Episode 11: Spiritual Entertainment 101


Hi friend,

It’s been a while. I’ve been on a long hunt for new stories. The network of rabbit holes took me out in the universe, to the space between vibrations, to the places our minds go when we sleep. Just like Newt, the little girl in Aliens, I’ve realized that monsters are real, and they live inside us. I also accidentally grew a church (I call it “Alan”) , but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

All those stories are still in a realm greater than my mind, milling around, shifting, intertwining. They’re like a glob of energy just beyond the corner of my eye, and I’m not telling the stories as much as I’m channeling them. Channeling them requires a state of mind-expansion that some reach with meditation, others with medicines, and a lucky prescious few stumble on it by chance. It’s a state that I can only enter for so long at a time, it’s easily disrupted, and it requires preparations, like meditation. I enjoy that state very much, and I hope you enjoy these stories as much as as I do.

What a Spiritual Entertainer does, is take you on a journey where you go so deep down inside yourself that you end up in the middle of the universe. At least that’s where I think we’ll end up – I have no idea. Every episode unfolds as I start to write it, and while I may have an idea where it should end up, it oftentimes ends in a completely different place. Just like falling down a network of rabbit holes, all of them are connected in the end – it’s just a question of where and when.

So, let’s go and see where this journey takes us. (By the way, I think the final episode this season will be titled “How I met my super-power”, but remember: I’m often wrong.)

It all started with a simple question: “What does a spiritual entertainer do?”. Since I don’t know any other living spiritual entertainers, I decided to become one and start doing things I thought a spiritual entertainer did. A fake it ’til you make it kind of deal. It worked for me when I became an atheist, and pretty much my whole hodge-podge career is based on “faking it until I made it”. 

One thing I’m certain of is that a spiritual entertainer has Shrödinger’s luck. That’s where you don’t know if an event is the result of blind luck or crazy misfortune. Like, imagine that we have Carl, a rational man who never plays the lottery. He considers it to be an irrational waste of money, a “tax on the mathematically challenged” as it were. Then, one day, he has a freak (and rather embarrassing) accident, the result of an unfortunate chain of events so implausible, that anyone who didn’t witness it would simply believe it an obvious lie, told to cover for a fetish gone very wrong. Carl, who understands the optics of his situation, nervously tells the his doctor this story. The doctor, who’s at the end of her shift, simply shrugs and says “if this really happened as you say it did, you should play the lottery”. Rational Carl responds “that’s not how statistics work, just because something very improbable happened to me today, doesn’t mean it’s going to keep happening”. The doctor, who’s tired and just wants to finish her rounds says “You’re one of those, huh? Well, see it like this: if you buy a scratch ticket but don’t scratch it, you’re potentially a millionnaire until you do. It cracks open a window in your mind, through which dreams can slip in when you daydream. Dreams about a life where you don’t have to chase money ever again, what would you do then? The realization of those dreams is infinitely more plausible with a scrach-off in your pocket. That’s how statistics work.”

As Carl leaves the hospital, mortified but relieved, he passes a store and decides to buy a lottery ticket just this time, just to try what it’s like. And the doctor was right, as Carl goes on with his normal life, thoughts about what he would do if he scratched that ticket and won a hundred million dollars, start appearing in his daydreams. He realizes that it would have little resemblance to his current career, but that’s life, right? It’s strife and work and toil, an endless chase for money, and you should cherish the moments in between. You get a bunch of good years in college, and then, if you’re lucky, a bunch at retirement, but in between we have to work. Work means plight. Sure, Beyonce maybe enjoys her work, but for most of us work isn’t supposed to be fun. You sit behind your desk, go to your meetings, deliver those reports, answer those e-mails. If you’re lucky, you have great collegues who make it bearable, and you’re paid enough for it to be worth it. This is life for Carl. But as he walks around with that scratch-off ticket in his pocket, he starts to dream of making music. He used to play the keyboard as a kid, but all play got lost in the process of growing up, and along with it creation. Soon, making music and being successful at it plays the leading role in Carl’s daydreams, and one day he decides to scratch the ticket. At this point he is almost hopeful that he will win, so that he can pursue his dream. He doesn’t win. Scratching that ticket collapsed the potential realities into one, closing that window in Carl’s imagination. This could have been the end, but dreams are scrappy survivors and at this point, the dream had rooted itself on this side of that closed window. So Carl does quit his job, and becomes a musician, earning much less than he used to, but being much more content and happy. Instead of a soul-killing job, he had found a soul-nurturing vocation. It all started with a freakish and embarrasing acccident. Was Carl a lucky man? That’s Shrödinger’s luck for you. 

Okay, so a spiritual entertainer has Shrödinger’s luck, but what does he do? Well, for one thing he tells stories that expand minds. I’ve found that the best way to help a person grow is to help them expand their mind, because that gives them access to more of their own potential. When we say “we grow as human beings”, it’s not our physical bodies we are referring to, it’s our minds. Our metaphysical hearts. All that space can be filled with anything we can imagine, and if we wrap it all in kindness, the world becomes a better place. I truly believe that if we all could live a little more in love, and a little less in fear, the world would be the paradise-on-Earth that humanity is capable of.  Living in love means connection, trust, expansion, freedom. Living in fear means decay, disconnection, contraction, defense, control. 

Another important skill a spiritual entertainer has is trust. He trusts the process, and so he is a gardener rather than a carpenter. He plants seeds and let them grow in whichever direction their dance with their extrinsic world takes them. He is a voice of the universe for those that want to listen, but he is no authority: either we are all children of the universe, or none of us are. The ultimate message may be “oneness”, but in between that and here, there are countless of other messages to discover. The universe is young yet, and so are we as a species.

Any spiritual entertainer worth their salt must also have a loving open relationship with sanity and rationality. His work should be delivered with flow, rather than logic,  evoke reflection,  inspire love. The work of a spiritual entertainer is best enjoyed with a mind not serious, but sincere, and it pairs well with a good sativa, or perhaps even an entheogen. 

It’s important to stress that a spiritual entertainer may as well be a she, or a they. Gender matters less since spiritual entertainment is like drag race for the soul. The queen kind of drag, not the car kind. The only label that is important is kindness. Kindness is how strangers say “I love you” to each other. If that sounds like something Hippie Jesus would say, well, I guess a spiritual entertainer is a kind of Hippie Jesus. We all have the makings of a Hippie Jesus in us, but we end up corrupting her or him with money. We sell our values for the promise of future money. Don’t get me wrong, capitalism is a fantastic thing. Arguably the best way to foster competition. But what if we all collaborated instead? What if we trusted each other, and were kind more often than not? What could we build then? If we can dream up nuclear bombs and gas chambers out of fear, what can dream up out of love?  But as we grow up, we become jaded, look at the world with suspicious eyes and try to go on together with suspicious minds, even though we know that we can’t.

We could stop competing to exploit the planet, and start collaborating to explore the universe. To explore ourselves. 

A spiritual entertainer is also a jester in the royal court of capitalism.  Our current ruler has been a terrific tool that got us where we are today. And just like any other tool, it started to shape us, and it has demanded it’s price. It wanted a pound of our flesh, but since our flesh is valuable – without it we cannot work and be productive in the capitalist system, so capitalism took a pound of our souls instead. Our spirituality is valued at an all time low, that is the price that capitalism has demanded of us. More and more humans wake up and realize that we have become slaves to the system, fed easy answers to hard questions, bought simple lies as credible explanations of complex truhts. It’s a system that was amazing when we first created it and for a long while after, because it propelled us to where we are today. Now something has to change. I don’t know exactly what or how, but I think that humanity is on the verge of defining that change. You are part of that change, just by listening to these stories. It’s as if a singularity is nearing, and things become more intense, faster, more extreme. The darkness becomes darker, and the dots of light seem fewer. Dimmer. We repeat history, like machines executing the same loops over and over. But we aren’t machines, we are alive and life means randomness so each repeating loop has something that is slightly different, a difference that grows over time and makes the loop same same but different. We yearn to be free, to break out of the loops, to create something new, and in our eagerness we forgot to ask for the price. Like when we denounced religion and paid with our spirituality. We replaced magic with technology, and started worshipping science. But science should not be worshipped. It is dispassionate art performed by passionate people. Science is the yin to the yang of spirituality. But unlike the proverb about the cake, you can have your yin and eat your yang without losing either.

One thing I’ve learned on the hunt for stories is that you lose something when you’re in competition. You lose creativity. I tried so hard to one-up myself in season two that it stopped being play and became a competition. Competition requires rules and regulations, buffers against the unknown, the sudden, the creative. It requires measure. But how do you measure creativity? Competition is incompatible with spirituality, because spirituality is play in the truest sense of the word. It’s creative, creation, discovery, exploration, art, science, that feeling of flow when you step outside of normal time and into something that engages your whole being. 

One thing I have not found a good answer to is “how does a Spiritual Entertainer make money?”. There’s an inverse relation between spirituality and money: spirituality is worth the most in the absence of money. Corporate sponsors don’t work, because the vast majority of corporations do more bad than good for the planet. They serve only one god, a god with a metric: shareholder value. Ironically, most of them have no values. As soon as “corporate values” meet money, money almost always wins. Values that you aren’t prepared to suffer for aren’t values, they’re marketing gimmicks. Following the laws is not kindness, it’s the bare minimum required to exist in a civilized society.  If a spiritual entertainer takes money tainted with unethical gain, he’ll suffer the same fate Anakin Skywalker did when he became Darth VAder (which was long before he actually got the suit, in everything but name). The process may not be instant, but it’s always faster than you think, and very hard to spot. 

We, as customers, are as complicit in keeping the system alive. We play the roles we are assigned by others, conform our lives to the same standard and template as everyone else. It’s part laziness, it’s easier to walk on trodden paths compared to cutting your own, and it’s part social: we want to blend in so that we get to belong.  We deprive the planet of its children, and we deprive the world of our true selves. Our true selves have the making of gods. To our ancestors 200 generations ago, we are gods. Mother Earth gave us the ultimate power: take charge of your own evolution. Evolve at your own pace. We are her first child to grow up this much. She hoped that we would keep living in harmony with her other children, but money was to our collective consciousness what food after midnight is to mogwais: we turned into gremlins. We started exploiting the biosphere more than we had to, took far more than our entitled share, not for our survival but because we were jealous that someone else had more. We don’t give much thought to giving back, or how we make this parasitic relationship more symbiotic. 

We demand even cheaper stuff, better phones, faster shipping, more bang for the buck! But someone has to pay, and if it’s cheap, the rest of the price is often paid by other humans. By the environment. The royal court of capitalism is a democracy, a democracy where people are subordinate to money, and moneys are the votes. 

There are companies that want to do good even if it costs them. These are the companies that have values, whose success is aligned not with the wealth of a few people, but with a harmony with the planet.  You know it not because of what they say, because soulless corporations are like Grima Wormtongue: they will always say what you want to hear, to get you to do what they want you to do. You know the good ones  because of what they do when nobody is watching. Because the people who work there aren’t doing it out of desperation, and they’re not primarily doing it for the money. They work there because it’s a double-good job: it does them good, and it does the world good. They are proud of the organizations they work for, not because the organizations are profitable, but because the profit is a sign of good deeds rather than greed.  These companies don’t make money off unethical business practices, because they understand that just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean that it’s kind. Companies like this don’t just have customers. They are part of a community, a community they listen to. These companies are few and far in between, but they exist. They are honest about their agendas, their shortcomings and their impact on both people and nature. They try to do better,  not because it’s good PR, but because it’s the right thing to do.

I have to confess, that I, too, have an agenda with my stories. I hope that by the end of this season, I will have convinced you to hire me as your own Spiritual Entertainer. It costs what you can spare and what you think this kind of service is worth. Consider it a tip, rather than payment. You can find out how to tip me through the link in the notes for this episode. And if you can’t afford to tip, don’t worry. I’ve been there, where you only have money for necessities. If you want to help out, you can share an episode of the podcast with three people you think would appreciate it. I love creating this podcast and channeling these stories, and they become that much better for every person listening. You see, I believe that the theory of morphic resonance is on to something. But that’s for another story. Until then, I wish you the best dreams. Sleep well, friend, until you wake up.