Some Background for the Reader
We covered some ideas on what our Shadow might be, how Ayahuasca might let us work with it, and some other ways that people have been working with it for hundreds and even thousands (maybe more) years.
In this article, I’ll give a brief glimpse into one of my early Ayahuasca encounters with my Shadow, before traveling to the Amazon.
What I’m going to share here is only my experience. I’m not necessarily making any metaphysical claims about my experience, all I can tell you is that it felt as real at the time as this keyboard under my fingers.
Viejo Amigo and the Process
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
special man first introduced me to Ayahuasca. We’ll call this man “Viejo Amigo.”
I’m incredibly grateful to Viejo Amigo for introducing me to Aya, and for his professionalism through various challenging situations in our group Processes. I’ve seen him help many people work through heavy energies, and I’ve seen those same people come out of the other side of their journeys with their lives changed for the better.
Viejo Amigo is truly an amazing worker who I’ve felt blessed to know.
As mentioned in The Calling, my first Process with Viejo Amigo and Aya was truly eye opening for me. It introduced me to aspects of experience which had always been there, but that I simply hadn’t been able (or willing) to come to grips with.
It introduced me to that which I was unconscious of in a very visceral way.
In the container that Viejo Amigo creates, he always gave us an opportunity for setting an intention before any Process with the Aya.
I feel this practice of “Setting Intention” was incredibly valuable to my personal work with the Aya, and I’m glad that I learned to do it from the first time working with the Medicine.
Because I had a good amount of practice in meditation and contemplative disciplines before working with Aya, those practices had already had a strong influence on my experience of reality. Because of that, I felt my work with Aya as a natural extension of those spiritual practices, and I approached my intentions as such.
What’s Blocking My Path?
I formulated the intentions for my first Process to be in the form of a Questioning Contemplation.
In other words, I was asking a question, again and again, and letting the answer reveal itself to me from somewhere beyond my own intellect, which is not accidentally the same process as some forms of prayer.
My intention for my first Process was to ask myself repeatedly “what things are blocking my path” to being a more integrated human.
The first ceremony showed me that reality itself is something much bigger than I had previously considered. It showed me that everything truly does happen for a reason. And it helped me to integrate the spirit of people close to me who had who had been brutally killed in combat.
My intention for the second Process was a bit different. Instead of a Questioning Contemplation, I practiced a form of Buddhist prayer called Loving Kindness (Mettā Meditation), introduced to me by Tara Brach.
This ceremony showed me very clearly that the base of reality is something like love; that all of existence itself is grounded in benevolence, and ultimately evolving for further benevolence forever and ever, more and more.
This also put on me the realization that while all of existence is ultimately good, there still is great suffering in this world as a condition being a finite creature in the face of the infinite, in this “relative reality.” Furthermore, I was shown that that a life truly well-lived would involve taking responsibility for that suffering both for oneself and for other sentient beings.
In other words, I was shown that the stories of Christ, the Buddha, and many heroes before and after them were fundamental truths of the human condition.
What Is My Relationship with Responsibility?
Building on the second Process, the intention for the third Process was to ask myself a simple question about responsibility: What is my relationship with responsibility?
Process #1 was about Life and giving me a good overview of things.
Process #2 was about Love and showing me the light that permeates all things.
Process #3 was about Truth and how amazingly important it is for living a life that supports love.
And Truth involves seeing what we need to see, even (especially) that which we have been avoiding. So I was shown my Shadow, and it was not easy.
The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
Imagine seeing all the ways that you had lied to yourself and others.
Imagine seeing all the great potential relationships that you destroyed.
Imagine witnessing the results of all of your past transgressions against your own conscience.
Imagine taking on, all at once, all of the pain that had caused to yourself and others over the years of your adult life.
Imagine seeing all the ways that had chosen to do what was easier in the short-term, at the expense of being less aligned with what you knew to be true in your Soul.
What would that feel like?
What would that make you do?
How would you view life, the world, and reality itself after such a confrontation?
This is the situation I found myself in during and after the third time I worked with Aya.
I was taken to all the weight of my previous decisions that I had made against my own conscience.
It burned hot like hell.
Everything was red and engulfed in flames. Literally. That was my experience.
The Infinite Eyeball Mandala is Watching
Note to Reader: I’m only able to share my experience. I don’t exactly know what any of this means. I don’t propose that I know some special mysteries of the Kosmos that anyone else can’t see. I’m merely doing my best to continue integrating and carrying on forward after having some fairly remarkable (for me) experiences. Carry away from this what you will.
In the midst of this heat, chaos, and hell, an infinite red Mandala composed of endless eyes, with a giant eye in the middle, came to me and let me know that it was always watching, had always been watching, and would always be watching.
The Mandala let me know that I was a part of it, that it was a part of me, and that it was much more then the small fractal of my personal experience as Johnathon Lang.
The Mandala let me know that I was it, and it was me, and we were responsible for everything I had seen and experienced that evening.
The Mandala let me know that what it had shown me was important, worth my attention, and worth learning from.
What the hell did all of this mean? I didn’t know, but I was pretty sure that some humility was in order.
On that day I resolved to make some changes. But this was just the beginning of the journey.
This was part of a chain of events that led me to go to the Amazon over a year later.
On that November day in 2017, I realized that my work had only just begun.
To Be Continued,