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155. The Relational Power of Psychedelics, Spirituality, and Integration with Tony Moss

Nicole: Welcome to Modern Anarchy, the podcast exploring sex, relationships, and liberation. I'm your host, Nicole.

On today's episode, we have a psychedelic activist, Tony Moss, and Join us for a conversation exploring the relational impact of psychedelics. Together, we talk about the importance of examining your set and setting, seeing your relational patterns from a new perspective, and finding your own spiritual empowerment with psychedelics.

Hello, dear listener, and welcome back to Modern Anarchy. Before we get into today's episode, I want to say a big thank you to our newest Patreon supporter, Andy. Thank you for keeping this podcast free for all people and supporting its long term sustainability. Truly, it is the Patreon supporters that are making this happen.

I have continued to train at Sana Healing Collective, where we provide ketamine assisted psychotherapy and psychedelic integration. And Y'all, it has been so beautiful to train with them. Of course, as an intern in APA accredited programs, you don't get paid for that. Let me just tell you, anyone who's thinking about becoming a therapist, um, and doing the doctoral level training, for, uh, three years you will train for no pay.

And so that's currently where I'm at. So again, thank you to my Patreon supporters. Um, but that being the system that it is, I have I have loved training at Sana Healing Collective, and it has been such a life changing experience to study psychedelic therapy and to learn more about it, and I've really enjoyed bringing that knowledge into these conversations with guests on the podcast, where we can co collaborate and learn together, and so, for me, It is really important that these conversations stay free and accessible to all people, not put behind a paywall.

So again, I just want to say a big thank you to Andy for making that large scale dream of keeping these resources free possible. And I actually just presented a whole didactic training on sex therapy and incorporating everything I've been learning from psychedelic integration therapy. All of my Patreon supporters got to get a look at this design for the presentation in my post last month.

It's your Groovy, turquoise, and orange. Anyone who has seen the podcast website definitely knows the vibe of the content that I create, and it was so fun to explore this. Our set is so deeply influenced by our cultural context and relationships, right? We talk about the importance of set and setting with your psychedelics.

Set being your mindset, right? What's going on up there in that big, beautiful brain of yours? In terms of sex therapy, right? We know that threesomes are the most common fantasy, right? That's been proven by research, and so when we think about the cultural context and relationships, right, for someone who is in a fundamental religion where fantasizing and dreaming about sex is a sin, that person might be struggling with the balance of this natural fantasy that is very normal and supported by research with their religious context.

Whereas maybe you have this person who's wanting to explore their first threesome, right? That meaning making and that cultural context is very different for that person. Now, let's think about a throuple. Three people that have sexual fidelity together, right? Threesomes? Hey, that's their norm, that's how they have sex, right?

So I don't think it's gonna have that same sort of fantasy and experience that the person who's in a fundamental religion where they can't fantasize will have, right? What creates all of that set of our experience is the communities, the cultural context that we exist in, right? Psychedelics being similar.

How are we understanding this drug experience? What does it mean for us to have this drug experience? As well as the meaning making we make of the drug itself or the threesome, right? And in terms of your setting, right? We're talking about where are you taking the psychedelic? Where are you having the threesome?

Sex, right? Psychedelics and sex are these powerful, expansive experiences where we get out of our default mode network and we're able to find that flow state. Ideally, right? Best case pleasure scenarios. Are you having sex at home with your beautiful lovers? Do you have the music going? The lights? The lube nearby?

The box of toys? Or are you at the dungeon? Are you feeling that rush of the crowd looking at you, feeling your powers you harness?

Are you out in nature, feeling that warm sun touch your skin and the wind gently caress you with a soft, delicate touch? All of these settings are going to change your experience. If this is the first time in the dungeon, you're probably not commanding that scene, right? There might be a lot of nerves, all of the complexities of that.

Are you having sex outside? What sort of bugs might be crawling around, right? And how can that impact your psychedelic experience of sexuality, right? Or are you at home and suddenly your phone starts to ring and it pulls you out of the moment, right? What is your setting for these experiences? And then, of course, we have to integrate, right?

Toni and I talk a lot about the power of integrating our psychedelic experiences, and I also think it's really important to integrate our sexual and erotic experiences. I know a lot of people are like, what is integration, right? That's a great question. For me, when I think about integration, I think about For example, the quote unquote psychedelic experience of when you get sick, right?

Your whole paradigm is changed, your body, your mindset, you're, you're sick. You're not feeling your normal self. You're in a different paradigm, a different psychedelic experience, right? The second that I am sick, I am immediately wanting to go back to my health, and I always say, Damn, I didn't know how good I had it until I was here.

Okay, so you've had this profound experience. What does it mean to now hold on to that when I'm healthy again, and actually feel the gratitude? Of my health, right? Or even recently, I went out rock climbing with my friends, and we all rock climbed up to this boulder in the middle of a canyon, and got to watch the total eclipse.

That is easily one of the most beautiful, remarkable experiences I have had in my life. You felt just the cosmicness of the size of the universe in that moment, and how small you are to know that these two objects were coming together and how that impacts our world. I mean, wow! And then you get back to the city and you continue with your life, and what does it mean to actually hold on to that powerful experience and integrate that into my life moving forward?

Psychedelics, same thing, these profound, beautiful moments, we hold onto them as templates of what is possible. Sex, these profound moments of connection, of love, of intimacy, of pleasure. We hold on to that and continue to dream as we move forward. Y'all, ugh, I love these combos of the sex and the psychedelics and all of it really is the fact that It's about relationships, and Tony and I are gonna hit on that again and again in this conversation.

Who are you in relationship with? And in this podcast space is a relationship. I'm existing up in your head every Wednesday as I'm releasing these episodes, and I hope that you're enjoying it. I hope that you're growing. I'm certainly growing and learning and just having so much fun showing up in this space with all of you each week.

And with that, know that I am sending you all of my love, dear listener, and I really hope that you enjoy this episode. Now, let's tune in. So then the first question I like to ask each guest is, how would you introduce yourself to the listeners?

Tony: Well, let's see. You know, I have, I wear many hats, so the, I think the story is, my name is Tony Moss and I am a recording artist and music producer, and I am an also very strong advocate for the right relationship use of plant medicines and psychedelics.

Nicole: Yeah, the right relationship. I'm excited to get into more of that and what that means for you. Absolutely. Yeah. Could we maybe start there? Like what does the right relationship mean?

Tony: Absolutely. Yeah. So it's potentially a really long conversation that is being had under different names, I think all over the place these days.

In essence, you know, one of the things I noticed over the last, I started working with At least now, 28 years ago, and 1 of the concepts I got introduced to through indigenous people is this concept of bright relationship, meaning they understand the uses they use it for those purposes. So, in the West, since I think this is a result of not only the taboo.

The quote unquote propaganda associated with the war on drugs and also a culture that hasn't grown up with a lot of its kind of rites of passages and ceremonies intact. Right? Everything was has been capitalized. I'm sorry. Commodified under capitalism. So, you add that with this taboo, and we have generations of people that don't cognize what plant medicines are, don't understand them and are completely out of what we call right relationship with them.

So, it's a no brainer that we need something like, what's being called a psychedelic Renaissance. That's a whole other conversation. And there's this returning popularity to medicine work, you know, and psychotherapeutic therapies and so forth. Yeah, I would say we're in a nation that is This is happening all over the world, by the way, but I like to think of the, you know, what we're calling Western democracy is the dominant kind of cultures is being exported all over the world.

And what I see here is an ongoing pathology, right? The kind of permeates our culture and a lot of neurosis that. People are learning slowly, even though exponentially that plant medicines and psychedelics can actually help heal. So. Having said all of that right relationship is understanding the proper use of psychedelics and plant medicines.

And then staying in right relationship with them, you use them for what they're intended for, even if that includes occasional tripping for mine expansion. Right? But they're not abuse and they're not commodified. Right, meaning that they are just soulless commodities void or, you know, um, yeah, I would say void of their, their history and their traditional uses.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Yeah, I just released an episode with Irina Alexander, who's a harm reduction therapist. And we were talking about just the research on addiction and other sorts of pieces like that. And I'm sure you're familiar with Johan Hari's research on the cage.

Tony: Amazing. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. That's always what I'm thinking about here in terms of the right relationship, right?

Like, what's the cage that we exist in within this culture that is creating the sorts of conditions where we're having more chaotic use, right?

Tony: Yeah, you know, and it's 1 thing to understand the right relationship and just embody that as an ethos or a value. It's another to. Place it in the context of our particular culture, realizing it makes perfect sense why we don't have it, and we're not going to get there immediately.

Yeah, because the right relationship piece of any culture has developed over generations. Right and again, the United States is largely void of that. So I feel like, in a lot of ways, you know, the 60s, as we know, although it put in motion, this amazing kind of consciousness revolution that we're still, I want to say benefiting from, or at least certainly in the throes of.

These were a bunch of young people that were like, without any, I mean, of course it went crazy, right? Prior to that, we didn't have things like Reddit and, uh, various chat groups to go online and kind of like, wait, what is this? And how do people use it? And what are the trip reports? Didn't exist. Also, no history of right relationship or a lot of them.

They hadn't even heard of the things, except for maybe like, you know, a friend, you know, Right. Or, yeah, I got dosed at a concert, whatever it was. So the difference between now and then speaking about this Renaissance is now we have a whole generation of young people that are very smart, at least in terms of plant medicine and psychedelics, not all of them, but as a whole, they do have access to research and a lot of them are quickly realizing like, whoa, these are really powerful substances.

Like, there's all kinds of uses for this, including You know, like, what happened in Silicon Valley? It's like, I'm more productive. Go figure, right? I can be assisted with flow state. This helps with my meditation practice. This can help with my creativity and I can do it and not. You know, cause harm to myself and other people.

This is what's new. That's the thing. I call the psychedelic Renaissance, not what we're actually seeing as, you know. A typical colonial takeover traditional medicines.

Nicole: Sure. Sure. Sure. Sure. And it's so fascinating to even see the research on how some people are trying to, like, extract the benefits from psychedelics without the actual psychedelic experience and that trip.

Right? They're trying to, like, see if we can pull out some sort of micro part of it so that we can still get the benefits without any of the hallucinatory parts. It's like, what

Tony: it's comical in this sense. Yeah. I never doubt that there are researchers out there and scientists who are literally looking at new generations of drugs and how to treat things that as a given the part comical part is that we all know that are in this, this ethos, right?

This rather, uh, ecosphere psychedelics that was really happening is that they can't patent the psychedelic. So they try to find some comparison kind of thing and that they can market. You have put a lot of money into and make a lot of money on and meanwhile, again, going back to what I said earlier with this right relationship piece in terms of rights of passages.

Once again, you take something that is really potent as a. Healing and transformational technology, remove the heart of that, which is what I think Western religion has done in general, right? You remove the heart of it and then sell it back to people as an empty placebo. Yeah, so this is also part of the quote, unquote, psychedelic Renaissance is this ongoing, you know, just normal business as usual capitalism meets.

Spirituality meets transformation, meets plant medicine, meets indigenous culture, everything, once they see that we are interested in it, and there's value in it, let's figure out a way to distort that, own it, and sell it back to people in some way that we, yeah, so you get it, and your listeners get it, and it's important to state these things when we have these conversations, because when I use terms like psychedelic renaissance, I don't want to give the impression that I am a huge advocate and celebrating it as a whole.

Right, we have to call it what it is at this point. It started off. I think is a Renaissance is something that we're all excited about. It's pretty much become a marketing tool. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. Like you said, here's more productivity. If I do that. Right? And I think we've always talked about set and setting, but I'm just more curious about the larger community setting.

That is important in that, right? Because there's research showing that extremist groups can take psychedelic have psychedelics and then have these experiences where they feel even more psychedelic. Secure and their specific beliefs and capitalism being one of them. Right. And so just in terms of this, this idea that the medicines and these experiences would bring us to this higher level of consciousness needs to be taken into that larger community context of what are the values that are getting reflected in the spaces where you are using and what are the values of your community?

Because that's, what's getting amplified in these experiences.

Tony: Now we're talking the. A broader view of this concept of set and setting, because as you just beautifully illustrated, you know, 1 of the things that's been fascinating to me over the years is because I had such a profound positive. Only transformational experience working with in particular.

I, of course, had this assumption as I started to advocate for that, that everybody would be able to have. And what we found really quickly, or I did. And then talking to other facilitators is that you're just as likely to have your current story reinforced.

Yeah, this is this is very challenging for the reasons you just brought up.

You know, yeah, you can psychedelic. Well, let's just take LSD. It's just an example of a really small 1 that you can take LSD for like, super productivity. You can. Take it to enhance your learning ability. You can take it and have a profound spiritual experience and you can take it to be a super soldier.

Nicole: Yeah, say more to that,

Tony: because in 1 case, you can trip alone or with a group of like minded people. Most people take LSD to trip and I don't discount the value of that on occasion. Right. However, there is no intention for tripping, right? There's no group intention, meaning the difference between that, let's say, like, 10 people taking LSD or mushrooms out of the festival or running around the forest versus a ceremonial psychotherapeutic session.

Where everyone is there for the same purpose for some healing, some exploration, some transformation, and there's an intention for the ceremony. Individual intentions are met. And that container, as we call it, that ceremony is being held from beginning to end to support that experience. So, being in a group of people that are there for an experience like that, you're much more likely.

To have your current belief systems and assumptions challenged, which is good. That's 1 of the part of the point, right? Conversely, as you brought up earlier, if you're in the ceremony, a setting with a group of, let's just say, hypothetically. Uh, fundamentalist Christians are white supremacist or a combination thereof.

The chances are pretty good that you're just going to come out of that with an even stronger as you brought up. That your current belief system is not only correct, that is justified and probably even like spiritually, you know, ordained and destined in some way. Yeah, and I love people in the world of psychedelics know this for sure.

I think the important thing that, like, the moral of that story is, which we all know at this point is the importance of choosing your set and setting and the groups that you work with and the leaders, the facilitators really carefully.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah, it's scary when you think about how strongly that could be reinforced and where that goes.

And I mean, to me, it's a reflection of the ways that, you know, from my lens as a psychologist and training, I'm always thinking about how we are social creatures, right? And we exist in community. And so our reality is, Reinforced by the groups that we are around, right? So having a community where these certain values are, you know, reinforced in large numbers, that's naturally where you're going to fall into.

Hence the need for a diverse community of thoughts and thinkers and representation to be pushed. Out of your comfort zone, because the comfort zone is not always where we grow, right? So being able to be in spaces where people are actually going to challenge you and push you to think about different things is how this can be, you know, such a transformative experience rather than one that reinforces, you know, you know, Potentially harmful views.

It's really nuanced

Tony: as you just brought up, you know, whether you are going to, I'll say in this case, an ayahuasca ceremony, whether you're going for a personal healing, a transformation, or, you know, some aid along your journey of enlightenment. All 3 of those still require being pushed to the edge as you brought up, right?

That's the point. Because you have to move beyond your current, the current constraints of your psyche constraints of your. You know, social and moral and political and all these different constructs, they have to be either kind of obliterated or at least pushed. Yeah. Into the uncomfortable zone so that they can be kind of recognized.

That's the point. Right? In some cases, completely let go of. Yeah, so if you're not in a setting that doesn't allow that. What you'll most likely get is a doubling down on your current belief system. You know, I think of this often in terms of like, uh, let's say the Catholic Church and the Eucharist. You know, people use this example all the time.

So it's not revelatory, but it's applicable. Yeah, you've you've read or seen the book, uh, the immortality key.

Nicole: I haven't

Tony: highly recommended it's called the immortality key. And he basically, it's a beautiful read that reads almost like the Da Vinci code, but it's his actual journey to. Discover the history of psychedelic use in spirituality and whether or not the Catholic church and Christianity had its roots and and the answer is yes.

Yeah, right. The point is, you know, you what we see most religions do is. Replace direct experience with ritual, and eventually basically with dogma. Right? So here we have this, if there was an initial Eucharist, an actual sacrament taken so that a person could basically have the exact experience that Jesus talked about, which is like, my father and I are one, you were greater things than I, basically you and I are the same thing, heaven is within.

So these are all every single one of those issues. Pointing to and referencing a direct experience of divinity. Then, of course, as we know, because the church was way more interested in controlling people and maintaining power, you take that piece out and you give people an empty ritual instead. Right and I think it's funny, I grew up this is 1 of the reasons I was able to see this really early was that I.

Grew up both Baptist and Catholic on my mother's side of the family. We're Southern Baptist and I love Sundays at the church. Right? Sure. And my father's side, you know, they were Catholic and by the way, I love the Catholic ceremony to hearing the choir and, you know, Latin and the reverence and all of that was beautiful.

So was that I noticed at an early age, the goal of the Baptist church was to get people to to sing and shout and have a direct experience. The goal of the Catholic church was don't act out, right?

It was the opposite. Yes. Yeah, you can read about it. You can enact this Eucharist ritual with all this music and everything, but do not participate really and do not have a direct experience.

That's actually not for you. So there's, we have this profound differences. So then. On that later in life, I discover ayahuasca. I'm like, holy shit. Talk about direct experience. . Yeah. both out of the water.

Nicole: Woo. . Different level. . Yeah. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . Huge pieces here and. For me, I was thinking about to, you know, the ways in which living under these capitalistic structures, you know, there's always this idea of producing, producing, producing, and frequently that gets transformed into the healing space, right?

Where it's like, you're healing, you're healing, you're healing, which is needed, but also like, what does it mean to play and enjoy creativity? Right? And so the person who does enjoy psychedelics, plant medicines, and goes to, you know, that concert and has that experience, you know, without an intention, which we can call an open intention, right?

To see where it takes you and enjoy your moment, right? You, you have that moment where you're experiencing the psychedelic and you are connected to a large crowd of people that are all singing that same song and you get the chills in your body as you feel that connection to something larger than yourself and the music is moving you.

And, oh man, does that feel like what it felt like growing up in church?

Tony: Yeah, this, I've heard so many people, young people. Talk to me about this very thing and it was my 1st experience with them. DMA. Fortunately. Yeah, I went to my 1st, you know, massive race in LA and I knew what it was. Wasn't really interested, but this friend about, okay, let's do it.

Right? So we're kind of like, hanging out. There's like, 30, 000 people. Right? Yeah. And hanging out in the stands, watching everything. And this funny thing happened. So, earlier on our way to the main arena, I bump into the young guy. And I just say, excuse me, keep going. And he pauses. He goes, Hey, wait a minute.

He comes and gives me a hug.

Nicole: Yeah.

Tony: It was like, we just didn't bump into each other and keep going. And I remember thinking like, what is like, what the hell is going on with these kids? And my friend turned to me and says, there, you're not where they're at. Cause he knew they were all Of course, he was absolutely right.

So long story short, um, he says to me at one point, Hey, if we're going to take this at all, it needs to be soon because it lasts a long time.

Nicole: Yeah.

Tony: So we take them to May. We go down to the field. I'm dancing. The medicine comes on exactly what you talked about. And this is not this is the beauty of you said the open intention up to that.

I thought I was like, Mr spiritual guy. I understood the concept of unity and connection and we're all 1 and there I was on the field dancing with all these kids who knew that already and I suddenly had this huge. You know, epiphany of like, holy shit, we really are. Yes, I am connected to all these people and they are all beautiful and I'm beautiful and everything's great.

And I know tomorrow the world will go back to being shit. But for tonight, we're just and all of that's real. Right. And I think people that don't understand the psychedelic experience who criticize this aspect of it. That the quote unquote epiphany or insight doesn't last they're missing. The point is that you have it, but none of them last.

Right? You now have a reference point. You've gone to this place. That is a somatic. And visceral real experience, right? Of what's possible for yourself and other people how to live on the planet and that becomes a guiding point post for you. Right? And I've met so many amazing people. Now, my my age who have told me that.

Oh, yeah, my 1st experience of. That led to me living this life right now that allows me to be this incredible person that you're, you know, perceiving me as all happened with an initial experience. That's why early on I said, you know, I don't not the, the tripping experiences either. Even those these days can and should be intentional.

But, but you can definitely just say. You know, people write to me occasionally, I mean, not as many these days, because there's so many trip reports online and people understand how to, you know, I led 1 is, you know, through double blind, like, how to trips it. Yeah. I love this idea. Why did this course was I see it in the beginning?

I think my friend sky and I on 1 and it's because people are doing it anyway. So you might as well, like, harm reduction. We're really about that. Right? The other is, it's all about empowerment. Well, let's just take it back to its roots. This idea that you need a church or a minister as a mediator between you and self, you and cosmos, you and Christ, right?

Now, we could kind of get replaced in the new psychedelic Renaissance world of at least where ayahuasca fits in is you need a very experienced, Facilitator, you do for the ceremony. I'm not knocking that, but you don't need anybody between you and the direct experience that you're going to have any good facilitator knows that all they're there to do is to facilitate that connection.

Right. So the fact that people have access to various psychedelics. You know, the reason we did the trip sitting course was, I want to empower people. It's like, I know this is your birthright. This thing that you potentially might experience in the next few hours is actually there all the time. Right? So, yeah, it's setting up the, the best possible container and possibility for you to have this thing that you're longing for, which we know can be an absolute life changing.

Course changing experience. It's one of the reasons I do this work, you know?

Nicole: Oh, yeah.

Tony: Sure. I would say that my work with ayahuasca has given me everything, you know, in this sense, peace of mind, a sense of self. Deeper compassion, empathy, how to move in the world, you know, a music quote unquote career body of music and art that I'm really, really proud of happy with all of that is to end the relationships that I have in my life.

All of that has come from this work prior to that. Yeah. I don't know what I was doing. I wasn't like hating the life, you know, you know, it is so transformed and deepened and enriched my experience life that, you know, once anybody has that, you feel fairly committed that you want to help other people have it too.

Nicole: Right. Right. Exactly. Spread the good word. Right. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I loved how you talked about, you know, I use the word template, right? We have these experiences on the medicine, on the drugs, and being able to know that that state is possible can be such a crucial thing to hold on to in our quote unquote, ordinary states of consciousness, depending on what other drugs you're using, like caffeine, your SSRI, all these, you know, ordinary states, whatever we want to define, but, um, in general, just thinking about even, you know, the integration of that, there's so many states of being where we just, you know, blow past.

The realities of that in other ways, right? Like you get sick with an illness. And for, you know, that moment you start to be like, damn, when I was healthy, that felt really good. Right. Or, or I go camping. Right. And then I'm like, wow, that bed indoors is, is really, really nice. But you know, then you, then you go back to your house and then you haven't camped for a certain amount of time.

And then it's like, how do you continue to integrate these various psychedelic experiences of changing our reality to, Carry them forward. So I think that's such a big piece of this is how do we stay connected to it?

Tony: And you use such a great example about, you know, none of us really appreciates her body until the slightest thing goes wrong. And whenever you're lying in bed sick, part of you is like, remember how good it felt to be what happens with a psychedelic and certainly a plant medicine experience because of the duration and the set and setting. There's this sense actually of like, Oh, this is what this feels like. Yeah, I'd forgotten what it feels like to be actually healthy body, mind and spirit.

And yeah, when that ceremony completes, as you brought up the most crucial part of all psychedelic work is obviously preparation is crucial, but it's all about integration. Yeah, and I remember seeing some article and some guy was like, almost kind of like denigrating like, oh, integration. Everybody's talking about integration.

I'm like, well, for good reason.

Nicole: Yeah,

Tony: some things are completely okay that they're popular means this is 1 of them. So, yes, let's talk lots and lots and lots about integration. The fact that that is a buzzword is 1 of the positive benefits of the quote unquote Renaissance.

Nicole: Right. Right. Exactly. Exactly. And I know you mentioned that this changed your relationships.

I'd be curious if you could speak more to that.

Tony: Yeah, you know, in so many ways, all of your kind of psychedelic exploration and plant medicine transformation and healing where the rubber meets the road is in your relationships. Right so everyone who does this work knows this and it needs to be, or there's benefit in bringing it up every now and then what's it all for if you're not a better person.

And what I mean is, if I'm by better person, I'm referring to how you relate to other people. Right, not building a bigger, better you. You know, going forward and fulfilling your life's purpose and. You know, accumulating more stuff and a better personality, like, I'm not knocking any of that. I'm just being really clear when I say better person.

You know, we're talking about quality of relationships, how you are with other people. Everyone knows at this point, we only kind of exist in relationship with other people. Right? And I think it was, it was maybe Stanford. I could be wrong. I saw a TED talk. They had done this, like, 70 year study. Don't quote me on the specifics of this, but the essence of it.

I know it's true. So they did something like a 70 year study, basically talk to people at the end of their life. And they wanted to, like, really nail quantifiably what actually people and the guy goes in here. It is the big thing we've learned after the 70 year study. The only thing that actually matters to people when they're on their deathbed is the relationships.

And of course, right. Whether or not they were good, whether or not they're bad, the ones they screwed up, the ones that were good, where they love, where they didn't love. I feel like why wait.

Yeah. I mean, 1 of the things we know is that a lot of the psychedelics well, certainly the plant medicines can cause the quote unquote death experience.

Meaning you get to. That experience people talk about having at the end of their life. You can have that in your lifetime. And the Buddhist talk a lot about this. So, like, you really don't live until you face death. Right? Once you really face your mortality, then you can live a full life, meaning instead, because almost everything you're doing, like they say, in the invited tradition is a distraction from death.

It's actually you every day thinking that you're cheating death or avoiding it. The plant medicines can give you this experience of the Buddhist referring to. It's like, well, why don't you just stop right now and face it right here right now. Yeah. And boom. And in that space, you're like, and again, harkening back to the study, what you realize if you really stop and get like, wow, the 100 years, I wouldn't exist.

Everything I own will be owned by other people and given away. And there's a good chance that no one's even going to be talking about, you know. When you get that, all it will matter to you is like, wow, yeah, love and relationships and quality of relationships and how I relate to other people. That's going to really matter.

So, to answer your question, that's the, I would say the most profound transformation that I've had working with plant medicines is. Emphasizing and showing up in my relationships in a way that feels good, right? Nurturing relationships, my friends, and I occasionally use this metaphor of the garden. It might have come from a roomie poem.

I don't remember, but you can see your entire relationship kind of ecosphere as a garden and each of those relationships is something that you planted in their garden or is growing there. Right, regardless, and it literally is something that needs to be tended to, like, you know, all the bad shit, the bad, the rumors, the bullshit, the confrontations, those are the weeds.

And the fertilizer, right when you keep those cultivated, because you constantly want this garden to be this beautiful, you know, life sustaining and life giving, like, yeah, aesthetically pleasing. Yeah, nurturing all the things that a garden gives you. I, it's a really app metaphor that that is the way you can treat your relationships at least the ones that are by choice.

Right? Because our relationship that we get thrust into that we rather not, but we have to deal with. But even in those, I think, you know, you apply the same thing. It's like treat people with compassion, treat people with respect. You know, you can get in somebody's face and tell them to back off and still do it from a place of.

Love and respect, right? You can defend yourself in the place of love and respect. You know, it's kind of going back to this idea of, like, the show guns or, you know, like, the Jedi metaphor. It's like, never strike out of anchor. It's like, yeah, you know, somebody is about to do you bodily harm and you've got to stick.

Yeah, I'm going to take them out. Right? I'm not a pacifist in that sense, but I'm doing it from a place, literally, of like, Look, brother, you are clearly an illusion. You've lost your way. And if you think I'm going to let you bash me over the head with that, whatever you've got, without me defending myself, you got another thing coming.

I love you. But

Nicole: love does not mean no boundaries. Right?

Tony: And it's literally and boundaries take on different forms and relationships. And sometimes they're physical, you know, if you're in an abusive relationship and. You know, you need to defend yourself physically. It's like, yeah, that's a boundary. Now it just took on a, a physical, you know, which I'm somebody was a violent form.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. Which I mean, to actually use violence to get people to wake up to the realities of climate change and, and, you know, people will gawk at that idea, but it's interesting at the same time, the violent violence that is occurring to us. You know, that maybe we're not as aware of and the future generations and just all these ideas of what does it mean to be an activist in the space and to make change?

It's, it's so complex and so nuanced.

Tony: It really is. Yeah. So, going back to your question, complex. Yeah. The idea of relationship, particularly related to, I think, where you were supposed to be, maybe, was on the, uh, what was, which comprehensive, the one with double blind on sex and intimacy?

Nicole: Yes.

Tony: Yeah. All of this is kind of a preference for getting into that and how it actually relates.

One of the most important things I discovered in terms of relationship where it overlaps into sexual intimacy at any type of intimacy, and a lot of people are just now starting to really understand the profundity of this is that. Almost anytime you're intimate with another person in whatever way, what you don't realize and what plant medicine can give you is that you're actually bringing your entire, the inertia of your whole story into that intimate encounter.

Nicole: Yes, yes, you are.

Tony: Yeah, this is a really big deal because you don't realize at the time that most of your intimate encounters actually aren't authentic intimate encounters in this sense, an intimate encounter, I think, ultimately. Right as you kind of progress and mature, and I think young people have kind of automatically is this innocent encounter of the other name and this beautiful celebration.

Of what it means to interact with sexually or otherwise with another being and explore. Right. And if love is present and love gets to manifest itself in this magnificent way, and it wants to that's part of the attraction is why you're there in the 1st place. What people tend to do is they mature is like with everything else, the way the brain works is that encounter of the other, whatever it is that full.

Being in present of, in this case, another human being gets flattened and dampened by preconceived notions, stories, past traumas, Harry Bobby, yada, and on and on and on. You know, and that's what you're bringing into the intimate arena. And a lot of couples I know this because they talk about it a lot in the work that I do.

A lot of couples have told me that what the plant medicine work and psychedelic work has given them is this ability to like, Holy shit, I feel like I'm actually with my partner for the first time. Like, Yeah, me on the other side of my story about myself, my story about them, my body issues, my taboos, my morals and values, you know, my traumas and hurt, or you remind me of my father and that's like, yeah, whatever the story is going on in your head, there's a thousand of them.

Sometimes at the same time, if you can remove all of that and actually be fully present to another being true intimacy, what's possible in that space, it can remove. This veil of, like, mediocrity, or it's what's now being known as, you know, the reducing valve of consciousness. You know, Michael Pollan talks about that eloquently, I think, in his series, um, it kind of lifts that for a period of time and you're already all always no thinking gets suspended and you can actually be in front of another person and be like, wow, I thought I really didn't like you.

But as I'm looking at you now, I think I'm actually kind of all in love with you.

Nicole: Yeah, I mean, it's so, there's so much there.

Tony: I was under the illusion that I was in love with you. Now that I'm really looking close, I'm realizing I don't. I'm not in love with you. I appreciate you, but actually this was a whole story I had made up.

It was a fantasy bond.

Nicole: Right, right, right, right. Yeah, I mean, there's so, I could just break down what you just talked about for hours, right? Because, uh, there's just so much packed up in that and, you know, The feminist movement came into this field of psychology, which is has its own laden problems, whatever.

But, um, the feminist, you know, came into the field and started talking about how all of our dysfunctions and psychological distress is really related to relationships and our connection to them as well as obviously the larger systems that impact us. Right? And so there's always this paradigm in the therapy room of understanding, like, how people patterns of relationships are showing up in that therapy room and in our lives, right?

And so that becomes part of it. And so that's kind of what I'm looking for and thinking about. But then my existential professor is always telling me, no, we have existential freedom. Like to presume that we're not. We're constantly enacting these patterns in ways, takes away our freedom to actually choose how we want to show up.

And like, I want to hold space for that freedom we all have, but it feels inevitable at times when we're social creatures. We look to the world out, you know, to how to exist. Getting to this idea of who you are innately is an interesting question though, Tony, because it's like, where is the innate, like the language that I'm using is taught to me from society.

The ways that I've been taught to engage with you in this moment right now is. So, like, what does it even mean to get to the oneness of the innate, right? And in RCT, they talk about maybe like the self in relation, which you talked about, right? So it's like, what does it even mean to get down to an individual self if it's always constantly in dialogue with?

Relationships and systems and all these other things. But, you know, if we're talking about the oneness, that feeling that you have on the plant medicine, maybe that is what it is, right? That like, we are all connected. This is, uh, something much larger than us. And, and, and that understanding of that, I don't know if you have more words for it, but at least in my own pre, you know, experiences, it's such a felt sense that's maybe ineffable in some ways that that connection,

Tony: yeah.

I mean, you nailed it. And It's not a conversation that is definitive ever was about the nature of the self. And what is that? Really?

Nicole: Yeah,

Tony: eloquently pointed out by you. It's like, can we even get to this innate self? My answer to that is. Maybe not, but we can certainly get everything out of the way that isn't only, as you know, to return to this, a more elevated view that everything that you ever experienced is it right.

And was it, but what that actually means to anybody that doesn't understand what I'm just said is the whole point of going on a spiritual quote, unquote, you know, and like journey towards enlightenment. There is a time when I think. People would hesitate to say anything definitive, except for maybe, you know, gurus, because it was, I think, at least in the West, the idea was that no one could possibly have any definitive answers about anything spiritual, and you certainly shouldn't say it in public, because that would just make you foolish.

And we're in a different time period now, you know, where both mystics and quantum physicists arrive at this really similar, as you know, juncture. That let's just say for lack of better language that if we, this innate self we're talking about, if you continue on a spiritual journey, and let's say, whether it's psychedelic use meditation, whether it's happening to the intellect or through a direct kind of somatic experience, the lessons that people keep coming back to, and now the quantum physics is arriving at is that ultimately what we are is awareness.

You are what is aware, right? And that's what I mean when I say on one hand, everything that you do prior to a moment like that is just distraction and you can keep weaving out of the way. Well, I'm not that, I'm not that, I'm not that, I'm not that. You arrive at this place of like, oh, it's so simple. I had it all along, right?

Yeah. I am what is aware of this entire experience. Then every single thing that you experience becomes all part of that journey and it's all of this stuff and it's all things you said one. So it's just, I share that because. This empowerment idea again, this is something that is available to all people.

It is at the core of all authentic mystic traditions. It's not a big, you know, eternal secret. You know, you know, Nevada tradition, they say, call off the search. That's what they're referring to. I'm like, look. You think that if you just continue to grimace your face and sit in poses and do things for the next 30 years that you will live it.

We're trying to tell you that you can have it right now in this moment, right here.

Yeah. And the reason why that's so valuable is to dispel the myth that once you have a moment of authentic awakening, once you do have this moment of tapping into awareness. And so, meaning. Suddenly, what you are aware of is awareness itself.

And like, holy shit, that's all the beauty of that is a life is continues. It's the top would carry water thing. And this is why it's so important. It's like, getting back to what you're saying. It's like, you will now continue to deal with problems in the world. Your, your own mind and the neurosis of other people and all of that.

The difference now is that you have this new cognition, right? You have this broader view, right? And you might enter a sexual and more intimate relationship and realize, instead of just running on the tape that's playing, you actually recognize, oh, there's my tendency to want to do so and so, thinking that, right.

It will make this a fulfilling experience. Yeah, that's running, but now I'm not a victim of it. I'm not a slave to it. Right. I can start to make some authentic choices here, which I think leads to something like closer to what we might call free. Well, when there's these going on about whether or not we have free.

Well, the way that I cognize it is because, you know, it's complex is. We do and we don't, right? If you're just running on all of your social conditioning, all the crazy neurotic thoughts in your head, you don't have any free will. Once you become aware of that, you can set those aside and you can actually make choices regardless.

Yeah, now you've got some agency.

Nicole: Yeah, until you run into the next thing that you're like, shit, I had no idea that I was still doing that, right? That's it. That's been my journey. I don't know about you, but it's like, you think you have it.

Tony: That's what I mean, like, you know, I have had the, uh, oneness experience.

I have had the experience of looking across from another person and having absolutely no differentiation, like, like disconcerting that they were me. And I've had the deep, profound, both intellectual and somatic experience of seeing the world for periods of time from a place of peer awareness. And seeing myself in that way, like, just awareness, right?

And then those things last for a period of time. They're ephemeral, right? And then you, you're back into, we'll just call it matrix of our assistance. But now you've had this experience and as to kind of bring our conversation full circle. Now, you have this new kind of access, right? This new point of reference.

Yeah, so like everybody else, you know, there's these days when I just have to like, Oh, my God, I'm so caught up in it. I need to like, pull over and stop for a minute. My brain is completely taken over and I'm the illusion of this particular story or thought process is dominating my experience. That's the way I recognize it.

The difference now, though, is that I can, like, catch it. Yeah, either breathe through it or whatever tools are most appropriate at the moment. And I send it myself. Okay. That was like a crazy neurotic pathological tangent. Nice inquiry. Now, let's get back to.

Nicole: Yes. Yes. And I'm always trying to talk to people about, you know, the ways that that's, you know, sure.

Maybe us and our, and our, you know. Monkey brain and what's going on, but also it's, it's obviously the systems. We can't ignore the reality that, you know, we can have that piece of enlightenment and then you have to go back to your job. You have to do this. You have to do that. You can't, we can't just, yeah.

And you can't just stay in that pure awareness all the time because the systems, then people, you know, like, Oh, I struggle so much with my ideas and my mindfulness. Ah, I'm so bad. I'm so bad. It's like, capitalism has gaslit you really, really poorly here. Like, I mean, this is the systems, right? So also having that, like, Compassion for ourselves in this process of the ways that it's so hard to stay in that, you know, peer awareness because we can't survive in that state here unless you, you know, maybe we're Buddha and you came from money.

And so you could sit under the tree all day, you know what I mean?

Tony: Yeah. You know, uh, hearkening back to, um, Michael Pollan and he himself acknowledges these aren't revelations. This is from his research. And in a lot of ways, understanding what a lot of psychonauts understood generations before. This idea of the reducing valve of consciousness, he explains really beautifully why we can't walk around and this enlightened state all the time.

Right? Quote unquote. Yeah. And it's because of how the brain functions and the bandwidth that we have to be able to process the enormous, I mean, enormous amount of information coming at us 24 7, even as you and I are sitting here. You know, although this is audio for the listeners, you know, I can see you, I can see your space.

My brain wants to look at all the things in your room, you know, the colors. Oh, wait, I'm looking at a computer screen now. I'm processing all the things in my room if I really looked over at the fern hanging and I'm looking at the light shining off. Oh, my God, it goes on and on and on. This is why we can't do that.

It's like, yeah, I need to be able. To focus on you or an aspect of you and maintain a consistent conversation. And as you said, get work done drive, you know, handle problems and upsets that happen in life. You're driving along. You hear the news. Something terrible has happened. You're processing. Yeah.

Enlightenment in the way that most people think of it, this idea of oneness and as I mentioned, you know, becoming aware of the awareness itself, however, you cognize it, or this, you know, hyper connectivity to everything. We're just not designed to live in this particular world and function with that running all the time.

And it's, I think the reason it's important to share that with people is like, this is why it's beautiful to trip every now and then, or to have a ceremony so that you can have a safe place to move into that. Right? And be out in nature and walk around like, okay, but I know I can't always do this, but today.

Yeah, I'm definitely like. Yeah, we're moving that valve and just letting everything come in and it's beautiful. And like you said, then the next day I got to go to work.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah, exactly. But I think it's also interesting because it kind of depends then on how we define mindfulness presence awareness, right?

When we think about like touch net Han, he talked about how, you know, that awareness can come into the actual moment of peeling the orange. Right? So, in some ways, like, we are in that heightened state when we're locking eyes right now and talking and we're present and we're right here. So it almost then becomes like, how do we define what awareness is?

And that state,

Tony: yeah, you nailed it. And this is this get, it's kind of like this idea of free will or not in the sense of. You can, you can cultivate, there is this ultimate awareness and sense of connectivity and oneness that you cannot kind of physically function in, in the sense that, like I said, there'd be no differentiation, differentiation between you and I right.

And we just said, no, it's like, this is amazing. Life is a miracle. Then what we have evolved to what is really profoundly beautiful and possible is what you're bringing up, which is mindfulness. It's taking that awareness, our ability to be aware, like, really to actually, like, bring awareness to it and bringing it to everything.

And although. You know, any number of things can trip me up on that. You can be really, really successful. I would probably say, like, realistically, I'm like a good 75 percent of the time. I'm in this state of bringing awareness to my activities, right? In terms of a mindfulness practice and bringing together the right relationship of what we talked about in intimacy.

I start each morning with kind of a tea ritual, not in a traditional ritual, meaning. Okay, I've got all these amazing tea cups and teas and my day starts with bringing my full awareness. Right? Relationship starts with which thing am I drinking? And why? Because each 1 of these teas is a plant medicine in reality.

Oh, what I think this morning is the matcha tea with mushrooms for this particular reason. Right and I'm choosing this cup and I'm choosing this tea pot and not because any of it matters, but because I can bring my full awareness to every single action. That's a beautiful way to start off the day with a mindful meditation.

It doesn't require you to sit on the edge of your bed and move into a mindful meditation.

Yeah. And then once I've kind of in that space, you know, I watch the news. And the reason is, because I actually want to watch the news, not as a commodity and content. Right. I want to actually like what's going on in the world today relative to this particular news that I'm watching and I want to bring my full awareness to it, you know, like this is fucking pain and suffering happening over here.

People are doing this and that. Oh, this is happening with the climate. This is how it affects me. This doesn't require my attention. That does. This is just gossip. That isn't you can do that when you're really aware, as opposed to just kind of passively. Being omitted, or, you know, or edited by the reducing valve, right?

Yeah. So, the point of all that is what you brought up to the awareness piece is super important to everything that we're talking about. And that there is an ultimate version of it that we don't function with on a daily basis. But that again access point that point of reference becomes the whole point of wanting to bring awareness into your everyday actions.

And eventually, there's no difference. It's what take that hot. And others are talking about is that you can live. That's why I think we go from awareness to the mindfulness. You can cultivate mindfulness to the point where you are mostly aware. Right from a conscious aware point of view, like, being mindful at any given moment throughout the day of what's actually happening.

And you're not just running on the inertia of your, your trauma pathologies, conditioning, neurosis and story of your neighborhood or culture country. Right? All of that is in context. And that's what I mean by, in that sense, I think you have more agency and there's something closer to what we're calling free will, meaning, like, because you're in this aware place, you can actually make choices that aren't just feeding.

Let's just call it a neurosis or pathology. Or responding.

Nicole: Yeah, if we can ever see that, if we can ever get out of the water, right? If it exists, right? Because then it's just like, how deep is the water that we don't even see in front of us? And that's exactly, yeah, it's, it's so tricky, but I mean, these are the conversations that I love.

We get some psychology, some philosophy, some spirituality in there and ruminate on all of it.

Tony: I love it too. And for this reason, because none of it is definitive, but it doesn't mean we can't talk about it. And one of the reasons I'm willing to go to those extremes sometimes, it's like, Just letting you know, these are completely okay and welcome conversations that we can be.

Nicole: It should be.

Tony: Yeah, it's like, this, this reality, quote, unquote, is ours, right? It's such an important message. It's like, it's yours, right? A lot of people are co opted into thinking that it isn't, but it's like, this is something that either, whether you conceive of it as something that we created, or something that was given to us as a gift by a creator, regardless.

Or it's a simulation, right? This is where we're existing and how beautiful to just kind of sit with other people and like fucking talk about it. It's like, let's talk about this piece of it. Let's talk about the philosophical piece. Maybe it's this, maybe it's not. Maybe I think, yeah, these are really beautiful conversations that we are empowered to have.

And a lot of people don't realize those conversations are the things that were eclipsed and taken from us with the, Not all, but with the dominant religions, right? The whole idea was you don't even have the right to explore those ideas. That's heresy. We have figured it out for you, right? And you will live by this particular dogma.

You will have these particular thoughts, or we will crucify you or burn you at the stake.

Nicole: Yeah, yes. And the field of psychology falls into that same sort of dogma often. But leaving that aside. Um, You know, and the research has shown that we can't multitask as much as we think anyway. So at least for me personally, I've found so much benefit for my own mental health to actually just try to stop doing that as much as possible in my life.

Right? Like, how can I focus on this one thing that is before me and the ways that that has just changed my mental health and general when well being is, is huge.

Tony: No, it's, it's, I mean, I'm glad you brought that up because I would say. This is something important to talk about plant medicine, psychedelic work.

It's most powerful in conjunction with other tools, right? And so this idea that you will go to an ayahuasca ceremony, for instance, reach the state of enlightenment, you might. Right, but then somehow your life is fixed, quote unquote, or from this point on, you're going to walk in a different way. The people that really, uh, have had life changing transformational experiences.

Again, in my case, with Iowa still are people that are doing other kinds of transformational technologies and tools. What you just brought up is like crucial, this ability, crucial learning to focus, right? Learning what flow state is like all these various things. You know, when people talk, use this term, young people, particularly lately over self mastery, like, yeah, self mastery is mastery of the mind.

That's what it's referring to. Right and even if they're looking at quote, unquote, Jedi training, right? They refer to it. You're you're still ever talking about the mind. Okay, so all the tools you can bring into your arena into your kit. That help you, as you said to, like, focus those things transform my life.

I didn't realize how scattered and unfocused I was until. My teacher was quoting someone else, a teacher of mine, my teacher,

he said to me, he said, you know, your focus is like a laser beam. There was something about that that actually went in and I got it. And I realized what he was saying. You know, it's like what the Buddhist is saying, whatever it is you do do it's like, if I'm going to sit and focus on a spreadsheet for a particular project, rather than take 3 hours and actually just focus 100 percent on that thing, give it your full attention and then you're amazed at what you can accomplish.

Nicole: Oh, yeah.

Tony: So, as you know, in your work, same thing goes for the you're, you know, exploring a particular topic piece of artwork. My mindfulness thing in the morning with the tea, which I'm not always successful with, by the way, right?

Nicole: We name that

Tony: right? But the point is, like, I want something to start to my starts my day.

That puts me into the. Kind of framework, right? Framing my day with waking up my mind and bringing it online and to focused awareness. Yeah, there's plenty of time throughout the day for all the daydreaming and scattered thoughts. There's, I don't want the impression that your goal every day is to like walk around with this hyper focused face.

Nicole: Right.

Tony: Yeah, the great creativity and advancements in both science and art and humanity have also come from daydreaming. But even that is being in a focused, if you think about it, kind of flow state,

Nicole: right, right, right, right. Cause we can't just live always in the now, if you want to build something, you know, someone goes to grad school, you have to think about the longevity of that.

You can't just stay right here. So that nuance of both. And I loved what you talked about in terms of the intentionality of it and these practices, and you had named, um, the Buddhist practice of reflecting on death. That's one of my favorite ones is to like start the day and try and to actually. Think about that, to feel what that feels like, and even that perspective, and you had named it, right, of remembering that I'm going to die, and there will be many humans, hopefully, climate change, you know, that will live after me, and that there were so many humans that lived before, and when you hold that perspective in your life, it really Changes how you move throughout your, your day and, and makes you, I think, seize the moment in a way that is, that completely changes your life.

And that, and even just journaling has been such a profound practice for me to like, sit down with a piece of paper and write just 1 page about, you know, what's on my mind and where do I want to direct my mind to, in terms of today?

Tony: I mean, I would think, you know, the most important thing that can come out of any of these conversations, certainly ours is a version of what you just shared that.

Right. I think the most important thing a person can retrieve, uh, or discover from any kind of spiritual transformational work in this context, psychedelics and plant medicines is what you just said that you get how valuable your time is on this planet and you get that you're going to die, even with life extension, let's say we get to the point where we can live a healthy 200 years.

There's still death waiting for you. Um, And this is not a bad thing. And this says, I, I think that the interesting duality and paradox of this epiphany of awareness of death is that it can send you into kind of an existential crisis of nothing matters. Therefore, I should just, you know, accomplish nothing, just hang out and wait to die.

Right? But that's not the point of it. As you know, the point is like, yes, nothing ultimately matters. Therefore, what are you waiting for? Right? Why not seize this opportunity, this incarnation and live a full life and go for it, you know, explore it, create, find out what it is it really is. As Joseph Campbell says, you know, turns you on, it brings you bliss, right?

And automatically with that, it's like, yes, and help others remove themselves from suffering and release. He said, well, why would that matter? The whole thing is going to, you know, everyone's going to die and the sun will eventually explode a mite because again, we're talking about our experience, this reality that is ours.

Are you okay with the world that is filled with unnecessary pain and suffering? Okay. Do you want to participate in a world and leave 1 for the next generation that has less pain and suffering? Right? I think this is really, really valuable because it goes back to what we talked about earlier. Is that it all comes down to relationships, right?

Even if you get well, when you get, let's say. The mortality piece, and you can actually, without fear, contemplate on the idea that you 1 day will not exist in the way that you think of it. Now, with that comes as quick realignment of your values, right? 1, you can become motivated and put on fire in terms of, like, wow, life.

I have this life. Yeah, let me go for it. And whether I'm out winning, uh, a, You know, an Oscar award or a Nobel prize, or whether it's like, you're sitting in your, your room and you're contemplating the beauty of your couch. And, you know, your relationships and the gifts of friends have given you and this piece of art that you bought.

It's all the same, right? What's happening is you're just you're starting to really open up into appreciating the quality of your life, the quality of the time that you have. And with that, which is what a lot of people have been telling me about lately, which is interesting. This has been a theme is that they realize, like, what are the things I'm discovering is I don't have time for drama anymore.

They get like, this isn't like their ayahuasca work. It's like, I'm realizing how many times I have been saying yes to things in the past that I don't actually really want to do, or I find myself in situations where I'm not actually really. Enjoying a comfortable and although there are times we all have to do things we don't want to do.

Most of them we have control over. So, I think this is something really about, but you start to contemplate, like, yeah, what do I want to do every day since it ultimately doesn't matter. And we're all going to die at some point and therefore. It's amazing. And my time is really precious to me. How do I want to spend it today?

You know, yeah, so this death piece of the psychedelic work. And of the spiritual journey, transformation work is 1 that everyone will arrive at. It's just part of the package of it. And I always say it's interesting. It's the thing we're always running towards and away from, as you know, it's like, I think.

We enter the spiritual journey, at least subconsciously thinking that what we will discover at the end of that is heaven. And we do, but what's standing at the gate of heaven is death. It's just meaning that's the portal you have to go through. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. And there's no way around it. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And so then creating that heaven in your day to day now, right?

That, that reality now that reminds me of the four agreements of talking about that, of like creating the pleasure here and, and holding the realities that, you know, the presence and your awareness of this. You know, and the gratitude that comes with the finiteness of time also includes the pain, right? I think that's something that happens frequently in the spiritual spaces where it's like gratitude.

I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful. I can't have any space for like pain and sadness, which are also such crucial parts of the human experience and even getting to hold, you know, Gratitude for that pain, especially in

Tony: the West because pain itself gets in the way of productivity and shopping.

Nicole: Yeah, and well, that's the other thing is when we look at this world and we know that 45 percent of the world's wealth is owned by 1 percent of the population. That's a global problem. And I don't know how we just like sit with that fact, like 45 percent of the world's wealth is owned by 1%.

Tony: This is the, uh, you know, we're all over the place in this conversation and at the same time, it's all cohesive.

Nicole: Yes.

Tony: That is another example of this brainwashing of a particular culture through, in this case, media, right? That people, uh, Accept that as normal and okay, and just how it is. And when you really stop and think about it, you realize how pathological I keep using that word, because that's what it is. You realize how crazy that is.

Nicole: Yeah, it's gaslighting. It's wild.

Tony: Completely. And everyone really has this idea that. You know, because of these particular people own these companies or whatever it is, it's the same, you know, I, I look at that as a continuation and evolution evolution of like, uh, the monarchies where people were at the point that the king was actually ordained by he was.

He was by by bloodline or by decree of God, he should rule. Now we have the same distorted pathology that the self made man that somehow, because these people are from this particular family, or they own these companies that it's justifiable that they own 45 percent of all. It's not well.

Nicole: Yeah. And they are all white men. And I think that's where, it's interesting, right? 'cause you talk about the oneness. We're all one. We're all one. But that white man had a very different experience in this reality with very different privileges that not all of us got in that oneness sense.

Tony: Yeah. Privileges and access to resources.

Yeah. And not self man. Yeah. Born into and maintained. A system that keeps this particular system in place. I don't think we're talking about an individual feeling like they're empowered to take on this system and change it. I think what we're talking about is people waking up from that as normal. Right.

Right. And then people waking up from that and realizing, like, wait a minute, what's happening? Yeah. Yeah. You know, this example, it's like, let's just as an example, it's hypothetical. I have nothing against Bill Gates as a person. I've never met him. Right. But this idea from this lens, right? So, here we have Bill Gates, and because he owns Microsoft, and because he's made these investments, that is okay for him, his net worth to be some, you know, whatever it is.

Hypothetically say 160 billion, right? The, the alternative story is just as plausible that you live in a culture where the reason people achieve all of these accomplishments is because that's what there is to do because it's fucking bad ass to do it. And because society benefits and in this particular.

Cultural paradigm that I'm about to make up. Oh, there's this thing where you can make as much money as you want to up till a million dollars or 10 million dollars beyond that. None of the money is yours. It goes back into the general pool for other innovation and other people to create cool shit with and you have nothing to worry about because nobody 10 million either.

So you've already made it. You can relax. Now motivate your choices every day. It's like being a Burning Man. What cool shit. Can I create this for other people to enjoy what aspect of the human condition in terms of suffering? Can I put my creative and intellectual talents into my resources, my team, whatever it is, you get the point.

I think people will be motivated to play the game. Right. Um, life and humanity. And it's something that I call, you know, species consciousness. I think you move from an individual, my story consciousness, my particular tribal consciousness. My nation consciousness into humanity, conscious of species consciousness, you know, where what we are concerned with every day and this utopia that I'm painting is always the next generation.

Can we make sure everybody have the needs met? Do all of the young people have opportunity because any 1 of them could come up with the next thing that changes the whole paradigm. You know, all young people are educated. You know, equally amazingly across the planet, and when they turn, let's see 18, we send them what we used to call the grand tour for 2 years.

You get to travel the world, meet all the people. Every nation pays for it. And at the end of that 2 years, we want you to kind of. Okay, now that I've traveled for 2 years, I want to focus on this for the next 3 or 4. My point being that those are just as plausible realities for us to live in, right? That do not require this current system, which literally capital, as you know, thrives on scarcity and competition.

It's false. Right? Manipulate it and we accept it because it's what we're born into. Yeah. Well, I once heard many years ago, someone say something to this effect that democracy and capitalism, as we see it, you know, as it's actually practiced, not conceptually, it says, Oh, it's amazing. It's the most successful prison ever created because people don't know they're in it.

Nicole: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. And the more that we wake up to that, I think collectively, we know that there's more people at the bottom of that pyramid than the top. And so finding ways that we can collectively change to a new paradigm. I mean, welcome to modern anarchy, Tony. Here we are having the conversation.

Tony: Yeah, I'm so glad you brought this up because when you first contacted me, I remember my first thought was like. I don't know that I have anything to say about that was followed with. Oh, yes, I do.

Nicole: Yeah, you do. And we hit it. We hit it.

Tony: It was my take on what.

Nicole: Yeah,

Tony: we can actually identify these specific problems.

We can wake up from the illusion and see what's actually happening and respond to it. That's modern anarchy to me. It's not just a, I'm against everything. And I'm a rebel. It's actually a state of consciousness, modern anarchy, and I would say expanded consciousness. Or at least potentially, so

Nicole: I love that.

I love that take on it and the ability to dream right? The ability to dream to get excited about that revolution and that alternate world that could happen. And I really appreciate you coming on to the show and sharing about that dream with me and talking about it and the importance of relationships and how relationships are so crucial to that.


Tony: And yeah, otherwise, as we said earlier, bringing a full circle. Everything we've talked about what's in it before, if it doesn't ultimately impact how you show up for other people,

Nicole: I know we've talked about so much and I have a closing question. I ask each guest, but I also like to hold space before I go there.

In case maybe there was something we didn't hit that. You would like to say to the listeners directly. Otherwise,

Tony: if I could think of anything at all, a value to share with other people, we covered it.

Nicole: Well, then the 1 question that I ask every guest on the show, Tony is what is 1 thing that you wish other people knew was more normal?

Tony: Oh, absolutely. We tested it already. Um, a direct experience of what they are referring to as God. A direct experience of oneness, a direct experience of divinity. I'm just using different words to say the same thing that it's not something that needs to be mediated by another, and it's not something reserved for select few.

That's the 1 thing I wish more people that everyone knew, right? That it's your birthright. It's yours. And it is, in fact, who you are, and it is just waiting to be recognized.

Nicole: Yeah, and I continue to believe that God divinity is love

cheesy as it sounds. There we go. You know,

Tony: Yeah, and it's okay. And it's a thing.

I think the reason these things are cliche is because they're actually true because you've heard it over and over again and it's been abused and it's been memed out, right? Right. And in the end, you know, Faces is a great place to end. It's like, I remember being in a rave early on. That's what I was talking about.

And there was this young guy sitting in the middle of the dance floor on his knees and he was just cracking up. It's left me having some like internal epiphany moment. I remember something that it might have been a cartoli who might have been quoting someone else. He said something to this effect when 1 really wakes up the most common response is laughter.

Nicole: Yeah. Such a great conversation with you, Tony. I really appreciate you co creating this conversation together with me today.

Tony: Absolutely. Thank you so much. Yeah. It's a delight.

Nicole: Yeah. Is there anywhere you want to plug for that people who are connecting with you and your perspectives to find you and reach out?

Tony: Yeah, I don't have much of an online presence. Well, it's just not true. I'm discovering that I have a bigger online presence than I knew, but I do maintain a website just to kind of make announcements of things. Um, and it's just, my name is Tony Moss dot me. Yeah. And, uh, but links to the music and everything that's going on in my life, I tend to put there at some point and people can also contact me through that if they would like.

Yeah, but don't expect it to, I'm not a content hound, so now and then, something will Totally.

Nicole: Of course, very understandable. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, thank you, Tony, so much. If you enjoyed today's episode, then leave us a five star review wherever you listen to your podcast. And head on over to modernanarchypodcast.

com to get resources and learn more about all the things we talked about on today's episode. I want to thank you for tuning in and I will see you all next week.


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