Celebration is a ritual of mediation that I practice on the third week of every month. Responding to my own tendency toward cynicism, this undertaking is not just about searching for things to praise in life, but about realizing the possibility for joy in what is already in front of us. Topics are decided on, images are made, and journal entries are written on each day during this week.
Our ties to culture, family, philosophies—we owe these to the various articulations and senses that make up our identities. Without them, we are unanchored, drifting without a defined soul, as we are not equipped with the reference points necessary to discover reason. Everyone is given an identity. It is up to each of us to learn this given identity first before acquiring the means to own and overcome it. This is a framework already existing and ready to be expanded on, and it is the only one in which we can let ourselves belong.
It seems that our resentment toward responsibility crops up when we attempt to distance ourselves from it. Moments of strong doubt give us the impression that we’ve been incorrectly assigned to a role. A true responsibility, however, is inherited by fate, and so striking a balance of mind must involve embracing our given circumstances. There is nothing to defend without responsibility, and so nothing to live for. By aligning ourselves with duty, we are claiming a purpose.
To make sense of our surroundings, we portion reality into units that feel more reasonable. Trying to take in too much is overwhelming, making the art of measure a valuable tool. Gorging on input can ultimately lessen the impact of an experience, and though this problem of indulgence may seem restricted to hedonism (to pleasure), indulging in suffering is just as likely (think—sulking in response to a heated argument with a partner). To pace oneself through both pleasure and pain is more fulfilling, slowing our limited moments to their most palpable states.
The senses shape our thoughts, and psychedelics compound these senses with a unique method of consuming reality. It would be easy to say these are delusions, and as such, they are useless, but the divine experiences that psychedelics illicit are known to provide the kind of perspective and insight we get from near-death experiences. How close do any one of us come to processing base reality—to perceiving things as they truly are? In a short span of time, psychedelics either take us farther from or closer to this truth, but in all it is more than we can perceive with our rational minds. This is an interesting phenomenon to talk about, but an overwhelmingly beautiful experiment to witness.
Accomplishment is our capability manifested, making completion something we strive for. We have given an effort that produced something, and the more valuable the product, the more satisfied we may feel (though it is surprising how good one can feel when completing menial tasks). Enjoying the afterglow of our wins is important to reinforcing the pursuit of achievement. So long as we don’t rest on our laurels, this can create a cycle of nimble, productive action, proving that the reward for accomplishment is a feeling of lightness in our future efforts. Accomplishment, when experienced for oneself, and not for boasting, is good for our spirits, rather than spoiling.
Technical accounts can often miss the point of a story, not conveying the actual experience of what occurred. Any interpretation worth hearing dismisses details deemed unimportant, and offers inflection to the pieces that matter most, conveying a holistic tone that is perhaps more reflective of the way we see things, rather than the way things are. There is always some intention with storytelling, and we could never get to that intention without enlarging occurrences and finding in them an importance that makes them worth examining.
Untamed things are the exact opposite of who we confine ourselves to be. They project versions of ourselves with every freedom imaginable, acting out our deepest fears and highest pleasures. Objects of the wild become at once cautionary tales and motivating examples of who we could be without social attachment. (Maybe some of that attachment is less necessary than we think?) The dose of excitement we get when witnessing the wild may speak to our attraction to chaos. Whether it is more of a warning of our worst traits expressed freely, or a reminder of who we can be if we learn to let go, we’d do well to keep the wild close.