My Ayahuasca experience in the summer of 2018 provided insights that may help us to peacefully navigate the rising social divide. I wrote about this experience right afterwards and the account below is a combination of journaling and auto-writing the lessons and messages that came through during ceremony.
This experience was all about beliefs, agreements, consensus and conflict. Aya showed me how these things converge in my experience and in humanity. She told me how very unique I am and because of this I would often do things differently than others and that this is good. Others may not agree and try to make me feel that I should do things like everyone else and it’s important for me to not participate in their belief systems around this. Once I begin to participate I am no longer following my own beliefs; I’m following theirs instead and working against myself. I have done this often in my life and I have formed some harmful agreements as a result. I have a broken those agreements now. During ceremony I was given an opportunity to demonstrate this.
This small, private ceremony had a religious context and initially I was concerned about this only because I knew that I approached this work differently so I asked in advance if it was required that I participate in all aspects of this ceremony. I made it clear that it was my intention to just go into my own experience as I always do with Ayahuasca and I wanted to make sure that this was ok and that by doing this, I wouldn’t be disrupting others or if this approach would be unwelcome in any way. I was assured that all activities were optional. During this ceremony there were instances where I was urged and pressured to do things that were expressly against my own healing experience. Aya advised me to continue with my own healing work that was underway and vital to my personal well-being. This involved having to say no several times throughout the night to those who continued to interrupt this process. It was quite a challenge as during the evening there was mounting pressure to participate in activities that others were doing and Aya continued to remind me of the importance and significance of doing what I had chosen to do despite this increasing pressure that ultimately became coercive as it was implied that by simply remaining peacefully in my own experience, I would negatively impact others. I remember feeling so uncomfortable and asking Aya “Isn’t what I’m doing disrespectful?” The response came “That respect goes both ways”. I looked into the eyes of the woman who persisted in the requests I had respectfully declined several times, I saw shifting patterns on her face, and I remember saying to her “There’s no point in me taking this medicine if I ignore what it’s teaching me”. It was a perfect opportunity to integrate the lessons I was being taught about honouring my own experience and not participating in others’ belief systems instead of my own. I want to make it clear that I doubt very much that this is reflective of most or any religious based Ayahuasca experiences. In fact, I’m sure there are many who go to this same center/place and have positive experiences. My unique experience was designed to help me overcome this personal issue and I’m grateful for it.
That night, I continued to learn about the different ways that I would heal and the importance of allowing for my reality as well as the reality of others. It was clear that there is room for more than one reality. It was also clear that although I will use my voice to express what I’ve learned and that it may resonate with some it may also be contrasted by others’ beliefs and opinions. This doesn’t mean that I will be sitting in opposition to others. That was a misconception of my own and perhaps of others. I do not have to participate in that misconception. I can invest in my own beliefs, appreciate and respect others’ beliefs and espouse acceptance of all of this in a harmonious way. The only way to do this is to not insist that because my way of thinking and believing is good for me and others, that everyone else must believe this too. There is room for all beliefs. If we insist on consensus we are inviting conflict.
One of the ways my own healing work may differ from the work many others do has to do with internal interference in the form of dark or harmful energies. During this particular ceremony, the shamans/facilitators were talking about making friends with these darker energies and in so doing turning them into allies. They both removed dark energies and encouraged work that involved befriending some of these elements at work within. Aya pointed out to me that sometimes, with this work, it is an endless attempt to subdue something that is naturally dark and make it something else that is light. Often this existing darkness that is turned into lightness for some of the time, inevitably goes back to darkness at times and this is the struggle that we engage in when we do this work.
What Aya told me that we would do instead would be to say goodbye to the darker energies within and do so with love so that they would dissipate and be replaced by spiritual allies whose nature is love. She asks me to acknowledge my harmful behaviour and look at the reasons for this behaviour and the source or motivation for it. What we discover are fear-based beliefs that result from the influence of the past and of harmful energies or entities that I have created or attracted as a result of these experiences in my past. These creations or entities are not part of who I am. They are a result of wounds that I may heal and once this healing takes place, these entities or creatures of my creation Will dissipate as long as I Will it to be so. I can then use my energy to heal other wounds rather than cultivating a friendship out of these darker energies. It is a choice to do this work in this unique way that is the best way for me as an individual. It does not mean that everyone must do it in this way. It does not mean that people who do it in another way are not valid in doing so. It simply means that this is the work I must do to be well in my own way. This may resonate with others too. We are all very unique and we must all find ways to heal that suits us individually and honours our uniqueness. These ways of healing may differ one from another. This is part of the ecosystem of humanity.
Most of the lessons and messages this night had to do with my tendency to invest in other people’s belief systems over my own and this causes self-harm. We are all geniuses. We form beliefs and find evidence to support these beliefs. Our genius may lie in our ability to discover the genius in others that resonates with own genius. But when we decide that someone is a genius based solely on status, credentials and accolades alone, we are not honouring our inner genius. We are then agreeing that only a limited number of people can be geniuses and that we must choose among them to determine our own belief systems. We are creators. We create our own reality. If you create a reality that you don’t like it is not healthy. If you decide that you must agree with a reality because of someone else’s impressive sales pitch rather than your own impeccable inner knowing, you have created a breech that causes suffering.
If you choose to follow your own inner knowing, you can embody this by stepping into your power and living this reality – simply being the change. If you do this without being drawn into other opposing beliefs, you will deflect harmful and negative reactions of others who may hold different beliefs. No need to defend yourself when you’re standing firmly your power. All this work must be fuelled by love for it to be effective and authentic. It is born out of self-love.