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Episode 014

The We Space

Gibràn Rivera

Publishing Date

April 17, 2023


We speak with Gibrán Rivera, a wonderful speaker, social activist, community facilitator, and coach that works with remarkable leaders devoted to creating a new paradigm in the world.

In this soulful and vulnerable conversation, we talk about:

  • Growing up in a religious community
  • Social justice and psychedelics
  • The traps of seeking healing
  • Ecstatic experiences as God
  • Touching the divine everyday
  • Community as an act of resistance
  • Centering in integration as a community
  • Spiritual connection and psychedelics

Connect further:

Show notes

Our guest

Gibràn Rivera

Gibrán is an internationally renowned master facilitator. He helps the transformation of leaders, networks and organizations. He develops our capacity to work with complexity. And he pays very close attention to dynamics of power, equity and inclusion.

Gibrán invites us into what he calls a forward facing remembering. He understands that our next evolutionary leap depends on trust and the currency of love. And he has devoted his life to defining better ways of being together in this world.

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Pascal: Hi, welcome to One Degree Shifts. I'm your host, Pascal Tremblay. I'm the co-founder of Nectara. We're a psychedelic support ecosystem, and today I'm super honored and thrilled to have Rivera who I first met briefly in 2016 at Hollyhock. And my experience of Gibrán at the time was as a facilitator for a group experience throughout a week long event called the Social Change Institute.

And he left an impression on me in the way that he held the space, in the way that he facilitated. And also the ideas that he was bringing forward in the space and really creating a very engaged and very heartfelt conversation between people. And it left an impression on me. And years later, five or six years later I reached out to him again and was pleasantly surprised and very excited that he started working with plant medicines during that time.

And we aligned on a lot of the things that he's up to in the world. So here he is today on the podcast. Hi Gibrán.

[00:01:06] Gibrán Rivera: Hello, Pascal. So good to be connecting with you again. I always enjoy our conversations and I'm thrilled to be connecting with you and your audience. I gotta tell you one degree shifts, what what wisdom is already embedded in the title of the podcast.

[00:01:24] Pascal: I love it. Thank you, and I feel like the conversation today is quite linked to that concept as well. And for people who don't know you, can you give us a kind of a brief story of Jabon for what in the world and what interests you?

[00:01:40] Gibrán Rivera: Absolutely. You might have to stop me, and you have full consent to do that.

But How to introduce myself. I am the son of Pedro Anza. I am the father to Darshan. I am the lover and the partner of Tuesday. I'm a co-parent with Darin's mother. Samantha, I, , devoted to the Goddess. I was born in Puerto Rico and at the age of 12 we moved to Western Massachusetts. And I often start my story there because I thought my life in Puerto Rico was perfect.

And I didn't want to move. And it was like something was being done to me. And at that age I became a minority. I became a person of color. And that was not a pleasant experience, not in the United States. And that. Moved me, gave me like a thirst for justice. That took some time to make sense of.

But interestingly enough, Pascal, we also moved for very unique reasons. We moved to be part of a religious community, and people often think that means like a commune. It wasn't, it was more of an idea, a group of families spread over three cities that shared a kind of, Covenant. So in a weird way, we came for religious reasons and the particular practice was something called the charismatic renewal wall.

And I bring this up because even though it's not what I follow is it involved a Pentecostal expression and people might not know what that means either. It's when you see movies or maybe people are actually participant, like those kind of Christian religious expressions that include praying in tongues and people are jumping up and down and raising their hands in the air and everybody's praying at the same time, but with different words.

And people get sain in the spirit. And I bring that up because. As problematic as like the dogma was, it was a very somatic right and fiery experience of the divine. I think that has been formative. That has really defined me. I became an organizer. , I became an activist. I became involved in politics as somebody very concerned with justice.

And then I had one of those experiences in which your life falls completely apart. And my life broke down and it was through my own doing. And in that breakdown, there was a very potent spiritual awakening. And through that spiritual awakening, , I got into the work of facilitation and I knew that this was my vocation, and you meet me a couple of like cycles into that specific growth.

I am still a facilitator. I do I support group process. I'm also a coach. I'm a guide and I'm often find myself in the role of teacher.

[00:05:01] Pascal: Beautiful. What is your relationship to justice when it comes to medicine? Work in general or your own path? What is the role of justice in that?

[00:05:13] Gibrán Rivera: That is a very layered question because there are some fun a fundamental way like let's start at the surface level, which is. The way the medicine ways are coming into the West they're not very accessible. They're expensive pathways. And that's true even if pe for people that work to wanna work with me, so oftentimes I'll try to to charge a premium of those who can, and then make sure, make it more accessible to those that lack.

But at the very basic, that's not just at another level, the sometimes the communities that have held this waste for the longest are excluded right from the material. From what has happened materially in the field among some or or let's not even get into what pharmaceuticals are doing with what Mother Nature has given us.

And I don't, so there's, those are like ways to easily point towards injustice in this path, but I want to. I wanna just say something more positive or affirmative, which is in that transition for me from Facili, from Act, more activist organizer to facilitator. , I was murking a conscious move away from the purely adversarial.

Right? There is something that the medicine path makes available to us, not by magic, hitting demands or engagement where we can begin to heal in such a way that our resentments can start to drop away. And. Healing is almost synonymous with letting go of resentment, with grieving for the harm that has been caused, and then let the resentment go.

And I feel like too much of the discourse of justice. Is still embedded in a language of justified resentment, and it only feeds into a politics of resentment that are also held by the reactionary rights. So it ends up like both polls are like are swimming in the poisonous waters of resentment and the medicine path.

connected to something broader. To broader spiritual practice and broader spiritual community allow us to begin to unlock the grip of resentment in our psyche and our consciousness. Beautiful and in our ideologies seem to support resentment. They seem to encourage it and kindle it, which is right counter to the kind of reclaiming of our humanity that the medicine is possible.

[00:08:23] Pascal: And it's a paradox like you're fighting for justice and yet you have to let go of resentment. You have to shed the layers of the fight, almost like fighting in a different way almost. Which I think to me personally speaks to the paradox of psychedelics as well, which is we want to heal, we want to transform, we wanna cure ourselves.

We want to let go of the layers and the resentment and the anger and the fear. And so for a lot of people that means doing psychedelics in a way where they're seeking something. and we've talked about this before is the idea of giving up, seeking, and you've had a personal journey around that.

Would you like to share what's your journeys been?

[00:09:07] Gibrán Rivera: I am so happy that you took note of that in our earlier conversation because it is it has literally changed my relationship to psychedelics. And it connects in a way to what I was talking about earlier with that kind of charismatic Pentecostal experience of the divine.

Always a fiery exuberance to it. I was very vivid and That's a beautiful thing. I wish it upon more people. I then engaged a yogic path a path that centric tradition that was very ecstatic and beautiful. Still central to my understanding of the world. And then I came up on the medicine path, which, can be really sort of hard, but I can also really bring you face to face with the divine and the ecstasy of that and and the ectasy of being together and recognizing yourself. All of those things. But recently through, it was a process. It wasn't all at once ones, but it can narrow down to this moment in which I was experiencing.

That euphoric sensation of union with the big T H A T, whatever you want to call it, God or the universe, or that which is singular, and And I was just like, whoa. Wow. And thankfully through Grace and I have been working on this for a while, that moment it was like, you think that this is God, and that's why you're mistaken. It's like you think that this explosive experience is the thing, and so you keep chasing after it. And I think that is one of the traps of psychedelics, right? Like you keep chasing after the explosive experience and so then you failing to integrate. The modernity of everyday life, which is why we journey, like we journey, right?

So that we can experience truth here and understand that if it's not here, if it is not here in this conversation between you and I, Pascal, there is nowhere to be. and any search outside of here, it's a waste of time. Which is not to say that taking medicine is a waste of time, but to take it with the thought that is going to somehow perfect what is already perfect that is a mistake that is being misguided.

And I have been, and I have been so misguided myself. .

[00:12:14] Pascal: And you mentioned before that at some point you over-corrected around this. I'd love to hear more about that too.

[00:12:25] Gibrán Rivera: Oof, my God. I just wanna commend you again, I feel really heard. We had a previous conversation, Pascal and I just really appreciate the care.

Yeah. So then as, I don't know if everybody else is like me, you hear a message, I wanna keep using the word God, but that's just what I'm comfortable with. People can substitute however they are. I'm not dogmatic about it. I, but I don't like to shy away from it either. Let me go on a quick tangent here, which, Part of what gets lost in this kind of spiritual but not religious vibe is the idea of God as thou, look, I come from a non dualist tradition.

I don't I don't imagine that there's another entity that is alien to me, that is God. But I do think that we benefit from, as humans, And this is ancestral from understanding the divine inside of ourselves. So God is I understanding the divine as like the wonders of the universe, right? From what we see in nature and the high pigs or the waters or the universe.

God has that, and that will benefit from the idea of God as th an anthropomorphized idea before which you can bow your. Against which your ego can clash. Somewhere to surrender. Something to pray to. So it's that's a tangent. That's not what you asked, but

[00:13:54] Pascal: I love that tangent because I'll go my own tangent.

Off your tangent. Yes. I have a really good friend, David Goms, who's one of my best friends, and in his practice, Made a stand of just bringing the word God back and more into his practice because what he shares that ultimately all we want to do as humans is connect back to the divine or God consciousness and without us actually knowing it.

For a lot of us, it's actually our primary goal is to reconnect with the divine. And so I thank you for bringing that up.

[00:14:27] Gibrán Rivera: Yeah. Yeah. I'll say one last thing about it for now, which is, Thomas the train. Thomas The train is not God, just to be clear, but you put eyes and a mouth on a train, right? And children can feel a relationship to that train.

They can treat it like a living entity. We anthropomorphize, we are. It is easier for us to commune with something that we can imagine as a. As a being with eyes and a face, and I feel like that's what, that's all we're doing when we're calling God. It's no, like I don't believe there's an alien somewhere.

But it's like this. Force that permeates the universe. If I can give it a name, and give it a face, then I, it is easier for me to make frustrations and I am a always a better man when I make frustrations regularly to get back. So then God, if God, I'm like, okay, if God says to me like, get off this stuff, not get off it, but like the medicine is the medicine is, you are looking in the wrong direction.

Like you are, you're coming back to this well to satisfy your seeking self and do not come to terms with life and its terms and the fact of what is here and. . The medicine itself in recent ceremonies was like, Hey you're taking that idea too farran. You are you are not being asked to stop journeying altogether.

That's not for you right now. That's not it. So then the question becomes okay. What is my posture when I journey? And I journey less for sure, but when I do, I am doing a number of things. Mainly I am visiting with a. The same way, Pascal, that I would visit with you and rejoice in your company, or if you and I had an elder that held more wisdom than us and that lived somewhere in the forest, you and I would go out and seek that person and be with them and learn from them.

Not because we thought anything was missing, but because. We grow from entities, beings, humans that know more than us. So that's one. There's a different postures that this is gonna fix me, but it's a visit with a master. Another one, another way in which our journey is I have a teacher that that helps me learn more about how to guide because he's got 35 years more experience on me.

And the, one of the key words in which he teaches me is by guiding me, right? And and it is amazing because I can take the same compound that I would take without him. And the experience is explosively different, right? Because of what he holds and the trust that I can have. And then finally on my journey.

To be in communion and community with friends and or very specially. And again, all of this is, it's less times than it sounds might be with My Beloved, for the sake of deepening our relationship both spiritually and sometimes oftentimes for pleasure itself. It a journey with her.

Take the shape of can have so many faces over a day where there's deep intense work happening, there's playfulness happening and there's just like explosive worlds of sexual bliss unfolding for us, and I think that's sacred too. .

[00:19:00] Pascal: Yeah. And I think a lot of what you're sharing beautifully is that the medicine is an optional sacrament.

And. You said so well before as well, there's communion in the process itself. How does that show up for you in the everyday life? How do you bring these states or these connections or these openings with God and divine consciousness into your everyday mundane life?

[00:19:32] Gibrán Rivera: That's a, it's a good question and a beautiful one.

I can tell you that. This is something I've learned through therapy and it is important to mention this because psychedelics are not a substitute for therapy, right? Psychedelics are best taken in the con in not. I wanna be clear here. I don't think. We should take them. The only way that the psychedelics is in a therapeutic framework as it's being pushed in the west right now, but you should have a therapist when you use psychedelics, and you should have a spiritual community, and you should have a somatic practice.

I'm riffing here on the importance of therapy because I had an uncle my father's eldest brother died in a motorcycle accident. I must have been five, and I knew that that had happened, but I didn't have a full understanding of that, that it had an impact on me psychologically. Right. Of course, it's where it would, but I, it wasn't in my awareness.

I was a kid. My uncle died. I, you know, . But as I was digging out stuff through therapy, I saw that I learned that at that age, you know, I saw my grandmother Rth right, as basically a human being experience the worst anguish that I believe a human being can experience, which is, you know, we can almost take anything happening to our bodies, but something happening to our child.

It's just, it's, it's this thing that can't, you know, that can't. And somewhere in me, I understood the tragedy of human existence and some decision got made in which I had to be fully alive, you know, because this couldn't at any time. And, and, and I, that's, that's a, that's a great choice. But as a young person and later on as an adult,

that has tended to mean lit on fire, right? Like, and so I can facilitate these experiences and like just do all these things, but it's actually, that I've discovered is also the shadow side is like a rebellion against the mundane, right? Mm-hmm. , it's almost like some small, young part of me feels like getting too mundane.

it's getting close to death. Right? It's not being alive. Right. And so it's been, it's, it's, so the question that you ask is very prescient and very important to where I am on my journey. And so I often say to Tuesday, Tuesday to a woman I love I say to her, how is it possible that I have seen the face of God a thousand times?

I can still forget. and she says to me something, and I, I don't say it to flatter myself, but it's an important reminder and it's good to have people in your life that remind you. She says, J, what you seem to forget is that you are walking in the world like somebody that has since the face of God a thousand times.

Like it is possible that every single day, my subjective experience is one of me throwing at least one mini fit about something completely insignificant. You know, like there are days that you don't wanna get outta bed and you don't wanna work out. Like all of those things are still part of my day-to-day life.

You know, the days when you snap at the wrong person. Certainly the days when I'm not the father I want to be. So I'm far from calling myself some kind of liberated mean that walks around without foibles, without having to. With the flesh. Right. And, and, and the kind of our humanity. But I can also tell you with confidence that I just, I just had a birthday less than a month ago and that it was my, my best birthday yet.

And that it wasn't because I had the best party. Cause I didn't even have a party this year, which I usually had to throw a big party for my birthday and it was quite private. I was offline, you know, I was in my beloved. , it's to get to your question. I I'm gonna, I'm gonna get to it. . I like the distinction between states and stages.

So, so a, so a state is like when we go into medicine space, we enter the state and then the state goes away, right? And. When you dance, you can get into a state or you know, like there's just, okay, there's flow states that last for like a long time. A flow says that just last for a bit. Or, or like just we come in a outta states stages are different in that they're developmental, they have a sequence sort of, you know, they have an, and they can't be undone.

So like speaking like God, no words, God, God, some words putting sentences together. If you are anybody, anywhere like me, like you never stop talking, right? And like that's, that's, that's a, that's a sequence and that can't be undone. And so what, what I'm trying to say, Pascal, is that if we engage the spiritual path, which for many of us includes medicine with seriousness, joy, with serious, and some rigor in the context of community.

Understanding that integration in between the peak experiences is as important as the experiences themselves. We actually grow at the level of stages of development. Like we, we, we get to apl, we get to places where it can't. Some of what you see and have come to know can no longer be taken. And I feel like there is something to what has been given to me by grace, not exclusively in medicine, but through like the spiritual paths in general that can no longer be undone.

Right? There is a, there is an irrefutable faith. There is a no, a, a lack of belief in death, which is not to say, , I be find fine if a dear one dies, or, or that I'm gonna like happily jump into, into my end. But like there's something fundamental in me that knows it doesn't exist, right? And those things give us a kind of freedom.

And it also helps us, those hope, those people do, who are listening, who are guides, you know, who are aspiring to be guides.

when you're holding somebody in their healing, when you have that kind of unshakable understanding of the inherent goodness in, in, in, in, in a life and a world that can be so tragic, that's the medicine, you know, that you bring to this ceremony. .

[00:26:40] Pascal: Mm-hmm. . Beautiful. I love the, an analogy between states and stages.

Yeah. And what came up to you while you were sharing was that. You know, as we go through the different stages, there's a certain, I think, perspective of the medicine space where it's sort of like an end point at some point. And so my question to you is like, what stage are you in now? And, and. And what's next for you?

Do you think about that? Sometimes? Mm-hmm. ?

[00:27:15] Gibrán Rivera: Well, I think, I definitely think there's no end which is different from the med. Whether the medicine space has an end or not. I can't tell you my, I am open to one day medicine saying enough, or saying even less, you know what I mean? Like, do like visit me on.

No one a year or whatever it might be. I don't know what medicine will say. I can tell you that we should all be thinking of it as.

Maybe that's not true. I think it should taper. I think I like, I, I, I, I don't know that the math is perfect, but I do like Jamie Wheel's contention that there is a par that I like the, the Perreta principle applies where like, you get so much in like 20% of your early engagement, right? And then you cannot get lost in the idea that like you can, you're going to linearly keep growing at that same.

And no, like there's a, it subsides, right? Like it's, it's, and so, so like relate to it that way. Like don't, yeah. So that's one thing I would say. And I would say that path wise,

I do hold the faith and believe. that, you know, there's this remembering and forgetting. Remembering and forgetting, remembering and forgetting and the like, the, like the forgetting can get lesser and lesser and lesser and lesser and lesser. And so if, I dare to imagine what is next for me in my own spiritual development.

It is like less and less and less forgetting, right? Less and less and less forgetting. Is there a point where there's no forgetting? Some T-shirts seem to claim there is, you know, . Sometimes I feel like I have held that belief at times and I felt like I have not held at other times, and I feel like lately I want to believe it again, but not get lost in the possibility.

. You know, I, I, I'm keen on the teachings of this beautiful British guy called Rupert Spira, who is a, a great non doist, and I recommend his yoga meditations on YouTube to be listened to. Like sitting down on today is powerful. But he speaks of this other sage that many people might know in a psychedelic world called Maharaj, who was another guy that was kind of this kind of non-dual full identification with the divine.

And, and he, what I heard from Rupert was that the asata, like what happens like in your life? He just goes, well, I just, I just keep getting happi. And happier. So, so I do think even if you're like at this state of like no longer forgetting there can unfolding of joy, I think is, it can be limitless and that's my faith and part of my experience.

I would say I, I can tell you my heart only seems to have gotten bigger over time.

[00:30:29] Pascal: Beautiful. Like you spoke earlier about the journey too, is the fighting, the beauty and the richness and the connection in the journey of exploring these things. And somewhere along my path, I, I, I sort of fell in love with the process.

I've, I, instead of trying to. Fight my demons. I started dancing with them a little bit more and appreciating that they exist. And and I'm kinda looking at the painting behind you as well as maybe a potential metaphor here for the path. Mm-hmm. , which is this beautiful crane kind of flowing as beautiful wings and this other.

Person is kind of dancing, but also facing it and kind of expressing itself with it and against it in some way. There's a beautiful balance there. Mm-hmm. Appreciating the journey. And you've mentioned this a couple of times now in, in the call, and I've heard you say it so beautifully before and in two different ways.

It's the idea of community. and the way you call it sometimes is the we space. Mm-hmm. . And, and a newsletter that you shared just recently, you said community is an act of resistance. Mm-hmm. Can you share more about community as an act of resistance? I really love that, that sentence.

[00:31:47] Gibrán Rivera: Absolutely. I will do that. So interestingly I mentioned we moved to the, to the mainland, to the, from Puerto Rico. Cause Puerto Rico's a colony. So we moved from to the mainland United States and to living community, an intentional community and, and I experienced the best and the worst of that, you know.

And so for example, today there are like, Social justice communities that kind of remind me more of that fundamentalist community, meaning a kind of fundamentalism and rigidity where like these are, this, communities are a structure of belonging, but it's very brittle because they're held together by the threat of exile.

When something's held together by the third of exile, that that gives you all kinds of belonging. But it also, it's like it's, there's this, this, this fear that is constantly in the background. And so that's not what I mean, , but I also, but I also always have wanted to rescue what is the best of that.

And I can tell you that. You know, you, you are a parent. The way we're bringing up kids as nuclear families is, it's impossible. Like it is it. It, it drives the parents crazies particularly, and especially today, the, the, the mother. Right? Like, it, it's never meant to be that way. Francis Weller, who wrote a beautiful book called The, the Wild Edge of Sorrow, a greater book on Grief.

He says that our first grief is like, we're supposed to be born to a hundred pairs of eyes, you know, and we were born to like something like six our parents and grandparents and, and so, There is some, so that that's all done so that every household can have a car and a refrigerator and a wa it's all like for capitalists and sake, the atomization, the nuclear.

And then, and then, and then we're busy all the time. So we can't have, we can't, we don't have time for our friends. Right. And so, When those are the socioeconomic conditions that we're literally bred into, right? When the society doesn't even spend time helping you nurture wisdom, which is what makes you human, but instead helping you identify yourself as a consumer, right?

And as this identity that you perform on, on, on social media for your brother. Like all of those things are the emptiness of. Is the opposite of community and to build community in light of that. In fact, in on, given the fact that we are in a tidal wave that is against it is the night of resistance and, and, and, and, and, and is quite honestly like the pathway.

To survival. So I wanna say one more thing, if you don't mind, just to make a, a, a distinction, and it might be too nuanced. People, forgive me if I'm getting nerding out too much here, but I wanna make a sort of distinction between the we space and community. The, they're interconnected, they're woven together, not always the.

As the community, as a structure of belonging is It's highly interpersonal. You will like people. We don't like some people, but we're in community with them. We tolerate them to stay in community. We bend in order to like, do things that, that, that are not always the preference that we would have if we were only a household and, and, and so there's a lot of interpersonal dynamic.

In friendship and community that are essential for us to like learn, to navigate, to be with, to stay in boundaries, whatever they, all of that we very interpersonal, the structure, the belonging, that demand. Interpersonal that come with like gray interpersonal joy and demand interpersonal work, you know they're not given.

I also think of the we space as transcending the interpersonal as being more intersubjective or what my teachers call inter being where, where, where a group of us is gathered and we are tapping. And a lifeness and intelligence, a consciousness. That is alive in the space between us, but it's itself, you know, and we are placing ourselves at the service of it.

And so, like what comes out of our mouth is less our thought and our opinion, but what this space is speaking to through us, you know, and I, I, there's multiple communities and experiments working with this kinda waste space. I'm especially, With the work of emergent consciousness dialogue as held in Germany by my, my, my teachers and friends, Elizabeth De Bold and Thomas Steinberg.

And, and, and I'm, I'm a part of that community, but there's other efforts and so there were kinda we space I'm talking about it's different in that way. Again, I think we, we can get into. I think, I don't think one replaces the other. But there, but there's a distinction there. And, and I think I would say my, my spiritual thrust, like the edge of my spiritual work of, and of my work, work as a facilitator.

The very edge of it is that we space.

[00:37:43] Pascal: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And specifically to the psychedelic community. You shared this in a newsletter. I'll just read it a little bit here. You said that psychedelics are best seen as an episodic sacrament that exists in the context of community. . A community that regularly gathers without psychedelics, people and families who come together regularly to celebrate, contend with and bow before the mystery of life at its terms.

And you said you don't need psychedelics, but you need community. And I really like the way you phrased that.

[00:38:17] Gibrán Rivera: Thank you. Thank you for Thank you. Thank you for that. And that's, that is the truth, man. That is the truth. It is, it is. You know, I was, I was doctoring somebody recently and. and oh my God, it was harrowing, you know, which she was an elder and as an elder she was working through like very young childhood trauma.

And there comes the, there comes a point in the healing journey, particularly with the youth of psychedelics, where like the step has to be to relive the event. You know? And so I'm watching this out. There cannot. Horror, just horror perpetrator on her as a child. And it was powerful. The medicine was working and I was doing my work, and I think I was doing it well.

But it, but it, it just hit me then and there in the middle of it. , this can't be, it. It, it can't be that this is all she has. It can't be that this is all we have. It can't be that we can have it. We should have it, but it can't be that, like this kind of exceptional moment of me singularly as an individual coming here and dealing specifically with my trauma or you know, it is one of my favorite workers with groups like coming periodically to do this.

It can't yet. It it, it's just the, the trauma is too big that it, it, it propels you towards healing it. It opens up new possibilities. , but we need, we need spaces that gather. We need spaces where we lift our voices and sing together with these spaces where we dance together like our ancestors did. We need spaces where we ritualistically, enact.

You know, almost a visit where plays the archetypal entities that, that move through humanity. You know, we need to, that, that kind of somatic experience of togetherness is integral. It's, it's all of our ancestors all over the world, without exception. Like each one of us. There's no human that doesn't come from that.

Right. And to have set it aside, I, I, I think it is the, it is the only way we get to become the first generation that steals from our descendants to the point of possible extinction. You know, we're still from the future because we just, we just have lost our ways, you know?

[00:40:59] Pascal: Right. And it's, it's sort of the, the paradox of social media too, where.

For the first time in history, we've had a chance to connect with anyone in the world so rapidly, and yet it's a source of disconnection. And I I Do you think that deepening our capacity to connect with one another is that the front lines of a paradigm shift?

[00:41:23] Gibrán Rivera: I th yes, I do. I do. I do. And but it, but it must be said and it must be said.

That connecting with ourselves mm-hmm. comes first. And that we don't even know how to do that. We don't even know how to do that. We are not being taught how to do that. We, we are bound by a false idea of who we are. Because we lack structures of belonging. We are anxious very anxious as a society.

we are lonely. And in that anxiety and loneliness, we get more dere, every depressed, you know? And so we end up being the most affluent society that has ever walked the earth, that are the most medicated, the most depressed and loneliness, and the most anxious. And so what, what the way to heal that is in community.

But it's important to know that those condit. Keep us from knowing ourselves. Right? Like and so your own sense of worthiness, your own sense of you belong here among us, you know? You get to be a part of this. We don't even have that, man. Too many of us are lacking that. And, and even when we are like violently sticking a claim and as, I don't know, successful businessmen, and I'm all for business, don't get me wrong, but like making our name and playing our status games, you know, and like all of those things come from not knowing ourselves.

And it's not that we shouldn't achieve. It's not that we shouldn't create awesome things, you know, it's not that we shouldn't excel, all of that we should do, but we, we do it from a place of like fullness, not from a just kind of gaping hole inside of ourselves that we don't, that comes from not knowing who we are.

So, so there is gotta be some of that, some self reflecting. Knowing who you are, that becomes essential because if you enter relationship. with a surface understanding of yourself, you're going to be very insecure in it. You're not gonna be. , you're not gonna be trusting in it, therefore, you're not gonna be trustworthy in it.

And so the communal, the connection experiment will fall apart very quickly.

[00:43:51] Pascal: There's a big difference between loving someone out of love and loving someone out of need or out of want. Yeah. For filling something that's right within yourself. And we spoke about the disconnection between people and this connection between people and themselves.

And another one that came through for me in my last experience with psychedelics was this connection with spirit. Knowing experientially that it's there, knowing, you know, with actions that. Available and it's, it's, it's present, but not having the trust and the deep felt knowing that spirit is here and that we're spiritual beings having a human experience.

I didn't have that trust and that thread between me and spirit was not incoherence. And so when I had that, I felt experience of that. That's transformed me. That was a new stage for me. For myself of like connection to spirit and, and really yes. Deeply knowing it. Do you wanna talk a bit more to about connection to spirit and how it plays such a pivotal role in I believe in community and the we space?

[00:45:02] Gibrán Rivera: Yeah. Yeah. I think, well, I think the we space is spirit, you know? Mm-hmm. , I think it's spirit and I think it's spirit speak and throws. You know, I will, I. I'm gonna use a Christian metaphor, but I don't want it just because I grew up with it. It is not, I'm, I'm, it's not my current practice, but this thing happens first of all, just like if you can put your or triggers around Christian he ceremony aside and play with it like, , like one of those great archetypal stories that that holds over time because there's something in it, regardless of what the church does.

That is true. So, so first of all, he has this being that is good, that is goodness embodied, that just, that is medicine himself. That is love. Right? And it's so much so that is. When people say it is God on Earth, and people say it's like the Son of God and it's very powerful, and they've only come to this understanding recently to say like even the goodest among us, right?

Even one who is of God, nature is subject to the tragedy of human existence, subject to torture, subject to betrayal. Subject. Right, and, and, and, and, and I think that because o oftentimes I have thought that maybe if I'm good enough, maybe if I meditate enough, maybe if I am kind enough to enough people, maybe if I eat well enough or exercise enough, I'll get a pass on this, this terms and the terms.

But these are the terms like tragedy. Not only possible, but likely for all of us at any, like, it's, it will happen, right? And so, so to me that's an important part of the story. But that's the, the other part is this, this happens, this murder, and then spirit dissents upon those. Who held this love to be true.

Those who were able to recognize this divinity as it walked among them, they are not bereft of the being. In fact, spirit comes down. Right. And they're touched with tongues of fire. Right? And they become these people who, who are able to spread this message of love, right? Because they had that connection, because they were able to see, trust and believe.

I'll say, I'll say two other things about this, which is my son's middle name is Thomas. And that's because his Chinese. Grandfather was called Tom, but I gave him Thomas in Spanish. But it's also because Thomas in the Christian religion is known as doubting Thomas. Thomas was said, like he said, I'm not going to believe that this body is resurrected until I put my my hand in his wound.

You know? and there's this beautiful car of painting that has the, the hand of Thomas inside a kind of a torso wound of the cries. Like this finger is in there. And to me, he is the doubting one. He's the one that knows what the game is. You know what I mean? Like, no, I, I gotta touch. God has flesh. You know what I mean?

Like it's this embodiment, right? Is this you body and mind walking up on this earth, right? That are the vessels of spirit itself. So that's, that's, that's one. And the, the other one is to speak about this 12 guys. Cause we can only think about the imperial colonialist church now, but for 300 years these people are marginal.

I'm persecuted. They're, they're fed to the lions, right? , but they're doing this thing, this love thing, this standing to their neighbor thing, right? They're having this charisma, this like this fiery experiences that keeps them coming together because it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. That they're prosecuted.

And I think that that kind of 300 year perspective is a good one too. Yeah.

[00:49:57] Pascal: Beautiful insight. What, what has been your evolution with connection to spirit over your times of medicine? Like, what's changed for you? Yeah,

[00:50:11] Gibrán Rivera: that's great. I I, it's interesting cause it is not a full. It's, it's all so dynamic, but I can tell you that I left the Catholic church.

I was bred in because kind of almost like political reasons. Like I was like feminism. It was like, I can't, I'm like fighting for justice and this is a patriarchal system. Like this doesn't hold water. Like I can't negotiate it any further in my. and some years later, it was September 11th, it was three years after the event.

I wanted to do something spiritual. I was always very spiritual. I didn't have a church. I went to a meditation center, and in that medi yoic, tantric meditation center, tantric tradition, I was, I received an initiation that I wasn't looking for. I didn't know what it was. It was a powerful transmission.

And I experienced this non-dual experience, and it was without. It took me a couple of years to come to terms with the fact that something ha happened that I had to follow. It took me two years in life falling apart for me to get on my knees and be like, okay. I got like, I can't, I, I'm not gonna say the terms.

You're certain the terms and surrender began, you know, and so I engage a very powerful kind of ecstatic yogic. I wanna say six, seven years of very, very, very, very active. You know, if you met me, you know, I was, and, and it's not that I'm not, but it's just like, it's, it all has quiet that it all has kind of been more integrated inside of me.

I bring that up because that path is very ascendant spirit. It was gonna transcendent up and out towards the heavens, you know, like towards spirit. And somewhere around the six, seven years, it was like, I almost felt like I was in a spiritual crisis because it was like that, that, that shock that seemed to be on call at a point was no longer there.

But what I figured out was happening, it was like the energy was still coming back down. It was descended. Mm-hmm. into the. Opening my lower chakras, which I was read, like have been running away from because like was like trying to not blow into patriarchy. Right. Kinda reopening like my, the, the holiness of my sexuality connecting me to the earth.

Mm-hmm. to the holy feminine and to the path, to the medicine, medicine path. Right. So that's like, it was like a balancing out more earthly. Right. More, more, more shaman. Than Yoic, right? And, and somewhere along. So that has taken many, many shapes. And I've had, I had a long recent stretch of this very powerful, like non-dual experiences, experiences of like total oneness with the divine, which we're very reminiscent of that in yogic initiation.

and in some ways, if I'm honest, even had an addictive thing to them like, like as somebody that longs for God, that's where that confusion came in. That's where like, I will keep going back to that. Well, to have that feeling, to have that experience and cuz I felt like when I'm out, when I wasn't in there, I couldn't experience that oneness.

So now it's more about like seeing the oneness in the mundane outside of medicine. But I, I'll, I'll give you one more answer. Cause you asked, and I don't, I, I don't, I can't quite explain it. The last experience or two that I had, there's certainly one major one when I sat with my teacher last, where it was, it was kind of back to those dualistic, God, it was almost like I felt like it was very biblical.

Like like I was just in this. It was very hard journey. Very, very, very, I was put to the ringer and after that it was like this, like me, God. It was, God, you know? It was talking, it was in, and it started you. It was all in Spanish, interestingly enough, and like, and it was just kind of surrendered offering to this, to this Gods Dao again.

So that's kind of what I can tell you. It is like and, and then, and then, yeah. Then the last, last time I, I, I work with Madison. that was kind of spoken to me by the medicine. It was like, yeah, like I, I honoring this kind of non-dualistic approach that I've been really diving into, but being like, your path will always have something relational in it.

There will be, there's something about God that will matter to you. You know, and I thought about saints like Rumi or , you know, the Sufi saint. Who are ecstatic and fully identified with God, but still dance with God. And, and I think that's, I'll tell you this, Pascal, this is, this is my life's aspiration.

Should I be granted the life I pray for, which is a long, healthy and joyful life with the full awareness that God sets the terms and that anything can happen at any time. But I, I can still pray for what I want. Should I get old? As I get old, I lose some ab I lose ability and the health will start to go.

I wanna be an old man in a room where I can no longer wipe my behind. I must be fed. There's probably saliva coming out of me as I think about my, my last thing of my beautiful grandfather. I am a mess, but I'm, I'm still, hopefully my brain's still working. I want my brain to still be working, ideally, not that I get to say the terms, but I tell you all this, turn this picture because I want anyone that comes anywhere near the room, anywhere near, near the perimeter of that room to feel God, to feel.

Delight to feel that there's some cultivated energy there, that there's some, that there's devotion that I hold in my heart now without me having to speak. It flows out of my pores vigorously even when I have no vigor. That's, that's, that's how I would prefer to go. Should I get a choice?

[00:56:42] Pascal: Total reconnection with.

through your, your body and soul and mind. Yeah. What a, what a beautiful intention. Is there something that you'd like to share to people out there, maybe people who are on a journey of discovery themselves or journey transformation? Is there any last parting words you'd like to share with them?

[00:57:05] Gibrán Rivera: Yeah. Yep, yep. Have courage. Have courage. There's definitely death involved, and I don't mean death of the body, but death to, to much of who you think you are. So have courage, aiming for integrity, you know. Coming into integrity with Yourself will align you with your power. Aim for integrity, have courage, and have faith.

And by that I don't mean religious faith, that that's why, or just a spiritual faith, but.

And something happens and you see something and something heals. Allow yourself to believe in the healing. Allow yourself to believe in your own capacity to integrate it. You know, have, have faith. That what we see, what we experience, the love we have for each other when we do it together is real and holds.

Long after the ceremony is over, even if it's not as colorful, even if it feels more mundane, beautiful. Love more and clean less. That's the, that's

[00:58:33] Pascal: the ultimate one. Where can people find you? What, what are you up to in the world who are participate in what you're offering?

[00:58:41] Gibrán Rivera: Yeah. I'm on I encourage people to please sign up for the newsletter.

[00:58:49] Pascal: And it's a really good newsletter. Like everything sends, I'm always reading it cuz it's, it's has a nugget of wisdom in there, or 10 of them. So I really enjoy it.

[00:58:59] Gibrán Rivera: Mm-hmm. . Thank you for the endorsement. Yeah, the newsletter's a great way.

And, and then there's programs, you'll see different programs. I do coaching. I'm really keen on, on doing group coaching with people where like you get your individual coaching sessions, but you also, I coach along with a cohort of like three other people, so four people at a time. I just feel like having others, again, back to this community, back to bringing the facilitation skills are really cool ways.

To deepen and, and to kind of create like a 10 week cauldron for, for deep transformation. Yeah. Sweet's, one of my favorite.

[00:59:35] Pascal: Thank you so much, Gibrán doing a good work and keep spreadings and keep keep appreciating the mundane in everyday life.

[00:59:45] Gibrán Rivera: Keep learning. Thank you. When I get better at it, many blessings.

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From Psychedelic Renaissance to Psychedelic Enlightenment
Honouring the Spirit & Dreams of Psychedelic Medicines
Honouring the Journey After the Journey
War, Peace, and Integration
Integrating with Systemic Constellations
Exploring the Ethics of Integration
Ethics, Responsibility, and Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness
Somatic Plant Medicine Integration
Re-Indigenizing Consciousness
The We Space
Minority Perspectives
Psychedelic Storytelling
Ethical Stewardship
Indigenous Reciprocity & Interbeing
The Science of Sound Therapy
Being in Right Relationship
Breath as Medicine
Journeying Safely with 5-MeO-DMT
Psychedelic Safety and Preparation
The Eastern Medicine Perspective
Scarlet Heart Living
Exploring Men's Work
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