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Some say that drinking ayahuasca in Peru changes you. Some say it can be an excruciatingly difficult medicine to take, both physically and mentally.
I have seen and heard many people weep like injured children for hours on end while under the influence of it. It can be deeply disturbing to witness this process, especially in an altered state. The pain of our brothers and sisters, laid bare, without hesitation, self-consciousness, or shame, will shake your foundation as the snake squeezes your gut like a Python.
You see, when I booked my ticket to Peru from my small, dimly lit office in West Los Angeles, where I spent most of my time, I probably would have done ANYTHING to change my path in life. I probably would have considered drinking six-month old dirty water from an aquarium if a talented enough mystic told me to do it.
I was past the end of my rope. The end of my rope was miles away.
So I booked 30 days in Peru -- a hotel in Cusco which was 2-3 hours from one of the most significant wonders of the world: Machu Picchu.
Back in my office, thinking about Peru and how it might change me, the Western-influenced voices started to appear in my head.
“You’re getting old, man!”
“This is your last chance.”
“If you’re going to change your career, you better do it now...it’s probably already too late!”
“If you quit your job, you will starve to death on the streets of Los Angeles like all those people you pass in the morning on the way to your car. That could be YOU.”
Round and round the voices went as I considered drinking ayahuasca in Peru to find my life’s purpose.
What is ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) is a vine that grows in the Amazon jungle in Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador. The psychotropic brew that is created from a mixture of the vine and a shrub, Chacruna (Psychotria viridis) is also called Ayahuaca.
This strange and otherworldly "tea" has been used by tribes in the Amazon for thousands of years to heal various maladies and also, perhaps, as a rite of passage in a ceremonial capacity. Many scholars say that the ayahuasca was not taken by the patient to heal his/her illness but, rather, was taken by the shaman to give them the extraordinary access to universal consciousness that would allow them to see the proper remedy for the ailing patient. Thus, it was the “doctor” that took the medicine.
However, now, ayahuasca is marketed – especially in Peru – as a sort of self-help Guru situation for crestfallen Westerners whose material success did not supply the level of satisfaction or equilibrium that they expected. Often in middle age, people who focused their lives exclusively on money instead of following their true purpose, (no matter how scary), are left feeling emptier than an abandoned cargo ship on a desert island.
I had done ayahuasca in Malibu in Los Angeles a couple of years earlier, but it had failed to make the significant and transforming impact that I was expecting, (perhaps erroneously), from something outside of myself.
But now I wasn’t playing around.
I was going to the source.
I was going to Peru!
(TO BE CONTINUED)...