#11 - Mastering the Obvious
I've repeatedly been called "Parker Sherry: Master of the Obvious" and "Parker Sherry: Captain Obvious". That carries with it a negative connotation, and there have undoubtedly been many times where I've been especially moronic and deeply deserved the slight.
But more recently I've been contemplating...is being a Master of the Obvious really an insult?
Michael Pollan eloquently discusses in connection with his latest book, How to Change Your Mind, that part of the human condition is to always look for something new. That glitzy toy that's just been released. That shiny new gadget. It's the way we're wired, but fundamentally it's a bug in the machine and in our programming. As Pollan explains, there's actually great wisdom in the obvious that we perpetually overlook.
Sometimes it takes an expert to illuminate what should be blatantly self-evident. As many others have noted, sacred plant medicine teachers, when taken in the right set and setting, are like taking and completing exceedingly accelerated graduate-level courses in the obvious.
One of my friends and recent SpiritQuest grads passed along some writings to me about his experiences at SpiritQuest. I'll give him his appropriate props when his website is fully launched, as he is a supremely talented writer with a remarkably inspiring message. In recapping one of his ceremonies, he states, "I had a realization: I must love from the heart, not the head! I cracked myself up and laughed out loud, at how obvious it was. Of course the way to LOVE is from the heart, not the head. OF COURSE."
He later writes, "It’s almost embarrassing to admit that it took an Ayahuasca ceremony to learn something so blatantly obvious. But hey, at least I know now. In the wake of this epiphany...I reviewed the lessons I had learned, bursting into soft laughter at how OBVIOUS it all was and how silly I had been to overlook these truths for so long."
We've all had our "Aha!" moments when it comes to the obvious. In a Parker Sherry: Master of the Obvious observation: there's a deep satisfaction in the simplification of life, especially when we can slow down, experience it, and drink it all in. I've been able to travel around Peru these last couple of weeks practicing that practice. Experiencing Machu Picchu doing my best to live in this paradigm was breathtakingly profound.
When getting to soak in the entire Machu Picchu experience, the sense of time didn't just dilate; rather, it ceased to exist entirely. My appreciation, gratitude, and love for everything and everyone amplified astronomically. Every aspect of the Earth looked so rich and so alive. I looked at the world as an art; an art of creation. Every bite of food tasted like Manna from Heaven. Every sip of water felt like nectar from the Gods. Every breath I inhaled - especially at that altitude - felt like a delightful dosage of dopamine. Every step I took felt impactful and monumental, as if I was being filmed by a documentary crew taking the first steps on another planet and this was being broadcast to the entire 7.7 billion people on Earth. Sipping in both the sunrise and the sunset felt like the greatest gifts that anyone has ever received. My mind felt like it was on holiday, and the reward was to experience consciousness and all of its contents, this oneness of which we are all a part.
In subsequently reflecting on my experience - and when my mind came roaring back from its vacation - I was reminded by the J.R.R. Tolkien insight that the wide world is all about and all around us. Nature is a part of us, and we're a part of nature. “You can fence yourselves in,” Tolkien observed, “but you cannot forever fence it out."
I'm again compelled to share a quote from my dear friend Paul, which I've reread probably 100 times as it keeps getting more and more profound. As a currently enrolled student at the School of Hard Knocks, my noggin takes repeated loving bashes on the head for something to really resonate as it becomes fully formed and fully understood by yours truly. Paul writes that, “My knowledge, though satisfying an inner desire to know, means squat. Compared to a simpleton with an open heart and a cup overflowing with Love, knowledge of the highest order is minuscule. It’s all about Love and if you can Love unconditionally, then that’s all you need to know. To put it bluntly, the dullest of dullards who has an open heart and freely offers Love is infinitely wiser than the brainiest Einstein among us who remains closed off from connecting with others.”
Living with an open heart. Realization of the oneness of which we are all a part. Slowing down and taking the time to smell the roses. None of these qualify as seismic revelations. All of what I've outlined might be an elementary exercise that you've mastered for a long time. In fact, reading all of this may very well generate a response from you along the lines of, "Uh, yeah! No duh!" If so, you're much further along the path than I am, and big ups to you!
If anything, we can chalk it up to a moment when Parker Sherry: Captain Obvious is reporting for duty. The Master of the Obvious is clinically in command. For my own growth, I hope to have more of these obvious epiphanies in the future.
Carrying the Work Forward
I always enjoy sharing anything that you provide to me. I'm passing along the following message from our amazing brother Saryon, who recently visited don Howard with his partner Dixie. Saryon writes:
My partner Dixie and I had the opportunity recently to visit don Howard in Phoenix, and he told us the story of how Parker came to answer the calling to help continue the mission of SpiritQuest. We were terribly excited that don Howard felt he had found the right person, and that there would be no qualitative difference in the retreats. He expressed complete confidence in Parker's ability and we really felt this extend through the resonance of his being to the continuing work that Parker had undertaken.
After that, I had a vision that I saw Parker conducting one of the retreats and I could see how don Howard's spirit, even as he is in Phoenix, is very much there at the Sanctuary, serving and supporting the work. What I am most grateful for is that I can now see that the work of SpiritQuest will go on for quite some time. don Howard has laid the foundation and now it is up to us to continue the mission. There is a powerful vortex of healing at the Sanctuary that continues to grow and call forth new participants to experience healings and initiations into higher consciousness.
For all of us that are alummi, we are part of that sacred vortex - extensions of its living, intelligent field - and thus, when we are inspired to invite others to consider a journey to SpiritQuest we are like the voice and presence of that field, speaking its invitation to others. Let's all intend to be aware of who the field wants to invite, through us, to consider the calling. And may each of us continue to live in resonance with the founding principle of this field "Para el Bien de Todos", for the good of all!
don Howard GoFundMe Update
Saryon established a GoFundMe for don Howard's medical and living expenses. As you may know, don Howard is in quite the battle with Amyloidosis, a kidney that is failing him, and is experiencing many other painful physiological setbacks. Needless to say, the medical costs, treatment expenses, and travel/living costs for what he's going through are exorbitant. Any financial support you can offer him is deeply, deeply appreciated.
In addition to his always increasing medical expenses, other expenses continue to accrue. don Howard has recently had to retain an attorney and will be spending thousands of dollars to have his wife, Reyna, apply for a green card so that she can remain in the U.S. and care for him as his treatment continues. It's critical that she's able to stay with don Howard, as she is his primary caregiver and provides an enormous amount of emotional support as he's going through the fight of his life.
don Howard has a beautiful family and doesn't have tons of savings. He's been - in the understatement of the century - overwhelmingly generous his entire life. It's not in don Howard's DNA to ask for anything, particularly anything material. He didn't even ask or request for us to set up this GoFundMe. In fact, he likely thinks I'm being overly promotional in bringing this up. He advised me when I last spoke to him that he didn't want to ask for assistance and advised me to "not go out of your way to push it." That wasn't surprising, as it's simply not in his nature to ever be self-promotional or self-centered. don Howard heeds a calling much greater than himself. Nonetheless, it's an extremely rare instance when I have to most earnestly but most respectfully overrule him. 😁
Here is the link to contribute: gf.me/u/nz8wmb
Contributions are, of course, highly appreciated. But regardless of whether you are in the financial position to contribute, please consider sharing this with other don Howard University of Higher Consciousness alums, your friends, your family (spiritual, blood, brothers from another mother, all of the above), or anyone else that would like to give back to don Howard.
The Maestro has been so utterly devoted to service and given so much to humanity and Mother Earth. His life’s work and vision is like a bolt of lighting that has electrified the entire world. ⚡️⚡️⚡️
don Howard's feats of audacious aspirations have been passed along to all of the members of the SpiritQuest familia and have been sewn into the tapestry of humanity and Mother Earth.
Let's show him how we've learned our lessons in reciprocity and Ayni well. Many of you social media rock stars - let's highlight this worthy way of giving back to don Howard on every network!
Much love and respect, fam! -Parker