Welcome to “In the Sanctuary,” a spiritual kiki hosted by producer Shannon Joy. In this first installment, Shannon sits with her good good girlfriend Pastor Prosecco as they discuss his evolution from religion to spirituality, the peace that passes understanding, and “intentional hedonism.”
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Mentioned During Show:
Darren Mallett aka “Pastor Prosecco” is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of House of Ease. He believes that joy is healing and that revolution gets to be a fun process. An island boy at heart, the Brooklyn born and raised writer, director and producer is inspired by the beauty of Black and Queer narratives across the African diaspora. He believes that sharing authentic and transparent narratives promotes a culture of empathy and compassion. Darren is the director and co-writer of the award winning short, BodyMore (2018), co-creator and executive producer of comedy web series, Brett and the City and produced /directed episodes for the Black Gotham Experience web series (2016). Together he along with producer, Empress Varnado started black brown and digital (#bbdigital) , a series of events highlighting digital content creators of color. Darren is currently directing upcoming documentary short, BLOOM, following the lives of Queer men of color visiting and residing in Jamaica. Darren is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and directed/produced several pieces with the Plastic Flamingo Theater Company. Darren completed Gotham Writers Workshop for television writing in addition to sitcom and feature film writing at the New School where he holds a BFA in musical theater.
Brandon Nick: If I were to start a fanclub for yellow starburst would y’all join? Cuz truth be told the yellow starburst is fab and its-
Shannon: Wait hol up. Pause. Brandon! It's my turn to do an episode!
Brandon: Oh, you right! My bad, go head.
Shannon: Yeah. Let me get my space now. Um, I mean yellow starburst are the best. Anyway... let's get back to queer
[Let’s Get Back To Queer theme music by Byrell the Great]
Shannon Joy: Hey y’all. I’m Shannon Joy, I’m a writer, filmmaker, yogini & wellness guide. But before all those titles I’m a regular shmegular degular girl from Baltimore, whose been through some shit in her life but my commitment to spiritual growth and finding joy within has helped me transform my life, more than a few times, get closer to my desires and be a generally healthier, happier version of myself. As someone who is so deeply rooted in spirituality, I wanted to do a series where I sit down with some dope, fully tapped in, turned on queer folks and ponder the nature of our reality.
Welcome to “In the Sanctuary.” This is a spiritual kiki; you'll hear a lot of laughter, a lot of vulnerability, and a heap of universal truths. In this inaugural episode I sit down with my good friend, creative partner and critically acclaimed filmmaker Darren Mallett aka Pastor Prosecco. We talk about his journey from trauma-induced puppet shows to joyously toeing the line between ascetic monkhood and intentional hedonism. So let me give you some context, Darren is an 80s baby born and raised by a single mother from Trinidad. In the early 90s his mother made the shift from a militant Black secularist to a saved, sanctified and filled with the holy ghost super-Christian.
Shannon Joy: So around 92, you were in second grade, you began going to churches regularly?
Shanon Joy: And it sounds like you went to a lot of churches.
Shannon Joy: How did you feel when you were at church? What was your experience of church, of the teachings of Christianity? What was the fe- Ddd you get a feeling?
Darren: Okay. There's two things that happened. The first feeling was my buy-in as a young one was I always enjoyed the arts and I enjoy dancing. I enjoyed singing, I enjoyed storytelling. And so, you know, in a lot of these churches, it's theatrical. So, you know, there's opportunity to, you know, sing and dance. Um, whenever there was like a rehearsal or a church show, that stuff was just all in out fun. Truly, truly fun. Uh, but on a more like, I guess, spiritual or relational, um, experience, there was this one church, it was a predominantly white, it was in Atlanta or Sandy Springs, but somewhere in that Atlanta region and, uh, we were in children's church and there was a good old fashioned children's church. There was a Punch and Judy style puppet show and the show, this one was centered around hell. Yeah.
Shannon Joy: Oh fun!
Darren: I never forget watching the show. And then seeing the puppet, like, you know, smoke, drink, or do something. I just like, I remember that whatever the puppet did was deemed as sin by a voice of God, type. If it wasn't like the white teacher that was, like, next to it, holding the Bible open, but it was like, the puppet did something that was not according to the Bible and get engulfed by like papier-mache fire, like, and just seeing the puppet, like burn up in flames. It really got me… visual learners. What the fuck? I think what made it effective for me, it was like, it was a well produced show. It wasn't janky. It was good puppet theater. That shit shook me man. Like what the fuck? Like holy… wow. Um, and immediately after that service, we were at home and we were watching, you remember the 700 club, Pat Robinson?
Shannon Joy: Vaguely.
Darrren: It’s just like a tele evangelist.
Shannon Joy: Ok, yeah.
Darren: So we're watching the 700 club. And at the end of every episode, you know, the teacher, Pat Robinson would be like, you know, the sinner's prayer. Uh, so like a prayer to invite Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and savior.
Shannon Joy: Because you're a dirty sinner.
Darren: Right. Dirty puppet being engulfed by flames. And so immediately after that, that puppet show, I said the Lord's prayer. And I, that's when I started my own individual born again Christian experience.
Shannon Joy: Got it. Okay. Great. And so for years -
Darren: Fear was the feeling, not great.
Shannon Joy: Not great. Okay. So you're a young child. You're choosing to follow this lifestyle where you give your life to Jesus and you don't curse, you don't listen to you, you're not engaged in the culture. You are trying to keep it straight and narrow. I know you were like a straight A student.
Darren: I was!
Shannon Joy: Perfect attendance.
Darren: I was!
Shannon Joy: You're a theater kid. You're performing all the time and you're discovering yourself, like your sexuality.
Darren: It's the segues for me.
Shannon Joy: Thank you. I'm literally channeling my best Oprah Winfrey impression right now.
Darren: Yes mixed with a little bit of Terry Gross realness. Someone's done their research.
Shannon Joy: Yes. Your sexuality is emerging.
Shannon Joy: How does that, uh, play that play? How does the, what effect does that have on this relationship that you've developed with Jesus Christ? Uh, what, is there any tension there between your burgeoning sexuality and Christianity? Let’s hear about that.
Darren: For sure. For sure. Oh yeah, boom. So I'm like 9, 10 in and around that age. We're in Canarsie. And you know, there's like, bad-ass kids everywhere. And so like the bad boy trope, like he, he's around and I'm outside for whatever reason. Cause I wasn't never really playing with them. Cause again, I couldn't really, I wasn't allowed to, but I was like outside. I could notice them, Hey, he was just being like alpha male energy and he I'll never forget, he lifted up his shirt and I saw like the top of pubic hair and I was like, yo, yo, what's going… yo?
Okay. And I immediately, we went inside and I was like, mom, like, what does it mean if... I had no words for it? Cause I'm like woefully sheltered, but I'm intuitive enough.
Shannon Joy: You felt something.
Darren: I felt something. And at that point I was like, mom, like what?
Shannon Joy: What does it mean that I felt something like, yeah,
Darren: That's the general gist of the inquiry, and mom immediately just took it to prayer. And so we got on her, I'll have to hire a publicist for my mom. These guys, we love her. We love her.
Shannon Joy: We love her, she’s innocent.She’s working from the information that she had at the time.
Darren: Right. Right. For sure. But yeah, so we immediately, she just like prayed it out of me. Right. And so from that age, all the way up until I started having my own, uh, post Christianity, uh, experiences. And that's like, we're talking about early twenties early. So from that moment to early twenties, that's when enter the shame, the guilt of like, oh, it was actually easier for me to just not to just shut off my attraction to both men and women. Because for me personally, I remember I made a choice to just suppress all feelings, uh, with, with women so that, so like I'm not dealing with drama.
Shannon Joy: Right, right. Because your mom is your experiences, your woman in your life. For sure. You're probably associating like everything, every everything. And it's like drama. So I don't want that. And then with the guys, it's like, what? Like hell.
Darren: Hell! Period.
Shannon Joy: Period. Whew, that’s a lot.
Darren: So this is like, yeah. I mean, and that's what like in the back of my mind, even still to this day, like I'm just like flirting with like, uh monkhood and just general abstinence. Cause this is like peaceful.
Shannon Joy: I understand that.
Darren: I need it. But you know, I do enjoy sex. Yes. Romance and love too. Yeah. Oh, we're going to get to that. Oh yeah. That definitely
Shannon Joy: Definitely answers the question. How it- yeah. So what I'm wondering is when was the moment when you decided fuck all of that because the Darren that I met in grad school in 2012 was on some other, you weren't that Darren, you weren't a repressed, sexually repressed Christian boy.
Darren: Oh, my dick was out at that point.
Shannon: You were, you were very much a grown man who I knew immediately was very spiritually in tune. You always had the wisdom, you was dropping nuggets. So I guess
Darren: That’s nice to say thank you.
Shannon: When was the moment you said fuck that, Darren?
Darren: Um, I wouldn't say it was rock bottom, but it was my first bout of depression. Um, so right before I got to the new school, um, up until that point, I was just trained in the theater as a, as a performer. And so that was like the gist of my, my life. And then after, you know, and this is the early 2000s, so I was a professional actor. I graduated from my conservatory in 2005.
So, um, like in my early twenties, not really enjoying the, the audition process and really not enjoying theater industry, uh, television industry, just like the, I love the arts, but I just could not handle a lot of the things. And, um, I was working at Buddha-con. Yeah. Like sex and the city tours were coming in and, um, it was trendy and I was for the first time being recognized as like… sexy. You know, and I was like going to different bars and stuff. And that was like pulling at me. And so, because I was like, quote, unquote, not necessarily in the closet because I was fighting my sexuality so much, I didn't even identify as it. I was just like having desires and late nights with alcohol and men. Does that make sense? I was in that mental Headspace. And, um, what really did it was, I was for hours and hours.
I was standing at the door, Buddakon as like the greeter and just opening the door and just... and I'm sitting with myself for, for hours on end, not wanting to go to hell for like all this stuff that I'm participating in, and it just like exhausted me mentally. And so there was one time when I called my mom and I was like, what does it mean if you, like, you just don't want to get out of the bed? Because I work hard. I always have a fire going on. And it was like always feeling creatively inspired, but I was just like, blah, I'm not feeling none of this. And she's like, oh yeah, sounds like you really need Jesus.
And I was like, okay, well at this point, let me really, and You know, like early twenties, let me just go in the New Testament, hard for myself. And so I just did it just like purely academic. And I was just not seeing for myself half the things I was like condemning myself for. And so I was just like slowly experiencing as it's called “freedom in Christ.” And so like, by the time you met me in like, um, in school, I was like more comfortable being free because I just read it in all the ancient, not all ancient texts, but like new Testament. I felt better.
Shannon Joy: So how did you, how did you come into meditation? What, what path led you into your meditation?
Darren: The stress of New York City.
Shannon Joy: Yep. Period. That’ll do it. So was it like a friend recommended you, you meditate with them or was it through your readings that you were just like, let me just try this.?
Darren: You know, meditation is just always around. I mean, I think in the churches a lot of times, or at least the Christian churches that I've been a part of, uh, it's more about prayer, alot. But always in the text it's like prayer and meditation
Shannon Joy: It’s always supposed to be that way.
Darren: Yeah. And even in like the Yoga culture, like San Gouda was just talking about it again the other day, he was like the whole purpose of the bending and the stretching is to get your betty, your body ready to meditate. So
Shannon: You gotta exhaust the body so you can lay your ass down and relax and quiet your mind. Yeah, for sure.
Darren: And so, uh, going to school, working the general city vibes, I remember wanting to meditate for at least two years before I actually started meditating.
Shannon Joy: And Darren, you did something very special, which a few, very few people in this world have done. Darren's done something called Vipassana, which is a, correct me if I'm wrong, 10 day meditation experience where you retreat away at an ashram and, you commit to not speaking, looking another human in the eye or interacting with another human, not reading anything, not writing anything. Yeah. And generally just meditating doing yoga, cleaning for, you know, your service at the service and just simply being with yourself and your thoughts at all time. That, that’s right?
Darren: That's a good summation. Yeah.
Shannon Joy: Okay. I want to hear about how you decided to do this and how the experience was and how you changed after this experience?
Darren: Everything must change. Everyone must change.
Shannon Joy: Because that is the Darren Mallet that I remember.
Darren: That's the Darren that gets in trouble, because, but he used to be letting everything go and tasting bliss and Nirvana. Things get a little janky.
Yeah, my expectations of Vipassana 10 day training course, I went in really on some open-minded shit. And the first three days is all about just acclimating to this environment. It takes an adjustment. Um, so it a lot of just releasing like, oh my God, I'm just like, I can't sit through this without moving my body. And like, oh my goodness. We're going to bed every day at 9:00pm. And just like, it felt like adjustment. Day four, I woke up with the gong goes off at 4:00am and every morning the gong goes off at 4:00am. And then the one hour set starts at 4:30, uh, going into 5:30am. And I go out, day four and is like Vipassana training starts today. And I was like, what, well, what were we doing for the first - what the whoo? And that's kind of like when it's just a bit more like really just push through or, you know, sit through, um, with more intent.
And in around day six, where I had a quote unquote successful sitting with strong determination, that, a lot of joy. And, um, the latter half, like the days sevens and the eights was the real joy for me really came from, uh, the walks in nature. Um, just vibing with the trees and the birds. You know, experiencing the earth with fresher, clarity, fresher vibes. Um, But I did break a couple of vows on day, like, eight. And I was like, I had to read a book. And so I snuck and started reading, um, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra. Uh, and I didn't feel too guilty, but I did write about it, which was another vow broken. So I, I wrote from there. Um, and then on day nine, like halfway through day nine, they kind of surprise you. It was like, you guys can talk now.
Shannon Joy: Oh, how was that?
Darren: I was a little shaken and you, I was walking through and the first interaction I had with a human, just like, they looked me in the eye and they said something like, something just broad like congratulations or peace, something nice. And I immediately was like, thank you. And then I ran into my dorm room and shut the door and just wept because it was the first time I interacted with a human and it was just like, ahhhh.
Coming out of it, what was tough was like, I couldn't get over how challenging it was to reintegrate back into society. That was tough. Cause I, it opened me up in a, in a sense and I'm like experiencing what I called the divine and then getting so annoyed by everything and everyone outside of the grounds, which led me back into like judging myself again. If anything, maybe one of the things is I, I thought that it, I could ride that high longer than I could.
But I would just quickly add, I used a lot of that training to get through like, two weeks at a time, during the lockdown in 2020. And I was just like, let's just like go through it. And I would like do that level of meditation through like the four earthquakes that I experienced over there and, uh, Baldwin Hills. And like when the sky was like this purple, puce gray color, when California was on fire, that helped. But yeah. it was on my 30th, my trip around the sun. Um, yeah. I had that experience.
Shannon Joy: Wait, I was at your 30th birthday party, which was not Vispassana. So was it, it was after that?
Darren: That was after Right after my 30th. Cause uh, November baby. By January, I was doing my Eat. Pray. Love.
Shannon Joy: Right. I remember this. I remember that. Okay. Yes. Cause you came back different. All right.
Darren: You would say?
Shannon Joy: I would definitely say.
Darren: Okay. Yeah. I mean, it's a hell of an experience to just to detach from your ego that intensely, you know.
Brandon Nick: Hey, Brandon here. Sorry to interrupt so I’ll be quick. You know how Darren was just saying how it’s great to detach from our ego... you know what else is great and prolly easier?! Detaching your money from your bank account to support Let’s Get Back To Queer. No like seriously, if you’re enjoying this podcast, which I hope you are, then I urge you to support us on patreon so we can continue to have healing conversations like this. For 5 bucks a month you can support Black queer independent storytelling and get some cools ass perks like accessing the full unfiltered convo with Pastor Prosecco and Shannon, plus more dope exclusive content from previous and upcoming episodes. Visit our website at letsgetbacktoqueer.com or our shownotes to join our patreon and find other ways to support. Alright, back to the sanctuary we go!
Shannon Joy: What did you discover in the quiet of vipassana?
Darren: The peace that passeth understanding. It’s like one of my favorite quotes that like Eckhart Tolle writes about, if it's not The Power of Now it's in A New Earth and he talks about like the gap in between your thoughts.
Shannon Joy: Your thoughts, yeah.
Darren: And you know, I've, at this point, by the time I got to vipassana and the word vipassana, as I remember, it's a, to see things as they are.. So like around day four of this experience, they really start challenging you with, uh, these hour sits. Sitting with strong determination.
Darren: And it's the good old fashioned traditional meditation where you like, if there is a fly on your knee, you just observe, you just observe the sensation. You don't judge it as a fly cause there is no fly. There's only the consciousness observing said fly, you labeling it a fly, allof that stuff. Right. If it's hot, if it's cold, if you're hungry, if you're not, if you're horny, fuck it.
Shannon: It doesn't matter.
Darren: Sitting with strong determination. And the first time that I suc- quote unquote, I’m using the word successful cuz it’s not about that either. Cuz time doesn’t exist. But I did the whole session and I didn’t move and just, you know, it was exhilarating to feel that freedom away from your body and to just... you know, you see all those charts of like the chakras into the universe and then it goes down into the universe and it's just like, you're just,
Shannon Joy: you're all connected.
Darren: You're all connected. And because at this point this is like post mushrooms and stuff. So I've had really fun- we had really, really fun. It was great, no like psychedelic experiences
Shannon Joy: Yep
Darren: But to have it like completely sober and you know, to just feel that intense ananda, Sanskrit for bliss, it's, It's deeply empowering because you know it's there.
Shannon Joy: It is. It's there within you. It's accessible.
Darren: It's there within you. It's always accessible.
Shannon Joy: That…
Darren: That's a gigiana. That's a gag. That's a whole ass gag.
Shannon Joy: And I love hearing that because I feel like there's so many ways that we're indoctrinated from a young age that block us. It's not that we don't have it. We have it all in us. But we, the blocks of the awareness of the bliss and the joy and the love. You know, it's always there, but how many walls have you been, have been put up or have you put up? And sometimes that shit can come crumbling down with that type of intention and willingness on your part.
Darren: Amen. Yeah
Shannon Joy: Cuz taking yourself away for 10 days to be completely silent and not connect with another human is a huge deal. Yeah. It's a huge like, think about it and get nervous. I'm still not ready for that.
Darren: That's your ego. Cuz it knows it’s going there to die one time. You’re gonna slay the bitch.!
Darren: It’s pure detachment.
Darren: It’s pure detachment. And that is where, you know, and one of the other teachings that was so beautiful, uh, during that 10 day experience was like, the root of all suffering is either craving or aversion. Um, personally, what... more than sexuality, more than anything, what, even like alcohol or pleasures and all that stuff. What I really needed deliverance for and I would all- until I leave this planet, what I will need deliverance from is just like my ambition when it comes to my art and my craft. Because I can easily identify because like I'm an achiever type I like to do, do, do, do, do, do, let me get things done. Let me manifest dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. It's not, it's not about that. None of that shit matters. And so it's like allow, it was like the first time that I could like approach my work with a semblance of
Shannon Joy: A little bit of, of a detachment there.
Shannon Joy: It's like, I really love this quote from the Tao Te Ching.
Darren: That's my shit right there.
Shannon Joy: Is like, do your work then step back. And it's like, do your best work, but then take a step back from it. Because you cannot control the outcome of anything, period. And when you think you can, that's where the suffering comes, aversion or craving you're craving and outcome. You're craving an outcome and you don't know anything.
Darren: Yeah. And it's, it's a really surreal experience to be a creative, right. Be an artist or writer or whatever, fill in the blank, and do your best, work with integrity, and still be- practice non-attachment to the outcome. That's, that's a practice.
Shannon Joy: I have a question. Can you do me a favor?
Darren: For sure.
Shannon Joy: Can you read the introduction to A Course of Miracles?
Shannon Joy: It's one page I believe, right?
Darren: Yes. And it's actually in a Jay Z song, too.
Shannon Joy: It is?
Darren: Yeah. But I have to look it up. I think it's in like the 4:44 album. This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish this curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of Love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear. But what is all encompassing can have no opposite. This chorus can therefore be summed up very simply in this way. Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.
Shannon Joy: And what have you learned from this book, Darren?
Darren: You mentioned the Tao te ching, and I always heard about it. But in 2018, you gave me the Tao of Pooh.
Shannon Joy: The Tao of Pooh, yeah.
Darren: That was like, just so lovely.
Shannon Joy: Isn’t it such a cute, gentle read?
Darren: It's such a cute, gentle read.
Shannon Joy: And that was my introduction to the Tao two from that book.
Darren: Beautiful. Uh, yeah. So the Tao always talks about Wu Wei, which is effortless action. Excuse me. And there is this one passage, if you don't mind, tiny passage from A Course in Miracles, that really does it for me. And, um, it's around effortless action and peace.
Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do. When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving into sin. When the light comes at last, into the mind, given to contemplation or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization: I need do nothing.
And for someone who spent their whole life…
Shannon Joy: Doing the most.
Darren: Doing the most, as some people would say the niggity most, you know, like doing a lot, um, yeah.
Shannon Joy: Yeah I can feel, I feel that those words do feel like medicine to my like brain right now. It feels like I just put some moisturizer on my, on my scalp. Yeah
Darren: It's therapeutic. Yeah.
Shannon Joy: Yeah. My brow does want to relax right now. Yes. I feel that. Thank you.
Darren: Thank you. Yeah.
Shannon Joy: So how would you define your spiritual practice nowadays? And who is Pastor Prosecco?
Darren: Um, definitely the affirmative prayer, words of affirmation is my top love language. Um, and choosing the light over and over and over again, going back to like nothing real can be threatened. Like nothing real can be threatened. So when New York City is covered in Ash from the fires, and Jeff Bezos going to the moon, I'm still going to be like, okay, this is like in divine order, somehow. Or like when I look at my bank account and I'm like, oh, this is in divine order as well.
Shannon Joy: As well. Yes.
Darren: Um, all, all the things. So I'm just choosing the affirmative at all, at all times. And of course I meditate. And then, you know, you drink your teas and your boopity boops and you stretch in the boppity bops. And then Pastor Prosecco is he came from, I think...
Shannon Joy: I was there that day.
Shannon Joy: The day that Pastor Prosecco was born.
Darren: Where are we tripping on shrooms that day?
Shannon Joy: No, but we were drinking. We were drinking, heavily.
Darren: It's actually that balance that we talked about, like the Prosecco, the, the tangible, things of this earth, the things that I'm allowing myself to do. Right. And the pastor is just the wisdom. It’s that personification of like, I'm a sovereign person. Um, I'm no one's pastor, because if you don't know, Prosecco is like a sparkling wine from Italy. So like…
Shannon Joy: It’s also your way of saying pass the Prosecco and I'm Pastor Prosecco.
Darren: Both and.
Shannon Joy: Both and. That's why I think it's brilliant. What I like about Pastor Prosecco, if I may, is that I feel like, like you said, it's this fusion of your identities and it's you choosing to center joy and pleasure, callback to our pleasure activism episode, you choosing to center joy and pleasure and your spirituality because Pastor Prosecco is all about the vibes, the community being, um, in the, in the mix, in the party atmosphere. It's a very, um, joyful indulgent, hedonistic even, persona. And I like that.
Darren: With mindfulness!
Shannon Joy: With mindfulness!
Darren: Intentional hedonism. Intentional indulgence.
Darren: Intentional. It’s like we’re doing this. Um, yeah. Bacchanal.
Shannon Joy: And that is really you. That's like, that's just a version of you that everyone sees. And like you've named now and have like shored up. And even though we know all identities are made up anyway, this is the one that you choose. And I love it also because it removes the shame from those things. Like you're, you're reclaiming them and, um, and you're taking the shame away because actually everyone can do whatever they want, who are consenting adults and and…
Darren: We enjoy consent.
Shannon Joy: Yeah. And because we don't believe that God is a white man in the sky, who's going to send us to a burning fire pit.
Darren: Who said that!?
Shannon Joy: Right. As long As we're not out here cutting down people by the throat and, you know, burning up all the trees on the planet. We're fine.
Darren: Yeah. And even in those instances, not advocating for that, but then there's still that behavior that I don't, like, it's still have to find a way to, uh, forgive it and understand it in the grand scheme of the cosmos. Like that is the polarity and the duality of this existence that we're navigating through right now. Non-judgment.
Shannon Joy: Non-judgment yes. That one is a hard one for my ego.
Darren: It’s a practice.
Shannon Joy: That's the hardest one. Um, okay. I have one last question for you.
Shannon Joy: But why do you think spirituality is important for human beings to, uh… to seek out?
Darren: We're, we're consciousness first. We're consciousness having this human experience. So, you know, we are not our bodies. And so it's, as we, you know, delve deeper to this age of Aquarius, that we're quote unquote in, it's going to be interesting what queerness becomes because it's ever evolving because we're consciousness visiting this planet.
Shannon Joy: Boom.
Darren: What I would say though, is I think a lot of these young babies, especially on the, like, Tik Tok memes, like they are inherently understanding that like this matrix system, there's something outside of it. I feel like these kids, if anything, we can learn from these kids because they're hot fire. These rainbow, crystal, indigo, whatever colored children, babies are ha- like they are everything and I'm in service to them. What they need I'm here to provide. Cuz it’s love.
Shannon Joy: Y'all heard that Darren is here for y'all. And I am too.
Brandon Nick: That’s our show! I hope y’all enjoyed In the Sanctuary hosted by my good sis Shannon Joy. She’ll have more conversations in the sanctuary in the next. Thank you and shoutout to Darren Pastor Prosecco Mallet for holding some space on the podcast. Fun fact! Darren recently did ANOTHER 10 day Vipassanna retreat and this is what he had to say about that experience.
Darren: In September 2021, I was returning student, um, at the Black Heritage Vipasanna Meditation Course. It was beautiful. And I was grateful for it. And it felt like a privilege, it really felt like a privilege to um be in nature and have access to that much peace and serenity. Was it easier? I would say that I was sitting through my one-hour sits with greater ease than like the first time. But a lot of frustrations and impatience still rose up in certain times. But, um, one of the practices is you know law of impermanence, really realizing that everything rises to pass away again. To rise up again, to pass away again. Much like breath. One day seven, there was a bunch of ideas that came to my head and I did not feel like fighting with it. So I got a piece of napkin from the dining hall, and I wrote some ideas down. And then I let it go. What I discovered is really that there’s Black and Brown people all over the world that are dedicated to their spiritual growth and evolution. And it gave me a lot of hope as a culture and a community that if we can get 60 Black and Brown people to sit in silence and chill and break bread and you know subject themselves to this kind of lifestyle, anything is possible.
Brandon Nick: This episode was produced by Shannon Joy, edited by Shannon and myself, Brandon Nick. With sound design and mixing from Evan Joseph. And of course, as always, thank you to you the listeners for tuning into another episode of Let’s Get Back To Queer. See y’all on the next one, byeeeeee. I was tryna be a meditative bowl. Alright bye y’all.