#17 The Greatest Wonder in the World | BJ Miller

December 15, 2020
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  • BJ talks about take aways from his near-death experience. How serious illness and trauma are universal experiences of need – and it puts us in touch with others. (3:10)
  • Ronan highlights that we all live like we’re not going to die. BJ says ‘autonomy’ and ‘ego’ is an illusion. (5:00)
  • BJ just celebrated the 30 anniversary of his accident from when he was a sophomore at Princeton University. BJ tells the story of the night of his accident as he watched parts of his body die. Electricity arched to his watch from the electric line above the commuter train he climbed with his friends. (6:00)
  • When you’re not prepared for death, you suffer more in your last minutes (7:16)
  • Lessons from death are similar to lessons from psychedelics: tune into how unimportant you are – and how incredibly important you are. You're both inconsequential and amazingly consequential. (8:00)
  • How Ketamine therapy can help some people understand death (9:00)
  • BJ talks about his memories from his ICU, what it felt like, and his ‘conscious life coming back online’ (9:30)
  • The horizon of death felt ‘matter of fact’. Most people who BJ works with find it to be a peaceful zone. (11:20)
  • Conrad joins to talk about watching and helping his mom in the ICU, and how gratitude found him within the trauma. (13:10)
  • BJ talks how grief ‘blows out our capacity’ to feel it all (16:00)
  • BJ talks ironically about how he’s almost become a ‘fan of grief’ because it opens people up (17:30)
  • BJ talks about the limitation of language, and how ‘strength’ can be misunderstood (21:00)
  • Grief helps us metabolize reality. Acknowledging what we’re losing is part of the process and shift the focus from what's gone to what you have. (22:00)
  • BJ talks about how he shortcut his own metabolic process of grief when his sister passed away 20 years ago (23:30)
  • Conrad talks about how he is metabolizing the loss of his mother – and trying to exist with it all (26:00)
  • BJ talks about how religion played a role in his early life. (30:30)
  • Even rationally, we are actually stardust. When we die, our bodies transfer energy (31:00)
  • BJ tells Ronan about his experience of ego dissolution with 5-MeO-DMT and how it revealed our ‘invented existence’ (33:00)
  • ‘Death ‘ is not on the design brief in medical treatment approaches centers (40:00)
  • Strategy should be to name death as an experience in order to reframe it (41:00)



About Ronan

An entrepreneur and a visionary, Ronan is one the founders of Field Trip – with a mission to bring the world to life through psychedelics and psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy. Concurrent with his work at Field Trip, he is a partner at Grassfed Ventures, a venture capital and advisory firm focused on the cannabis and biotech industries and is Chief Strategy Officer and Member of the Board of Directors for Trait Biosciences Inc., a leading biotech company in the hemp and cannabis industries. Prior to his current roles, Ronan co-founded Canadian Cannabis Clinics and CanvasRx Inc., the latter of which was acquired by Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) in 2016, after which he served as Senior Vice President, Business and Corporate Affairs for Aurora. A lawyer by training, Ronan started his career as a corporate lawyer at Blake, Cassels Graydon LLP and Legal Counsel at CTVglobemedia Inc. (now Bell Media Inc.) He holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, both from the University of Toronto.