Encounter with plant medicine, part 1

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Hello Everyone !

It's been now 3 weeks that I am living in Pisac. It has not been totally easy to settle here. The last two weeks have been quite difficult indeed. I gradually lost my interest and understanding of why I was here, what I was here to do. Settling in a slow pace routine of not doing much, being bothered by this sense of inertia but not knowing how to stop it.


They are many ways to go around that, especially when one is travelling. I could have gone away, see something different. I could have join some classes or workshop, go back to spanish class, practice more yoga. I could have push myself to do something. That is not my way apparently. Instead, I embraced the negativity, the slowing down, the restlessness and did 'no thing' about it. Or almost no thing. One of the aim of me being here was to have a first encounter with plant medicine, particularly Ayahuasca. A medicine that has rise my curiosity long time ago and that since a couple of years now I felt called to drink. So has I noticed my restlessness and overall negativity, I was also aware that the time to drink this bitter mixture was coming. Trusting my feelings to be exactly what they needed to be. And on Friday the 2nd, I went on and participated to an ayahuasca ceremony. I had quite some big expectations regarding that experience, deciding that I was ready to see the big snake. Ready to embrace the visions and the teachings I would receive, whatever they may be. Nothing of that happened. The effects of the brew were very mild on me. I observed anger showing itself up at one point, without being able to point out what I was angry at or where the anger came from. But then it passed and for the most part, I was bored. Bored out of my mind was the way I decribed my experience to my friends here. The days that followed the ceremony, I ate a lot, completely breaking the diet I was doing for the medicine but not feeling bad about it, neither in my body nor my mind. Strange, I thought. 


Few days later, this Wednesday, I went to participate to a Huachuma ceremony. Huachuma or San Pedro is a cactus from the Andes that has been used by civilisations in Peru since at least 3000 years, some says 6000. It's psychoactive substance is mescaline and its effect last about 12 to 14 hours. Not for the faint of heart! This time, I didn't had any expectations coming in. My experience with ayahuasca being so mild, the much more forgiving huachuma couldn't be much of a problem. Oh dear, this time, I was in for a ride ! 


After only 30 minutes, just the time to find my spot in the beautiful garden of my hosts for the day, I started crying. No particular reasons for that, just waves of sadness coming out. It's something I'm pretty used too with meditation and other practices so I could just let that happened without worrying. Then a big hit and I started to have visions and learnings way beyond the capacity of comprehension of my brain. Feeling myself being huge and small and everywhere and nowhere. Not breathing for minutes and then deep breathe starting from deep within. Colorful visions of the life in a dimension beyond time and space. Feeling my brain melting and the 'monkey mind', the rational thinker to whom I still am indentified with, leaving the scene. And at all time hearing one voice, my guide. Was this voice my higher self or the spirit of the plant speaking to me? I do not know and could not possibly wonder at the time. What I knew was that I had to follow that voice if I didn't wanted to be overtaken by the terror of what was happening: I was losing my mind and with it my sense of control of what was happening.  Times and times again I was being shown how damaging it would be to attempt anything else than trusting that voice. 'You my friend, are here to listen.' Ok then, letting go of my sense of control, my desires and fears and listening. Not as easy as it sounds when you're having crazy sensations and visions, hear voices and can't think. 


After experiencing the immensity of this reality beyond time and space for a while, something else kicked in. I started to feel more clearly than ever the energy blockages that are stored in my body. The places within myself where things were not flowing. One in particular, at the level of the stomach was particularly uncomfortable.

And this clear idea: I need to throw this shit up. For the next 7 hours or so, I have been shown the awful stuff I was storing in there. Anger towards me, my parents and my brother accumulated over the years, hearing back the words we were telling each others when fighting and seeing them materializing into spears trough my body. My sense of smallness quickly followed by my sense of self importance. Hearing and sometimes seeing the situations when I felt superior or inferior to people around me. My fears concerning sex and being an adult male and how I stored it in my lower back. Feeling at one point, but accentuated one thousand times, the mix of lust, confusion, disgust and excitement when I jerked off for the first time. 

I could fully feel and had to totally embrace all those shits, one after the other. Until I finally surrendered to the experience and allowed my body to purge a first time. It was the craziest experience ever. If you've seen Princess Mononoke or other Miyazaki's movies, you are familiar with those spirits which become demons after being hurt. From a being of knowledge, protector of life, they become dull, stubborn and violent creatures destroying everything on their passage and infecting the ones who would get in contact with them. That is exactly what I experienced, being entirely submerged by a dull, stubborn, violent entity full of hate, resentment and fear until I was allowed to throw it up. It was disgusting. Then a few hours and quite some more shit later, I trew up a second time. In the middle of that awful but quite liberating (I think?) process, I was also blessed to receive some gifts, exhilarating feelings of bliss, visions about my futur with Haein, etc. But each time, I had the choice to hang out in this blissful feelings or come back to work on my shit, and each time I chose working my shits out. After nine hours sitting alone through this, I received the permission to come down, eat and start socialize with the other participants. From then on, everything went smoother and easier. 


So that is (some) of my experience with Huachuma. If you know me a little, you know I am not much of an experience kind of guy. I learned that experiences are mostly trap for the mind. That is probably why I had such a hard time working on shit instead of experiencing bliss. But what did I learned? Well quite a great deal actually. One simple way to put it is that I learned the basics of Tantra by experience. What I mean by that is that while I was struggling alone with my hate, fear, resentment, lust, shame, greed and anger I was told times and times again that I had nothing to do about it. I was not here to purge, I was not here to transform, to heal nor become anything. I was hear to listen, to be the willing servant of something that was happening, Life. 


The difference betweeen the spirit of the forest and the evil demon is that. One is walking with life, the other is all in resistance and starts to walk with death, destroying everything, incapable to see anything else than its own anger, its own wound. How I saw it was that my only choice was to let it happen has it was happening. I couldn't fight against it nor speed up the process. I was there as a witness of life within cleaning itself up, and my task was to listen, to see, to embrace my hate, my shame, my greed and anger. To become it, all the way. And to surrender to it, to surrender to the fact that those awful things were playing an important role in my life, to surrender to my attachment to those shits and my fears of letting them go. To surrender to my smallness, to how uninteresting I was. To surrender to my strength and how well I was handling this. No I was not this big ass yogy doing his work, I was a worm ready to die. A no one, a nobody. What a relief! 


Then I could reborn as 'just me', freed of those stories. The medicine showed me the hard way the surrender of the ego and the importance of non judgment about what is happening. What is happening is happening is happening, my choice is to welcome it or keep accumulating shit. 'Don't judge, let go of your expectations and embrace what is' is the lesson I learned. No more bad nor good, simply what is has it is. It certainly was a terrible way to learn it, but it was a fully embodied way. 


Since then, the 'integration', the actual process of 'just living' having experiencing this awesome experience, is not going easy. It's been five days now and I have gone through the all spectrum of ideas, feelings and sensations about my experience and the use of plant medicine. I am much more confuse now than Wednesday. Wednesday, I only had one clear thing to do, and the choice to embrace it or try not to. Now I can think about it, speak about it, listen to so many points of view on the use of plant medicine, and try to process all of this. At this point, I prefer to just stay with confusion. We'll have to wait for my next blog entry for part 2. Hopefully by then I will be clearer about what I actually feel, inside. Or maybe that is what I actually wrote here above. Mmmmh, yes, confusion all the way.


Allow me to finish with this disclaimer: I do not recommend anyone to go on the path of plant medicine. I truly believe that this path is arduous, full of pitfalls, easy for one to lose herself. If you are practicing meditation and other modalities of self acceptance, self care, self recognition and self love since a LONG time, and do feel the call, this might be a great teacher. And maybe not. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and go dance Soul Motion, Dance Medicine, the 5 rhythms or Freedom dance. Conscious dancing is all the tantric practice we need. I have no doubt that those practices are the practices that fits our time. You will have as much from it as you are ready to receive in an embodied, grounded way. That is all I wish to anyone. 


Love and Light,