Carrying on from my earlier blog post on Ayahuasca, which you can read here, I am going to talk a little more about this sacred plant medicine.
My intention behind sharing on this topic is to shed some light on the healing journey. I wish to share my own personal perspectives and the insight from my own experience in relation to Ayahuasca, as I feel that we are in a day and age where we need all the help we can get to bring humanity back into balance and harmony with itself and with life. The long-standing traditions of plant medicine and the indigenous cultures which have preserved their sacred use have been and continue to be of great assistance for humans all over the world, in terms of helping us remember our connection to nature and the appropriate patterns of life which help us live in a state of greater alignment, ease, joy, and satisfaction.
I will begin by sharing some of my own personal experiences or perspectives and then, from there, elaborating on my thoughts. By the end of this blog post hopefully there is a sense of illumination and understanding towards the purpose and use of a plant medicine such as Ayahuasca, but more importantly, insight towards the healing journey overall. Caveat: I'm not here to convince you or anyone of anything. I merely wish to openly share some perspectives and personal research on the topic in case there are people out there who have considered working with this plant teacher. Take what I say with a grain of salt and reach inside yourself to come to your own intuitive knowing & understanding.
My first observation is connected to the way that Ayahuasca is used for healing and transformative purposes -- through ceremony. The way that Ayahuasca works best is in the context of ceremony or ritual. In my case, living and working in an environment and community where I am surrounded by Ayahuasca use, and also having a lifestyle where ceremony is central to my way of life, I get to see (and feel, and observe, and take notes) the inner mechanism(s) of ritual and ceremony. Connected to this, I get to see and take part in the healing journey (for myself, of course) but also for many people. As I work closely with multiple different retreat centers where people come from all over the world to stay for a brief time and do their spiritual/transformational work, either with or without Ayahuasca as an accompanying facilitator to their healing process, I am blessed with many opportunities to observe profound and life-changing processes that people go through when they make the intention and effort to do so. And, as we are on the topic of Ayahuasca, I must state that I get to see many of these healing moments connected to Ayahuasca ceremony. What is taking place in these ceremonies, or with the medicine, that is allowing such profound perspective shifts? And do these perspective shifts provide lasting changes in the lives of the people when they go home, leaving behind the magical and mystical container of the retreat center and going back to the "civilized" world?
I continue to pay close attention to the technology of ceremony. I think that it is in these containers, where the space is well held, that a person's spirit can journey to hidden dimensions of their being and recover lost information. Perhaps this is nothing more than fragmented parts of the nervous system coming back into wholeness. Certainly, when observing trauma, this is what is happening -- when a person is wounded in life (emotionally, psychically, energetically, spiritually) -- they enter into a state of being separated from their Source (Wholeness). If this separation is not resolved and peace is not restored, then the wound remains a type of "wound" and is then carried in the psychic field of the person for a later time. In my experience/ observation, these "wounds" prevent a person from being.
"Wounds" are the traumas, or the fragmentations, that occur throughout our life. They insure that we learn the lessons we came here to learn and ultimately strengthen our ability to love and be loved. The entire process here is a process of this -- learning to love and be loved. To open our hearts, to forgive, to truly let go, to soften.... each step in the healing journey requires some amount of one or all of these activities. Why might this be? The belief that I have around this, and perhaps you resonate, is that one of the reasons we have come into human form is to discover (joyfully) and embody the qualities of our Divine Creator. Well then the question is -- why might there be all this trauma and wounding that we need to heal from?
Hmmm. The opinion I hold here is that life is wielding this mechanisms (the mechanism of trauma, for example), to ensure that we truly learn, embody, and can then move forward without repeating something from the past. These "bad things" that can and do happen to us serve as a sort of contrast and opposition to the pathway of the Light, and due to their reality create a sort of tension that we get to work against to move in the direction that we truly want to go. They help us orient and, ultimately, find the Light inside of us that doesn't want that. How else would we know? These things help us define the divine concepts of love and truth. And whether we know it or not, our quest to know the Divine is a driving force in our lives....
Everything is on a pathway back to the Source. All that exists will, eventually, return back to the nothing-and-everything from which it came. We are all on this journey together. The Universe, from the time of the Big Bang and its inception, is (according to the Western scientific model), on a linear timeline of evolution whereby at some point it will collapse back upon itself and all that has been created will be dissolved back into the Singularity. These are just observations and interpretations.
Where does that leave us? On this interesting, twisting, turning, upwards, downwards journey of life. A journey of re-membering what we forgot, of reclaiming of what (seemingly) lost, and of returning to our very Natural state of existence -- BEING.
The problem is that BEING has become very hard for many of us. Simply resting in a desire-less state, where nothing needs to be done, there is no movement of the mind... this is a very difficult state to achieve. And yet it is perfect! I recall one of my close friends and mentors stating the interesting fact that we look at the indigenous people -- people of the forests and jungles and rivers who live close to the Earth -- and see how joyful and present they are. How much health and spirit they exude and embody. Even though they have very "little", based upon the Western world's judgment, they are still abundant. My mentor said something like -- "this state, being so deeply connected to life, is already perfect, and there is nothing more to get that will make it any better." Have we forgotten this? In a world where there is a constant chase for more. The machines of society drive us into consuming and desiring more more more. But is this actually what we want? Or do we want peace? Love? .... Being...?
Even all this talk of the "healing journey" can become a trap. The constant quest for more tools, techniques, practices, ceremonies, rituals, and yes, even plant medicine, to bring us the healing that we are so desperately seeking. Goodness. It's real! When do we just rest and relax and stop trying? When do we arrive? What then?
When it comes to Ayahuasca and the technology of the ceremony, this is sort of the idea. This plant teacher goes in and shows us where inside of our psychic make-up there are unresolved feelings that are preventing us from just being. She helps us see where the knots are and supports our process of untangling them. The ceremony is the container wherein we can rest for a period of time and do this work. It is inner work. It requires our attention and our intention. We must make an effort to go inward and find out what is motivating our journey in the first place. And as soon as we step foot on our path -- our authentic spiritual path -- we are confronted with all manner of things.
Many people run from this. Many people "know" the work they need to do and yet the deception of mind maintains a certain layer of protection around them. They can go therapy session to therapy session, yoga class to yoga class, etc. and still never get the root of the issue and resolve the thing that is stuck. This is no one's fault. This has to do with the level of fear in a person's system. Sometimes there is so much fear of Truth -- of actually seeing the thing that we are afraid to look at -- that we just cover it up and move on and fool ourselves into believing that we are "doing the work". But we cannot fool ourselves. Then when we bring a powerful plant teacher like Ayahuasca into the mix, which basically deactivates the ego for a short period of time, we can approach some of these deeper complexes that are there. The unresolved wounds or the fragmentation in our nervous system. As we relax and breathe with her (Ayahuasca) and submit ourselves to the process of the ceremony we actually arrive. This is what we are seeking! How interesting...
As soon as we stop running, we stop trying to figure it out, we stop trying to heal.... we are Whole! And... as you know... the word "heal" comes from the word Whole.
This is the secret. The answer is in our Being. It can be difficult to "be" because as soon as we actually make a real effort to sit with ourselves, everything we have been running from comes up. And suddenly we are in another loop of trying to solve, trying to figure out, trying to use the mind... instead of just relaxing into the Heart, to open ourselves, to feel, to forgive, to let go... All of these activities bring us closer to our essence, our pure Being. There is no doing in this, no trying. Just an allowance of What Is. Just a pure flow of life-force energy. Yes, this can feel "bad" such as sadness, or anger, or fear, or whatever! But we are feeling it, which means we are connected to it and to ourselves and all of life. By feeling it we move closer to it, away from the constantly deceiving mind and towards the ever-blossoming Heart. The mind will convince, deceive, separate, pretend... the heart just opens.
Of course this takes practice. Being in many ceremonies I can see why they work. They give an opportunity for a person to come to this place. To practice arriving to this place. And when the ceremony ends and the plant medicine wears off, can they keep practicing their arrival? That is the real question. Can they continue with the practices that allow them to feel and be with? Or does they mind overpower them once again and take that back into the stories?
These stories of the mind do not have any reality. They do not. As convincing as they are, they exist as fragmented pockets of your Wholeness. And, by feeding the story we feed into the separation of our Spirit. We feed into the perseverance of the Ego. The ego needs the story to live. So it continues to build them up and build them up and then defend them. But who wins? No one! If we are defending something inside of us we can see, with a moment of presence, that this defense is already taking me away from what I want. What do I want? Peace. Presence. Love. Being. Not the contraction of defense. Because if I am defending then I will need to keep defending and keep upholding my carefully held construct. This requires so much energy! But if I just relax.... then what? The story vanishes, back into the cosmic soup of eternity.
So then ceremony and Ayahuasca is a place to observe all of this. These are environments where one can practice. You can, of course, practice all of this without the use of plant medicine. I did for many years. I learned a lot in my yoga and meditation practices and when I finally arrived to sit with the great teacher of Ayahuasca I was able to see what my practices had done. And as I continue to sit with Her, I continue to practice inside of ceremonies. Because it's all the same!
I'm learning to let go. To forgive. To trust. To trust. To love -- myself and all others. And, above all, I'm learning to just BE. To arrive. And in my arrival... this is what I've found.