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Life is a two-way street: The most important lesson learned from Ayahuasca

Forget the damage others are doing to you, first take a look at the damage you are doing to yourself.
Then take another look, and then another, and soon you will see that there is no enemy outside.
The war is going on within you. It’s your true self against your false sense of self.
Your true self lives in the world around you, you only have to learn how to see it.
Understanding that the world is being co-created in the present, rather than something that was created by one being in the past, is the most profound realization one can reach.
Essential Love by Anderson Debernardi

This is what I have learned with the beautiful guidance of Ayahuasca and Silvia, the lead facilitator at the Spirit Vine Retreat Center.

Endless Seeking

To give you some background about myself, the core characteristic of my personality is to be a Peace-maker. So naturally, the only thing I don’t have is Peace! I tend to find everything else except this one golden egg. So what do I do? I seek, and I seek some more. I never stop trying.

I feel that making others come to peace will bring me peace. I can see everyone around me is in pieces. I can help them piece themselves together and find their whole and complete peace, even if it’s just for an ephemeral moment. But what about me? After decades of trying, I realized that helping others find peace never helped to find my own peace.

So what I started doing is following the exact advice I am giving to the world around me. The whole time I was thinking that they are in need of help, and I was the wonderful savior who could help them find what they need. Having needs was never something I acknowledged. My sense of self was derived from the world around me. I made others needs my needs, I dissolved into the stories of others. I found my sense of self by losing my sense of self and becoming the other.

The day I read the chapter related to the Peacemaker in “The Wisdom of the Enneagram”,it hit me right in the face. I am everything but myself. I lost my essence and while seeking it I tried everything I saw around me. Is this cigarette me? Is this joint me? Is this person me? Is this clothing me? Is this food me?

No. No! NO!!

Nothing fits me! So what on Earth am I?

Finding The Answer

I am I. It’s as simple as that. My essence is Constant Change. I am that which is beyond all labels. I am beyond everything that is rational. Beyond Everything that originates from the limited mind.

Once I discovered this Essence, I found the power to define my ego and use the labels I wanted. The labels that made me feel comfortable. Not what culture or family taught me is supposed to be “right”. Even though the labels are limiting, having these boundaries to define myself in this reality makes me much more powerful than using the labels of others. And I always have the connection to my infinite self.

The Path Forward

Harmonizing and integrating oneself is the only path forward, everything else is just craziness. A lot of people become phobic to boundaries because the “system” or “society” has created boundaries. The rebels of the world, including my old self (I was a Class-A Rebel), like to believe that breaking boundaries will help them find their true self. But this addiction to breaking boundaries is the very opposite of the true self.

The true self knows how to find infinity even in a single grain of sand. As long as you are seeking you will keep failing, because that is the game. The day you decide to stop seeking and commit to becoming a finder, you will find all the answers sitting right in front of your face.

Having healthy boundaries is the most important thing one can learn in their lifetime.

Creating a space for oneself where no one can intrude and interrupt the flow of life, is the first step in breaking the barriers of the limited or false self. The false self is either overstepping boundaries or allowing others to do the same.

It is like a child that is crying, and instead of the parent finding out what is bothering the child, they tell the child to eat a candy and not to feel sad. Now the child believes feeling sad is resolved by eating candy, and also that it can get a candy just by crying. So what does the child do when the parent says No? It starts crying. And the parent, instead of setting a healthy boundary, allows their guilt and inability to watch the child crying to overpower them and they give the child a candy.

If you need to feel sad, feel sad. If you need to feel guilty, feel guilty. Don’t replace it with a false sense of happiness. Sometimes we need to feel something and that is just part of the life experience. Escaping endlessly will get you nowhere. A lot of people have the idea that death ends everything, and killing themselves will end their suffering, but:

Death is not an Escape.

Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, running away from your problems will get you nowhere. Your problems have a way of finding you until you resolve them. The best way to do this is to face them and find out their purpose. Once you know the purpose and learn what you need to learn, you find the power to deal with it. It’s only breaking through problems that helps us find our power.

This leads to another point — helping others when they never asked for it. When we don’t respect what is required in the moment, we are not helping others, we are disrupting their process. Sometimes a person has to suffer a bit to find their own power, but if we go and help them, we just steal their power and a golden opportunity for them to rise from their suffering.

When you learn to set boundaries, you are telling yourself that you respect your space. And when you learn to respect your space, you learn to respect the space of people around you. This in turn makes people respect your space. You see where this is going? Boundaries defined by yourself change the world around you in a way that helps each individual grow and become a better member of the larger society.

Beyond Duality

The world around you is where all the disintegrated parts of you are living. When you learn to see each and every being as a reflection of yourself you will find and become your true self. You will become one with your surroundings and forget hatred because everything is you. If you hate yourself, it’s only because the part of you which needs love is missing. It is up to you to rescue this part and give it the love that has been lacking since it was separated. When you do this you start seeing that everything around you is love, not the false hatred that you project onto the world. Through this process you transform into a loving being yourself.

Each being is co-creating the present and this is the only reality.

Stop fighting and start understanding why you were fighting. What are you really achieving by damaging another person? What is it you are truly seeking?

The marriage of your right self with your left self will open your center — your True Self.

We live in a world of duality, and we have failed for a long time to rise above and take an objective look at the world. Instead of being polarized in the duality and feeling like a victim/savior/oppressor, all we have to do is step outside and become the observer. From this viewpoint we can see that everything has a purpose. Nothing is accidental or a mistake.

The world is giving you exactly what you need. The world around you is a culmination of answers to all the questions you are asking within you. If someone is treating you in a disturbing way, it is only to make you realize that it is you doing the same to yourself and probably even to others without realizing it.

When we come to this realization, we automatically break all the patterns that have been limiting us. We reclaim the control of our life by taking responsibility for what is happening. When you can learn to make the change within yourself, you will discover a whole new world waiting for you…

Ayahuasca

The biggest key for me to learn this unfathomably important lesson, is one of the greatest teachers — Ayahuasca.

It is a teacher that will give you what you need. If you don’t want it or don’t wish to accept it, and you wish to control ayahuasca, you will have a bad trip. Taking you beyond yourself and forcing you to look at yourself from the outside is a harsh way of teaching, but for people who are stubborn and unwilling to face reality, a teacher who will be strong and force them to see, is exactly what is required. If you are willing to accept whatever is shown to you, you will have the best time of your life because you will no longer be fighting.

Ayahuasca is beautiful because behind everything there is Love. It is not being harsh because it is a monster, it is because that is exactly what you do to yourself. In it’s essence, Ayahuasca is the mirror of your false self. And it finds the most optimal and loving way to show you what you need to see in order to transform yourself and move forward.

When you find your true self, you realize that you are Ayahuasca. You are the beauty and the beast, and the one who watches the story unfold.

The Space

I started my work with ayahuasca at the Spirit Vine Retreat Center in Brazil in 2014. I now live here as a volunteer facilitator having experienced ayahuasca many times and working for a long time to go deep within. The lead facilitator is Silvia, a licensed psychologist with over 30 years of experience with modified states of consciousness. The space we provide is beautiful, safe, comfortable, and this helps to create the perfect storm to carry people to the level they are ready to reach. We welcome everyone who feels the call and is ready for change.

Relaxing by the natural pond prior to a ceremony

My Previous Article

Ayahuasca: A story of how I took back control of my life