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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Pursuit of Happiness

The whole of our life can be summarized as a pursuit of happiness. And with happiness, we usually mean achieving worldly material possessions or relationships. We run behind newer and newer things or venture into the unknown worlds to establish ourselves.

I think this arises from a feeling that we need to be more than what we are, and that somehow the new goal will complete us of who we are. Once we achieve the goal, the initial elation and happiness slowly transforms to equanimity and finally to a feeling of ’empty in essence’ and then we move on to the next goal. As we look around us now, whatever we have achieved – the material possessions and relationships which seemed as a source of happiness earlier are lost over time or fail to fulfill us now. Our minds could not hold onto anything permanently.

Whatever we are doing now will most likely either be forgotten or destroyed within the next 100 years. Comparing to the number of people who live, who lived , who will live on this planet earth, we are just another speck of dust disappearing into the vast universe within a next few years.

Moreover, this also brings us the understanding of the transient nature of things. Whatever we have now and regard as precious may be lost over time or we may realize its inherent incapability to fulfill us permanently –  may it be our youth, our money, our relationships and in the end, the whole memory of them all.

I am beginning to doubt if our current lifestyle of chasing materialistic abundance and increased economic activity is the solution to our pursuit of happiness which seems to be a distant mirage now.

Emptiness and consciousness

This makes us wonder if we are really looking in the right direction to fulfill ourselves. Emptiness, that we keep falling to, seems to be our natural state, a state that as I understand, many people in the spiritual path strive to achieve. Because this might be the state where there is no other desire that needs to be achieved. This can only come when we realize that there is nothing in the whole world that could satisfy us permanently.
I am beginning to understand that when this state of emptiness is embraced strongly, the worldly desire may not disturb and sway our minds anymore. Slowly, I feel this emptiness as the pure consciousness which is beyond this body, mind and intelligence. This is an entity which cannot be attributed to any quality and could not be explained in materialistic terms. When I strongly feel this as my real presence beyond body and mind, is it not true for my fellow sentient beings? It seems to give me a hint that we are all made of the same internal core that is the consciousness – the one that sees and does everything in this universe.

Ayahuasca and beyond three dimensional space:

But is there anything beyond this three dimensional universe that we see and operate in, a reality in which we were before birth and into which we will enter after our imminent death? Will Ayahuasca show us that reality while we are still in this body?
If this really happens, will it bring a radical change in our way of thinking and our concept of reality and how we operate in this world by giving us an understanding of who we really are, the purpose of life and our relationship with the entire universe?
I look forward to such an opportunity – to embark on a journey of self-awareness and understanding.
Author: Vivek Natarajan

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Spirit Vine COVID-19 Update

Last Updated: 5th May 2023

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

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.

Recommendations for COVID-19

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

Prior to leaving Brazil, depending on the requirements of your destination country, you may be required to present an RT-PCR or Antigen test, or vaccine certificate. 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 don’t require covid tests or any type of vaccination certificates to participate in the retreats. If you opt to take the Covid vaccine, 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.