Jan. 27, 2013

“Have you ever loved someone?” Hector asked me. “Someone beside your children and grandchildren?” I don’t know. Maybe not.

When Hector said good-bye to me today, he made what sounded like a joke. He said, “Kisses and humps.” He either meant “hugs” or he’s very funny.

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Hitchhiking to Santa Marta tomorrow. The Ayahuasca taught me that life is very different from I think it is. What I have learned to see and believe is largely untrue. Reality is quite different.

When I see danger on the road, it is my perception. It is not necessarily what’s out there. I have been taught to see danger that might be there. I have been taught to be constantly on guard. Parents do this to their children to protect them. We always fear that our children will be hurt and die before us. We scare them to protect them. But it doesn’t protect them. Unrealistic fears only isolate people from life.

This is life; we get hurt sometimes. The goal is not to avoid danger; the goal is to really LIVE, try new things, experiment and find out who you are. Being aware of danger is good because, with this knowledge a person can decide if they want to take a chance or not. They know the risks and the boundaries. It’s up to them.

I was walking around at the Ayahuasca ritual, and I was lying down in my sleeping bag. Regular things. I felt “normal.” But in retrospect, I was experiencing an altered state. Nothing was normal; nothing was regular. My mind had been affected, and I could no longer impose my beliefs. value, norms, or mores on the environment. The veils were stripped from my eyes; the veil wasn’t lifted from the doorway to the Other Side.

NO VEIL EXISTS between us and the Other Side except for the veils over our own eyes. They are barriers we erect between ourselves and life. Why do we so strongly resist seeing the truth? There’s more to it than our parents’ warnings.

Why are rituals like Ayahuasca and Peyote communal and not solo? Many people (and especially medicine men and women) take these hallucinogenic drugs alone. For people like me, hallucinogenic drugs can be dangerous. A person may have a “bad trip,” so people need to be there to help them.

I would have just fallen asleep during the Ayahuasca ritual. I did fall asleep several times, but the taita’s helpers were always around to help me wake up (though they didn’t force me to wake up). This way, I retained consciousness. I saw that the awareness I have in my dreams is not unique to the dream state. I was IN the dream state, but I was wide awake. Reality hadn’t changed; I had changed. I was apprehending reality in a different state of mind.

Reality is not what I thought it was. That’s the lesson I got from this first experience with Pachamama. I live in her world, but I never saw the truth about it. I never saw what the world really is like I saw only what I thought was true. I am like a child seeing the world for the first time.

I have lots of questions. They will only be answered over time.

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It’s so great living with a bunch of gay guys for a few days. They cook wonderful meals and eat sit-down dinners at the table with placemats and napkins. I usually do the dishes. Last night I made a wonderful salad to go with the tequenos Hector made. His mom has a restaurant, and he knows how to cook. I gave Jose 100 bolivares at the supermarket, and I picked out all the salad stuff (lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cilantro, and mushrooms). Two guests joined us for dinner.

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All I need to carry with me tomorrow is water.

Friends are one of the best things in the world. Even if you don’t know a person very well, if you trust them, that’s all it takes. Suddenly, you’re not alone.

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