What in the hell are you growing in there?

Most people who know me, know that I have struggled with mental health issues including voices, visions and suicidality for many years. This has been in spite of meditating for the past 50 years. Over the last 30 years my struggle has included a huge range of medications such as antipsychotic, antianxiety and antidepressant drugs as well as multiple psych hospitalizations.

I also smoked a fair amount of weed.

Over a year ago I tried micro-dosing psilocybin mushrooms. I was able to obtain a small amount which I powdered and put into capsules. Initially I took about a half gram daily but this seemed to give me some stomach upset and I backed it down to less than a 10th of a gram. This amount gave me no particular sensation but over time I felt an improvement in mood, sleep and anxiety.

I reduced and have since eliminated my use of other psychiatric meds including cannabis. My meditation improved, becoming more enjoyable and less effortful.

Then, about 5 or 6 months ago I neglected to prepare capsules of mushroom powder and essentially quit taking the psilocybin. The improvement in my mental states continued.

I had begun trying to grow the mushrooms early on because even though they were not expensive for the amount I used, it seemed more direct. I’ve continued my farming hobby even though I’m not using them.

They are there should I find a need for medication again or if I come across someone who would benefit.

I was quite nervous about it. Mushroom growing is a tricky process. They are very susceptible to bacterial and fungal contamination which will stop them in their tracks. Temperatures are important. Sterile conditions are needed including medium, handling, water and environment.

There are many steps which, if done improperly, will cause them to fail. I am someone who has difficulty following recipes. I had low confidence.

My first attempt at a crop was killed by heat last summer before I obtained a window air conditioner for my apartment. My next batch was killed when I mistakenly sprayed them with alcohol instead of sterile water. Each of these efforts had taken months.

The third time I got some mushrooms but I was using a growing chamber that was too small and they popped the lid off, became contaminated and also dried out so the amount produced was just a small handful.

My first success.

I bought larger chambers and tried again. Persistence and being unattached to the “fruits” has paid off. Lots of fruits.

These pictures are all from the second harvest in the same fruiting chamber.

I pick the large ones and dry them, put the dried mushroom in a bag and store in the freezer.

The decision to talk about this and share these pictures has been harder than the actual growing. I have worried about being judged for this activity.

There is a passage in the book Be Here Now by Ram Das where he speaks of his initial meetings with Neem Karoli Baba. The guru asked him about his “medicine” (Ram Das, then known as Dr. Richard Alpert, had carried a large supply of LSD with him to India).

To Dr. Alpert’s horror, the old man grabbed a handful of the LSD and swallowed it all. Alpert had never seen anyone ingest so much of the drug.

Baba then proceeded to just sit there, seemingly unaffected for the entire day.

As the day waned, he spoke. “The yogis have known about these substances for thousands of years. It will not bring you liberation but in the right conditions it is like having the darshan of a saint.”

Sometimes, a little darshan goes a long way. It can relieve the fatigue of trying to control the mind.

I have come to believe that the main purpose of sadhana is to convince you beyond all else that all the effort will not lead anywhere. You are already free right where you are, right now.

Period, full stop.

Mind is not controllable through mind. Better to just be what is real. There is no saint or guru beyond your own true nature.

On a completely different note, I’ve made changes in the cover art for my book. Especially the back.

I’ve make more contrasting font on the cover and reworked the back, getting rid of the preview info about the subsequent books (I’m adding that to the interior, after the title page and prior to a preface page). Here’s the newer versions.

Everything is still in flux. Some feedback I’ve received is helping me refine my rough draft.

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