Trangression: Taboos as Tools for Awakening

Dear Reader,

There are so many proscriptions and taboos among the righteous. What a good girl does, what a bad boy does, how an upstanding citizen behaves. Clean cut, monogamous, hard working, follows traditions, doesn’t step outside the norm too far. Has an acceptable quirk or two to give one ‘personality’. But it must be something tame, like being a fan of old vinyl records or an astronomy freak or a great ballroom dancer.

One should drink enough to be socially fluid and not a stick-in-the-mud, but don’t be an alcoholic. Be wealthy but don’t appear greedy. Be pretty but don’t appear vain. Be Christian, but be the kind of Christian that spends his weekend on a driving mower or golfing or coaching baseball; not the kind that pushes for radical social justice and turns the money changers away from the temple; not that kind that seeks to experience a direct, unmediated connection between oneself and god; certainly not the kind that’s into the black metaphysical Jesus, or the Jesus of the mystics, the Jesus of Meister Eckhart or Hildegard von Bingen.

If you do yoga, make sure it’s just for exercise, combine it with rap music or chocolate so you don’t go too deep into the well of power you possess. So that you don’t really wake up, just down-modulate the stress chemicals and get some muscle tone.

Get an education, but not too much. That is to say: get enough of an education to get a good paying job, but not enough to make you question the culture you live in. Especially don’t question the following: capitalism, American democracy, the morality of guns or the extensive use of taxes for military rather than humanitarian purposes. Don’t question the pharmaceutical industry. Don’t question your doctor. Don’t question the chemical agriculture or fast food industries, or the pain and suffering of factory farms that infuses your meat and cheese: just enjoy your Happy Meal. Don’t question the oil teat. Don’t question the credit and consumer culture, just go shopping. Don’t question the cult of the individual or the self-made man.

What else? Don’t do drugs, show up like a traditional straight male or straight female, be monogamous, have decidedly not-kinky sex, don’t show too much emotion or vulnerability. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too skinny. Don’t be too loud. Don’t be too dirty. Respect your elders, your teachers, elected representatives and the police.

All in all, the conformity that is requested of you is extensive.

Toe the line, citizen. And teach your children to toe the fucking line.

What I want to say to you is this: the cost of toeing the line is no less than your own deep freedom, happiness, authenticity, soul emancipation and enlightenment. You risk a life that doesn’t move the needle for human history at all, not even imperceptibly. You know that, right? By not participating in optimizing your own self, by not waking up, you hold all of humanity back. When you become a conscious chooser and shake off the implanted trance, it’s not just for you, it’s for all of us.

Outside of ourselves, the cost of toeing the line is a perpetuated suffering. The suffering that is the fruit of the current system manifests in illness, anxiety, suicide, substance abuse, hatred & violence, poverty, planetary degradation, animal abuse, waste and the countless other ills of modern culture in the west. In separation.

As I came into my 40s, and now, 50s, after doing everything right and then hitting several intense experiences in the economy, in love and with an intense illness and loss, I found out that the ways we have been taught often don’t serve us. They serve, instead, the status quo; they serve the powers that exist now; they serve to create an illusion of control among those who can’t control their own selves.

We have been taught that some things are off limits. That good people don’t do them. Good people don’t try them. Good people don’t ‘find out for themselves’, instead they take the words of experts, of their elders, pastors, lawmakers and other authorities to heart, and just fall in. These taboos may include things like trance states, energy play, somatics, meditations, sexual freedom, entheogenic drugs, or even beliefs like socialism, spiral leadership, pacifism. We have been told these acts and practices are DANGEROUS for us as individuals, but I’m here to bear witness: they are not. They are actually extremely freeing for you as an individual. From direct experience, I will tell you that almost everything that has been labeled as a taboo or transgression is, when used correctly, in fact a tool for waking up, for our own mental, physical and emotional liberation, for living a fearless life.

Once you start having these direct experiences, you will be less manipulable, you will be less of a sheep, an unquestioning servant of the way things are. You will begin to see the possibilities of a world that is structured on very different premises, and begin to live and work in a way that advances that vision.

You will cease to see the world in black and white, your judgments will be suspended and you will encounter an entirely new set of possibilities.

Of course, it will shake up your life. You will probably change your job, your friends, the way you eat, the way you love, the level of excitement and energy with which you approach every day life. You will start diving directly into hard things, with zeal, not avoiding them. Your passions will be rich and vital, fired out from your core being. Curious and creative solutions will come to you. Discoveries and inventions will grace your notebooks.

You might find yourself reading people’s bodies: reading their sadness and armoring from across the room, reading their heart needs. Synchronicities and serendipities will appear with startling frequency. You will begin to live from a direct present awareness of the gorgeous, wondrous, incalculably beautiful, interconnected reality of the cosmos. Of which you are always an inseparable part.

Are you ready for that?

When I was started working on this idea, the project’s code name was MTA (short for Mantra, Tantra and Ayahuasca: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll in the Search for Enlightenment). The book was intended as a tour through American Vedanta, American Bhakti, the neoAcid and microdosing world, festival cultures, right handed (non sexual) and left handed (sexual) tantra, polyamory, gender fluidity, Radical Honesty and other liberation theologies. But it’s not where it ended. Because some people who do these practices get stuck in a hedonistic eddy, and that’s not the aim. I’m going to document 2 dozen experiences for you to consider.  I want to urge you as you read through these stories and modalities, these stories, to please not stop at a perception of hedonism. Although people can get stuck in the pleasure experience, that significantly sells these tools short of their full potential.

The difference between medicine and poison, literally and figuratively, is all about the dose and the context. All of the tools and experiences I’m going to share with you are to be used with hyper-awakened conscientiousness, with the right people, in the right circumstances, in an informed manner. As we progress in opening, and the tools have served their purpose in helping us get underneath the conscious mind, to get below the ego layer, to pry open the plastic casing of trained cultural conditioning, of loosened that casing, then we will be able to holster these tools. The goal is to be completely free within our own being, with no assists. So, don’t get stuck in the feel good or the numb out. We are looking for fearlessness, we are going next level here.

How will you know it’s working?

You will know it’s working by the fruits by the quality of your daily experience of life, how unfazed you are by externalities, by the quality of your relationships, by the quality of your communication, by how you serve the world around you, by the manifestations of positive change in all domains you engage in, by the presence of more love, peace, patience, kindness and clarity in your daily life. Your own sovereign being, living from your deep wisdom and oversoul.

In the beginning, you may find it hard to talk to your existing friends, family and colleagues about the things you are trying and the things you discover, but eventually your direct experience will give you a platform from which to share your reality. You will meet a network of new friend and allies who also “want to take the Red Pill”, and not stay in the superficial dream of life. I was very surprised by the people that came out of the underground with their own explorations that they hid: Researchers, Google executives, School teachers, Nurses, Construction Workers, Attorneys. All walks of life, all income levels, all having had it with the way things are. There are many more of us than you realize.

In the words of Michael Franti, “All the freaky people make the beauty of the world.”

Come to the edges, and jump in the brilliant waters. Confront your fears, your shoulds, the taboos you’ve been taught.  Everything is possible.




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