CannaMana

(Highdeas)

Hypomaniac’s Anonymous

Inside myself I have a well without a bottom.

A reverse black hole spewing out light and electricity and motion. Assembling from base components instead of tearing them apart. Not sure where any of it comes from.

I am not the well. I am not the black hole. I am not the stuff spewing out.

If anything I’m just the conduit.

 

 

Symbiosis IV

Forget most of what I wrote in my last post on symbiosis, it was all bullshit. At this moment I feel like it was nonsensical babble- not of the fun variety. At this moment I don’t think anyone can understand symbiosis with numbers or figures, analyizing arbitrary symbols and values to an ocean of ever-fluctuating, infinite, eternal variables. We must tune into it and experience it, not analyze it from just one perspective.

Today I just want to observe my own local symbiotic and parasitic relationships with non-human organisms: 

Kombucha

For the past couple years I’ve continuously brewed about 3 gallons of kombucha each week. It’s a symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeast(S.C.O.B.Y) that I feed once every 7-10 days with a batch of simple sweet black tea. At the end of the cycle it produces a living probiotic drink I credit at least partially to my good health, digestion, and general sense of well-being. There’s no way for me to get to know the trillions of organisms that live in my brew, but I love sharing life and good health with them. 

Garden 

I’ve been gardening for about 5 years. I’ve grown a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers, some more successfully than others- tomatoes, squash, garlic, kale, chard, peas, cucumbers, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, radishes, blackberries, basil, marigolds, sunflowers, roses, lemon fig trees and some others I can’t mention at the moment. I don’t actually “grow" anything. I prepare the environment for the seeds to grow and thrive into mature plants- soil to hold water and nutrients, regulate temperature, protect against predators- they do all the growing on their own.

Weeds 

Michael Pollen wrote an excellent essay about weeds in his book Second Nature. My opinion is that weeds are just plants who’ve become very good at growing somewhere in competition to that which we desire to grow. So I pull them, as often and thoroughly as possible. I don’t see it as an ominous, hateful relationship. I don’t see it as a dichotomy that must be ultimately conquered in my favor. I see it as a healthy, endless competition- I constantly strive against very successful plants, and both they and I are ultimately strengthened. 

Chickens

I have 4 hens. When they were just hatched they lived inside the house with me, but as they grew larger they grew stinkier and dirtier. I recently spent 2 weeks designing and building them a mobile chicken coop to live in outside, and we’re all much happier. They haven’t started laying eggs yet, but will later this summer. They’ll eventually lay about an egg a day, for a total of over a thousand eggs per year- which is still too few for my growing family. In the meantime their main benefit is that they’re beautiful and fun to watch. I don’t know how someone can look into the face of a chicken and not fall in love.

Slugs:

The region I’ve just moved to is drastically different than the desert I came from, and I’m told slugs will destroy my garden if left unchecked. I’ve found a few hiding in moist, weedy areas of my yard and feed them to the chickens, but so far they’ve left my garden alone. My relationship with them is one of pre-emptive aggression,  without any hate towards them. Who could blame them if they want to eat the tasty leaves and vegetables in my garden a I do? By giving them to the chickens I’m redirecting them into my own symbiotic network. They’ve given me a reason to purchase beer, which I haven’t had in many years: beer traps. I’m told if I set out small plastic dishes of beer around my garden slugs will be drawn to them and will drown themselves, much like alcoholics do, but after a few nights I haven’t found any floating in my beer death traps.

Worms

I dig worms. They eat death and shit life. They’re little organic alchemists playing a crucial role in the overall game of life by making soil for the rest of the web to plop down upon and take root. I sometimes dig them up and feed them to the chickens and have been continually astonished at how many I find in very small patches of dirt.

Compost

 Worms + microorganisms working together to break down a huge pile of dead stuff and rearrange all the molecules so they can be fed back into the chain of life. I dig compost. Just yesterday I began suspecting that a rat lives in my compost. I have to  dispatch of it quickly.

Rat

The aforementioned rat may or may not exist. But if it does I need to kill or exile it. Again, I must preemptively strike an organism in order to protect my own livelihood.

Lawn 

The house I live in has grass around it. Because I don’t own this hone I can’t rip it all out for garden space or other purposes, so I have to mow it every so often. It’s a boring relationship, but sometimes I really enjoy laying on it.

Blue Jays 

Recently they’ve been fearlessly attacking my seedlings, and this morning I  witnessed one harassing my chickens. I have no plans to interact with them except for scaring them away, but they seem like little blue assholes.

Raccoons/Possums/Stray cats 

I call them “critters". They come out mostly at night, walk through my yard, and haven’t given me any trouble yet. Fellow chicken owners tell me raccoons will kill my chickens for no reason, which possums will try to eat them. From experience I know stray cats are no match for 4 chickens, but if they get one on its own a cat might be able to take one down. My approach to critters has been to build a critter-proof chicken coop which seems to be working so far.

Insect Pests 

I’ve always been at war with gnats, cockroaches, and flies, but lately I’ve expanding the hostility to any insect which invades my personal abode, with a few exceptions. If the insect seems very confused or lost, and it’s not a regular visitor, he/she may get his death sentence commuted and a warning will be issued. All other violations carry a strict immediate execution. 

Too many fucking words lately. I’m tired of words. So here it is, Miles Davis ‘Blue In Green’

Symbiosis III

It seems to me that the nature of any relationship between two or more organisms can be generally categorized as either symbiotic or parasitic. This applies to relationships between individual people with one another and with other lifeforms, and between groups of organisms like herds, colonies, species, tribes, cities, etc.

Symbiotic meaning a relationship that serves to improve, enhance, or enrich the life of all the participating organisms. 

Parasitic meaning a relationship that serves to improve, enhance, or enrich the life of just one of the organisms while harming the life of the other organism(s) involved. 

In nature there exists a whole spectrum of types of symbiotic and parasitic relationships. Some which are neutral to one party and beneficial to the other, and some which are harmful and deadly to both parties. Yet it seems there exists an exclusivity of either mutually or non-mutually beneficial relationships between organisms, symbiotic or parasitic, which is what I’m concerned with now.

I suspect this is another inescapable dichotomy existing everywhere in the natural world such as east and west, up and down, in and out. I also suspect it’s in constant fluctuation. Most organisms probably shift between different symbiotic/parasitic stages during their lives.  A parasitic relationship between 2 species may be symbiotically supporting a 3rd species, which may in turn symbiotically support the parasitic relationship. What an intricate web Nature has spun while weaving life together using these relationships.image

For instance the relationship between a lioness and the water buffalo may seem parasitic at first. The lioness hunts and kills the buffalo, eating its flesh and blood, which only seems to serve the lioness. Yet the relationship between the lion pride and the buffalo herd is symbiotic in the sense that the herd actually needs the lion pride to hunt their slow and weak in order to continue breeding faster and healthier offspring. Without the lioness the buffalo herd would eventually become as docile and slow as domesticated cattle. 

Nature found the perfect balance, and therefore both the lion pride and the buffalo herd are enriched and mutually benefit one another’s evolution, despite their prey/predator relationship.

image

All the while the oxpecker and buffalo enjoy a harmonic symbiotic relationship The oxpecker species supports its own web of relationships with other organisms, and so on. It’s all connected.

When temporary imbalance strikes - when the lions are hunted to near extinction by humans, or if a severe prolonged drought destroys a population of buffalos - all species involved suffer. While other species, perhaps the mycology in the soil feeding on the increase in corpses, may be enriched. 

Nature has innumerable ways of filling the gaps left by such an imbalance. Either a new predatory species emerges to hunt the buffalos or some new prey emerges to feed the lions. Because of this overarching, all-encompassing symbiotic relationship I believe the whole of natural living organisms is ultimately symbiotic and is meant to keep perpetuating itself. 

While thinking about all these relationships a few ideas found me, and I’ve been trying to uncover more about them:

Symbiotic/Parasitic Net Effect (SNE & PNE): a measurement of whether an organism is ultimately symbiotic (life-enriching, creating life upward into higher complex lifeforms) or parasitic (life-taking, dismantling life downward into lower simple lifeforms), and how much so in either direction. I would guess an earthworm would have a high SNE, but something like a virus would have a high PNE. This is an ever fluctuating measurement and organisms can flipflop between them during different stages of their lives.

Symbiotic Awareness (SA): a spectrum of awareness among intelligent life that designates how aware an organism is of their own S/PNE. For instance, a human illegally dumping motor oil in a public lake probably has a low SA, while successful organic gardeners would likely tend to have a higher SA.

I believe that while individual members of the species may have wildly different SPNEs and SAs, their species has its own collective SPNE and SA. I also suspect that an increase in SA results in an increased SNE and decreased PNE.

I’m just starting to reflect on all the obvious questions that arise: 

What is my personal SNE/PNE? How SA am I? 

When I leave a lightbulb on in a room I’m not in, it seems like my SNE goes down and my PNE goes up. The energy for that light comes from a power plant, which likely comes from coal or nuclear power, which comes from a destruction of the balance of nature.

Every gallon of gas I burn causes pollution, which to some degree harms the overall balance of most surrounding life. Collectively CO2 emissions disrupt the entire balance of the broad web of life. What’s my role in that destruction? What steps can I take to become more SA, and to lower my PNE upon other organisms? 

Hopefully soon I’ll have some answers to those questions and perhaps a better handle on these new ideas.

It might seem like I’m labeling SNE and PNE as a proxy for good vs evil, that parasitic behavior is bad and must be defeated somehow. That’s definitely not what I’m saying. Life operates on balance. Balance and interconnectedness of the symbiotic and parasitic are what allow life to keep going. It’s extreme and prolonged imbalance which will cause the game of life to end, so to find a healthy balance is my goal.

(Synchronistic Bonus: As I finished this article a child was watching Sesame Street nearby and I heard “The word on the street is: Balance!" and the whole episode was teaching children about the idea of bala3nce.)

Synchronicity II : Relying on the Eternal Rebroadcast of the Divine

 

Last night I felt a bit down about this blog. I’m nearing 50 posts and have only had a few random hits. Basically no one is reading any of this. Of course, I’m not promoting it in any way. Promotion just doesn’t resonate with me right now, I’d rather just publish and see if anyone finds it and gets interested. For me it’s been more about being cannamana:  a vessel for magic, a conduit for life’s secret messages as they bubble up inside me from that place which is not me. To just open up and let it flow through me. 

Yet the idea of no one ever reading any of this makes me think it might be pointless. How valuable is the fisherman’s catch if no one eats from it?

In any case I wrestled with these discouraging thoughts, and then decided to go just to bed. I had the urge to stay up late and “go fishing", but I also felt compelled to go to bed in order to not spiral downward into yet another bout of insomnia. I closed my laptop and shuffled off to bed. 

I was setting the alarm on my phone when a message appeared on screen alerting me that it was my move in a game of WordsWithFriends. I opened the game to see the following board, along with my available 7 letters:

All the words mean something significant:

     Lean: to rely for support or inspiration 

     Rerun: rebroadcasting of an episode

     Aeon: originally means “life" or “being", though it then tended to mean “forever" or “for eternity”.

     DIVINES: To know by inspiration, intuition, or reflection.

To ‘divine’ is to be cannamana. To be cannamana is to divine. "To discern a hidden reality as though by supernatural power.

What are the chances of being able to make a word from all 7 tiles? Secondly, what are the chances that the word is synonymous with a word I’d just pondered for the last 30 mins? The odds must be astronomical. Yet here I was, a mini-synchronicity in the palm of my hand. Carl Jung would order me to “Find ze meaning!".

So linking those 4 words together, I can interpret the synchronicity’s message as:

"This episode you call your life will be rebroadcast(rerun) for all eternity(aeon), and you can rely(lean) on visions(divine) to see you through".

or better yet:

"One idea gained through inspiration(divine) is that you can rely(lean) on this current episode you call your life being rebroadcast(rerun) for all eternity(aeon)."

or even:

"This game you’re in goes on forever. You’ll have more time for visions tomorrow. Go to sleep, dude!"

Which is what I did, with a grin on my face.

At the very least I got the sense that I’m not wasting my time and that I should go on, but not necessarily at the expense of sleep. The symbiosis with cannabis and the cannamana effect will return with each new day, each new life, and each new cosmic birth. There’s no need to rush.

Everything is exactly how it should be.

Caffeine: Dark Magic of the Dirty Cougar

I’ve been drinking caffeine longer than I’ve been using cannabis. Nearly 15 years of coffee and energy drinks. My daily dance with caffeine ended yesterday as I took advantage of a momentary burst of willpower and irrationally poured a nearly full 32oz iced coffee down the drain.

Years ago a disheveled and dirty cougar I knew described it like this:

…coffee is dark magic. It steals from you, and then you welcome it back to steal more. hehe

She said that while lovingly sipping a large coffee, batting her eyes, and then followed up by trying to get me to get naked and paint with her. I didn’t, although a co-worker of mine who overheard the conversation did. They had a disastrous and unhealthy fling, to say the least. Dark magic indeed.

I guess wisdom comes in many forms, even a dirty cougar. Her description stuck with me over the years. “Dark magic". Somehow I already knew that was what caffeine was, but my mind hadn’t fully grasped it until recently.

Some time after encountering the dirty cougar I read a story by Kilgore Trout about a planet whose inhabitants figured out how to steal time from the future. They could add hours to each day by stealing them from their future. Their civilization became super-productive, as you can imagine. they developed all sorts of technology overnight. They had plenty of time for rest, play, work etc. The future time pool seemed limitless, but it wasn’t. Just as their civilization peeked and they thought nothing could stop them, they’d used so much future time that they’d finally run out. Once they used the last second of future time the whole thing collapsed and POOF! It was all gone- not just physically, but temporally. Gone from space and time. They’d used up the future and extinguished themselves.

I think that’s what the dirty cougar meant when she mentioned caffeine’s dark magic. Using her warning and Kilgore’s story I’ve crafted a ‘Caffeine Theory’:  The way caffeine seems to give us energy is that it steals it from our future selves. It’s not giving us anything- it’s taking from our future selves. It’s rerouting our energy from the future to our present self. That explains the drop in energy people feel later on in the day- the caffeine crash. At its core it’s deceptive. It’s parasitic, not symbiotic. 

Some can sustain that facade for a while- I know I used to be able to. But caffeine’s ultimate goal is to collapse. After each long stretch of caffeine addiction I’d start to approach a chasm of darkness. My overall energy, happiness and productivity would plummet. Caffeine would have increasingly less effect, as there was less energy available from my future self. It was all harvested,.. leaving me a weak shell of a man. To live strong I had to stop.

Which is why yesterday I poured it out, and I plan on cutting it out of my life for good. Perhaps I’ll occasionally share some black tea with a friend, but nothing more. I’ll stick to the life-giving, symbiotic beverages to sustain and energize me: water and kombucha. 

Beck performing ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’ for Hurricane Katrina relief 

The Laughing Buddha Strikes Again!

Last night at the dinner table I sat saturated in a quiet inner rage. I burned with irritation at just about everything my senses encountered. Of course no cannabis in my system. Even without cannabis actively in my system it had taught me to look at the emotion instead of trying to squash or flee from it.

So I looked, and I think I heard the voice of the buddha. 

          Anger is rooted in frustration. 

          Frustration is rooted in thoughts that begin with “I want".

The basic premise of buddha’s message had found me in a moment of cannabis-conditioned clarity.

Certainly my anger was a rooted in frustration about things I wanted which clashed with reality. I wanted ease. I wanted routine. I wanted control. 

So I examined those desires. They were all illusions, none of them were really things I could ever possess. I had become frustrated when reality collided with my clinging to those illusions. An angry man is really just a child pouting.

But I remembered the buddha’s warning about the desire to not desire. It’s a trap of course. A trick. I remembered one way out of the maze.

Instead of trying to resist the illusionary desires I clung to, instead for reaching to some equally-illusionary ideal of perfection- I decided to relax. Not trying to relax, just relaxing. Letting go. Once I began to let go of the static of the past I could see what was in front of me now: A beautiful, healthy family, a delicious meal. It felt like the angry fire inside had been starved and (mostly but not completely) extinguished. It seemed ridiculous to have been angry in the first place.


I smiled and washed the dishes in relative peace.

image

The Emeterians performing ‘Give Thanks & Praises’ in Autumn 2012, in a beautiful park.

Symbiosis II

It’s easy to think we know something by simply thinking about it. It’s another to experience it with other parts of ourselves, in the so-called exterior world. Some things can be understood purely mentally, ideas like “2 + 2 = 4". You don’t need to see 2 things added to 2 other things in order to understand what the concept means. Some things require more of an experiential approach- like love, hunger, pain, orgasm. Symbiosis resides somewhere at that far end of the spectrum and can only be understood if one becomes aware of the constant immersion within it. 

I sometimes daydream up clever theories about symbiosis, and egotistically think I have some understanding of it. But not until I get my ass outside do I really begin to grok what symbiosis means.

Life abounds in the desert, the forest, the mountain, the ocean- in nearly every nook and cranny on Earth. Life abounds on each square inch of our internal and external bodies. It’s all connected - your belly button bacteria and a blue whale swimming at unfathomable depths across the globe.

It’s difficult to see how the bacteria in our belly buttons are connected to the blue whales swimming thousands of miles away. I don’t claim to be able to draw the line between them clearly. We can observe peripheral connections from either to many other lifeforms, and there’s only one web of life on this planet. Connecting them would be a tedious and monumental task, although I hope some courageous biologist has tried. I’ve found that what’s more effective in learning symbiosis is to look nearby at personal experience and observation.

Working in the garden this weekend I tried to be conscious of the life all around me. It’s difficult to see with my senses that our foundation is alive - soil made for and made from life, it is alive. Life crawls though it, is fed by it, dies in it. Where one ends and the other begins isn’t always clear. I found worms, pillbugs, bees, butterflies, beetles, birds, ants, spiders, dandelions, grass, moss, centipedes, fungi. All in a small patch of soil. So many more I couldn’t see - nocturnal animals/insects, micro-organisms. They feed each other, they live and die connected directly to each other. Symbiosis is harmony and inspires harmony in he who beholds it.

Soon I’ll entrust tiny packages of DNA (a.k.a. “seeds") to that small plot of organic life stuff to unpack, assemble, and raise. Sure, I’ll pull a few weeds, maybe spray a little water during dry times, maybe add a little fish emulsion. But it’s clear to me that I’m not growing anything. The soil is supplying the water and nutrients. I planned the garden, I’ll watch over it, but I don’t do the growing. No one owns vegetables, fruit, greens, and flowers. The idea that someone can “own" soil, plants, or harvest seems ridiculous.

After a couple months those seeds will produce a variety of things my family and I enjoy eating. The garden’s yield enriches, enhances and strengthens our lives. The garden is an alchemical tool which can be used to transfer nutrients from the material world and energy from the sun into our bodies.

It’s a tool that’s as reflects the rituals around using it and the wielder’s karma. I cleared out 165 square feet of weeds and grass. I tilled repeatedly, adding a blend of organic materials. Let the air in the soil, tumbled it all together. I removed large rocks. I welcomed the worms (…well, the ones I didn’t feed to my 2-week old chicks.)  

When autumn arrives and my family has had our share of the bounty, I’ll chop it all that remains and place it in a compost heap, to return the unused portions of nutrients and energy back to the symbiotic ecosystem that produced it. The role of the gardener is just some misunderstood thinking/planning part of the symbiosis. Gardeners are organic alchemists orchestrating harmonious bounties.

When our intention is in line with harmony and symbiosis, we yield the greatest fruit from the garden. When our intentions are greed and superiority, our alchemical tool crumbles and we become sick.

Gardens, like all things, reflect our karma. 

 

 

 

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