Leaf the Ego at the Door: My First Ayahuasca Ceremony (Part 4)
I went through cycles of realizing that everyone in the tent was laughing at me, laughing at myself, and recognizing the significance that the former, egoic perspective is a socialized behavior that I am learning to forget. Surrendering to the forgetting freed my mind in a kinetic way. I was a rubber band being stretched and stretched, fearing how it will be to be released. With this anticipation, I held onto my ego, feeling like I was being punished. Before, I had been the know-it-all girl that nothing’s good enough for. The person that doubted the Shaman and his medicine. I was the child of the clan - about to experience an ego death. And what a brat I was about it! I became aware that he was talking again about the closing ceremony and I fell backwards. I can no longer remember what happened first; Just a blur of falling backward into a void and totally losing touch with the lines of socially acceptable behavior, what my body was, what my voice was, who I was.
I was becoming aware, in a rocketing sense of acceleration, that I was an eternal spiritual being - and that I live every version of this life [and others] that I want. I was a leaf that’s only ever experienced a slightly tilted reality - perspective - of it’s top plane, living from the veiny bottom. I was like such a leaf, suddenly realizing that I belonged to a twig. A stem. A branch? I could just barely grasp the branch, but knowing it existed, I also knew that a trunk, roots! - must surely follow. I was an entire tree, but to let go enough to recognize this was extremely overwhelming, because I was feeling all of my vastness at once…
…while still also being very aware of my physical body and that a room full of people was watching me reel through each epiphany. More likely I was distracting them from the closing ceremony. I tuned back in and resonated deeply with everything the Shaman was saying, “we are all family… we are all one…After this ceremony, you cannot be the same again,” and similar things that I strongly understood, but can no longer remember, because I had just rediscovered my voice…
“What the fuck,” I spoke. “What the fuck is happening? What is going ON? What is this?!” the alarm and excitement growing with each question. “WHAT THE FUCK!” And the volume. I screamed ‘fuck’ at the top of my lungs and immediately realized that I had become one of those people Douglas had laughingly told me about: one of the screamers. “Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat” I heard people laugh. I laughed with them and rolled around. I couldn’t tell what was going on. I opened my eyes and almost instantly closed them again. I had caught a brief glimpse of the Shaman’s vaguely mustachioed profile tilting forward and backward at the same time. I don’t remember what I was seeing underneath my eyelids, but I remember it was magical and it contained longitudinal threads of reality. I got the impression, as my ego washed in and out like waves on a shore that was currently overloaded with consciousness, that the Shaman was waiting for me to be quiet before he could go on, Douglas still translating. I felt overwhelmingly like I was being born into reality over and over again. And this was my tribe, here to observe.
All deaths and births happen with the tribe. Our Shaman had said when we started, “around the fuego, the family would gather each night and share what they had done that day, so that all the generations could understand the world from each other’s perspective”. I felt that now. Everyone was here for my initiation into this understanding of what life is. Even though we let ourselves forget. I became increasingly more confident in my role as the tribute, the initiate, the child, the spokesperson of my tribe and the human experience and said everything that came into my head. “I LOVE my sister. I love Megan! I Love! What the fuck?!”
“This is all for me, but I am everybody… this is so special!” I thought of all the lives I could live and all the ways I could expand. “Oh, I’m so curious,” I whispered into the ground, for I was now laying face down on the ground. All the people I wanted to make out with. I started gyrating my hips. It just felt SO good. My hips in the air, on my knees, I was grinding into whatever was below me. There was no space and time, and I was copulating in the name of this experience, this play that we’re all participating in, this eternal reproducing. I was making love to the Earth. I saw myself pregnant - and letting go of the illusion my ego had crafted that I don’t want children. I saw in the periphery all of the different lives and the children I would have. All of the partners I was no longer afraid to love. Ego makes you afraid to be who you are. Makes you think you have to put up this front. This cool exterior. You can never relax.
“I understand Animal Collective” I cheered. “I understand Kristen Hersh!” I could see how all the art that I took in, all the music I listened to. All the darkness I gravitated towards had led me to this moment. This marvelous string of realizations, with more to come. That was it - yes! I had to accept the darkness and the misery to ever reach the beauty. I LOVE people. People make this life worthwhile. Sure, you have your Lucy’s in the Peanuts squad, but when it comes down to it, everyone’s just doin’ their own thing. And that’s what makes acts of kindness and love so beautiful. My misery is my own, and it’s mine as long as I choose to hang onto it. My sister’s and my misery were the same, though we grew with it in different ways. I could go comfort her when the tears made a return visit, but when it comes down to it, only she can heal herself by choosing to let go of the experience of misery. The rest of it was just the joy of being with people. ‘We’re all on our own path, but we’re doing it together,’ Sebastian had said. She was right. I just hadn’t gotten there yet.
I didn’t know it yet, but my time for letting go of such things was approaching. The tree of my Self was beginning to shake and shed leaves.