Surrendering to the vine of the soul.

Via Atalwin Pilon
on May 30, 2011
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I am feeling happy, clean and inspired.Kajuyali Tsamani is a Colombian shaman who is touring through Europe these weeks. Last Friday and Saturday night I participated in the beautiful ayahuasca ceremonies he, his family and his helpers perform. It was a difficult, humbling but predominantly amazing experience.

For those who don’t know: ayahuasca refers to a psychotropic brew made by indigenous Indians of the Amazon jungle from a woody vine and the leaves of the chakruna plant. Local medicine men, or shamans, prepare the mixture, adding different plants to the mixture depending on the nature of the ceremony. Ayahuasca is used by shamans to induce an altered state during which the shaman can look into the future, travel in spirit form, induce healing and remove spells.

The word ayahuasca comes from the Quechuan Indian words aya (“spirit”, “ancestor” or “dead person”) and huasca (“vine”). Together these words refer to the “vine of the soul”. What ayahuasca reportedly does is that it can free the soul or spirit. And that’s exactly what I feel to have seen or learned this past weekend.

I get tired of being heart broken (what is still what I feel like these days). I don’t mean that metaphorically, I mean that literally. It costs me a lot of energy to feel pain, sadness and remorse over and over again. I often wonder if I’m exaggerating or that I’m abnormally sensitive or dramatic. Last week I spent another two full days struggling with facts that my ego finds painful or unacceptable. When I find myself in the middle of the storm it seems impossible to help myself. While my whole body aches, especially my heart (again: literally) the wise words I speak to myself don’t touch base at all. Then at some point, seemingly out of nowhere it flips and I feel space and love coming up.

I am starting to learn that my experience of life when I’m in a state of surrender is radically different from when I’m in a state of resistance. Unfortunately for me it seems I cannot gently will myself into surrender, I only submit after serious battle. But what I find striking is that the experience I described in the previous paragraph was very similar to the experience I had in the ceremony.

Surrendering is very counter intuitive for the most of us (it definitely is for me). Our egos are preoccupied with its own survival. We will do anything to escape surrendering to what haunts us: the truth. But when we tried everything, really truly everything, then surrender is the only option we have left. That’s probably why it takes us so long to get there. With surrender comes peace of mind. When we realize there is nowhere else to go we arrive home.

During the second ceremony, after my third cup of the medicine the ayahuasca had me finally pinned down to the floor. I was shaking heavily and vomiting violently. But every time the shamans did their healing work a tremendous peace came over me. When new thoughts, worries or fears popped up in my mind, the shaking started again. For hours I had to surrender time after time again, shifting from complete bliss to agony. Bliss, agony, bliss, agony, bliss, agony. Until I got it.


About Atalwin Pilon

Atalwin Pilon (40) is man on a mission. In January 2012, he left his home and his country to travel the world. He is on a spiritual quest, searching for what he calls the 21st century warrior: courageous men and women who are driven by compassion and integrity instead of greed and fear. He wants to know if one man can make a difference and if he can make a difference himself by offering his skills and heart to the world. He will write a book about his findings: "The Quest for the 21st Century Warrior". Feel free to contribute to his journey if his cause speaks to you. He needs your suggestions, hospitality, introductions and/ or your generosity to be be successful. You can make difference too. If you want Atalwin as your life coach you can book a Skype session now. You can follow his adventures on his website (he writes often). And you can find him on Twitter and Facebook too.


3 Responses to “Surrendering to the vine of the soul.”

  1. SSS says:

    I have spoken with many who are experiencing this (minus the ayahausca). Our bodies ache and tremble with the shaking free of old, historical view paradigm… Thank you for sharing!

  2. Jay says:

    No matter what the practice is that takes us to our edge and beyond, whether it be ayahuasca, meditation, yoga, whatever, it will always be the stage of development of our psyche that will interpret and make meaning of that altered-state experience. Whether your face is in the bucket vomiting from ayahuasca, or gasping for breath deep into the body-awareness of asana, what is vast, universal and divine is already right now here, in our bodies, waiting for us to awaken to it. The practices are vehicles.

    Ayahuasca is a powerful practice under the guidance of a wise facilitator. It can also be otherwise in the hands of the unscrupulous and the egotistical. They are certainly out there. The same can be said of yoga and yogis, meditation and gurus… Interestingly enough, the flaws of human nature don't really go away just because you're a shaman or a guru or a yoga teacher. Wisdom and illumination arise from the integration and embodiment of Grace, and the integration and embodiment of Grace is inhibited by a complex array of things. That is why we practice, to strengthen the vessel, to hold the entirety of our complex karmic unfoldment, to integrate and embody Grace.

    Ayahuasca, asana, meditation, are all vehicles that take us into the interior domains of our existential experience, into our interior vastness, to find what is already there waiting for us. How we make sense of the subtle domains of experience will be directly a function of our psych-cognitive-emotional development. Unless we are fully engaged in the whole spectrum of wellness practices, diet, exercise, psycho-emotional awareness/therapy, creative expression, cognitive development, etc., we will remain fractured and fragmented, longing for wholeness.

    The practices are vehicles that take us to what is already there. It is about integration and embodiment. There is no singular, magical medicine, that will deliver us. We are complex beings and we must feed that complexity with a wide array of earnest wellness practice. And what a beautiful existence that is to live in such fullness, illumination and grace.

  3. Jay says:

    Oh, and NOT surrendering to ayahuasca is like thinking you can stop a speeding Mac Truck by standing in the street and holding out your hand. You're just gonna get ploughed down. Just sayin…