By Martijn Schirp, High Existence
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” – Schopenhauer
The Ayahuasca experience was the most intense, spiritual, emotional, mind-blowing, frightening and loving experience I have ever had. Nothing could have prepared me for the inner journey I am about to describe. Because I believe I died. ‘I’ meaning that which I am in this current form while I’m writing this. It was if my awareness that seems normally tied to this body shot loose and entered a world before unknown. My greatest challenge in this article lies into interpreting and expressing these visions I encountered, to share the insights gained.
Ayahuasca, the ‘spirit vine’ or the ‘vine of death’, is a brew containing the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and Psychotria viridis or Diplopterys cabrerana leaves. The vine contains harmine and harmaline which are MAO-A inhibitors, and tetrahydroharmine which is a weak serotonin uptake inhibitor.
The leaves contain dimethyltryptamine (DMT), the strongest hallucinogenic known to man. Ingested, the combination of these plants lead to the uptake of DMT by your brain where it will alter your perceptions of reality. Many claim these are visions where the Ayahuasca spirit will talk to you, giving you knowledge about the, normally, hidden (collective?) unconscious psyche. Or so I was told.
With drugs like these it’s hard to extrapolate the meaning of your experience and use it for the benefit of your daily life, and so I was skeptical about what the insights could bring to me. Taking drugs can be a fun thing in itself, but I believe there’s a strong possibility that such an approach will lead to the devaluation of that same experience and the essential meaning will be lost.
If drugs change the frequency by which we perceive reality, we still need to have the right radio to understand the broadcast, and in this way ‘set and setting’ is, as ever, extremely important. The taking of Ayahuasca will inevitably lead, for most people, to vomiting and diarrhea, which is called ‘la purga’, meaning the cleansing of one’s body and mind. This is why the shamans don’t use the label of drugs.