A journey with ayahuasca to the source of all my addictions — a journey that helped overcome the feeling of endless craving and neediness.
Shaking helplessly and uncontrollably, I felt a feeling that had been underlying all my life experiences, but never really came to the surface. It was something I was never quite able to put into words, and yet it defined the very core of my existence. No matter how much I grasped at everything, I could never find what I was searching. This not only lead to endless frustration and rage, eventually it lead to a deep depression and an excessive abuse of drugs to numb every feeling that might surface.
The drugs helped put a temporary patch on the problem, but without getting to the root, all I had managed was to make this rage and frustration into a dormant volcano. Everything that I consumed, even if it was not a “drug” by definition, had the same purpose: to cover up any real feelings that I may experience. Food, television, games, sex, socializing, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and even my job was done to the extreme to occupy all my time. The more I did the more I needed, anything that could get me away from facing the monster that was raging inside me. To put it simply, I wanted to die without making any direct attempt at it, so I did everything possible to become dead without dying. Looking back at the life I had, being consumed in all my habits and the world of everyday affairs was worse than being dead — I was so robotic that to say I was alive would be an exaggeration.
Few years back I was unconsciously guided to ayahuasca. Thinking of it as another drug, another way to escape myself, I landed up in Brazil at the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat center which is a place dedicated to host ayahuasca retreats. On the application form I consciously lied that I was looking for a deeper spiritual connection, my true motive was to get high. Little did I know that it was my spirit actually speaking the truth while I wrote the form. I would never have gone for a spiritual voyage, so the trick my spirit played on me was to make me believe that it was another journey to get high, but what I ended up discovering was the deepest spiritual journey on which I am still walking.
The retreat center was spectacularly beautiful, but being so disconnected from my emotions, I failed to realize the magnitude of this beauty until after my first ayahuasca ceremony. The first day I was still on auto-pilot, just going through the activities of the retreat without actually registering anything. That night when I entered the ceremony, I got blasted into the core of my feelings and entered into the deepest experience of oneness with the jungle around me. As this experience kept expanding, I felt connected to every particle of the infinite universe. And all of a sudden I was back to my body and everything stopped abruptly. I got a message that I had been shown what life would be like if I took the journey to heal myself, and I immediately knew that there was no other option for me.
I no longer wanted to continue in the dead robotic state. The next 3 ceremonies gave me deep insights into the habits I need to transform in order to even begin this journey. I understood that each habit was a layer over the core of unresolved emotions, and that without stopping these habits I had no scope of getting in touch with my core, which was essential for my transformation.
I immediately stopped everything after the retreat. I had received a huge boost of energy with ayahuasca that helped me to stay focused and overcome the cravings of the especially tough addictions like tobacco, meat, marijuana, and the overall state of numbness was the most addictive. Each addiction was only feeding the numbness and my ego made every possible attempt to get numb again. Giving up such a mountain of addictions required a huge effort, I was practically clean, living the life of an ascetic, something I could have never contemplated had it not been for the vision I was shown in my first ayahuasca journey.
6 months after my first retreat, I had only slipped back into an occasional smoke of marijuana which stopped soon when I felt that it was time to go deeper into the process of healing myself in order to connect with my essence and the state of oneness. My next few retreats happened over a short span as I chose to volunteer at the Spirit Vine center and make a deeper commitment to healing myself. What happened was initially quite surprising to me. My first retreat had been so exaggerated and I had been shown all the possibilities of healing myself, and subconsciously I had developed an expectation of having grand journeys. My next few retreats I was shown very subtle insights into basic patterns of behavior that were blocking my progress. While those insights are helping me to this day, I felt cheated somehow, I kept having the feeling that I want something bigger, something more dramatic and grand. I thought that if I can have such a grand journey and make that level of grand changes as I had after my first retreat, I have a chance of reaching the state of oneness much faster.
The first big lesson I learned about ayahuasca was through Silvia, the lead facilitator of the retreat, who explained to me that ayahuasca works in her own way. The spirit of ayahuasca, which is considered feminine, gives you what you most need in the present moment, not what you want. It is a highly intelligent sentient being that has a way of knowing exactly what you need to work on right now in order to open up your path. As I learned to accept this my appreciation for the subtle insights started to grow and I realized that even making small changes was helping me recover a lot of my power and making a huge impact on my everyday life. The next big lesson was about my greed.
Breaking Through Craving
As Silvia had explained, ayahuasca works in her own way, and you cannot force it to give you what you want just by drinking more. I had one ceremony which exposed in me the deepest flaw of my personality, something I never wanted to acknowledge and never wanted to face. It was my habit to be obsessively needy and craving for more. What I had, never satisfied me, I always felt: “more is better”, the typical mentality of a drug-addict. The concept of “Stop”, “No”, and having boundaries never appealed to me, I was always grasping for the next experience with the underlying subconscious message: “If you get that you will be satisfied”. Of course when I got “that”, whatever it was, I was never satisfied because the game was always to get the next thing. All my achievements felt meaningless the moment I had success because I would be looking at the next thing.
In this experience, even though I took a rather big dose, I was not having any modified state of consciousness, I felt completely stuck and helpless. The moment the word “helpless” came to my mind I realized that by not giving me what I want, ayahuasca is teaching me exactly what I need. This realization triggered the entire experience I had been expecting and I went to the source of my neediness: a feeling of complete disconnection from the world at the moment of my birth.
The severing of the connection from my mother had fragmented and frozen a huge part of myself. This part of me was reliving the trauma of separation in every single moment, always grasping for something thinking that it will complete me. I was living in constant suffering because no material experience could ever replace the feeling of oneness that is experienced in the womb. My heart had closed completely in this moment and I spent my entire life feeling completely isolated and disconnected from the world around me. I was living in a bubble and all my interactions lacked true intimacy because the mask of neediness and incompleteness was penetrating every single moment.
Using some of the techniques Silvia had taught in her workshops of Inner Child Integration and Soul Retrieval I was able to rescue the parts of myself that had been blocked at birth. As I floated back to my mother’s womb, I slipped even deeper and went to the moment before I entered the physical world. I was in the void, a place beyond words, a state of existence that even “nothing” cannot describe. It is a state beyond rational understanding, a state where there is no thought, no feeling, no sensation, a place of pure awareness and detachment. As I started coming out of this experience, I started realizing that I was no longer craving anything. For the first time in my life I was feeling complete, I had become so comfortably one with that void that I knew that nothing in this world could ever give me that feeling, and I was absolutely fine with it because I had restored my connection to the void and I could experience it constantly.
Practicing the Transformation
Even to this day, I experience being void constantly and this paradoxically makes me feel complete. Everything I experience now in the physical reality has a whole different tune, a whole different quality to the energy. When I am having a material experience, I am truly enjoying it because it is no longer with a purpose to fill the void. The thing I am experiencing has no purpose beyond being experienced. For several months now, I feel that every single activity that I have been doing has been deeply enjoyable. Whether it is cooking food, doing the dishes, eating, working in the garden, or even sitting and doing nothing, just observing nature and it’s sounds, each activity is fulfilling the ultimate purpose of my life — being alive. It’s been several years now that I have been completely free of my past addictions and I have managed to transform some of the deep pathological behaviors that kept me suffering constantly.
This experience of non-attachment in action has led to the deepest feelings of bliss, and I feel such a deep appreciation for life itself that anything and everything that I experience is absolutely worth it, even if it is not pleasant or painful for some time. The constant flow of change, the underlying principle of duality makes every moment worth living. At some level I have come to accept that without experiencing the cold I will not have the same appreciation for the warmth of the sun. Without experiencing some dark moments I will not be able to appreciate the ecstatic moments of bliss. The joy of being alive overrules every single temporal experience, and this is why non-attachment to everything I do has become the primary way of life. The deepest purpose of every activity is not the result it produces, it is the life experienced in every action (and inaction) that was made in the process. In the following article I go into a deeper explanation how attaching to purpose leads to suffering, but the words above are what lead to that understanding and I feel this is what is most important. I feel now that I have, at least at some level, started living in the state I experienced in my first ayahuasca ceremony.
I cannot express how much I appreciate my time at the Spirit Vine center, the serene beauty of the jungle was deeply instrumental in my transformation. Having the space to go within and feel the connection with the planet was one of the biggest keys to making me who I am today. The infinite wisdom of Silvia and the techniques taught by her in the workshops help me even outside the retreat because I can use them to overcome any blockages that I experience. I gladly recommend this place to anyone who feels ready to meet ayahuasca and find a deeper connection with their essence.
You can read my following article here: Ayahuasca: Is Freedom More than a Matter of Choice?
Author: Guru Muskytoe