Integration, I am you and you are me

Everyone has a different reason for coming to Peru to experience Ayahuasca, San Pedro and other sacred plant medicines. Some of us need to overcome trauma, free ourselves from bad habits, go deeper spiritually, heal diseases and ailments or find new inspiration. Our practice is in using the plants mother nature intended for our use to heal mind, body and spirit.

Participants want to know how to integrate the medicines, because what it is the point in coming all the way and such a huge undertaking if you go return to your old ways?

This is a common question we receive from our retreat goers here at Shamanic Vida. With Ayahuasca, any imbalances conscious or unconscious rest assured will be brought up for examination by the medicine. This tends to confront our ego and leave it feeling uncomfortable sometimes, no matter how life-changing the experience was.

Here is where the San Pedro comes in. It highlights and restores our truths for us, brings a halo of gratefulness into our lives. We remember to be with our friends and families, the ancestors and parents from which we were created, be grateful for the meals we easily eat, the house we live in and more. The teachings of San Pedro integrate themselves naturally over a long period of time. By doing San Pedro with your ayahuasca retreat in Cusco, the ayahuasca teachings become more concreted into your consciousness. 

These two plants together lock-in your ability to carry the momentum forward and make the changes you were encouraged to make.

Transmit the understanding the you in Peru and the you in your home country, are the same person. Respect yourself and your body throughout the process, just like we do here at our retreat center, this helps keep the glow and makes integration far easier.

Trust the unknown, discover, be humble, forgive, celebrate, and love. The medicine shows us the universe and we are all one, so treat life this way.

“Lak’ech Ala K’in” – Mayan: I am you and you are me.

Comparing States of Mind

Anthropologists have often compared shamanic states to yogic states and buddhist meditation states, as the same. While they do have similarities, it is a sad superficial comparison. The shamanic state we will be talking about is strictly the ayahuasca state.

Yogic states are focused on having a still mind connected to a breath. It is attained by extreme inward focus. The outside world and one’s body will no longer exist. This inward state is where the yogi becomes established in their essential nature.

In Buddhism, particularly the practice of Vipassana, one focuses on becoming aware. Every grain and granule are examined, both inside and outside of oneself. This heightens one’s senses and awareness, helping rid one of distractions from the outside world.

During a shaman’s journey with ayahuasca they are in a controlled ecstasy experience. They find themselves in many worlds at once, never losing their sense of self. In this state they have an abundance of energy and sing icaros to connect to the outer dimensions. In the ayahuasca journey, they are less aware of the present world, but able to come in and out of their altered states of consciousness. They are the only state to experience a true ecstasy through out of body experience.

Yogis and Buddhists do not have out of body experience, but rather an inward bliss known as samadhi or in buddhism’s case remarkable levels of perceptual sensitivity. They are unlikely to communicate because they could lose their concentration. The energy they have decreases to bring on a state of calm, the exact opposite of a shamanic state.

At our center for ayahuasca in Cusco, we are focused on both buddhist meditation states and shamanic journeying. However, we recommend practice using any technique either yogic or buddhist. Along with the teachings of the plant medicines. They are a great aid in personal transformations and transcendence both at the center and your home.

Could ayahuasca cause me to have a mental illness?

There is a plethora of misinformation out there about whether ayahuasca can cause mental illness. Ever since the 1960/70s the image of a person with psychosis from taking far too many psychedelics has been practically burned into our brains.

What good is this fear mongering, but to keep people from a truly life changing session!

A group with known long term use of ayahuasca, known as Santo Daime, were studied over a ten year period. They regularly ingest ayahuasca. What the scientists at ICEERS found was the members are more well balanced and happier than most people.

So do not let your social conditioning deter you from an ayahuasca therapy here in Cusco that could change your life.

Honesty is paramount for coming to take ayahuasca in Cusco or anywhere for that matter. If you have suffered from mental illnesses in the past, you must consult with our team. Be sure to fill out the safety questionnaire properly as an added precaution.

 
It is important to note here – if you do suffer from schizophrenia, you may not take ayahuasca. For those with bipolar disorders it is important to discuss with us which level of bipolar you are and what medications you are taking. Then with written permission from your psychologist you may come to take ayahuasca, once you have tapered off your medication.

What shamans do!

Chances are you have taken part in or observed through television a shamanic practice at some point in your life. Depending if it was a documentary or cartoon your original viewpoints on shamanism will be varied. As it resurfaces in our modern times, we must reiterate what it is shamans do. This practice known all over the world is said to have begun in Asia over 40,000 years ago, however there is evidence of shamanism in paleolithic sites throughout Europe, Africa and Australia. This means even though there is not a specfic point of origin in shamanic practices, the common themes we see are not cultural, but practical. Shamanic practice has some to do with traits and more so is founded throughout cultures on the healing practices of psychobiology and the immunological system.

Make it to the end and see the list of common ailments treated by shamanism!

ayahuasca ceremony protection
Tobacco protection used by peruvian shaman for ayahuasca ceremony.

Illness in shamanic belief is linked to your psycology. This means you have the power along with a shaman to restore your health through finding equlibrium in your body, mind and spirit. At all of our ayahuasca retreats and the san pedro retreats, this is the most important factor, your extraordinary effort to let the shamans be your guides and help restore your health. In Peru, shamans are always relating the importance of intention, your intention along with the intention of the shaman in any ceremony is key. Whether the shamanic ceremony be in Peru, Bali, Mongolia or India.

When you participate in a ceremony you are bringing energy to the shaman and asking them to help heal through this holistic medicine. It takes a certain level of faith or spiritual interest. By using life force energy and a few key tools, the shaman helps resurface repressed memories, feelings of depression, anxiety, compulsive disorders and more. In ceremonies shamans have instruments to heighten your senses and activate chemicals in your brain, through taste, smell and touch. Shamans in Peru use plants, feathers, tobacco smoke, song, music and perfumes as their tools. It can be summed up as a performance art, but anyone who has experienced a true shamanic healing session knows it goes much further than this. In other posts, we will talk about spirit realms, animal guides, cosmological beliefs and the 8th chakra, the shamans chakra.

Do not forget, there is science behind the chants of shamans! The rattles and drumming used to bring about a state of trance and elict these repressed memories create endorphins. Endorphins are released in the human brain during these sessions. These chemicals activated naturally in your brain decrease pain and anxiety, and increase joy, with long lasting effects. They are noted by pharmacologists to be as effective as valium in their tranquilizing effects. It has been said, and you can quote me on this, that a shamans client who reinacts their repressed memory through a healing session, 80% will be healed. In a psychiatrists office, through art, talk, draw, or paint therapy, success rates are only 30%. – Raymond Price The Endorphins

The following are types of significant issues often healed by shamanic journeying. Ayahuasca retreats are relevant to all of these and San Pedro (Huachuma) will be marked for the ailments it best treats.

  • Depression (San Pedro)
  • Loss and grief (San Pedro)
  • Trauma and shock
  • Addiction
  • Abuse (sexual, physical and emotional)
  • Anxieties (San Pedro is especially helpful here.)
  • Compulsive disorders
  • Important life transitions and decisions (San Pedro)
  • Connecting with loved ones and ancestors
  • Clarification of your life purpose (San Pedro)

Unburdening: a late onset of the grieving process…

I asked one of our brave participants and friends if I could share part of her miscarriage story with the internet. This is for anyone who still needs to go through the grieving process they have been putting off so long.

When this heartbreaking moment occurred in her life she picked up everything she had and moved to a new city. She cried a little, but stopped herself. Never dealing with the range of emotions she felt at the time, too busy packing, too busy looking for a new place and just keeping herself busy. Until she crashed into a common ground, many people who come to take ayahuasca go through.

You cannot ignore the natural grieving process, sweep it under the rug or keep it under wraps. Or any emotional process for that matter.

Everything being new and different in her new place and was enough to distract her for some time. Some time being seven months after her miscarriage, then emotions began popping up it started with little outbursts. She got in a verbal argument with a co-worker over something miniscule. She became anxious and avoided leaving her house or answering the phone at times. Until in one fail swoop it all came crashing down. Her alarm went off in the morning to tell her to go to work to continue on with the distractions and when she went to get out of bed, she fell to the floor. She dropped to her knees and began crying, could not move and cried for an entire week.

After she got back up she knew it was time to deal with the whole range of emotions she had been keeping secret, drinking down, zoning out and stashing away. She found, unfortunately in our modern world compassion and empathy seemed to be dwindling all around her and yet she was still in pain. Being hit with such grief late down the road was met with judgements, doubt, avoidance and rejections. With the trust of her intuition she decided to look deeper into herself to heal instead of outward.

Ayahuasca called her and she answered the call. Upon her return home she told me the most beautiful thing and I knew the mother spirit was working within her and she had healed the deep wounds from her miscarriage. She said about returning, everyone is still here, but they have moved on and changed. Everyone moves on, because at its most simple the life force all around us continues moving on and on and that is beautiful.

Taking ayahuasca with us in Peru helped her understand there is deep love in grief and it is meant to be felt, even through the hurt there is help. Anyone can change their story to make a new ending with the right inner guidance.

It is important to feel the hurt in life and only from there can we begin to heal ourselves.