This process is dedicated to my late friend, business partner and mentor, Dan Bockman.
When I met him, Dan was in his 70’s, at the tail end of a brilliant career as a Creative Director for an international ad agency in LA, with clients like Visa and Honda during the heyday of the ‘MadMen’ era. Dan was primarily responsible for Honda becoming the “Number 1 car company” in the world in the 80’s. When Honda came to his agency, they just wanted a small piece of the American market share, and they had a new, as yet unnamed, fuel economy car to advertise. Dan named the car Accord and raised their expectations and window of opportunity by pointing out that a low-fuel car COULD become #1 during an oil embargo. And so it was. At the tail-end of his career, he was hired by Steven Spielberg to convert the characters in a commercial he had created into a feature length film which ended up being a TV show called Gabe and Walker.
Dan taught me the Big Picture Process, and it is like a haiku in the world of overblown marketing processes. Before we sign a contract with a new client, whether for a website, an app, a crowdfunding campaign or an integrated marketing effort, we spend 1-2 hours in meetings with the client via skype or in-person. Our goal at these meetings is to discover three things about you and your business or subject matter:
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
WHO’S YOUR AUDIENCE? (we create a profile of your ideal clients/customers)
HOW TO TELL IT? (identify media channels and messages)
This exploration is the seed of the strategy, design, media or technology we will create together and for you because it gives us the big picture. This is a paid engagement, and the deliverables are a guiding document that summarizes:
I’m very happy to announce that Lakshmi Narayan of Awake Media has joined forces with Producer/Director Eric Thiermann, founder of Impact Creative and Academy Award Nominee and DP for Oscar winner “Women for America” to make a documentary called Root to Liberation: Iboga, Addiction & the Law.
This movie will shine a light on the problem of the prescription-induced addiction epidemic and the failure of the current system, as well as the solution that iboga represents for healing. We’re going to explore the medical model, the sacramental model, and the issues around sustainability, extraction, supply and demand, and integration, following practitioners, shamans, and patients from California to Cape Town.
Because of the alarming statistic of 116 deaths a day due to opioids, we would like to fast track the production process and get a crowdfunding campaign up as soon as possible, and to this end we are busy putting our budgets together this week to present to MAPS who has agreed to be our fiscal sponsor.
I once heard of a behavioral study conducted at a university, years ago, long before I became interested in altered states of consciousness, that involved a group of chimpanzees who were placed in a room with a metal ladder, and in the middle of the room, dangling above the ladder, was a bunch of bananas, and of course, the researchers had electrified the ladder, and as expected, one of the chimps started up the ladder for a meal, and as you would imagine, one of the researchers engaged a switch and sent the chimp screaming down the ladder, electrified and terrified and empty-handed. Upon hearing the chimp’s distress, all the other chimps in the room began screaming and jumping with alarm. The mayhem eventually subsided and slowly, another chimp approached the ladder, and the chimp that got shocked, started screaming, and all the chimps joined in, and so no chimps would now approach the ladder.
Then the researchers removed the chimp that was shocked and brought a new chimp in, that had no idea of what was happening in the room, and of course, the new chimp headed directly for the bananas dangling at the top of the ladder, and all the chimps that had witnessed the initial shocking, began screaming and jumping up and down, which stopped the new chimp, who now started screaming and jumping with the other chimps. This happened over and over again until finally none of the chimps in the room had seen the original event and none knew what they were actually screaming about.
So here we are, the human race: war torn, economically bankrupt, mentally ill, over-medicated, over-crowded, fast losing our natural resources and constitutional liberties. And all because we won’t climb that ladder and have forgotten why we should.
The Big Lie Technique
The idea behind the Big Lie Technique is that if you repeat something often enough it becomes accepted as true. It was articulated by Adolf Hitler in his autobiography Mein Kampf.
“…in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie…For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”
—Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X
What’s the Big Lie about psychedelics and how has it been perpetuated in our culture?
The lie began in the Garden of Eden, with the tale of the forbidden fruit hanging from the Tree of Knowledge, and the consequences should we eat of it. With this single twisted tale, we gained the iconography that has made its way into our modern symbol for medical healing and emergency as the caduceus. The First Law makes it dangerous for us to partake of knowledge, makes the feminine “evil,” and accentuates the polarization of our human psyche.
It’s no accident that the caduceus is our universal symbol for healing and emergencies, both in the East and the West, as it symbolizes the ultimate healing—parity between male and female, and reversal of the mythic conditions leading to the Fall of Man.The Western image for healing is two snakes intertwined around a pole, who kiss and grow wings at the top; in other words, they ascend and unite, becoming a creature of a higher order, from something that crawls to something that flies, from two to one. The snakes represent the male and female, or yin and yang, entwined like the double helix; no matter which way you slice it, it’s in the blueprint.
In the East, the caduceus represents the life force energy “rising” up the pole/spine of the neuron/tree to reach union in the pineal gland. Its called “Kundalini,” or Coiled Serpent, also known as the evolutionary energy of Man. It waits to be awakened at the base of the spine, perhaps by meditation, or perhaps by a chemical trigger. When activated, it moves up the spinal meridians, enlightening the way.
Your brain on drugs
The Big Lie about psychedelics has continued to perpetuate in many ways through the centuries, suppressing many wisdom paths along the way: the decimation of the Druidic cultures, witch hunts in the Middle Ages, the demonization of the shaman by the Christian missionaries and Spanish conquistadores. The lie has certainly been repeated often enough.
In 1985, a group of powerful advertising agencies in the US created the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and ran a series of ad campaigns to “unsell drugs.” They targeted crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin, Ecstasy, and others. Best known among these is the ‘This Is Your Brain on Drugs” campaign which still reverberates today in the expression “being fried.” No doubt well-intentioned, the Partnership for a Drug Free America lumped psychedelics with toxic and more addictive substances. For over 11 years they bombarded us with messages which, while they have not succeeded in making us drug-free, have succeeded in making us very confused about the nature of the substances we call “Psychedelics” (seeing into the soul) or, for some, “Entheogens” (generating God within).
2,000 years of an empty chalice, and we’re a prison planet
When the path to Original Knowledge becomes recast as Original Sin, we have a culture that has been upside down for millennia. Long imprisoned by our ideas of what’s forbidden and what’s right and wrong, we’re stuck in context. Our relationship with our consciousness, with our spiritual nature, comes out of hearsay, books, over-translated long-dead religions, the tasteless wafer of sacraments that do not alter, empty rituals, idle worship, and questionable authorities.
Psychedelics are “mind-manifesting:” they can manifest the One Mind, or they can manifest the fragmented psyche. It all depends on the set and setting.“Set and setting” is a term that was coined by Timothy Leary to describe the conditions which predicate a good psychedelic experience. While the set and setting can be controlled in one’s immediate physical environment for the duration of a journey, the prevalent “global” set and setting that hangs over psychedelics in general is the shadow of ignorance and fear, which can only be transformed, not controlled.
The price we currently pay for altering our consciousness is loss of freedom—making criminals of those who partake in self-healing and self-knowledge, and changing the nature of the experience itself in ways that we cannot know or foresee. Psychedelics can help reframe reality by allowing a person trapped in a horrifying experience from their past to become aware of and release the memory, to experience the Self differently. The healing is of the body, mind, and spirit. But before psychedelics can reframe the global Self, we need to reframe how psychedelics are perceived in the public mind and portrayed in the media.
Media conditions culture
Both in their structure and their content, media and the psyche are inseparable. We are influenced by the cultural milieu we live in, despite ourselves. As Marshall McLuhan famously wrote: “The medium is the message.” What he meant is that the very form of the medium changes human experience, regardless of content. McLuhan felt that the content had little effect on the message, but in my view and experience, both medium and message are important: they are the yin and yang of how media work. Both together condition culture.
Until the advent of social media, conditioning was a one-way street, from the big TV networks of information and the press to the “public.” You needed a hefty marketing budget and expensive technical skills and equipment to broadcast anything on media. Today however, the landscape is dramatically different. We have email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, photo sharing, infographics, group text messages, image editing, mobile phone cameras, all kinds of easily accessible and mostly free ways to broadcast your message, whether you’re a corporation or an individual.
The collective consciousness to the rescue
Let’s suppose for a moment that psychedelics are, apart from being a medicine for healing PTSD, addiction, and other “conditions,” also agents of evolution, and that the lack of an ongoing relationship with mind-expanding medicines has created a species on the brink of self-annihilation. Could it then be true, that if we, as a species, improve our relationship with psychedelics, we would experience a flowering of culture, a kind of renaissance of human consciousness? If this is true, then psychedelics might well be the most effective and easily accessible tinder we have for expanding our compassion, our intelligence, our creativity, our relationship with our body, our psyche, our mind, our planet, our cosmos, and our profundity.
It seems to me that this is a job for the collective conscious. An easy way to do this is for anyone who feels so inspired to intentionally blog, post timeline messages and YouTube videos sharing and re-sharing their real, lived experience with psychedelics. New ideas take time, as well as consistency and repetition, to take hold in the collective unconscious. But the more positive messages there are out there, the more we shift cultural perception. So sign on to social media and post about what psychedelics are, how they have helped you, harm reduction tips, quotes from your favorite authors, visionary artwork that inspires you, and create your own timeline images. With the multitude of communication tools at our disposal, we can all become media wizards.
What’s TRUE about psychedelics? Share it on your timeline and help regenerate culture.
Still in its infancy, the focus of transformative technology is wearable devices (hardware) and apps (software) that measure, collect data and give you feedback on breathing, heart rate variability, brain wave activity, stress and fear responses and other signals that when measured, monitored and adjusted can help you manage your moods, have a more effective meditation practice, learn to live, breathe, think, feel, and perform better. Its true that these gadgets increase self-awareness. It begs the question, what is a Self?The question is, can a Wearable get you there? How much data do you need to gather to know God?
For example, moti.io is a Pavolovian style mouse-like gadget which helps you entrain a new habit by flashing different colored lights at you to remind you to ‘do’ whatever new habit you are trying to form, like remembering to drink water frequently, stretch your body etc. I can see the usefulness of such a thing to break the mold of a prescribed daily habit. You shed one habit that of not drinking water and you inhabit another, that of an incessant relationship with a gadget. Other gadgets are conceived as wearables, like the Lief, an ECG patch which has been ‘scientifically shown to improve control over your flight or flight response’, that a cynical friend of mine described as a choke collar, or a VR device that visulaizes your breath as a puff of snowflakes or colored lights that allow you to ‘move’ through a virtual landscape, making breathing a game. The more deeply you breathe the more mobility you have. If you haven’t developed somatic awareness or spend too much time in your head, these tools are helpful.
I sat in a crowded anteroom with a headband on my head from a company called Muse, that promised to help me meditate better. As I breathed in and out, Muse would measure my brain waves and play the sound of crashing waves in my ear if my mind was wandering and give me the sound of birds chirping if I hit a moment of ‘no thought.’ In 5 minutes of meditation the birds chirped 3 times for a few seconds, and the lady told me that was ‘good’ and I felt how low the collective bar was for “no thought.” What’s wonderful about a device like Muse is that it gives one somatic feedback for what ‘no thought’ feels like, and in time you can entrain yourself to hit that state even without the device, if in fact that is the state being measured. One way to self-check is to keep in mind that states of profound silence and stillness have an ‘Eternal Now’ feeling to them. These states can’t be maintained very long without a kind of inner training and the discipline to still the mind consciously for periods of time. That stillness is like a reset button. In that stillness thoughts ‘arise’ in your mind from the pre-frontal cortex instead of from the amygdala, and you, the thinker, recognizes that while these are ‘your thoughts’, they are qualitatively different from your normal mind stream, which you now recognize as the fear-based mind-chatter that we all experience from time to time.These thoughts ‘ARISE’ in your MInd. You feel more like the Witness than the Thinker, and yet, they are your thoughts. They inspire you and make you feel grateful
Did you know Your Brain Waves Can Make Art?
One of the nicest things at the transtech conference was a large LED wheel or ‘chakra’ with colored lights on it that would change pattern depending on the brain waves of the people who were attached to it by a bluetooth wearable. This was created by laser light artists and programmer Peter Tjeedsma of Illuminationart.orgIt was a beautiful non-judgmental, ever-morphing panorama of this amazing brain and unfathomable mind we possess.
Mastering our minds: from healing bi-polar to transcendence
I was late for this workshop and I walked in to the words ‘Bipolar is the low-hanging fruit of enlightenment”That caught my attention because I have been feeling for a while, that this thing we call mental illness is a serious misdiagnosis of a condition that is really more of a shamanic encounter along an evolutionary path. Tribal cultures regard what we call ‘psychoses’ as shamanic initiations, and there is a certain logic to that. The shaman journeys within, to reconcile, find God, the Great Unity inside. In doing so he or she is healed. That’s the sum of it.Because of the centuries of limited access to the Plant Technologies, which are sophisticated al-chemical processes designed by nature to help us climb that evolutionary ladder between in-divid-dual Self and God, we live in a culture of mental dysfuctions like ADD, ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, sanctioned psychosis, violence, war and more.Gino Yu, a professor from Hong Kong presents a perfecty logical idea that the ‘bipolar’ person is actually experiencing the energy of transformation, but is unable to ground it in their body because they have an overlay of fear, desire, and need distorted by many mental concepts or projections, that they are unable to ‘decouple’ from. Decoupling is an important word in this explanation, because someone with bipolar is in a dualistic mindset.
Your Body is the Ultimate Wearable
Awakening to your ‘natural state’ or ‘true nature’ is the breaking or melting of a much bigger mold than addictions or bad habits. It is the mold of the over-thinking mind and the frozen heart. I maintain that this meta-mold cannot be broken or melted without God entering the picture.Whatever picture or ideas that word ‘God’ conjures up for you, I’m referring to an experience of ‘Divine Union’ within, and it is a triune leap– physical, psychological and metaphysical. You know God. You become One with God. Whether you achieve this with breathing, yoga, fasting, entheogens, writing, painting, cooking, or some combination thereof, its characteristics and effects are the same for all humans. You heal because your issues melt into the melting pot of ‘divine mind’ the collective consciousness. You step into the master of archetypes.About the Author: Lakshmi Narayan is the Creative Director of Awake Media a design studio that build brands and websites. She believes that the current systemic dysfunctions and crises are precursors to a global spiritual awakening.
Sacred geometry is a map of the invisible. It’s the structures and patterns, sometimes atomic, sometimes galactic, that define forms and systems. Understanding sacred geometry can give meaning to life, and simplifies the ability to navigate your ship in an increasingly complex world. These patterns repeat themselves in species and objects, in social systems, behavior patterns, and in cycles of change. They show up as symbols—in business brands, art and architecture, mythology and religion. Here are a few corporate logos and the sacred geometry imbued in their symbol. We don’t know whether these symbols were designed with this understanding in mind, but it’s because of the meaning they imbue that people are attracted to certain forms. These forms keep repeating themselves through history.
The cross is a coordinate of a vertical and a horizontal ordinate. X and Y, which stand for direction, and also designate the male and female chromosomes. It symbolizes direction and crossroads, and of course, when viewed from below it is the Christian crucifix.
The Texaco logo derives it’s power from these 2 secular symbols, the pentagram and the cross, symbols of Christ and the Devil, or crucifixion and renewal, a union of polarities.
Mastery of 3-dimensions is symbolized by the 3-pronged Mercedes-Benz logo. Two symbolizes duality. Three is a trinity, or tri-unity. “Every tension of opposites culminates in a release, out of which comes the “third”. In the third, the tension is resolved and the lost unity is restored.–Carl Jung.
The Christian fish symbol, comes from the center carved out of the intersection of two circles whose circumference just touches the center of the other. This geometry is called a Vesica Piscis—’vesica’ means bladder which could be likened to a sac containing something fluid, in this case “piscis” which means pointed oval. Two wholes, or two poles, left and right, male and female, good and evil, yin and yang — the sacred space formed by their intersection is, appropriately, the symbol of Christ. If you draw another vesica piscis inside the center and erase everything but the oval in the center, you get a pupil, a symbol used in Hindu mandalas, and geometric meditation diagrams symbolizing “vision”
TWA used the same geometry in their original logo, symbolizing the union of different worlds through travel.
And Mastercard uses it to denote the power of credit.