As a child growing up in Hong Kong in the 1990s, there was hardly any racial or cultural diversity. Unlike the major cities of the United States where schools are a true melting pot of an unlimited mixture of cultures and races, Hong Kong was predominantly Chinese. As a result of growing up in such a culturally monotonous environment, I did not identify myself as my race and culture, for everyone around me held the same cultural and racial values.

 

 

Everyone in school had black hair, dark brown eyes, pale skin, and similar body types—that was my childhood.

Although all the kids at our school had similar physical traits, I quickly realized that we all differ in our personalities, beliefs, family backgrounds, and much more. I was able to see through the superficial veil of pure physical appearances. I felt it is what’s inside of us that holds true to who we really are.

I understood our beliefs and thoughts hold the key to the true understanding of ourselves, until I raised the question, what is really influencing our thoughts and beliefs? Are we being influenced by our peers, culture, social norms, media persuasion, and the collective unconscious? Those were the questions I had been pondering for a long time until I had my first breakthrough psychedelic experience, and the answers seemed to unfold in front of me piece by piece, layer by layer.

One of the many things that psychedelic experiences are brilliant at is they can propel you into the beyond, into the great abyss. It is in such an empty space where you are past all of your cultural understanding, social conditioning, corporate roles, and finally return to your primordial self. Psychedelics possess a great power to reverse-engineer all of your conditioning and let you have a true glimpse of yourself without any filters.

For some people, this very experience could be quite blissful, to fully embrace yourself for who you are, while for others, this could be a painful experience because you suddenly realize what you have been telling yourself all along has been nothing more than a deceit.

 

 

It is through this psychedelic process, over numerous euphoric and agonizing times, where I am finding my center. My center is my own personal truth, the essence of what enables me to truly embody who I am as a person and to honor it completely. I vowed to myself to always be who I am, instead of blindly following any team, religion, political party, or charismatic herdsman.

When I started the Psychedelic Milk podcast, I carried with me the intentions of speaking the truth no matter how unpopular my opinions might be. I knew that the truth will be the rock that I can stand on and it will always keep me grounded. Initially, I had thought the community of psychonauts and spiritualists alike would also embody the same mentality of true individualism, as many of them saw through the deceptions of our social falsehoods and banished their old gods. I was wrong.

I witnessed a lot of people in the community blindly aligning themselves with specific ideologies, philosophies, and political parties just because it is where the majority is positioned. They were unwilling to draw their own conclusions and allowed others to decide for them, due to intellectual laziness. Just as atheism has paradoxically become its own religion, some of the psychedelic community had also formed its own belief systems, philosophies, and false gods.

Having traditions and cultures can be a great thing. It gives us a moral compass and a sense of community. However, it also poses potential dangers because it promotes herd mentality, exclusivity, and interferes with finding your own personal truth. For a long time, the psychedelic “tradition” seemed to be filled with the stereotypical peace signs, colorful tie-dye shirts, and a laid-back hippie culture.

While psychedelics can inflict a pacifist mentality upon many of their users, it is not necessarily true for everyone. People from all walks of life can possess the psychedelic mentality—whether they are a mother of five in Kansas, a soldier in the Middle East, or a computer programmer in Silicon Valley—without having the prerequisite hippie appearances and lingo. By limiting the psychedelic community to a certain homogeneity, it’s ultimately excluding to its detriment. Every one of us has a different meaning of our truths, and it goes against the psychedelic mentality to brand such truths.

Finding the truth is not always easy. It calls for an honest look inwards to all our pain, sorrow, and emotional blockages. The process requires us to zoom out of our day-to-day existence and look at life in the big picture, to gain a broader perspective, and to identify the illusions that have been leading us astray. Many people refuse to go through this very process due to the amount of agony it carries, and understandably so. However, if the one who seeks truth can survive this trial by fire, they can be sure to always be protected by the armor of truth. This process requires a continuous effort of constant reexamination, and perhaps it is why this practice takes tremendous strength and bravery.

We must find our truths and discover who we really are, instead of following specific codes of conduct. We must not be intellectually lazy in our search for finding our center, our rock that we can stand on. We must always remain open minded and make room for new possibilities, for the only constant force in our world is change.

We must first learn to deeply understand and embrace ourselves as true individuals, then subsequently move together as a collective. It is not always easy to be awakened from the daydream, but it is then that can we see life with a much clearer perspective.

Finally, we can let go of the ideas of who we ought to be, and become who we were born to be.

Life is art. Be original.