Alive on Ayahuasca

A Photo of Ayahuasca Art by Anderson Debernarde Taken at Karma Cafe, Iquitos

I felt the dark green liquid concoction working its way inside my body.   It came on stronger and faster than I could have imagined.

The Amazonian plant extract caused a feeling of claustrophobia in the dark living room where my Shaman and I were lying on separate mattresses. 

Darkness makes it easier to release your thoughts and connect with the spirits.”

I felt the salad and yucca that I’d eaten about eight hours prior.

I got up to go to the bathroom, accompanied by my Ayahuasca lady.  She coached me into her moonlit backyard and into the stall where I was able to relieve myself.

Conniptions were taking over my legs.  The flab and muscle were painlessly shaking together.

The temperature outside was slightly cool.  The almost full moon complimented an abundance of stars. 

I wanted to stay outside, but was instructed that it wouldn’t be possible.

With muscles and fat shaking, I made it back onto my mattress.  Feeling the tropical heat, sweat overwhelmed me briefly.  The darkness was too much to bear so my spiritual helper put a small light on.

The overwhelmingly fast effect made me wonder why she gave me so much, twice what she’d drunk.   I paraphrased her words in my mind:

Typically I tend to give guys a bit more.  You seem like you can handle a good dose.  I personally wouldn’t be able to have this much.”

Shamans tend to guesstimate how much Ayahuasca to give a patient.  At this point I’d felt like she’d made a mistake.  I looked over at her and said:

There’s no turning back now is there?

I hoped that there was a way to reverse what was happening but quickly realized that there wasn’t.

The plant had my body.  Parts of me tingled.  My head felt a huge weight.  I was yawning consistently.

I wished I was out drinking alcohol somewhere like a normal person.

The shaman knew that things were getting rougher for me by the moment.

Breathe.  Turn off your thoughts.  You’re a thinker.  How do you think so much?  You have to surrender your thoughts.  Let the Ayahuasca work for you.  Focus especially on your outer breaths.”

The medicinal Amazonian plant was messing  me up internally.  Why didn’t I speak up and tell her it might be too much, that I have no experience with this.

Her words made me realize that I’ve never been successful with meditation because I can’t easily turn my thoughts off.

The weight remained heavy.  I focused on breathing.  It was all I had.

I wanted it to be over.  I looked forward to departing the next morning.

I saw demons coming down at me, spewing wicked sounds.  I felt my goodness overwhelm their evil.  They disappeared.  I smiled in triumph.  

My mental momentum shifted.

To be alive or dead felt the same.  I preferred being alive, although being dead didn’t bother me in the least.

The yawns grew to what felt gigantic. They were uncontrollable.  I couldn’t silence them.

I heard the words of the medicine woman. 

You’re in a good place now.”

I was asked if I wanted another dose, another shot.  I laughed as if it were a joke and said:

No thank you!”

The offer might be made in case you feel the first dose wasn’t strong enough.

Big smiles took turns with large yawns.  I felt love.  Love for the shaman who was there.  I wanted to give her a hug for helping get me through the overwhelming part.  I wanted to be great friends with the local Artisan who was currently renting a room in the Shaman’s home.  I felt love for the entire human race.

The smiles and yawns became uncontrollably wider. 

I watched myself throw all of the cash I’d saved in Saudi over a big waterfall.  It was as if I was out of this world and money was a useless waste of space.

Outside, dogs howled at the moon.  I heard them clearly and noticed docile insecurities in their instinctive howls.

My breathing felt flawless, perfect.

I felt that good and evil was how things had to be, balanced.  Interruptions didn’t matter.  Mosquitoes were part of a perfect existence.  Bad things couldn’t be feared.  All needs to be tolerated, and dealt with.  Perfection is impossible. Utopia can’t exist. Things are the way they are.

As the peak of the experience had passed, my head still felt heavy.  The shaman informed me that it was 1 am.  We’d drunk over four hours ago.  She mentioned that things should be wrapping up.  I found drinking water and retired to her guest bedroom and under the mosquito net.  There I lay in bed for what felt like a long time, recalling my thoughts, thinking about the experience and how perfectly natural it felt to be in a village in the Amazon jungle.

The boat ride back to Iquitos felt serene.  I leaned over and glanced at the sky and huge billowy clouds over the majestic river.  Everything felt that it was exactly as it was supposed to be. 

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Would you try Ayuhasca in the hopes of achieving spiritual growth?

30 Responses to Alive on Ayahuasca

  1. Excellent post. I will be dealing with many of these
    issues as well..

  2. Quiche Lorraine says:

    Enjoyed reading your post Mike. I definitely could not handle this so it’s good to hear your description. Curious why the Shaman would not let you stay outside looking at stars etc. it seems like that might be calming. Was it physically too much to be standing? Hope all is well!

    • Mike says:

      LORRAINE: Thanks! From what I gather, it’s tough on the majority of people who try it. Theoretically the spiritual benefits outweigh the initial brutality. It’s widely believed that if you lie inside in the dark you’ll have a better chance of contacting spirits. It’s probably best to close your eyes but initially it was too horrific for me. That’s when you get crazy visuals like in the artwork above. Yes it felt much better to lie down than to stand.

  3. Anwesha says:

    Wow, Ayahuasca is definitely going on my bucket list. How was the morning after though?
    I loved the image, did you make it yourself?

    • Mike says:

      ANWESHA: Great! Actually the image is a photo I took of an interpretation of an Ayahuasca experience. It’s on the wall at the Karma Cafe in Iquitos.

      There was no bad feeling the next day.

  4. Wow! What an experience. I will admit that I’d definitely be curious about it, but not sure I could go through with trying it after reading this!

    • Mike says:

      ANNETTE: From what I gather the beginning is often rough. Still, I’m glad to have had the experience and recommend it as part of a Bucket List Journey. :-)

  5. Nice job conveying the complexities of this experience.

    >>All needs to be tolerated, and dealt with. Perfection is impossible. Utopia can’t exist. Things are the way they are.

    Do you think your outlook on life has changed in light of these trip-induced epiphanies?

    • Mike says:

      ADIRONDACKER: Thanks! It seems like it changes people when they have multiple experiences, whereas I’ve only done it once. I think that it enhances how a person already feels about things. But yes, I feel that it has improved my awareness a tiny bit.

  6. Shing says:

    A beautiful description of an incredible state of mind.

    At the right time in the right place, I’d be curious to try Ayahuasca.

  7. Arianwen says:

    I didn’t get the chance to try this when I was in South America. It’s probably for the best though. I’d have probably freaked out! Glad it had a really positive effect on you after the initial sickness and worry!

    • Mike says:

      ARIANWEN: I think there’s a good chance you would have freaked out a little bit. I recommend it even though I’m not ready to do it again yet, but when I am I may know how to deal with it better after now already having experienced it. That’s my guess anyway.

  8. Tyrhone says:

    Awesome, I used to do a lot of acid and mushrooms for the spiritual side of it, and never felt “cleaner” or more worry free than after a trip, good or bad. I have really been looking to do something like this in a more traditional setting with someone who is trained to manage it. Do you still have any lingering feelings from the experience? I found that my experimentation changed my life in a big way even though it was years ago.

    Great post.

    • Mike says:

      TYRONE: Thanks! Yes! I did it one week ago and still have lingering feelings daily. I feel a smidgen of heightened awareness and a twinge of heaviness in my head at times. I definitely needed a trained person as it was my first time. If you guys make it to Iquitos, I’ll highly recommend my shaman to you.

  9. This is brilliant Mike, well done. I am very intruiged by ayahuasca, but my fear of my own mind may prevent me from experiencing it. I would like to have the courage to do it, for the insights and the spiritual and mental cleanse it seems to provide. I love your account and will be sharing it!

    • Mike says:

      SARAH: Thanks a million! Ayahuasca is heavy duty. I don’t know when/if I’ll be ready to do it again. I hope that I will as I feel that it enhances awareness and mental fortitude.

  10. Al says:

    Quite an experience… Awesome post; though I´m sure words will never be quite enough, it feels like you came as close as possible to showing what ayahuasca felt like -thanks for doing such a great job of descibing what it felt like to be in that altered state of conciousness

    • Mike says:

      AL: Thanks! I started writing about the experience about 17 hours after it happened. Surely more took place but that’s what I was able to recall.

  11. Maria says:

    Wow! That’s a heck of a trip. Would you do it again?

  12. MAMMA says:

    Sounds a little bit crazy!
    Glad you have some Internet again.
    Love, mamma

  13. David says:

    No…I will stick with raising two children in the hopes of achieving spiritual growth,…some days I have had similar experiences as you ah ha …funny.

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