#111 Monstrous allies

I realized something during a recent experience. I already knew the thing theoretically; however, after this experience I knew it intuitively. I knew the thing with my mind—not with my heart and gut. The thing or phenomenon of which I speak are the monsters we see and feel and interact with during a psychedelic experience. I saw some freakish things – and they saw me – and I was scared at times. I’m experienced enough in these realms to know how and when to turn away or change the channel so to speak. I accept whatever comes but do not dwell too much on these visions.

The realization I had is that these monsters are part of us, whether they are forms of our subconscious mind, representations of emotions/events/traumas buried in our unconscious mind, or objective entities made manifest because of altering one’s consciousness and perception. As I like to say: everything is on the table since we don’t know exactly what’s going on at present. What we do know is that these presences present themselves during our psychedelic excursions. They must be perceived, at least initially, and dealt with in whatever way the experiencer deems appropriate. As I said, one can turn away from them or, as I did recently, engage them head on, face-to-face. I wouldn’t say I ran away from these things upon perceiving them in the past, rather, I’d either view them for a bit, have a short conversation with them, or give them their moment, and then eventually would turn away to host the next vision. My last experience was different.

During my last experience, I sympathized with them. I realized the monsters or “negative” energies or unsavory characteristics about and within us, or present in other beings (in this dimension and others), should not be pitied, shunned, or fled from. They have much to teach us and can be our allies. I refer to shamans’ use of the term ally. As I understand it, a shaman’s ally is a being or energy that acts as the shaman’s guide or helper in altered states of consciousness. Undoubtedly, bad or black magic shamans are merely one kind of foe. Other adversaries include malevolent entities and energies whether stemming from within the shaman or without. In my opinion, experiences of unwanted or negative monsters during psychedelic experiences are not what they seem to be at first glance. From this point onward, I see them as positive forces too, albeit indirectly when compared to a vision that is seemingly benevolent.

The reason negative entities can be positive is because (i) they have much to teach us and because (ii) we can draw on their wisdom and power.

First, they teach us about the principle of Yin and Yang, about opposite forces at play in nature. But also, that there’s some good in the bad and some bad in the good. In this way, natural systems maintain balance and stability like a pendulum. If one force swings too much in one direction, eventually it must swing back to accommodate for the push in any one direction. In consideration of the way our human minds are set up, we must have polarity to understand our experience of reality. Even if everything was rosy in the spiritual realms or within us, i.e., think of a spiritually advanced human civilization thousands of years from now, we would still find a “bad guy,” a scapegoat, a labeled thing for us to point to. The monsters we experience are just that: the opposite of what we are and that which we recognize exist for us to avoid. (Note that an evil person taking psychedelics might consider angels and positive entities as monsters or the bad guy. I imagine most people in our world are good or strive to be good.) We know what is good and right by knowing what bads and wrongs exist, and likely experiencing these emotions for ourselves at some point in our lives because of the mistakes we have made. We know when a monster got the best of us. We regret, we try to be better, and we’re all the wiser the next time we’re at a crossroads demanding our decision.

Second, I realized we can draw on monsters’ wisdom and power in rare and exceptional experiences. Life was harder, more unpredictable, hundreds and thousands of years ago. There were more wars, violations, unrest, and uncertainty. I remember reading an article some years ago about a book psychologist Steven Pinker wrote saying that human beings have never lived in such a peaceful time as they do today, relatively speaking. The reason you might question such a claim is that we still have wars and crime. In historical terms, however, we’re less violent than in the past. Also, modern media neatly packages the world’s daily woes into a one-hour “news” segment delivered to your home via television or computer or while you’re on the go through your mobile phone. It seems like humans haven’t changed or are getting worse because we hear about the world’s violence rather than our local crime stories as it had been until the advent of newspapers and modern media.

Regarding the above comments, the point I’m making is that when the rare violent incident happens to us or we find ourself in fight or flight mode, we can draw on these monsters’ expertise to get us through the event. We can defend ourselves, fight back if needed, and take control of the situation with their knowledge. In a way, we’re drawing on dormant animal aspects of ourselves. I’m not suggesting that animals are monsters, but there is something pre-linguistic, gut-level, intuitive, that we never forgot when it comes to surviving threatening situations.

When I see these so-called monsters or demons during psychedelic experiences, I don’t feel the need to be scared or run away from them anymore. Now, I embrace them. They are my friends, my allies. I actually believe they have my best interests in mind. They try to protect me. With that said, they have a time and a place for their expression. I don’t want them to be a dominant force in my life for obvious reasons. I will call upon them when I need them. I know they will help me rather than terrorize me when I let that genie out of the bottle. And if they truly are my allies, they will know as well when to return to their bottle. We need them just as much as they need us. Without a human host, or entire species, to express the nonphysical or spiritual nature of their being, they become impotent like a god that nobody worships. I think the reason these negative forces get a bad rap is because of the human host who pushes too far, who expresses too much of an already intense presence.

In sum, when I see these monsters again, I will project compassion toward them for all the above reasons. And I suggest you try to as well.

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