Ayahuasca – A Soundscape

And now for something completely different!

I’ve been trying to enroll in one of the ayahuasca workshops with Ceu de Amsterdam for some time now, but unfortunately they’ve been selling our in record time, so I haven’t had any luck yet. While a workshop has been on my mind, I have been thinking of how I can recreate a glimpse of the experience as I remember it. Music and sound are a huge part of the experience, with a host of talented musicians playing throughout. Other times, I feel, music is flowing from some external or internal source, that is music is “there”, in “that” place, part of my subjective experience. Some might call it music of the angels!

This mix is my attempt to describe how music and sound flows through me, enhancing the emotional and visual landscapes I travel through. The sounds are very varied and eclectic, not always pleasant. There are times I feel time gets stuck in a loop, or time loses its meaning completely. I use a lot of loops and samples to emphasise that point. Some points are intense, pushing me forward to the next level of experience, whether I like it or not. There are dark, unsettling moments, where the weirdness can feel overwhelming. These moments pass, often transitioning into beautiful, warm, embracing sounds and voices emerging from the mist and reassuring me that yes, everything is ok. Artists like Apparat and Bibio for me are the representation of the musicians and singers at the workshops, who often seem to break into song at exactly the moment I need it. Just when i thought I was lost forever in the dark, they bring the light!

Other parts, in particular the Meredith Monk song, show how the soundscape can be utterly weird, playful, funny, mad. I always laugh at this song, it is a perfect representation of the times when I look around the room and see the apparent madness of the events unfolding around me, sometimes you really just have to laugh!

I have always got a sense of vibration underlying this “awakened” state, which is perfectly demonstrated by a string instrument like the Indian sitar. At the quiet times, I feel that sound is everywhere, the foundation of existence. The people around me are like Gods, lounging in this eternal place. Funnily enough, I don’t think there has been a sitar at the workshops I have attended, so to me it is one of the internal/external sources that produces it. The Cluster & Eno track is the representation of this sensation for me.

Finally the quiet times are also perfectly portrayed in the Ernst Reijseger songs from the fantastic Werner Herzog documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams. The combination of wind and string instruments and wonderfully soft voices really sums up for me how music can make a direct deep spiritual connection. The atmosphere in this album is second to none for creating the soundscape to a calm, spiritually charged space.

Hope you enjoy!

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The Power of Clichéed Thinking!

Right so, life does indeed go on. Regardless of my will, time marches on and really I’m ok with that. In fact, for a while I was thinking that it was only a matter of time until this anxiety faded into the background and so I was happy enough that time it was a-marching. At the very least time has healed the wounds that my seemingly endless cold symptoms was causing. A does of cortisone nose-spray for a few days seems to have literally given me the breathing space to get my immune system somewhat back on track. Now I’m cautiously looking forward to starting a bit of exercise again. Baby steps.

I have just read a chapter in a self-help book, which was about the power of thinking. All the usual clichés about thinking positively, thinking big, aiming high, and so on and so forth. Clichés maybe, but there is a whole lot of truth behind it. I think the secret is coming to an understanding of what the cliché actually means, rather than the often hollow sounding rhetoric they can sometimes seem. Thinking about positive thinking did bring up some past positive experiences for me that have really given my day and my week a lift.

Not long ago I was aiming extremely high – the challenge was to complete the four events that constitute the Swedish Classic – a 300km cycle, a 3km open water swim, a 30km terrain run and a 90km cross-country ski, all within the space of a year. Thinking back now, I see the enormous positives such a challenge brought me. Six weeks before the ski event I had never stood on a pair of cross-country skis before. The only time I had tried downhill skiing, I tore my groin on the first descent! This was an epic challenge, and one that I obviously had my anxieties and fears about. Is there too much to learn? Is it too far for me? Will I crash, break a ski or worse a leg? The only way of overcoming these fears, doubts and worries was by getting out there and practising. Falling and getting up again. Fear at the top of every hill and elation at the bottom. The experience taught me so much about myself and what I can achieve. So now feels like the right time to reminisce and remind myself of the real high that can be achieved by pushing beyond one’s limits. I honestly believe that will stay with me for the rest of my life, and times like this I can really draw strength from the experience.

Life is about doing things, not sitting at home worried about doing things. Too many things is of course a genuine problem, but one that is relatively easily solved by prioritising. Important things first, everything else can and will wait. Some things just don’t get done, fact. I can’t be afraid to strike those things off the todo list and accept that they won’t be done. One thing to keep in mind is that it is the things you have done that you will remember. So make sure you enjoy the things that you do. I may be paraphrasing Paulo Coelho there, but it rings true for me right now.

My hand is sore, trying to keep up with my thoughts as they flow. I’m feeling really energized as I write, this really is like therapy! I had set out to simply write a list of things that make me happy in my life but I ended up writing this instead. It’s nice how a flow of though can bring up some really beneficial emotions and memories. I have almost been trying not to remember and “be” in the present, trying not to remember in case any negative ones crept in and started a downward spiral. Of course this is wrong, and not what mindfulness teaches me but again its easier said than done and I’m still learning how to do it. Now I know, however, how beneficial a little session like this can be. Another tool in the toolbox!

Analogy of the Day

You get the picture?

I heard a good analogy the other day about the important and not-so-important stuff in life. Like any good analogy, it is a good way of putting things in perspective and giving the mind a good visualisation of a problem and solution. It goes a little something like this.

Important stuff is represented by ping-pong balls; unimportant by sand and life by a glass jug. Throw the ping pong balls into the vase and they fit quite easily. Next, pour the sand in on top and it fills up all the other space – taking up all the other moments in everyday life.

Now start again. This time put the sand in first and then try to put the ping-pong balls in after – they don’t fit! The moral of the story is to prioritise the important stuff first, the other stuff will still find its space. But let the small stuff get in the way and the other stuff just won’t fit!

Back to Blogging

Smix does BloggingSo, I’ve been here before. Once again I’ve gotten the urge to develop my creativity – read more, think more, write more. This time I want it to have a little more longevity and substance. There are most likely millions of other blogs out there trying to be interesting and something special. A large proportion of them are not. I’m speculating here, of course, and admittedly there are many informative and useful blogs dealing with a whole range of issues.

That’s maybe where I will try to be a little different. This blog isn’t trying to be interesting to others specifically. It is more an outlet for me to gather stuff that I am interested in, as well as putting my thoughts down into words where I can really judge what I am saying and thinking with a more critical eye. The topics I discuss may of course be of interest to others, and great if they are! I welcome comments from any other interested parties so I can benefit from an outsider’s view. As long as the comments don’t end up like the “discussion” on a YouTube video, then I think we’re on the right track. I won’t hold my breath!