Spirituality: The final part of my journey with ayahuasca
As I mentally turned over the events of the previous evening, I wondered how it could be that despite the fact that I’d even eaten the gross gunge at the bottom of the shot glass, I hadn’t gotten my out of body experience. Admittedly our shaman said that it had been a weak brew though she had also said that some people had been known to vomit within a few minutes of drinking and still be taken on a journey.
The conclusion I came to? I just wasn’t meant to. Why not? Wasn’t the right environment? Wasn’t meant to work with that particular shaman – she was catholic and I’m distinctly anti-religious after all? However, as my friend Layne pointed out, I was missing the message. It had to be something other than something to do with me right? I mean, if I hadn’t gotten all the answers I was looking for in the plant, that would mean I’d have to take responsibility for making the changes I needed to myself and that as far as I was concerned, was not the point. I was looking for the plant to re-wire my neural pathways. I wanted her to undo the years of painful, negative conditioning. I wanted her to free me… from myself. Yet I’d asked for her to teach me how to love myself. That’s when it dawned on me. She wanted me to see that I don’t need to change. She wanted me to understand that I can love myself… as I am. I didn’t need her to show me my own beauty because it is reflected by all of those around me, I just hadn’t seen it or felt it. Not truly.
I understood that I am supposed to be embracing the aspects of my self that I find uncomfortable, the aspects that I thought made me unlovable. Because they must have done right? Made me unlovable that is. After all, I am 35 years old, I have no partner, no children and very limited contact with my family and these were the people who have been exposed to that ‘shadow side’ and they’d all left me. I allowed the tears to flow. Tears that stemmed from a childhood where I’d been denied love because it hadn’t been available to give and an adulthood that had left me with one relationship failure after another. I realised that the relationship I really needed to fix was the one that I have with myself and not by changing it. I also learned something about boundaries. If something doesn’t feel right. Don’t do it. I did not feel comfortable in the environment I was drinking in and I didn’t feel entirely safe with the shaman. This wasn’t her fault necessarily. I hadn’t even met her before but I strongly urge anyone considering drinking, to familiarise yourself as much as you can with your environment, fellow journeyers and guides before diving in.
The ultimate message I heard from this experience though? Learn to accept where you’re at, find beauty in the everyday and stop trying to chase some ‘thing’ through some kind of transcendental experience whether that be meditation or a hallucinogenic. That was the message Mother Ayhuasca gave me. I saw that I had been guided by other people’s version’s of ‘truth’ as though it is some kind of place that has to be journeyed to deep within our being (an image promoted through the philosophies of the East) when actually, it was here all the time just on the surface. You see, just as Alan Watts said all those years ago in The Book,
“… the reality underneath physical existence, or which really is physical existence–because in my philosophy there is no difference between the physical and the spiritual. These are absolutely out-of-date categories. It’s all process; it isn’t ‘stuff’ on the one hand and ‘form’ on the other. It’s just pattern– life is pattern. It is a dance of energy. And so I will never invoke spooky knowledge. That is, that I’ve had a private revelation or that I have sensory vibrations going on a plane which you don’t have. Everything is standing right out in the open, it’s just a question of how you look at it. So you do discover when you realise this, the most extraordinary thing that I never cease to be flabbergasted at whenever it happens to me. Some people will use a symbolism of the relationship of God to the universe, wherein God is a brilliant light, only somehow veiled, hiding underneath all these forms as you look around you. So far so good. But the truth is funnier than that. It is that you are looking right at the brilliant light now that the experience you are having that you call ordinary everyday consciousness–pretending you’re not it–that experience is exactly the same thing as ‘it.’ There’s no difference at all. And when you find that out, you laugh yourself silly. That’s the great discovery”
And man, how I laughed. Laughed at the agony and torture I put myself through in overcoming my fears to drink when truth was right here all along, for me at least, on this stage of the path in my healing journey. When I say that, I recognise that this is very personal to me and that for other people, they may need to experience their own version of ‘truth’ with the help of mother ayahuasca or meditation. I have already felt it and I already know it. I am blessed. So my enthusiasm for my yoga practice has been renewed as I accept it for what it is without expecting it to take me somewhere or get me to some destination. I know it’s hard to get your head around it sometimes but trust me, the destination is already here. It’s just what you make of it that counts.
Some weeks later, Kat returned to assist in an ayahuasca ceremony in order to later partake in one for free. She didn’t drink this time but experienced some horrifically terrifying visions such as insects climbing out of her. The person who was there to partake in the ceremony and the shaman also saw these visions of the ‘demons attached to/inside of her’ – make of it what you will. She has since been diagnosed with depression and has barely been seen by her friends since she started taking them. It is worth remembering that ayahuasca is no magic pill. We all have the ability to self heal and that’s what we must remember.
However, still curious, I later dabbled in some mushrooms and again, tripped in my sleep though I woke up with a strong enough memory of what had happened to remember feeling utterly excited and relieved to be back in my body instead of feeling like everything and nothing at the same time and as though the universe was inside me. Such simple things as nutella on toast and Love tea felt like angelic pleasures bestowed upon me and I was again reminded that being in a place of awareness is great but that this human body and the existence I have with it is a pure gift. Personally, I’m still laughing myself silly.
If you are enjoying reading about my spiritual trials and tribulations, please go to my homepage and sign up to my newsletter. I am always interested in hearing feedback and your own stories so comment below if you have something to share. My next adventures will focus on the techniques of equine facilitated learning and amanae and I’ll be blogging about my most recent discovery – yin yoga!