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September 23, 2013

Ayurveda, the Savior.

Over the last million years or so, we as humans have been provided with ways of furthering our consciousness or changing our perception of our world, ourselves and our relation to the cosmos.

With the use of certain practices, disciplines, rituals and entheo-medicines, we have enabled ourselves to perceive and understand the sacred thread that weaves us all together and can help us attain the state of pure wisdom.

I understand and respect we all have our chosen path towards a spiritual or karmic way of life (Sadhana/dharma). But with this said, I have practiced this approach and I feel when used together with our chosen path, this has huge benefits for us as individuals and as humanity as a whole.

Brahmacharya

Brahmacharya, which we all can achieve, is associated with being able to achieve a state of pure thought and awareness (that’s beyond mind) and provides a base to self-educate and seek all there is to know without outside input.

Normally there are seven ways of learning or enabling absorption of knowledge.

Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images and spatial understanding.

Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.

Verbal (linguistic): Words, both in speech and writing.

Physical (kinesthetic): Hands and sense of touch.

Logical (mathematical): Reasoning and systems.

Social (interpersonal): Learn in groups or with other people.

Solitary (intrapersonal): Work alone and use self-study.

All of these in day to day life can be used to grasp a topic; I would personally like to share my empirical perspective of the union of two amazing medicines that enable us to expel any emotional, physical and spiritual issues and enable a state the yogis call ‘Brahmacharya’ or ‘Samadhi’ to develop.

An example of perceiving this magic was a comment by a fellow ayahuasca ceremony attendee:

“That I learnt more about myself and my role in this world in eight hours than I have in the past 35 years”.

I think, I know.

Ayurveda

The history of ayurveda is said to have originated in India some 5000 years ago when there was an urgency to manage some psychological, physical and spiritual health afflictions. History states that the enlightened beings (sattvic) went up into the Himalayas, meditated and brang forth from the ‘source’ this science of life.

Ayurveda, which means the ‘Science of enlightenment,’ illuminates, incorporates and has a direct relationship with all the healing practices from around the globe.

As such, they can all find a home under the ayurvedic umbrella whether it be Chinese acupuncture that uses ‘meridians’ which ayurveda refers to as ‘nadis’ or massage which ayurveda calls ‘abhyanga’.

The concept of the ayurvedic system states that through the implementation of dietary and daily practices, we can enable the body to remove toxins (Ama) and darkness (Tamas) from our mind, body and spirit, thus helping us reach a state of harmony and balance called ‘sattvic’.

This is the key; if we understand the basis of what ‘sattvic’ means, which is to become more aligned with mind, body and spirit, it allows us to become more heart orientated so we can tap into the ‘collective consciousness’ (C. Jung) or ‘Godhead/Atman’.

With this said, it does take years to be able to create and cultivate such an inner stillness that facilitates the opening of our ‘third eye’ thus tapping into our own innate psychic abilities; which is an innate ability for all humans.

Think with the heart; this is where it starts.

The guru is you; teachers are merely inner seekers.

Learn the verse of your inner universe.

~Siddha Somanomah

Ayahuasca

The indigenous medicine ayahuasca is found in most of Northern South America.

This medicine has been used for thousands of years and has been associated with the healing of cancerous growths and severe mental conditions, alongside the implementation and administration of different Amazonian plants.

The brew itself is the marriage of two plants: the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis Caapi) which is an MAO inhibitor used along with the plant ‘Chacruna’ (Psychotria Viridis) that contains this psychoactive ingredient DMT.

Our bodies cannot process this DMT without the MAOI’s found in the ayahuasca vine. (This practice has a wide array of beliefs and rituals associated with shamanic healing—trying to explain them all here holds little relevance to what I am trying to describe.)

Photo: Dale Wicks

Our pineal gland naturally produces the substance (DMT) and this pineal gland is associated with our ‘third eye’ chakra and is also referred to as ‘the seat of the soul’.

Ayahuasca, known as the ‘vine of souls’ when used in a sacred ceremonial context, can give us the ability to tap into the realm that I believe the yogis of ancient India were opening up through extended periods of meditation and dietary restrictions.

Many people have the capability of activating their third eye/pineal glands, though some people may need a little more of a ‘flick of the switch,’ so to speak.

With respect to India and its account of sacramental medicines, there is a long lost medicine called ‘soma’, which is associated with what I have perceived under the influence of ayahuasca. From my speculation this may be the ‘phalaris arundinacea’ species which is said to contain the highest traces of DMT in the world—found in northern India, being brewed with the blue lotus which also is an MAO-inhibitor.

Binding of the divine bodhi vine with the saviour ayurveda.

Both these two medicines begin with the sound ‘eye’.

The primordial vowel of these two words ‘ay’-ahuasca and ‘ay’-urveda is also the resonance or ‘tone’ of the third eye or ‘ajna.’ Effecting and opening up the cosmic body with its core functions are intuition, connection with higher self and the ability to see without filters of the mind.

During my recent visits to Peru, I was undertaking the ayurvedic diet and lifestyle and was amazed to see the similarities between the diet and healing practices of these two approaches to healing and energetic re-calibration.

With persisted use of this Peruvian medicine alongside the ayurvedic lifestyle and sattvic diet, I have started to open up to the realm of ‘Brahmacharya’ which has enabled me to learn more than I ever thought would be possible without a teacher or guru.

Below I raise a few concepts which I will demonstrate and articulate an organic practice that will possibly allow each and every one of us to learn that which already resides deep inside (Vritti).

In the past, the yogis or Rishis meditated in secluded caves on the divine, reaching heightened states. The sacramental use of the ayahuasca brew helps us to reach this state via the plant world while also connecting and reflecting us back to the Mother Earth.

Within the multidimensional visionary aspect ayahuasca provides, there can be the desire to have a outer body experience nevertheless, but what would truly benefit the participant is to have an inner body experience. (One which brings us back into the moment and union with the source, without being distracted, perplexed or ungrounded.)

In ayurveda there are three dosha’s each made up of a combination of the five elements.

Vata—Air and space.

Pitta—Fire and water.

Kapha—Earth and water.

My body type is predominantly vata (air and space) so even though the first few ceremonies were amazing, it did take me a long time to come back to grounding and integrating these new found states into traits, stages etc.

This is where the ayurvedic model or system identifies our inclination towards becoming airy or ungrounded. I feel ayurveda cleary enables and facilitates us to have these experiences, helping us move into this stage of being much quicker and gentler.

As these experiences can aggravate the Doshas if care is not taken in the process, being aware of your Dosha prior to sitting can help you understand what foods to eat or what aromatherapies to acquire to help bring you back from this heightened state.

Now let’s take a look at how to get to this place of wisdom, while keeping our feet somewhat on the Mother Earth.

In ayurveda, when the entire energetic body and physical body is in a state of homeostasis, we produce a substance called ‘Ojas,’ which is our vital primordial essence that comes from ether or spirit. It is said to have the texture of ghee and the colour of gold and is responsible for higher states of consciousness: immunity, purity of thoughts, perfect health, positivity in feelings, love, joy, better immunity, longevity, intelligence, creativity, memory, bliss and thought or mental processes.

The inability to create these ojas causes fear, physical and mental weakness, impaired mental functions and tissue dryness. These precious ojas can be depleted by pretty much any health defeating factor. In particular, ayurveda blames trauma, serious malnutrition, grief, anger, mental stress, physical hard work and hunger.

For our bodies to create ojas we must first rid our ‘whole’ bodies (be it mental, physical, energetic or spiritual) of Tamas and Rajas.

This brings me to the three Gunas which I will describe in short, so not too lose you in ayurvedic philosophy.

The Gunas are the three states of the mind which arise from the ether called ‘Prakruti’. These can be increased or decreased, with our objective in life is to move into a ‘sattvic’ state and away from our current state (vikrutti).

1) Tamas—this first state which is a state of darkness, inertia, inactivity and materiality.

Tamas manifests from ignorance and deludes all beings from their spiritual truths. To reduce Tamas, avoid tamasic foods, over sleeping, over eating, inactivity, passivity and fearful situations.

Tamasic foods include heavy meats and foods that are spoiled, chemically treated, processed or refined. The accumulation of this Guna is clear to see in modern society. Just go to your nearest fast food restaurant and observe the behavior and traits of all people who partake in a Tamasic way of living, and you will see darkness in the form of attachments, fear and their need to acquire more.

2) Rajas—is a state of energy, action, change and movement.

The nature of Rajas is of attraction, longing and attachment and Rajas strongly binds us to the fruits of our work.

To reduce Rajas, avoid rajasic foods, over exercising, over working, loud music, excessive thinking and consuming excessive material goods.

Rajasic foods include fried foods, spicy foods, and stimulants. People who have these are not necessarily drawn away from the ‘source’ but more inclined to be more ego driven and to acquire more in the form of knowledge experience and outside luxuries. A rajistic mind is said to be one that always asking questions and always seeks.

3) Lastly the state of sattvic—this is a state of harmony, balance, joy and intelligence.

Sattvic is the Guna that yogis move towards as it reduces Rajas and Tamas and thus makes liberation possible.

To increase Sattva, reduce both Rajas and Tamas, eat sattvic foods, enjoy activities and environments that produce joy and positive thoughts.

Photo: MissMessie on Flickr.

Sattvic foods include whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables that grow above the ground. All of the yogic practices were developed to create Sattva in the mind and body. Thus, practicing yoga and leading a yogic lifestyle strongly cultivates Sattva.

If we look at the diet needed to really allow ayahuasca to do her work, it’s made up of no salt, sugar, oil, dairy, alcohol or spices, including pepper.

This diet, which is not to be confused with the word dieta (the shamanic process of the ingestion of certain plants) is to acquire healing or teachings from the plant world.

This strict diet consists of mostly vegetables and some small amounts of fish (white meat), all of which are sattvic in nature.

With respect to eating vegetables (which both practices endorse), what I have truly found was that when we eat things that are close to the ‘source’ or ‘primordial energy’ we become more like ‘light’ which may lead us into the next stage of evolution, which has been termed homo-illuminous

The plants take their nourishment from the sun and when we consume them, we get this energy firsthand.

On the other hand if we eat an animal that eats the plant we are moving further away from the ‘source’.

Now look at where artificial or processed foods lay and you can clearly see most of us have moved further away from a sattvic way of life and into a Tamasic de-evolution.

When you adhere to a sattvic or ‘oja’ producing diet, you are allowing your body to be open for healing, thus limiting the need for the physical (vomiting or diarrhea) or emotional purge (which may manifest as yawning, crying or even laughter), all of which is a process of expelling Tamas.

So what we have in common here is the idea of expelling the physical energetic and spiritual body of darkness.

But it’s not just in ceremony—there is also another ayurvedic practice to remove dissonance of our state of being. This other aspect of expulsion of Tamas is done through the ayurvedic process of Pancha-Karma which is almost exactly the process used by the Shipibo/Conibo practitioners (Curanderos or Curanderas).

The five Panchakarma (actions) are much alike the healing style of the Curandero’s and Curandera’s of Peru, with exception of the last two which I have yet to participate in.

The Five Actions are:

Sweat baths (vapor banacan or snahana)

Vomiting (vomitivo-purge-virechana)

Massage (abhyanga)

Nasya (elimination of toxins through the nose)

Detoxification of the blood (Rakta moksha)

It is not only the diet but also these other techniques that play a major role in healing the mind body matrix. Once we have removed toxins (Ama) from our whole bodies, we can begin to move into higher vibration as the Rajas or Tamas have been eliminated and the ojas can now start to flourish.

With addition to the ayurvedic model, I feel the use of ayahuasca in a ceremonial context will help you remove mental and emotional issues and will facilitate a faster healing experience.

Please beware If you are ‘Vata,’ doing this practice in the long term without adequate ‘down time’ (eating ground vegetables) in between will lead to ‘Vata’ aggravation and actually hinder your healing. The night ceremonies could lead to a tendency towards insomnia and aggravate ‘Pitta’—so adequate rest is recommended.

If you are ‘Kapha’ and have an excess of ‘Kapha’ which expresses itself as excess mucous, a thick, white tongue coat, sticky, sluggish bowel movements, high body weight ,feeling slow, foggy, dull, lethargic or heavy, easily attached or possessive, overly sentimental, complacent or stubborn or a tendency for emotional overeating these methods will have the most effect and benefit.

I will not go much further into shamanic aspects of the ayahuasca practice as my seeds are grown within the ayurvedic philosophy with my shamanic understanding now starting to sprout.

Photo: Sarah Reid

I will leave you with a practice you can take with you.

When or if you plan to undergo this process, which is becoming more of a draw card for spiritual seekers or those that need healing on a more spiritual/emotional plane:

I recommend that before you go, you adhere to a ‘Dosha’ (body type) pacifying diet. This will allow the ‘purge’ to be less intense as you would have already begun the process of removing toxins (AMA) from your system.

Please also be aware that when you are partaking in the use of this medicine, you are not around or touch other people as your ‘crown’ is open and unsanitary entities drop in.

What is used when you need protection as this process will allow you to be extremely open, is the use of ‘Pasangas/Shamanic aromas‘. The way to use these is to meditate with them and put intention into them. Just before or during ceremony, rub the fragrance over your crown and body.

Another method in protecting yourself is the use of tobacco/mapacho. While you are in ceremony, speak a prayer of protection into the mapacho and ask him for protection. Then when you are in a state where you are losing yourself/ becoming too open, light the mapacho, take the smoke into your mouth, make a saliva ball and swallow three times all the while asking the Mapacho spirit to protect you or to bring you back.

In closing, leading a sattvic lifestyle a few months prior to attending a ‘Ceremony’ will balance your body and mind and allow you to be stronger and more open to healing.

 

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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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Sara Sep 23, 2013 12:40pm

Hey Dan, really interesting article, thanks for sharing!

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Daniel Barnes

Daniel Barnes has been practicing diverse forms of healing for around five years including Ayurveda, aromatherapy, massage and primordial sound techniques, and has a passion for integrating any healing techniques that balance the body, mind, soul and spirit. Dan is currently working on a healing map called Alive with the 5. This new approach incorporates healing techniques based on the five elements/senses and the activation/emotional relationship of the 1st five chakras. As he moves through life he has taken an interest in shamanism, and he is currently being apprenticed by an Australian curandera. As this works with the language of spirit, this surely will play a huge role in his approach to his own holistic style of medicine. Please visit his website or contact him via Facebook.