How does one ‘find oneself’? Apparently, I thought I had lost myself in the Colombian jungle, so that’s where I headed to look.
As I arrived at the meeting point, I found a tall Colombian Rasta named Dadalier. He had on big gumboots, dreadlocks past his hips and an inner peace I have yet to feel again. He gently showed me in and offered me tea. As I dropped my backpack I began to realise I should have taken the “what to bring” more seriously – I had not brought the recommended footwear, (it was pouring) or hammock to sleep in. Dadalier had obviously faced this before and he set off with a fistful of cash to get hammocks for us non-adherers. Stocked with my newly acquired bed and a mind full of eagerness, we set off through the Putumayo Jungle. Putumayo sits on the border of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru and is part of the Amazon. It is rich in agriculture and has been home to several guerrilla factions. Fortunately for us we ran into no danger, and after a two hour trek, we came to an opening with a large rotunda.
The group was made up of a French and Belgian man, a Dutch yoga instructor and a Colombian and American student. All were seeking something different, but sharing in a common goal, to expand their mind and find what eluded them.
Over the course of the week I drank Ayahuasca four times, but it was my third occasion that gave me the answer I so desperately sought. Most of the time when we look for something we have no idea where it is, or how to find it. I’m not talking about the lost keys or that scarf you leave everywhere, but answers to questions about life, about your own existence and the purpose of your being. This is why we climb tall mountains, look for epiphanies in far off places and a lot of the time, push our minds and bodies to the limits.
We had had two night ceremonies and in all honesty I was terrible at drinking Ayahuasca. Part of the process is your body ‘purges’ so you vomit and need the toilet at a moments notice. I, however, don’t like feeling ill and so my body removed it pretty quickly, basically rendering it useless because it came out so fast. I was able to see patterns and things but nothing compared to my fellow drinkers. Then we had a day ceremony, which isn’t the norm, but in the light of day everything can become clear.
The Shamana held this ceremony, not the Shaman, and as I was given the cup to drink it was much fuller than the nights before. I did my best to drink it all and headed to my hammock. As usual my body purged pretty quickly but due to the amount more than normal stayed with me. The forest became a wonder of moving parts. The bark on the trees came to life and then as my body settled into a warm and toasty feeling, I was able to take stock of life. In the background I could hear others purging, loud, like dinosaurs roaring. I watched as the Belgian man fought the air in his hammock and felt the French guy zoom past me muttering something. As I thought about all this, it seemed a little crazy. Here we are, a group of intelligent people, forcibly making ourselves sick, making our bodies do things we have little or no control over and all in the name of searching for something. As another dinosaur roar bellowed out, I questioned. Why must I push my body so far to the limit that it becomes physically ill? Why am I searching for something outside of my body? Why am I here in this jungle? Then as if by magic, or by spiritual law, it hit me. I don’t need to make my body sick to find the answers. I have all the answers I need within me. I don’t need to be in a jungle to find something that I thought was lost. I just need to look at my strengths, successes and failures and know that I didn’t lose anything, I just misplaced it for a while. And there it was, I didn’t need to keep pushing, I didn’t need to keep purging in the jungle, I didn’t need to fill my head with questions, I didn’t need Ayahuasca. But here’s the irony, of course I needed it. I needed it to show me that I didn’t need it.
The next night as I drank without the blockage of the ultimate question and having found the answer I was seeking, I visited many places. It was as if the Ayahuasca was saying, now you are free, I can show you the world.
Many people don’t like to talk about what they see or feel while with Ayahuasca, it’s a very personal journey, and I understand why. If I drank again, which is something I would do, I probably wouldn’t either. I think the moral of this story though is to remember to look inside yourself. If you have misplaced a few things (they’re never really lost) or have questions, you will have the answers. You may just have to listen a little harder than usual.
© The Universe’s Bike
Ayahuasca is a plant derived natural medicine that is used by indigenous cultures to help heal and communicate with nature. Ayahuasca is not for everyone, so please research before you make any decisions about drinking it. For more information see www.ayahuasca-info.com