Around 18 months ago, I was a man down on his luck. I’d not long lost my dad after caring for him as cancer took over his body.
Watching someone you love so dearly slowly die in front of you is a very difficult experience but it gives you a great insight into the importance, fragility and sometimes brutal nature of life.
For years prior to his death I’d abused my body with drugs and alcohol and had a long string of fun, but soulless, sexual encounters with women.
I was involved in selling drugs too, which I thought I was helping people but, in hindsight, it really was not – it’s crazy what an unconscious mind can believe.
I used some of these behaviours to rebel against the cold, unfair world, and feed my ego.
It was fun at the time but when I look back, I can see that some of these behaviours were used to escape the harsh realities of life and insecurities about myself.
I was trapped in a job that, yes, could have been a lot worse, but offered me no great purpose. The tedious 9-5 office life was really getting me down.
I wanted to take better control of my mind, which, at times, was an amazing place but it could also be anxious, stressed, sad, angry or clouded – like most people I suppose.
I had started becoming interested in spirituality after an experience I still don’t quite fully understand…
Two nights before my dad passed, I woke up in the night to a huge dark angel at the end of my bed. I couldn’t move or talk I was just trapped staring back at it.
Bear in mind that I’d never believed in anything like this or had any similar experiences before.
Then exactly two nights after my dad passed; again, a figure was at the end of my bed.
This time it wasn’t an angel, it was a skeleton type figure with the same mannerisms as my dad. It sat at the end of my bed smiling, as if it were him saying, “I’ve left my body now and I’m happy in the next life.” I could really feel his energy before me; it was a powerful moment.
After this experience, and an urge to find some peace of mind, I decided to get into meditation.
I started by joining the odd group session and consistently practiced until I was meditating for at least 10 minutes a day.
It was having such a positive impact on me.
I was becoming much more social and transmitting positive vibes rather than waiting for them.
Anger was hard to come by. I would simply shrug off dangerous drivers who would have pushed me into a whirlwind of abuse in the past.
I felt more confident and stronger than ever; my energy was really high.
Aside from this I was reading a lot of information on mental and spiritual growth. People like Wim Hoff, Dr Joe Dispenza, Graeme Hancock, Dr Bruce Lipton and even Russell Brand, were really inspiring me in so many aspects.
I was starting to feel my vibration rise as I removed myself from negative people and situations.
I didn’t want my growth to end and one plant kept calling my name until I couldn’t hold it off any longer… Ayahuasca.
What is ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a plant medicine grown in the amazon rainforest.
South American tribes have used it in ceremonies for centuries. The earliest known evidence of its use dates to around 1,000 A.D.!
Usually, sections of Banisteriopsis caapi vine are macerated and boiled (alone or with leaves from other plants) into a brew that is drunk by tribal shamans to seek guidance and inspiration from spiritual realms. Shamans would go into trances and come back with messages for everyone.
Ayahuasca is also used for emotional healing, going deep within ones subconscious and letting go of past trauma, sometimes even trauma we’ve suffered in a previous life.
The brew contains DMT, often referred to as ‘the spirit molecule’ – a chemical found in all living beings which is released from the pineal gland (third eye) when we dream and also when we die.
There are many great documentaries on DMT if it interests you.
My ayahuasca experience
Feeling extremely rough after a big weekend at a festival, I decided it was time to commit.
Whilst I was on a positive path, I was becoming frustrated with certain patterns and wanted to make a big leap. I felt ready for it.
I booked myself on an ayahuasca retreat.
As you can imagine, when I arrived, I was nervous, but the overriding feeling was excitement and acknowledgement that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I was greeted by a house full of like-minded people who loved to question everything about this reality we call life.
Every single person hugged me upon arrival; it was such a warm, friendly and fun atmosphere.
There were 16 of us taking part in the ceremony, as well as 7 helpers, or shamans, who would be there to make sure the evening went as smoothly as possible. We had all arrived alone which helped create unity between everyone.
I was then shown the yurt in which the ceremonies would take place. It was beautiful inside and there had been so much attention to detail, I was impressed to say the least.
There was a huge log burner, musical instruments, crystals and mattresses all around for us to sleep on.
The retreat consisted of 3 nights where we sat and took the medicine.
Although I didn’t feel like I had any control of it, I had 3 completely different experiences.
Night 1 of my ayahuasca experience
To begin with, we did a meditation walk around the garden just taking in the surroundings and getting into the best possible mindset.
Once sat in the yurt, we were then called upon, one-by-one, to take the drink.
The shamans blessed each cup of the medicine and we bowed in respect before drinking it. To be honest, the taste is vile but as they say, the best things in life don’t come easy.
Being sick (purging toxins both physically and spiritually it’s believed) is also something to expect.
I then sat and meditated, waiting and welcoming the medicine to kick in.
You could feel the apprehension in the yurt. For most people this was their first time and those who had consumed the sacred drink before knew just how powerful it is.
It started quite tame with random heart-warming memories popping up from my childhood.
Then it slowly got deeper and deeper.
My heart opened in an incredible way.
I was running through memories of so many people that I loved, then I started feeling love towards people I didn’t like. It was a really pure feeling of unconditional love to everyone.
I could now see that peoples’ negative traits came from a position of trauma and pain and that deep down we are all the same.
We all want to love and be loved.
We are all flawed but there was a lovely feeling of acceptance of others’ flaws.
There was a storm outside, which was ironic, as my dad loved storms.
I went outside topless in the freezing cold with my arms up to the sky. It was one of the most liberating moments of my life – an insane ripple of gratitude permeated throughout my whole body simply for being alive.
I had taken this human experience for granted for so long. I started to become conscious to how lucky I truly am.
From that night, I vowed not to waste life and to always offer my heart to others.
Night 2 was extremely spiritual. It’s hard to put into words a lot of what I felt or saw.
One distinct moment I recall from night 2 was when I had an out of body experience.
I remember slowly rising and rotating through a cylinder whilst sat in a meditative position. All around the cylinder were Buddhas looking back at me smiling in all sorts of beautiful colours. It was a really peaceful experience.
The entire evening was extremely visual and overwhelming.
After two great nights I was tired and wondered what more I could achieve from one more night, but as I’d travelled that far and everybody else was staying, I decided that I may as well embrace another extraordinary night.
Night 3, the medicine gave me lots of ideas on what I could bring to the planet.
I had already turned vegan and the information download I got from ayahuasca felt comforting, like it was the right path for me.
I felt an urge to spread the message on veganism and its many claimed benefits. I say “claimed” because this is my personal truth. I don’t believe there are any solid truths when discussing beliefs.
I personally find modern day factory farming evil and satanic. Mainstream science is now starting to agree that it’s the most detrimental industry to the environment and health professionals are discovering big links between many cancers/heart diseases and meat/dairy consumption.
The medicine encouraged me to spread this message, as well as exposing other hidden injustices in the world.
I also received a message to become a meditation teacher. The practice had helped me so much, it was time for me to pass it on so others could start their journeys towards inner peace.
I felt connected with my father and my grandfather and they seemed happy with the path I was about to embark on.
I left feeling more than satisfied with my trip and knew that I would be back again one day when the time was right. I felt more connected to others, the planet and myself.
The owners of the retreat are so inspirational. I will be forever grateful for the sacrifices they have made to make this medicine more accessible in the UK.
The dangers of ayahuasca
Before I conclude it’s important to point out that not everyone has positive experiences.
You will be drawn into the depths of your spirit and subconscious, which can intensify unpleasant memories, visions and feelings.
Be 100% sure you want to take part in a ceremony before doing so – research is key, not just one person’s experience.
The aftermath can also be difficult as you must integrate back into society.
You feel you have grown so much but don’t expect people around you to have the same appetite for growth, spirituality or the medicine.
This is absolutely fine of course, we all have our own path, but it can be challenging afterwards.
I also know people who didn’t enjoy the benefits post-retreat or became addicted and kept going back.
The key, I believe, is to implement what you learn on your journey. If not, there is no point in receiving the great lessons, your growth will stagnate, and old cycles will reappear.
How ayahuasca changed my life
Fast-forward 18 months from the retreat and I have grown so much. I left so many fears in that yurt.
I feel the main fear in life we all have, other than death, is what others might think of us – a rejection from the pack.
I was a bit of a “lads’ lad” before – partying, drugs, sex, football – all the things that were socially accepted as cool for a UK man in his early 20’s.
But this self-indulgent lack of purpose had no long-lasting fulfilment for me.
It’s important to have fun when young yes, but I believe too much of this sort of behaviour can be poisonous to yourself and others.
The liberation from others’ judgement, achieved through my ayahuasca experience, has been essential to say goodbye to the old me and nurture the new me, as I try to be of service to others (and myself) in a much healthier and more nourishing way.
Since the retreat, I scattered my dad’s ashes halfway up Mount Everest, trained in India as a meditation teacher and have starting my own vegan events company.
My meditation and vegan projects have both begun successfully, giving me a great sense of satisfaction in helping towards the welfare of humans and animals.
Having people thank me for starting them on their meditation journey and educating them on veganism has been a truly heart-warming experience.
I know I have so much more growth in me as I work on myself spiritually, professionally, mentally, emotionally and physically – this is a lifelong commitment and one that gives every day a purpose.
Awakening is happening all around us and I think this decade could be revolutionary in the way we treat ourselves, others, the planet and all living beings.
We must widen our compassion outside of ourselves and our immediate friends and family.
Banks are destroying the economy, supermarkets are feeding us poison, our tap water is toxic, pharmaceuticals are making us sick and governments are serving themselves rather than the people.
It’s a backwards world at the minute, but people are now ready to take back the power!
Peace and love to all and thank you for reading.