This is blog two in a series of Ayahuasca blogs. I’m not going to walk you through every wacky adventure that happened during the experience, or even one. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. What’s interesting about this is is not the experience but the results, which you become aware of afterward as the DMT gradually leaves your system. ( for me: 4 days) They call it “processing” which is as good a name as any. Many have reported results such as freedom from depression, addiction, and PTSD. Most of the administrators, the people who have been “called” to ayahuasca, claim to have been cured of such things, which is a hell of a claim because none of those things are easy to cure. In fact, most professionals in these fields believe they can’t be cured. AA, for instance, isn’t about “curing” alcoholism but learning to live with the self discipline needed to keep it at bay. Ayahuasca has a different goal entirely, and if it does actually cure these things, this is a VERY BIG DEAL.
Just one paragraph of theorizing
I went into this as a way to try to inform my subconscious that it could stop clenching the muscles in my back and joints because the car accident it was reacting to was long over. This muscular clenching is a pattern, just as any addiction or depression is a pattern set in the cement of the subconscious and loathe to change. So the way I view the experience is as a method for accessing the subconscious. No, your subconscious doesn’t walk up to you and say “yeah? What do you have to say?” That would be cool, but no. It’s just that your mind descends into chaos, which is fitting. It’s like Persephone walking into Hades. Or opening Pandora’s box. Lots of metaphors or archetypes will work. I have to check this with a real psychologist, but I think your conscious mind is all about novel ideas and actions, things you do to move life forward, but your patterns reside in your subconscious. Your habits, your addictions, your established things set in cement that repeat and repeat throughout life whether you want them to or not. To get those things to stop repeating, you have to access the subconscious and erase the old pattern and establish a new one.
Ayahuasca, step one: erase your patterns
Erasing old patterns and establishing new ones is as imperfect a science as there has ever been, and Ayahuasca doesn’t have a to-do list you can write your agenda on. Here’s what I think happens–Let’s say you walk up to a lake. There are already ripples on the surface of the lake, established, repeating ad infinitum. However, all you have to do to change those patterns is throw one rock in the lake. Even if it’s a tiny pebble, the ripples all over the lake will change. The entire pattern will change. You can’t control how it will change. But it will change. Throwing the rock isn’t difficult. However, getting to the lake is. In this metaphor, Ayahuasca is the vehicle by which you get to the lake. Your very presence at the lake of subconscious patterns throws in a rock and changes those patterns forever. (I’m going to consult with a real psychologist and see if this has any basis in known fact, but for now just roll with me.)
Ayahuasca, step two: establishing new patterns
So if you suffer from depression, anxiety, ptsd, alcoholism, drug addiction, or any other type of addiction, these are patterns your conscious mind wants to break out of but can’t. That’s why you go to the lake and throw in a rock. What new patterns will form, though? Ok, so in my ceremony–and I understand this is not the case for a lot of ceremonies in other venues–the facilitators were amazing musicians and played this incredible music that gave a sense of stillness, kindness, just general peacefulness. And that, I believe is a way to ensure the new patterns are really really positive ones that take the place of the old destructive ones.
I don’t know how they do it in the non-music ceremonies. They sound boring, because frankly, even with the music, the experience of the ceremony was kind of boring. You just lie there and weird stuff happens in your brain. Sometimes no weird stuff happens at all, and that’s even more boring. But that doesn’t matter because the ceremony is just a means to get to the post-ceremony time, which is the interesting part of the whole thing.
Ayahuasca, step three: active self-listening
So you go into this descent into Hades or whatever you want to call it and then you recover. The experience doesn’t actually last that long so afterward you’re kind of like “what the hell just happened?” Maybe you had a near-death experience or an explosion of brain noise or maybe you actually communed with your ancestor or whatever. It doesn’t matter, whatever happens is just (IMO) your subconscious spewing out all the weirdness inside it. Like it might in an extremely weird lucid dream. But afterward, you see the whole world differently. I assume because your old patterns have been disturbed, uprooted, and now you have to figure out what new patterns are there. THIS IS YOUR NEW JOB.
When Persephone returns from Hades
After the ceremony, you will, ideally, spend some time observing yourself and seeing how you may have changed, or more importantly, how you may be on the verge of changing fundamentally and if you just LET IT HAPPEN and don’t disturb the process by filling your life with the usual chaos, then those patterns really will change. This post-ceremony period is what interests me, because I went through several days of just seeing the world completely differently, meanwhile I felt like I had this bubble of peace, but it was on the outside and anyone could pop it, so I stayed away from people, talking, TV, every kind of input. I felt like a baby that was first imprinting on the world but also the parent of the baby that wants to make sure all those imprints are good ones. That’s why what happens in the ceremony doesn’t matter. What happens in the few days afterward, I think, is the thing worth talking about. More on that in the next blog!