HOW I BEGAN MY SPIRITUAL AND MYSTICAL JOURNEY (First instalment). Carlos from Argentina tells us about his journey to Uruguay to do a retreat; and about his other journeys, inside himself.

WHAT I TELL HERE IS FROM REAL LIFE, MY LIFE, THE ONE THAT IS CHANGING IN UNBELIEVABLE WAYS.

Following a holistic retreat that I went to, where I was gifted an ayahuasca session, I began an internal transformation. (Carlos Alberto Parodi)

Everything began around April of this year. I had been invited to spend a few days in Punta del Este at a friend’s house and, without my intending it to be this way, it ended up being the beginning of a path that I am still travelling today and that I hope to continue along for the rest of my life. The thing is that, due to the time of year, the city was peaceful, there weren’t any people around and I suppose that this helped to strengthen my profound need to stop my internal machine and I understood that it was a good moment to do a holistic retreat. I started to look on Google for a place that was offering such a thing and, of course, since I was in this area of Uruguay (Charrua), the search brought up several local options. For some reason, which in this moment was unknown to me, I didn’t change the search and I understood that the place I was looking for had to be on Uruguayan soil.

The short amount of time I had spent on the other side of the (Argentina-Uruguay) puddle, had generated an immediate empathy in me for these people who I found to be generous, always in a good mood, educated, willing to relate to this Argentine visiting their country for the first time. Here I must make an important clarification: when I refer to how I was received by our closest brothers, I am not talking about those who attended me in the businesses of Punta del Este, who live entirely from tourism and therefore it wouldn’t be surprising for them to be friendly and attentive; really, I am referring to what I lived in each of the little towns that I passed through later on, on many trips, where I saw these traits in people. This was an unknown characteristic for us and it made me emotional to see that within just a few kilometres from my beloved Buenos Aires, people still lived like in my childhood, where poverty wasn’t synonymous with a lack of education and where work meant valuing what we harvest. It was because of this realisation that I understood it had to be in Uruguay and not in Argentina where I was meant to start this long journey to re-find myself; this young version of me who at some point put aside his spiritual growth in order to assume the responsibilities of a man. But this is a phase that has already been overcome. Today it is time to go back to the source, to question, to explore, to live intensely and truthfully in every second on this plane. I had to draw a line in the sand separating everything that came before and had been my life, which in itself had had many significant variations, but which only formed the basis for the true transformation to take place.

The search for a place where I could meditate on all these things that were circulating through my mind in this moment, and then in time through my heart, derived from an email sent by an international company who organise retreats all round the world. The closest place to attend a retreat with this company was Colonia. I wrote them an email explaining that I needed them to tell me what their offering was all about. Close to my birthday, I received an email with information on the two types of retreat that took place in Colonia: one holistic retreat with techniques associated with the system used by Osho, and the other with the use of Ancestral Medicines ((Ayahuasca, Bufo Alvarius, Yopo, Kambó, Rapé, Zananga, etc.). At this point I must clarify that I knew of Osho and had read some of his stuff but it wasn’t really my strong point as my literary studies has gone in a different direction towards Gurdiejff, Castaneda, Ouspensky, Krishnamurti, Yung and others, but not our friend Osho. Due to this, at first I felt interested in developing this new knowledge, above all because a friend had vehemently recommended Osho to me. Also, the idea of using any sort of substances produced in me a rejection and deep fear as I thought about the possible physical consequences because I have cardiac problems. Given these fears and the fact that I was just a couple of days away from my 57th birthday, I decided to give myself a gift and I signed up for a 4-day retreat where we would work on Constellations, Relaxation Dynamics, Kundalini and other holistic techniques that aimed to help everyone who attended the retreat to open our hearts like never before. At least in my personal experence, this re-encounter with my deepest self was very impactful. This part of me had been completely forgotten and stuffed in an old draw under 7 locks. But with love, these parts of me were freed one by one until I arrived at an encounter with Carlitos in his most tender infancy and at the origin of everything.

This experienced left all of us very moved and open, especially me. I felt as if a door had been opened to a space that was very much mine, that needed to be explored. In a private conversation I asked for information about the famous Ancestral Medicines and especially about Ayahuasca. The information I received was brief and not really necessary since I was sure that what was resonating in me was a need to try it. I manifested this and after a short time, the retreat organisers gave us in the form of a “gift” a ceremony on the last night where I was able to try Ayahuasca for the first time. I didn’t know anything about it but was convinced that it would be an experience that would change my life…and did it ever!

At this point I should say that my first contact with the medicine wasn’t shocking, despite having been told that I might vomit (an effect produced from the purification), and that it has a very bitter taste, etc.  In reality I didn’t experience any of this; after taking it and following the instructions of the facilitators, I sat down with my back against the wall, closed my eyes and waited quietly to connect with my deepest feelings. My thoughts began to stop, it seemed as thought I no longer had so many voices going round in my head and as time passed – after about half an hour – I began to see images with my eyes completely closed. They weren’t very clear but they captured all of my attention and it was in this moment that my internal thoughts stopped completely and all that was relevant were the beautiful images that began reproducing themselves closer and closer to me and with increased clarity, maintaining their intensity and gorgeous colours. As I began to realise that the Ayahuasca had begun to have an effect on me, the images started turning into real 3D objects that floated around in front of me, moving quickly and twisting and turning, allowing me to see the most beautiful images I had ever seen in all of my existence. It was hypnotic. I couldn’t stop looking at their tiniest details, they were like gigantic balloons covered in little square spaces where one of these had some sort of event in motion and just as I wanted to understand it I moved on to the next.. There was no way to “capture them”, but not only did the images invade the entire spectrum of my mind and spirit, but also sounds became relevant. In a moment I found myself testing out sounds that my mouth proffered by way of different Om noises. The sounds went from the lowest to the most acute frequencies as if I were travelling with my song through each of my Chakras, this is what it felt like. All of it was such a powerful experience. My body also felt totally taken-over by the rhythm of the music and it began to vibrate in perfect synchronisation. I stayed in this state for hours, navigating different situations which each time introduced me to a world that was deeper and further from our world. I was at the brink of losing touch with my physical body for many hours, 9 in total, and then, like someone who returns after a long journey, a began to regain contact with my body, with my environment and with my physiological needs; this made me open my eyes, which for many hours had been jealously closed as if keeping the mystery all to myself. I saw that everything around me was in order. I got up as if I had slept for hours, even though I had been on a thin mat for all these hours. First I orientated myself towards drinking some water and then “depositing” it in the bathroom. Then I headed for the bedroom, lay down and slept with the greatest internal peace that I had ever experienced up to that moment.

That night the Ayahuasca connected me with the whole experience that I had lived during the retreat, allowing me to close the cycle with a huge feeling of love and gratitude. In that moment I didn’t know how to understand it all; I simply enjoyed it and stored it in my heart.

Upon returning home to the Ciudad de la Furia, I started to be aware of the changes that had been produced in my habitual way of moving through life. Somebody tried to start a fight with me and I didn’t feel the need to respond to or aggravate the other person as they were doing so effusively to me; I understood that we wanted to get into a fight to be the first in line at customs, but what would typically have been a more offensive response on my behalf, and a full and complete willingness to start a fight, didn’t exist. An “I” who didn’t respond with my habitual concert of bravado, checked himself, tried to calm the other person down and explain patiently and gently that his complaint wasn’t valid and he should calm himself down. This didn’t happen. Far from calming him down, in seeing that he wasn’t going to achieve his objective of making me react violently, he turned his fight on the employee of the company. I took advantage of this moment to move to a different queue and put an end to the situation without my head being connected to the violent part of the experience but with this situation that was a total NOT ME. Only God knows the part of me that didn’t let itself be invaded by this alien feeling, but this was just the start. Other changes began materialising that didn’t seem so obvious as they manifested themselves in a calmer way and had more to do with my new choices in life, the new paths I was taking. As I started to be aware of each of my characteristics that meant my life wasn’t a totally happy one, in one blow I became conscious of many attitudes of mine that did nothing but distance me from myself and from those around me. At this point it was now a fact that I needed to begin a path that connected me with all I was living. Everything needed to be internalised, digested, shredded and understood by the heart and not by reasoning; for this reason I decided the next month to do another retreat, this time not a holistic one but one with the use of Ancestral Medicines. This was my second contact with Ayahuasca…

but this I will tell you about later.

Carlos Alberto Parodi

 

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