6:30. Second and last day of our Kombi trip from Arraial d’Ajuda to Ouro Preto. After having coffee, Leo and I walk toward the gaz station, which provides cold water, agua gelada, for the truck drivers. I unscrew the cork and handle the first bottle to Leo, who places it under the reservoir’s tap.
- Do you believe in God? He asks me.
Normal dawn-time conversation in Brazil. My only possible answer is another question.
- Which god? … I believe in… Something bigger. Universe. Life.
This has been my answer since I started trying to define my Spirituality, at 16 years old or so. At that time, I had read all Paulo Coelho’s book and was purposely brainwashing myself with Abraham-Hick’s Law of Attraction. I surely believed in a so-called Universe. Even though I always found religions interesting, I was skeptical about all those I knew a little bit about: Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Afrocuban or Candomblê… How could any religion be “true” since there were so many of them telling different stories? So my answer had always been: “I think religions are nice stories ».
But my 8-weeks stay in Brazil started to shift this idea of mine. In January, I was hosted in Salvador by Mediums who practiced Spiritism. In the room where I slept, my host maintained an altar with a dozen of figurines from the Candomblê and Catholic religions. Spirits from various religions coexisted. During this month, I opened to the possibility of true religious figures existing at the same time for different cultures, in different territories of the World. Further readings and conversations would confirm this hypothesis of all beliefs drawing from the same multi-dimensional reality and expressing through infinite symbols and phenomenoms around the Earth, Galaxy, and… Who knows, what’s further, what’s behind? My Ayahuasca experience, which deeply opened my mind to all possibilities outside our 3D dimension, completed this shift of perception.
- I believe, claims Leo, that religions were created to hide something, to control us.
- I believe, I answer, that all religions are originally true. Humans are not that creative. But I do agree that institutional religions – churches, rituals – were created to control us.
Bottles are filled. The five of us – six, including Toto, Taurus’ little white dog – jump in the Kombi. As usual, I sit on the floor in front of the back bench and place the computer on my knees: ready to write the last bit of by Ayahuasca experience.
On the fifth day after the ritual, I was getting a little bit nervous about my spontaneous meditative-out-of-body sensations, my cruely-deep-existentalist-« This-dimension-is-a-lie »-moments and my dreams not getting back to « normal », still revealing my unconscious using the plant’s language – black chaos with sounds, vivid colors and revelations.
On this February 14th, after sending messages of gratitude to all important people in my life, I decided to share my fears regarding the after-effects of Ayahuasca with my friend Cancer, met during the ritual.
[12:19] Gabrielle: I’m having lots of “out of body” feeling since ayahuasca. And some very strange sensations that scare me at times. Not you???
Then, waiting for his answer, I decided to read a bit of a book Cancer had suggested to me: The Doors Of Perception, by Aldous Huxley. What I first read, on the last page of the book, was nothing to help my anxiety: “But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out.” Shit. There’s no way back.
But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.
THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION, ALDOUS HUXLEY
So. Some of it is good – wiser, better equipped to understand –, some of it I can deal with – less cocksure, acknowledging his ignorance –, but some of it sounds as an ever-ending blackwhole I’ll have to survive. Less self-satisfied. Unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend. I decided to focus on the first question: Have I really crossed the doorstep? And… Am I alone in this? No one could answer best than the Shaman himself.
[12:47] Gabrielle: Hi! After Ayahuasca, I’ve experienced lots of strange sensations, such as feeling out-of-body as soon as I focus on something: write, listen to music, observe people. I don’t feel my body anymore. And I feel lots of activity in my brain muscle. Is it normal? Also, a deep sensation that everything is illusion overwhelms me at some moments, scaring me as hell. At other moments, I feel normal, and am almost disappointed by this. I don’t know how to find my balance.
Shaman: The tea connects you to your Superior Self. The perception that our lives are illusion is the spiritual experience that the Plant has given you. Only the Spiritual is real. The material world is illusion.
Gabrielle: Ok… So I’m struggling with accepting that… Is it difficult for everybody or is it only for me?
Shaman: Kkk… For everybody. It is a very deep expansion of consciousness. we have to work with this for eternity. Earth is only a very quick passage. The eternity of Life is reality.
Gabrielle: Why are some people not traumatized by this? Why do they talk about this experience as if it is all nice and beautiful?
Shaman: It is also nice and beautiful. But to reach this, we have to be purified first. It’s work, work, work. Unending work.
Gabrielle: Yes, I think so. But I read other people’s experiences on internet and they only talk about halucinations and feeling good. They don’t talk about understanding that All is illusion. And how difficult it it to accept this.
Shaman: Understanding that we live an illusion is deeply revelatory. I felt really good when I understood this. We are trapped by the Ego. Ayahuasca is liberation.
Gabrielle: Ok. I’ll meditate on this. Thank you.
Shaman: Read with attention the “Decretos del Archangel Miguel”. They contain a lot of wisdom.
By the time I was WhatsApping with the Shaman, Cancer answered my question.
[13:07] Cancer: So, my dreams are more intensive. They have been revealing some things to me and I’m able to controle them. And I’ve been feeling diferent as well.
Gabrielle: Wow! We must talk about it.
Cancer: Yeah, we must.
I felt a bit reassured. I was not alone in this.
To be enlightened is to be aware, always, of total reality in its immanent otherness – to be aware of it and yet to remain in a condition to survive as an animal, to think and feel as a human being, to resort whenever expedient to systematic reasoning. Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be. Unhappily we make the task exceedingly difficult for ourselves.
THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION, ALDOUS HUXLEY.
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