My mission since I left the military and traditional pharmaceutical medicine behind has been to investigate other therapies for healing trauma. Despite the stigma, I have long been an advocate of cannabis, it helped me give up the grueling pharmaceutical regimen that almost broke my body, and even more than that, my spirit. I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to investigate many other things long ignored, even prohibited, by the medical monopoly government and doctors have imposed on our bodies. Ayahuasca, iboga, peyote, mushrooms, Sonoran toad venom, frog poison, and even others more bizarre and wide-ranging.
I am an advocate not just for natural medicines but for freedom. Mind, body, and spirit. Cognitive liberty isn’t just a catchphrase, it was the foundation of our nation. It is codified in the First Amendment, which protects freedom of belief, spiritual practice, speech, expression, information, association, congregation, and petition. The founders protected freedom of the mind in every way they could think of, and they protected it first for a reason. It seems right that veterans are the defenders of the Constitution when everyone else seems to have forgotten it.
I was privileged this weekend to bear witness to possibly the largest natural plant medicine gathering of its kind in possibly all of history. This was a gathering of veterans of the US Armed Forces, and this wasn’t limited to one plant, or even one modality. This was a celebration of them all, other natural healing therapies long overlooked by western medicine. We are spreading the message of peace, freedom, and love, hope for a better tomorrow, the unity of all peoples on Earth with each other, and with the planet itself. The Rainbow Tribe comes together.
I was humbled that so many veterans traveled from so far, risking much sometimes in terms of finances, time, energy, and dedication in return for very few promises of comfort or ease. I was honored to watch a bunch of vets take it to the field once again after so many years, to work hard and freeze their asses off for the sake of a truly lofty mission: to heal themselves, and when we heal ourselves, to heal the world.
War didn’t just break us. It broke all of you too, whether you know it or not. In many ways veterans represent the very real cracks in a society broken by incessant wars fought for industrial profit. In Japan, when an item breaks, they mend the cracks with gold to accentuate the damage. This practice is called kintsukuroi. This is the understanding that a when a thing suffers damage and has been broken, it has a history and is now more beautiful. The most beautiful trees are the most gnarled, weathered, and scarred. When a thing breaks, it isn’t best to always throw it away. We can heal and go on to serve for many more years.
We veterans went to war to master the art of violence, the science of death, and now we are bringing the military mindset to the practice of nonviolent social change. We are in a spiritual battle for the soul of the planet. We don’t use bombs, guns, or violence anymore. We follow the ancient Chinese masters who learned to fight so well they renounced the practice of it altogether.
A student said to his master: “You teach me fighting, but you talk of peace, how do you reconcile the two?”
The master replied: “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”
We’ve beaten our own swords into plowshares, and now we sow seed in the hopes of cultivating a garden with our love that all humankind can enjoy. Seeds of truth to grow into great trees of life.
So many people are trapped in a prison of their own making, punishing themselves for the things that happen in life. It breaks my heart to see so many people carrying so much baggage around every day, weighing them down and preventing them from growing and changing. If they only knew what a beautiful flower they would be if they allowed that hard shell to crack open. Growth is scary because to someone who doesn’t understand it, what happens to a seed looks like complete destruction. It breaks open, it’s insides come out and everything changes. Birth is a beautiful and scary thing every time it happens.
It’s time to free the oppressed from their mental slavery. Come be reborn again, fill your cracks with gold, connect with the Earth, dig in the dirt, plant a garden, live another life of service to your fellow man, heal the veteran, heal the world.
Veterans have been in that deep, dark hole. We know what to do to get out. We weave this cord of veterans one thread at a time, that we can eventually throw a lifeline to all people out there who are hurt, who are suffering, who are afraid, who think they are alone. You are not alone. Not everyone has forgotten you. We remember you, and we’ll roam the darkness calling out for you. Just reach out a hand to let us know you’re there. We know that no one can banish the dark by always staying in the light. We become enlightened by making the darkness conscious.
We were called to serve, once. Let this be your wake-up call. Our job now is to stand up for those who cannot, to fight for the downtrodden, to heal the broken, to bring freedom to the people, all people. We veterans are the tip of the spear, aimed at the heart of darkness. We won’t stop until we’ve changed the world, and we’ll do it if we have to change it one person at a time. You only get to the top of the mountain by putting one foot in front of the other.
“Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the way for the whole nation.
If Veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war.
And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other, so we never have to use violence to resolve conflicts again.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh