Sign in

Insights from neuroscience, non-dual mindfulness, and psychedelics to upgrade your awareness. For gigs or just to chat, get me at michaelpwriting@gmail.com.

If they don’t, what hope do we have?

Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Light, color, and their expressions in art can transport us to the “Other World” of beauty and significance. But do light and color really transport us? Or do they bring us back Here?

Aldous Huxley, in Heaven and Hell, spends a lot of time speaking to this notion. In his view, experiencing the Beauty of light and color, in their bright and brilliant forms, permits your transport to the “Other World”, oft-visited by the Visionary (e.g. William Blake) or the Awakened (e.g. Huineng).

This “Other World” is a place where colors shine bright, and where light dances with significance, inevitably…


The brain as a reducing lens.

Christian Bodhi from Pixabay

For a long time, intuition has guided me to look inward to unravel the mystery of the mind. But perhaps this approach was mistaken. Perhaps the truth behind the nature of consciousness, and of Mind, lies not in the mind’s core, but at its periphery. Consider:

“At the antipodes of the mind, we are more or less completely free of language, outside the system of conceptual thought. Consequently, our perception of visionary experiences possesses all the freshness, all the naked intensity, of experiences which have never been verbalized, never assimilated to lifeless abstractions.

Their color (that hallmark of givenness) shines…


Your body decays without exercise; what of the mind?

Free-Photos from Pixabay

We drink alcohol to forget ourselves.

No offense to alcoholics. I’m not one to moralize at others for their choice of poison, so long as they’re not hurting others in their intoxication. Indeed, I enjoy a good drink myself.

But none of that takes away from the character of alcohol — like running, playing music, and child-rearing — as a self-escaping or self-transcending agent.

Aldous Huxley, in the latter half of The Doors of Perception, speaks to this evident fact. We humans, or should I say egos, are almost always trying to escape ourselves. …


Or, more accurately, with awakening.

Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A species once at the mercy of primal urges stands up and looks to the horizon. It sexually selects for intelligence, growing its brain to unusual dimensions. It develops reason, science, and industry, and sparks an upward spiral of accelerating progress.

Individual members of the species devote their individual minds to such progress spirals — their own and that of the species. They apply their brains to the problems of the day. With each solved, progress accelerates. But new problems emerge, and minds double down on solving them.

In this way, the species moves forward. It comes to dominate the…


Be careful with harsh words. You don’t know the devastation of the violence they imply.

Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

These days, people on the sides of thousands of issues are careless with words. There’s a lack of empathy between people who disagree, whether on political or philosophical grounds. This disagreement often turns to demonization, with violence to the evil opposites implied.

I can’t help but feel that, if the people who bandy about harsh words knew the violence to which those words might lead, they’d be more careful. If they, furthermore, consciously appreciated the power of violence, I think they’d be more humble, and kinder.

As we walked the trails and not-trails of the woods this past Sunday, my…


I am all, and all is me.

StockSnap from Pixabay

Take a seat on a comfortable chair or cushion. Consciously relax your body, paying close attention to any niggles or prickles that come up.

Then bring attention to your breath for a while, following each exhalation all the way to its end.

Once your nervous system calms, stare ahead into space, with eyes open. Keep vision wide, focusing on nothing but seeing everything. Take in the periphery.

Now, try to stare at the space between you and what you see. If there’s a wall in front of you, stare at the air between you and the wall.

Now, you have…


From the chief executive vice-president of business development to the janitor.

Free-Photos from Pixabay

Let’s start here: what is This? What is the nature of the Everything in which we currently exist?

To meditate on such questions, or those like “who am I?”, can bring on an awakening experience. During and perhaps after such experiences, you sense an undifferentiated unity with the cosmos. You feel that “you” are simply the manifestation of all existence in a particular point of spacetime.

You notice, here free of all framing, that everything you ‘know’ intellectually is built on abstraction. That’s not to say it’s all wrong. It’s to say we use abstractions — words, images, concepts, etc…


We are everything, and everything is us.

Digital Designer from Pixabay

I woke up with a serious case of monkey mind this morning. This condition, alleviated by writing, journaling, or meditation, is defined by a mind seemingly out of control.

Monkey Mind

Words and images run rampant through awareness. You don’t know from whence they come, yet you can’t stop them. The more you fight, the more they come. And, as most do, you identify your self with this onslaught of thought. You wish that “you’d stop thinking so much and just go to sleep. You get frustrated with “you”. You start to suppress “you”.

The monkey mind uses different materials at different…


Meeting the people behind the personas.

kinkate from Pixabay

Psychedelics spawned my journey to an upgraded awareness. The experiences I had on these substances opened a window to what consciousness could be like, free of the ‘monkey mind’.

This, for me, is the key feature of psychedelics. They provide a trailer, packed with spoilers, for the mindfulness movie. They hint at what lies down the road of meditation and mental health practices.

But it took time and a few psychedelic experiences before I realized these facts. It’s with wisened hindsight that I look back and shed light on what really happened those first few times. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store