Seven Good Reasons to Drink Ayahuasca
The other day I was talking to my friend Ian who like me lives in Pucallpa and writes an excellent blog about his experiences with La Madre Ayahuasca.
I was saying that four years ago, when I first researched blogging and started a blog, I read that people read differently on the internet – they have less attention span and tend to scan. I have to admit that is what I tend to do, no matter how interesting the content. The encouragement was to write shorter blogs and especially to include lists
As an experiment in my previous blog on the theme of living and working in Mexico, I wrote a blog based on listing “Seven Reasons to Live in Ciudad Guzman” . This turned out to be my most popular blog post, both in terms of number of readers and added comments – though I don’t think it was entirely due to its list format.
In the same spirit of experimentation and to see if I can drive up my blog ‘traffic’ via a list, I’m going to write this post entitled, “Seven Good Reasons to Drink Ayahuasca”
For your physical health.
My friend Papamiki, who has trained for twelve years in traditional Shipibo medicine, is fond of saying that the purpose of drinking ayahuasca is for the cura (cure) and for the limpieza (cleaning). The point is not to have wonderful, psychedelic visions but to get better.
Unfortunately, so far, I have not come across any well-established studies proving that regularly drinking ayahuasca benefits your physical health, but what I have experienced myself and seen in others leads me to think that there are clear health benefits – especially if people drink ayahuasca with a good curandero/a in combination with taking other plant medicines.
For your mental and emotional health.
Again, this field is still relatively unexplored in terms of well-documented, traditional, scientific, double-blind clinical studies. There is, however, evidence from long-term studies of regular ayahuasca drinkers in the Santo Daime and other Brazilian churches that regular use of ayahuasca not only has no long-term adverse health effects but is correlated with better indices of positive mental health such as decreased panic and helplessness.
Personally, I have found that since meeting la Madre Ayahuasca three and a half years ago, I no longer suffer from depression and anxiety. At the recent MAPS (Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) conference in Oakland, a number of emerging scientific studies were presented, which are showing that many so-called psychedelics are effective against depression and which further hypothesize the bio-chemistry and neuroscience at the basis of this.
For your intellectual health.
I find meeting La Madre Ayahuasca very helpful for stimulating ideas and creativity. Almost too helpful, in that I normally can’t sleep after ceremonies as my mind is so active. In his book “Intelligence in Nature”, Jeremy Narby writes about inviting three researchers in molecular biology to drink ayahuasca and focus on their current research issues. He says that two of them were helped greatly to advance their research.
To recover a sense of enchantment and mystery.
La Madre Ayahuasca can help us to reconnect to nature, to feel part of a wider whole, of what Fritjof Capra calls the “web of life”, ultimately to sense our place in the cosmos, to feel at home in the universe.
Meeting La Madre Ayahuasca shows us, as Hamlet said to Horatio:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
To provide a spiritual path.
I have already written an entire blog post about this. As I wrote before, whoever thinks this is a spiritual short-cut or form of escapism from the demands of everyday life, has no idea of what is involved in a serious pursuit of the medicine path. I have found that rather than taking me away from other spiritual practices, Madre Ayahuasca has been insistent that I become more disciplined – that I meditate and train my mind more effectively to better benefit from her teachings.
To put the ego in its place.
One of the huge benefits of my encounters with La Madre has been to relativize my ego – that is, take it off center stage, diminish its tyrannical aspects, and have a greater sense of my wider psyche. This is a great relief.
The ‘cool’ factor
I was having trouble identifying the seventh reason and it occurred to me to ask you my readers to suggest the seventh reason. In response to this, a friend suggested the ‘cool’ factor – that taking ayahuasca is now seen to be hip, edgy and transgressive.
I’m not entirely convinced by this, as it runs against the previous reason and possibly feeds the ego, but it is definitely a factor why people drink ayahuasca. Additionally, to give it a more positive spin, it could be viewed politically as participating in the war on consciousness – on the side of consciousness, of course.
I ask my readers to suggest below in the ‘Comments’ section an alternative seventh reason.
ADDENDUM 15th December 2015
If you have now read this, also look at my later post called ‘Seven Good Reasons not to drink Ayahuasca’.