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Benefits from the use
Perhaps ayahuasca is most unique not for the healing or insight it may bring to a patient, but for the very consistency of its overall process. From anecdotal accounts to documented studies, those who participate in an ayahuasca healing ceremony all seem to have experienced certain physical and emotional conditions in common.
Participants may receive at least three therapeutic and personal growth benefits from their ayahuasca experience – a healing of Mind, Body, and Spirit. But the therapeutic value may occur in stages.
Many who have experienced an ayahuasca ceremony might consider the early stages as being of great struggle. And the very first struggle is to swallow the ayahuasca. The ayahuasca concoction is described as being the most vile-tasting substance, like a sludge that quickly triggers the gag response and leaves an oily residue in the mouth after it has been swallowed.
During the lengthy ceremony (lasting between four and nine hours, or more), the participant may experience emotional and physical agony. Alarming discomfort from the emetic effect, combined with alarming images as the ayahuasca’s psychotropic properties become more pronounced, may seem to overwhelm the participant in distress.
The ayahuasca participant will most likely experience catharsis on both physical and spiritual levels. Ayahuasca has a strong emetic effect on the body and triggers intense cathartic purging in the early stages after consumption. Each participant has already processed a dietary change in the days prior to the ceremony that is designed to combine with the ayahuasca for as a means of physical cleansing and detoxification.
The cleansing itself is a powerful starting point from which the ayahuasca can diagnose and heal symptoms and causes of illness and problems. On the spiritual level, this purging also relieves the person of personal baggage accumulated through a lifetime. How much of the spiritual cleansing occurs will depend on how much, and how quickly the participant is willing to release the ego and pride that hold on to the baggage. (Some western participants may struggle more with this purging process as cultural experience is focused more on holding in emotions and experiences as signs of strength and control.)
Through abreaction, a person is able to relive an experience and receive new insight for understanding and resolving the problems related to the experience. Participants may find release from guilt or fear that had previously bound them to non-effective or even harmful behavior related to the problem or memory. The resolution and closure achieved within this process may, over time, enable the participant to make powerful and life-improving changes.
Ayahuasca healing that is undertaken in a positive structure can produce a deeply powerful experience in some participants. At this point of the ceremony, the shaman/healer’s role may be to connect the participant with what is being envisioned or cast out, without adding deep influencing interpretation. The guidance may be a few reassuring words, or simple instructions to look at what the spirit is saying, speak to it. The shaman may blow tobacco smoke or wave the leaf rattle to further enhance or clarify the spirit’s communication with the participant.
The spiritual realization results as the participant experiences a fundamental and permanent shift in his or her sense of reality. Among the aspects an individual ma realize are:
As one person described enlightenment, it is literally a “lightening up”!
Ayahuasca is credited with amazing healing of mind, body, and spirit. Each participant seeks ayahuasca healing for individual needs and reasons. Ayahuasca seems to be an intuitive healer – healing where there is the greatest need by blending healing properties with the body’s energies, mind, and spirit.
Some practitioners and healers believe that the most powerful experience of ayahuasca can only be truly achieved within the natural Amazonian environment that is the source of ayahuasca. At this sacred location, the union of culture and plant spirits may be most profound for all participants and healers. Others believe in the overall power and healing of ayahuasca as practiced in any area, as long as it is done with respect and honor.
Participants of modern day ayahuasca healing sessions, describe their experiences as both agonizingly awful and life-changingly wonderful. Almost all seem to agree that one must be brave and deeply willing to undergo the process. There is no way to predict what each participant will experience in body and spirit.
Some who have experienced healing by Ayahuasca have returned, or plan to return for additional healings or enlightenment. They know some of what will be physically and spiritually experienced but they seek further knowledge and healing and are willing to undertake the process toward that fulfillment. Others will have found a healing or enlightenment within one ceremonial process.