This article is a submission for the Ayahuasca Awareness Program, an initiative by the Spirit Vine Center in Brazil. The program aims to help increase awareness of the potential of ayahuasca by sponsoring free ayahuasca retreats every month for people who feel the call for spiritual development with ayahuasca and other methods.

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Don’t Kill the Pain, its Trying to Help You!

I believe in miracles in life but I think the best remedy, the best medicine or the best diet, doesn’t exist. The best solution is inside you!

I am 26 years old and I still feel I have a lot to learn about life in general. I still haven’t found the miracle and I am not really looking for it actually but at least these last years gave me some hope. Since I’m more aware about my surroundings and especially my body, I see more and more the path through the fog.

So as everyone, when something goes wrong in your life, you jump on the internet, type your problem and the miracle-search marathon starts ! There are different kinds of solutions. The first one consists of solving the problem quickly, most of the time with chemical products. But it only temporarily suppresses the inner problem: it will come back most of the time with another problem. Not the best option.
The other one is more into alternative methods, through videos, blogs, articles, recommendations of friends… You find all of the symptoms you have and try out the methods approved by a lot of people, probably spend a lot a money and if you are lucky, it can work ! But when the pain is chronic, the endless marathon is a nightmare!

I tried the first solution; then the second one for a few years. When I solved a problem, another one came within a few months. I spend so much time and a lot of money into alternative methods and medicines, try a lot of different diets, but the pain didn’t want to leave me. And then step by step, after reading books, articles, watching videos, having long talks with friends; I’ve realized that the only thing I haven’t done is listening to my body, taking time to ask myself the essential : what is this pain trying to tell me? Ok it seems easy to say but not easy to do. But for example, instead of following blindly “The best diet of 2017”, why not try to listen to your body?

Does my body like this ailment?
Do I feel better eating this or that?
Why is this back pain is located in this area? And why does it come and go for no specific reason ?

You will probably not find the answer easily or it can take you a few times or it will maybe not disappear completely.
But just the idea, to have found by yourself a part of the problem will give you an indescribable happiness and will give you the power to believe and not to give up!

So as I told you, I have not found the miracle solutions for my problems yet. But I do believe that my new way of life will reward me for all of my efforts!
The best advice I can give, is to combine a diet (which fits you! It takes time, but as we are all differently made, we need to find our own recipe) and to listen to your body when it is trying to give you a message and to adapt your way of life for it. I do think meditation is the key to solving problems because it gives you the time. People don’t take enough for themselves, and the mind and body needs it!
I haven’t had an Ayahuasca experience yet but I believe it can open a door for understanding. Like everything, it will depend on me and only myself!

To illustrate this thought, the beautiful poem of Lama Gendun Rinpoche : write it and read it endlessly!

Happiness cannot be found

through great effort and willpower,

but is already here, right now,

in relaxation and letting go.

Don’t strain yourself, there is nothing to do.

Whatever arises in the mind

has no importance at all,

because it has no reality whatsoever.

Don’t become attached to it. Don’t pass judgement.

Let the game happen on its own,

emerging and falling back – without changing anything –

and all will vanish and begin anew, without end.

Only our searching for happiness prevents us from seeing it.

It is like a rainbow which you run after without ever catching it.

Although it does not exist, it has always been there

and accompanies you every instant.

Don’t believe in the reality of good and bad experiences;

they are like rainbows.

Wanting to grasp the ungraspable you exhaust yourself in vain.

As soon as you relax this grasping,

there is space – open, inviting and comfortable.

So make use of it. Everything is already yours.

Search no more,

Don’t go into the inextricable jungle

looking for the elephant who is already quietly at home.

Nothing to do,

nothing to force,

nothing to want

and everything happens by itself.

Author: Elsa Kostic

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Spirit Vine COVID-19 Update

Last Updated: 9th August 2022

We have established guidelines to ensure that we provide the maximum amount of safety to all participants who attend the retreats.

We are following the guidelines provided by the Brazilian government which you can find below and have added some necessary precautions suitable for the retreats.

In the Itacare area, where we are located, there are very low number of COVID cases.

We will update this section when new information is available.
Content listed here is subject to change.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Brazilian Government Recommendations for COVID-19

The current guidelines from the Brazilian government state that anyone who wants to enter Brazil must present a Covid vaccine certificate. You do not need to take any other vaccines to enter Brazil. These guidelines may change in the future.

Travelers must also fill out an affidavit 24 hours before departure acknowledging the health measures that must be complied with during the period that they will remain in the country. You can find the affidavit here.

Prior to leaving Brazil, depending on the requirements of your destination country, you may be required to present an RT-PCR or Antigen test. If you need a PCR test we recommend you to budget the required time of 6 hours to take the test and get the results at Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport. Antigen test can be taken in the town of Itacare near our center before you go to the airport or at the airport in Sao Paulo.

Please note that Itacare and Ilheus do not have RT-PCR testing centers.

Spirit Vine Guidelines for COVID-19

We require that vaccination must be done at least 2 months prior to drinking ayahuasca. This is for the safety of participants to make sure the vaccine doesn’t have any reaction with the ingestion of ayahuasca. 

We also require all visitors to provide a valid Covid-19 test prior to entering the Center. The Antigen test is only valid for 24 hours and PCR test is only valid for 72 hours. A valid negative test result must be sent by email prior to entering the Center.