I once spent three weeks on the magnificent rainforest island of Florianopolis off the east coast of Brazil, spent at a very intensive and intense Ayhuasca seminar being fully deconstructed, having my beliefs and values challenged in an idyllic paradise. We partook of the Native American brew (“the vine of death”) five times over twelve days, interspersed with discussions, presentations, meditations, too little yoga, Tai Chi and unbelievable food.
The journey to enlightenment/expanded consciousness can be likened to travelling from Cape Town to a destination – the first decision being, deciding where to go to and what direction to set out in. Thereafter, you have a large choice as to the modes of transport e.g.: walk, run, bicycle, car, bus, jet, etc. At the outset it is important to realise that no mode of transport is ‘better’ than the other, each has its pro’s and con’s. Some will make you physically fit in the process (walking, running, cycling), some will allow you to observe the countryside and appreciate the journey (bus), whilst some might give you the ability to change your route and explore side roads and interesting sights (car). Taking Ayhuasca in a controlled, intention-orientated manner with proper facilitation in a safe environment is a bit like chartering a Lear jet – yes it’s quick but it’s very difficult to understand what you have done or to appreciate the distance you have travelled and there is also a real danger that you will become hooked on flying rather than the journey or destination.
A good teacher will free you to explore your own body and mind and to come to the conclusions that are correct for you at that time. As for gurus that prescribe not the process, the conclusion and how you will feel along the way: how can they possibly know what’s good for you when their only measure is their own experience?
“Growing is the most important and essential endeavour that a human being can undertake. You can make and lose money; you can be promoted and demoted in the world. Never, at any stage, is there certainty about what will happen to you in this life. However, there is one thing that nobody can take away from you – the growth you attain through you own search for Self-knowledge.” ~Swami Chetanananda