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.

Books on building relationships with plant spirits

We want you to be able to continue your way on the new spiritual path you are walking after your retreat. If you find yourself enthralled with the experience and yearn to learn more read, find your niche in this realm and dig deeper into your being, into the plant spirits beings, other dimensions and more. See how far you can get and do not forget to come back, implement your new ideas and communicate with us what you learned. Our list is somewhat short and sweet, it is in no particular order our scratch pad from a meeting, let us know if we are missing any essentials!

  • Tibetan Book of the Dead by Graham Coleman
  • Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Handcock
  • The Secret Teachings of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • The Field by Lynne McTaggart
  • The Earth Has a Soul by CG Jung
  • Plant Spirit Healing by Pam Montgomery
  • Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Native American Herbalism by Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth by Monica Sjoo
  • Plant Spirit Medicine: A Journey into the Healing Wisdom of Plants by Eliot Cowan
  • Inner Paths to Outer Space by Rick Strassman
  • The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner
  • The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby
  • The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tomkins
  • Foods of the Gods by Terence McKenna
  • DMT the Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman

Books: How to maintain an enlightened mind?

Everyone has the ability to maintain an enlightened mind. What really does it mean to be enlightened? When we talk about enlightened we are talking about a mind at peace, a mountain that no wind can move, wind being any type of dilemma. This sturdy mind then has time to be well-informed and educated.

To start the path to enlightenment for yourself begin by meditation Start simple, do not put any pressure on yourself, say today I am going to sit for 10 minutes, concentrate on my breathing and let my thoughts pass like trains in a station. If you find yourself lost in thought, be kind forgive yourself and try again later. You may start out at 5 minutes, move to 10, then 20 and gradually and hour. Do this everyday by making the time you need. If you have a meditation center in your city you may find guided meditation to help you break through to your next level. Most larger cities have a buddhist center offering free classes on meditating.

If you are seeking a profound meditation retreat we recommend vipassana. In these retreats you have the time to focus on your practice while your needs are taken care of. You can find out more about vipassana and meditation retreats at dhamma.org

Reading is as important as meditating to maintain an enlightened being. There are many texts you can choose from. It is best to find the avenue suited to your tastes and branch out from there. A good place to start would be books on buddhism or meditation. Book list below!

To have a healthy mind we must have a healthy body. Many buddhist monks practice disciplines. A discipline can be any type of exercise you do. Many Asian practices such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong or forms of karate can be a great aid in your path to enlightenment. Try and avoid any activity involving violence, they will be counter-productive. Practicing tantric yoga or tantric sex is an a large step in awakening your kundalini, chakras and if practiced responsibly another suggested discipline.

Last, but certainly not least. Playing any instrument, meditation instruments guitars, etc. All with the intention of connecting to your spirit through music is another way towards the light. Being on a path to enlightenment does not mean you will move to Tibet and begin vow of silence for most people. It means you are interested in connecting with your spirit and spirits around you on a higher vibration. The world needs more of this, do not be afraid to be your true spirit, the more you practice the more you will see the light.

  • Cutting through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa
  • Quiet Mind by Susan Piver
  • How to Meditate by Pema Chodron
  • The Ultramind Solution: Fix your broken brain by Mark Hyman
  • The Meditations of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius
  • Not Always So by Shunryu Suzuki
  • The Nine Rooms of Happiness by Lucy Danzinger

Humble advice for returning home after your retreat.

Upon your re-entry into the modern world you may find yourself with a higher level of sensitivity to everything. How does one cope? Implement the teachings into their hectic lives? Or should you go find a house in the woods and hide forever?

You may find yourself in sudden shock when you step on or off the plane, after being in mother nature’s bosom and thoroughly enjoying it. Many of us have been in your shoes and have dealt with it better and worse.

Keep your calm. It may sound easier than it is. You can maintain this new glow you have and still function in the “normal” world. Remember the meditations you were taught and remind yourself if you can spend X amount of hours on the computer or on your phone a day, you can most certainly find time to meditate. Make the time and you will find it. Get up a little earlier if you must and listen to the relaxing music of tibetan bowls or native flute while sitting quietly or sit in silence. You know what to do. We will remind you, this needs to be done in a quiet place and not while doing anything else, like driving. Not to mention if you have a particularly hectic commute, give yourself extra time. Life is not meant to be rushed and rushing around all the time is not life.

Speaking of those X amount of hours find time to exercise to reduce stress levels. Not to mention keep reading from our reading list! If you still cannot find peace, maybe there is a bigger change you need to make. With your new understanding of yourself and life you will know if this is the case.

All in all you can, with faith and persistence, keep the teachings of ayahuasca working in your life. If you are struggling or need advice on your aftercare, please contact us, we are full of ideas. A better you makes for a better world and we are here to help.