As a facilitator, these are some of the reflections I’ve had about ayahuasca drinkers, what they may not know or understand, what misconceptions they may have, what they think they know which may not be accurate and what I see as being common issues for people that I see.
Ayahuasca can be a Real Red Pill experience
A lot of people do not know that ayahuasca is very often something like a red pill experience. At least it is, in the doses I give people, which I do not think are necessarily heroic, but often very visionary.
One lady who came to my group, only came because she couldn’t get in to the popular shaman who has 50-100 people go to his groups. It is said to be more like a concert. You only get three cups. She said people said it was “lovely”.
I said to her, the way I do this, is that ayahuasca brings up all that is not working for you, it brings up your shit, your darkness – and to me that is just how it works. I have drunk in “lovely” groups too (well only once), where you where white and feel spiritual and the medicine is very spiritual, but there is no necessary facing of the shadow or one’s personal issues there.
And this is the thing, like a real red pill experience, ayhauasca can totally change your life and there is normally no way of going back to the old illusory world. A lot of people simply do not realise what they are getting themselves in for, and may find themselves processing the experience for months afterwards and having to make many very profound changes in their lives.
A lot of people are simply on the wrong track in their lives. They are doing work they hate, they are unhappy and harbor all sorts of stuff about how they are being and their past. Ayahuasca brings everything to a head and compels you to change your life to be in alignment with your spirit. It can show you many uncomfortable hard truths about yourself, others and the world. Ayahuasca is earthy, it is grimy, it is shitty, it is getting real – hopefully with yourself. I don’t see what it is got to do with wearing white and being “spiritual”, probably wearing black would be a more suitable color.
Believe it or not a lot of people do not come to ayahuasca prepared to face the psychedelic aspect. I’ve had people say, “this is trippy” or “too trippy” or weird. Yes, it is IS trippy! It is strange and highly unusual!
A lot of people when they drink ayahuasca think they are dying, but this is only their brain telling them they are dying. Normally it is just the ego losing its grip, and the automatic warning systems go off, telling people they are dying. I’ve never directly known anyone to die or even come to serious harm drinking ayahuasca. It appears very safe to me if you have respect for it.
Perhaps the main issue that people have is that they are control freaks. They cannot let go. Mainly, this means letting go of the mind/and or ego, which wants to believe it has control, which is in fact a lie. But letting go has many facets, some people may have been in a state of losing control in the past, in which something bad happened to them, or others, meaning that they have been holding on tight ever since.
It is the mind that wants to hold on, maintaining the problem solving state, but never turning it off, spinning around and round in circles. People are so wound up, worked up in this petty, problem solving state which our society encourages. They fear letting go of this state, and then being too pre-occupied to deal with the world and that’s a valid fear. There can often be a feeling of “spaciness” after taking psychedelics. It can be tricky to deal with the problem solving mind at all times, when you have other areas and arenas of focus pressing upon you, which are often more immediately felt. This obsession with the problem solving state of consciousness is simply distracting people away from their soul and many people know that, yet find it hard to let go into the profoundity of the unknown where they are no longer assuming their mind is in control.
A lot of people are quite worked up about entities in the ayahuasca space. It is a tricky topic to address because it is so wide reaching, going far beyond the ayahuasca space into every aspect of human life in my opinion.
Yes, through drinking ayahuasca you can open up more to these entities. But as I see it, we are always dealing with these entities in our daily life anyway. The issue is that by taking ayahuasca, psychotropic drugs or even getting drunk, you are much more open to these entities.
Children are much more innately open to entities as well, and children are more liable to their influence. Many people observe, that a lot, if not most people carry entities inside them. Ayahuasca can be a space that people can release these entities. I do recommend people deal with these entities by seeing a trained exorcists or dispossession specialist, who can sometimes be tricky to find. I am only aware of very few ayahuascaros (in the west and in South America) who are actually very proficient at dealing with entities.
One friend told the story of Ecuadorian shamans saying they saw entities move from one man to another, the man they moved from was actually very famous. But the shamans did not interfere. I think people think the shamans are all some sort of cosmic goal keepers, but that may not always be the case. I hear of people having all kinds of experiences with malefic beings with well regarded shamans, who generally propose they are keeping the beings out of the space.
I find it hard to worry about entities the ayahuasca space, when they are so common outside of the ayahuasca space and in human life in general. Therefore I believe people who open their eyes in the ayahuasca space, would do well to learn how to deal with them and not just rely on the shaman to protect them.
Sometimes I do worry about facilitators who are providing ayahuasca with no awareness of these entities. But I also worry about everyone and everything these days, as in my point of view, humanity is under siege.
I recently got seriously attacked by entities in my regular waking state, which left me with debilitating cluster headaches which came at the same time everyday and effectively put me out of action for a couple of weeks. If I didn’t have the skills to deal with the entities and plants to help me, I think I would have been looking at months or years with these extremly painful cluster headaches.
People commonly come into contact with their pain when drinking ayahuasca. The body immediately thinks “pain is bad”, and tries to know what is going wrong. Pretty much all of time with ayahuasca, the pain is just coming to the surface to be felt and processed. It is all the warning systems telling the body and psyche what the issues are, so that attention and focus can be placed on those areas.
I encourage people to feel their pain and go into it, not to resist it. This can be really hard. Avoiding feeling their pain is what a lot of people are doing when they are drinking alcohol or taking drugs. But if there was a key to healing and living, it is just this, realising the levels of emotional and psychic pain are real and palpable, as much as physical pain is, and allowing them to be felt and therefore, processed and understood, so that real healing can proceed.
Don’t worry about the Visions
It is a continual and tiresome refrain of mine, even if you tell people in the brief, look, don’t worry about the visions, it might not happen that you get visions, especially on your 1st or 2nd time. But people are still looking and expecting a visionary experience or just an “experience”, generally because of something they have read or heard about ayahuasca. Yet, interestingly, say in the Brazilian churches I drank with, people rarely even get visions when they drink the medicine with the doses they drink there.
The plants are healing and doing healing work, sometimes the visions are just eye candy to occupy the mind while the deeper healing work is going on. Sure, the plants do often appear and tell people things, about their life and themselves, but that is not a guaranteed experience.
I encourage people to come back to the space of realisations and the ability to consider and reflect upon themselves and their life as being a primary foundation for the plant work. If you want visions, or an experience, you may be better smoking Changa, in which you are more guaranteed a clearer and deeper visionary state than ayahuasca will generally provide. I also have had people who come to my groups who have smoked enough changa and DMT and just want the healing of ayahuasca.
People are also too concerned about the purge. They all think they have to vomit, but the vomiting comes naturally when it does. If it comes, great. If it doesn’t, that’s ok as well. You only need to keep the ayahuasca down 5 minutes and it will work. Yes, the purging and vomiting is a release, but the ayahuasca is doing the work it needs to do, with or without purging.
Need of solitude/not working
People in our society work too much. The 40 hour work week exists because any more than 40 hours work a week, and your work is sub-optimal and of course many people work a lot more than that. Research is coming out now saying that people over 40 can only work 25 hours a week before their work becomes sub-optimal.
People also have so many things to distract them, that they are not giving themselves time to work on themselves and feel clear in themselves. There is too much stuff spinning around their heads. When they drink ayahuasca some of that can be resolved and clarified, but most people have a big backlog of issues, past hurts and just general states like anxiety, insecurity, and essentially just not being at home in themselves.
For maybe even most people, I can’t help but think many would do well to just unplug for 3-6 months and go and be with themselves, go and process their past, all their thoughts, their emotions, and just purify these levels of being. People are addicted to money and the idea of security and necessity. I know people who have just gone into the outback with a bag of rice and lived for six months. I have done my time truly alone too for many months at a time, and can’t help but feel more people would do well to go into full solitude in order to work through a lot of their shit, so that they can be free to live their life and be effective in whatever they want to do.
And people are so often stuck in work they do not like often, when there are opportunities to do something else all around them. But they do not see these opportunities, I think, because in many respects they are comfortable with their “wage slavery”, it is a devil they know too well.
People commonly have all these, often unrealistic expectations of themselves and others. This is really reflective of how the ego works in a sense. But having the idea of perfectionism, only implies mechanical functionality of limited possibilities. There is no artistic flourish in perfectionism, no creativity, no human touch. It is only meeting a standard, and that’s all it is. And the standard may or may not be easy to meet, the point is, if you maintain this idea of standards, where is the expression of your soul?
As it is, people are living in the illusions of these standards. Advertising and other people, (and yourself) make yourself guilty if you do not meet these standards. All this seems to be getting worse, especially in Australia.
Perfectionism, again, always is about the outer expression and meeting an outer standard, but what about the inner standard? Most people are a mess, in that their mind is OUT OF CONTROL. This is the irony, that people fear going out of control, when they are out of control already. What about one’s emotional states? Can your emotional states be perfect? Of course not. Unless you are deluded to think you are being love and light all the time.
In a very materially wealthy country like Australia, there is a deep spiritual poverty, even bankruptcy that many do not want to face. But its only by accepting and owning this bankruptcy that you can really even begin to have a sense of what value is, instead of covering up this bankruptcy with the consolations of the ego.
So many people are so worked up, wound up about nothing. And they don’t give themselves permission to be honest, emotional, human beings (at least in their external expressions) and so they maintain an inauthentic expression and are not essentially happy with how they are being.
The Value of People
When a group meets for the first time, I see and feel how everyone sees one another. People are so used to meeting drones and drongos in their day to day life, they expect the same in the people who come along to these groups, when it is not actually the case. I feel the judgements, and to varying degrees sometimes get caught up in it.
What I see is that people have generally lost (or never had) a sense of their own value IN AND OF ITSELF. Society typically only places human value upon having wealth, status or functionality in society. But what about appreciating your own unique being? Your own unique facet or expressions of consciousness as being valuable in and of itself?
Low self esteem and insecurity is an epidemic, people are trying to find some validation or worthiness “out there”, when it can only come from inside. I think studying plants has brought me much awareness of value, as for one thing, plants largely don’t move, their only movement or momentum is very slow. But they have a presence, which we would perceive as beauty itself, which is their expressed value.
And each human being has a unique essence or expression which is enough in itself. However, many humans are blocking their self expression, have blocked their own self and are blocked for various reasons. So the plants can help people to recognise themselves, by giving a reference point for what this unique essence is. However, the primary way you can realise your own value is in other people, because only in the reflection of other people can you really know what your essence is.
The trauma of Sexual Abuse is a big deal for many people
Sexual abuse is a big problem in the world today, the numbers are something like 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused. In my view, what happens to people in the confusion and aftershocks, is that they have difficulty connecting emotion and feeling into their sexuality.
The issue with sexual abuse and trauma associated with it, is that when drinking ayahuasca, it will take people back into this trauma and make them process it. I have had people drink with me who don’t even remember their sexual abuse, but with ayahuasca they can at least process the feelings and trauma associated with it. And it is hard work! I don’t know any way around this, or any magic wand that can be waved so that people can bypass this hard work. And this is the thing, Ayahuasca often just is hard work. It is not supposed to be easy. I sometimes wonder and scratch my head about these wafty “spiritual” ayahuasca groups where people are served medicine that isn’t that strong, in which people never get a chance to really engage in this hard work.
The Anxiety Epidemic
The other issue that comes up a lot for people is anxiousness. People are so anxious, and why are they anxious? These anxiety attacks are supposed to come out of nowhere, and their cause is supposedly unknown. But the body and psyche has an intelligence, I encourage people to listen to their body, be aware of what they are feeling. I believe the epidemic of anxiety in an affluent culture, where there are basically no physical threats whatsoever, as being due to malefic entities, who appear to be quite prevalent in Australian society, which has no cultural means to deal with such entities, or even awareness they exist. That is my belief at least, and it makes more sense to me, then believing these panic attacks and anxiety just come out of nowhere for no good reason – does that make any logical sense whatsoever?