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Ayahuasca: Significant Lessons Learned Over the Past 10 Years

April 1, 2019

 

 

Below is a transcript of our podcast titled "Ayahuasca: Significant Lessons Learned Over the Past 10 Years.  You can Click Here to Listen on Soundcloud or Click Here to Listen on iTunes.

 

 

Zach:

This is Zach with La Familia Ayahuasca, and I'm sitting here with my better half, Jess.

 

Jess:

Hello.

 

Zach:

How are you doing Jess? 

 

Jess:

Great. 

 

Zach:

Great. First off, thank you for taking the time to listen to another episode of Ayahuasca Family podcasts. Ayahuasca Family is English for the name of our retreat program, called La Familia Ayahuasca.

 

Zach:

With that said, let's jump in to today's podcast, which is on the subject of big lessons that we have learned through the ayahuasca experience. 

 

Also, through other plant medicine experiences such as dieta, and we may even get into kambo as well. (Kambo) Which is not necessarily plant per se, animal medicine, if you will. Quite literally (animal medicine). 

 

Zach:

Okay. So Jess, why don't we have you start off. You're better at articulating and remembering these big lessons than I am. For me it's quite overwhelming, because there's so many to choose from. Can you start us off with one of your big lessons from Ayahuasca?

 

Jess:

Yeah, well, of course, one of the most powerful experiences I ever had, was my very first experience with ayahuasca. At the same time we were actually also doing a shamanic tree dieta. 

 

I remember laying outside, and seeing the tops of the trees. The medicine was coming on, and I could feel it very physically, then I heard this voice in my head or just had this amazing realization that, "Wow, plants are so much smarter than human beings."

 

Jess:

It was a really deep realization, because I think a lot of people who haven't worked with plant medicine, a lot of times we get caught in this idea, that just because a tree or a plant doesn't move or doesn't talk the way that we do, that it doesn't have the same capacity for consciousness.

 

However, I was literally physically taken into this place of realization, that the plants are receiving all this energy that is information. It's directly from the sun, and their kind of consciousness is so much more vast; it's cosmic.

 

Jess:

That was a huge realization for me, because I had never thought of trees or plants as being able to communicate with me, or having anything to say to me; which is exactly the opposite of what's true.

 

Zach:

Yeah. We can go a couple of different directions with that idea. 

 

One is, how would you describe plant consciousness and what are some aspects that the plants? Even at a very basic level, if we look at plants, what did they teach us? Or look at trees, what can they teach us? 

 

Jess:

Right. Well, stillness for one thing. 

 

No matter what is going on around them and they, they don't really have much of a choice. They just hold their center, they hold their stillness and they react and adapt in a way that's natural. They can't really have any form of true resistance to their experience.

 

Zach:

Yeah. stillness, which would go along with patience. 

 

In that “stillness” is a very prevalent teaching among many spiritual teachers. Particularly, Buddha, who came out and said it very clearly, impermanence; that everything will change. 

 

If one is able to sit in stillness and simply watch things change, and not get caught up in the current feelings of resistance, and therefore suffering, then there's liberation there. Would you agree?

 

Jess:

Absolutely. I also feel like it called a lot of attention to my conditioning, and my concepts of reality. Because things automatically, as that medicine came on, were not as they had seemed before. It just opened my mind in so many ways to, what does the environment, what do the plants have to teach us? What the spirits of rocks and just the environment around us, the energy around us, there's a lot of sentience there. What kind of wisdom does it have to share with us?

 

Zach:

I'm curious in your experience, and obviously you've worked with ayahuasca, and other trees and plants for some time now. What is it? Three years, four years?

 

Jess:

Almost four years. 

 

Zach:

Almost four years, and very intensely of course. 

 

Did you notice almost immediately after that first retreat, or maybe it took a couple of retreats ... and this is a question, notice that even when you were outside of ceremony, that you were more sensitive to sentience, more sensitive to other people's energies and so forth?

 

Jess:

Very, very much. 

 

That actually happened throughout that retreat, but particularly at the end of the retreat. I remember the very last day, there were a few people that were pretty agitated at the end of that particular retreat. Just agitated because they had their whole worlds shaken up, and their concepts of reality challenged. But I could feel it, I could feel it. 

 

Jess:

It was like this vibrating energy, and it was making me dizzy and pretty ungrounded. I remember coming to sit with you, and Scott and Amy. Scott handing me this Crystal, just said, "Hold onto that for a minute. You're a lot more sensitive than you were, at the beginning of this retreat." I was thinking, "Yes. I feel that."

 

Jess:

And, yes. I think that ayahuasca can open your sensitivity up so much where, you almost have to when you go to the grocery store, prepare yourself for feeling what other people are feeling. That sounds like it would be a really great tool to have in your toolbox, but it's very overwhelming at first. Because you, sometimes you don't realize also how much people are suffering, and that you're going to feel that too.

 

So, powerful opening both of, of my mind and my energetic body.

 

Zach:

Yeah, it's interesting, you use that word tool around this post-retreat, increased level of sensitivity. 

 

Because it is ... I agree. It's a tool. Tools are very useful, and we need to learn how to use them and be careful with them. A great example would be a chainsaw. Amazing, an amazing tool, and extremely useful. It can also cause some damage, if you don't know what you're doing with it, right? 

 

Jess:

It's true. 

 

Zach:

Yeah. Yeah. Cool.

 

Jess:

So what about you Zach? When did it fully hit you how sentient the plants were? When did that one fully get embodied for you?

 

Zach:

Oh. Yeah, I mean ... I don't know that I articulated as such. 

 

I definitely felt from the first retreat that I went on in Peru, definitely felt the intelligence. 

 

I remember after, I think the third ceremony out of a series of five, I was lying down at the end of ceremony. 

 

After ceremony, for those of you who know, you're still oftentimes feeling the medicine, albeit, not necessarily at the peak of it.  If you're lucky, you're still peaking. 

 

We like to say enjoy that, the “second feature”, or continued, “extended feature”, if you will. 

 

But, I was sitting there and it hit me. I was like, "Wow, we as human beings, particularly in our culture and society, have really forgotten how to live." That is, relate to other people, relate to the natural world; connect into that and really feel that. 

 

 

The realization was that Ayahuasca teaches us how to live again. How to live in harmony, how to live with an understanding that we are connected. That with that feeling of connection, we can feel into and understand the "other". Those people around us, those things around us. The things including the plant, and animal, and even mineral world, if you will.

 

Jess:

So the second major lesson that I ever learned from ayahuasca, was the second night. I certainly use the lessons from the first one, but this is one that I actually, I use it every single day of my life now. 

 

The second ceremony was really difficult for me.  During the second ceremony I had had some anger that was just ricocheting around in my body. I did not know how to release it, because intellectually I had completely let go of the situation. But I knew that I still had this energy in my body, that was just angry. I had no idea how to let it go. 

 

That second night, as the medicine was coming on, I started having all of these really awful thoughts about everyone in the circle, like really angry for no good reason. I was just thinking as I was going on, like, "That is so weird. I don’t normally think things like this, what's going on?" 

 

But yeah, as the medicine came on, there was this incredibly beautiful machine that came and floated over my body. It looked like a very ornate, dangling earring, and also had this spinning colorful disks on it.

 

It came, and it floated over my body and it stopped right over my heart. 

 

Then I felt this pressure. It wasn't painful, but it definitely wasn't comfortable either. I felt this pressure on my heart, and it literally opened. Then all the little dangling pieces of the machine went down into my heart, and they're were these sucking sounds, and all kinds of things. Then, just all this horrible stuff just came flooding out of my heart, out of my body.

 

It was, it was anger, it was disgust, it was rage, it was pain; I was really resistant to it at first. Then I heard ayahuasca tell me, that to release that energy that had been in my body, I would have to really feel it. Really feel it physically, and really be vulnerable with it. That was really difficult, because the pain was very intense. 

 

It was not a physical pain, I felt like I had been hurt to the very core of my being. The anger that I was holding in my body prior to that, was a resistance against feeling that hurt and that vulnerability. 

 

When I felt that, just these inner dimensional sobs just started pouring out of me. It was really hard, but it was such an amazing release and I could feel it in my body tissues.

 

Jess:

I struggled that whole night, and Zach really, really helped me out with that one. But I was in this state until the sun came up the next morning. Then as I was taking a shower after not having slept, and my heart just burst completely open. 

 

I think all I felt for an entire week after that was love. 

 

Jess:

But the lesson there, the really important lesson there, is that when you resist feeling your feelings in the moment, even if it's very painful, and when you resist being open and naked and vulnerable to your human experience, it gets stored in your body. Until you open your body, and your energy in your heart up to feeling these things, they are there. They are stuck there. That's just a super important part of my everyday practice, now. 

 

Zach:

This is a very, very important point to bring forth… about when one goes through a difficult experience in ayahuasca. 

 

It can be quite confusing for people, particularly in the beginning, because there are oftentimes expectations of this big light show and healing. 

 

However, people in the West in particular, have a different sense of what healing is. 

 

I think there's an association with healing as taking a pill, and feeling good. 

 

Whereas, ayahuasca often, particularly in the beginning, there's a cleaning process that it is a releasing of these stored experiences, that have not been fully experienced. 

 

They're having to be fully experience, and that does not feel good as they're being released. Yet, there is this ecstatic component to them, if one fully experiences them.

 

 

The trick is, if they fight it, they resist it, they want to avoid that, that's going to cause suffering. Right?

 

Jess:

Right. 

 

I have two analogies to compare this to.

 

It's like when you're feeling really, really nauseous and you don't want to throw up. You just continue to feel nauseous, and if you hold it in, you're just going to continue to feel really bad, really nauseous. But, there's this cathartic experience, when you finally throw up, and you're like, "Oh God, I feel so much better."

 

Then also, it's a little bit like yoga too. When you're pushing into those postures, where it starts to get uncomfortable. When you're pushing beyond where you could normally go, and you're breathing into that space. If you tighten up all your muscles, it's going to hurt or you're going to get injured. But if you just breathe into those spaces where it's uncomfortable, and push a little bit farther, it opens up into energy that just floods your entire body.

 

Jess:

That's sort of similar to how it feels to me in the medicine. When I'm working with something challenging. 

 

So yeah, that's another point there, is meeting the medicine halfway. You've got to work with those challenging experiences. It's important not to just tighten up everywhere and resist the healing that's happening, you have to meet the medicine halfway. You've got to open up, and allow the medicine to come in and clean.

 

Zach:

It's such a simple concept. Open up, let go, be vulnerable, surrender. 

 

These are simple concepts that are easy to say, oftentimes challenging to do. Because in our culture, we're certainly not taught to do these things. In fact, we're oftentimes taught to do the opposite.

 

Zach:

Which brings me to another point, on this subject. That is, sometimes people are confused about, "Well, I had this experience of ..." There's a recent situation where a person had an experience of, feeling very vulnerable and being upset about the vulnerability, and being confused about that.

 

From our perspective,  while we don't try to interpret people's experiences, if one has repressed an emotion or has been taught that, say in this case, vulnerability is a not a good thing, particularly for men. If the emotion  has been repressed throughout life, it has been pushed to the side. 

There may be an idea learned that “You have to be a strong man”, or “boys don't cry”, all these things. ayahuasca is going to bring it to the surface. Because once again, it is an experience that has not fully been felt. 

 

Zach:

The other thing to talk about, or another point to bring up around this whole subject of an unlived or unexperienced energies, or emotions and so forth, is the idea of generational trauma, generational Karma,  or epigenetics; we can get into that. 

 

Do you want to comment first, on the suppressed emotions that we learn, and how that can come into an ayahuasca experience, and then move into the generational stuff?

 

Jess:

Actually, I think you did spectacular jobs in describing the suppressed emotion, and how that gets held in the body tissues. As far as the intergenerational stuff and epigenetics, I can definitely comment on that. 

 

Jess:

We have our genes, and our genetic material is the same. It's fixed, right? What we receive from our parents in terms of experience, and our parents' experiences, and their parents' experiences actually affect how our genes are expressed.  This is called epigenetics. 

 

You receive a lot of information from your ancestors. The traditional (indigenous) concept or idea is we carry information from our ancestors seven generations back. 

 

Jess:

Throughout your life, through conditioning and learning, you receive information or stimuli about what genes get turned on, what genes get turned off via epigenetics. How much a gene is expressed or not expressed. 

 

That's scientific, that's not “woo woo” stuff; that's for real. 

 

When we are doing this work, when we're going into our body tissues, and releasing and healing this stuff, that's actually working at a genetic level. 

 

Jess:

When you do healing work on yourself, you are doing that healing work for the seven generations that preceded you, and seven generations forward. Because that epigenetic information will get carried forward, to your offspring, to your family. 

 

Actually I can comment a little bit on kambo, on this point. Because, I had a really powerful experience with my Father just yesterday. 

 

Zach:

Yeah. Can we make an aside on kambo? 

For those who don't know. Kambo is using the excretions of the waxy tree frog, from the Amazon basin. 

 

It is actually the venom that has a bunch of, bio peptides, neuro peptides. 

 

It is really amazing medicine from a physical standpoint, but also because it's going in and releasing a lot of tension in the body. It also can be very helpful for trauma, PTSD, and depression, anxiety and so forth. 

 

Zach:

If you want to learn more about kambo and are not familiar with kambo, it is very different from ayahuasca, and also Amazonian based medicine. Although  it is an animal based medicine versus a plant medicine. 

 

We do work with kambo as well. One can add kambo treatments to their Ayahuasca retreat, if they want to come work with us down here in Guatemala, we offer that as well. 

 

Zach:

I just wanted to explain that kambo is a different type of medicine than ayahuasca, for those who are not familiar as of yet.  

 

Jess:

Right. 

 

Actually just yesterday, I gave my dad a kambo treatment. 

 

My parents are down here living with us in Guatemala, which makes it even more of a family, which is wonderful. But anyhow…

 

I gave him the last of a set of three treatments yesterday. He had such a powerful release in his heart. It was really powerful to be there facilitating the medicine for him.

 

Then, actually, throughout the day and later on in the day, I felt it working in my own body.  It was reorganizing my cells even though I didn’t take any of the medicine.  I had to sleep for an hour or so in the afternoon. 

 

I was feeling the work that he had done by taking Kambo benefiting me. I needed to sleep, and rest and integrate all of that. But, I definitely feel that his work, as my father, had a big impact on me.

 

Zach:

Yeah. I wanted to put a frame on what you've been talking about consistently the last 15, 20 minutes. That is, this idea that, while we can intellectually understand the concepts of letting go, the concepts of releasing and surrendering and so forth, we oftentimes forget that there's a physical component. There's a somatic component, which is what we talk about a lot. 

 

Zach:

The somatic component is oftentimes the most difficult, because we are not taught how to release things somatically. 

 

We can even look in the animal kingdom, wherein a giraffe are gazelle gets attacked by a lion, or it goes through some sort of a stressful thing. Immediately after, if they escape ... if they escape, they do this big shake. There's [inaudible 00:25:20] they let it all out. 

 

Zach:

We (humans) may have had that ability in the past, but we don't currently, as far as I know… Not many people anyway, some people understand that. But I would say they're in the far minority. 

 

What the plant medicines do, is they help us somatically release. 

 

With other psychedelics, yes, there is a intellectual perspective change that happens.  

 

This is what can be done with say, psilocybin, and MDMA, and LSD to a certain extent. But a lot of those substances don't have this intense, somatic release that ayahuasca, or as you just mentioned, kambo has. 

 

This is something that, I think is a big lesson for both of us as we worked with ayahuasca, is the somatic side. This is what makes ayahuasca in and kambo so special, is the somatic release, or the physical releases. 

 

Jess:

Yeah. Often, anyone who's a sitting with ayahuasca may have a lot of physical vibrations and shaking that's going on. That is a somatic release, that is ayahuasca going through the physical body, and the energetic body helping to shake things loose. To shake these things free, that have been caught up in our body tissues. Which are also our subconscious, they're the same thing. The tissues of the body and the subconscious are equivalent. So releasing from the body, is releasing from your subconscious mind. 

 

Zach:

That's big. 

 

I would like to share a big lesson in my ayahuasca past. 

 

This was a lesson learned, I would say about four years into my "career" working with ayahuasca. At this point I was very much already leading ceremony, and so forth. 

 

It (the lesson) was around fear. 

 

I have through reasons and events throughout my life, and I can't really put my finger on it… maybe it might, might be some epigenetic stuff, some lineage stuff, too ...  I have worked with a lot of personal fear, being afraid of things. This is both in and outside of ceremony. I've definitely had my scary moments in ceremony. 

 

 

One thing that I noticed in the jungle with my teachers, on several occasions, they would be in the middle of ceremony and blurt out, "I'm not afraid of anything! Come on, bring it on!” 

 

Upon hearing this from my teachers during ceremony, I realized what was going on- they were facing something scary, and putting forth this idea that they're not afraid. 

 

That said, it occurred to me, "Why are you saying that? If you're not afraid, then it's not an issue to even bring up."

 

 

Which then led me to the conclusion, "Oh no, they're actually are afraid. They're just trying to cover it up and we are in a machismo culture." 

 

So I first recognized that going on with my teachers in ceremony. Then in ceremony, sometime later when again, I was leading ceremonies and retreats, it hit me.   I was dealing with fears. There's oftentimes some scary stuff. Particularly as a facilitator, that we have to work with and deal with as we're taking care of other people; it can be disconcerting, to say the least. 

 

 

I was like, "Whoa, yeah, I'm afraid!” Then I found myself catching myself trying to push that fear away, and trying to do that, what my teachers did. Which was, "I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid." 

 

Then I pivoted my perspective….I went into the fear and said, "Oh shit, I am scared shitless. I am afraid." 

 

The irony was, as soon as I admitted it, and I was honest with myself what I was feeling, and fully felt it, it went away.

 

Zach:

So, for me that was a huge lesson about emotions, and particularly fear. 

 

It's cliché, that the only way to deal with fear is to face the fear. 

 

Again, very simple, but it's so hard when we face something that's scary. Whether it be visually, or something we feel emotionally, it's so hard to go and face it and feel it, and go, "Okay, here I am, open and vulnerable." 

 

Once again, that open and vulnerable concept. There's that strength in the vulnerability, that is so counterintuitive. It's crazy. It's crazy.

 

Jess:

Along those same lines, didn't you, you also have a realization about how Amazonian shamanism is practiced, and how you ... like the brujeria. How things have changed in the way that we practice, versus what you learned?

 

Zach:

Yeah. In the Amazon, there's this idea of “brujeria”, and that is witchcraft. 

 

It is very much a real thing down there. I'm sure that there are witchcraft practitioners. It has been said that there are more brujos, or witches or sorcerers in the jungle, than there are curanderos, which are healers. 

 

That is because it's more profitable, to be a sorcerer or a witch. That is, people will hire these people, these witches or sorcerers, to do bad things or cause bad luck for, say their business competitor, or jilted lovers, that sort of thing. 

 

It's almost in the air, down in Peru. 

 

When I went to my first few retreats, it was a topic of conversation. The brujos would come and try to attack the shaman at the retreat center. 

 

When I say attack, it's on the astral level. They don't show up, and pick a physical fight or anything. It created very much a sense of fear. "Don't go drink ayahuasca with anyone else, because they might be brujos," which may be true. We can't discount that, but there was a lot of fear-mongering. 

 

When I moved beyond going to an organized retreat for gringos, and started living in the jungle on my own, there was clearly a belief around this. 

 

I, myself, got caught up into it. I would have these visions in ceremony of these brujos, and we'd be fighting them. But we're on the good side, and they're the bad guys; see!

 

The ego loves it. The Ego loves it. At one point I was like, "Wait a second. This keeps happening over, and over, and over again. We keep blaming things on the brujo. We keep blaming things on the bruja."  They're the same people, over and over again. 

 

So clearly, this conflict is not working. 

 

It was at that point that I realized that, do the opposite of fighting. 

 

That is, one, hold on. Is this actually a brujo who is attacking in the astrals in my visions? Or is it some sort of egoic stimulation coming up to the surface to deal, and integrate, rather than fight? 

 

I mean, we could, we could look at the brujo as a external manifestation created by our minds, in regards to some of our egoic gunk that we need to work on.

 

If we keep doing that (fighting) over and over again, it doesn't work. It's just essentially, a suppression. 

 

Now this is not to say there ... I still think that there may be people out there wishing poorly of other people. There's envy and there's jealousy and all that sort of thing, and they might put some energetic oomph around it. 

 

From my perspective, the brujos are wonderful teachers that they stimulate these parts of our ego, to tempt us to react in fear, to react in frustration, to react in anger.

 

All these negative emotions, the reactions, my sense is that they're food for that ... it's like the brujo comes forth in the vision. Then it's up to me… do I react with defense, or react with fear, or react with frustration or anger? 

 

Or do I release, give it space, love, compassion and release my own version of what I'm being attacked with. 

 

It took a while to work through that, because I've been conditioned so deeply, from the jungle culture in which I was learning and practicing. 

 

I just thought, "This is the way it's done." It was then, that through these experiences, that I started like, "Wait a second, this is not working." Then starting to work with this new way of being. 

 

These new way of being, are the ways that Christ taught: love, forgiveness, compassion. It's the way Buddha taught. 

 

Buddha was always talking about, at his point of enlightenment, Mara, which is this big gigantic demon, tempted him with sex,  tempted him with shooting arrows and missiles, and sending demons at him and so forth. He did not react, he held his center..

 

Jesus had an experience with the devil, where the devil tempted him with the power over all others, and so forth. Asked him to do all these miracles for the devil. Jesus was just like, "Nah. Nah. Nah." 

 

Buddha was kind of the same thing. He got tempted with sex, and war and he was like, "Nah. Nah. Nah." That is what led, in Buddha's case, to him finally becoming enlightened. 

 

That said, after enlightenment, Mara still showed up, still tempted, still kept trying. 

 

If we look at Jesus Christ's story as well, he still had all these temptations show up. 

 

My sense is, this is where ayahuasca can help us on that path of realization, enlightenment, liberation. Is that, she can bring forth these temptations that we can react in fear, we can react in anger, we can react and all these different ways.

 

Or, we can realize that we're in a safe place, which is an ayahuasca ceremony.  We can hold our center. React in an open, relaxed way.  We can be vulnerable, and heal and integrate rather than fight. The fighting is resistance. The fighting is suffering.

 

Jess:

That is a big one. 

 

Zach:

Gigantic. 

 

Again, it's something that took a long time, because I had that previous conditioning. Not only from life, but also from my teachers. 

 

I had a lot of conditioning to work through, and still on occasion have to ... it's becoming a lot  less, much less. 

 

As I've become more secure, have more ... I want to use the word faith, but the faith implies that there's a belief. But, an “inner knowing “that my core self, my Dharma Kaiya, as they say in Tibetan Buddhism, is indestructible. A divine being is indestructible.

 

The only way that we can be harmed is in through our minds, and how we react to these temptations. 

 

Gigantic lesson, and on occasion I get to revisit it. But it's certainly in a much more reduced and subdued level, at this point.

 

Jess:

Great. Well, it is always a practice. Even though we've learned these lessons through ceremonies, we get to put them into practice over and over again; both in ceremony and in everyday life. 

 

Another really important one for me, and it's in the same vein, was this practice of Tong Lin, that we learned in our meditation practice. That is basically, inhaling another person's suffering. Exhaling, sending them love and peace.

 

But just taking it on, and knowing that there's infinite space, that infinite indestructible space within, that we all have infinite space for this. One of the lessons that I have had to learn over and over again, there's no particular ceremony that pointed to this for me. But it's, over and over again had to learn, is that when you're sitting in ceremony, whether you're the facilitator or a participant, a lot of times you get to experience some of the things that other people are going through in the circle.

 

Jess:

You may have thoughts that don't feel familiar to you. You may have sensations that just feel really foreign, and they may actually be from someone else in the group. Ayahuasca was originally named telepathy, for a good reason. An important lesson that I have learned, is that when we are sitting in the circle together, everything is mine. Everything is each participants.

 

I accept everything that everyone brings, as my stuff to work through. Because you can really get caught up in, "That's not mine. Who did that come from? I need to protect myself." 

 

Zach:

That's a very Amazonian shamanic view, as well. Very dualistic, mine/yours, this/the other. Anyway, keep going. Sorry to interrupt.

 

Jess:

Oh No, it was good interruption. But, yeah. There's this feeling that you need to protect yourself, a lot of times. But I remember in the very beginning when I first started doing ventiadas, I didn't have as much stability as, as I have now.

 

 The ventiada, if you don't know, if this is a first time listening, is when at the very end of ceremony we go and individually do an icaro, or a healing song for each person. It's a very intimate experience. 

 

Jess:

You get to really, sometimes physically experience what another person is going through. I would often purge a lot, while I was doing ventiadas, and got really frustrating at some points. But, you just learn to be really open, and take it all in. When you're not fighting it, it just flows through. Knowing that we all have that infinite, indestructible space within us. That we can just experience what this other person is going through, with compassion. That it served some purpose for us, and helps us learn about ourselves and to have compassion for others. 

 

Zach:

Yes. 

 

I wanted to point out though, on the point of protection, we do put in energetic protection at the beginning of the ceremony. Such that, the only concerns we have in terms of things being released are coming from inside. We speak out of both sides of our mouth, in regards to protection. 

 

We want to put in energetic protection, just like we would want to put on a motorcycle helmet before getting on the motorcycle. As we get on the motorcycle and put on our motorcycle helmet, we're careful. At the same time, we're not constantly thinking about getting into an accident, and freaking out about every little thing that happens out on the road. Because that actually, if one is jittery on a motorcycle as they're driving down the road, that's going to make them much more accident prone, and cause a lot of suffering on that ride. Also, increase the chances of something going sideways, no pun intended.

 

Zach:

We do put in protection, and we do protect ourselves as well. Our job is to make sure that external energies that are leaving one person, don't enter another. That said, it's important to point out, and this can be confusing for some people. Is, as unwanted energies leave one of the guests, it's going to hover around in the space, looking for a new home, so to speak. As it does that, it might hover over people. 

 

Zach:

Let's say it's the energy of fear. If there's a similar energy of fear existing in the person that it's hovering over, it's going to resonate. It's going to bring that to the surface, and bring up fear. Because, that exists in the person that it's hovering over. That's actually, I view that as a huge gift and teacher. Because, we're here to clean out those sorts of things. 

 

Zach:

By the energy hovering there, it's stimulating the rising of, of fear in that person. Not pleasant of course, but it helps that person also release. It's important for people to understand that, as they begin to work with ayahuasca. Maybe those people have some background in energy work, and so forth. They can get a little, "Oh, my God. No, that's not mine, etc.…” But it actually is yours, because it's just being stimulated. It's not that it's coming into you, the medicine is pushing these things out. You're not turning into an energetic sponge. 

 

Jess:

That could probably be an entire other podcast topic, is just the energetic mechanics of ceremony. 

 

Because, what I was just speaking about the Tong Lin, is actually, that's a complicated subject. Because, I don't recommend that everyone does that. I think there needs to be some practice in place, and some other stabilities in place, before you start doing something like that. But we do put in that protection, and ayahuasca is definitely pushing all these energies out. 

 

In the context of ceremony, when you feel something that someone else is feeling, that's safe. You're not going to end up taking that into your body tissues, or taking that home with you. That could be a whole another topic.

 

Zach:

Yeah. 

 

We can get into the topic of ... and just to make it simple, is that training to become a facilitator of ayahuasca, and I would say training for any kind of energy work.

 

Ideally there is a process of energetic purification. Such that, the facilitator or practitioner, there is the purification of the energetic body. Such that, there's nothing to stick to, there's nothing to resonate.

 

As there's an interaction (with unwanted energies), equanimity is the response, openness is the response. That, what would be called negative energy, would just flow through. 

 

That's what, through the practice of dieta, and I would say our other practices, such as meditation, and qigong, and all these. Other things that we do ... and kambo, too, clean out our physical and energetic bodies. Such that, we don't get affected and knocked around by "negative energies" like other people might. 

 

Zach:

On the point of this purification, and the energetic body and so forth, there's no question that energies exist. Energy does exist, I think science has done a great job of proving that. We are just balls of condensed energy, or slowly moving molecules, what have you. I'm not a scientist, sorry for the mangling of an explanation. 

 

Zach:

Anyway, that said, what we often do is, we create stories around those ineffable energies, and also our physical energies and our life itself. I think you've had some good lessons around stories, right?

 

Jess:

Oh yeah. I had one particular ceremony that just ended up making me laugh a lot, in the end. 

 

But it was very early on, I think I was under 10 ceremonies. I'm laying there, and I'm seeing all these mazes, and I have this anxiety that I need to figure out how to get through the maze. Or there were all these tasks that I had to be completing, in my visions.

 

Jess:

I realized at some point, "Wait a minute, no, no, no. I don't have to do any of that. This is not coming from ayahuasca, this is literally coming from me. Trying to hang on to my reality, or to myself, or create some kind of conflict to keep myself held together." As soon as I would realize that was me creating that story, and that I didn't have to do any of that. That all I needed to do was give up and relax, it would poof, go away. 

 

Jess:

I would relax again, and it would just be a very sweet feeling. Then all of a sudden I imagined that my mind is a chia pet, just growing, sprouting things. It would just sprout and another story, and I'd get all wrapped up in, "Oh, I have to do this, and there's this puzzle. I have the geometric, crazy, fractal puzzle I have to put together." 

 

Jess:

Then, "Wait, no, wait a minute. No. I don't have to do that, at all. I just have to lay here and breathe. That's all I have to do." At some point, it got really hilarious. Because I'd step back and I became the witness, and I'm just watching my mind creating these things. I just started laughing, because I was like, "That is the most absurd thing I've ever heard." The bullshit that my mind came up with that night, was really hilarious.

 

Jess:

That was very, very powerful one for me. Because, it really showed me where the witness is. 

 

This is something I say in group circle a lot, but that, thoughts and stories, they're like tigers in a zoo, right? You might watch them fighting, and it might be really beautiful to watch, is really powerful. Animals do their thing, but don't jump in the pen with them. That's a recipe for disaster, and a lot of suffering. But yeah, it's really beautiful and interesting to watch from, from the outside. That one was really a very powerful one for me.

 

Zach:

It's funny, because I will oftentimes notice a guest, going through the ayahuasca retreat process. Oftentimes, the next morning or even leading up to ceremony, sometime during the day, I will get a ping of ... oftentimes, it's obvious on their face that they're looping in their head, and they're just thinking, thinking, thinking.

 

 I'll go up to them, and I'll be like, "Hey, you're thinking a lot, aren't you? You're stressing out a little bit."

 

They'll be like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." 

 

I'm like, "Well, you know what thoughts are?" 

 

They'll be like, "What?" 

 

"They're just thoughts.” 

 

The funny thing about thoughts is, they're not based in any substance. They have no foundation. It's totally a creation of the mind. The error that we make, is that we think they're real. Thoughts are just thoughts. That's it.

 

Jess:

Explosions of energy.

 

Zach:

Indeed. Indeed. 

 

Jess:

Yes. I still occasionally have a ceremony, where my mantra becomes, "I don't have to believe that. I don't have to believe that." That's a good one. We don't have to believe our thoughts at all. 

 

Zach:

Yeah. This is true. Teachings from so many different great teachers. Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, Buddha, I believe Jesus Christ, although it's not as obvious. But, anyway.

 

Zach:

Well, cool. That was a very enjoyable podcast, for us anyway, I think; I had a good time there. We will be doing more of these. We're trying to do at least once a month, podcasts a month, I think we can get out more. 

 

We've got some very interesting people, that we'll have on as guests here in the near future; we're looking forward to that.

 

Zach:

Thank you again for taking the time to listen to this podcast. Please, if you find this content interesting, or what we're saying interesting, and you're interested in either ayahuasca, Kambo, shamanic plant or tree dietas, please check us out at, www.AyahuascaFamily.com. Our name is La Familia Ayahuasca, which is Ayahuasca Family in Spanish.

 

Zach:

Once again, thank you very much. We will talk to you soon. 

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