Seeker + Practitioner

What are three words to describe you?

Curious, creative, passionate. 

What's your present state of mind?

Zen. I've been reading a lot of Alan Watts again.

Alan Watts at Esalen

Which of his books? What else are you reading?

I'm listening to a bunch of his lectures from his book Just So. I'm reading four different books right now: a Sci-Fi book titled Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon. I just read Stan Grof [aka Dr. Stanislav Grof, inventor of transpersonal psychology, pioneer of LSD psychotherapy]. And [Frank Herbert’s] Dune. I was reading it again for a third time. It's a good book, it just takes a lot of concentration.

Stan Grof (right) with the legendary Albert Hofmann (left), the first person to synthesize LSD.

Book recommendations from Joey Tasca 

Share a key piece of wisdom that you've picked up from one of these.

The symbolism:

  1. The chariot represents the physical body
  2. The five horses each representing one of our senses: Sight, Hearing, Taste, Touch, Smell
  3. The reins symbolize the mind. Our mind is connected to the senses and can drive our senses
  4. The charioteer represents the intellect
  5. The passenger represent the soul
  6. Krishna represents the super soul or the inner witness

Do you have a daily spiritual practice?

Yes – I wake up really early. I've been doing this for almost fourteen years. I’m a student of ayurveda so I follow a lot of its principles. In ayurveda we have what is called dinacharya (daily routine) which brings radical change in mind, body and consciousness:

On other days, I do Wim Hof-type breathing and then I switch it off with pranayama meditation and the next day I do a very more intense breath work. Then I workout. I run, practice yoga, bike, go for a long hike; anything to keep my body active and moving.

Have you done a Vipassana? 

I’ve done it twice and cooked one time. I did it here in Massachusetts. Yeah Vipassana is a trip. its a great tool to understand your mind and your self a little better. Just like the benefits of working with plant medicine such as ayahuasca or psilocybin mushrooms, they are all tools to get to those corners of the psyche we don’t normally get to. 

What's your definition of God?

I think we are God. I think all of us together make up God. Consciousness is God. Everything is God!

via @sacredgrounds_

Teotihuacan Temple of the feathered serpent via @sacredgrounds_ 

What's your purpose in life?

To live it in the best possible way. And help others on their journey as well, whether it’s mentally or physically. My girlfriend and I collaborate together on a lot of creative projects; teaching pranayama, meditation and yoga, facilitating kambo, cooking classes and for workshops and gatherings, ayurvedic consultations and treatments and offering guidance in integrating plant based medicine journeys. 

How did you get started as a kambo practitioner? 

[Kamboo] is power detox, physically and spiritually. I read and knew about kambo from participating in Ayahuasca ceremonies. It would always come up. I was interested in it because of the vast amount of benefits one can gain from the experience. When I first tried it, it blew me away how something like this works on the physical and energetic level. It could also be combined with Chinese acupuncture and ayurveda since both practices focus on vitality and energy points (meridians and marma points).

It's legal –not considered a psychedelic. It is not dangerous unless you're on medication that doesn't vibe well with it and as long as you are treating it with respect and care just like any other type of medicine. 

And how do you get into the ayurveda cooking?

I love food and I love cooking – my parents cook and I would always be in the kitchen tasting and smelling everything. I've been into Ayurvedic and Indian cooking for so long – I developed a love for Indian food from traveling all over India (most Indian food is based on ayurvedic principles). I found a book on Ayurveda a long time ago while traveling I brought it back but never read it. Years passed and one day I saw the book  and it just resonated with me – I was ready to read it. At that point I totally understood it. I believe we are leaving ourselves clues all the time. There are clues everywhere. If your mind and your eyes are open and your head space is clear, then you can see the signs everywhere. Life is one giant puzzle! 

Joey cooking in Indonesia 

When did you start exploring altered states of consciousness?

From a young age I have been interested in Native American and Meso-American cultures – most of all the Mayans which led me to shamanism and then to Ayahuasca. 

About twelve years ago, I went to Peru and did Ayahuasca. I had a bad breakup; it's always something traumatic that pushes you or triggers you to do something out of the ordinary. At that point in my life I felt stuck, bored – as if I stopped learning. I was reading a lot about shamanism and a book called The Cosmic Serpent, a book by anthropologist Jeremy Narby. At that time there wasn't a lot of information on Ayahuasca except for online message boards. I started private messaging someone –  he felt genuine and had really good vibes (always trust your gut!).  He told me to fly down to Peru and set me up with his shaman. I went to the jungle in five days and came out with so much clarity and a different perspective. My life was changed. 

From Joey’s first trip to the Amazon

via @sacredgrounds_

How do you integrate your insights from your journeys?

I take the next couple of days off to chill and be in nature. I write down important things I downloaded. I spend time meditating, walking, taking it easy – it helps with the integration. 

via @sacredgrounds_

Have you had any influential teachers or guides?

Honestly, reading a lot has taught me so much. I try to read a book a month. Some of the all stars are Osho, Alan Watts, [Paramahansa] Yogananda. Rudolf Steiner is one of my favorites, Joseph Campbell, Manly P. Hall, the Bhagavad Gita, books on Buddhism and Hinduism. My life experiences are my biggest teachers – I try to learn from everyone.

What’s the most important thing you’ve discovered or learned this year? 

Not to sweat the small stuff. Everything has its divine timing – I think that’s important to not push things or situations. Everything is love, love is everything.

Tell us about @SacredGrounds_, how it got started, and what your intention is for the channel?

A couple years ago my friend and I were talking about opening a coffee shop and I thought a good name would be Sacred Grounds. I have always been into symbols so I created my own using inspiration from alchemy. I then started throwing that symbol on t-shirts which was fun. Sacred Grounds became a platform for everything I’m interested in and everything I love. So it’s been, I guess, a vehicle to create anything I want. Whether we’re doing a meditation or yoga workshop or teaching a cooking class  – there’s no rules really. It’s an evolving thing. It’s a vision board. It’s magic.

via @sacredgrounds_

What would you imagine your last words to be?

Thank you, it’s been quite a journey. Om!

via @sacredgrounds_