Ayahuasca – A Plant That Teaches
Ida Lawrence, Contributor
Before he left for Ecuador, I asked my godson, Steve, if he would check in with me now and then. He said he would if he could. He was traveling there to participate in an Ayahuasca retreat.
The first time he messaged I asked him, “What have you learned?” “Respect… reverence for the journey,” he answered. “This is the real deal… it’s medicine… and it knows.” He said that he couldn’t talk about it much more, and we’d have coffee and talk when he got home.
I’m guessing many of you know about Aya and some may have taken the medicine. It is a brew made of natural plants indigenous to South America. It has been used for thousands of years as a purgative and as a healer of the body and the consciousness. It has been called “vine of the soul” for a reason. The most active component is DMT, which has a powerful effect on consciousness.
Persons drinking the brew often enter a trance state for several hours during which they experience visions or encounter hidden aspects of themselves: whatever the plant gives them, it is to support their personal journey. The brew is administered by a Shaman, and the participants are protected by the Shaman and the assistants. Sometimes a participant will have a celestial journey, sometimes a challenging one.
Steve knew he had some core emotional issues, but the way to resolve them, and come to peace and heal, had always eluded him. He grew up in a dysfunctional family, with a very abusive father. While physical and emotional violence has an effect on the inside of a little boy, on the outside that boy can become a hard working, successful and diligent person. So it was with Steve.
He came to us at around age 16, seeking a martial arts teacher. One of his high school friends recommended my husband, Sifu Khallid. Steven took to his new Sifu, and became a devoted student. This was the father/teacher he had been yearning for, he would later tell me. After a few years he came to live with our family, remaining steadfast and devoted until his Sifu departed from this earth.
By that time Steve was a family member, and he stayed on. Since we were going through grief, it was natural to think and talk more about the deeper down feelings and emotions… questioning where our energy/consciousness travels to when it leaves the body. I had introduced Steven to Stuart Wilde’s books some years earlier and we were both very interested in metaphysics, so this was a frequent topic.
One day Steven opened up about how a part of him wants to seek retribution any time someone wrongs him, and he feels weak when he doesn’t do it. This even led him to wanting to join the US military – he dreamed of being a sniper. He has never known what to do with violent emotions when they come up. He just holds everything in tight as he believes if he becomes more spontaneous, he will go too far.
Steve knew that those feelings had originated in the childhood abuse, but like so many of us with our childhood shadows, he hung on to as if it was his strength.
If we cannot bury our shadows, and we cannot let loose our shadows, what can we do? A full-circle understanding brings healing. How many years of meditation, introspection and accumulation of wisdom through experience would it take for us to realize that our shadow is the way that we attempt to bolster a weak position. Steve’s shadow didn’t give him strength… it was, in fact, pain set to replay in an eternal rotation.
How can this plant brew, Ayahuasca, serve to heal someone like Steve? For him, it was a profound teacher, offering a direct feeling experience of that shadow. It took him to healing by taking him to living it with no options of escape. He expressed it in this way: “It seemed eternal – like a cycle, it played over and over with no hope, no options. It was like my body was gone, and this is where I was… for eternity. And it is so weak… violence is so weak.” Steve actually broke down in tears at the thought of it.
What a lesson! It was Aya’s mercy. You can heal your soul now that you know, son.
From what I understand, everybody’s journey is personal… no one else would have Steve’s experience. Perhaps they would see visions of the universe in all its glory, perhaps they would feel the root of some sickness in their body and be able to effect healing, perhaps they would understand some issue that they’re dealing with. Who knows? I have not taken Aya so I can’t tell you my experience. What would I see if I took it? I think about that as I reflect on eternity.
If a person were to decide to take Aya, it would not be wise to run to the Internet, google it, and go to the shaman or center that pops up. I’ve engaged in conversation with many people about this: as with providers in any field, shamans can be good or bad, careful or careless, extremely competent or into their own darkness. This is one of those things in life that has to be undertaken with the utmost care, reverence and respect.
Sometimes I fantasize about the entire world receiving this gift of healing. Would we not live in peace if everyone could feel the truth of themselves, including the darkness of themselves, as eternal? Would we not cherish and protect nature in all her beauty if everyone could see?
Well, the dream is a dream. I’ve been working my way to self-knowledge the slow way, through experience combined with as much consciousness as possible. But our time is very short now. The world is drastically changing and we are reaching the end of civilization as we have known it, and the beginning of all things new, whether bad or good. There is a separation coming… some will be afraid and seek to be protected; others might be afraid too, but they will find courage and seek liberation.
Friends and wise teachers gave a recommendation to Steve as to where he could safely encounter Aya, and he not only found the medicine to be the real deal, he came home with profound respect, admiration and love for the shamans and the assistants who helped him navigate through this journey.
He is a changed and changing man. What an amazing thing… the earth has provided a plant that teaches.
About the Author
Ida Lawrence is an author, blogger, copywriter and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has authored two books on racial justice and human rights, and numerous articles on human rights, self-empowerment and related subjects. Ida is also a certified Tai Chi instructor with a special interest in helping seniors and the disabled with Tai Chi and Chi Kung practices modified for their use. Her goal in life has been to find answers to the question of ‘why’ and then to explore the question of ‘what is’. More of her work is available at her personal blog, http://talk2momz.com/.
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