Long Term Effects of Ayahuasca
My trip to Peru is now in it’s third month. I calculate that I have participated in about thirty two Ayahuasca ceremonies over the past year and a half. Twenty of those have been in the last two and a half months. I want to take this opportunity to check in and highlight some of the changes that I have noticed since arriving in late October. These are changes I have consistently noticed outside of ceremony….
Maria (Masha) says, “There is no limit to how much the heart can open.”
I am finding this to be a true statement. Every ceremony seems to bust my heart open more and more. This is most noticeable in my interactions with other people.
In some cases used to get a tight knot in my stomach when I met someone new. Pre Aya I tried to figure them out, figure out what they were up to, whether they liked me and whether they wanted to get something from me. Now, when I meet someone, I do so with an open heart. I have no anxiety. If the person is not talkative or is not responsive to my inquiries I have no problem with this, I just sit relaxed in the silence noticing the vibe. This usually leads to them relaxing an opening up more themselves. If they are talkative, I am able to get into the flow and enjoy rich interactions that were not accessible before…especially if I was not interested in what was being said. Now I am able to notice beauty in new places and interesting ways.
When I come across someone I feel has negative intentions, I notice right away and I am able to handle the situation with a calm knowing and clarity that I had never experienced before. Surprisingly, when these situations arise I don’t get caught up in my emotions and judge the person. I simply notice what is going on and act accordingly. On the rare occasions that I have been “taken” I simply note what happened and quietly thank the person (to myself) for teaching me a lesson. I am able to avoid emotional loops. That is, running the scenario in my head over and over again amping the negative emotion and imagining what I shoulda, coulda, woulda done.- not a very helpful strategy as it is based totally on illusion, something that did not and will not happen.
This is not to say that I am walking around on a cloud all day every day. I still have issues come up between myself and others. It is just that I can take a step back, focus on my heart and look at what is really going on. I feel for what is ego in action and what is true at the heart level. After this examination I can approach the person that I have an issue with and discuss it calmly and with vulnerability. It is shocking how receptive people are when you approach them about a problem with an open heart. They can feel it. It is totally counterintuitive for us to do this. We want to protect ourselves and shut down. Our minds are saying “run away, protect yourself, this person is bad, they are out to get us!!”.
In reality people have a hard time attacking when they are facing someone who is coming from a place of vulnerability and openness. If they do attack, those attacks are easily defended against. An open heart provides clarity. The heart knows what to do….every time. The mind does not. The mind makes mistakes as it is trying to think ahead and predict the future. The mind tries to predict the reactions of the other. We are terrible predictors of the future.
Closing down and thinking is a function of fear and defensiveness. These qualities muddle the mind and cause poor action…every time. Some people will say that they are good predictors of how the other will react in a given situation. These people are lying to themselves about using the mind to predict outcomes. These are actually people who are good with their “instincts”. They have unconsciously figured out how to feel their heart. They are going by “gut instinct”. They are giving undue credit to their mind as the mind and ego are tightly connected. Thinking is ego food.
Ayahuasca increases awareness across the board. With increased awareness I have been able to notice more and more when the ego is starting to take action. This can happen in real time…more and more (not always) the ego is noticed before the outward action is taken. With this newfound awareness I have more choice.
Sometimes the ego is acting in alignment with my heart- pushing that heart directed action forward. This is a good thing and I let it proceed. When the ego is in alignment with the heart, it is actually helpful. It can be a driver for positive outcomes…like this blog. I can’t think of a more egocentric outlet than a blog, or Facebook. The ego is not always bad.
Then there are the instances that the ego/mind starts going down a path that is incongruent with the heart. Once again, the heart knows. When the ego starts taking over, I notice the heart and body tightening up….hello ego….then if it is heading in the opposite direction of my heart, I simply let it go.
When I am not able to notice the ego until after the outward action is taken I am much easier on myself. I just note what happened. If a corrective action is required I take it. If no corrective action is required, I forgive myself. I realize that in most cases no one really cares nor remembers that outward action. The ego likes to cause those funky emotional loops and illusions. The ego can trap us in the idea that other people actually care as much as the ego does. They don’t. Guess what they are focused on?….Their own egos.
Focus and Accelerated Learning-
I first noticed the potential for increased focus and accelerated learning with Ayahuasca when I spent time with Malcom at Blue Morpho back in October. When our conversations turned to business or important information Mal would shift into what felt like a tractor beam- soaking up every piece of information possible. His was so noticeable that I brought it up directly with him. I asked about the long term affects of Ayahuasca on learning and focus. He responded with the analogy of the movie “The Matrix”- learning for him now is like having information downloaded directly into the brain.
It is particularly helpful to bring a subject that you want to learn or understand into ceremony- asking Aya to help learn about it. Ayahuasca will help open up those neuro-pathways to make learning easier. Effort to learn is still required. Ayahuasca lubricates the machine…a lot. When I found this out I was like “woah!….bring on more aya please.”
Since I had that conversation with Mal I have asked Ayahuasca to help me with my Spanish skills, my writing skills, and to help plan out my longer term business plans. I have been absolutely amazed with the results. I feel so strongly about this, that I have told one close friend that has yet to drink Ayahuasca, “Drinking Aya will be the best business decision you ever make.”
The general physical benefits from Ayahuasca are pretty amazing. One of Ayahuasca’s core functions is cleaning out the body and straightening crossed energies. This means that both at physical and energetic level, the body starts to operate with fewer and fewer impediments. Everything is moving more efficiently. This means either less is needed to maintain the status quo or more benefits are reaped from the same input.
First there is the increased energy levels and less need for sleep. During a series of ceremonies or during a dieta energy levels are all over the place. Sleep is often hard to do after ceremony due to the lingering mariacion so patterns are interrupted at first as the body is cleaning out. This is especially true on a dieta- one moment I will feel great and ready for anything. Then the next moment I could just curl up anywhere on the ground for a nap. All that said, a day or two after a dieta or series of ceremonies my energy goes through the roof. The dietas do get easier- I just wrapped up my 3rd dieta in three months and I found that my energy levels were quite stable the whole time.
Now I can operate on 4-5 hours of sleep without noticing any negative effects. In fact, I now find that sleeping more than six hours is just not necessary (I used to be an 8 hour minimum guy). Don Alberto and the rest of the “Familia Medicina” routinely conduct ceremony, sleep 1-4 hours and get up at 5 AM for a full days work on the farm. We are talking swinging machetes all day in the Amazonian sun.
Many of my friends will remember that for 9 months prior to my leaving the states I was on a vegan raw diet. I lost about 30 lbs and had to buy a whole new wardrobe because my pants were literally falling down all the time. I knew that I would not be able to maintain a raw nor vegan diet down here. I fully expected to put on the pounds again as the diet here is REALLY starch heavy- white rice, yucca, plantains etc.. There is also a tendency to fry everything. Shockingly I have not put on any weight. I will refer back to the statement that Ayahuasca clears all the pathways. My body handles everything perfectly- I can’t put on weight no matter what I am eating. It is like I am 16 again.
Am I slowly turning into Gumby?? Again, my friends know that I have been a regular yoga practitioner for ten years now. Even after those ten years, when I left the states my hamstrings were still really tight and I needed a pretty hefty meditation pillow to sit cross legged comfortably for any length of time. Up until the past few weeks I have not kept a regular practice down here at all. To my surprise, about a month into my trip I discovered I could sit in half lotus comfortably for long periods of time! Now that my practice is back on I am finding everything has loosened up. This plays right into what yoga teachers say about our bodies holding on to past traumas. Ayahuasca is peeling away these traumas and I am seeing the effects at a physical level.
All of the above benefits are what I have noticed thus far and have been able to articulate. There are even more subtleties. I still have four months left down here. The onion is continuously being peeled. I can’t wait to see what happens next.