Ayahuasca is a medicine that helps us to change the way we see ourselves and our lives. It can change our understanding of our very existence. It calls into question many commonly held beliefs and this can be a profound experience indeed. It can also be a disturbing experience because it has the power to disturb the rhythm our lives and the way that we think. Within this disturbance lies the possibility for great change. The desire for change is often what leads us to the medicine in the first place.
The plant medicine experience has the power to shift your life in a profound way. It is the beginning of “The Work”. This work entails not only honouring this shift but opening up to further shifts that will continue to bring about the kinds of changes that were the impetus for the journey with Ayahuasca. Although everyone’s experience of Ayahuasca may be different, there are underlying universal lessons and necessary changes in perspective that help each person, in their own way, to improve their lives.
I have been engaging in shamanism and working with plant medicines for over 7 years now and during this time I have worked solely and intensively on integrating the experiences I’ve had with these medicines into my daily life. This work has improved my outlook, mood, health and relationships exponentially. I have had continuous assistance from our plant allies and continue to work with them to help others to make the most out of their experiences.
It’s Valentine’s Day and although I can’t say that this is usually a big holiday for me, I have been thinking about love and expressing it on this day. I’m single right now and I will be spending Valentine’s Day with my 7 year old son. This is something I’m looking forward to. I know that we generally think of Valentine’s Day as celebrating romantic love and I think that we’re limiting ourselves in this way. I have been urged more and more to ‘put pencil to paper’ as Ayahuasca advised during my last ceremony so I’m doing this in cases where I’m asking about things that might concern everyone. I asked about love, thinking of it both in the way of celebration and in a way that will help us. I wrote the answer which I have typed out in Italics below. The message begins from the standpoint of a separate entity by saying ‘your’ and ‘you’, and then moves into the position of ‘our’. This has happened before and I don’t correct it. I always hear this voice from the perspective of ‘we’ (they speak as a collective that is speaking to ‘me’) but lately and especially when it comes to something I intend to share publicly, it quickly moves into ‘we’ as in all of ‘us’. I hope you don’t find this too confusing.. the message is the important thing. 😉
Love is the root of your existence. To celebrate love is to celebrate all of existence. Begin with you and move on from there to everything and everyone. We love ourselves into existence and the quality of our existence depends on the quality of our love. Judgmental, conditional love creates an existence of suffering. When we create an atmosphere of punishment, we deliver love only as a method of reward. Love is not a reward, it is the very fabric of a healthy existence and it is boundless. When we limit love, when we restrain it, we are compromising our very existence.
When I read the above message and thought about posting it, I admit to feeling a little reluctant. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel the wisdom in it, I always do. I just felt that maybe people aren’t ready to embrace this and I felt that I’m not always able to live up to it myself even though I try (which is where the judgment comes in of course 😉 Here’s the response I got:
Your existence is in a state of flux right now. People are learning to approach things differently and this will change things very quickly. This new approach will allow for growth and change on a different level than you have seen before.
You look at these words of love with a sense of the past and with a feeling of heavy responsibility for yourself and for others. You must only take responsibility for yourself and know that when you form the intention to live in this natural state of love, you feel the authenticity of it. When you deviate from it, you feel the pain – judgment/punishment of self and others.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seriously pondered issues of conflict beyond my own personal ones. I used to be an activist/documentary film maker and I was admittedly a rabid activist – always angry and ranting about something. In fact, I was in such an unhealthy state that ultimately I had to walk away from these endeavours to find a way to address my depression. It was the best thing I could have done and it has changed my life for the better in every way. It was at this point in my life that I discovered shamanism and plant medicines. Once I began to focus on healing, I carefully chose what media I was exposed to and although I had always been very selective in this regard, I became even more so and the effect was a very calming one. It allowed me to keep my attention where it needed to be.
I have been engaging in shamanism for some time now and working with various medicines and doing the most important work of all: integrating these experiences. In other words, I have been taking the lessons I’ve learned through this medicine and shamanic work and applying them to my life. In doing so, I have improved my health, my relationships and my outlook on life. This integration work continues and it will continue for the rest of my life. It has become a way of life for me. And now, I find myself in a community of people who like me, are working towards a better world. All of us do this in our own unique ways. Within this community it has not been possible to avoid the kinds of conversations that arise from the events that have been prominent in the news media lately. I skillfully (although not always successfully) avoided conversations about Trump but now, I find it increasingly difficult to refrain from involving myself in conversations about the attacks arising from Islamophobia. I have come to fully appreciate what it means to ‘be the change’ and yet in the face of these disturbing issues being discussed all around me, I found myself conflicted and felt the familiar disturbing feelings rising inside me. Although they are not anywhere near my old feelings of rage, I still found it difficult to sort through what I felt and so I asked for guidance.
I have been very fortunate to receive a great deal of guidance from an incredible source of wisdom and recently, Ayahuasca asked me to ‘put pencil to paper’. I have done so and not only received answers to my questions but I began to engage in writing some very unique material that doesn’t in any way resemble my style of writing. It’s familiar to me however, from my experiences with plant medicines, Ayahuasca in particular. It was Ayahuasca who used this technique to reply to my dilemma about how to respond to this disturbing feeling I had about the conflict that seems to be ever encroaching these days. Here’s what came out when I did as I was asked and put pencil to paper:
The beast within you knows that outer beast. They are friends. They work together to stage battles that we attend. If we were to change the rules and no longer allow these beasts an arena in which to hold these battles, the audience would leave and the show would be over. No more spectacle to engage in.
Our beast, the beast within us, answers the battle call always in the name of peace. If we vanquish the beast within, we will have fought our last battle. When you hear the call to battle, seek out the beast within that responds. This beast needs your love and attention. It’s the only way to end the battles.
These battle cries and responses are symptoms of a deeper problem that we’re not addressing. We never will address the deeper problem if we allow these battles to continue. We have proven this time and again.