I surrender! Mother Ayahuasca (part 2)
The ego battle
(note: to read the first part of this story, go here)
It was 12 at noon the next day when I first felt like I had the control of my mind back. I had been up the whole night since the “double medicine” ceremony. I sorta complained to Shaman Alberto that Ayahuasca did nothing to me in my first ceremony, he advised me to take a slightly higher dosage, as well as a second medicine San Pedro, a cactus similar to peyote, as a booster.
The ceremony started at 7 p.m. as usual. I had almost a full bowl of Ayahuasca. Shaman Alberto was quite surprised when I asked for a top-up. He refilled very carefully so that the brew just sat peacefully yet dangerously above the trim of the bowl. I held the bowl with my both hands, repeated my intentions in my mind, and drank the whole thing in one go. “Eres una mujer fuerte!” (“You are a strong woman”) Alberto encouraged me. He also asked me to hold back the purge as long as I could. “La medicina querrá salir, you have to stop it. Respira!” he advised me with his very soothing voice. I thought at this point he had figured out I couldn’t understand 100% of what he said in Spanish, so he tried to speak to me with his limited English, which confused me even more.
Someone told me when I started hearing a sound like a motorboat running in the background that’s the sign of the medicine kicking in. I did hear that sound from far away, yet very clearly, in the soundtrack mix of the running river and shitloads of jungle crickets chirping. I played covering-my-ears to find out if the sound was from outside or inside my head. It was definitely from the outside, in the distance. But supposedly my brain produced this sound under the influence of the medicine? I was perplexed.
I took Alberto’s advice to breathe slowly and deeply, suppressing the urge to purge. He came over with a drum, banging it right above my head while singing some songs. The vibrations of the drumming was really not helping me to hold back my “la purga”. The last bang triggered the vicious cycle of purging. The purge was, again, ridiculously violent. I felt like Mother Ayahuasca was testing me, to see if I had groaned enough before I deserved a share of her attention. She was probably not disappointed.
After a few rounds of mega hurls, my journey changed course. I saw, in my hallucination, really random fictional stories, almost like Japanese animations — characters doing silly stunts, free falling into a dimension with diminishing endless depth, came back alive laughing. My conscious body laughed along. It was all colourful and lively, almost hilarious. I was really amused by how creative, and silly, my subconsciousness was, in order to produce these meaningless shenanigans out of nothing. None of the things I saw was based on any real-life past events, or people, or snakes, or anything that I knew of in my life. It was pure creativity. I pulled myself back to reality by pinning my eyes on the fire. Why didn’t I get any profound message again? What was Ayahuasca trying to teach me with these clownish episodes. Maybe she was telling me my life was a joke? I pondered on while slowly came out of my trip.
Shaman Alberto came over with a gentle smile on his face. He asked if I was ready to take San Pedro. Holding a small bowl of medicine in his hand, he sang a very beautiful icaro while rocking from side to side in front of my mattress, blessing me. I stared at him religiously in a prayer position. The bowl was half-full with this greenish slimy cactus brew. This shit was potent!
In maybe just half an hour, it started to shock my system. I had vast amount of internal chatters going on, and on, and on in my mind, non-stop. My head was totally overloaded, like a processor running full speed making a scratching noise on my hard disk. Now, here came the out-of-the-world encounter: I “travelled” to this realm, half two-dimensional, half three-dimensional, with a sky blue background and an infinite horizon. It was almost like that place when Joy and Sadness met the imaginary friend Ping Pong in the movie “Inside Out”. It was a wonderful place.
There, I saw myself, no, my ego talking to itself — rambling, judging, making up philosophical ideology, swearing and patronising…I didn’t know why I knew it was my ego talking but I knew it was it. At the same time, weirdly, I was “observing” my ego talking at an outer realm, as if I was watching my own movie. There were moments that a couple of “me”, existing in different layers of realms, were jabbering, while “me” in the physical world screamed “Shut the fuck up!” trying to stop the noise. “Let’s focus and talk about what I should do in my life!” I asked. But there was no answer, and the conversation swiftly shifted back to the pointless powwow with my multi-layered egos.
It was probably 4 am, I slowly came out of the trip. But I couldn’t stop processing what had happened — my ego was definitely full of shit. It was judgemental, arrogant, and prone to anger and addiction. I was fully aware of this, but trying to control it was impossible. Eckhart Tolle mentioned in his book A New Earth that “thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence”. I think he is right. But even if I am aware of my ego, what do I do with it? The more I try to control it the nastier it gets. This phenomenal mind-witnessing experience keeps baffling me for the next days.
I have been on a pursuit of getting the Answer — my life’s purpose — through the sacred medicines. Instead I discovered something else: my ego.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” — Eckhart Tolle
Maybe that’s my Answer. But wait, what’s my question again?
This article was originally published on Medium on March 25, 2019