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.

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)