Ayahuasca is a traditional and ancient plant-based medicine which is very well known and used by the indigenous tribes of the Amazon and Peru.
The brew that is made from the caapi vine and other plants is then used in a spiritual ceremony, the purposes of which are diverse. It is believed to aid in mental healing, rejuvenation, self-reflection, and unearthing of desires amongst other things.
Medicinal Not Recreational
People that undertake this ceremony are advised to not do so lightly but with a resolute motive of changing the way, they view the world and themselves. It also requires no small amount of will to change spiritually before reentering daily life.
Ayahuasca is believed to house a powerful plant spirit which can cause intense healing. The power of the plant also has a mind of its own, opening avenues for the human senses so a truer self can emerge.
Shamans also reiterate that plants are often spiritual beings which should be handled carefully. The use of Ayahuasca dates back thousands of years although an exact timeline has not been concluded by anthropologists and historians.
The ceremony and process of Ayahuasca can open many different paths, depending on the purpose for which you undertook it. For some people, it may be for healing from trauma and for some finding their true purpose in life.
Regardless of your motives, integrating Ayahuasca is singularly important as you return to your normal day to day life. The spirit of the plants used for Ayahuasca is maternal in nature which means they will show you the bitter truth and not be afraid to challenge you to shed your old beliefs.
What Exactly Is Integration
Integration in Ayahuasca is when you take what you have learned and apply it to all areas of your life. This is easier said than done as it requires that you lay down new patterns of behavior and reestablish habits.
Integration also means that you abandon your previous notions that existed prior to the ceremony and implement the change in decisions and perceptions. It also means applying your new beliefs to your relationships with people.
Most people that undergo Ayahuasca ceremonies find that they can deal with negativity and pessimism more easily. This goes a long way in changing the way they perceive the world.
Where Meditation Comes In
As you may have guessed there are a number of different ways in which you can integrate what you have learned from Ayahuasca. Some of the methods include meditation, breathwork, rituals, journaling, and shadow work.
Meditation is a recommended and commonly chosen method of integration because it restores peace of mind. The process of Ayahuasca can be aggressive, providing a severe jolt to our consciousness. Confusion can result and meditation works wonders for calming the mind and spirit and allowing it to move forward.
Three Stages Of Integration
Regardless of the method, you employ to integrate; you will need to go through three compulsory stages. These provide a framework of action which can make the process easier.
- First comes the bare structure of your life such as diet, your career or work, and relationships with your spouse or friends and family. In the weeks that follow the Ayahuasca ceremony, you will need to pay close attention to the revelations you have had about these areas of your life.
- Doubtlessly, unconscious baggage will result in the process and you’ll be forced to focus on these unprocessed feelings and secrets. You will need to deeply understand and also accept these parts of yourself that have become apparent.
- Lastly, you will need to find a way to keep in tune with the new spirit within you that has emerged. This new found sense of self needs to prevail in your life so you can employ your talents for the betterment of others.
Why Meditation Can Be Useful
It can be difficult to deal with the feelings of anger or hurt which may have come to the surface after an Ayahuasca experience. For many people, the experience may release bottled up feelings which can take time to work through.
On a daily basis, you may feel overwhelmed or bombarded with bad memories which can leave you disturbed and depressed. This is nothing to be alarmed about and is part of the process. The only way to deal with these feelings is to face them through meditation.
As human beings, we employ defense mechanisms which can often keep us from the root of our problems. Resisting what hurts us only makes it stronger. An Ayahuasca experience shatters this house of glass and allows you to forgive yourself and others.
Essentially, meditation undertaken in any form brings increased awareness and understanding. A recommended form of meditation for integration is one which belongs to the Buddhist school of thought called Dzogchen.
The premise behind this path is the abandonment of previous concepts and the emergence of an uncluttered perception of reality.
Dzogchen meditation works to clarify the mind and restore a simplistic state similar to what a happy child may possess. The emphasis is on space, timelessness and putting worries and problems into the correct perspective.
Psychotherapists that work with plant medicines and Ayahuasca find Dzogchen meditation to be excellent for integration.
A Sustainable Habit
The experience of Ayahuasca is one for the rest of your life which means integration is not only for the weeks that follow.
While other integration methods like shadow work may require an expert healer or therapist to work with you, meditation is something you can practice daily on your own.
After learning the basics, it is a skill that can even be employed several times a day if that is what you need. Meditation can also affect the way you view karma and this generates an understanding that you are getting what your spirit needs even if your desires are contrary to it.
Effects Of Ayahuasca And Meditation Are Similar
Scientific research on Ayahuasca (in Barcelona, Spain) has yielded findings that the latter impacts the brain similarly to regular meditation. This symbiosis of sorts means that meditation can be the ideal tool for integrating an Ayahuasca experience.
Volunteers in a review that were given Ayahuasca were studied over a period of time and they displayed emotions and behaviors like positivity, calmness and open-mindedness. These traits are also commonly found in those that practice meditation expertly and regularly as a part of their routine.
Research has shown (Beckley Foundation) that Ayahuasca can cause a healthy detachment from personal notions of identity so that events and feelings can be viewed as an outsider. People that have undergone the experience were given questionnaires to fill in this study. There were (as expected) resultant high scores of fulfillment and general happiness.
After an Ayahuasca experience, it is worthwhile to book a post-retreat where yoga and meditation sessions are offered so you can recover.
In countries such as Peru where Ayahuasca is practiced, there are many retreats which offer associated packages such as those that include tours of sacred sites and expert therapists and guides.
A silent meditation retreat on the island Amantani overlooking the mystical Lake Titicaca can be the perfect place to recuperate.