. By Walter Miller. An astounding post-apocalyptic SF novel by an author who wrote one book, and after 40 years the next.
The Baroque Trilogy. Neil Stephenson. A monumental three-volume panorama, as a novel, of the beginnings of globalization. Meet Newton and Ben Franklin and Arabian slave markets and Chinese sword makers.
Relationship RX. Stan Tatkin, only as an audiobook. Fantastic, scientifically founded relationship advice.
Personality Types. Using the Enneagram for Self Discovery. Don Richard Riso on the Enneagram. Even Tim Ferris recommended the Enneagram. And he recommended Ayahuasca. Both go together very well.
Breath. James Nestor. Motivated me to properly breathe again and to prolong my life.
Come as you are. Emily Nagoski. Best ever to understand the deepest secret of all.
How to Change your Mind. What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence Michael Pollan. This book by a NYT bestselling food author was the rocket booster behind the psychedelic renaissance. And
OK, that's 11 books. But I just had to squeeze in Michael Pollan.
Some good people I met
My piano improvisation I like most
I like this most because it played itself, in a whole body bliss trance/flow state where I observed myself but did not "do" anything, as one of the very first practice sessions after a 5 year pause. I had just discovered that my Yamaha P515 has an electronic rhythm section. It's not perfect and far from professional but really creative. I have no clue how I did this.
A few more here
Overused spiritual terms
Quantum (as in quantum healing, signifies that at a minimum one listened to a Youtube video about quantum physics, but would crash with the first line of math describing it)
Journey / Path (signifies that one has a noble spiritual goal, and isn't just aimlessly wasting time on earth)
Authentic (as in your authentic self, signifies that the writer is authentic or can lead one there)
Nuanced (a real fashion word in 2022, usually signifying that one is much more nuanced than the others)
To abide in (used if you want to signal that you have read Buddhist text, because no one else uses it)
Awakening (without precise explanation, a most undefined term that can mean anything. I really don´t like it, so I gave my own definition here).
Are these blog posts genuine, or AI generated?
Podcasts I like a lot in no particular order
Steve James "Guru Viking Podcast"
Sam Harris "Making Sense"
Monica Boehm Podcast
Ester Perel "Where shall we begin"
Jayson Gaddis "The Relationship School Podcast"
...and a lot more, depending on what´s happening
All my references as of 7th October 2022
This is a scribbr-generated bibliography. Scribbr is here. I wished I had had such a tool for my 350 page master´s thesis with 400 quotations that I had to type in with a manual typewriter....