So excited to share this with the world! I have been working very hard behind the scenes of this blog post, getting ready to consolidate my reams of notes into a usable format form which to mine further gems for the Medicine Children book. I finally did it! I have received my very own copy of the program "Dragonspeak 13," which is a voice-to-text program. With this program, I am going to be able to read my notes into a microphone and have them show up in writing!
What this will enable me to do is to systematically go through my several notebooks' worth of notes from all my reading, so that I can begin to collate them based on subject area and where they fit into the book's chapters. It is also going to be able to help me transcribe my interviews (instead of doing it by hand), making the quotes and such that much more accessible.
I have been feeling 'bad' again, judging myself for my lack of weekly posting, for my very prominent ability to distract myself from writing with just about anything else. Last week it was preparing for a young teen girl's mentoring circle. I needed to get some materials together for the circle, and so instead of writing, I did that. It was good . And yet... I judge myself for not sticking to a measurable output. The inner critic declares, " You are failing as a blogger," and " People are going to lose interest in this project and forget all about it," and "You have not written a "real" blog entry since December!" and more, but I will spare you the agony of reading any more of that. Just fear leaving the body and mind, right? I know better that to pay attention to that. I am making progress in other ways, and I trust in this process.
For example, during my writing time today, I learned how to use the new voice to text program. Well, started learning is more like it! I was able to record notes form the first 22 pages of the current book I am reading, Spiritual Growth with Entheogens, edited by Thomas B Roberts, which is a collection of short essays from a conference in 1995 on Psychoactive Sacramentals (a new term which I absolutely love). I also tried to transcribe the interviews I have to date, but the formatting was so bad, I think it will be easier to just write them out!
The theme of the book so far, to sum it up, is that entheogens can provide a primary or direct spiritual experience, as opposed to a secondary experience based on ritual or convention. Different authors go into what that actually means, but in general, they say that this experience provides an overall feeling of connectedness, a feeling of oneness, and/or a dissolution of the ego. Entheogens can sometimes provide the user with a "dark night of the soul' experience, as well. The major argument against using entheogens to reach these expanded states is that without a solid ground of spiritual practice beforehand, the experience can simply be transient; in other words, it may not bring about lasting positive benefit. In addition, many entheogen users are not really prepared for the immensity of this experience, and it can cause damage to those who lack the proper preparation (and of course, it is not legal for spiritual counselors to council people about the use of these substances, anyway - a very unfortunate situation!). Finally, having a unity experience does not mean that a person is suddenly going to live a spiritual life or be able to sustain spiritual values. More work is required in order to integrate experiences of this potential magnitude, to truly shift into the higher consciousness that many believe is the only hope for our continued existence on this planet.
And that, my friends, was only from the first 22 pages!
OK, I wrote something! Go me!