Category Archives: Depression & anxiety

10 Things I Learned From My Intense Emotional Ayahuascha Experience

A while ago I went through a very dark phase in my life. It is called: Existential and Identity crisis which is also called the dark knight of the soul in the spiritual world. For those who have experienced something similar, they know how painful this phase is. I don’t want to talk about it in details here but basically you lose sense of: Who am I? What do I believe in? Why am I here?

I fell into very deep depression for 6 months. I was an angry person who is experiencing loss moment after moment. Loss of what you may say? No one died around me yet I felt that I was dying.I didn’t like what I saw about myself. I felt like a failure in every aspect of my life and then I kept asking the question: Why do I deserve to be happy? I’m no body. The worst part for me was not that I felt that I was dying but that I was imagining everyone I loved dying. I couldn’t accept life and death. I questioned God…in fact I was so angry with God that I decided to stop believing in Him/Her.

This experience was the darkest time of my life yet I wouldn’t take it back for a second. It was the most beautiful gift I have ever received and I can say that it’s the most beautiful gift I have also given myself. Why? I started building myself from the ground up which means: I rediscovered and redefined what God is to me and I decided who I am: Pure Intelligence that is part of God. With this, I began to let go of my attachments towards success, career, being perfect and I began using these parts of my life as an expression of who I am instead of making them “WHO I AM”.

Why am I telling you this and what does this have to do with Ayahuascha?

My dark knight of the soul led me to hear about Ayahuascha through a good friend who experienced it in Peru. Then I researched it for almost 2 years before I actually did it.

What is Ayahuascha?

A Psychedelic tea brew that is a mix of 2 different Amazonian plants. It has been used for centuries in shamanic healing ceremonies and it is now being studied by the biomedical scientists as a possible treatment for depression. People also use it to release past Karmas, to gain enlightenment and visions from Higher realms. You can read more about it in New York Times and in Nature magazine and psycholgical research are all over the internet. It is also used for people who suffer from addiction.

My Ayahuascha experience

I’m not going to talk in details about everything that I saw and what I experienced. All I can say to you is this is NOT a recreational drug and the emotional intensity that you experience in this ceremony is out of the world. I was with few other people and an experienced shaman, his assistant and other musicians. Each person had his own seat with his bucket since Mother Ayahusacha helps you purge for 6-8 hours and for days and weeks so a bucket will come in handy at that time. The room is completely dark and you’re only listening to shamanic music, Ayahusacha chants and you’re meditating throughout the whole journey which lasted 6 hours for me. Of course, no touching, no speaking and you must maintain you sacred space for yourself and for the people who are around you.

For those who know me, I have never taken any drugs. Well, I’ll take that back – I took 2 puffs of pot once and that was 8 years ago. I also drink a glass of wine occasionally (maybe once every few months). So, before you jump into any judgment, I didn’t do Ayahuascha for fun or for recreational purposes. This plant is not a game and words do no justice to the emotional intensity you may experience in this journey.

So back to the ceremony, I was the last one to take the brew and I was the first one to react to it. After 20 minutes or so – I began experiencing a very dark energy taking over my body. I have never ever in my life experienced something like that. Depression was a piece of cake.

I couldn’t breathe. I began experiencing a panic attack. I didn’t know what was going on in my body and I found myself screaming out loud from fear. The Shaman’s assistant came to help me, she held my hand and took me outside of the circle to breathe.

Yet this is when it all began. Ayahuascha hits in different waves and the first wave I had was so intense that it paralyzed me.I felt that I was dead. I thought I was dead. A deep wave of heat followed by an extremely cold one took over my body. I never experienced that much cold in my life. I didn’t know whether I should wear more clothes or take off my clothes. I thought I was in hell. It felt like I was in HELL. I began weeping and weeping for experiencing the world’s pain. I felt the suffering of each and everyone of us. The world was a very dark place. I couldn’t understand why people hurt one another – it didn’t make sense to me.

Then I began purging all the pain I felt from the world. I felt the pain of people who are so close to my heart as well. I also realized how mean I had been with some people even though I didn’t realize it and I didn’t mean it at the time. I saw my dark side – my shadow. I felt extremely lonely …a loneliness I had never felt that deep before yet I was so lucky to have the assistant holding my hand through this intensity.

I experienced death and that was the most terrifying thing for me but something eased my pain in this experience and it is called gratitude. My depression taught me that my pain evaporates whenever I embrace it and hold it with love and gratitude.

I remember myself saying: “Thank you Mother Ayahuascha for showing me what I need to see”.

Then I hugged myself and gave myself love. My pain eased out immediately and I felt a wave of calmness and my heart was extremely cold like a block of ice yet at peace.

So, you can imagine how frightening and intense it could be to believe that you’re dead, you’re experiencing hell with all the emotional intensity that comes along with this for hours until the plant eases out of your body. I had so many visions and many other experiences that taught me so much about myself and life but here’s a brief description of what I actually learned:

1- I created my own hell in this experience and I did the same in my life as well. What does that mean? Nothing was actually happening during the ceremony, it was my own mind playing tricks on me showing me what it was capable of doing to me. What I’m capable of doing to myself. What I have been doing to myself. All my thoughts were an illusion. They were a negative perception I had about life and myself. They were far from reality or from what is.

Now, I want to invite you to pause for a second and reflect on how many times have you allowed your negative thoughts to make you live in hell? Hell is a separation from God, it is anxiety, depression, self-doubt, judgment, anger and so on. This intense experience showed me the hell that I have created for myself for so long. It is then that I decided to be so much kinder to myself.

2- My life is beautiful and perfect as it is. I realized that being with my husband, my dogs and my family was heaven. Love is heaven. It is all I needed – everything else was just noise and rubbish. I had to experience hell to truly appreciate my life and we always have the choice to believe the illusion of the mind and create heaven or hell with it.

3- Love and gratitude heal. They’re basically the same to me. Pain faded away every time I gave myself love during the ceremony and every time I said thank you to my experience. I applied this concept during my depression but this was a whole new experience to me since I felt it on a much deeper level and from the inside-out.

4- Kindness is my new religion. Remember how I mentioned earlier that I was going through an existential crisis. When I felt the pain of the world, I realized that it didn’t really matter what religion or spiritual path I take. The only thing that matters is for me to be Kind. Whether or not there’s after life or heaven or hell or God – Kindness is the only thing that will save me.

5- I stopped fixing myself. I had to go through so much emotional intensity to realize how intense I had been with myself for years. I wanted to fix myself thinking if I fix this issue I have then I’ll be saved and happy yet I realized that I got it all wrong. There’s nothing to fix, only things to embrace with love. The parts of me that go through depression, sadness, fear, anxiety and so on are nothing but my little self asking for love and help. So, why would I beat the shit out of myself trying to fix myself with this tool or that tool when it only makes things worse?

I’m not saying stop doing self-growth or spiritual work. I still do both but I do it with love towards myself. I know that I don’t need to fix anything anymore and I know that the best way to heal and reach moments of enlightements is through love and kindness only. Sometimes I forget this but I forget it much less than before.

6- I realized the power of the mind. I have been studying the mind, thoughts and beliefs for 8 years now but I never really felt how powerful the mind it. I knew it conceptually and I applied it – but the illusion of hell that I experienced was enough to make me realize how powerful and tricky the mind is. I believe my thoughts much less than before now. There’s always more work to do in this area but again I stopped believing my mind maybe 50% of the time.

7. There’s always someone to assist us in our journey. Remember I talked about the Shaman assistant who held my hand? I didn’t know this beautiful lady yet I received so much love from her. She was like a mother to me at the ceremony. Now, this made me realize how people are actually there for each other even though we have the illusion that they’re not. We will always have someone to support us even if that was a stranger.

8. God is in everything. In every experience. In every being. In every plant. In every animal. In every rock. In every particule. In every thought. In every word. There’s an infinite intelligence that the mind cannot ever grasp and cannot even understand. That infinite intelligence is so powerful and whether we call it God or energy or Allah or whatever….this cannot be denied.

9. I stopped wanting to know everything. Before my Ayahuascha experience I was an intense spiritual seeker. I wanted to know everything about anything and everything in the world. Even though I still have the desire to learn and experience, Ayahuascha taught me to become humble. It’s very arrogant to think that we know it all or we can possibly know it all because just like I mentioned before, it is impossible for the mind to understand this universe. At least it is in my opinion and based on my experience.

10. There’s so much pain in the world. Before you judge anyone, please pause for a second and ask yourself: What kind of pain is this person going through that is making them talk or behave in such a way? What kind of traumatic life experiences did they go through? This also helped me cultivate empathy for murderers and people who do some crazy stuff in this world. It is also the illusion of darkness that create darkness in this world and the way to heal it again is through love and compassion. That doesn’t mean I’ll let people kill me but now at least I understand the pain they’re going through.

We all experience emotional pain. It is very okay to feel sad, angry, depressed, confusion, doubt, fear and so on. It is not normal to beat the shit out of ourselves for going through them. It is however normal to embrace them with love because they’re showing us what we need and where we desire to go.

11. I know I said 10 things I learned but I wanted to throw this one here too. One thing I understood from my experience is that my journey is for myself only. Here’s what I mean: When I was under mother Aya, I felt as if my face was covered with a veil and the only thing I could see and experience is what this veil is showing me. The veil is the mind of course. No one around me experienced what I experienced or saw what I saw. They were busy experiencing their own veil. Now, that’s how we function in our every day life. The veil is our perception and beliefs about life. However, what was most fascinating to me here was that this veil made me realize that even when I die, I will also experience my own unique journey. NO one in my current life is going to be able to help me in any way. I will have to help myself and I’m also hoping that angels and my loved ones and the light of God would be there as well. But there’s no way to know until I experience this myself.

So in other words, this made me realize that there is only the “I” in my life. Whether I feel lonely or sad, it is only the “I” that will need to help itself, sit with itself and love itself. Love and peace has to come from this “I” and not from people who surround it.

Finally I have to say it is true what they say about Mother Ayahuascha: She will give you what you need to see about yourself but not what you want. 

 

********** ATTENTION:

  1. Please don’t jump into doing Ayahuascha without researching it and without making sure you’re doing it in the presence of a VERY experienced shaman.
  2. The hardest part of the Ayahuascha is integrating everything you learn and experience with your real life. It takes months and years to understand what happened during the ceremony and sometimes you don’t even understand it. I was extremely sensitive to everything for few months afterwards.
  3. I also recommend to have very few people in the circle if you can’t do it alone with the shaman. Never DO IT BY YOURSELF.
  4. Ayahuascha is NOT a recreational drug. It is used for healing purposes ONLY so don’t even think of doing it for fun because it is NOT fun. It is intense and some people go through deep depression after doing it.
  5. Don’t do Ayahuascha if you haven’t done any healing work before. Some studies show that one ceremony of Ayahuascha equals 30 years of therapy. Again, This is NOT a game.
  6. There is so many research done by psychiatrist about Ayahuascha – read them before you do anything.
  7. Some people go on retreats to heal with Aya – however, I highly recommend to not do it back to back and to also avoid drinking a second cup during one ceremony. This is extremely intense and my words won’t do it any justice. Even my Shaman told me, it’s best for people to do it once a year or every few years and not the way they conduct it in retreats which is drinking the tea back to back in very short days. But this is your experience – so follow your heart.
  8. Don’t do Ayahuascha if you’re on antidepressants or if you suffer from Bipolar or Schizophrenia.
  9. There are 2 legal churches in the States that offer these ceremonies.
  10. If you do it in Peru, be careful. Ask about the Shaman, get referral as many Shamans are fake and are conducting cheap ceremonies for money especially for Americans.
  11. This is NOT a game.

The 2 Life Changing Benefits of Saying “I’m Sorry” To Someone You’ve Hurt

Growing up, we all learned to say “I’m sorry” every time we did something wrong or something that hurt others. This was how we learned the consequence of our words and actions.

Ironically, the practice of apologizing becomes a struggle as we mature because we fear giving up our power or we feel ashamed of what we have done.

I feared saying “I’m sorry” so many times in my life until I realized the harm that comes from the desire of standing my ground versus being at peace with myself.

In my process of learning more about forgiveness, I realized two things:

  •    Forgiveness is one of God’s (Pure Intelligence) values
  •   My actions are influencing other people’s actions and therefore the law of cause and effect is happening and creating an effect through every choice I am making today

Accepting and admitting my mistakes brought so many benefits into my life and I would like to share with you the biggest two:

1- It Helped me Decide who I want to be:

Realizing that we have hurt someone gives us the chance to realize that we are human beings who tend to forget that in our essence we are love and we are meant to be that love and share it but not at the expense of hurting others (or hurting ourselves).

We hurt others when are so preoccupied with protecting ourselves rather than seeing how we are contributing to our relationships and to the world in general. Realizing our hurtful actions lead us back home to love. It is also an indication that we are becoming radically honest with ourselves and responsible for our actions.

“Every act, is an act of self-definition” – Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh

How we respond to what people say to us or to any situation is key to experiencing peace. If we respond with aggression, then we will feel the effect of our aggression in our body, heart and people around us will feel it too.

However, every time we point the finger at someone, we are defining ourselves as powerless beings or victims. Every situation comes with a responsibility which means we have a choice about how we are choosing to react (respond) in it.

Power comes in when we choose to respond to the situation in a manner that makes us feel whole rather than right. Deciding who we want to be makes us move from being a victim to being a truly humble conscious being who is aware of the role he/she is playing in the world. It all goes back to who am I? Am I being the light or darkness in this situation?

Every action or lack of action we make influences other people’s lives and actions, therefore what can we truly change about our actions that could make a better influence in the world?

 

2- I was able to love myself so much more: If we were to truly contemplate the amount of energy that we use to feel that we’re right in situations, we realize how much power we’re giving to an energy that is not nurturing anyone. How could we leave space for more love into our lives when our heart is so cluttered with resentment and negativity?

We think that we can love ourselves regardless how others feel because their feelings are not our responsibility. While this is true on so many levels, we still need to be aware and cautious about separating ourselves from others because at the root we are all one, we share the same feelings, same desire and same needs. Therefore, when we hurt others, we also hurt ourselves.

Self-love is a loving act towards ourselves but not at the expense of others.

Many of us think that in order for us to love ourselves, we must do whatever it takes to save that self from hurt. Our ego mind, will tell us that we’ll lose respect, dignity and ourselves if we ask for forgiveness. We must lose those parts in order to gain our true self fully.

Otherwise, what kind of self-love would we have when we are hurting others on the way? What kind of future will we have when we don’t feel at peace with our current and past self?

What if your depression, negative thoughts or anxiety were gifts?

What if your depression, negative thoughts or anxiety were gifts?

Many of us feel ashamed from feeling depressed and anxious because we’re afraid that there’s something wrong with us since we are not “normal” like everyone else. We think that having negative emotions is a sign of weakness because society tells us we must put on the perfection face at all times or else, we won’t be accepted and we won’t fit in.

The moment we discover that we have depression is probably a moment of shame for many of us, especially if we’re success driven. Almost everyone I know had been through different levels of depression or even anxiety. I myself had been through it along with nervous breakdowns.

Unfortunately, the fear of not fitting in what society thinks is normal, drive so many to take medications. Psychiatrists give medications like candy and they think that the pill has the answer for the chemical imbalance and many other issues.

It is true, that for some people, SSRI are required but that doesn’t mean that everyone who feels a bit depressed, sad or anxious must take medications to heal. Medications numb our emotions but do not solve the problems.

Have you ever thought that depression may actually be a gift to you? Have you ever thought that your anxiety or panic attacks are trying to tell you something?

Based on ACIM, there’s only one problem and one solution to everything. The only problem we have in the world is our separation from God. The only solution is to reconnect and be part of God.

I remember I talked to a psychiatrist and after few minutes of chatting with her about what was going on with me, she said that I must take SSRI. My therapist at the time, thought the same thing but thankfully the support of my amazing husband, family and many of my wonderful healers friends helped me trust trust my gut feeling more than trusting these professionals; and I’m so glad I did that because my nervous breakdown and depression were one of the biggest miracles and gifts I had in my life.

I didn’t know the gift that I was receiving at the time because it was my first time hitting rock bottom. Experiencing my nervous breakdown was extremely scary. I felt a dark vortex in the middle of my crown, sucking me in over and over again. Yet, in the middle of the storm, I felt calmness.

It is very hard to explain this but I felt as if a divine power was watching over me. I noticed two clear voices inside my head. One voice was bullying me and calling me bad names, the other voice was speaking softly to me and telling me that I was a gift.

At that point, you can imagine how I felt. I thought that I was going crazy because I didn’t know what these voices were. I had been meditating for 8 years, watching my thoughts and such but I was never able to distinguish between these voices so clearly and easily.

I realized how the voice that bullied me was fighting so hard to be seen, to be heard yet the other voice was so calm, so grounded and serene. I remember telling myself that day: “I had been disconnected from God! This is the result of being so disconnected from God!”.

Before my nervous breakdown, I had no idea that I was disconnected from God. I was doing my spiritual practice on and off but my faith was so weak and frail. I refused to see how much I feared God and how much I feared the world. I was so focused on fixing myself instead of seeing myself in the image of God. I felt so much like I had to fight the whole world to succeed in my relationships, in my career, in my friendships and in everything that I desired in my life. I was convincing myself that I was worthy and I can do it but I barely ever felt it.

The good thing is that we can only go up after hitting rock bottom.

As I began studying a Course in Miracles, I understood the voice inside my head so much more:

The voice that was calling me a failure was the voice of devil or ego. The ego is the loudest and harshest voice that does not want anyone to be happy, to be relaxed, to enjoy life, to be in touch with God. It is the voice of guilt that judges, criticizes, compares, blames and hurts. The ego’s job is to make sure that you believe everything he says so that you don’t get in touch with the Love of God that is within you. He does not want you to experience your higher Self because if it happens that you do, then he’ll die, he’ll be out of job.

The other voice that was calling me a gift, was the voice of my inner teacher, my intuition, the voice of God. He is the voice that is directly connected to God, to unconditional love, wisdom, forgiveness, peace, joy, creativity and unlimited potential. The voice of God is one with God and everyone and everything else. It does not suffer because it knows that the body is just like a piece of clothes and the only thing that matters is the Self, that is connected to God.

Just like me and everyone else, you also have these voices inside your mind. Becoming aware of these voices are the biggest gifts you could ever give yourself because since we’re ego driven, we have been trained to listen to the loudest voice of the ego who seeks perfection in the body but not in the spirit. By, realizing the other voice, the voice that is connected to your soul, you’ll slowly shift from listening to the ego…… to listening to what really matters, your Self (voice of God within you).

When we’re going through depression, we think that we’re alone in this. We think that we’re unworthy of love from others because there’s something wrong with us. But, what if your depression was the biggest gift you’re receiving?What if even prophets, saints and spiritual leaders had also been through what you had been through? Those people learned from their suffering and they chose the voice of God instead of the voice of the devil.

Mother Theresa went through depression. She even had doubts about her relationship with God and then right afterwards she began her journey to help the poor. Buddha went through depression when he left his father’s home and experienced suffering for the first time. Jesus went through the battle of good and evil when he was at the desert.

So, what if your depression had a message for you?

And that message was to come back home to your Self (God). What if your depression was telling you that you’ve gone wrong in your thinking about yourself and now it’s time to come back to Spiritual Love and not the love that the body defines? What if your depression was asking you to re-evaluate your life? What if your depression was telling you that it’s time to re-create your beliefs about God, love, career and everything in the world? What if your depression was telling that it’s time to shift from being a victim of the world you see, to believing that the world and GOD are by your side.

ACIM says: “There are no neutral thoughts”. Every thought we think has power. Your negative thoughts have brought you here and your loving thoughts will bring your loving experiences.

You depression is your gift to yourself. Listen to what it has to say to you. Inquire about who is behind the “I” who is speaking in every single moment. Is it the “I” from God or the “I” from the ego/devil? Who do you want to believe: Love or Fear?

Few tips that will help you with depression:

  1. See an integrative doctor. Ask them to check your genetics, leaky gut syndrome, iron, magnesium, your vitamin B and D absorption.
  2. Research a new spiritual path and practice for yourself. Practice it every single morning and throughout the day.
  3. Meditate. If you don’t have time to meditate then meditate even more, even it was for 5 minutes every day.
  4. Join a support group. This will change your life!
  5. Begin your list of forgiveness. Practice forgiveness every single day even towards people you barely feel angry with. Anger replaces Love and you want to create a new space for love. Your willingness to forgive will change every aspect of your life!
  6. Ask help from others including life coach, therapist, counselors and so on. Before you commit to any professional services, I would highly recommend that you ask them if they had been through depression and how they worked through it.

Remember that there are opposites to everything. You can’t experience joy, if you don’t experience suffering. If you have hard time trusting that you’ll work through this, then find people who had been through it (including myself) and know that if they had done it, then you can do it too.

You have a gift. Just like everyone else’s. You are special. Just like everyone else’s. You have the voice of God within you, just like everyone else’s.

Listen to the message! Use your gift, don’t keep it asleep!

 

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