Note: This is part of a series of letters I originally wrote to a small group of friends.
as someone with no real commitments to tend to (my grandpa's favorite question recently has been "when back to google?"), i surprisingly have the rest of my year planned out. it'll be a miracle if everything works out as planned because a major theme in my life for the past few years has been unpredictability – didn't expect to move to japan; didn't expect to start making videos; didn't expect to my interest in meditation and spiritual awakening consume me. that last one has led to my current intention to spend the rest of the year meditating, practicing yoga, and investigating how reality appears in consciousness on a moment-to-moment basis.
i remember driving down the street some years ago and just breaking out in laughter because it was just so strange and wonderful that we exist and have conscious experiences. pretty sure i looked like a crazy person to anyone looking in, but the really crazy thing is that after several decades of bumbling around life, we just take it all for granted and stop noticing how magical it is that we wake up in the morning and that there is something that it is like to be us. now i'm channeling sam harris, who along with my psychedelic experiences, have ignited this passion to explore the question: "who am i?" contemplatives from many traditions have consistently talked about a profound shift that can occur where it becomes clear that we are not just separate people riding around in our heads but rather the universe experiencing itself, and i want to see what that's all about.
as an ex-christian atheist, i spent a while rejecting all things religious and anything that seemed remotely religious, including spirituality, because i assumed that they were all just as much nonsense as the christianity i grew up with. so it's funny to see just how much my understanding of religious figures and practices have changed since starting my spiritual exploration. maybe chanting isn't always a dumb ritual of following blindly but it can be used to build concentration by silencing mental talk, regardless of what you're chanting. maybe the buddha wasn't just the fat dude in chinese restaurants but a scientist of the mind who had important insights into the nature of conscious experiences. maybe jesus wasn't just a dick who killed a fig tree for not having figs when it wasn't even in season (nope, not joking), but an awakened being who tried to tell us that god and we are truly one.
i've been surprised by how much of spirituality can be understood and appreciated from a secular perspective, and for those of you who tend to be analytical and skeptical like me, here are my favorite resources: - on meditation: the mind illuminated - on enlightenment: the science of enlightenment - on spirituality without religion: waking up
somehow this turned from me sharing what i'm up to to plugging my favorite books. cool cool. this is getting long so i'm going to stop here – basically, i have no idea where this is all taking me but i'm super excited to dive deep and share with you all what i find. i've included my planned schedule below – i have 4+ months planned for silent meditation, so don't be alarmed if i don't respond to your messages for a while (in case there's an emergency or i stop responding when i should have internet access, i've included contact information). feel free to send me messages, dumb jokes, and updates about your life even when i'm in retreat because it'd be lovely to hear from you guys when i come out. hopefully through this process, i'll grow to become a more loving human and a better friend. love you all and take care!!
July 30 - September 10
Back home in Fullerton, CA!