102 episodes

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://loiclemeur.com


Loic Le Meur's Podcast Consciousness and Entrepreneurship

    • Business
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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://loiclemeur.com


    A "medicine" difficult to use - the "rapé," a tobacco snuff from the Amazon jungle

    A "medicine" difficult to use - the "rapé," a tobacco snuff from the Amazon jungle

    This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.loiclemeur.com

    Let’s talk about Tobacco. Tobacco is dangerous and legal everywhere, even though it is one of the most addictive substances in the world. It is one of the world's most significant public health issues, as it kills over 8 million people each year, including 1.3 million non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. In 2020, 22.3% of the world’s population used tobacco (source WHO.) Despite killing so many people, with 80% of them in developing countries, it is a “legal drug” primarily because of the size of the tobacco business, its lobbies, and government revenue. The global tobacco market size was estimated at USD 868 billion in 2022, and even in countries like the U.S., where its image is neither good nor fashionable, it is growing.
    I have had issues with commercial tobacco as I grew up when it was both fashionable and widespread. I started smoking as a teenager when everyone used to smoke in France and stopped when I was in my early thirties as my Gitane-addicted beloved father died from cancer. My father’s death caused me to stop smoking, and I had to use nicotine patches for a few months to help eliminate the addiction. Fortunately, now having friends smoke around me is rare as it is forbidden in public spaces in most developed countries.
    It is well known that commercial tobacco and cigarettes contain chemicals designed to increase their natural addictive components, such as nicotine.
    During my first visit to Peru and the ceremony, I was surprised to see the indigenous shaman blow tobacco smoke on us. I had no idea why. I quickly understood that while we use tobacco for “recreational use” and commercial tobacco companies have a profit-driven goal, indigenous people around the world use tobacco for ceremonial, medicinal, and spiritual purposes. It is considered a sacred plant intended to connect with spiritual entities, ancestors, or the Creator. We use tobacco and kill ourselves; indigenous people use it to heal themselves and others. The tobacco they use, often called “mapacho,” is natural, air-dried, and lacks commercial products' additives and chemical processing. It is consumed in its pure natural form, just dried under the sun. I have often met many indigenous people using tobacco and have never heard of any of them being affected by cancer or dying from smoking. I have seen many of them naturally addicted, though.
    They say it is sacred. Is it sacred because it’s addictive? It is certainly addictive and should be approached with this in mind. It is sacred for most indigenous and ancient wisdom keepers because they use it to pray. There are many tobacco rituals where the shamans do not consume or smoke it; they pray and offer it to the altar, spirits, the fire, nature, or people who need it. I have heard them often say that “we turned tobacco into a drug, industrializing it with many terrible chemicals in it,” while it is an essential tool for them “given by the divine to communicate with the universe.” In other words, we ruined it and turned it into something dangerous.
    There are many different tobacco rituals I have seen or learned and worked with myself, but I will focus here on one specific form called “rapé” (make sure to pronounce it with the accent at the end...). I will write about others, like the sacred pipe, later.
    Here is my story about rapé, how it is made, and how to use it. Please subscribe to support my work to read the remainder of the story.

    • 3 min
    Stopping it all. No doing, talking, seeing, or even moving. Breathing was the only action left.

    Stopping it all. No doing, talking, seeing, or even moving. Breathing was the only action left.

    This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.loiclemeur.com

    The most critical teachings come when you leave space for them. I had to pause entirely.
    I love reading my readers' comments; now and then, some ask me questions I am happy to answer. Please ask me anything in the comments of this note, and I will answer. This is for paid subscribers only, as I believe in energy exchange and creating a beautiful and intimate place to discuss openly). Thank you.
    Here is a question from Dilay following my post “Learning to be alone”:
    I am starting my first 10-day Vipassana retreat in a few days in India… do you have any tips/recos/wisdom for this upcoming initiation in total stillness?
    I started meditating precisely ten years ago. It is fun to read my post from 10 years ago, full of ego, as I could not help talking about meditation. I had to write about meditation in Davos, where I met the monk Matthieu Ricard. I had to feel important, even talking about meditation. Well, I had to start somewhere. I got into this world thanks to the influence of my friend Soren Gordhamer, who invited me to speak at his first-ever Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco.
    My first 10-day vipassana was in April 2014, when I discovered I could feel something without extreme experiences. I have been quite intense all my life, starting several businesses, trying to jump as high as possible on my kite surf, flying a paraglider, and almost killing myself skydiving… I realize now I was just trying to feel something.
    Truth is, I was not feeling much. Living in a city, drinking lots of wine, talking loudly, listening very little, and having many childhood traumas made me insensitive to anything. My eyes glued to the Internet, constantly interacting with as many people as possible since I started using it in 1993, has completely shut down what some people call my “third eye,” and I lived entirely “from my mind only.”
    There was no reason to change anything, as I could not see how little I felt, and I was “successful.” In 2012, I divorced. It hit me so hard that the sadness and despair became unbearable. I had to do something with myself. There is often a brutal reason to change one’s life. It could be a health issue, an accident, or the loss of someone; for me, it was my divorce.
    My mind was agitated, I was sad non-stop, and I saw a therapist twice a week in 2014, but I still looked outside as this successful, happy entrepreneur. The masks were thick. Writing is magic, and I am so grateful that Ben Casnocha wrote in August 2012 about his own Vipassana 10-day course; reading his post made me do mine a few years later.
    I arrived in April 2014 at the Goenka Vipassana Center of North Fork, Dhamma Mahavana. It is located in California's geographic center, a few hours’ drive from San Francisco, where I lived. I had no idea what Buddhism was, and I am grateful the method doesn’t want to convert you. It focuses only on helping people through learning meditation. I had no idea what to expect.
    Here are the basics. I left my phone with many other strangers who arrived at the same time to reception and agreed to the rules. Complete silence, staying in the center at all times with no contact with the outside world, no reading and no taking notes, no eye contact, and the Buddhist no killing of any animal, not even an ant, so we were careful while walking around.
    The food was entirely vegan with breakfast and lunch, then some fruits instead of dinner for the new students; the old ones fasted from lunch to breakfast. This was a first for me and was hard as I was used to eating a lot and lots of meat. Unlike during my diet in the Amazon jungle, simple sweets and sugar were served, and many people found comfort in honey or peanut butter.
    I took all my meals facing a wall or hiding behind my baseball hat, not looking at anyone. I crossed others, walking with my head down, always observing the no-eye contact rule. There was

    • 13 min
    A deer with blue blood turned me into a Dune movie character.

    A deer with blue blood turned me into a Dune movie character.

    This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.loiclemeur.com

    Exploring the mysterious is the new subtitle of this letter.
    I wrote about accessing the mysterious with Amazon forest shamans and their vomitive plant tea (my first stories); I wrote about drinking large cactus tea in Peru to see spirits in nature and talking to dead people using an “Inca Stargate.”
    Let’s go to Mexico and try Hikuri, the beautiful little cactus used by the “Wixarika,” also known in Mexico as “Huicholes.” They are from the State of Nayarit. “Marakames” is what they call their medicine men. Hikuri is called “Peyote” and grows in Mexico and southwestern Texas.
    The psychoactive cactus is known to have been used for at least 5,500 years for healing and rituals. The “Echinocactus williamsii,” first described in 1845 by western French botanist Charles Antoine Lemaire, is extremely slow-growing (8 to 20 years or more) and endangered. It has been overharvested, mainly due to the popularity of the books of Carlos Castaneda, which beautifully opens the gates to the supernatural.
    I was fortunate to receive the initiation several times, meet the deer with blue blood, and receive powerful gifts and healings.
    If you are not a subscriber yet, you can send me some energy back by taking a subscription for the price of a good coffee and a croissant. Unlock 15 complete and recent occult stories I wrote and recorded with my voice with love, as well as the entire archive of hundreds of posts.

    • 1 min
    Learning to be alone. Meeting "Apu Ausangate."

    Learning to be alone. Meeting "Apu Ausangate."

    This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.loiclemeur.com

    Let’s look at the etymology of the word “alone.”
    alone (adj., adv.)
    "unaccompanied, solitary; without companions," c. 1300, a contraction of all ane, from Old English all ana "unaccompanied, all by oneself," literally "wholly oneself," from all "all, wholly" (see all) + an "one" (see one). It preserves the old pronunciation of one.
    Alone means “All one” or “whole by oneself”. This is quite a different meaning than how we generally use it.
    Have you ever been entirely alone for a while?
    I had never been alone since my divorce when I was 40 years old. I was always with family or friends. When building my businesses, I lived in Paris and then San Francisco, always having maybe ten meetings per day. I was also going or speaking at many conferences around the world. There were never enough great people I could meet and work with.
    My first real experience alone was my first meditation retreat, a 10-day vipassana, no eye contact, no book, taking meals facing a wall, entirely silent, meditating for 10 hours a day. It was hard. After these ten days, they recommended I meditate two hours daily. I did for about 6 months then slowly diminished and then did it inconsistently, only meditating now and then but still almost every day in short periods.
    There is always something “better” to do than meditating.
    We move away from loneliness, we are consciously or unconsciously frightened of it and avoid it. Even alone, we tend to avoid this loneliness by reading books, practicing sports, music, yoga, non-stop business, whatever it is.
    We are all the time acting, living, creating, doing something. This constant activity seems to mask something buried inside. We are concerned about ourselves. We are avoiding facing loneliness, and this creates a constant tension. We think we need the other and escape ourselves. Loneliness is a “blackhole”, a darkness, almost like death. To avoid it, we run out. Nothing hurts more than loneliness.
    "Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god." - Aristotle

    Any relationship that arises out of the fear of being lonely is not going to work because the other is also joining out of fear. Only those who can be alone and are self-sufficient can love.
    Aloneness is natural. We are born alone and die alone. We are living alone without understanding it and being conscious of it. We are sufficient “all-one”. It is difficult to learn to be alone because we are all used to being with others all the time for fun or business. Life changes entirely if we learn to enjoy our aloneness.
    There is nothing to do with our sadness, anger, or anything that comes when we are alone. We have to put our whole energy into the art of being alone when we practice it. We have to live every moment so intensely that no energy is left to be invested in sadness, anger, or anything negative.
    The first time I traveled alone to work on avoiding my loneliness was during my second trip to Peru in January 2018. I wrote about two profound experiences during this trip: Daytime Shamanism and Healings in Peru and New and ancient technologies to speak to dead people: AI & the "Inca Stargate", Chakana.
    Here is a third deep Chamanic experience: discovering the spirits of the mountains at the sacred “Ausangate:” the highest mountain around Cuzco and in Peru. Its highest altitude is 6385 meters. In Inca mythology, the spirit of this mountain, Apu Ausangate, is one of their most sacred spirits.
    I spent two weeks alone on this trip, and it was just after a really hard break-up. I remember having a really hard time alone in Cusco, walking around the old streets, having my meals by myself, and crying a lot while going to bed. The medicines helped me be more vulnerable and release my sadness. It is always good to release sadness, anger, or any stored trauma but it was very long and difficult.
    I remember I took the below beautifu

    • 7 min
    Enchantment - "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious"

    Enchantment - "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious"

    A friend asked me: “Why did you go so far in your work in the Amazon forest, with indigenous and their powerful plants?”
    This Albert Einstein quote came to mind:
    "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
    This is precisely what I felt.
    It felt like I had met the mysterious for the first time as the intensity of my first ceremony, the mindblowing visions of aliens, or the magic of Indigenous songs enchanted me (see all my recent stories here).
    I had to pause my entire life and explore the mysterious.
    I was fortunate to do it with the freedom I had as my children became independent adults, and I could rely on some material reserves.
    Enchantment - “a state of being under the spell or influence of something magical, captivating, or charming”

    Here is a word I never used before. As I did in my post about ancient and new technologies to talk to dead people, I enjoy comparing the world of technology with the ancient mysterious practices and the modern world with the world I discovered with Indigenous people.
    What is “enchantment” in the modern world?
    As a child, I was enchanted many times by simple things. Like many children, I have been enchanted by the “magic” of Disneyland and its cartoons and movies. I have read comics and fairy tales involving spells or magical charms. Being enchanted is easy and happens often for children.
    Loic's Newsletter & Podcast is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

    I love watching my baby son being enchanted by a Romanesco cauliflower. The patterns created by nature itself are mesmerizing. They are fractal-like and spiraled geometric structures with a beautiful lime-green color. It is so artistic I want to frame it. It is beautiful but also practical; the branching pattern of the florets ensures that each part of the plant has access to essential resources, such as sunlight, for photosynthesis. The attractiveness of plants and fractal patterns in nature can also attract pollinators.
    Fractals are never-ending patterns made by the same shape repeated. They are a testament to the mathematical beauty that exists in nature. The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones (1, 3, 5, 8, 13…) and “drive” the fractals. They are not found just on flowers such as the sunflower and vegetables but also in shells or the spirals of a pinecone.
    The Fibonacci number is related to the “Golden Ratio” or φ (phi), a mathematical constant approximately equal to 1.61803398875... It can be seen in architecture and art, often said to be related to The Parthenon. Still, I know nothing about architecture and found serious analysis against this theory.
    It is also believed to be omnipresent in Egyptian architecture.
    I have seen many of these fractals in psychedelic visions, and the explanations I have found for this phenomenon did not convince me much. There is some analysis that psychedelics disrupt the brain's normal functioning, overwhelmed with information. I feel on the contrary instead of being overwhelmed the brain sees nature’s harmony by removing what was blocking seeing it.
    Music also follows this harmony: Mozart arranged his piano sonatas, applying the golden ratio. Some pieces of music “seem to make sense” as a “natural order to the universe” even called the “divine proportion.”
    It all seems mysterious to me, but it’s evident that this type of natural harmony is what my brain loves the most.
    Enchantment also exists in business
    Guy Kawasaki wrote a business book titled “Enchantment,” he talks about building genuine relationships, being trustworthy, and showing empathy in business can help win people’s hearts.
    Products encha

    • 16 min
    New and ancient technologies to speak to dead people: AI & the "Inca Stargate", Chakana.

    New and ancient technologies to speak to dead people: AI & the "Inca Stargate", Chakana.

    This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.loiclemeur.com

    Back to my adventures in Peru, here is a story following “Daytime Shamanism and Healings in Peru.”
    Birth and death are the only certainties we have. Why even bother thinking about talking to dead people?
    The first time I heard about talking to dead people was funny enough through technology in November 2017. I was deep in Silicon Valley technology building and investing in startups when I met Eugenia Kuyda. Significantly few friends at the time were building or investing in AI. It was before ChatGPT and all the 2023 craziness. I met Eugenia through Phil Libin, who was already investing in AI, while Ben Parr was already obsessed with AI chatbots.
    After Eugenia’s best friend died, she created in 2017 an AI chatbot from his texts to talk to him again. The AI chatbot to talk to the dead is called Replika and seems to focus today on recreating yourself into an AI. I do not know if the messages reached her friend, but here is why we would want to talk to the dead: we miss them. In some cases, talking to the dead can be a therapeutic tool. Psychologists and counselors may use “empty chair” therapy, where clients address a symbolic representation of the diseased to work through their emotions and unresolved issues.
    Human’s search for immortality is a shared obsession fueled by our fear of death. There seem to be a few apps like Replika; HereAfter.ai is another app I have not tried; they advertise it as “the next step in human’s quest for immortality.” This question is irrelevant to those who believe in a continuation after death. I think our spirit is immortal while our body is just temporary. Everything material is temporary, so why bother saving it in a machine?
    We could also have unfinished business with dead relatives or grief and closure. Communicating with the deceased can provide comfort and help us express our feelings, regrets, or unresolved questions.
    So far, this is just technology that stores information about someone in a computer program and tries to speak like that dead person. Humans are so creepy that they will even create complete full-size robots that look like them. I am sure people will make love with their deceased spouse robot somewhere if it is not already available. Former Google engineer Ray Kurzweil also works on a digital afterlife for humans to resurrect his father.
    How about talking to dead people for real instead of reproducing them in an AI?
    Well, I found some ancient technologies for that, the “Stargate of the Andes” as they call it.

    • 4 min

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