I want to talk a bit about “eagerness” as it relates to both the medicine path and the consciousness path. Because of our focus on serious spiritual work and healing, we see what would be called “eagerness” on a fairly regular basis here at La Familia Medicina.
When I say “eagerness”, I am talking about a “I want “it” as quickly as possible, preferably right now” attitude. Of course it probably is no surprise to anyone that this attitude exists as our culture is all about instant gratification. We are aware of this and it is helpful as we enter a completely new context such as Ayahuasca that we remind ourselves of this tendency that we have been programmed with. We also can thank our “eagerness” as this quality is often times the reason one starts on the spiritual path and/or the reason one approaches Ayahuasca for healing. The wonderful irony is that when one goes through and completes a dieta and retreat, some of that eagerness is loosened and let go through the teachings by the plants and trees.
However, before talking about eagerness, I feel that some background needs to be explained……
When we work with plant medicines I feel that the plants are teaching us to be more like them. Plants are tolerant, peaceful, loving and generous. Plants are not in a hurry, they just grow at their natural pace. Plants don’t get upset/fight it when they face an obstacle, they just grow around that obstacle. Plants are happy to heal us, teach us and feed us. Plants do not have an ego.
Now that said about plants, during the process of their healing and teaching there maybe some (or a lot) struggle experienced by the person working with the plants/trees. This struggle can be frightening, sad, painful etc…. The natural reaction by the person going through the process is to blame the plant for causing this suffering. This reaction or blame is actually totally misplaced. The negative emotions that come up during this process is actually due to what the person has done in the past or their current way of being…. it is their own stuff. I will explain this further, but first the plants….
The plant medicines love us and want to help us. They have unconditional love for us…..just like our parents have unconditional love for us. To take this analogy of parents loving their children further, parents often times ask things of their children that the children do not want to do. I.e. “do not touch that stove, it is hot and it will burn you” or “no, you can’t eat 10 candy bars for breakfast, you will get all jacked up on sugar, crash, and feel like crap later”….and as you probably know, the reaction of children to this unconditional love can sometimes be in the form of a temper tantrum i.e. not pleasant.
There is a slight difference from the above analogy in that during the cleaning/healing process with plant medicines, the suffering is connected to things that we have already done or are doing in our lives (and possibly past lives). The plants go through and clean that “gunk” out whether it be physical, energetic, or emotional. This seems simple enough, but it begs the question as to why there might be suffering associated with this process? Once again…it is often our own doing. The error we often make, unbeknownst to us, is that we are extremely attached to these energies, behaviors, and emotional patterns. We have made them part of our identities and we are afraid to let them go. When we have made something a part of our identity, there is often a fear of, “If I am not obsessive, sick, angry, depressed etc…. then I am no one….I will cease to exist because that is what I am (obsessive, sick, angry, depressed, etc..).” We actually cause our own suffering and it is up to us to let go of these false identities, let them go, and make the choice not to suffer. The plants are doing three things during this process: 1) they are showing us our false identifications 2) teaching us to let go of these false identifications 3) they are accelerating the process via their energies and intelligence.
Based on the above we can conclude that the easiest way to smooth out the friction in this process is to first understand the process itself. Then help the process and the plants by accepting our “gunk”, the fact we need cleaning and healing. Followed by doing our best to let go of said “gunk” by surrendering to the process itself (yet another form of accepting and letting go).
This concept is easy to understand intellectually and often times difficult to execute. It is important with any learning that the intellectual understanding comes first. Then we need experience to truly learn the skill or lesson. During that experience process we will need to accept that we will make errors as we practice this new skill or idea. We also need to keep practicing until the skill or lesson is firmly set. This is the proverbial “learning to ride a bike analogy”- as you learn to ride a bike, you will fall off over and over again until eventually riding a bike is second nature.
The really cool thing though, and this is really important to remember as one is considering the commitment to do a retreat and go through this process, is that once your stuff, your “gunk” is cleaned out, you get to experience the plants directly. You get to experience their joy, their peace, and their love. This is why we work with plant medicines is to clean the crap that is blocking us from our true essence and potential and such that we can learn and have fun with the plant consciousness and that….is simply bliss.
It is at this point that I will let you ponder how eagerness can play into the above background context and say “to be continued”. I will post part II in the next few weeks as I am still traveling in Peru’s Sacred Valley as I write this.
Once I return home to the USA there will be some new and exciting projects that I will be working on for La Familia Medicina….new retreat options, more pre and post retreat support for guests and others who want to learn more about Ayahuasca, and of course I will be working on my book….which seems to tentatively have the title “Shut Up and Focus on Love- Stories and Perspectives from the Co-Founder of La Familia Medicina”