If sobriety is a gateway drug, what will my next fix be?
In Accidental Initiations I write briefly about fasting but I’d like to go into a bit more depth here. I’ve done over ten fasts of a week or more in the last six or seven years. I choose the Master Cleanse fast but, having tried no others; I can’t recommend it as the best one for anyone else. That’s up to you to divine. In all but one case I had a positive experience: cleansing my mind and spirit as well as my body. The one negative fast had a lot to do with my attitude. It was my third one and I had become arrogant and macho about the undertaking, which set me up to fail and, in so doing, to learn an important lesson about intention: You simply can’t muscle through these things. It has to be inspired and then you can surrender to it.
Other than this one “failure” all of my fasts have been set in motion by synchronicity. One day I’d be going along stuffing my face like everyone else, and then someone would say something in a song, or a cloud would pass overhead, or some other trigger would catch my mind and, all of a sudden, not eating seemed like the most natural thing I could do.
I have two basic strategies for fasting. One is to do Re-Evaluation Counseling sessions about the feelings that come up when I am hungry. The magick of these sessions is that once I’ve cried and raged through the feelings, the hunger pretty much vanishes. There’s a profound lesson here that hunger is as much a malady of the heart as of the stomach. Of course, I only apply this to hunger which is chosen. I wouldn’t want some asshole suggesting this strategy to someone who is actually starving. Although, if I was starving, it is what I would try and do.
My other strategy has been to smoke pot through my fasts. There are those who will say this defeats the purpose. To these people I say: Fine for you. You can find another strategy, but this works for me. I can give up almost anything as long as I can hemp my way through it. Pot inspires me and inspiration is all I really need to live, at least for a little while. Eventually we all need to eat but I can go a long time without food as long as I can taste the poetry of existence and, for me, nothing stimulates the muse like the smoke of the green goddess.
I hate when people who drink coffee, eat sugar and meat, watch TV, live for money, sex, and power, and project their shadows onto favored enemies, talk about sobriety, as if they have ever been sober. Maybe when we were very young some of us may have tasted sobriety for a time but it was short-lived and we probably can’t even remember what it felt like. It certainly wasn’t our choice. American culture is a drug dealer and most of us are junkies. So, when an American junkie gets high and mighty about the use of natural medicines like marijuana I have a hard time taking them seriously as, I’m sure, do their children if they have them.
I bring this up because I currently find myself taking a sabbatical from my negotiations with the ganja crystals and their inter-dimensional guardians. I want to write about it, but I don’t want this to be taken as an “anti-drug” message. I am grateful for the lessons of the smoke and I soberly encourage communion with it, until it no longer makes sense. Given the choice between being a pothead and an uninspired hypocrite, I would always choose the former.
That said, synchronicity is leading me off the familiar path, just like it’s done with my fasts of the past. I didn’t mean to stop smoking but I got sick and then I got inspired (in part by the experience recounted in Solstice Prison Break) and then the solstice transformed me. Now I’m doing whatever it is that I surrendered to for the darkest day of the year and the returning of the light of 2012. I don’t know how long it will last but I suspect I’ll be experimenting with a smoke-fast until spring at least, or not. We shall see.
My Kabbalah teacher was very down on all substances and artificial distractions. From what I could tell she walked her talk so I can’t call her a hypocrite. I was unwilling to walk her talk simply because she did, but I could clearly see that it worked for her. We all need to come to these realizations for ourselves or they are just an act. I do credit her integrity around this issue with planting a seed in my consciousness which is flowering even as I write these words.
It’s not easy saying goodbye to my sativa practice. Like any good relationship, there is an addictive aspect to it and I miss my visits to the pipe, especially when the hard feelings are upon me. As with food, or a lover, the hunger isn’t physical as much as psychic and emotional. When we are sad or lonely we reach for the nipple. Lucky for me, the lessons of the fasts which my relationship with marijuana made possible are now assisting me in letting this old ally go for a season or more. Funny how that works isn’t it?
My tee totaling teacher and her disciples told me that pot blocks the magick of ritual, something which I have been unwilling to accept at face value, but since I’m taking a break anyway I’m going to put this theory to the test. In the same way I used pot to help me let go of food I’ll be using ritual and art to assist me in this latest letting go. Perhaps you who read these words will be the beneficiary of my practice. I’ll document the results here and we’ll see if there is anything to what my old teacher says. If so, get ready because my intentions are big and delicious and meant to be shared.