At the start of every Ayahuasca retreat we ask the participants for the reasons that moved them to attend it. Their comments most often refer to the problems they have for which they hope ayahuasca will provide a solution.
Such problems may be physical ailments, aspects of their personalities which they dislike, painful situations in their personal lives, trouble in their work or family environment, difficulties in their relationships, etc.
Very often they expect that ayahuasca will bring a solution to those problems. It is reasonable and it makes good sense, when we have a problem, the sensible response is to take action by looking for a solution to it, and ayahuasca seems like a wonderful option. So many people have given testimonials claiming that their lives have changed for the better through it; it looks like a magical solution worth giving a try to.
Yet in most cases our observation is that what ayahuasca provides isn’t a solution in the conventional meaning of that word, but a temporary expansion of our consciousness that enables us to change our perception of our reality.
Some people believe that such a change of perception could only possibly be a distorted perception of it. In my experience as a group facilitator, we all live in a limited and distorted perception of reality which we have come to regard as normal. Some people refer to that perception as “The Matrix”, a concept that became popular by the famous movie. Such general perception isn’t even questioned; we all agree to call it reality. Such collective neurosis is generalized, it’s hardly ever recognised as such. Freud called it “psychological reality”
Hallucinogens are substances that create distorted perceptions, many of those who have never tried ayahuasca believe that it surely must provoke hallucinations. The actual fact is that ayahuasca isn’t a hallucinogen but an entheogen; it provides enhanced clarity rather than distorted illusions. Both of them look unreal to the regular “Matrix “mind, yet they are entirely different to each other. In fact, they are antagonistically different, a hallucination is an unconscious experience in the same way that a dream is, while an entheogen brings about the possibility of a super-conscious experience.
An entheogen enables us to access profound perceptions and understandings which are unreachable in our usual state of consciousness (that is, from the Matrix); through psycho-therapeutic techniques such clarity can be integrated and consolidated into our day to day life.
Our consciousness expands during the ayahuasca session and contracts again when the effect wears off, through psycho-therapeutic techniques we manage to benefit from the clear perceptions we had and we treasure and nourish them so that they eventually become our actual experience, our understanding eventually grows without the need of any help to sustain it. As we increasingly live in the intelligence of our own consciousness the need for supports from external substances such as ayahuasca is no longer needed.
“EVOLUTION TAKES PLACE WHEN WE DARE TO CHANGE OUR PERCEPTION OF REALITY”, this is the motto of Ayahuasca International. The retreats are called “Inner Evolution retreats with therapeutic use of Ayahuasca”, a title which describes our approach with remarkable accuracy.
In the light of our new perceptions our problems often don’t look as problems anymore, we come to appreciate them as gifts from life, as opportunities to grow and expand the infinite potential we all have as human beings.
We propose neither to avoid nor to escape the so-called problems but to expand, enhance and clarify our perception of those things which we have labelled as “problems”.
John Lennon expressed this insight very clearly when he sang…
“People asking questions, lost in confusion,
Well I tell them there’s no problem, only solutions”
We’re the masters and creators of our own lives. We create the reality we live, as we change and expand our perceptions our reality changes and expands accordingly.
In every retreat we see many participants who access such possibilities, which are actually our natural birthrights as human beings.
I regard it as a blessing to be able to be a part of these retreats, and thank my own consciousness for bringing me to such a privileged work.