After launching startups and conferences all his life Loic spent a year in the Amazon forest with indigenous and came back exploring consciousness but staying grounded in business. See also Loic's newsletter at http://loic.substack.com
Loic Le Meur's Podcast Consciousness and Entrepreneurship
After launching startups and conferences all his life Loic spent a year in the Amazon forest with indigenous and came back exploring consciousness but staying grounded in business. See also Loic's newsletter at http://loic.substack.com
The Power of Trust: Finding Stability in an Unstable World (off to the Amazon forest)
A scary world Last week, I wrote about the SVB crash and how most Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors got their money blocked. I discussed how consciousness can help us navigate such challenges. I'm glad this issue is resolved...until the next.
The news is full of bad news: the ongoing Ukraine war, an earthquake devastating Turkey and other countries, France protesting and setting fire to public places as the government forces higher retirement ages, and California dealing with floods.
Bad news isn't newWe've survived two World Wars, and the older generations might argue that our current situation isn't worse than what they experienced. The media has dubbed the SVB incident as the first-ever "Twitter-fueled bank run."
What's new is the unprecedented speed at which our world changes.
Trust in Institutions: Who and What Do We Trust? How can we trust governments that have $31 trillion national debt (and going up – this clock is entertaining… USA) or France ($2.7 trillion), U.K ($2.2 trillion), Germany (2.1 trillion), etc?
How can we trust our bank when a very “trusted” and established bank can disappear and block your accounts in 24h?
Media? In the U.S., only 29% trust media sources (according to Reuters and other sources).
Education systems? Trust varies across different countries, but only about half of the people trust it in the U.S., according to Edelman.
Business? In comparison to the trust in business as a whole, trust in CEOs decreased by 5 points from 2020 to 44%, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2021.
So what do people trust? I asked GPT… of course:
"Overall, while there is variation across different countries and contexts, healthcare professionals, non-profit organizations, local government, the scientific community, and religious institutions are some of the institutions that tend to be more widely trusted by people."
Speaking for myself, I trust my family, my friends, my community (which includes my business community), myself, and…the work I am doing in consciousness, my connection to nature.
I also trust some non-profits such as the Ocean Cleanup Project that spoke at the previous PAUA conference:
Trust. Either you have it in total or you don’t have it in total; either it is nil or it is one hundred percent. You cannot divide it into slices. It is indivisibly one, organically one.” - Osho
Trusting Yourself I had not thought so much about how trusting myself is so important - before my personal consciousness work. I think it's essential to consider trusting ourselves fully and work for it.
Do you trust yourself? I definitely learned to trust myself through the processes I keep writing about: the vision quest, the Sundance, the Amazon forest…
I trust that if the worst happens, I can work my way to protect my family, the ones I love and myself. I have re-read a fourth time Who am I yesterday, it’s becoming a must for me to kill any negative incoming thought, which is what Sri Ramana Maharshi recommends, keep questioning “Who is this thought for?”, “Who am I?” then come back to silence and “source”.In the previous newsletter, I wrote about Ram Dass's planes of reality and our way of seeing the world. If we see it only from our humanity, the constant suffering of everyone becomes unbearable.
His words are even more important today as panic happens so fast with social media. People spread their own fears and amplify a whole “flock of birds” or people in panic. We do not need to get into it and let it pass, like everything else.
The "New Normal" Here are great words by Bill Gurley collected by Emily Chang. We need to get used to the "new normal."
This is about technology startups finding it hard to raise funding these days, but it is the same for the world entirely.
I will not be worried. On the contrary, my message here is that no matter what happens, we must trust that something good is happening.
I don't have the solutions, but one is to trust the universe mor
"Don't you see everything is perfect?" - SVB crashes, fears and tools to avoid them.
I won’t describe what happened with the SVB bank over the last 3 days as I would be surprised you haven’t read or written about it by yourself. It seems to be resolved now but it inspires me some thoughts about fear and trust in this world I would like to share.
The support of the tech community has been incredible despite the level of fear.
SVB has always supported me throughout my career. I know many current and previous SVB employees who are all great people and feel for the situation they’re going through. I reached out to some. Many of my Silicon Valley friends had momentarily lost some or all their company or personal assets. I was an SVB customer in the past (with all my startup cash in it) and many founders and funds I am friends with or I invested in were impacted, sometimes in a terrible way.
“EVERYBODY banks with SVB in SV”.
Most startups and funds in Silicon Valley were impacted, some startups had all their funds at this bank and weren’t going to be able to pay their employees or survive if it lasted.
Some founders also had their personal accounts at SVB, here is one who shared openly on Twitter:
Instantly being cut of your company and personal bank accounts, in other words losing everything material in a few hours can only lead to one of the highest level of fear one can experience.
What would be a worse fear level than that? Your own death or even more for most people, the death of your children or family.
As we all did through life, I have been myself exposed to such fears losing my sister and my father and I obviously went through financial ups and downs as well as entrepreneurial challenges.
I have also been doing a lot of spiritual work in the past years so the whole SVB crash and the constant fear on Twitter made me think:
“what are the best teachings to remind myself of as this unfolds”? Here are a few.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Going through many fears isolated almost by myself in the Amazon forest for three months last year, I read Man’s search for meaning. There is no better book I know for getting a higher perspective on worries, fear and how precious life is when everything is lost or when challenges become real. Not that what I went through compared in any way to what Frankl lived, but when things really go hard it’s helpful to read how someone can continue to live going through the absolute worst, and why. I highly recommend reading or re-reading it for perspective.
I was writing last week as I just got back from the Sundance which is an experience of approaching physical death through exhaustion with no food and no water. Going through this enough times taught me to manage my fears and dissociate my physical body, my mind and my soul (or some people would say “my spirit”).
It is a school of life. Life isn’t easy and we all go through challenges constantly. It seems the state of the world is going to be more and more challenging to us and we need to get used to fast spreading events such as COVID, SVB or the crypto crash last year.
Life is a long marathon. You don’t simply go run a marathon, you train for it. Similarly “the danse” and going through intense and hard experiences makes life’s challenges easier by controlling the mind. The real work of the “red road” starts after the Sundance ends. 25 men and women joined to “vision quest” this year and I will be inviting more again next year, always last week of February.
Taking a step back from my ego, everything is perfect
I highly encourage you to watch this video with Ram Dass, a PAUA Community member, Elena, posted on our what’sapp:
“Can’t you see that everything is perfect” told his monk teacher to Ram Dass arguing that nothing was perfect and talking to him about wars or people dying from malnutrition in the world, etc.
Ram Dass says “it’s difficult to say it but I will say it anyway” or something like this.
It is difficult to
Invitation to come to Paris to learn from the Kogis - back from the Sundance
Hi everyone, I am so excited to share this news today - the Kogis are coming to PAUA Paris May 12-13 it will be very rare and very special.
The Kogis are one of the most ancient and isolated indigenous peoples in the World.
Their masters the “Mamos” are isolated in a dark cave from birth for 9 to 20 years to connect to nature and train to assume their roles as spiritual leaders.
They do not receive groups, do tours or hold ceremonies and have lived isolated in the mountains of Sierra Nevada in Colombia for more than 4,000 years.
Their “medicine” is their “word” and they decided to break their silence and isolation to deliver a strong message to protect the planet at PAUA Paris.
It’s thanks to Lucas Buchholz (a member of the PAUA community) that consulted with them about a sharing their knowledge with us. Lucas has gained their trust working with them for many years and wrote a book about the Kogis available in German and French.
I highly recommend watching this movie for free on YouTube (1.8M views!) about them.
The Kogis will be with us throughout PAUA Paris (get an early bird ticket to come meet them and support PAUA bringing more mind blowing speakers) and deliver their messages as well as exchange thoughts and action ideas with the participants.
"It is your job to work with technology. But it should work like nature itself, not against it."
-Mama Bernardo Mascote Zarabata
Our theme this year for PAUA is Articifial vs Natural intelligence.
The Kogis will be the voice of mother nature and its intelligence. With our constant use of smartphones and now AI tools we are more and more merging with machines ourselves while they have always been one with nature.
I am personally extremely excited to receive them at PAUA and hope you can join us in this special gathering where technology experts, entrepreneurs and consciousness leaders will meet to discuss our future.
Now a bit of personal news with this newsletter…
Back from my third Sundance - a few teachings
Last week, I was talking to you about the 25 women and men entering the Vision Quest and it all went well for their isolation, 4 days no food no water.
In his video about “conscious manifestation” Eckhart Tolle said:
“Something wants to be created through you, whatever it might be, maybe it might be writing a book or creating a conscious business… You may have a vision of what it is you want to achieve, then you focus on that vision and the most powerful way to manifest is in experiencing the fullness of the present moment, life in its fullness. It is a state of being, to experience, to realize the being within you, the -I am-. Then no future moment can be better than this present moment. If you have a vision in your mind of what it is you want to create and you bring this vision into this sense of fullness of the now is the most powerful. Whatever it is you want to have you need to feel you already have it.”
When I started doing my two first vision quests I was alone but strongly seeing the benefits for me I wished that I could share it with more people too.
A handful of friends joined us 3 years ago when Miguel, a Mexican maya spiritual chief, started the vision quest and Sundance of Bacalar. Last year, about 15 joined us and this year we were about 50 people including all the helpers. “Something seems to be happening through me” :-) I want to keep going.
I hope you too will experience a vision quest next year, should be last week of February as well.
Even our son Falco made it, here is Miguel carrying him in our circle in the jungle.
The “red road” starts with the vision quest then heads into the Sundance, it was my third this year, the commitment is 4 years in a row minimum (no commitment for the vision quest). It is a path of transformation and reconnection to nature.
The work of the Sundance isn’t shared much (it needs to be lived rather than told) so I will share some of my teachings but not the process itself too much
25 Friends isolated right now in the jungle in "Vision Quest" +PAUA Paris 2023 launched!
A few months ago, last November, I posted an unusual invite to this newsletter, an invitation to spend 4 days in the jungle isolated with no food and no water.
I’m here writing from Bacalar, Mexico. The “Maldives” of Mexico.
Many know the Laguna but less know that there is also a beautiful pristine jungle with many animals and incredible nature.
Twenty five friends joined me and decided to go to the jungle 48 hours ago, they are going through their second night as I write this, exposed to solitude, boredom, animals, darkness, sun… Why are they doing that?
Before sharing a bit of my thoughts about this I would like to say that we just posted our first speakers to our PAUA Paris 2023 event May 12-13 and early bird tickets are available while they last (first 100) we hope you will join us this year again! More about our theme “AI and consciousness” and speakers soon.
The most funny answer to this unusual invitation came from a close friend who joked and told me:
“sounds great, can they stake me down naked to a termite mound too?”.
I get it, there are so many other great things to do than starving surrounded by trees and animals. We could hang by a pool with friends, do kite-surfing or just… work.
25 people entered the vision quest this year.
It is the third year I help organize it with our “Abuelo”. Miguel is a native mexican “person of knowledge” with Maya roots and training that I trust like a brother I did not have, or I had in a different way. I helped him support hundreds of women do their Moondance two years in a row, did my own third vision quest and two Sundances with him as a “Chief”, about to do my third in a few days. Miguel also came to a few trips to the Amazon forest with me and supported me during my own 3 months isolation there.
Here is a photo of Miguel and me enjoying the jungle after we “launched” our friends to start their 4 day isolation. Nothing in their mouth apart from air for 4 days!
We were a handful the first year of our vision quest, about 10 last year and 25 this year. Closer to 30 if we include the “Sundancers”. The Sundance is a supercharged version where we not only dry fast for 4 days but we also dance under the sun and practice some rituals.
Why did 25 people decide to put themselves through such a hard exercice?
Getting out of the “default mode network” what people call “normal”
This is the main reason. We all have habits, conditioning by our education and society. Like a 4 day and night non-stop meditation the vision quest takes us out of all habits and conditioning.
Very few people actually take the time to “pause entirely” with no input coming in (no phone, no book, no watch…), nothing coming out (no notes taking…) and in nature day and night.
The simplest medicine there is, nothing
There are no substances at the vision quest and Sundance.
We do not put anything in our minds or bodies while we do it. The medicine is the simplest that there is, the magic of our body and mind themselves. This medicine is always available.
Vision quest is learning to need and do… nothing.
Stopping any activity. There is nothing to do during the vision quest. Going through entire days and nights “doing nothing” else than watching and meditating is incredible.
Leaving everything and… everyone
When I enter the vision quest or Sundance, I leave everything behind. Family, friends, to-do lists are out of touch (no phone allowed). We are only allowed to go with a few clothes and basic protection (agains mosquitoes and cold). There is nobody to see what we are wearing or doing. The only thing we can see is ourselves and our thoughts.
Introspection and time off for ourselves
It’s like a very long meditation. The only possible interruption are animals, trees moving, the Sun, the Stars (which are amazing here) and rarely some rain.
In our modern societies, we tend to be always on. This is the opportunity to be entirely off to modern tools
AI, consciousness, indigenous, dreams... Some tools I use.
It took me a while to get excited by AI but the tools now available to anyone have convinced me to make AI and consciousness a central theme of PAUA Paris May 12-13 2023.
Here are some tools I played with (and how you can also play with them).
ChatGPT, of course needs no introduction anymore as it is taking the world by storm
A few months ago, we saw many people post LENSA generated photos of themselves.
My indigenous Yawanawà friends loved it too and uploaded photos of themselves painted with their traditional paints called “Keuneuh”, here is young Chief Iskukua Yawanawà on LENSA.
The traditional paints are very old indigenous practices they use for protection and also to help personal transformation. They create them from their visions. I have hundreds of photos of me painted by the Yawanawà and uploaded in LENSA with photos such as this one. The paint is natural fruit juice, they also have a different red one.
There is quite a bit of real-estate to paint on my head…
I then uploaded one of the LENSA image into D-ID.
D-ID makes a talking head from photographies, you can even upload your own voice, here is the result in just a few minutes
I find this fascinating in many ways. This is like making a new version of you alive in a way, with a different mask taking a different identity.
I uploaded my own voice message and D-ID animated the LENSA photo moving my head and lips which is already impressive, they are constantly improving it.
Another company, Eleven labs, lets you upload your voice in mp3 then you can type text and it makes yourself talk, so you could also put there ChatGPT generated text. I have uploaded a file but the voice sounds very artificial from my quick experiment.
I kept playing with AI this time to generate entirely new images.
I had a dream with a joker type being that was talking to me from inside a table so inside of drawing it myself on my dream journal (I draw very poorly) I typed in midjourney “a table with magical sacred geometry animations changing form all the time made by a trickster joker with a face full of color squares” and got this result.
It isn’t of course exactly what I saw in my dream but it’s quite close and very impressive as it was created in a few minutes while my dream was still fresh. There is even an AI dream interpreter, haven’t played with that one yet.
Drawing dreams is making them easier to remember and then “work with them” (what was being saying in my dream comes better if I keep a clear image in my mind).
I have been generating many images from what I saw in my dreams and will keep researching my own imagination. I find AI invaluable for dream recall.
Midjourney is very easy to use, just get discord then signup, head to one of their “newbie” channels and just type /imagine and describe what you want Midjourney to draw.
For example a needed an illustration for our new AI What’sapp group in the PAUA What’sApp Community and got this one in a minute…
How much of this image is actually coming from real artist work versus pure computer generated work? What will happen with the collective work of the artists? You can even ask Midjourney to create art based on someone else’s art style that he’d know.
For example, I typed “Valentine’s day drawn by Picasso” and got this
What would have Picasso thought of us generating art on something pretending to be his own art style?
I highly recommend watching “The End of Art, an argument against Image AIs” by Steven Zapata.
Stable Diffusion is another image generator to play with.
We’re going go make AI and consciousness one of the central themes of PAUA Paris this year, May 12-13, please feel free to recommend speakers, we want many of them!
I find both themes together fascinating and very useful. Here is a souvenir photo with all the PAUA community volunteers on stage.
Posts I wrote on my daily journal since the last time I wrote here:Time, places, dreams and memories"Whit
The hidden secret of indigenous - Community.
I am reading Kogi, a book from Lucas Buchholz, a German member of the PAUA community, I highly recommend it.
Lucas tells the story of how he encountered a young 18 years old Kogi who asked him this question:
“When is it that you consider you have enough to just sit still by a river or listen to nature?”
That’s a very simple question yet so powerful. I have had the same question many times in my stays in the jungle with the Yawanawà.
The young Kogi explained.
“Little brothers (us versus them) all think the same everywhere. They want to buy and sell land everywhere. They all use money and always want to earn more of it. This is why we say that you all think the same way”
Our vision of the world is “standardized”, what we believe in and the way we live are basically the same. It’s obvious when you walk in Madrid, Cusco or Paris most beautiful places and see a Starbucks and a Sephora store in the best spots.
The need for more of everything and more money to buy it and at all times is normal.
Once the discomfort is too high many start looking for something else, as I did myself.
We start seeking calm, consciousness, some would say they are seeking enlightenment as a final destination. I highly respect anyone on “the path” [to become a better human being]…
Here is a trap I fell into many times… replacing the material “I need more-ness” by now the consciousness/spiritual “more-ness”.
It’s a trap because there is no end to the “seeking”. Advanced indigenous or spiritual people I know do not seek anything, they just “are”. Sure it takes work to get there, but at one point the seeking must end.
When we seek “calm” or we finally stop seeking, what do we need?
Community is the “hidden secret” of indigenous. It is so obvious it’s often hard to see.
We always think there is another book, another trip to the jungle, another experience. This time this stay in Bhutan with monks will finally “enlighten me” or… “fix me for real”. This trip to the jungle or that meditation retreat will change me. This book is the key finally, etc… no end to it.
“There is no effort wasted on this path” (hi, Greg, if you read me!) so it’s all good, except that we can get stuck in the seeking. Each effort, each retreat is useful for sure.
Communities are even more useful.
The indigenous live in strong communities that constantly share knowledge, help each other and remember the past from elders who spent their lives learning, then teaching and sharing knowledge. In our societies we put our elders in retirement homes so we do not have to deal with them.
Gabor Mate summarized very well an advice I could have used when I started working with indigenous 6 years ago in this IG video.
You can’t just bring a bunch of strangers together for ceremony. Individuals are social creatures by nature. This ideology that we are individualists, in competition and selfish is a travesty of what human nature really is all about. Trauma on the other hand isolates people. Healing trauma requires in most cases a connection with others. Not only a connection with the healer, “shaman” or the therapist, but connection with people that are your equals and your partners and who will support you and whom you can support. There is a give and take which is the essence of healing. Especially with the vulnerability that psychedelic work opens up, you really need the group support.
I haven’t found that many communities of people working on themselves and sharing, especially embracing the entrepreneurial and business world, which I needed myself.
In May it will be two years we started the PAUA community, at the intersection of consciousness and business, for this reason. It came from the need of friendship, sharing and support of like-minded people on the same path.
We’re doing a few things in addition the PAUA What’sapp community-PAUA Paris, a conference in Paris May 12th - 13th (changed to Friday/Saturday
Thank you for sharing
I have been interested in the Muka dieta for a few years now, it has been very engaging to hear about your first hand experience with it. I would like to hear more about your dreams. I’m wondering if you’ve communed with the spirit of the plant personified and if you could hear the plant communicating with you? I personally had this experience in dieta with the Shipibos in Peru.
Thank you again for sharing.
The audio on the podcast is better with the new mic.