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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- There is so many research done by psychiatrist about Ayahuascha – read them before you do anything.
- 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.
- Don’t do Ayahuascha if you’re on antidepressants or if you suffer from Bipolar or Schizophrenia.
- There are 2 legal churches in the States that offer these ceremonies.
- 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.
- This is NOT a game.