Thursday, 31 March 2011

Update; ITALIA!

So we've hit 8000 clicks - never in my days did I think that when I started this blog it would reach this many views.
Thanks to all of you that keep checking in!

So Monday I'm off to the motherland; Italia!

I will be packing my slacklines ready for some shredding, so if any of you are around the Swiss/North Italy/South-East-France Area for April, and are up for stretching your mind to new dimensions then hit me an email (address at the top of the page) and we'll sort it out!

In the meantime, search through the archives and pick out something to make you smile or a post that you think might contribute to getting a reaction out of someone, just for kicks.

Until motherland touchdown, Peace out famalam!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Anarcho-Spirituality; Psychonautics; I take illegal drugs for inspiration

Every year, like a social drinker who wants to prove to herself that she's not an alcoholic, I give up cannabis for a month. It can be a tough and dreary time - and much as I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, alcohol cannot take its place.
Some people may smoke dope just to relax or have fun, but for me the reason goes deeper. In fact, I can honestly say that without cannabis, most of my scientific research would never have been done and most of my books on psychology and evolution would not have been written.
Some evenings, after a long day at my desk, I'll slip into the bath, light a candle and a spliff, and let the ideas flow - that lecture I have to give to 500 people next week, that article I'm writing for New Scientist, those tricky last words of a book I've been working on for months. This is the time when the sentences seem to write themselves. Or I might sit out in my greenhouse on a summer evening among my tomatoes and peach trees, struggling with questions about free will or the nature of the universe, and find that a smoke gives me new ways of thinking about them.
Yes, I know there are serious risks to my health, and I know I might be caught and fined or put in prison. But I weigh all this up, and go on smoking grass.
For both individuals and society, all drugs present a dilemma: are they worth the risks to health, wealth and sanity? For me, the pay-off is the scientific inspiration, the wealth of new ideas and the spur to inner exploration. But if I end up a mental and physical wreck, I hereby give you my permission to gloat and say: "I told you so".
My first encounter with drugs was a joint shared with a college friend in my first term at Oxford. This was at the tail end of the days of psychedelia and flower power - and cannabis was easy to obtain. After long days of lectures and writing essays, we enjoyed the laughter and giggling, the heightened sensations and crazy ideas that the drug seemed to let loose.
Then, one night, something out of the ordinary happened - though whether it was caused by the drug, lack of sleep or something else altogether, I don't know. I was listening to a record with two friends, sitting cross-legged on the floor, and I had smoked just enough to induce a mild synaesthesia. The sound of the music had somehow induced the sensation of rushing through a long, dark tunnel of rustling leaves towards a bright light.
I love tunnels. They come on the verges of sleep and death and are well known in all the cultures that use drugs for ritual, magic or healing. The reason for them lies in the visual cortex at the back of the brain, where certain drugs interfere with the inhibitory systems, releasing patterns of circles and spirals that form into tunnels and lights.
I didn't know about the science then. I was just enjoying the ride, when one of my friends asked a peculiar question: "Where are you, Sue?".
Where was I? I was in the tunnel. No, I was in my friend's room. I struggled to answer; then the confusion cleared and I was looking down on the familiar scene from above.
"I'm on the ceiling, " I said, as I watched the mouth down below open and close and say the words in unison. It was a most peculiar sensation.
My friend persisted. Can you move? Yes. Can you go through the walls? Yes. And I was off exploring what I thought, at the time, was the real world. It was a wonderful feeling - like a flying dream, only more realistic and intense.
The experience lasted more than two hours, and I remember it clearly even now. Eventually, it came to seem more like a mystical experience in which time and space had lost their meaning and I appeared to merge with the universe. Years later, when I began research on out-of-body and near-death experiences, I realised that I'd had all those now-familiar sensations that people report after close brushes with death. And I wanted to find out more.
However, nothing in the physiology and psychology that I was studying could remotely begin to cope with something like this. We were learning about rats' brains, and memory mechanisms, not mind and consciousness - let alone a mind that could apparently leave its body and travel around without it. Then and there, I decided to become a parapsychologist and devote my life to proving all those closed-minded scientists wrong.
But I was the one who was wrong. I did become a parapsychologist, but decades of difficult research taught me that ESP almost certainly doesn't exist and that nothing leaves the body during an out-of-body experience - however realistic it may feel.
Although parapsychology gave me no answers, I was still obsessed with a scientific mystery: how can we explain the mind and consciousness from what we know about the brain? Like any conventional scientist, I carried out experiments and surveys and studied the latest developments in psychology and neuroscience. But since the object of my inquiry was consciousness itself, this wasn't enough. I wanted to investigate my own consciousness as well.
So I tried everything from weird machines and gadgets to long-term training in meditation - but I have to admit that drugs have played a major role.
Back in those student days, it was the hallucinogens, or "mind-revealing" psychedelics, that excited us - and the ultimate hallucinogen must be LSD. Effective in minuscule doses, and not physically addictive, LSD takes you on a "trip" that lasts about eight to 10 hours but can seem like forever. Every sense is enhanced or distorted, objects change shape and form, terrors flood up from your own mind, and you can find joy in the simplest thing.
Once the trip has begun, there is no escape - no antidote, no way to stop the journey into the depths of your own mind. In my twenties, I used to take acid two or three times a year - and this was quite enough, for an acid trip is not an adventure to be undertaken lightly.
I've met the horrors with several hallucinogens, including magic mushrooms that I grew myself. I remember once gazing at a cheerfully coloured cushion, only to see each streak of colour turn into a scene of rape, mutilation or torture, the victims writhing and screaming - and when I shut my eyes, it didn't go away. It is easy to understand how such visions can turn into a classic "bad trip" , though that has never happened to me.
Instead, the onslaught of images eventually taught me to see and accept the frightening depths of my own mind - to face up to the fact that, under other circumstances, I might be either torturer or tortured. In a curious way, this makes it easier to cope with the guilt, fear or anxiety of ordinary life. Certainly, acceptance is a skill worth having - though I guess there are easier ways of acquiring it.
Then there's the fun and just the plain strangeness of LSD. On one sunny trip in Oxford, my friend and I stopped under a vast oak tree where the path had been trampled into deep furrows by cattle and then dried solid by the hot weather. We must have spent an hour there, gazing in wonder at the texture of this dried mud; at the hills and valleys in miniature; at the hoof-shaped pits and sharp cliffs; at the shifting patterns in the dappled shade. I felt that I knew every inch of this special place; that I had an intimate connection with the mud.
Suddenly, I noticed a very old man with a stick, walking slowly towards us on the path. Keep calm, I told myself. Act normal. He'll just say hello, walk by, and be gone.
"Excuse me, young lady," he said in a cracked voice. "My eyes are weak and, in this light, I can't see my way. Would you help me across?" And so it was that I found myself, dream-like, guiding the old man slowly across my special place - a patch of mud that I knew as well as my own features.
Two days later, my friend came back from lectures, very excited. "I've seen him. The man with the stick. He's real!"
We both feared that we'd hallucinated him.
Aldous Huxley once said that mescaline opened "the doors of perception"; it certainly did that for me. I took it one day with friends in the country, where we walked in spring meadows, identified wild flowers, marvelled over sparkling spider's webs and gasped at the colours in the sky that rippled overhead.
Back at the farmhouse, I sat playing with a kitten until kitten and flowers seemed inextricable. I took a pen and began to draw. I still have that little flower-kitten drawing on my study wall today.
On another wall is a field of daffodils in oils. One day, many years later, I went to my regular art class the day after an LSD trip. The teacher had brought in a bunch of daffodils and given us one each, in a milk bottle. Mine was beautiful; but I couldn't draw just one.
My vision was filled with daffodils, and I began to paint, in bold colours, huge blooms to fill the entire canvas. I will never be a great painter but, like many artists through the ages, I had found new ways of seeing that were induced by a chemical in the brain.
So can drugs be creative? I would say so, although the dangers are great - not just the dangers inherent in any drug use, but the danger of coming to rely on them too much and of neglecting the hard work that both art and science demand. There are plenty of good reasons to shun drug-induced creativity.
Yet, in my own case, drugs have an interesting role: in trying to understand consciousness, I am taking substances that affect the brain that I'm trying to understand. In other words, they alter the mind that is both the investigator and the investigated.
Interestingly, hallucinogens such as LSD and psilocybin are the least popular of today's street drugs - perhaps because they demand so much of the person who takes them and promise neither pleasure or cheap happiness. Instead, the money is all in heroin, cocaine and other drugs of addiction.
I have not enjoyed my few experiences with cocaine. I don't like the rush of false confidence and energy it provides - partly because that's not what I'm looking for and partly because I've seen cocaine take people over and ruin their lives. But many people love it - and the dealers get rich on getting people hooked.
This is tragic. In just about every human society there has ever been, people have used dangerous drugs - but most have developed rituals that bring an element of control or safety to the experience. In more primitive societies, it is shamans and healers who control the use of dangerous drugs, choose appropriate settings in which to take them and teach people how to appreciate the visions and insights that they can bring.
In our own society, criminals control all drug sales. This means that users have no way of knowing exactly what they are buying and no-one to teach them how to use these dangerous tools.
I have been lucky with my own teachers. The first time I took ecstasy, for example, I was with three people I had met at a Norwegian conference on death and dying. It was mid-summer, and they had invited me to join them on a trip around the fjords. One afternoon, we sat together and took pure crystals of MDMA - nothing like the frightening mixtures for sale on the streets today.
MDMA has the curious effect of making you feel warm and loving towards everyone and everything around you: within a few short hours, we were all convinced that we knew each other in a deep and intimate way. Then we deliberately each set off alone to walk in the mountains, where the same feeling of love now seemed to encompass the entire landscape.
I was told then that I should make the most of my first few experiences with MDMA because, after five or six doses, I would never get the same effects again. In my experience, this has been true, although prohibition makes it all but impossible to find such things out. In fact, we know horrifyingly little about the psychological effects of drugs that people take every day in Britain because scientists are not allowed to carry out the necessary research.
That is why I've had to do my own. I once had an expert friend inject me with a high dose of ketamine because I had heard it could induce out-of-body experiences. Known as K, or Special K, on the street, this is an anaesthetic used more often by vets than anaesthetists because of its unpleasant tendency to produce nightmares.
Get the dose right, as I did, and you are completely paralysed apart from the ability to move your eyes. This is not very pleasant. However, by imagining I was lifting out of my body, I felt I could fly, and I set off home to see what my children were up to. I was sure that I saw them playing in the kitchen; but when I checked the next day, I was told they had been asleep.
Back in the room, my guide began holding up his fingers out of my line of vision and, as soon as my mouth started working again, made me guess how many. I seemed to see the fingers all right, but my guesses were totally wrong.
I didn't repeat the experiment. It was not nearly as interesting as those drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT or mescaline, that undermine everything you take for granted. These are psychedelics that threaten our ordinary sense of self, and that is where they touch most deeply on my scientific interests.
What is a self? How does the brain create this sense of being "me", inside this head, looking out at the world, when I know that behind my eyes there are only millions of brain cells - and nowhere for an inner self to hide? How can those millions of brain cells give rise to free will when they are merely physical and chemical machines? In threatening our sense of self, could it be that these drugs reveal the scary truth that there is no such thing?
Mystics would say so. And, here, we hit an old and familiar question: do drugs and mystical experiences lead to the same "insights"? And are those insights true?
Since those first trips, I have taken many other drugs - such as nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. For just a few moments, I have understood everything - "Yes, yes, this is so right, this is how it has to be" - and then the certainty vanishes and you cannot say what you understood.
When the discoverer of nitrous oxide, Sir Humphrey Davy, took it himself in 1799, he exclaimed: "Nothing exists but thoughts". Others, too, have found their views profoundly shifted. It seems quite extraordinary to me that so simple a molecule can change one's philosophy, even for a few moments, yet it seems it can.
Why does the gas make you laugh? Perhaps it is a reaction to a brief appreciation of that terrifying cosmic joke - that we are just shifting patterns in a meaningless universe.
Are drugs the quick and dirty route to insight? I wanted to try the slow route, too. So I have spent more than 20 years training in meditation - not joining any cult or religion but learning the discipline of steadily looking into my own mind.
Gradually, the mind calms, space opens up, self and other become indistinguishable, and desires drop away. It's an old metaphor, but people often liken the task to climbing a mountain. The drugs can take you up in a helicopter to see what's there, but you can't stay.
In the end, you have to climb the mountain yourself - the hard way. Even so, by giving you that first glimpse, the drugs may provide the inspiration to keep climbing.

From here.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Anarcho-Spirituality; Psychonautics; There is no hiding with LSD

Is LSD a great spiritual teacher? Or indeed a teacher at all? My answer is an emphatic "Yes", even though there will always be students who learn nothing from their teachers or misuse what they do learn.

For me LSD is the ultimate psychedelic. It's a tough one – one not to be taken lightly or often. A typical trip lasts eight to 10 hours and there's no respite or way out once you've popped that tiny scrap of blotter in your mouth. I will even admit that on those rare occasions when I take it I feel some deep physiological reaction that makes me involuntarily shaky and afraid just before that fateful moment.

So why do it? Because the fear is worth – a million times over it's worth – the experience.

That experience, as many writers have explained, depends dramatically on the set and setting – on what you expect of the trip, where you are, whom you are with, and how safe you feel. One of the tragedies of drug prohibition is that we have never developed a culture in which young people can learn how to use powerful drugs properly from older, wiser and more experienced psychonauts. I count myself lucky to have encountered such good teachers to guide me with such drugs as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, MDMA and mescaline.

Of course the psychedelics can be just plain fun – the amazing colours, the shifting and moving scenes, the flowers that turn into cats that turn into rabbits that disappear down holes; the sounds that turn into streams that flow away into the sky. But very few people have eight hours of simple fun. This drug, above all, confronts you with yourself. The flickering flowers can turn into scenes of horror and desperation, the coloured-streaked sky into a theatre of unwelcome memories and shame.

For myself I used to face terrible scenes of torture, rape and other kinds of human cruelty. I do not know why, but I found myself imagining them again and again both in meditation and with drugs. Perhaps like most people, I began by fighting them and trying to push them away, but LSD will not let you push anything away. You have to face it. And this is, I think, what makes it the ultimate psychedelic. There is no hiding with LSD. You have to face whatever comes up or be overwhelmed by it.

I faced the fact that I could not blame the drug nor anyone else for my visions, and certainly not for the worst fact of all – that such cruelty has always happened and is happening somewhere even now. Ultimately I confronted the fact that I was not fundamentally different from either the torturers or the tortured, that I had in myself strains of cruelty and hatred that might, under other circumstances, lead me to be the perpetrator as well as the sufferer.

This is just one small example, and everyone's stories are different, but again and again people report that through LSD they learned to know, and accept, themselves. This may be why LSD has such powerful therapeutic effects and can be so helpful for people facing terminal illness.

Our question mentions "spirituality" and whether anyone becomes "kinder and wiser". Surely knowing oneself underlies all these – knowing and accepting your own mind, taking responsibility for what you have done and what you might do. Even simple kindness grows with self-knowledge. When we see ourselves clearly we can see others more clearly, and then it is so very much easier to be kind.

Finally, our question asked "did anyone learn anything about reality from LSD?", "… was it a glimpse – however inadequate – of something real and standing beyond our everyday lives?". I would say that in one sense selves are not "reality", but are invented stories about non-existent inner beings; that what we learn through LSD is precisely about our everyday lives, not something beyond them. But then I would say the same of spirituality. It is not something to be found beyond our everyday lives at all. It is right here and now, and that is precisely what LSD reveals.

By Sue Blackmore

Original article here.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

True Self-Expression; Slacklining; Hazardous Pioneers' Video Retrospect-Collection

^No idea what this dude is saying, but he's got some mad skills! Let me know if you can translate it, I'm sure if he's talking that long about slacklining, then there has to be something of interest in what he's saying...

^ Again, no idea what these dudes are saying, but this is one BEAST of a line!

^ Mr Andy Lewis, killing it as ever.

^Following on in the trend of not knowing what anyone's saying, this clip is a bonus just because of the EuroMetal soundtrack.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Knowledge; Slacklining; 'No Knots, You WAnchor!'

Imagine yourself in the following situation;

You've set up your slackline - a trickline setup.
Your line is between two trees, about 7 metres apart, just over a metre high. You've tightened the ratchet because you're practicing new tricks that involve vertical spice; the butt-bounce, the vertical jump etc.

You've just learnt the butt-bounce about ten minutes ago - salivating at the mouth to stick as many as possible before the sun sets.

But there is a problem.

That knot that you tied into your anchor sling last weekend, the one that has infinitely tightened itself into a nugget of indestructibility, the knot that you thought was doing you a favour by adjusting the length of your sling when you needed to shorten it.....

That knot has created a weakness.

You're facing away from the ratchet. You take off for the butt-bounce, everything is in slow-motion now. You beast your legs to the right of the line, trusting that you won't miss and that the line will take the strain. Your butt makes contact, everything is still slow and feels epic.

Then, time catches up with you, fast-forwarding and compounding in to one big BOOOOM!
Time speeds through you - your sling snaps, the ratchet flies into your right hip and butt cheek, hitting you in three different places simultaneously, your coccyx hits the floor - and then the pain hits.
Oh, the pain.

You're rolling around on the floor, man-screaming, shouting, venting all that anger that is now raging out of your body - anger towards the line, the company, that damn ratchet, the world itself for letting you get beat so bad.

After a good minute or two of pain-vent, an elderly dog walker appears, towered over you at the level you once were, butt-bouncing in pure, naive oblivionauto at what was about to happen.

He asks 'You alright son?' thinking to himself 'What on earth is going on here?'

'I think I'll manage,' you respond, slowly coming back to reality and feeling the immediate bruising begin to escalate.

'I'll leave you to suffer then,' he says jollily, as he walks on to his dog.

You get up, already limping, and to your surprise, you see that is wasn't the ratchet that fucked you up.
Oh no, it was an anchor-sling breakage - at the very edge of that knot you so cunningly tied last week. That point in the knot had one butt-bounce too many, and that was it, finished.

All the thoughts start racing through your head; how luckily you escaped, what if that ratchet made contact with your face, how many points of impact can one arse cheek take? etc

You pack up, half pissed off, half laughing, as the sun sets and everyone else around you has no clue as to what you just went through.

Then your conscience kicks in, telling you 'You must share this with the others! So that it doesn't happen to them!'

So there you have it. For your arse's sake, 'No Knots, You WAnchor!'

Any recommendations towards what gear to upgrade to so this never happens again, would be much appreciated. Likewise, if you want to donate some gear so that my hips, arse and coccyx don't have to go through that ordeal again, that would also be much appreciated.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Anarcho-Spirituality; Bruce Lipton 'The Power of Consciousness'

A good friend sent this to me yesterday - gave it a watch and thought there were some really interesting points that Lipton brings up, talking about awareness, and how if you're aware of what you're doing in a habitual manner, then you can begin to break the patterns that are programmed in to you, and start being. Real cool,


Friday, 18 March 2011

True Self-Expression; Bad A$$ B!tch Steph Davis

Women out there, take note. Here's another Hazardous Davis, Steph Davis, and she's officially a bad ass beeeatch!

You can watch more of her videos here,


Children of the Sky from steph davis on Vimeo.

Pas de Deux from steph davis on Vimeo.

Kinda Busy from steph davis on Vimeo.

Free Solo and BASE, Castleton North Face from steph davis on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

True Self-Expression; Slacklining; Pierre Carrillo

I was just over at Balance Community dot com seeing what was going down, and came across this inspiring chap, Pierre Carrillo. As I was reading through his biography, I realised that he has a pretty rad story to share, and as I'm relating a lot to what he has written - currently in my own SlackLife - I wanted to share some of it with you;

After looking at tons of pictures of people walking high in the air, my desire to let go of my fear and go for it grew. I read many posts on technical rigging information and found the member writing the most informative posts containing precise numbers and knowledge on rigging. Damian Cooksey, then holding the world record for longest line and longest highline walked, was my man. I wrote him an email and asked if I could join him on his next highline expedition, hoping he would say yes, fearing he would say no. Two days later he replied, telling me to meet him that Saturday at the trail head of a mountain four hours away from where I lived at 6am.

I spent that Friday night at a friends house in San Francisco and woke up at 3:45 in the morning to hit the road. I spent the morning with Damian C. and Andy Lewis learning how to safely rig a highline and that afternoon after everyone had walked it was my turn. With all confidence I tied the leash to my harness then to the line. I sat on the line and tried to stand up before the fear set in. The line quickly moved out from under my feet and I fell and caught the line. Hanging there my fear came back strong and I began to shake. The memories from my childhood came back, every roller coaster I chickened out of, every flight of stairs I walked down instead of taking the elevator and the rope course at summer camp that I was terrified of. I quickly pushed my thoughts aside and pulled myself back up onto the line. Again and again I fell and caught the line. On what was supposed to be my last try I fell and was unable to catch the line. Hanging from my leash exhausted, Damian told me they had to take the line down so I should give it one more go. I remounted and told myself, “If I am able to walk a line double this length close to the ground I can walk this line. I stood up and walked the entire line and then walked it back. This was a major victory for me, finally I had not been held back by my fear and performed something not many people do. I chuckled at the thought that all my brothers would probably be scared of what I just did.

Since that day I have not been able to work a normal job behind a computer or in a restaurant without thinking about being in the mountains. I realized that fear held me back from enjoying life fully and the things I was afraid of were all things I would most likely love. This realization led me to a new passion, getting over fear to discover new sensations.

You can read Pierre's full Bio here

Pierre's Website, also has some pretty rad vids on it, so I thought I'd be extra nice and give you some of those too!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Anarcho-Spirituality; Psychonautics; James Fadiman - Psychedelics as Entheogens Video

James Fadiman Psychedelics as Entheogens: How to Create and Guide Successful Sessions from MAPS: Psychedelic Science on Vimeo.

More than ninety-eight percent of people using psychedelics worldwide use them illegally. In the United States alone, there are 600, 000 new users of LSD each year. Restrictive laws have not led to any less use. Many users can only guess at how to prevent harm and maximize the benefits of their experiences. Manuals have been developed to teach how these experiences can be made safe and supportive by the proper understanding of set, setting, sitter, substance, session and support. We will consider the advantages and limitations of the use of guides and discuss how to establish the best possible conditions for spiritual or entheogenic (as distinct from psychotherapeutic and other uses) experiences. Other manuals have been developed for psychotherapeutic use, as well as for scientific or technical problem solving. These will be presented and discussed as time allows.

Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, a conference in San Jose, California, April 15-18 2010, organized by MAPS - the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in collaboration with: the Heffter Research Institute, The Council on Spiritual Practices, & the Beckley Foundation

To become a MAPS member visit

This video was produced by Green Fuse Media, contact Nathan at

Medical doctors, other medical professionals, psychologists, and social workers can earn continuing medical education/ continuing education credits by viewing these videos. Visit

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

True Self-Expression; Slacklining; Video from Holland

I like the simplicity of this video. The tune is good, and it showcases that spring must be coming all the way across Europa, including Holland!

True Self-Expression; Slacklining; Gainer to Base Jump

Andy Lewis, pushing the realms of what can be done!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Anarcho-Spirituality; Psychonautics; Erik Davis 'Sampling Paradise'

So it turns out that Erik Davis writes even better than he speaks. He's an accomplished freelance writer within the worlds of the weird and wondrous, and I have managed to find a few of his pieces to share with you all.

This article below, was originally written for a magazine in '95. Davis was paid to go to Goa and rave, tripping his balls of on the Indian Bays; and what you're about to read is his account of it all.

Awesome! Definitely a story for the grandkids.

It's one hour past midnight, and the jungle throbs with techno. The tropical breeze off the Arabian Sea is warm and wet. I stuff a wad of rupees into the outstretched palm of the auto-rickshaw taxi-driver, and head toward the noise. I'm 350 kilometers south of Bombay, in India's coastal state of Goa, and I'm about to hit a rave.

Read the whole thing, here.

Anarcho-Spirituality; Psychonautics; Erik Davis Psychedelics; Between Natural and Supernatural

Here's a lecture I came across this evening by a guy named Erik Davis, who really looks to be head-first into the world of Psychonautic and Psychedelic research.

The lecture below brings up some very interesting stuff, particularly two guys, James Kent and Brion Gysin, both of whom I am now digging to find more about.

Hope you enjoy it,

Info about the vid:

Erik Davis - “Psychedelics: Between Natural and Supernatural”

Setting aside the growth of MDMA into one of the most popular controlled substances on the planet, the most dynamic and meaningful development in underground psychedelic use over the last fifteen years has been the explosion of an explicitly spiritual ayahuasca culture in the West. In contrast to earlier waves of Euro-American interest in “ethno-botanically active” substances like peyote and psilocybe mushrooms, today’s “tea” drinkers largely operate within a ritual and imaginative context grounded directly in shamanism, mestizo or otherwise, as well as syncretic South American religious sects. At the same time, with the important but problematic exception of Roland Griffiths’ 2008 Johns Hopkins study, the current wave of above-ground medical studies of psychedelics derives their legitimacy from the adoption of strictly secular and naturalist frames of reference drawn from Western medicine and psycho-pharmacology. What does this tension tell us about the challenges and promise of integrating psychedelics into contemporary culture?


Erik Davis is one of the most articulate writers and speakers on spirituality and contemporary alternative religion. He is the author, most recently, of Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica, and also penned The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape, the cult classic TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Information Age, and a critical volume on Led Zeppelin. A frequent speaker at universities and festivals alike, Davis has contributed to dozens of books and journal and has taught at UC Berkeley, Pacifica, and the California Institute of Integral Studies. He also hosts the weekly net radio show Expanding Mind on the Progressive Radio Network, and posts at He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Rice University.

Horizons 2010: Erik Davis - “Psychedelics: Between Natural and Supernatural” from Horizons on Vimeo.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Knowledge; Insulating your body

Mumson wasn't chatting shit when she said 'Have you got a vest on?'

This article by Low-tech magazine does a fantastic job at explaining why, and how you might go about layering up for your next expedition.

True Self-Expression; Slacklining; Hazardous Pioneers' Video Retrospect-Collection

Why not bring you a selection of the finest and most recent Slacking vids that the world has to offer, ey?


Slackline from Damian Czermak on Vimeo.

Joshua Tree Highliners - Directors Cut from Shea Design on Vimeo.

^^This one looks like it's a bunch of still photographs but linked together to give that slo-mo feel....

From the director - Sometimes I wonder into the dessert for inspiration and to be with nature, other times I find it in my front yard. This short piece is a composite of those experiences meant to momentarily captivate the viewer with distortions of time and space set to Zen moments borrowed from brave sky walkers.

slackline in the dolomites - my mental rehab training from Armin Holzer on Vimeo.

^^...had a pretty bad ski crash in april '10. immediately the day after the my right knee got refixed. broke just everything in there, boom exploded!!!!
after this I spent 5 months in the rehabilitation center, training every day... crying, yelling, oh man. hard times!
in september my mental rehab training began... finally my right knee was quite strong enough to go highlining...
And here we have the result.
mental training by armin holzer...
Enjoy the edit, and feel the vibe!!

Equilibrium - teaser from Bruno Villela on Vimeo.

^^And this one just for dope camera work..

True Self-Expression; Parkour; Antek; The Beast from Down-Under

I had the great pleasure to train with this man in Sydney's Summer of 2009, and it's really awesome to see that he's still training and still going strong, and most importantly, still keeping his head on his neck.

Check it,

And of course, the legendary Sydney Parkour Chaps,

And there you have it, pushing the limit on what is.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Anarcho-Spirituality; Non-Duality; Jeff Foster - A Short Note On Suffering

Came across this on Jeff Foster's website a few days ago.
It was sat in one of my millions of browser's tabs for a few days, and finally this evening, I was able to give it a read.

So simple, yet so compelling.

Take a look,


We try to escape from suffering, without asking ourselves what the word 'suffering' really means.

For example: Extreme fear - is it suffering? Well, when you're about to jump out of a plane for a skydive, extreme fear may arise - but it's part of the excitement, it's part of the experience, it's just there. The fear is there - and then you jump. Where is the suffering? There can be fear, even extreme fear, and no suffering, can't there?

The following week, you're sitting at home, sitting on your sofa - and extreme fear arises. It's the same fear, but in a different context. It feels like it shouldn't be there. It lingers. You try and get rid of it but it won't go away. You try and distract yourself from it, but it remains. You really don't want it to be there - it's uncomfortable! So you call up a friend and say 'I'm suffering with fear'. You ask for help. You want a way out. It feels like the fear is happening 'to' you. It feels like some strange, alien force that has 'overtaken' you.

What has happened? It's clear that something has identified with fear. Something has taken ownership of fear. Something says "this is my fear - I am afraid." And then something has begun to seek the absence of fear. The fear has become a problem. The fear has turned into a problem - and a problem needs a solution. This is the very definition of seeking. To seek a solution to something that we only assume is a problem.

But the fear is the same fear as the fear during the skydive. The fear hasn't changed - the story has changed, that's all. Ownership has happened - which is identification. A story has wrapped itself around fear. A story of somebody who is afraid, and somebody who one day will no longer be afraid. Time has come into the picture.


"How do I find freedom from suffering?" is the wrong question.

A better question: "what is suffering?" - and "who suffers?" - and perhaps these questions are really the same question.

In other words, what don't you want to feel?

What don't you want to experience?

If fear appears, is there an attempt to escape it? That attempt, perhaps we could call 'suffering'.

But there can be fear, and no suffering. There can be pain, and no suffering. There can be sadness, and no suffering.

It's not really about "getting rid of suffering" and moving into some transcendent place - that's the spiritual search which ultimately leads to denial, detachment and despair - although you might have some pleasant experiences along the way. But all experiences pass...

It's about seeing suffering for what it is.

Then there is no need - or even any desire - to get rid of suffering. Why would you get rid of something that doesn't exist?

What is wrong with pain? What is wrong with sadness? What is wrong with fear?

What is wrong with feeling exactly what you feel?

What is wrong with life as it is?

Forget the attempt to escape suffering. Suffer fully - and suffering evaporates. Why? Because there is nobody there separate from what you call 'suffering'. There never was. It's a paradox when you talk about it - and yet when you discover this secret it's the most obvious thing of all, and there is no paradox, there is just life appearing, in its fullness.

The Advaita concept "THERE IS NOBODY HERE WHO SUFFERS! THERE IS NO SUFFERING!" doesn't even begin to capture the richness of human experience and the possible beauty in suffering. Although in an ultimate sense it might be true, nobody lives in 'an ultimate sense' - and if they think they do, I wonder what sort of denial is going on. When suffering is understood and therefore loved, there is no need to deny it in this way - all human experience is embraced in this seeing... and that's really the end of seeking, now, now and now. The end of seeking, right at the heart of this human experience. No need for any talk of the 'impersonal' - the appearance of the personal contains all the grace that's needed. All Advaita/Nondual concepts dissolve into the clarity of life itself. That's true freedom, I feel.

You don't need to suffer one ounce more or less than you already do. Within present suffering there is the spaciousness you crave - always. But only if you are willing to look life in the face.

Life holds nothing back. Why do we hold back from life?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

True Self-Expression; Slacklining; Highlining; 2 Words: Daniel. Ahnen.

Had a slacking session today, and my body took a beating. Wooden-back syndrome combined with wrist-wreckage. So what better way to nurse the ailments than to feast my opticals upon this little collection of mastery;

Welcome to Daniel-Ahnen-Land!

Landcruising Slacklines Germany