How can I have a better Ayahuasca Experience?
Last May I went to Peru and experienced 8 Ayahuasca ceremonies. They were all intense but distinctly different.
It changed who I will be for the rest of my life.
It opened me to perspectives that previously eluded me and taught me there is so much more to this existence than what I thought I knew.
I quickly realized my arrogance when Ayahuasca took me on the most humbling ride I’ve ever been on.
I want to stress the word thought here because the places I touched during Ayahuasca ceremony were so beyond what I could conceive of and there was no place for the thinking mind in much of what was experienced.
I knew I would come back to work with Aya again but I decided to keep the number of times a mystery.
There were other participants that actually asked while in ceremony for guidance on how many ceremonies they should do to achieve freedom or ultimate healing.
Some were told 8 more while others were told 25.
At the time, this was not a question I felt like I needed to ask so I left it unknown. I had a suspicion I would be back within less than a year.
It turns out I will be going again in May.
I must be honest and say I am terrified. I feel excitement at the possibilities but going back to subject myself to the absolute unpredictability of Aya also elicits scary recall.
As I experienced Ego death during several ceremonies I don’t consider this to be preparation for a joyride of bliss.
However, with what I experienced on the last retreat, I do plan to do certain things that I believe will make it a better Ayahuasca experience.
What I Observed
On the last retreat I observed a lot. I took in everything I could to see what worked better and what to avoid to have a more positive experience.
There were a handful of people on the retreat that had previous experience with Aya.
Then there were the rest of us that had no idea what we were going to find after taking the red pill, not that you can ever predict an experience.
I did notice some common denominators in the people that had consistently positive experiences, though.
It seemed that the individuals with a solid meditation practice were able to more effectively hold a positive space within ceremony. The purging happened with less resistance and they were able to accept more of the teaching.
2. Clean Diet
The other observation I made was that the individuals that ate a healthier diet of vegetables and less meat had an easier time.
Although we all followed a strict dieta for several weeks before the retreat, the strict vegetarians had more gentleness from the Plant Teacher.
Some heavy meat eaters were actually shown horribly graphic scenes of animal suffering.
I was grateful I’d been cleansing heavily for months prior to going.
I don’t think I could have handled graphic scenes like this.
3. Clean Thoughts
Part of the dieta prior to going and the traditional practice of dieta for the Shamans is to abstain from sex in all forms, including lustful thoughts and masturbation.
There were several reasons I was told for this.
One was to bring all the senses inward for spiritual growth and connection with the plant.
This enables the individual to gain no pleasure from anything outside.
It prepares the student for a profound inward journey with no distractions.
I also believe we can leak our energy through lust or releasing sexual energy.
It prepares the student for a profound inward journey with no distractions. I also believe we can leak our energy through lust or releasing sexual energy.
I also believe we can leak our energy through lust or releasing sexual energy.
I think often it depletes our creative power, especially if the sexual energy is spent in a taking way.
I believe lust can breed strong energy of wanting to take from another person for our own pleasure.
When we are using our sexual energy in this way, it is a parasitic energy and takes our life force.
I have even felt this energy when a person is looking at me with desire. The important thing is what I do with my energy.
Sexual energy is very powerful and we must be aware of what we are subtly doing with our own current of energy.
That was a bit of a tangent, but I think it is important to cover this.
Another reason is because often there are temptations or tests that the Shaman must pass in order to gain respect from the plant.
The Shaman told us stories of initiates being tempted by beautiful seductresses in visions while dieting on certain plant medicines.
He said they must resist temptation in order to pass the test and be allowed permission to be given the powers of the plant medicine.
The last reason I was told was to abstain from sex or sexual thoughts because Aya is a jealous plant medicine.
She wants us to give all of our attention and energy to her.
After working with her, I can say she definitely demands every ounce of attention in
I can say she definitely demands every ounce of attention in ceremony.
I for one do not want to go into ceremony with a half assed attitude or with only part of my attention on what is happening. It could turn ugly quick.
This is why I think meditation is so important because it is the practice of presence in each moment. This is so critical.
There are other contributing factors in cleaning the thoughts including not participating in gossip, watching T.V., the news, or indulging in an over abundance of social media.
It is a fast from negative food for the brain. What goes into the mind forms our thoughts.
If we are putting negative in, we will have more negative thoughts. It just makes sense.
The participants that resisted the least had more positive expansive experiences. I noticed this within the ceremony.
When I was trying to control things, it became increasingly more painful.
When I was able to surrender and trust, it changed very quickly toward the positive.
I believe optimism can be your best ally during an Aya ceremony. There was a definite correlation between my thoughts and where I went in the ceremony.
My negative thoughts took me immediately into a more dense level of reality. I could not control the situation or the teaching.
I could only control my breathing and the nature of my thoughts. When I focused on compassion and love, the places I was taken were of a higher quality.
If the mind is more apt to optimistic thoughts, I believe the teaching can follow. This is my theory according to what I experience.
It is only my opinion but I see the value in optimism and gratitude in every situation.
If there was one main message that I learned in Peru it was the high importance of self-love and compassion.
Optimism is a form of appreciation which I believe to be an effective gateway to both of these.
6. Clear Intent
The clarity and quality of the intention would be a guide for that particular ceremony.
It became clear to me that it was essential to set a heartfelt intention.
There was one ceremony night that I just threw an intention out at the last minute without much heart behind it and my ceremony went a completely different direction.
I also tried asking questions within the ceremony and the ones without heart behind them were just ignored.
In fact. at one point I was trying to think of a good question and when I half-heartedly asked it, my whole experience ended.
It was early in the night but I felt like I had not taken any brew at all.
I just watched and listened to everyone else for the rest of the evening and the hours stretched on for a very long time.
I will be taking a break from T.V., media, and movies for two months before the retreat. I will be writing every day as a way to cleanse my mind and psyche.
I will be writing every day as a way to cleanse my mind and psyche.
I will be meditating every day for a minimum of 30 minutes and working my way up to 3- 6 hours a day to establish a strong foundation.
I also will incorporate daily yoga in my daily workout.
All of this is stirring up quite a bit within me.
It is already testing me but I know all of this will only enhance my life and hopefully assist me in having the most positive experiences possible on Ayahuasca.
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Misha Almira is a shamanic healer. meditation teacher, and full time blogger.