Cannabis Entrepreneur Drops Everything and Pivots to a Higher Calling

aeron sullivan

In 2016 Inc Magazine named Aeron Sullivan as one its 30 people Under 30 years old to watch as a promising founder. Indeed Aeron, co-founder of Tradiv was on the move. His online cannabis trading platform was helping 230 growers and dispensaries conduct business.

Then everything changed when Aeron had a profound spiritual experience that caused him to rethink his life, reality, and his future. Listen to Aeron’s gripping and inspiring transition.

Key Takeaways:
[2:30] – Aeron talks about how he got in the cannabis industry
[4:15] – Aeron talks about his trip to Alaska
[10:18] – Aeron’s thoughts on the “I Am” language he heard
[14:00] – More than an LSD trip
[19:20] – Aeron talks about the second “I Am” message
[27:22] – Similar experiences with I Am
[38:05] – Final words from Aeron
[40:28] – Aeron answers some personal development questions

Learn more at
https://thebibleproject.com/

Aeron’s First Interview on CannaInsider:
https://www.cannainsider.com/aeron-sullivan-tradiv/

 

Read Full Transcript

In 2016 Inc. Magazine named Aeron Sullivan as one of its 30 People Under 30 Years Old to watch as a promising founder. Indeed Aeron, cofounder of Tradiv, was on the move. His online cannabis trading platform was helping 230 growers and dispensaries conduct business, then everything changed when Aeron had a profound spiritual experience that caused him to rethink his life, reality and the future. I am pleased to welcome Aeron back to the show today. Aeron, welcome back to CannaInsider.

Aeron: Hey, thanks for having me Matt.

Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Aeron: Yeah sure. So, I live in San Diego, California, sort of in the center of the county. I’m here most of the time. I work from home about 80 percent of the time. And then my current job takes up to Portland, Oregon about four days a month.

Matthew: Okay cool. I’m in Central Mexico today.

Aeron: Oh really?

Matthew: Sunny, bright Central Mexico. It’s a great place to be in the winter time, although we’re getting close to spring here.

Aeron: Yeah, for sure. That’s great.

Matthew: Let’s jump into this here because everybody’s so curious. It’s been such a wild ride for you. You were on the show a few years back when Tradiv was just getting started. In fact I got to know you when you were in the Canopy Boulder cannabis accelerator program.

Aeron: Yes sir.

Matthew: What back then drove you to get into the cannabis space? You were in the Marines and then you transitioned to cannabis. Just tell us that little back story.

Aeron: Yeah a little context. What drove me? I had been in the military for nearly eight years and was getting ready to transition into the private sector. I thought I was going to get into software development, but more as an employee, not necessarily an entrepreneur. I just had this strange inner desire one morning after talking to a friend of mine who was in the cannabis industry that maybe my desire to do software could be applied to this market. One, because I thought it would be really cool and it would be really fun. Two, because I thought there was a good opportunity to create some wealth in a market that hadn’t been inundated with major players yet.

Matthew: You certainly accomplished that. You jumped right in and were converting dispensaries and growers and selling the value proposition of coming on the Tradiv platform, because there really wasn’t anything super - there were some solutions out there, but you really just dove in so much momentum right out of the gate and there was a lot of people jumping on the platform trading. It was going well. This is where the story gets interesting. Tell us what happened in Alaska. Because anybody who wants to hear the back story of what Aeron was doing at Tradiv you can go back and listen to the first interview I did with him where we go into all the details of that. I’ll link it in the show notes here. You went up to Alaska with your girlfriend. Tell us what happened because I’m fascinated about this.

Aeron: I’m sure there will be lots of questions so I’ll try to keep the intro brief. Basically, in February 2016 I was nearing the completion of a big fundraising round for Tradiv. It would have been, I guess you could call it, Series A, if you wanted to give it a name. I was tired and I needed some quality time with my, at the time, girlfriend. She and I had also planned on getting engaged. So, I had a lull, a weeklong lull in fundraising activity intentionally, and she and I went up to Alaska, outside of Fairbanks, kind of in the middle of nowhere. Stayed at a couple different places, both way outside of, I mean, Fairbanks is pretty off steer and not that densely populated anyways, but we were even on the outskirts.

We went there to get engaged and to spend some quality time together. The first evening we were there we took some LSD, which was not an uncommon thing for us to do. We did it probably once every six to nine months as sort of a, I don’t know, you could call it a spiritual healing experience that of course that we found to be very effective with the use of LSD, but this one was a little bit different. I was pretty experienced at doing LSD. I’d done different (5.47 unclear) and hallucinogens since I was 15, and I’d never had anything like this happen. We took our dose and then actually when I probably should have been sort of coming down off the experience I had these thoughts about the future of the world and the future us as a species clawing their way into my mind about overpopulation, about where we’re heading as a group of people.

I was pretty scared. It was occurring to me that we don’t exactly have many leaders that are concerned about the future of this world that isn’t completely mixed in with their own aspirations and broken perspective on what they think is best. About that moment I felt a very heavy presence that entered the room. Heavy like gravity, like the Earth is pulling on your feet, if you’re sitting down, on your behind, and it’s pulling you down towards the ground. Now imagine something coming into a room that had an equal or greater gravity, literally a gravity to it that is pulling you in a different direction. It was very scary. Not necessarily that I felt like my life was threatened, but it was very powerful and frightening. I didn’t know what to make of it and I’m sitting there for three to five seconds and wondering what’s happening.

My wife, at the time my fiancé, she felt something, but didn’t feel it as greatly as I did. So, I grab her hand and I tell her it’s going to be okay, and then about that moment whatever this thing was it speaks to me. It goes, you would call yourself human. You might say I am a man. She is a human and might say I am a woman. Well I’ll tell you that I just am. I don’t have to apologize for it. I’m not going to explain myself. There is no explanation. All identity comes from me. Everything comes from me. I simply am. I have been and I continue to be and I will be. I am the I am I am. And in that moment I just respond. I knew, I go oh you’re God. I literally said that. I said, “Oh you’re God.” And then I was plunged into a very wild experience that was a combination of communication from this I am at a speed at which I think a brain normally cannot sustain activity.

Let’s say Matt you and I had a conversation for three days. Compress that into 30 seconds. That’s how it was communicated. A combination of visions, a combination of what I now believe to be memories that were not my own. Again, it sort of had a message for me. We can talk about that in a minute, but this is a starting point. There you go. Is that good?

Matthew: Yeah. The thing that jumped out at me when I read an article about this some months back was the language, the I am language. Were I grew up there is a temple called I Am Temple in Chicago and heard Wayne Dyer talk about that when he was alive, this I Am language. Some of the ascended masters you hear, some of these texts you read about Jesus or Buddha, you just hear the language I Am. Before Abraham I am. There is some consistent thread through a lot of experiences where this language is mentioned, and I just have to think there’s something going on. There’s something here with this I am language. What’s your thoughts around that specific language?

Aeron: It’s interesting. I didn’t find this out for six months, six months later when I was reading the Bible for the first time. I believe it’s Exodus Chapter 3 Moses and the burning bush. Moses is at the burning bush. He’s of course terrified I’m sure, as I was. This being goes hey I’m the God of your ancestors. You need to listen to me. Moses is like okay, when I go tell people this message who is it I should say sent me. He says, ehyeh has sent you. Ehyeh in Hebrew is I will be. Oftentimes translated as I am. Of course Moses can’t go to the Israelites and say I will be has sent me. So he changes it. So, he’s informed by God to say Yahweh has sent me. He will be. He will be has sent me. I’m sure they’re like, well who’s he will be. He’s like, the God of our ancestors. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, okay now we’re connecting the links here.

That then becomes the Covenant name of the Hebrew people, Yahweh. It’s been translated a number of different ways. Jehovah and all those sorts of things, but it was Yahweh and it basically means he is the one who was, who is and who will be. So, you’re right. There are other people in history that has encountered something that says I Am, I just simply Am. The question is, is that a copycat thing, or is that some spiritual force out there that’s copycatting this known Covenant name of the Hebrew people? Or is it the God of the Hebrew people that’s just communicating to different people in different places in history. I think depending on what the fruit from the person who says that they encountered this I Am, you know, the fruit being what did they do, what were their actions, what were their speech, what did they speak on. I think you can oftentimes tell if that fruit is coming from a place of restoration and hope and goodness or if it’s coming from a copycat that’s trying to manipulate a human. I’m not commenting either way on any of that. This I Am language originated back around Exodus 3 when Moses was called to go lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Matthew: Wow. This is some deep stuff. For people that have never taken any kind of hallucinogen they might say, well this simply was an LSD trip that took an unusual direction. But as you mentioned, and I have some experience with this as well, you kind of know what you are getting into when you take these things and dosages and what to expect. When someone says, Aeron, could this be an LSD trip that went the wrong direction or direction that was just unusual. Maybe tell us a little bit more about what your wife feels. She kind of felt a hint of this. So, she did feel something. You could be like okay it wasn’t just me, but for you it’s very clear. It wasn’t just LSD because that’s the question. That’s what most people I feel like will be saying that’s what happened.

Aeron: I find that there is - if you go read the Inc Magazine story, the follow up story that Inc. did on me a few months ago, it kind of lays out the story of Tradiv, and what sort of happened after this event. I think when you read that story you’ll come to one of two conclusions. Much like maybe audience members listening to this or people that I have talked to will come to one of two conclusions. Either despite the LSD or maybe using it as an aid or whatever, God spoke to you and he told you to do something and you did it. Great. We’re proud of you. The other one is, yeah there’s no way that happened. It was the LSD.

I’m not sure. I believe that if people will have ears to listen, they will understand that this wasn’t just LSD. If they are skeptical of these sort of spiritual experiences, they’re probably going to arrive at the same conclusion. Whether I was on LSD or not. If I hadn’t been on LSD and I came back and said hey God spoke to me. It was really crazy. Ah man you need to go see a shrink. I happened to come back and say, God spoke to me on LSD. They’re like oh well it was the drugs. People are oftentimes going to come to the same conclusion regardless of what these circumstances were. But pulling that thread a little bit, I was pretty experienced with LSD. I took a small dose. It was around 100 nanograms, for anybody that’s familiar. It’s a fairly small dose, especially for somebody that’s 220 pounds.

This began seven hours into the experience. So, I was on the way down. So, all of that to say, I think people who are experienced with LSD will go well yeah okay some entity outside of yourself speaking articulately to you is way outside the scope of a normal LSD experience. You’ve got a lot of perceptions shifts, and even self-introspection that can occur, but this was entirely different. The second thing I would say is that that’s not the last time that I Am has spoken to me. And the time since he’s spoken to me I was not on a hallucinogen.

Matthew: Wow, that’s crazy. One more thing on the psychedelics is that for people that aren’t familiar is that psychedelics, mushrooms, LSD, maybe you can throw (16.30 unclear) in there. The tendency to kind of melt away the ego sense of self, and then allow to whatever else there to come more in the foreground when it was typically in the background before. So, the ego kind of gets dissolved a bit with the mushrooms.

Aeron: Is it okay if I comment on that?

Matthew: Yeah, go ahead.

Aeron: One of the interesting things is there’s actually gene that people carry. It’s called latency inhibition. Some people have latency inhibition. Some people have naturally low latency inhibition. Latency inhibition is your ability to filter what is not important information. So, if you have high latency inhibition, your ability to filter out information is very high. You can focus on things despite a lot of stuff happening around you, but you’re not going to notice the details as much. People with low latency inhibition naturally have a harder time filtering out information. They catch more detail. Artists, creative people typically genetically have low latency inhibition.

The gene for low latency inhibition has also been directly linked to both psychosis and schizophrenia. So, people that are experiencing a lot and don’t know how to filter it sometimes that can turn into if not treated or - and treated and I don’t necessarily mean by drugs, but just treated through therapy and understanding and introspection, it can lead to schizophrenia and psychosis. I’m not a scientist. I’m not positive, but I have a feeling when you talk about your ego dissolving and things that are normally in the foreground becoming more apparent I think LSD and other ethnogens might have an effect on the latency inhibition of an individual. Meaning when I took that LSD that stuff that I’m normally filtering out my brain became far more aware of it and I’m not suggesting that God needs people to take LSD to speak to him. I actually don’t recommend people take hallucinogens because they don’t know what is speaking to them, and they’re in a very impressionable state of mind.

Regardless of that warning, I didn’t have that warning and I took LSD and God just chose, while my latency inhibition was extremely low and I was very open, and my intellectual veil had been pierced. That’s when he decided to speak to me the first time, and that would be my comment on what kind of scientifically what is going on when you say oh my ego dissolved and things from the foreground are becoming more apparent. It’s latency inhibition.

Matthew: Thanks for that clarification. So, the second time or the subsequent times that you were speaking with this I Am presence, what was the message then? Was it different than the first time?

Aeron: Well, you know, God’s a very patient person. I say person, he’s a very patient entity. He is like a person in many ways. You can relate to him. He’s got a sense of humor and he interacts with us, just like an inner relationship like another person would. He’s very patient. I have a feeling when he talked to me the first time he knows that he can’t just dump everything that he wants me to do on me at that moment. So, really, I like to say that this experience in February I sort of met the God of the Old Testament. He was pretty vague, unclear. I didn’t know much about him or I hadn’t gotten to know him. He just really gave me a bunch of information that would start to make sense over the last couple of years and continues to make sense even today.

The primary message was hey I’m real, you should believe in my because it’s important. I’ve got a plan for you, just as I do everybody and it’s going to seem impossible. It’s not going to make sense. All I require from you is to have faith. If you trust me, and you have faith, anything is possible. Will you do that? Of course after a lot of convincing I said, yes. So, I came back from Alaska with my mind in a way blown, but I didn’t have a different strategy in mind. I was part of a marijuana company, and I had started that and hey look at this great vehicle God had set up for me to be able to achieve his purposes. So, I come back and I was even more feverous in my pursuit of making Tradiv a success after February. I’ve kind of continued down the same road. February, March, April, May, we win Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30, but it was around May that I started to really desire to kind of learn more and get closer to this God that had blown my world open in February 2016 and he wasn’t speaking to me.

He didn’t feel like he was there. So, I start researching every religion on the planet, every experience with I Am that people had reportedly had. I’m just looking everywhere, and ironically I was looking everywhere but the Jewish and Christian faiths because that didn’t seem right. I don’t know, I had a lot of baggage with it you know, as do a lot of people. Then it was July 4, 2016. I had gone out with a friend and we were walking to a bar. It was about 12:15 in the morning. There was a group of young adults from the Rock Church San Diego from their young adult ministry that were literally having a bible study with six or seven of them in a yard at 12:15 in the morning. I kid you not, that same presence unmistakably that I had felt in February 2016 manifests itself in the center of this yard and like a gravity he’s like, hey I’m taking free will from you for a moment. You’re going to come over here and you’re going to sit down. It was like that too. It was like hey young child. Come sit down. You need to learn something.

So, I sit down, literally sit down in the dirt with this group of young adults doing a Bible study and I sort of arrogantly said, what are you guys reading. One of them said Isaiah. I’m thinking okay God’s about to teach you something through me, and I had it backwards. I’m thinking of questions. I have concerns. I have thoughts that are sitting in my mind but I’m not verbalizing them. And then for an hour and 45 minutes that group of young adults starts to have a conversation with me, and the interesting thing is their conversation made sense to them, but it was an entirely different conversation that I was having and God was speaking through them addressing the thing that was sitting on the very forefront of my mind. He was reading my mind and then using another human to speak something that made sense to them but made a total different sense to me, and this goes on for an hour and 45 minutes until the conclusion of the conversation. They asked me would you like to accept Jesus as your savior, and I said yes.

They put their hands on me. They prayed, and the most peaceful feeling that I’ve ever encountered in my life and have continued to encounter but especially in that moment just falls on me, and they pray for 5 minutes and all of my doubt and worry and desire to get to know this God, all of that was just sort of quenched. That thirst was quenched there in that yard. It’s now 2 am. I get up and the rest of the night was kind of crazy. We don’t need to get into that, but the point was I made my way home and started reading the Bible. Three days later my wife, at the time fiancé, also accepted Jesus and seven days later I was on a flight to Israel to travel as a poor person for a week through Israel and I was letting the spirit, what I call the spirit, guide me. I came back from that experience and about a month later I kind of decided okay I feel like God’s calling me away from Tradiv. It’s time for me to move on, and it was a three month process to step down. Shortly after stepping down I started a new position with a group called the Bible Project.

Matthew: Wow. What’s crazy about this story is that almost everybody listening will be like I’ve never had this experience so this must not be real, but essentially it’s just not real for them. It was real for you.

Aeron: It was very real for me.

Matthew: Yeah, and it’s very consistent with a lot of other spiritual experiences I’ve heard so that’s incredible. It actually must create some relief for you in many ways because you’re not like most people on the fence like should I just be an atheist, should I be agnostic or spiritual. You were kind of given this clarity and this presence to allow you to be like, all my doubts are gone.

Aeron: Yeah I mean I would say all my doubts about - I think clarity is one of those things. God will give us clarity and then he kind of lets us walk in that clarity a bit and then you start to have doubts, and then he gives you another dose of clarity and you start to walk and you have some doubts. Don’t get me wrong. This has been a hard journey for me. There have been moments where I have doubted if all this was real. There’s been moments where I’m like am I schizophrenic or manic or psychotic. I’ve even gone to a psychiatrist who specializes in these sorts of experiences to evaluate me to make sure I just haven’t gone off my rocker. No, I have full faith and trust now.

It began in February and solidified in July but has still been a rocky road of discovery and introspection and doubt and renewed faith back and forth and God’s really molded me into a place now where I do feel exactly as you said. I have no doubt and I have perfect clarity about who God is and about what his purposes and desires are for humanity and where I play a part in that. That’s a great feeling, but it’s not just a take some LSD and hopefully God speaks to you and everything’s going to be hunky dory. It has been hard.

Matthew: Right. Have you come across any other people that have had similar experiences to yours and be able to talk about it?

Aeron: Yes I have. You know, the Christian community is an interesting one in that experiences like mine are typically frowned upon because the Christian church, I’m saying global church, Catholicism and (27.45 unclear), evangelical, charismatic. I think of them all as one big entity. There are groups within that that are really open to experiences like this and even pursue experiences like this. I would say by and large churches and the people who attend churches have an idea of what the moral framework of society is supposed to look like. That even includes God not working in miraculous and magnificent ways and totally outside the box ways.

It’s not inside their box, they’re like no that’s not true. So, sharing this sort of thing within the Christian community can be challenging for the same reason it might be challenging to share it with an atheist. Well that’s impossible and a Christian is like, oh no God would never do with somebody on LSD. That’s impossible. So, there is that element. However, still within my group of friends and people that I know, both Christians, agnostics and otherwise who have had similar experiences. Not nearly as intense or as frequently or consistently as I have, but I have met lots of people that have had very paradigm shifting, total life changing experiences of a spiritual nature like this with an entity outside of themselves. Some of those have been because of drugs. Many of them have not.

Matthew: That’s great. Do you keep up with these people and see how they’re doing or is it just you kind of bump into them along the way or how does that work?

Aeron: I mean I have several friends that are consistent friends of mine that I see every week at church that have had experiences like this. I keep up with them. There’s people that have messaged me on LinkedIn or something after reading that story and be like, hey man I had something similar. Interestingly talking to the psychiatrist friend of mine who specializes in this, she’s had a number of patients and people she’s done research on that have had experiences like this. I didn’t get to know them, but she did and I kind of bi-curiously go to know them through her.

Matthew: It’s funny because up to a year or two ago if you said something like this, it sounds a little crazy and perhaps to some people now it still sounds crazy, but then there’s somebody that’s somewhat universally respected, at least in the states and probably Canada too, is Elon Musk. He comes out and says, I don’t know if it was a year or two ago now, he goes yes I believe we’re in some sort of simulated reality and then Peter (30.30 unclear), the guy who created the X prise and who’s the founder of all these exponential technologies. He thinks we’re in one too. He calls a twice removed simulation. I’m like, that sounds even scarier. This conversation is starting to happen and it just begs the question. Everybody goes through their daily life working, spending time with family, having fun, eating and things, but how often do we actually ask the question what am I doing here.

Aeron: It’s like the most important question.

Matthew: Right. It’s like the most important question and it’s a question I can count on one hand the time I’ve had serious conversations with people about that because the answer seems so elusive. How do you know? What perceptual tools do I use to figure this out. So, now that you’ve had this experience what do you think humankind is doing here?

Aeron: Yeah, that’s a great question. I’d say that’s the most important question. It’s interesting, Elon Musk, I forgot the name of the other gentleman that you mentioned, Jim Landess. Yeah, I think they’re scratching at the question. They’re jumping a little too far ahead to what they think the answer is, but they’re scratching at the right question. I think Elon Musk said there’s a one in billion chance we’re in base reality. Base reality meaning this is actually real and we’re not in a simulation. Maybe we can create simulations in the future, which will create new realities, but there is a one in a billion chance that this is the first base reality. I would disagree. This is definitely reality. The question why are we here is exactly the question we should be asking. If this is reality, what are we doing here? Here I’ll give the audience an answer. People can disagree, but here’s my answer on everything that I’ve learned over the last couple of years since God’s taken me on this ride.

We are here to love one another unconditionally. Most of us are so broken because we’re victims of other victims. People who have been abused and victimized and they’re taught how to abuse and victimize. We’ve been doing that generation after generation from the beginning. So, for us to say oh, okay I know how to love you. No you don’t. No we don’t. We are so broken we do not know what unconditional love actually looks like. Jesus on the cross is what unconditional love actually looks like. He came here and said, hey I’ve got a message for you. I’d like to introduce you to the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Kingdom of Heaven this is how it works, and if you don’t want to get onboard, you’re not entering the Kingdom of Heaven. This is not the same thing as saying you’re going to hell.

I’m just saying hey there’s this paradise over here. I would like to introduce you to it, but you won’t enter paradise unless you think and respond in certain ways. And if you understand it, I can assure you will respond appropriately, but we did not like that Kingdom and so we killed him. We killed him on a really narley Roman execution device, and rather than responding with violence he’s like, you guys just don’t understand what I’m trying to tell you. But rather than killing you, rather than responding with violence even those who are spiteful and hate me and want to murder me, I would rather die than lay a finger on you. That’s what unconditional love looks like. A man enters your home. He wants to kill your family. You have a gun in the drawer next to your bed. You grab it. You have a decision. Am I going to shoot this man or am I going to risk letting him kill me. Am I going to risk letting him kill my family?

The answer is in the Kingdom of Heaven yes you’re going to lay down your weapon and you’re going to trust God and if God determines that it’s your time to enter paradise, then that is fine, but there is no room for violence, retaliation, hatred, vengeance, sexual immorality, things that reduce the dignity that make humans human, even if it will kill you. That is how you enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and they killed Jesus over that. So, what are we here to do? We are here to learn how to unconditionally love one another and it has taken God thousands of years to teach us that. It will continue to take time for him to teach us that, but I’ll tell you what in this life or the next we’re all going to learn how to do it. And when we do we’ll be in this reality, and we’re going to start building it the way that it looks when people unconditionally love one another, which means that we build hospitals and we build homes and we build gardens and sports arenas. We do all those things, but it’s not based out of selfish desire to make money. It’s based out of our love for one another and our willingness to bless and serve one another with a great day, a nice hug, a good meal and housing that not too expensive where people have to bus two hours into San Francisco to serve the super wealthy.

It looks like when you have cancer we actually treat you despite your ability to pay it back because saving lives isn’t about making money. It’s about saving lives. And God’s patient. He’s patient. He’ll help us learn. He’ll teach us how to learn. He came himself 2,000 years ago to show us the full measure of his devotion of that unconditional love as an example, but that’s why we’re here. We’re not in some simulation. This is actually reality. It was actually made for us. You could call it a simulation in the sense that God exists outside of it and he made it for us, but this is real dirt. These are real rocks. These are real buildings and the question is did we as humans, given the authority we have to build something, did we make Heaven or did we build a Hell? I’d say we’re mixed up, but leaning towards the latter when you look at the world today.

It’s totally up to us, but there’s no amount of technology, there’s no amount of anything we can do as humans. All we have to do is get onboard with God and start letting our hearts change towards one another and learn how to unconditionally love one another and you watch Heaven be built on this Earth. It’s that easy.

Matthew: Wow, that’s a great question. There are great comments you have there Aeron, and I think it’s a good place to kind of wind up the interview. That was an excellent summary of everything you’ve learned here. I want to pivot and get some final thoughts too. I want to ask some personal development questions but also anything you want to say to the employees, investors of Tradiv or anybody in the cannabis community that were your former colleagues to kind of wrap things up there because you may not have had a chance to talk to all of them individually or broadly or anything that you might wanted to do and a lot of people will listen to this interview?

Aeron: Yeah absolutely. What I would say is I’d say I’m sorry. I had a lot of people follow me into that company. I had a lot of people give money, and I’m sorry truthfully from my heart, I am sorry. What’s a complicated thing is when God is dealing with humans who have all sorts of motivations that aren’t necessarily the best motivations we get ourselves into trouble. I should never have started that company, if I had been following God, but I wasn’t and I did. When I find myself in the middle of it and God comes calling there’s no perfect way. He’s like, hey I don’t want you to be in this company. You’re like, okay well I am. What should I do? He’s like, yeah I need you to leave. You’re like, yeah I’m basically letting all of these people down and I’m breaking my word and bond with them. And he’s like, yeah I know. I’m sorry about that, and I’m sorry for them.

Do you see what I’m saying? There’s no right answer here. So, I did what he asked me to. I left because I was trusting him. It does not mean that what I did to my investors and my friends and my colleagues was perfectly right, but in the wisdom of God it was the right thing to do. It doesn’t mean from a moral perspective that it’s the best thing that could have been done in a relationship purely with me and my investors and my colleagues and my friends, but I also have a relationship with God and that trumps my other relationships. So, I had to follow him, but I’m so sorry that it worked out that way. And in hindsight if I’d known what I know now, I would have never started and put myself in a position to be torn between listening to God and trying to honor my word and bond with my friends and colleagues and investors.

So yeah, to answer your question there or comment, I’m sorry, but I still did the right thing even though it meant having to do a smaller wrong thing.

Matthew: Good. I’m glad you got to say that. Let’s pivot to some personal development questions here. Is there a book that has had a big impact on your thinking or way of life, either prior to your spiritual experience or after, that you’d like to share with listeners?

Aeron: Yeah sure. There’s some great books out there on psychology that I think are helpful for people. Let’s see, if somebody struggles with shame, which is where a lot of our brokenness comes from, I’d encourage them to read Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw. If somebody struggles with just understanding what’s happening inside of them, i.e. emotions, which is really where a lot of this comes from. Our inability to feel and react to emotions appropriately which is a large part how God made us, to be emotional. I’d really recommend the Language of Feelings by David Viscott. They are wonderful books that will help you to maybe forgive yourself a little bit for the stuff that’s happening inside you that happened to you when you were a kid, that happened to you as a teenager before you were able to even feel or understand what’ happening to you, you’re already formed. So, those are two great books. I think the (41.41 unclear) is a useful tool for kind of seeing.

We oftentimes think we’re a lot more put together than we are. I think the (41.49 unclear) is really good at helping you realize that you’re probably not as put together as you think you are. So, that’s more on of an anybody, no matter what faith background you belong to. I think those are great resources. If you want to get to know God, I think you should read the Bible, but there’s a caveat. If you jump into the Bible and start to read it at face value, you are going to be very confused and think that we have a very weird and angry God that is bloodthirsty. I’m not kidding. The Bible is very confusing, and it’s confusing because it was written to ancient near eastern people over 2400 years ago, in some cases 1950 years ago, and that is an ancient near eastern culture, a Jewish audience and 33 percent of it was written in poetry. Well we don’t really know how to read ancient Hebrew, apocalyptic poetry and actually get the point.

Matthew: Speak for yourself Aeron.

Aeron: No kidding right. So, if you read, you know you read some of these descriptions of a manifestation of God, you’re like whoa man. I’ve never seen anything like that. This must be crazy. Well that’s because they’re using anthropermophitization of the Divine which was a common tool across all ancient Near Eastern culture. You read Genesis 1 you’re like, I’ve heard of the big bang and it’s been explained to me pretty well before. So, what’s up with this seven day creation story. Did you know that all ancient Near Eastern culture had a seven day creation story. If you talked about God creating the planet, you spoke about it in a seven day creation story. Just like now when we talk about life springing forth from nothing we talk about it in the context of the big bang. It’s the language they use at the time, and God never came down and said hey guys.

A modern Western audience living in the year 2000 isn’t really going to understand this. So, let me update you on some chemistry and physics and then you can write this thing. He doesn’t do that. He speaks to the people at the time, in the context and language in which they best understand. So, when you read the Bible you need to equip yourself with the tools to read it properly. I would actually recommend people go to www.thebibleproject.com, it’s the organization I work for. There’s over 100 videos. We basically make cartoons on the internet for adults. They’re from three and a half minutes to seven minutes and they help break down the context, the language, the themes that are used and woven throughout the Bible to understand the overall story first. Once you understand the overall story, it’s a little easier to not get bogged down in some of these details that a lot of people in the Christian church like to focus on, but we’re missing the point.

We’re trying to analyze this blade of grass and we’re missing the beautiful herd of elephants walking by. You need tools to read the Bible. So, I’d recommend people start there, www.thebibleproject.com.

Matthew: Okay great. That’s the best way to follow your work is the www.thebibleproject.com.

Aeron: Yeah I mean, you know, all of my opinions that I’ve shared today are not shared by the organization, but I very much believe in everything the organization is doing. I think God has blessed that organization. We’re fully crowdfunded. Everything is free. There’s no denomination paying for this thing. We don’t belong to any denomination. We serve Catholics and Protestants alike, atheists, agnostics and Christians and Muslims and Buddhists alike. We’re trying to help share this story that God’s given us. It’s a story about us. Once you understand the story about us, it helps you understand the story about you and how you connect to this big confusing thing, but I do consider it truth, even though it’s a hard truth sometimes. Don’t just open Genesis and start reading. You’re just going to get confused. You need some assistance.

Matthew: Aeron what a great interview. Thanks so much for joining us today on CannaInsider. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain everything, what happened and clearing the air on a couple points I think that were hanging out there. Wish you all the best on your new endeavors, The Bible Project, and we’ll be wishing you well.

Aeron: Thanks Matt. I love you man. You’ve always been a good friend and been a real pleasure knowing you and I look forward to knowing you in the future.