jueves, 29 de julio de 2010

Ayahuasca - more info

So much has been said and written about this peculiar brew in the last few years, that we feel compelled to give the most impartial opinion about the subject, and try to meet both sides halfway: those who say that it is the way to reach an enlightened point and those who pretend that it is just a drug which leads to self-destruction.

After taking the brew a few hundred times, and after coaching thousands with this process, our vision on the subject still stands as it did from the very beginning: drinking Ayahuasca in the company of a sensible teacher, surrounded by the proper environment, it is a first order medicine. It is a medicine for the body, for the mind, and for the soul. It isn’t a way to reach spiritualism, but it is a window to the spirit.
Why is it not a path to spiritualism? ... because on the road to spiritualism, shortcuts simply do not exist. Only through an integral evolution based on virtue, values, knowledge, and good karma is it possible to connect with the essence of one’s being, and significantly make progress towards true reality.
Evolution to the highest levels of consciousness; it’s achieved without any doubt with an integral development of one’s being through introspection and a deep purification process. It isn’t enough to have perceptions of wonder and plenitude, of fusion and unity, this level of experiences are in fact a Holy privilege.

These experiences allow you to perceive a bright, deep reality within yourself. They allow you to see a “before” and an “after” within your life. It could be interpreted as a “Divine Touch”, as expressed in Biblical terms. As it is said in the Zen tradition, before the Zatori -which is an enlightened experience: “a mountain is a mountain and a lake is a lake … and after the Zatori, a mountain is still a mountain, and a lake is still a lake”.

Our ego is still within us and for some even stronger because at this point we possess more knowledge than others, we have lived certain experiences and we are ready for more in a faster mode. Fortunately, you can overcome this attitude if you persist on drinking the Ayahuasca brew (we recommend taking it a minimum of 3 times), since one of the main characteristics of drinking the brew is that it opens us up, it makes us more brotherly and sensitive with the others around us who share the experience, and it makes us more open minded to life in general.

Usually the experience is kept secret especially from closed-minded family members and from strangers in general mainly in the West due to the legal ramifications that it may imply if it were made public. We totally agree with Josep Ma Fericgla, an Anthropologist from Cataluna, who states that Ayahuasca is the most integral psychoactive substance of the psychosomatic structure existing at the moment.

It is the substance which has the capability to balance the personality with the internal being. We insist though, that Ayahuasca alone is not going to solve the problems that exist in our personal lives. In most cases, it makes our shells a little softer, it makes us more sensible, more sensitive, more receptive and most of all it encourages us to work on ourselves in order to advance in our spiritual path and in order to reach our own personal realization. The fundamental part of this experience is to achieve an experimental life transformation.
The experience in itself is very healing because it can radically change your habitual levels of self- identification. You can sometimes make a quantum leap in just one session and perceive in a deep and an intuitive manner the enlightened reality that you are as a being, and this way you can dissolve many doubts that exist in your subconscious mind. You can at least awake a regenerating feeling aimed towards a better wellbeing, and to the search of achieving better health and transcendence as well. In the practical phase of the experience, it is fundamentally important to have the right combination of Teacher, Cosmic Vision, and Ritual Frame in order to achieve top results.

We must be aware that the experience with the “Ayahuasca Grandmother”, lasts for about five hours and it is induced either by ritual chanting or “icaros”, as in the case of native Amazonian Chamans, or by new age spiritual music in the case of western Teachers and Investigators. During the trance, different levels of the experience can be achieved depending on the affinity and trust you might place on the Teacher, and also depending on the level of the ambiance, comfort, and the choice of music as well.
We have around thirty years of experience as naturopaths and meditators, a little less as professional psychologists, and around ten years as Ayahuasca Teachers.If we are asked what medicine is complete in every sense and gives us the possibility to really heal us, and is also capable of inducing us into real spiritual development, we would have to say that the wonderful Ayahuasca Grandmother is the ultimate choice, which gives us the opportunity to achieve integral healing through a deep and purifying auto- explorative experience.

You should not be afraid of this level of experience, but you must respect it. The Ayahuasca experience is not meant for the weekend recreational drug user or psicopauta; it is not a drug, nor a leisure experience. No one who has had the Ayahuasca experience in the past would use it in order to get high.We consider our sessions as ceremonies, so the transcendence of the proposal is clearly understood. Definitely, the Ayahuasca experience is for all those who wish, and dare to go. It is also meant for those who want to live transpersonal experiences, heal from all grave diseases, get rid of dependencies, investigate consciousness, get to know themselves more deeply, and achieve a state of internal harmony.

In the Quechua language, “aya” means (a rope), and “huasca” means (death). In short “Ayahuasca” means (the rope that takes you to the world of the dead).

Power plants - the coca leaf

When we arrived in Peru, something caught our attention strongly: the continuous chewing of coca leaves on the part of the local peasants.

We soon understood the reason why this was taking place: We were at an altitude of 3.350 Mts. above Sea Level, and the peasants there work with Oxen. When I tried to plow the land using Oxen myself, and after I tried coca leaves, I understood this reason even better. I did even more so, when with a French friend of mine who came to visit us named Pascal we climbed the Apu Picol located at 4.500 M.A S.L.

Without the help of coca leaves I wouldn’t have been able to reach the summit that day. When I was two thirds up the way and already exhausted, I chewed on some coca leaves and immediately felt a shot of renewed energy going through my body. That way I could “save” my dignity that day.

To this day we have been using coca leaves for a period of about 5 years on an almost daily basis. It has become a daily habit and we always feel good spurts of energy from this, without the irritable effects that might accompany the daily use of things like caffeine for example. Occasionally in the mornings we mix it with “llifta”, which is Alkaline Ashes (a substance capable of irritating the mucous membrane if it comes in direct contact with it). Also by facilitating the extraction of alkaloids this could over generate hormonal and enzymatic stimulus and interfere with sleeping.

A bad thing about coca leaf chewing is the fact that it is socially incorrect in the western culture… not very elegant and somewhat rugged… you have to accept this fact. My wife Gabi says that when I am on it, I tend to behave just like a goat … hahaha…From the physiological and organic angle, it doesn’t seem to cause any harm… quite the opposite, it brings health benefits as long as you do a reasonable amount of physical activity, and as long as you eat enough. In fact, the chewing of coca leaves brings good nutritional habits since it diminishes in part the sensation of hunger.

Personally, I feel wonderful !!

At my age (64), I am able to run easily for more than 10 Km., and could walk nonstop for 3 days.

COCA PLANT – A TRADITIONAL and RITUAL PLANT In Bolivia as well as in Peru, and in the Northern part of Argentina, the custom of chewing coca leaves has been kept alive among the Andean indigenous people, Quechuas and Aymaras, who keep it in their mouths until its juices are absorbed completely. It is always accompanied by a dose of quinoa ashes, kiwicha or cocoa, llifta, or lye in order to extract part of the 14 alkaloids that it contains; this process maximizes its energetic potential, which in turn increases the energetic and physical levels of endurance. Contrary to popular belief, the coca plant in the form of a leaf is not a drug as per say, and it does not create a physiological dependence.

Without a doubt, it is a cultural and typical habit of the regions that it influences.

Among its advantages, are as follows:

At the human level among the inhabitants of the Mountain range, it is a social habit of great proportions.

At any gatherings between the Andean peasants who many times find themselves having an “alcoholic euphoria”, and people from outside the region who chew on coca leaves, smoothes things over and it opens fraternal and complicity venues when you offer some of the coca leaves that you are chewing on to them, and they gladly accept. On the same token they will offer some of the Chicha (sugar cane alcohol), that they are drinking and you must oblige as well, as they offer part of the beverage to the Pachamama (Mother Earth). It is greatly valued and appreciated that a “Gringo”, gives importance to their plant and rituals.

In our own experience the action of just taking a gulp of Chicha from them, has acted like a passport and this act itself has broken the ice, mistrusts, and stereotypes as well, and it has contributed to better socializing.

At the Ritual level, coca chewing is essential since their offerings to the Apus (Sacred Mountains) have as one of its main components the “Quintu”, which consists of three big and healthy Coca leaves offered along with a wish, murmured through the ritual breath to the spirits that protect the Sacred Mountains.

It is also used on the ritual magical tables to bless, cure and evoke while used along with many other ingredients. It is used by the Andean Priests, Chamanes or Medicine Men as an Oracle to predict situations or events.

In short, coca leaf chewing is an essential part of the traditional culture, wrongly portrayed as evil by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and by the West with negative consequences.

“Grape is not the same as wine, wheat is not the same as beer, and coca leaves are not the same as cocaine”.

In the last ten years a scientific and intellectual movement has emerged in Peru, vindicating the extraordinary properties of this plant in its traditional uses, as well as a nutrient and food complement of singular and powerful characteristics.

In Bolivia coca plant flour has been used for years to prepare breads, cookies, filters and even tooth paste.

In Peru this type of industry and food consumption is slowly being implemented, but it still faces some legal roadblocks.