Philosophy, cosmology & consciousness
Considering the impact my graduate work will have on this space
I’m at a bit of a crossroads with this newsletter. When I started it earlier this year, I hadn’t yet decided to go to grad school for a masters in philosophy, cosmology and consciousness (PCC) at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Fast forward to now and I’m writing this to you after a few days of CIIS orientation.
In addition to pursuing a masters full-time, I am relaunching my yoga and astrology business this month. And continuing to produce my monthly podcast called Spiritual But Not Ridiculous. I used to think I could do it all. But now I know that there is only so much time in a day, a week, and a life.
On the other hand, this novel led directly and circuitously (as things often do) to my decision to enter this CIIS graduate program. Circa 2007, I fell in love with a woman who was into Stanislav Grof (as the best potential mates always are), which led me to taking an interest in spiritual emergency, and that led to the primary story arc of this novel. Then, in 2013, I decided I needed to go to Burning Man to write some Burning Man scenes in my novel accurately. Somehow, I quickly connected with this camp of archetypal astrologers called Cosmicopia and, as the cliché goes, everything changed.
That camp was comprised mostly of students and graduates of PCC. Not only that, but Rick Tarnas, a PCC professor who later became a huge influence on me, was in the camp (I’m taking a course based on his work in Cosmos & Psyche this semester!). That camp and the friends I made there changed the course of my life in so many ways. But I’m not sure why it took me nine years to finally matriculate. Sometimes a thing has to linger there right in front of your face for nine years before it inspires action. Or maybe I’m just slow when it comes to the obvious.
So the novel and my graduate program are inextricably intertwined. If it weren’t for the novel, I wouldn’t have done any of the things that changed my life for the better over the past nine years, including living in India, healing through work with plant medicine, and this decision to go to grad school for a third time. Like I always say, the novel served as a portal for me to step through into a new life.
Although Grof was a major influence on PCC, I’m not planning to focus on the work of Grof specifically. I don’t know what I will focus on yet—I want to keep an open mind. But it seems pretty clear that my studies will generate new ideas for the novel, and this newsletter.
In any case, these missives will likely be fewer and further between for the time being (so I’ve paused payments and all content will be free for now). But, at the same time, grad school may generate exciting new content based on what I’m studying. After all, one question the novel asks is what it means to be a self-actualized man in the 21st century. I have a feeling I will have some thoughts about that as I progress in my studies. Perhaps I’ll even share some of my academic writing here, where it is relevant to the themes I am exploring here around spiritual crisis, utopian visions, manhood, and even love.
I thank you for your patience and understanding.
May you stay curious and open-hearted.
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