Saturday, June 3, 2017

Infinite Doorway
Heart-Flows With El Espíritu De Las Aguas
--- The first completion is the most difficult one to attain. ---
That statement is dead wrong on so many counts - but it's accurate for now.
Counterintuitively, there's always more than one completion and the definition of completion has nothing to do with it. Add to that there's no way to know how arduous future events will be and I wonder why I feel that first statement remains so true. 


After eighteen months of journeying in fear and confusion amidst tremendous revelation along an invisible path expanding through myself, my first completion came as one would expect from a soulular, altered-state sojourn -- in surprising and soul-heaving ways. And yet the distinction holds: to expect surprise is not the same as not being surprised. Plant medicines demonstrate this so well. Knowing you'll be surprised never lessens the surprise of spirit when it occurs.

After my gut-wrenching Ayahuasca experience in ceremony a month before, where I was turned into a transhuman machine by trillions of cloud-connected nanobots and forced for hours to analyze every life situation
(InhumanTransformations of My Soulular Machine) -- and then my followup San Pedro experience a week later that oddly and quickly morphed into a continuing Ayahuasca journey where the machine was burned out of me by raging bursts of primal, creative source energies bolting from a place above the sky and connecting me to the living Earth by flowing through the shape-shifting puma I had become (Soulular Renewal Overwhelms My Human Gadget) -- the insistent call from deep inside to return to ceremony space for a planned three days of Ayahuasca and Kambo was nothing less than a leap into the final unknown reaches of myself in hopes of finding some closure to it all.

A shaman I highly trust and respect mentioned his opinion that the optimum way to approach the Ayahuasca medicine for maximum benefit was to take it three times in a quick succession of three separate ceremonies. He explained how the first ceremony is usually the roughest. Things start working out in a jumble of energies in the second ceremony. He smiled as he related how it was in the third ceremony where the completion and satisfaction came. 


I didn't doubt he knew what he was talking about, but I assumed that such a prescription couldn't possibly apply to all people at all times. How could it? An Ayahuasca event is such a personal thing and people come to the medicine from vastly different personal spaces, held back by different-sized and contorted egos and possessed not by nefarious evil entities but by their own trickster intentions and unresolved shit. To use a Star Trek analogy, everyone walks into their own program when entering the holodeck. The holodeck enables one to experience one's personal landscape, fully dimensioned. It would be odd and misplaced to blame the holodeck for a nasty experience. Who blames the mirror for the face one sees? One must look to the program. 

And so, for the shaman to glibly pronounce a pat formula of three ceremonies as the optimum use of the medicine seemed a bit presumptuous and speculatively self-assured. Nevertheless, I found myself in a van heading south through rain-drenched countryside and being detoured around mudslides in order to do exactly what he had suggested. Don't get me wrong - this wasn't done reluctantly or with reservations. I felt a calling to do this.

I arrived at the shaman's house in early evening and joined others in conversation on a back patio. There were casual introductions, the darling play of the shaman's young daughter, nervous laughter among serious intentions, the lazy wanderings of dogs, and the sharing of rapé in sparkling bursts from a tepi pipe. The shaman joined us and served tea. In casual conversation that crackled now and then in intensity, he said the evening's medicine was a new brew, one he hadn't used much before. It was made with a type of Ayahuasca Amazon natives called the Spirit of the Waters, El Espíritu De Las Aguas. Other than the name, no other explanation was given although he added with typical soft-spoken reverence how he had journeyed with this particular brew only once before and found it most interesting.


Hearing such a tantalizing description from a shaman can be a good or bad thing. I imagined him smiling in that mischievous yet clever way so unique to him. His soft-spoken words would remind me how the polarity or lack thereof for anything was up to me. But what exactly did he mean by interesting?  "May you live in interesting times" is popularly thought to be an old Chinese curse and not a blessing. And yet the truth is, research has shown the Chinese know of no such curse in their culture. The earliest use of the adage was pinpointed to British diplomat Austen Chamberlain in 1936 who claimed he'd heard it from someone in the Foreign Service who had served in China. Which is a long way of saying -- the shaman's comment on the night's medicine was wisely engaging yet non-committal, evoking whatever was in us. How we took his comment meant so much more in the moment than the comment itself, which was his point. We had not yet drunk the medicine but he had already found a way to prompt the onset of our inward journey.

consideration of the process

There would be eight participants in the ceremony space. Last light faded fast and quick-moving dark clouds prompted a premature onset of night. The chance of a stormy time of it seemed likely in more ways than one. One-by-one we lit our flashlights and took the fateful walk back through deepening foliage with blankets in hand. Anxiety akin to a risky rocket launch electrifying the air before us. Upon reaching the small clearing, I fixated my eyes on the looming white teepee standing out from darkening trees and mountains blending behind. For the next twelve hours, which I knew would feel like an eternity, this is where my body would be. As far as the rest of me, I couldn't be so sure.

The shaman was in no rush to start the ceremony. It's his way to let the gravity of what we are about to do have time to sink in. It was a full two hours in the teepee before we drank the medicine. In that time, the central fire, the heart of the space, was lit and tended. In that time, casual talk and nervous laughter ebbed away into serious reflection. In that time, the shaman set out his things and established his space. In that time, he brought around liquid tobacco snuff for everyone to take.

With his almost quiet, compassionate humor on full display, he was insistent in our need to partake of the tobacco. He assured us it would clear our head, focus us on the moment, and energetically prepare the way within to meet Mother Ayahuasca. Despite his assurances, unless one really likes 200-proof tobacco, I can't imagine anyone finding this strong liquid a thing to look forward to. But the shaman was correct -- having to snuff a palm-full of the brown concentrate up both nostrils in one forceful inhale was surely enough to reset one's awareness and get your undivided attention. Mission accomplished. Patches of toilet paper were quickly distributed to handle the after-flow of the afterglow.

Afterwards, everyone settled in to await the main event. But once again, the shaman forced us to think and feel about what we were about to do before it occurred. He began talking to us in low tones. What he said could be a poem to some, could be a prayer to others. It was only him talking
impromptu from his heart but the word pictures and gravity of it anchored the ceremony space in sacredness and contemplation. By now, night was pitch black and rain began to fall. As the patter of it it intensified against the teepee, unspoken wonder arose in everyone about all that lay ahead. 

We all knew once medicine was taken, the fire would be put out and we'd be in total darkness. More importantly, the shaman doesn't permit purging inside the teepee. Which means all of us in turn, as the spirit moved us, would have to make our way through the other-worldly dark of the teepee into the rain and blackness outside in order to purge. Then it began to rain so hard that the shaman interrupted his prayer to close the teepee flap and instruct us on how to navigate egress and ingress. To echo the shaman's earlier words, it promised to be an interesting night.

The shaman sat crosslegged in his place opposite the doorway flap, facing the fire, and took hold of a tall glass bottle filled with a deep brown liquid. He silently considered it for more than a minute. His gaze passed with deep wonder and intent between fire and the bottle as if he needed to listen to messages from both. The only sound in the teepee was the fire crackling and the surround-sound staccato of the rain outside. Another minute passed, then he stood. Maintaining silent respect, he poured small glassfuls of the night's medicine for each of us as he made his way around our circle.

If you ever want to know what full commitment feels and taste like, sit in Ayahuasca ceremony space and swallow all that is given to you.  Staring into the central fire is irresistible afterwards. The silent magic of the moving flame becomes the perfect meditation. Only by then, the flame is low and about to be extinguished. When it is gone, there is nothing left except waiting for the journey and the conversation to begin. The shaman moved around the fire, his tall frame looming above us. As he worked, the flame reduced to burning coals. The coals then slowly dimmed in the cooling ash. Within a few minutes we were left with only darkness and ourselves. Just the way Mother Ayahuasca likes it.



fire

Pandora has a box. People have egos. Same difference. Open either one and you never know how things may go sideways. Even more reason why many, probably most people who have just realized in full measure that they have indeed swallowed Ayahuasca will soon inflate their wonder with a clawing anxiety while waiting for the medicine to kick in. This unease can extend dimensionally if you take Ayahuasca enough. You get a churning sense how those first 10-30 minutes after drinking the brew, a time that seems relatively uneventful, is not so vacant as it appears. If you get quiet with yourself you can feel it -- something is scanning you through and through, all the way to your energetic body and spirit. When one becomes more intuned with the medicine, you begin to feel something reading you as soon as the nasty-tasting brown sludge seeps deeper within your body to find your soul. Something takes stock of your situation and comes to an appraisal of what you need and if you're ready. More importantly, it determines if you came to the medicine with respect and a heart set right. There is no way to hide your real self from this scan and no way to negotiate the outcome. What kind of ride your entheogenic rocket will have to endure is determined in those first minutes after drinking.

It is then Mother Ayahuasca makes her assessment of you. After which, the next eight to twelve hours are out of your hands while, paradoxically, all of it is focused on the most personal choices you make. Who do you think you are, what do you think is important, what do you believe, what do you hang onto and why, what do you hide from yourself, and how do you treat everyone you meet. Yes, Pandora has a box but in contrast, when that box is closed, everyone is spared the chaos and turmoil that awaits inside. Egos are like Pandora's Box except even when closed their chaos and turmoil festers and triggers a reactive unconscious in all of us. That hidden energy manifests in a myriad of ways in one's life. So often it holds our dreams and true self hostage and the ransom that's demanded only sucks us down and twists the only way out into a self-fulfilling knot.

Mother Ayahuasca takes us deep inside our Pandora's Box, then she takes us to the expanded beyond if that is what we need. She patterns her approach to the person who shows up -- both inside and outside the box. So it's important to show up as the person you want to be. That sounds impossible but the possible is merely the fully rendered version of our best intentions given breath within us. And yes, she will know you haven't accomplished the possible but it's impossible to avoid the less desirable judgment of her scan if you don't at least put your imagination into that space. Everyone has shit-monsters in their ego box. You aren't judged for that. What really unleashes your maelstrom is if her evaluation shows you've allowed your heart to get into the box with those shit-monsters. So it is best to approach ceremony space with humility, respect, and gratitude -- with gratitude being the greatest of the three.

After eighteen months and many ceremonies with Ayahuasca, San Pedro, and Kambo, the plant spirits seemed to have informed my intuition that it's best to approach them with a frame of heart -- for frame of mind means little to them. For this ceremony, I set my heart on filling the 10-30 minutes of waiting for the journey to begin while the scan was taking place -- to fill that time with slow, deep breathing -- and something else. The shaman had already recommended the best position to be in -- flat on one's back with arms at one's side and palms either up or down. No fetal position, no turning on one's side either left or right, and no crossing of the feet at the ankles. I made my breathing very deep but kept it slow and constant at that pace. But the most important heart element took a sustained meditative awareness -- and that was to silently recite to myself my gratitudes and keep reciting them, and if possible, to not repeat myself. Anything and everything in my life, past or present, or in the world that I was thankful for should be brought to mind and my heart should reflect with appreciation on it. And so it began -- gratitude and breath, sincere and deep, and then another, until the passage of time was unknown.


reflective faces

I knew the minutes must surely be passing into hours, and yet I still waited for the journey to begin. I had expected some rush of altered consciousness, a dizzying splash of other-worldly visuals, the voice of spirit intoning messages and questions to drive me deeper into the process -- but nothing. Nothing but a calming sense of peace and tranquility settling in, as if I was floating up and down all at once in a state of balance and harmony. Around me other participants moaned and shifted restlessly with the onset of finding their Pandora's Box opened. Some tore out of the teepee into the stormy dark. I listened with sharpened senses to their most mournful retching and anguished sighs. I felt so much compassion for them all the while I felt the urge to welcome the sounds as what they needed taking place. It was a strange place to be in - me being so peaceful and tranquil, experiencing no overt signs of the medicine having kicked in, and yet surrounded by others who were grappling with what sounded like terrible feelings and desperate needs clashing with the self-reinforcing illusions that held them in place.

I felt sure that any minute Mother Ayahuasca was going to show up for me with a sinkhole of psychedelic feeling exploding into a life review played out with larger-than-life disturbing symbols, all of which I would have to internalize until I violently purged in the wet and dark outside. And so I continued to recite my gratitudes. I continued the deep and slow breathing in the same position flat on my back. As endless time wore on, it became more and more difficult to find things to recite that hadn't been said already. All of the obvious things relating to family and friends, past blessings and present graces had been covered. As the hours wore on, I concentrated on finding little things, common things, things like strawberries and snow and clouds and pillows and waffles. 


It may sound funny now, but in the ceremony space, in the medicine, while playing out my intention to truly appreciate and have gratitude for these things, none of this was funny. And why should it? When you think how wonderful something like a strawberry or a pillow is, when you imagine a world without them, when you can remember all the times you enjoyed both of them in your life -- then mere gratitude seems inadequate to express the full measure of what it means to you.

Two hours became four as far as I knew and still the medicine had yet to kick in. I felt like my normal self except I was infused with that same floating up and down sense of peace and tranquility and being in harmony with nothing to do, nothing to worry about, and perfectly content. To manage to continue my recitation of my gratitudes, I thought even deeper about all the things I took for granted and so they didn't occur to me to be grateful for. That opened up a zillion other things that took me by surprise. Part of that surprise was my new recognition that these things naturally deserved gratitude like everything else. It made me reflect on why we tend to have a "top 100" list of things deserving of heartfelt appreciation and how did that list ever get started to the exclusion of so much. What priorities set those things above others? How much of my own wish-fulfillment ego was involved in creating that list? The depth of reflection spiraled out as the recitation and the deep breathing continued.

Finally, after six hours of lying in the ceremony space, feeling perfectly normal, waiting for the medicine journey to begin, I was exhausted and curious enough to silently give a shout-out to Mother Ayahuasca. So far during the whole night, I hadn't heard her speak to me once. And so I shouted my question -- "when is the journey going to begin -- will I have a journey with you tonight?"  Her answer was clear and immediate. I was shocked to finally hear her voice so close to me -- it shot through me as infinitely understandable, comprehensible, uncomplicated, lucid, coherent, simple, straightforward, unambiguous, and personally on my wavelength. She said -- "...the feeling IS the journey -- you've been on the journey all along."

Something in what she said, something in the way she said it hit me stark, plain, and center to my soul. Unexplained tears rushed from my eyes and clouded my sight. Suddenly I could no longer see the lighter shade of dark in the hole at the top of the teepee where the clouds had parted and a lighter sky was showing up. I started to wipe away my tears and Mother's voice was near me again. In the sweetest tones imaginable, she whispered to me, "Don't wipe those away. Those are healing essential oils. Rub them on you. Take them in."  


I followed her instructions only to find that when they touched me I felt a heavenly comfort descend upon the point of contact. I was overwhelmed by it and more tears came, which in turn, I rubbed down my face then down my arms and over my hands. Each touch of a tear invoke the blissful comfort at that spot which in turn triggered more tears. The iterative unfolding made me smile, then chuckle with a joy that evoked appreciation in me and at once I recited what I was going through as another one of my gratitudes. Immediately, a feeling of high energy vibration peace and tranquility rippled throughout my body and I gasped to catch my breath. 

For hours I had been waiting for the ceremony to begin, begin for me, waiting for the typical pyrotechnics of visuals and visions and purging -- and all along my journey was a ride into peace and tranquility. It was the exact 180-degree opposite of my first Ayahuasca ceremony 18-months before. Instead of trauma and isolation I had peace and oneness. And yet it soon occurred to me how I had been tricked into my lesson. For six hours I recited my gratitudes while waiting in peace and tranquility for the medicine to kick in. If Mother Ayahuasca had told me at the beginning that the feeling was my journey, I might have stopped my recitation and deep breathing. But she didn't tell me and I felt compelled to go deeper into gratitude.

And so for six hours I had recited, I had strained to find more and more things to recite without repetition. And in doing so, I went deep into a meditation and heartfelt exploration of what true appreciation and gratitude really means. Only by waiting for my journey to begin had my journey to a profound lesson been possible. In her way, just as the machine had been burned out of me in a previous ceremony, Mother had now burned into me a most intense and far-reaching sense of gratitude. And she did it by floating me in peace and tranquility through the better nature of myself. She showed me how gratitude and tranquility hold the same space. In that, there is peace. And knowing one is never alone in that space elicits such a sense of balance and harmony within. To be there, complete within yourself as so much more than the ego-box's definition of self, is to know the flow of one's spirit, just like the flow of healing tears, just like the spirit of the waters.

spirit of the waters

But the night was far from over. Dawn was still three hours away. All throughout the passing hours, the shaman had been busy in the dark. He sang haunting icaros, played exotic instruments, and shook leaf-bundles while making the rounds to check on each one of us. He blew aqua de florida, the shamanic cleansing spirit water in the direction of any psychic block or repetitive discomfort he detected. It was an ongoing dance in the dark between his efforts to guide and assist us and our need to hold space or rush outside to purge. It had gone on like this for six hours but now was the time to begin reuniting us with ceremony space and each other. He relit the central fire. It was a very small fire but after merging with the depths of darkness that had cradled us for so long, any light seemed brilliant and supra-colorful. For those who could respond, he brought around liquid tobacco to snuff up.

When he came around to me, he playfully tapped my foot with his foot to get my attention. When I raised my head to see what was going on, there he was, bending towards me with his signature slight smile and an invitation not to be refused -- "Tobacco?" Afterwards, he returned to his space and sat down cross-legged in his space and surveyed the scene with keen eyes and a slight smile of recognition for all we had and were going through - but even more so, for what was yet to come. One or two sat up and another propped up on an elbow to acknowledge him. Then he started singing. Low and almost quiet at first, then increasingly stronger. His words were not in English, of course, but they were also not in Spanish. It was an Amazonian native song, ancient and suited to the moment. In contrast to the dark and silence that prevailed in the teepee only minutes before, his song combined with the dance of the central flames to blast our journeys into a present too expansive to be contained.

For over six hours I had maintained my breathing and my position. During that time, all I had between me and the hard ground was one half of a blanket. The other half I had pulled over me. Lying flat on my back with arms at my sides and legs never shifting or crossing was comfortable to begin with, and surprisingly comfortable for a long time while suffused with the feelings of peace and tranquility. But now, with the reality of the teepee spotlighted by the dance of the central flame and the shaman's song churning away at my awareness, I grew increasingly uncomfortable. I felt a need to roll on my side, to shift position. 


But doing so was not as easy as wishing it. Any body movement seemed alien to me. I was not only out of my Pandora's Box, it seemed nowhere in sight. Strange how I could feel the discomfort but not the body. Strange how the idea of moving seemed redefined and no longer connected to the body. As the shaman's song intensified, so did the discomfort. I managed to roll my head and glance his way. It was true he was flashing me knowing glances but what did they mean? Was his energy and his song doing something to spur on this discomfort? It certainly seemed so but figuring it out drained away as the farthest thing from my mind. I needed to move and move I did, eventually. It took a few minutes but I managed to roll onto my right side. And that's when everything changed.

light in darkness

Never compare an Ayahuasca or Kambo purge to simple vomiting. They bear little resemblance to each other except something leaving the mouth is involved. With regular vomiting, expelling through the mouth pretty much sums it up. In ceremony, the physical component of purging is usually a minor component of what is happening. There are exceptions. There are people who simply feel bad and have to throw up immediately and little more is involved. But those are the same people who likely will be saying afterwards that not much happened during their ceremony. For those who break through into an experience, on the other hand, purging is so much more. Many might say it is a critical component of why you are there. And purging can happen many ways. There are the obvious orifices to consider, but even prolonged and suspenseful bouts of breathing and yawning can be a type of purge. For me, when I rolled onto my side, the snap-need to purge roiled and seethed within like an anaconda being uncoiled. A helix mass of energy erupted in dizzying spirals, starting beneath my rib cage and whip-lashing against my insides with a pressure not to be denied. 

I was the one disconnected from my body but now I had to move and move fast. The firelight was scant comfort as it guided me out of the teepee, but it was a big help. All night long I had heard others stumbling in blind desperation for the exit flap on their way to purgative glory. To have light as a guide became one of my new immediate gratitudes. Although, in the moment, I was in no state to meditate on it. I grappled to my feet like a new fawn finding its legs in a tornado. Luckily, I was next to the exit flap and had only to stumble forward to find the outside. But the outside I entered was nowhere near the outside I left so many hours before. Not by a long shot. Ever see something familiar to sight but every other instinct cries out with exotic and alien intuition?  Ever open a door and not see what you expected? Ever fall through an open doorway into a déjà vu mystery imagined by your higher self? Ever be forced to run only to discover your legs aren't your own? Ever wish the anaconda inside of you would stop expanding as it catapults from your face?

I managed to stop forward motion in twisting space over uneven ground with legs cold-boiling into jelly springs. Repeated purges came from below the bottom of my feet, not my stomach. Some of them were dry heaves filled with unseen chunks of systematized chaos and institutionalized turmoil. In between spasms of release came waves of high vibration instability that rippled compressed emotion into my energetic body.  I staggered back, slumped forward, and kept standing by leaning hands on knees. My gasps and sighs were another creature's drama, the last dreadful torments from an imaginary minion of Pandora's ego-box. The anaconda was only the vehicle to get the minion out of me; it was not a beast to be feared. In Inca mythology, the snake represents the lower or underworld. It stands for wisdom and knowledge, the beginning of new life. Incas believed the snake travels to the underworld where it sheds its skin to return "newly born." And so the snake is the symbol of transformation, the fulfillment of the circle of life.

The spiraling of energies continued and rocked me forward into another purge episode, for purges rarely come as a single expulsion. This time it was mostly dry heaves, those bursts of unseen cosmic air filled with what no longer serves. I felt alternately hot and cold, here and there, now and then. The sense of being empty and full merged with the wish to be beyond and present. I don't know how I got back to standing in the grasses near the teepee. A few feet to the left of me was the entry flap, out of which poured dancing firelight in an oval shape radiating into an unfamiliar night. The teepee was just behind me. The otherworldly now just ahead.

An attempt to catch my breath got suddenly interrupted by gasps of surprise. I looked up into amazement. Out in the darkness, no more than twenty feet away, rested an object made of crystal-blue-white light. The translucent shape looked to be a place to sit, like a couch. On the far left side of the object sat a person. This person was made of the same crystal-blue-white light. They sat there, almost motionless, their head turned towards me with steady gaze. Except for being made of light, the object and the person was more real than my blanket back in the teepee. How could this be? I mean, what could it be? I immediately tried to explain it away. It was simply light from the teepee shining on bushes in the distance. It was foggy-eye, a temporary aftereffect of the aggressive purging. It certainly couldn't be a person of light. And even if it was, why would they be sitting in that position, with head slightly turned to the left, a direct gaze held fast with little motion? There seemed no point to it except to show me how it's always possible to see light in the darkness.


At that moment the shaman started singing and banging a drum. The sound of it flooded out through the open teepee flap and enveloped the space around me. Coincidental or not, his song was the same one I had told him about a month before, after another ceremony. I commented how I liked it. It was the same song he had tried to teach everyone. He had them join in with him to sing it in the middle of the night. And now the light being's energy scintillated with the song's onset. At first I thought it was just the dancing of the firelight coming from the teepee, but the rhythm of the changes sparking in the energy field matched the song, not the fire. At once, my feet began to move in a most unusual way. My ankles swiveled as if triple-jointed. My feet rocked every which way in time to the song. I felt as if a blissful, sacred energy from an ancient ceremonial space had taken over my feet. From knees down I was back somewhere else, at another ceremony held outside around a fire, and the spirit had also moved me back then to express the oneness with the emerging joy I felt. 

It's interesting to note the Incas used one word "taqui" to describe dance, music, and singing. Although this word in Quechua means "song" -- the Incas never separated the three, seeing them as intrinsically interconnected.

spirit dance

The light being persisted in place for many minutes. I considered walking over to it, coaxed by some vague notion of verifying its existence. But I didn't have the legs under me to navigate that far. And besides, I imagined it would fade with each step I might take in its direction. It had to be firelight on some bushes anyway. It would be easy to see the exact spot to prove the point when daylight came. 

Exhausted, I returned to my blanket inside the teepee and collapsed with a post-purge energetic release. The shaman was letting the fire die down again and soon only the glow of reddened coals centered the space. I returned to my deep breathing but was too overwhelmed to engage in any activity like reciting gratitudes. I let my spirit go where it naturally flowed and assured my mind that it wasn't needed to get there. Random thoughts were inescapable and with them came other thoughts about the thoughts I had. One thing lead to another and soon I was ascending into another lesson -- and a method.

For the next two hours, my thoughts wandered. Each time they wandered into troubling realms, the feeling of peace and tranquility showed me how to redirect my energies away from Fear or Drama or what Mother Ayahuasca at another ceremony called "Story." Every thought led to another and eventually I was shown how, left to my own thoughts -- without the heart intervening -- an over-analysis of mind would seek out the lowest common denominator, resulting in a habitual infusion of fear and drama and convoluted story back into my wonder and concern. 


Over and over, a gentle nudge of spirit stirred me away from getting snared in a morass of negative thinking. Many times, I simply blanked my mind and started over with probabilities that led to positive outcomes. The technique was extremely subtle but tremendously powerful. It was as if the lightest breath of my intention could turn around a star ship battle-cruiser headed at light-speed for Armageddon. But unless one stayed aware and heart-centered, when and how to blow that healing breath could be missed. Miss it enough and one's mind came to the dramatic conclusion it didn't exist. 

To stay aware, I needed to match my thoughts against the proper vibrations from my heart. A mismatch signaled a needed mid-course correction -- a breath of spirit redirecting the flow away from the trap of fear and drama and story. It was startling how easy it was doing the most powerful thing. But even more startling was how easy it was believing such power couldn't exist. Again and again I was taken through examples of how easy it was to be distracted away from heart and into a blocked awareness focused only on pathways that slid into negativity - even when we didn't expect them to. Every thought I had became another example. I drifted towards a daydream state just above sleep. In daydreams healing finds a way to flow. This felt like flowing back to source. And so I flowed.

As I flowed I found myself asking if I should return for a second ceremony, which was planned for the next day. Immediately, I heard a male voice abruptly say, "No."  This was jarring, not only to receive a no but to hear a male voice. Where had Mother Ayahuasca gone? This "No" made no sense. He gave no explanation and his tone seemed final. I let it go for a half an hour or so while I rested and drifted, but it remained on my mind. And so later I asked again if I should return for the second ceremony. The male voice was adamant this time -- "No!" It was certain from his tone he wasn't adding anything and so I let it go and didn't press the issue. There would be time to consider it later.

Dawn came and everyone rested for a couple more hours. The shaman closed the circle with more tobacco snuff and another one of his impromptu prayers. It was time for the Kambo ceremony to begin. Those who felt called approached the shaman and received their points of venom. Having drunk the most water at the start of this second ceremony, I was the first to receive points. I hurried outside and spent the next hour and a half finishing the purges that Ayahuasca had started. Kambo works well with Ayahuasca. They say the medicine gives you the energy you need to get through ceremony and Kambo came through in that regard. But I did notice, unlike previous times receiving the frog medicine, I found it difficult drinking the volume of water I needed during the hour and a half. But when it was finished, I felt cleansed and rejuvenated. Since I had fasted before arriving at ceremony space the day before, I was also famished. I headed out with friends for breakfast, after which there would be rest, reflection, and getting mentally ready for the next ceremony, planned for the following night. 

But what about receiving "No" twice? What was that about? And what about the space where the light being had appeared? I checked it out but daylight brought no resolution. In fact, it deepened the mystery. There were no bushes or trees where the being had sat and watched me. That place was an open space with nothing for the firelight to fall on.
 
the sky opened up

The next night I returned to the shaman's house and soon discovered a cleaning circle on the back patio. Rough-cut Ayahuasca branches were heaped in a pile. Gathered around were soon-to-be ceremony participants industriously using spoons to scrape away the dirt and outer bark of the spirit vine in preparation for the long boil in the big cook pot nearby. Even though I had been told not to come back, I hadn't heard it from Mother Ayahuasca. Plus, I was undaunted to try out the shaman's prescription of three ceremonies in rapid succession. I was determined not to let the indecision about coming and the "No's" from the male voice add any fear or drama to the way I approached the second ceremony. As far as I knew, it was a test to see if I could stir clear of such negative thinking. Just another example, like the countless ones handled before. If I had learned anything, I shouldn't let such things taint this second night in any way. And so I grabbed a spoon and started cleaning the Ayahuasca vines. I was going to participate and I was looking forward to it.

Everyone soon discovered just how energetic the teepee would be. Instead of eight participants like before, tonight there would be fifteen people in the teepee, including the shaman. The prospect of that many journeys going on simultaneously in such a confined space made one wonder. It would be a testament to the abilities of the shaman if, without helpers, such a collection of traveling souls could be held in good energy throughout the night. And so, as before, we lit our flashlights and took the walk back to the clearing where the teepee stood. The threat of rain wasn't as severe as before, which was a plus. We all managed to squeeze our blankets and gear into personal slots facing the fire. The shaman tended it as before and repeated his reverent steps in preparation. Tobacco snuff and prayers, explanation of how things would process and answers for anyone's questions. By the time we drank the medicine it was 10pm and the night was deep and dark around us. The fire was brought low, then extinguished and fourteen participants awaited their journey.


As before, I started by lying on my back, taking deep, slow breaths, and reciting my gratitudes. And as before, I waited for the medicine to kick in, all the while I floated into a state of serenity and peace. Never knowing what might happen, I kept to my process and maintained position, breath, and recitations. When the night was half gone, the first six hours had repeated my experience from the first ceremony. I went deeper into gratitude. I found the place of peace and tranquility within to be normal and not the exception. And I had deep compassion for the many others around me who struggled with cruel-sounding purges and break-down episodes outside in the dark. The contrast of their anguish and the peaceful state drove so deeply into me. I had no way of comprehending what that particular juxtaposition was doing to me, but it felt it to be transformative.

After six hours of recitation in the dark amidst tranquility, Mother Ayahuasca began speaking to me as secondary lesson time began as before. Just like in the first ceremony, the next three hours were spent processing examples played out by my own mind. Again, it was a lesson about avoiding negative traps and staying with an uplifting flow that was heart-centered. She showed me in the way my own mind operated how easily we can be tricked into spiraling down paths that at first seem so benign but ultimately ambush us with low vibration negative emotion. Last time the method to practice was the flow of intention breath to stir one away and back on course. This time she summed up the method in two words. With firm resolve she gave them to me -- "Recognize and Interrupt!"


No matter what I thought, Mother showed how I could be tricked into letting it slide negative. And with the negative came negative emotion. And negative emotion was the internal quicksand linked to a bottomless pit that consumed one's potential and redefined the face of you. I kept being surprised how the most innocent thought always had a hook that could spiral down. I was shocked to be tricked into seeing how even the things we love can be turned and sent spiraling. There was no end to the ways we could fall prey to the downward slide. The best way to retrain ourselves to avoid the infinite space on either side of the tightrope was to "Recognize and Interrupt!"  Recognize what was happening and immediately interrupt the process of mind and feeling that was being sucked down.

In time, Mother even echoed what San Pedro had told me in the past - that "by fear and wounding they control you."  Fear, drama, story, and especially wounding are all techniques of control. Mother showed me negative memes which are hidden in plain sight, subliminally buried in our entertainments and advertisements, that work on the subconscious to trigger the slide into negative quicksand. On the surface, it may look like one thing. But in the background of intention and suggestion, the negative memes are being implanted. Like corrupting seeds, they lie there fallow in our minds until a situation calls them into our false intuition. We believe we are feeling our natural reaction, but it is only the response engineered to be triggered. To impress upon me how insidious they were, she droned them at me --

"Us versus them
Nothing can be done
More is better
Bad things happen
Nothing is certain
Justice at all costs
I need what I want
Everything is separate"
 


And the list went on and on. For every negative emotion possible within the human heart, there are dozens of memes ready to be a trigger.  Memes can self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures. Memes act very much like viruses. We could even call them mind viruses. Mother Ayahuasca showed me how all the thousands of negative memes can be collapsed into two things -- desire and a lack of concern for others. Be aware of these two always.

The goal of negativity, whether consciously engineered or not, is to short-circuit our natural flow to choose intentionally in each of life's situations and replace it with an unconscious reaction to subliminal negative memes to drive a reaction. The resulting negative assumptions and actions turn into belief over time and reprogram our ability to co-create. We start interacting with an artificial world instead of manifesting. As a result, spread over a populace affected by this negative energetic bombardment, society becomes reactive. The creative impulse gets redirected through negative programming and assumptions tied to our conditioned desires and needs instead of being a blooming of positive potential from our best aspirations and capabilities.

Assumptions are the hidden key to the power of our beliefs. Once assumed, our subconscious acts upon it as fact and the energy of this certainty manifests our reality like thought creating the path before a walker who imagines what the next step will be like, and so makes it so. Our natural, aligned state is one of heart consciousness. Doubt is a fear vibration that creeps into thought when belief is not completely aligned with our true self. Doubt is very powerful and damaging. Coherence is bringing things together in a state of logical, orderly, and aesthetic relationship; it sharpens or becomes more focused. Without the focus of heart-centered intention, there is nothing to prevent us from living our lives in reaction to negative memes we aren't even aware are acting as directors.
 


the down spiral

In the midst of all these examples, an odd thing started to occur. The lessons of recognize and interrupt spun on. All the while I began having crazy visuals of bizarre little creatures. Gobs of them kept popping up and filling my sight. Each time I was caught off guard and could only sum it up as strange, funny, outlandish, abnormal, extraordinary, weird, wacky, oddball, kooky, freaky, off the wall. They were the happiest of creatures but a bit too happy and knowing, if you can imagine that. I got the distinct sense they knew more about what was going on than I did. Despite their friendly, happy-go-lucky attitude, something else belied more going on. It was something in the way their facial expressions and eyes gave them away. Once they were bicycling in the air. Next they were rowing rowboats vertically up trees. Another time they were riding impossibly-designed roller-coasters. "Weeee!" they'd laugh with otherworldly glee. They'd always turn to look at me at the high point of their excitement, which after a while got a little creepy.

little creatures at play1




little creatures at play2
little creatures at play3













All of these little creatures looked the same except they were dressed with slight differences. Every place in the world became a wacky amusement park for their antics. When I thought they had crossed the line is when I shifted my lower back to get more comfortable. Little did I know my motion would release one of their rides -- a ride inside of me. I looked down and there stretched out inside from pelvic bone up to high under my rib cage was a curved track. It formed a semi-circle resting against my spine. On the track and held in place, awaiting release, was an equally curved boat with bow and stern as high points. The boat sat transverse to the track at the lower curved end by my pelvis. When I moved my lower back, the boat got released and slid fast, down and then up towards my neck. With the motion came an uproar of Weee's! and cheers and laughter from the little creatures. The chatter and noise erupted from my gut. I watched as their warped boat swung down and up and then back again into original locked position at my pelvis. They were all excited, stamping their feet and waving their arms as they cheered me on to do it again for them. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

The sight was so captivating and bizarre that, of course, I had to do it again. Weeee! and HaHahaha! and Whoopie! rose from my gut. It was the craziest thing imaginable but, like a wreck on the highway, it was hard to pull one's eyes away. It seemed such benign and crazy fun, why not do it again? And so I did it, again and again. Each time they went more berserk with enjoyment. Then I realized with sudden panic what was happening. And yes, they were tricking me -- just as Mother Ayahuasca had warned could happen, even with things we enjoy and love. I discovered their true intent not with any power of mind but simply when my stomach showed signs of needing to purge. But of course! How did I miss it? 

The silly warped boat on the track was repeatedly shoving its momentum from pelvis to throat. Each run of the ride was getting me closer to having to purge. I stopped right away and took breaths to try to calm the urge. I felt so tired and jelly-legged that I dreaded having to make my wake into the dark outside. I didn't know if it was worthwhile but I had to give it a try. I appealed directly to Mother Ayahuasca. I assured her I would purge - in fact I wanted to purge, but dawn was only an hour away and I would prefer to purge at the jungle toilet in the light rather than up through the mouth outside now. Surprisingly, she answered me and said that would be all right and the urge immediately subsided. Later, the shaman was amused but incredulous with this episode. He chuckled at the notion of someone bargaining conditions with Mother. I didn't care. I had to try.

colors of the sunset

Several times, when the creatures were showing their widest grins and happiest demeanor, they would stare at me and their faces began to contort in horrific, exaggerated ways. Crazy-happy quickly morphed into frightful-menacing. I soon realized this was yet another, this time graphic example of how the nicest things, left to negative memes, could transform and spin us down into the negative before we knew it. I stayed alert to recognize and interrupt their contortions by diverting my gaze, changing my thoughts, and welcoming them back happy again.

In time, the little creatures scampered here and there but increasingly they fell into the background. Instead, I started asking Mother Ayahuasca questions - questions about what I liked to do, where to put my energies, what more her lessons may mean. She showed me how I had come full circle from my first ceremony with her 18 months before. She took me back to that first ceremony, filled with dark entities running the ceremony. I had felt trapped in another dimension with them and they knew it. I asked her about all the entities had said about getting so much enjoyment out of the pain of our purges. I even watched them shape-shift and collect the purges. Mother was as calm as before in answering:

"You saw dark entities collecting the purge.
They liked it, they wanted more -- it seemed to be their ceremony to do this,
it appeared they were tricking people into anguish for their dark benefit.
And all of that is true -- but not the whole picture, 

for what is your truth now?
The only thing they were collecting 

was every by-product of the healing of the medicine,
a healing that got rid of things that don't serve you --
and those things that don't serve you - all of that purging -
they like that, so let them have it!
What was really going on?  The same thing you saw.
But now the perspective is completely different.
What you saw before was everything inverted from what it should be.
Now you have inverted it back. There is no anguish in being healed.
It's another example how you can be led down to the negative.
Everything here can be an example of that illusion,
how you're tricked into going into emotions that don't serve you.
Sometimes we do it to ourselves and sometimes others do it do us.
But now you know the power of recognize and interrupt

the power to steer clear with intention.
Put that same peaceful and tranquil feeling into your days."


I asked more questions but she patiently answered, "I answered that already. You can ask whatever you like, but the answers are going to be the same."

I asked her if I should come back for the third ceremony. She gave me an insight, "If you come back, it will be the same, just like now is the the same as the last ceremony." And then I understood why I heard the "No's" before -- simply because for now there was no reason to come back. The answers and main lesson would be the same. I had come full circle from the fear and drama and story of 18 months ago. In that there was a completion - my first completion.


I thought about the illusion of my earlier perspective and how knowing source was the opposite of that. Mother Ayahuasca bristled at the suggestion. "No! Source is not the flip-side of anything. They in no way compare, even as opposites! Don't ever compare one to the other -- source just IS. There is nothing else you can say about source! It exists! It is!" She was very adamant about this.

I thought about the Kambo ceremony to come as the first light of day began to show through the top opening in the teepee. Mother spoke once again, "You've made progress, from there to here. You don't need anymore medicine right now." I couldn't help but telling her about the shaman's prescription for three ceremonies in a row. There was no pause when she answered, "You were here last month, then we met again at the San Pedro ceremony, and now these two ceremonies. Four ceremonies. You can keeping repeating if you want to but for right now -- you're done."

I asked to clarify, "No more medicine?"
She repeated, "For right now -- you're done."



morning rainbow

The following morning I woke very earlier in my bed back where my wife and I were staying when I was not in ceremony. My wife was still asleep but I felt one of those other-worldly urges to get outside, close to nature. It didn't matter that the sky was totally dark with rain clouds. Outside, the rain came down. It reminded me of the sound of rain on the teepee during the ceremonies. I dressed quickly and made my way down a path to a covered lookout point. I climbed into one of the hammocks and enjoyed the call of the morning birds and the continuing cool shower.

Then it happened. Right before my eyes. Within a minute of me coming to rest in the hammock, brimming with peaceful, tranquil feelings -- it was then the clouds parted and a perfect rainbow appeared before me. The actual picture of it is included here. I felt an overwhelming sense of someone's presence, of someone's caring, of someone's assurance that it is possible to take the lessons and methods for healing into our daily lives. As a parting gift, Mother Ayahuasca or Source or Spirit or whatever name you give it, took me to a place inside that matched the deepest joy of ceremony space. The message that morning was -- such joy is not meant only for ceremonies. It's meant to be with us all the time. Of course the whole episode caused a rush of tears. But that was OK. As I was told, "Don't wipe those away. Those are healing essential oils. Rub them on you. Take them in."  And so I did. And so I do.


view through a rainy bus window

Days later, while talking to my wife, I mentioned the "No!' I had received from the male voice. It was so odd that it was that voice and not Mother Ayahuasca that answered. My wife's intuition made a suggestion right away -- the voice was Grandfather San Pedro. Just as Mother had shown up at his ceremony, he had answered at the end of hers. It's remarkable how the spirits of the medicine complement each other, even if we can only guess the depths of the relationship. 

Some time afterwards while still feeling I was in the medicine, the bus I was riding in paused in traffic. I turned to glance outside. There I found my face staring back at me from a rainy block wall. Behind the glasses I saw peace and tranquility and a new sense of connecting with myself and others. It may have taken 18 months and epic travails to reach my first completion - but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I have the utmost gratitude I can now say that. I wish the same for others. Meanwhile, I can only imagine, with positive intentions, what my second completion will possibly be. Whatever it is, I'm flowing towards it.

1 comment:

  1. Great accounting M! Particular liked this "by fear and wounding they control you." You've got the answers, now comes the hard part :) Happy trails amigo

    ReplyDelete