How copyright lawsuits are threatening a beloved hipster instrument

Handpan Hang Drum Legal Lawsuit Plagiarism
Handpan Hang Drum Legal Lawsuit Plagiarism
Photo by Kyle Cox on Unsplash

For the past two decades, sounds of steel have enchanted town squares and subway stations all over the world. Mysterious, melancholy, meditative, and unfailingly fascinating.

Passers-by turn their heads to locate the source of these uncommon sounds. They linger, savor the sweet melodies, and perhaps donate to the busker fortunate enough to have access to such a pleasant sounding instrument. Their day brightened, the spectators move on.

That instrument has been called many things over the years, with names such as pantam, Hang, and handpan being the most commonly used.

This is not to the liking of the people who first came up with the idea, shape, material, and sound of the instrument. They are the ones who thought of the name Hang, and they feel that their creation has been stolen from them. …

And why these experiences can be so disturbing

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Do you dread going to sleep at night, afraid of what might happen when falling asleep, or during the night? Do you regularly experience a sense of not being at ease in your body, or in your surroundings? Do you have a persistent feeling that your life is unreal, in some way?

AND, did this discomfort follow a psychedelic (ego death) experience?

Then this article might be for you. We will examine the symptoms, offer a potential way of working, and examine why these experiences happen in the first place.

Symptoms of psychedelics-induced ungroundedness

We can think about ego death experiences as spiritual openings, rather than purely psychedelic phenomena that are limited to the duration of the psychedelic experience. There is a case to be made that they are both, but for now, let’s assume that, through your psychedelic experience, you have tapped into some previously unknown source of love and light, to which you now seem incapable of returning. And now something has awakened within you, and no matter how hard you try, it just won’t go back to sleep.

Psychedelic ego death and its strange aftermath

Psychedelic ego death experiences can lead to disenchantment and suffering
Psychedelic ego death experiences can lead to disenchantment and suffering
Photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

You have probably heard of bad trips: scary psychedelic experiences that may stay with you for some time afterward, but that gradually diminish in strength.

And then there are psychedelic voyages that result in psychosis. For people experiencing this, it can seem like their trip never ended.

But there is another way that using psychedelics can go wrong. It usually starts with an experience of ego death, which can be brought on by most of the classical psychedelics, often in the higher dosage ranges.

What is this ego death?

So let’s talk about ego death for a moment. In this experience, your entire cognitive structure breaks down, often against your own wishes. The “self” — or ego — is seen to dissolve, which is pretty scary for most people, as it really feels like some profound sort of death. …

The tl;dr answer: it kind of depends on your definition of the term, but probably not.

Ego Death Enlightenment
Ego Death Enlightenment
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

The very question, “Am I now enlightened, for making it through this overwhelming, yet essentially elective and recreational experience?” and the fact that it is so often posed after surviving an experience of ego death, is kind of telling. Let’s get into it.

To understand what we are even talking about, we need to dive a little bit into the murky waters of the term “enlightenment.”

We may think of meeting God, being equanimous in the face of impending disaster, having a clear view of ultimate reality, knowing the future and the minds of others, being a happy person who is free from anger and anxiety, having instant access to blissful states of mind, or to Nirvana. …

Practicing kindness towards every single perception lets you see past the fundamental delusion of separation

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Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

I have often thought that the world could be divided into two types of people. The ones who have trouble practicing kindness towards themselves, and the ones who experience difficulty practicing it towards others. I happen to be among the latter, which has advantages and disadvantages.

Trouble practicing kindness towards others

The major advantage being that at least I don’t beat myself up over stuff. Instead, my default position is to look for someone to blame, which keeps my inner life nice and tidy.

Of course, it happens sometimes that I am confronted with the fall-out of something I did wrong, and I will have to look inside for answers, and for apologies. …


Merijn de Haen

Meditation student, and sometimes teacher.

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