Facing the Dragon: An Ayahuasca Experience (Part 3, Side 2: The Reality)
I heard the consciousness telling me it was time to move on. I didn’t know what it meant but I wanted to find out. “Let’s go,” I said. “In order for you to go you have to leave your body behind,” it replied. “Sure, let’s go. I’ll leave my body behind,” I said. I was ready for what was next. Exasperated, it said “No, really. You have to leave behind all the things that make you Rey. You have to willingly give it up. You’ll never see those things again. You have to die.”
(This is Part 3 Side 2 of Facing the Dragon: An Ayahuasca Experience. If you want to know how I began this journey, click here to check out Part 1.)
In a flash, I saw all the things I would leave if I died: my wife, my friends, my family, my memories, all the things I worked hard to achieve. I couldn’t do it. “Okay, I’m ready,” I said, lying. There was a long pause. Then it replied, “You’re not ready. Good bye.” “Wait,” I said. “Okay… okay… give me a moment.” I reconsidered what I would be leaving behind. I used to be okay with my mortality. A long time ago I rationalized it would be the people I leave who would be in pain when I die. All of my pain will be gone. I could live with that, so to speak. This rationalization didn’t work as well as it used to since I was married. I couldn’t willingly inflict the pain my death would bring to my wife. I couldn’t go. I told it I was too faithful to my wife and my vow to be with her until our (natural) death.
Abruptly, a pleasurable sensation pulsed throughout my body. My arms laid limp by my sides and my legs were spread apart. I melted. I tried to resist the better-than-an-organism sensation but, I couldn’t. I wanted more. I was willing to do anything and go anywhere it wanted me to. The sensation stopped, as instantly as it begun. “Are you still faithful,” it said with a laugh. “Fuck,” I said, “I am, now and forever.” That blissful feeling began again throughout my body with more intensity than before. I futilely resisted and gave in again.
This perverse torture lasted until I agreed to die and leave everything behind. Defeated, I tried to hold on to the thought that I wouldn’t really die. This was all an illusion. I’ll just experience some shit and be back in no time. I made myself aware of my wedding ring to remind me of this fact. Then it said, “Remove your ring.” I paused. It knew my thoughts. I tried another approach. “You remove it for me,” I said. If I didn’t remove the ring, I figured, I can’t be held responsible. My hand raised. The ring moved slowly up my finger but when it was about to move past my knuckle it reversed direction and my hand dropped to the mat. “You have to take the ring off yourself,” it told me. “I can’t do it for you.”
Resigned, I took a deep breath and slowly removed my wedding ring. Before it was completely off, I held on to the thought that what was happening wasn’t real and I would return. I put the ring on the side of my mat for safekeeping until my return. “You’re not ready. Put your ring on. You’re done,” it said. “No,” I replied. “No. Fine. I’m ready.” I pushed the ring away and I heard it tumble in the darkness far away from my mat. It was lost forever. Tears soaked my cheeks. All of my resistance was gone. I submitted to dying. I wiped my face. I was ready. Orlando said, “Rey are you okay.” “Yes,” I replied. “Do you want to continue.” “Yes” I said again. “Okay.” He began chanting and we were off.
I started to see vignettes of my life — similar to the “This is Your Life” experience as before. But this time I only saw the events that led me to drink ayahuasca; from the Joe Rogan Podcast to M and my wife offering to accompany me. There were too many coincidences. It was put together so perfectly. “Was any of it real,” I asked. “What is ‘real’” it answered. Then elaborating it said, “Reality is a simulation that was made for you. Everything that has occurred in your life and all the people in it was a ploy to get you to drink ayahuasca and it worked. The simulation is your prison and everyone in it are your guards. It is punishment for your past deeds. In between lives you come here to be tested to see if you’re ready to be released. If you pass you’ll ascend to a higher being. Will this be the time you pass?…
Again, vignettes of my life played. Everything was darkened in the sinister light of revelation. I have been betrayed, from the beginning. All the people I’ve ever known and loved were engaged in an elaborate conspiracy against me. I have been manipulated my entire life. I could see it clearly now. Their love for me wasn’t real. Nothing I had experienced was real. Where I was at the moment was real, I think... I couldn’t trust anything. I was fucked with nowhere to go but forward. I was already dead.
I was handled roughly though a maze of corridors then tossed in front of a door-like membrane. It stood wide and tall. Blue semi-solid liquid rippled throughout this membrane. I sensed higher level beings watching me from the other side but I couldn’t see any of them clearly. Some were paying attention to me interested to see if I would pass, but others went about their business. I stepped in, cautiously.
I felt weightless — without a body to speak of. I had no physical sensations, only thoughts and emotions. I thought of all the people that betrayed me and felt a surge of anger, hatred and fear. Fear — strongest of all. I was completely helpless. I heard Orlando say, “Rey are you okay?” A spike of anger consumed my consciousness. He was so nice and he tricked me. I was so stupid to be fooled. “Relax… relax,” he continued. I couldn’t relax. “He’s not real and he’s telling me to relax. What the fuck?” I thought. Then he said the words in Creole — the language spoken to me by my parents. That threw me off. Suddenly, I remembered I was being tested. The hate and fear slowly drained out of my emotions. I had to give up all control. I had to completely accept my fate, whatever it is. That was the test. The test was about letting go, accepting and finding inner peace. I couldn’t do any of those things. I failed.
Still senseless, I floated in vast emptiness. The only thing I had were my thoughts. “Where was I,” I wondered. “What was this place? How did I get here?” No answers came. With nothing else to do, I started to imagine a life and living. I imagined being born, growing up and having hopes, dreams and ambitions. Some dreams were met and others were failed miserably, but it was all enjoyable. Life was spectacular. Then I died and returned to the vast emptiness. It was a peculiar daydream, I thought. While in it, I forgot about the traps, the betrayals and vast emptiness I was currently stuck in. It was like I lived a full life. Then it dawn on me in a tsunami of understanding. Life had been a daydream. This wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last. I had been in this emptiness for a long time waiting on something. I don’t know what, but something. I put myself in this emptiness and, while I waited, I had daydreams where I would live out an imagined life.
Staggering in disbelief, I thought about escaping this nothingness. There had to be a way out. The only thing I could think of was to go back into the life simulation and do things differently. So that’s what I did. I imagined being born and growing up. I had hopes, dreams and ambitions. I had loves and insecurities. It was wonderful. I enjoyed the sensual pleasures that having a body affords. I ate delicious meals and marveled at all the vivid colors of life. I busied myself in the day-to-day trying to overcome the next hurdle. Until, one day, I died.
I floated in emptiness. “Where was I,” I wondered. “What was this place? How did I get here?” “Fuck,” I said to myself. The life I just lived was another daydream. I was still in emptiness. I went in search of a way out, but there was none that I can think of. In disbelief, I thought that there must be a way out. I decided to go back into to living world to do things differently to escape this emptiness.
This loop continued endlessly. Each time I returned to the emptiness there was a moment of complete acceptance and understanding, but I could not maintain it for long. I was convinced there was a way out. I lived a million lives and died a million deaths. After each one, I returned to the emptiness unable to escape.
This was Part 3, Side 2 of Facing the Dragon: An Ayahuasca Experience. Click here to continue to Part 4: Rude Awakening.
About This Story
Facing the Dragon: An Ayahuasca Experience is the story of my trip to Peru in September 2015 to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony. I’ve broken it down into several parts to make it more digestible for consumption. Below are links to each part. I would suggest going in order but, the choice is yours.
- Part 1: Exposure — how I found out about ayahuasca
- Par 2: Mission Accepted — getting to Peru and meeting Orlando, the shaman who conducted my ceremony
- Part 3, Side 1: The Dream — the first side of my ayahuasca experience
- Part 3, Side 2: The Reality — the second side of my ayahuasca experience
- Part 4: Rude Awakening — the day after my ayahuasca experience
- Part 5: The Return — my second ayahuasca experience
- Epilogue — closing thoughts about ayahuasca and next steps
I’m Rey. I like making music, ux designing, iOS developing, hustling and expanding my mind. I write and produce materials in all my above interests. Join my mailing list to get notified when I have something interesting to share. Until then, let go, accept, trust, love, believe and peace.
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