This is the story of my journey from leaving a stable mainstream job in the US to being a caretaker three years later at an isolated rainforest property in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. There, with the invitation of a shaman, I regularly drank Ayahuasca without his supervision. In short, this is the story of radical transformation, or as the subtitle says, this book documents my initiation into plant medicine. SMMM is much more than just a story about me though, which brings us to my intention for writing it. The book serves as a source of information for beginners to Ayahuasca and other sacred medicines. It gives practical guidance that I wish had been given to me before my first ceremonies. There are also many teachings included from my shaman that will benefit a more experienced person.
There are already books available that talk about the healing potential of Ayahuasca. What makes mine unique is the focus on going Beyond Healing. What happens when a person is healed of their suffering, but continues to drink the medicine? I propose that they will continue to awaken, evolve and grow at an accelerated rate. And what happens when a large number of people do this? In my honest opinion, that is the only way humanity will solve the current crisis we face. Politics and technology are simply not enough. To solve problems like environmental destruction, poverty, war and disease we need to transcend our rational minds and access our higher selves. The modern mind is a powerful tool, but inappropriate use of it causes more problems than it solves. My book demonstrates how Sacred medicines can allow us to put the rational mind where it belongs, as servant to the higher self.
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Praise Jesus, praise Buddha, rejoice, you’ve seen the light!!! You just finished a 10-day retreat in the rainforest and have a new perspective of life. For the first time you see beyond the veil of illusion that has been obscuring your vision for all these years. You purged toxins that have been in your system so long that you forgot what it’s like to feel healthy. After living in a crowded concrete city for decades you gained a new appreciation for the color green and the abundance of life that is the rainforest. You experienced a sense of peace forgotten long ago and realize this is how life is supposed to be. And in a few days you are catching a flight to Lima before connecting to that long international flight back home… then what happens next?
American Dream Some would say I had it all. Certainly not wealthy by American standards, but by world standards I was quite successful. A stable and permanent job with the federal government; known for offering generous benefits including retirement, health insurance, paid leave, sick time, and holidays. I lived in a city with a high quality of life, including easy access to nature, many organic food stores nearby, and a population of educated people. My apartment had a beautiful view of the bay, and I owned a reliable car for trips that were too far to bike. I also had a loving girlfriend and a close friend. Yet I gave it all away for a trip to Peru. Was it a foolish decision? Perhaps, but before you answer consider my reasons for leaving.
Amazonian ceremonial maloca. Photo by Sattvic Planet.
As I mentioned in my last article about Kambo poison frog medicine, I am currently visiting Peru for the primary purpose of improving my health. If you haven’t already heard, in recent years there have been increasing numbers of Americans traveling here in search of plant medicines that can’t be found in the US. Much of Peru is covered by the Amazon rainforest, regarded by many as the plant pharmacy of the world. Some Americans come here as a last option when they face a serious condition that western medicine is unable to treat. A couple nights ago I watched the documentary Sacred Science which shows the results of bringing eight westerners with various diseases to the rainforest in search of relief from their suffering. While some of the people did have life threatening diseases, I don’t think this is a requirement for coming to the rainforest seeking better health. In one way or another even the best among us have some sickness, it is nearly impossible not to in this society, and there is always room for improvement. In my case, my intention was to eliminate some challenging food allergies that had been bothering me recently. In addition, I wanted to work on some trauma that I accumulated during my military years.