Updated: Apr 19

Art by David Padilla and Victor Murillo

Living and interacting with human beings provides us with a unique opportunity to advance mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as they reflect what we cannot see within ourselves. Similar to our interactions with others, nature has the remarkable ability to provide us a new form of attaining self-transcendence simply through its existence. Not only can nature provide us food, medicine, minerals, the absorption of CO2, oxygen, and so forth, but it can also allow us to advance into our purest and highest form simply by being a symbolic representation of something we aspire to be. Once we are able to see nature in this way, perhaps after deep and contemplative thought, we can acknowledge that there is no better place to discover our full potential than through witnessing the pure essence and being of nature.

When I strip away the concept of self/ego/identity, the physical body, and all the sheaths beneath them I remember that I am nature. From death to life, happiness to sadness, transition to destruction, both humans and nature experience life in the same way. So why is it that we don’t look to nature for wisdom in the same way we look for it in others?

Here are three ways I’ve learned and healed through nature…

When I bathe or swim in water, I feel the purest form of love. Water holds me and helps me feel safe and protected. After looking at my own expression of love through the lens of water, I ask myself, in which way can I also love and hold myself or others in the same way water does for me? By learning and feeling this message through a felt experience vs. knowledge, I can truly embody the essence of love and hold the element of water as a place I can turn to when I need love, safety, or protection most.

When I explore the form of a tree I see that both the tree and the human body have many similarities. Both have a crown on top and mobile limbs stemming from a central trunk. The pattern of the tubular branches (bronchi) in our lungs is similar to the root system of many trees. And when I look at the physical appearance of a tree, I marvel at its imperfections, its dead or broken branches, and flakey outer bark are what make the tree captivating and unconventionally perfect. But when I have looked at myself, I have pointed out my imperfections and “flaws”. I’ve detested the spots on my face and stretch marks on my thighs. Yet through this comparison and contrast with a tree, I’ve learned to love my body and its imperfections in the same way I admire and love the dead or broken branches of a tree. The mere existence of a tree has taught me self-love and self-acceptance.

And finally, nature is altruistic in the sense that it is always giving in and of itself without ever asking for anything in return. I look at nature as a framework to which I hold myself to.

By truly seeing and feeling nature we create a temporary collapse of the very distinction between the self and nature. Where the boundaries between our self and the natural world are temporarily dissolved.

The moment we cut the tree down or dry out the water in our river beds, we no longer have our highest version of ourselves reflecting back at us. We no longer have our oldest, and wisest teacher sharing lessons to help us transcend.

Nature allows me to know myself through itself.

So one question you can ask yourself after reading this is, "how can I be more like nature?".

Updated: Apr 15

What is community? I find that the standard answer to this question lacks depth and connection due to an oversimplification of a concept that we cannot admit is theoretically abstract. Is community an experience or is it a concept? Is it "subjective" or can we define it with an objective lens?

Regardless of the countless definitions, webinars, and discussions on this topic, I figured, why not try to answer it using my own personal thoughts.

Community is a movement...

it's the action of unification; when we collectively agree to catalyze change or adhere to a goal or mission that increases social cohesion. Community is a social playground that transcends the view of self to a collective movement toward social unification with a focus on the evolution of humanity and the elimination of boundaries set in place by beliefs (religious including) and values.

To me, community=unification and if we are not united, we are not a community.

So now, the question is how do we create unification? What are the mediums we can use for social unification?

In this example, let's explore it through the idea of language. I was just listening to a super enlightening conversation with So Far and Verses where the group discussed the abbreviations in Web3 that create emotional disconnection and alienation for unfamiliar audiences, such as "GM" (Good Morning). I found myself questioning the use of abbreviations and slang not just in Web3 communities, but also amongst IRL [in real-life ;)] social groups.

Language helps build a social identity to help contrast ourselves with a larger culture. Slang provides cohesiveness within a group. It's a system of language used by subcultures to build social identity and contrast themselves with the larger culture by using unique language. If I meet someone from Chicago (where I was born) and we start saying things like “The L” we may immediately form a social bond; this bond creates an emotional sensation, perhaps a warm feeling in the chest or a flutter of excitement in the belly. But if we say this in front of someone from Berlin who has no fucking idea what the "L" means, does that mean I am excluding this person from the conversation and selfishly favoring social exclusion? Not necessarily. Am I required to educate the person from Berlin on what the “L” means? Not necessarily. It all depends on the awareness, empathy and choice of the formed group (in this case myself and the other person from Chicago). Before I explain why it all depends on these 3 things, let's first ask ourselves what creates social cohesion, eliminates homophily, and encourages inclusivity within a community and/or other social dynamics?

When we peel back the concept of inclusivity, the actions tied to it are

  • Awareness

  • Empathy

  • and Choice

Imagine yourself as me in this example I've given above. You have the choice, at that moment, to become aware of the environment such as becoming aware of the furrowed brow that the person from Berlin may have. You then have the automatic response of feeling empathy for that person's situation, which also depends on whether or not you've lived a shared experience with the person from Berlin. For example, maybe you've lived or visited a country where the people around you are speaking a language or using slang you don't understand. Because of this experience, you understand what it means to not feel inclusive within a social dynamic, therefore you do your best to not replicate the scenario.

Finally, you have the choice to either explain what the “L” means or to continue the conversation; either disregarding the person from Berlin's confusion due to your personal reasons OR to explain what the "L" actual means. (P.S. the "L" is slang for the transit system in Chicago)

Using these 3 pillars are what I believe may be the key to creating social unification, respect, mindfulness and cohesion within an idealistic, harmonious community.

The ability to recognize your surroundings and others' emotions requires awareness.

So, I guess the second question we must ask ourselves is not, how do we create inclusion within a community, but rather how do we spark awareness within a community. How do we develop awareness of the vast dynamism amongst a social group as well as each individual's needs within a group?

Sometimes that may require understanding one's personal background, stories, and history such as trauma, and/or triggers in a mental health community for example.

Depending on the needs within a community, it may require a dense and highly concentrated amount of attention at an individualized level or a list of rules and permitted language within the group. One that could be recorded in a spreadsheet, like this:

But what if we could simplify it all and follow the simple rules of the Noble Eightfold Path, one of the principal teachings of Buddha which is about ending the suffering of life and achievement of self-awakening.

Or maybe we can keep it as simple as offering a dictionary of all the textual references within a community so that people understand wtf all the abbreviations mean.

Anyway, I digress. How do you define community?

Updated: Apr 18

The metaverse has the potential to expand old ways of thought. It can provide humanity and our earth with a medium to overthrow boundaries set in place by space and time.

Leveraging the magic of decentralized data transmission and virtual environments that go beyond our range of normal human experiences, metaverses have the power to build an existential experience where one can gather, connect, share, transform and expand. With conscious and ethical implementation and adaptation, the metaverse has the power to change the internal system at an individualized level and at scale within a society. If one is able to dispel the fear that an alternate reality can detract from the physical world, one will very clearly see that the implementation of the metaverse holds power to change both digital and in-person worlds interchangeably.

...a paracosm that provides us with a creative output for the unexpressed, and hidden self.

A metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. A world to form intimate connections not confined to the character or expectations of behavior. A world to experience the preconceived illusion of the birth of a new self. A world to disassociate with the pure nature of mundane reality. And a world that offers us a complex and deeply felt relationship with a subjective universe - a paracosm that provides us with a creative output for the unexpressed, and hidden self. One where its citizens can collectively agree to catalyze change through collective action that adheres to a mission that advances human consciousness.

A utopian ultraverse. A cosmic, social playground that transcends the egotistical view of self to a conglomeration of social unification with a focus on the evolution of humanity and planet earth. One that makes ego dissolution possible without the need for deep meditation, entheogens, or other systems and processes that lead to self-actualization. It's the separation of self that allows the expansion of thought.