Stoke Your Creative Fire with Visual Cartwheels, Mood Altering Sounds, and More Brain Candy
Get High Now (Without Drugs), by James Nestor is a reference book of techniques for shifting your consciousness. Some are more advisable than others (you won’t catch me staring at the vomit vectors), but I applaud the range of options offered.
We need some new (or old, but new to us) methods of getting high. After all, everybody engages in consciousness altering behavior, whether they admit to it or not.
Of course, people who use illicit drugs are normally honest about their intention to get high now. But other people like to kid themselves that if it’s legal or food based (alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, high-sugar and high-fat foods), or if it’s prescribed by a doctor (pain killers, sedatives, diet pills), well, THAT doesn’t count.
Everyone’s Doing It
Even supposing you are the rare bird who ingests none of the above, what about when you read a book, watch TV, play video games, or go for a run? And what about sex?! Not many things more mood altering than that (if you’re doing it right, that is). All of these things have been found to change brain waves and/or brain chemistry.
But that’s okay. Altering consciousness is a human impulse. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s a good thing.
I’ve talked a lot in the past about the need to free our minds from social programming. This is essential for many of us before we can truly see and admit who we are at the deepest levels, and create the lives we feel that we were born to lead, on both practical and spiritual levels. And that freedom is the ultimate high.
In the meantime, though, each day brings its challenges. Time and time again we feel stuck in a rut. Sometimes it’s a familiar one (this again?), other times it’s a brand new quagmire of fun. It happens to those who know their path in life, and to those who are seeking. It’s just part of the human deal.
It Sucks to be Stuck
Sometimes it’s our minds that get stuck, other times it’s our emotions. Either way, a deliberate shift in perspective or mood is most definitely in order. The question then is what method to choose?
The problem with many substances (including the legal ones) is that they are too powerful, flooding the brain and body with chemicals that can throw your whole system out of whack, if you use them every day. Yes, they do have the intended consciousness-altering effect, but it’s like swinging a hammer to scratch your forehead. Overkill.
Remember how it felt the first time you had coffee, beer, or something stronger? If you have to consume multiple that amount to feel the same effect now, it’s because your body has gotten numb from the hammering. And with numbness, the ability of that substance to alter mood decreases. The point is, if you’re doing it more than 50% of the time, it’s not a consciousness shift anymore: it’s your normal state. Then when you want that shift, you’re back to square one (or minus one, if you’ve picked up an addiction).
Not that I’m judging. I’ve been down more than a few of those roads myself. My depth of “research” is what qualifies me to point out that there are some dandy alternatives to a constant bombardment of substances: natural ways to stimulate our brain to mix its own cocktail of delight.
Meditation is Sexy
Numerous cultures have been developing techniques for altering consciousness for thousands of years. Think about that. Very few things last that long unless they work. Contrary to the popular image of a yogi sitting doing nothing for hours on end, there are many meditation techniques: some use specific movements, sounds, chanting, or different patterns of breathing.
The Chopra Center has a number of guided meditations you can try on their website. There are even laughing meditations and sex meditations, like some forms of Tantric Yoga. Not only can sex jazz up up your meditation, meditation can improve your sex life. That’s probably because, according to one study, sex and meditation have the same effect on your brain.
Now, I can hear some of you scoffing. That’s weird; just give me a shot of tequila or a joint. Yes, it’s different from what most of us were raised to do. So what? My advice is to give the mental finger to those nay-saying voices and don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it. Everybody feels weird about trying new things. That’s normal, but you don’t have to let it stop you.
Even I make the mistake of pre-judging sometimes. Yes, me, the Mexico-living, self-employed artist and yoga-loving iconoclast. A recent example: I’d been turning my nose up at trying Qigong because it doesn’t look like you’re doing anything. Just a few simple moves that any 90 year old could do. But then, last month I tried it. And… holy crap.
Turns out Qigong is a moving mediation designed to circulate energy through your body, using the same system of meridians as acupuncture. More to the point, after 45 minutes of doing those simple moves, I feel high as a kite: energized, light enough to float and able to approach my creative work with fresh eyes.
Go For It!
There are many meditation techniques in Get High Now, as well as visual and sound exercises. Other random techniques include medicinal herbs, cheeses that will give you wild dreams, and public nudity. To each her own, right?
I have the book, but the cool thing about the Get High Now (without drugs) website is that it’s interactive, with audio and visual aids so that you can actually do these mind altering exercises wherever you are. When they say now, they do mean NOW. They even have a binaural beat listed as a hangover remedy, for those of you who insisted on doing things the hard way last night.
Natural high in your cubicle, anyone?