Stairway to Heaven

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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Stairway to Heaven

What the Universe has given to each of us is precious beyond measure, precious beyond imagination. Consciousness is the unique individual awareness of existence. It is intricately connected to all things in the Universe. However, we confront the prevailing truth of pollution on Earth, rape of resources, abuse of the oceans and rainforests, fear, hatred and suspicion of one another, ego-driven production and consumption of merchandise and the established opinion that physical matter is all that exists – that there is no such thing as spirit or soul, that we are just accidents of chemistry and biology.

If any society could be said to meet all the criteria of a doomed civilization is it not obvious that it is ours? Our perception of the world is surprisingly distorted. Perception depends on what has been taught or what has been perceived through the senses. We accept this discernment as being the way the world is. However, these beliefs are not necessarily true in themselves. They become true in our experience only if we believe them. This is the reason spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, and mindfulness are essential for greater awareness. I am convinced that the way forward for the survival of the human race is to investigate further the infinite nature of consciousness and how it is interconnected with life on this majestic Earth and with the entire Universe.

There are so many people who are quite lost in their daily lives in so many ways. We live in a society that invests huge amounts of money and vast quantities of energy to keep people distracted so that they aren’t really asking any of the BIG questions. Our society merits alert, problem-solving consciousness, and devalues all other states of consciousness. Today, any kind of cognizance that is not in some way related to the production or consumption of material goods is stigmatized in our society. Yet surely isn’t the exploration and expansion of the miracle of our consciousness the essence of what it is to be human?

It is important for everyone to explore what they believe is their own sense of meaning or purpose in life. This is the course towards transcendence and harmony. Engaging in spiritual practices unifies that which lies within us and the external, social and physical forces that come from outside of us. By exploring and nurturing our conscious experience, we can create a direct connection with the cosmic energy of the Universe and align with it. Still, to achieve a perfect harmonious life, we need to balance the relationship between our mind, body, and soul. Spirituality is linked to many important aspects of human functioning, and spiritual practices are becoming increasingly fundamental for a growing number of people around the world today.

Speaking from personal experience, this actualization represents a ‘stairway to heaven’ with no beginning and no end… An incorporation of innumerous synchronicities and coincidences routinely interrupted by crisis or accident. Daily effort is directed towards greater self-knowledge, observing patterns of behavior, expressing gratitude and stripping away the influence of the ego-driven voice in the head. Doesn’t the impact of this personal ascension become blatantly obvious in its reach beyond the perception of self?

The simple act of becoming a better person ripples change throughout the immediate community. It is embraced by many and strangely enough feared or criticized by others because it is not understood. The passionate desire to have a positive influence and instigate change in the face of our societal problems inspires the pursuit of spiritual practices and the further exploration of consciousness. It is something simple but not easy. However, the benefits are bountiful: clarity, attention to detail, grounding, centering, recognition of true self, the release of fear and doubt, compassion and the overall flourishing of health. To transform one’s life, 99% of the work to has to be internal. Afterward, all the external circumstances cohere and fall into place in a relaxed manner.

Now the survival of our species and other forms of life on this beautiful planet urgently depends on a shift of perception of human spirituality. We need to seek out and incorporate the various spiritual practices which innately support liberty and tolerance, help the human spirit to grow rather than to wither, thus nurture our inherent capacity for Love and mutual respect. Each one of us with our own talents, and by our own choices, has a momentous part to play in this process. Imagination is the foundation for everything that comes to pass. Everything which has been created first had to be imagined. When the majority of us dares to dream of the perfect world and keeps imagining how life would be, free from doubt and seen clearly in our minds, a peaceful and sustainable future can be ours to have. With that belief, we dictate the degree of success we will experience.

Author: Roxanne Thomas

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Spirit Vine COVID-19 Update

Last Updated: 5th May 2021

As travel has opened up in different parts of the world, we have resumed our retreats since October 2020. In light of the global situation, we are establishing new guidelines to ensure that we provide the maximum amount of safety to all participants who attend the retreats.

We will be following the guidelines provided by the Brazilian government which you can find below, and adding any 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

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water;
  • if water and soap are not available or when hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be used;
  • Maintain at least a 1-metre distance between yourself and others;
  • Wear a mask, that covers your nose, mouth and chin;
  • Practice respiratory hygiene;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Be aware of the situation of your destination and follow the guidelines of local public health authorities;
  • Avoid spaces that are closed, crowded or involve close contact;
  • Monitor your health for COVID-19 symptoms and, if you feel unwell:
    – seek medical attention;
    – stay self-isolated as recommended by local health authorities.

Anyone who wants to enter in Brazil must present a negative Covid RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to boarding the flight and travelers must fill out an affidavit (printed or digitally), with the written acknowledgement to the health measures that must be complied with during the period that they will remain in the country. You can find more information about the affidavit here.

Prior to leaving Brazil, depending on the requirements of your destination country, you may be required to present an RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of your departure. In this case, we recommend you to budget the required time of 4 hours to take the test and get the results in Sao Paulo airport.

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

Spirit Vine Guidelines for COVID-19

If you will arrive in Brazil more than 3 days before the start of the retreat, then you need to do another Covid test (quick Covid test) before entering our center and send the results to me by email.

Spirit Vine Cancellation Policy for COVID-19

If you have paid for a retreat and you are not able to participate for major reasons like travel restrictions due to Covid-19, then you may apply your credit to another retreat of the same value for a period of 2 years.