I recently worked (again) with the 'teacher plant' salvia divinorum. This is a very powerful psychoactive entheogen that I approach with a high degree of reverence and respect. It's traditional use is by the indigenous curanderos (healers) of the Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico. Without going into a long discourse on the nature of teacher plants and what we can learn from them, let me just say that the lessons imparted during a SD session are unlike anything you may encounter in the 'real world'. First, the 'real world' is but one of many and the true nature of it is that of energy and consciousness. I'll leave it at that. Many intrepid explorers and healers have preceded me on this type of journey - going back thousand-upon-thousands of years. Of note are the likes of Aldous Huxley, Carlos Castaneda, Terrence McKenna, Ram Das (Richard Alpert), Timothy Leary, Daniel Siebert and a host of contemporary notables - typical found in the community of alternative medicine, the study indigenous peoples healing/spiritual practices, and the study of the nature of consciousness and our physical world/reality. Unfortunately this type of study requires one being somewhat discreet as the negative connotations of 'drug use' are pervasive and negatively impact the responsible use of entheogens by respectful adults simply asking the fundamental questions of human existence and experience -"Who/what am I?", "Where do I come from and where am I going?", "How do I heal myself, others, the planet?", "How do I serve the greater good and how do I live to my highest potential?", "Can I talk to you God, do you hear me, and can I (please) hear you?".
The great masters and teachers do not require the assistance of a teacher plant such as SD to divine the answers to these (simple to them) questions. But there are very few 'enlightened' masters in the world and they are not readily accessible! So, the consummate searcher/explorer that I am requires a radical (but practical) approach. This is NOT a recreational pursuit or pastime. The teacher plant will NOT tolerate being treated with such disrespect. As it stands, I am terrified of its use. But the very core of my being is even more terrified of NOT using it and remaining ignorant of the wisdom it can impart. Let this be a warning to you.
During this last session, it became startlingly apparent that we 'construct' our perceptive reality by the thoughts we choose to think. This may sound a little vague or worse, smack of a typically overused pseudo-spiritual platitude, but the experience was that of 'real-time' construction of reality (see Terrence McKenna's reference to machine elves) according to the 'direction' of my thoughts. We can choose to think in negative/cynical/pessimistic terms, or we can make the choice to think optimistically and remain positive in our daily outlook. The choice is ours to make and I now have a new-found respect for the much misunderstood notion of "the power of positive thinking"! This practice isn't easy in our complex and sometimes harsh world. So, I think our task is to find what is important (positive) and to strip away that which is negative. We are definitely influenced by the company we keep, the media we choose to consume, the foods we eat, the practices/past-times we pursue, etc. Ska Maria la Pastora (SD) is telling us to be mindful of our habitual patterns of thought and to make a conscious effort to focus on the 'sweet' as opposed to the 'bitter'. We co-create our reality, but we alone create our life experience and it's trajectory. That journey can be full of beauty, peace and compassion, but we must make the choice to pursue and live beauty, peace and compassion. You won't find it by constantly associating with (and consuming) violence, malice, pain, suffering, ugliness, vanity, greed, envy, jealousy, hatred, etc.