Ayahuasca is something I had been thinking about doing for quite some time. I have heard it in passing before, that it’s some crazy psychedelic drug that will make you trip balls. In that period of my life I wasn’t interested in spiritual growth or any ‘hippy bullshit’ — I was just interested in getting fucked up, basically.
About a year ago I heard about ayahuasca in much more detail listening to the Joe Rogan Podcast, particularly the podcast with Graham Hancock, Aubrey Marcusand Amber Lyon, and their experiences with this plant medicine. I got more and more interested the deeper I researched this psychedelic plant — especially its healing properties. There have been many cases and studies of ayahuasca completely curing mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. I’ve even heard of some cases where people get cured of their cancers and tumors. This is because ayahuasca gets to the root cause of the problem, instead of just treating the symptoms like many traditional medicines do. I mean, have you ever heard of a case when antidepressants have actually completely cured someone of depression?
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a psychedelic brew which has been used as a healing medicine by the Amazonians for thousands of years. Even though it is illegal in most parts of the world, ayahuasca is completely legal in countries like Peru, Venezuela and Brazil. It is a combination of chacruna (Psychotria viridis — a plant enriched with DMT) and the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi). DMT ( N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) is an endogenous chemical that we produce at birth and death. There are also many theories about DMT being responsible for dreaming, but I don’t think it has been scientifically proven yet.
DMT is naturally produced by practically every plant and mammal, some just have higher amounts of DMT than others. The only reason why we don’t absorb DMT and travel to other dimensions every time we eat food is because of a stomach enzyme we produce called monoamine oxidase. This breaks down the DMT and prevents it crossing the blood brain barrier. The ayahuasca vine has a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, which allows our body to absorb DMT.
I was in a really bad place in my life, and I felt a calling from Mother Ayahuasca. In a way, it kind of felt like my last hope, as I didn’t know who or what else to turn to.
For as long as I can remember, I did not enjoy the present moment. I would always be dwelling in the past, or thinking about the future. I would waste countless hours in destructive thinking, which would do nothing but damage. For example, I would spend hours thinking about what I could have done to change the past. ‘Maybe I could have stopped it by doing this, or maybe if I didn’t do that,’ etc. I would think of imaginary arguments with people because they said or did something negative towards me. I would be fuming, thinking about what I could’ve said, and if they said that, I would say this. I even got into fistfights for the most stupid reasons, all because I couldn’t control my emotions.
And what’s funny about this is that most people do this completely pointless thinking that does nothing but cause suffering. I didn’t know it at that time, but unconsciously I loved being miserable. Why else would I continue to do things that caused me suffering?
At a very young age I started getting into drugs and alcohol. Being sober was a nightmare that I wanted to end. I hated school, I hated work, I hated going home, Ihated society, I hated the world, and I especially hated being told what to do.
Even though I’ve always been a really chilled, easy going nice guy, I lived a huge part of my life with feelings of judgment, anger, depression, insecurity, self-loathing, fatigue, pain and unhappiness. Not many people knew about this, as I never shared my feelings because at that age you get judged for being a ‘sissy.’ That’s the funniest thing about the mentality of young boys (most men even!); any time a man wants to open up, take care of himself, care for others, eat healthy, stop partaking in alcohol and drugs, he is considered ‘gay’ or a ‘wuss.’ So what happens is that most guys have many years of repressed feelings that eat them up inside, and they don’t want to change for fear of getting judged by their friends. This in turn makes them live a life of complete misery, a life of mediocrity. It’s sad but true I’m afraid.
I personally know many people like this, which included me in the past. The only time I opened up was when I would either drink alcohol or do drugs. Then as soon as I was sober I would go back to that quiet, shy, closed off person. And then rinse and repeat every weekend. I remember that I couldn’t even enjoy doing simple things like watching TV or listening to music without getting high. And I used to defend this lifestyle and judge people who went wanted a better life. I used to hate those people who ate healthy and jogged in the morning with their stupid happy faces. I just couldn’t stand optimistic happy people because I was so miserable.
I used to react really negatively when people would bad mouth weed, even though it was obviously damaging me. “Nah fuck you, weed’s good for you! It helps with cancer, arthritis, AIDS, stress and heaps of other things!” The thing about weed is that it clouds your mind and kills your motivation because it makes you happy with being bored and doing nothing. I mean, yes, if you smoked it once in a blue moon then it’s fine, but a lot of people like myself abused weed, and that’s when it can go really bad for you. I would justify everything I did just so I would feel better about myself.
So this lifestyle and habitual thinking lasted for about 10 years, getting worse as time went on. I was in a prison created by my own mind.
Everything changed when I went to Thailand. I was still getting mega drunk by drinking bucket loads of strong cocktails, until something horrible happened on a dark eventful night. I did the most horrible evil act I’ve ever committed, which I never thought I was capable of, which really made me re-evaluate my life.
I went to a Buddhist Temple with my girlfriend and felt an amazing energy that was present. I saw all the Buddhist monks and how incredibly at peace they were. I wanted that. I wanted that joy and inner peace, and wanted to genuinely enjoy my life without always having to look for an external stimuli, such as buying material things, getting high or constantly looking for entertainment like internet and TV.
I had the “I can’t keep living like this” moment. I can’t really explain it in words but something happened that day, a shift in my consciousness. I had previously experimented with psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin. They definitely changed my view on the world and were an integral part of my path to ayahuasca, but they didn’t really heal or help me as much as I needed.
When I went back to Australia, I got more and more interested in spirituality, fixing my life and just being a better, happier person. I started getting into reading self-help books, lucid dreaming, meditation and studying health and psychedelics. I was becoming more aware of my surroundings and myself — more conscious if you will. I was also very analytical about myself and everything.
I was becoming a calmer better person but this didn’t last for very long. Entropy kicked in and before I knew it I was going back to my old habits. I stopped exercising and eating healthy, I started smoking weed on a daily basis, I stopped meditation, and I started to get aggressive and frustrated with myself and with others. My fatigue, attention span, memory and motivation were at an all-time low. My mind was so clouded that I couldn’t even read for more than ten seconds without my mind wondering off.
This has been a major problem in my life. Every time I made the effort to change myself, whether it was by quitting drugs and alcohol, eating healthier, exercising, changing my group of friends, etc., I would always seem to fall right back where I started, in most cases even worse. I knew I had some sort of demons inside me that prevented me from growing and being happy. I wanted to get rid of that part of me that wants me to be miserable. That part of me that always says ‘fuck it, what’s the point?’ I knew that I would have to try something drastic. I just knew that ayahuasca would at least help me in some way… or at least I hoped.
I booked my ayahuasca retreat for January about mid last year. If I was going to do this thing it had to be in the Amazon with a shaman that I trusted. I researched a center which I got really good vibes from. The place and the shaman felt right to me, so I knew that I had to go.
I went to Chile to see my family in December, who were really against me doing ayahuasca, saying things like, “You’re going to die out there, that shit makes you go crazy, you’re going to turn into a full blown hippy,” and my personal favorite, “You’re going to get raped by a shaman.” (Yea, I know… wow!) What I find funny is that not one single person from my family knew anything about ayahuasca. They only heard of one bad thing from somewhere, and have never spoken to someone who has actually done it. I have come to realize that people who are most against psychedelics are the ones who have never tried it and have little to no knowledge about it. I’m not saying that everyone should try them, all I’m saying is don’t close off something you obviously don’t understand, just open your mind, weigh the facts, then make your decision.
I went a bit overboard with the partying in Chile. Way too much drinking and drugs which I justified because “I’m going to get cleansed with ayahuasca anyways so I might as well take advantage and get all the partying out of my system.” This mentality has been a major downfall in my life. This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that I justify everything I do to make me feel better:
“Weed’s good for you. It helps me relax and is good for my stress levels. It’s also good for my creativity.”
“Who cares if I’m drinking a lot? I’m still young and have my whole life ahead of me.”
“What’s the point of changing for the good, the world is fucked anyways and it’s never going to change.”
“I’m not going to stop drinking and be one of those boring sober people. I’m happy with the way I am.”
The weeks and months leading up to the ayahuasca retreat I had been shitting myself and getting really nervous of what was going to happen. I didn’t want to expect too much but I was really hoping it would help me.
I went on the ayahuasca diet or ‘dieta’ for a week before I went to Peru. This means no sugar, no alcohol, no drugs, no salt, no meat and no oil. On January 12th, when I flew to Iquitos, Peru, I met with my group to make our way down to the Amazon. Everyone (who I now consider family) was really cool, which made it really easy to get along with them. The Shaman and his family were very welcoming and made us feel right at home.
So, as everyone was getting settled, we were all preparing ourselves for this crazy journey we were about to embark on…
I’m in the maloca, sitting and waiting nervously for my turn to drink the ayahuasca brew. When it is my turn, I walk over and kneel in front of the shaman waiting for my cup. He looks at me, almost like he was ‘feeling’ me out to know how much he should give me. The shaman’s wife pours the brew, about half filling a small cup. I sit with the cup in my hands for about 15 seconds, putting my good intentions into it. I press the cup to my lips and drink the thick vile liquid. It is almost too revolting to even describe.
I walk back to my mattress, sitting and waiting nauseously with my puke bucket. The taste was lingering in my mouth so I started meditating, focusing on my breathing. About 30 minutes in, I started to see simple patterns form. At first the patterns were in the form of neon green dots and lines. It didn’t even matter whether my eyes were opened or closed as the room was pitch black.
I hear a loud thunderous purge to my left.
I knew it wouldn’t be long until it was my turn, especially because at this point I was feeling extreme nausea.
The patterns were gradually escalating to more complex ones like swirls and tunnels accompanied by basic shapes like squares, triangles, and circles in all different colors and sizes.
I feel the vile brew rising up from the pit of my stomach.
I quickly sit up to reach for my bucket and emptied out my stomach into it. I roared while I was violently purging this repulsive liquid into my poor bucket.
After about 5 to 10 minutes of consistently purging my guts out, I laid back down. I started shivering from the intense coldness I started to experience. I reached for my shirt and pants, and got under the blanket while freezing my arse off. The Shaman was singing his icaros while my visions get more and more intense. The patterns and shapes got more complex and intricate… It was almost like looking through a kaleidoscope, but much more complex and indescribable. I was starting to go to a very similar space to what I felt on my last DMT trip.
I started to involuntarily navigate myself to a dark place, putting myself down and getting strong feelings of regret, remorse, despair, sadness and loneliness. These feelings manifested themselves into dark entities, which I could see and sense all around me. I even felt these dark entities take over my body. At this point my eyes started to water with tears, which escalated into me sobbing uncontrollably. My feelings and visions were getting more horrible and more intense. I started seeing evil demon-like clowns surrounded by very abstract dark art. The visions I saw, felt like a mirror reflection to how I was feeling. And it didn’t matter whether or not my eyes were open or closed, I could still see these entities right up in my face, which I could not escape.
I started thinking about my life and how unhappy I was. I feared that I broke a portal and all these dark energies entered my body. I felt that I broke my head and there’s no hope for me, that no one can heal me. Maybe religion was right, and psychedelics shouldn’t be fucked with, as they make us very vulnerable to bad spirits. Or maybe I really am crazy and was prone to psychosis. I convinced myself that I had schizophrenia and I’ve just fucked myself up forever.
Time does not exist in the DMT world. I felt a huge amount of déjà vu and was getting a lot of flashbacks to when I was a kid, feelings of great sadness that I used to have. I would also be living in the future when I was old, after death, and also in the past, as a child, and before birth, all happening simultaneously. Yea, I know, trippy — right?
I focused on my breathing, which momentarily made the visuals get less intense. I really tried to focus consistently on my breathing but couldn’t last more than 10 seconds so I immediately returned to my personal hell.
I started having stronger feelings of regret and hopelessness, like I’ve died and gone to hell. I’ve always known that hell is just a state of mind, not a fiery inferno you go to after you die. But, at that moment, I really did consider that maybe there was an actual hell where your soul gets tortured into the darkest depths of evil. Never in my life had I been so afraid to die. I kept telling myself that maybe this is just a harsh lesson Mother Ayahuasca is teaching me, and that I will wake up feeling much better, but I wasn’t learning anything; in fact I felt more negativity enter my body instead of cleaning it out.
I was wishing that I had listened to my family. Why did I go to Peru? I shouldn’t have gone to this place and drank this crazy drug. I’m going to come out worse than what I came in, I thought. I was absolutely dreading the shame I was going to feel facing everyone.
I kept weeping, rubbing my tear-covered face, tossing from side to side in my fetal position, feeling immense physical and emotional pain. Never in my life have I felt so alone in the universe. I just wanted someone to hold me and tell me that it’s going to be okay. I wanted to call for help, but I thought to myself, ‘What’s the point? No one can help me so why bother?’
I was thinking extremely negative thoughts: how evil the government is, how fucked and corrupt our society is and how it runs off fear, and that there is no hope for mankind. I felt and saw the presence of the supernatural force that is behind all the damned evil in this world, which some would call the devil, but whatever you want to call it, it was fucking terrifying. I saw how it fed off negative energy and how it was this unstoppable force that has taken over our world.
I wanted this hell to stop. I tried thinking good thoughts, shooing the bad spirits away. I even tried praying, but nothing would work. When the Shaman came over to sing to me, I hoped that this would help but unfortunately it didn’t at all. I was getting deeper and deeper into my personal hell. Extremely fucked up, unthinkable thoughts were invading my mind that would make me suffer even more than I already was. I was dealing with some very heavy issues, all my skeletons and demons burst out of the closet. And the more resistance I showed, the worse it would get.
There was no way in hell that I was going to continue the retreat. If this is just the first ceremony, imagine the next three? Fuck… that.
The Next Morning
I woke up at sunrise in the maloca. I felt pretty fucking traumatized. My mind was scattered and I was really exhausted, sad, and alone. I headed to my tambo, which was about a ten minute walk, not saying a word to anyone I walked past. I wrote down in my journal about my horrible experience, which was really painful to do because I was reliving it. Would I be able to handle the second ceremony? Will the demons I’ve created completely take over and really consume my soul? I said to myself that I would make my final decision after the consultation with the shaman and the retreat facilitators, Deb and Jeremiah.
When I ate breakfast with everyone, they could see from my pale, shocked, and traumatized face that some shit went down last night. I didn’t say much at all, except that ‘Last night was not the best.’ I really tried my hardest keeping it together. Every time I even thought about the previous night, tears would start to water my eyes and I would start to feel the sheer horror I experienced again. I mean if there really is a hell, I definitely went there.
After breakfast we gathered in the maloca for the group circle. As people talked about their experiences around the circle, I got more and more nervous about talking about mine. My turn comes up and I make it very brief.
“I had a pretty bad experience last night,” I said, almost tearing up. “I had pretty strong visions of dark entities who took over me, and I got out of it worse than when I got in.”
I couldn’t speak about it anymore as my voice was breaking up, and I was again being reminded of how I’ve completely fucked up my life with no hope.
The retreat facilitators explained that last night was a very good thing. They told me that all these demons and dark spirits that are inside me, are rising to the surface, and that all my doubts are just my ego protecting itself (I think it knew that it was about to get fucked up :p). They also assured me that the next ceremony should be easier on me. Just like a good mother, Ayahuasca can slap you around one night, and then give you a hug the next, but she will never throw something your way that you couldn’t handle.
I met with the shaman and the facilitators in the maloca later. He told me pretty much the same thing, about my demons rising to the surface and my ego fighting to stay. He gave me a prescription for a plant called cocona, which helps you relax. They assured me that Ayahuasca will be gentle with me tonight.
“I really hope you’re right,” I said nervously
So I was back in the maloca preparing myself for round two. I thought to myself, I can’t believe I’m going to do this again. I placed myself on the opposite side of the maloca and tried to mentally prepare myself by meditating, stretching and doing yoga. When it was my turn to drink the brew, I got up and knelt down in front of the shaman once again.
“How do you feel? Do you want to have the same amount as last time or do you want to go deeper?” I heard a voice say.
“Deeper? Um I don’t know. I guess I’ll leave it to the shaman to decide,” I responded nervously.
He looks at me and tells his wife to pour the ayahuasca until it fills about three quarters of the cup.
Deeper it is I guess.
I drink the vile liquid, which is even more thick and unbearable than the last cup. I sit in my meditation position and try to focus on my breathing. After some time the shaman blows out the candle, which makes the room go into complete darkness. He starts singing and not long after people, one by one, start purging.
At this point I am in quite a calm state, like I had smoked a very small joint, without the cloudiness that weed causes. I started to feel sick so I purged into my bucket… a lot. Faint patterns began to form, which made me go into a trance. I was in my own world thinking about life, and feeling the good vibes that were present in the maloca. Pretty soon after, I start to feel bliss and joy, which definitely makes me smile. The smile did not leave my face that whole night. I was also laughing a lot, especially when the shaman’s son laughed. He had this laughter that was so contagious that every time you hear his laugh, you laugh. Laughter is a powerful medicine and was his biggest weapon against bad spirits.
I was getting feelings of gratitude to be alive, to have experienced all the suffering in my life, for without it, I wouldn’t appreciate all the good. There is no such thing as a bad experience, if we learn from it. I learnt about the nature of the universe, how everything is in complete perfect order, that everything is balanced and goes full circle. That all the shitty, evil things humanity is going through is necessary for mankind to transform and transition to an enlightening, peaceful world. We need to go through these challenges, struggles and mistakes, as these are life’s biggest lessons.
I saw a vision of humanity actually making it, even though it might not look that way. We are going through a massive shift in consciousness and are finally waking up in a global scale. Some examples of this are:
So anyways (sorry about that little rant lol), I’m lying on my mattress feeling amazing. I had amazing bodily sensations. My body felt nice and ‘gooey’ which made all my physical pain disappear. I felt like I was on a fluffy cloud accompanied by kindred spirits. I tapped into the eternal wisdom within me and had the answers to any question I asked. It was like I was temporarily Buddha and Jesus combined or something…
I had a huge weight lifted off me, like all my traumas and negativity I’ve manifested over the years got drained out. I had the euphoria of MDMA times infinity — it was so overwhelming that a couple times I had tears of joy. I felt the pure love that was inside me all this time. My mind was finally free from all the clustered mess of thoughts that have tortured me all my life. My imagination was so crystal clear that when I thought of something it would manifest in front of my eyes. I felt the oneness of the universe and how we are all connected. I felt true empathy to all living beings in the universe and what everyone is going through. I was traveling through dimensions and different parts of the world. I saw my family and I thought about how I wanted to tell everyone how much I loved them, and how sorry I am for being such a shitty human being.
I learnt to forgive myself, which in turn gave me the power to forgive others, as it is no one’s fault. My mind, body and spirit got a real cleansing. I felt brand spanking new!
I could go on forever (like seriously :p) on what I experienced and learnt that night, so I’m going to move on…
I woke up the next morning with the biggest smile on my face. I felt so liberated and at peace for the first time in my life. I woke up in time for the great tobacco purge, the breakfast of champions.
The purpose of the tobacco purge is for getting rid of all the left over gunk. I drank a cup of the foul tobacco juice (nothing compared to ayahuasca) and drank six liters of warm water as fast as I could. I would be thunder chucking, and would still have to drink all the water! It was pretty brutal but the smile did not leave my face. After I was done I felt great — really, really hungry, but great nonetheless. I went to my tambo and noted down last night’s experience. After writing a couple pages, I felt a rumble in my stomach. I went outside and purged the remaining tobacco water. I roared as I spewed out the remnants of my stomach, which echoed the jungle as I expelled at least two liters from my gut. Okay, now I feel better, I thought.
The third and fourth ceremonies were fairly tame compared to the first two, so it’s not really worth getting into too much detail.
I felt a lot of physical pain the third ceremony. A lot of purging, dry reaching, stomach cramps and body aching. I felt sick that whole night. I didn’t get much visuals, except for when I saw a Medusa head, which transformed into Buddha.
The fourth ceremony I experienced very little to no visuals at all. I had a couple peaceful moments of gratitude, but the whole night was just me purging. The third and fourth ceremonies were about getting rid of the left over gunk in my system.
Going to Peru and drinking ayahuasca was the best decision of my life. Never in my life have I felt this good. Many of my health aspects have improved quite drastically.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go, but that’s just a part of the journey, which I’m looking forward to taking. I mean, isn’t that what life’s about? Growing and having new experiences, to get challenges thrown your way and overcoming them?
I’m now focusing on integrating everything I’ve learned from my experience. The most important one is being the change I want to see in the world. I’m eating healthy, exercising, reading, learning, being optimistic and being good to those around me. I can already see the positive change it has made around me. My family is really happy for me, and has already told many people about my experience. Even my auntie wants me to take my little cousin to Peru when he turns 18! I even have other family members who are interested in going to Peru with me the next time I go. Even my mum is eating healthier and just seems happier overall. And not once have I told my family what to do and that they should do ayahuasca, this is all from the result of them just seeing how much of a better person I’ve become. This is what I’m talking about when I say be the change you want to see, and watch how the world changes around you.
It was an absolute pleasure and truly amazing getting to know everyone and their stories. It was truly inspiring seeing the progress and transformation everyone went through. All my love goes out to these guys who I now consider family, especially after all we went through.
It’s funny how many people will tell you how doing this ‘psychedelic drug’ will make you lose your mind, when ironically all I’ve seen is people actually gain their minds and life back. And to me, it really doesn’t matter whether or not I had all these mystical experiences or if it was just drugs messing with my head. The fact remains that I got a lot of knowledge, wisdom and healing out of this, and it has genuinely made me a much better, happier person.
Don’t be mistaken and think that drinking ayahuasca will fix all your problems. It is very hard work and you must meet the medicine in the middle. This means integrating everything you’ve learnt and applying it to your daily life. Otherwise, if you just go back to your old habits, you will slowly go back to your old self.
And please don’t expect anything. Every single person’s experience is completely unique, as we are all different. Even each ceremony that one person goes through is never the same as the previous one. And also remember that this is a very powerful medicine that is not to be fucked with. You can think you are the toughest baddest motherfucker on the planet but ayahuasca can make you feel like a helpless 6-year old girl. It completely dissolves your ego so whatever you thought you knew about yourself gets thrown out the window. If you are thinking about doing ayahuasca, do your research on it, and if it feels right for you, go for it! Also make sure you do your research on the different ayahuasca retreat centers. Choosing the right shaman is of the utmost importance, as he or she is the one who keeps everything together.
Be warned, there are many bad shamans who don’t know what they’re doing, looking to make a quick buck. These are the guys who poison the reputation of ayahuasca and hinder the growth of it spreading to human awareness because things go wrong and people get scared to do it. But we are very fortunate to live in a time where we have access to the internet for reviews to avoid these things.
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