“PEOPLES’ GAZES ARE MY MEDICINE”
Revealing clarifications from Ayahuasca International’s founder about the people that work in the organization.
A lot of people ask us about our facilitators’ training; wanting to know if we are therapists, shamans or health professionals. It is a fascinating subject that explains, to a great extent one, of the secrets why there are organizations that grow beyond all adversity. This is related to the ability of creating affective connections with those who work on the same project, with the pressing need to recover hope in life and trust others.
We are a team made up of over 50 people from over 10 countries (and we have just begun). 30 of these are international facilitators that receive continuous training in the European School of Ayahuasca; it’s an informal training (not regulated) that develops an extensive and varied program of subjects that are presented, in great depth, in a theoretical way; at the same time accompanied by permanent practice monitored by health professionals, shamans and other facilitators with several years of experience.
Even though we are not shamans, they are the ones who have originally taught us the understanding of the science of master and power plants, and who also support us in this work. In fact, they entrust the Ayahuasca to us because they know the way we use it. The foundation of our work with others is our own individual processes. Because of this the facilitators travel to the jungle at least twice a year to be in contact with shamans and nature. Some facilitators end up specializing in accompanying people from all over the world on journeys to the jungle. .
I consider that it is vital to know not only Ayahuasca and how to use it, but also to have a wide and experienced knowledge of the diverse problems that the participants carry, in order to be able to provide correct and suitable words as a way of orientating the evolution process that each person that takes Ayahuasca goes through. Being a facilitator is knowing “to support and accompany” the processes of every participant that attends our retreats. It is not to guide or help, because we work with personal empowerment, in a way that every person understands that they have to take charge of their process and hold themselves. Besides, “we collaborate” so that every person that comes to us feel safe and sound, cared for and protected. But the inner work is to be done by each one with themself. If somebody leaves with the sensation that what they have achieved is because of others, then they become dependent. If they leave knowing that they were able to achieve it by themselves, then they become more self-confident.
Ayahuasca International facilitators are undergoing permanent training. There’s no other way around it, because their evolution processes are alive and evolving such as the participants’; that is why they are constantly supervised by an expert team with great experience. Apart from participating in the school’s training cycles, every month they gather to attend n internal and intensive training based on the understanding of the different processes that open up when one takes entheogens that expand consciousness. These meetings are private and FREE. We started with them in Spain, and since 2016 we are also doing them in Italy, Mexico, Colombia and Germany for our facilitators and collaborators.
The facilitators are hired permanently, and are assigned a mentor to follow their personal evolution and the tasks they carry out. INNER MASTERY INTERNATIONAL S.L.U. is the company that organizes these events providing a quality guarantee in the work that is offered to the participants. It is legally constituted in several countries throughout Europe and America. In such a way, every participant may contact the company to mention or present any kind of claim they may have.
Many participants ask us: How can we become a part of this team? Who can become a facilitator? FIRST OF ALL YOU NEED TO BE A PARTICIPANT. Every facilitator has first been a participant who has benefited greatly and for that we are grateful for what we have received in the retreats prior to becoming facilitators.
Becoming an Ayahuasca International facilitator means to go through an entire process in itself. There are professionals with great experience that volunteer to become one, but they don’t accept going through said integration process. Some people present their long CVs in order to prove that they can start working right away. But that is not enough, even for renowned or experienced people in the Ayahuasca or therapy world. We need to see each person in action, we need to feel their energy and above all, we need to detect where they find themselves in their inner evolution. From then on, we propose them to carry out our integration and mentor programme for a couple of months, during which they start practicing. It is an intense process. Very confronting and at the same time of great usefulness; there are over 30 people who WEREN’T able to complete it in the last couple of years, but there are more than 30 people who WERE able to persevere and settle within the organization with amazing results. It is a great challenge.
There are a lot of people thinking that you need to be professional, a shaman or a teacher in order to do this job, but this is not our case. While some of our facilitators are shamans, or psychologists, some are therapist or psychotherapists, others are professionals in other fields, or self-taught; (take me for example, being the leader of the organization, I am the one with the least formal studies) but all of them are anchored in the same position from which they move. It is that point of connection and union which allows us to perform with the support of everyone else. That point in itself has a whole ideological development within the organization, which is not based on beliefs or traditions but in new approach models, that are open to new and spontaneous views. In my personal case, I’m open to the new, fresh and authentic perspectives that every person that joins the team brings me.
Each one of us is increasingly conscious that the most important aspect of this job is the ability to connect with our own personal power and to express the Being in a natural way to others.
WE DO NOT OFFER ILLUMINATED OR TRASCENDED FACILITATORS
What up until now used to be the “Spiritual Teacher” appearing in the guru format, we have transformed it into the “Master Energy”. Evidently there has been a gender change; we have set aside the masculine figure of “teacher” towards the feminine. This is a “healing energy” supported by everyone, as a spiritual family. This implies that the core of the power that I have as a founder and director of the organization is decentralized, so that every member can stop being “supervised”, as a “follower” or a “spectator”. This can be accomplished through complex confrontations that I carry out with each one of them, and as a result of the courage that each one of them activates in themselves to take over their commitment, responsibility, dedication and to take advantage of the opportunities the company offers at all times and in all areas.
Most of the people that get stuck on the way and aren’t able to continue the process or leave it have reached a point of their own limitations that they are not able to transcend. But that is also enriching, at least they can make it to that point with us which is a triumph in itself because they can later move on in their own paths knowing the point at which they will need to take a leap.
Most people go through those inner limits and they go in-depth to a universe of possibilities, both of human and spiritual development and of personal fulfilment. And the most precious thing about this project is that these people are not teachers, gurus or enlightened beings, they are much more than that. These are people that have taken the leap, and that in itself is a miracle within a society that dedicates itself only to conditioning and limiting.
These are the reasons why we do not create ideals to follow based on being better than the participants, or being more elevated than them. Because we have come to terms with the fact that each person carries different conditionings, and that we are all in different stages of overcoming these. Each human being configures its potentiality and limitations in their own individual way. In the face of that there’s only room for love and comprehension.
We are neither an example nor a role model to anyone; we are only interested in being a source of inspiration from our own lives for other people who want to overcome themselves and dare to take the leap. WE ARE TAKING IT AT EVERY MOMENT. THIS IS WHY WE DEDICATE OURSELVES TO THIS TASK, TO OUR INNER WORK.
As our executive director Laura Torrabadella said: “We have understood that we are all equal before creation. That a therapeutic link is not a relationship, but a place where two people go together, side by side, to discover the mystery of the other, the unknown and what is left to know. Participants are our medicine, their own medicine and the medicine of other participants, and we create and we hold spaces in order for that medicine to be able to come to light and touch the hearts of each person that attends our meetings”.
Every time I introduce myself to the students and facilitators that I train, or am a participant in a retreat, I keep my eyes wide open in order to observe the prodigious presence of the beings that come to heal me with their gaze. That is why my image is centred in my eyes, because they are the window to my own healing.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A FACILITATOR WITHIN THE AYAHUASCA INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION?
1 THEY DON’T HELP. They support and accompany participants, allowing them to do the work themselves.
2 THEY DON’T CARRY OUT TREATMENTS. They inspire from the confidence that everything can be overcome.
3 THEY DON’T GUIDE. They orient and indicate the direction from a place of self knowledge based on their own experience.
4 THEY DON’T PROJECT. They express their being. They allow their essence to spontaneously radiate.
5 THEY DON’T DOMINATE. They hold the space; place their attention on details and guidelines so that commitment can arise.
6 THEY DON’T TEACH. They are open and attentive to their own process. They listen to the others as well as themselves.
7 THEY DON’T IMPOSE. They offer creative alternatives to understand problems and to surpass the obstacle.
8 THEY DON’T GIVE ELABORATE RESPONSES. They offer a range of considerations so that the one who is asking may be able to provide the answer.
9 THEY DON’T SET EXAMPLES. They experiment, learn, fail, overcome and evolve.
10 THEY DON’T ARGUE. They are unidentified. They don’t need to be right, they put the obstacles aside on the path of wisdom.
11 THEY DON’T JUDGE. They understand the human condition in its depth (both limitation and potentiality).
These are the 11 points that graphically represent the union and connection point from which we move.
They carry so much importance, that they allow us to work with ourselves eternally, and they make us work with ourselves as if it were an eternal game that we share with all the team.
This is what we call FAMILY, not blood family, but spiritual family. We are and we constitute the frame and the setting that benefits our own healing.
When people approach our activities, they enter that energetic field, that is often weak, out of order or even absent. But all of that is part of the evolution game. This is why it is of utmost important to be attentive. The attention is that part of our consciousness that lets us know, alerts us, announces to us and makes us realize that sometimes we are not on the same level as circumstances. This is when the possibility of overcoming ourselves presents itself over and over.
Each participant is given that possibility of overcoming. That is why I have created a warranty certificate so that any participant that didn’t perceive this energy I am talking about, can give themselves and us a new opportunity, offering them to come to a new retreat free of charge. This is because we unconditionally respect the process of our facilitators, their falls included, and we make the most of them so that every participant may support the organization with their understanding.
Deep down, as expressed several times above; you and I are the same. We can help each other on the way to healing. This is the integrating phenomenon between the one who gives and the one who receives, when the healing intention is matched between one and others.
Alberto José Varela