Citation: Samanthe. "Choose Pleasure: An Experience with Ayahuasca (exp9760)". Erowid.org. Dec 13, 2001. erowid.org/exp/9760
A Saturday, Summer 1999. This was the second in a series of three group psychedelic sessions (the other two were with mescaline, they were all with the same sitters) in the tradition of the Secret Chief
that I underwent in 1999. They followed two other sessions the same year -- an ayahuasca group with a different sitter, and a mind-blowing LSD/psilocybin mushroom combination
. I consider these five sessions to be part of 'my intensive intentional tripping of 1999.' Three years later, and I am still integrating them. I have not had a comparable trip since then and my drug use has been limited to very infrequent low doses of familiar compounds and intermittent-to-regular alcohol -- I'm taking my time with this stuff...
Setting: Well-appointed studio of large private home. Ten experiencers, all women, arrayed in a circle, each with her own bucket, eyeshades, blankets, sacred objects (in my case I probably had my teddy bear but I forget). Three sitters (also women). Ayahuasca dispensed from pretty little cup, and chased with candied ginger to help with the nausea. We had all arrived the evening before and were asked to observe objective silence the same day of the sessions and the following day.
Took first dose (around 40 ml). Lots of ratiocination -- as soon as I put on the eyeshades I got a pang of panic -- felt closed in. Switched to softer eyeshades, felt better. Breathing felt shallow, as usual -- like a board is pressing on my chest. No visuals. I felt like I had a membrane around me that segregates me from my true self. Felt a booster would be good (it was offered around T+2:00, I think). As soon as I sat down from having taken the booster (about 40 ml) the visions washed over me. They were softer than the previous time I visited -- less cartoonish and frenetic (possibly this was a lower dose). I would get very hot and my heart would beat fast and I would feel like I was going to pass out yet I didn't surrender. Felt less frustrated over this than previous a ayahuasca session. Felt a little disappointed in the midst of it, but later, I was more comfortable as I was shown *gentleness* and *tenderness*. 'Ask for help -- it will be there.' 'The loving comfort of Mother Earth is always a constant companion and will never desert you.' That is, I considered with a sort of dumb amazement how the earth is literally right under our feet and always there for us.
I can't remember if it was before or after the booster, but at some point someone came over (one of the three sitters) and ever so gently tap-tapped over my shoulder blade (a place where I typically experience a lot of tension and pain). This made me feel sadness, at the gentleness of the gesture, and my eyes teared up and I cried. I stuffed it a little but it was a good release. The sitter whispered to me to say 'I love you' as I tapped my back with my worry stick (a little stick I like that I had brought from home) and this felt so sad and difficult. As I used the worry stick on my back, I considered my tendency to flagellate and punish when I could be caressing and encouraging myself. I thought, 'I'm good at sadness -- it's time to try happy and love!' and think I whispered this out loud to the sitter to have her witness it. I felt the sentimentality of a simple thing like receiving a loving touch and asking for what I want and receiving it simply. I briefly felt concern that I was being greedy for the sitter's energy but this dissipated fairly quickly because I chose instead to let myself feel sad. I thought of different types of sadness, focusing on my grandparents -- on the sadness of loving someone who goes off and gets killed in war and abandons you, or who abuses themselves (through alcohol abuse) and you. I thought about the women who give birth to their sadness rather than throwing it up/speaking up/singing joy or shitting it out.
I contemplated the belly as the matrix that digests and holds and releases things back into the world -- through birth, vomiting, shitting, breathing and speaking. During this I held my own belly. I felt my shoulder tension as a burden I've been asked to carry that I can let down -- I chose to carry it and I can get tired and put it down. A vision appeared in my mind's eye of a stout South American woman carrying a load of something on her back and pausing to put it on the ground. This gesture repeated like a loop as I contemplated the symbolic meaning of it in my own life. I felt many permutations of sorrow and joy, suffering and joy. I thought of children whose parents put a hand on their shoulder, of women who ask to hold a hand. I wanted to just softly hold someone's hand. Then I lay down and wanted to just lay my head on someone's lap. I was remembering to get down deep in my body with my breath. Yet my mind raced and would 'stick' on a vision at the exhale.
Then I had a lot of awful thoughts about my boyfriend (a relationship that was on and off for 3 years) and I reviewed many negative possibilities. I felt the inevitability of having to break it off and felt horrified by this. 'I don't want to start over right now.' I felt how disappointed I get and what high expectations I have. I thought about what it would be like to break it off and how horrible it would feel. I though of how 'sometimes you're given an assignment or asked to do something, and you can just say no, you're not obligated to say yes.' (The main sitter said this to someone else this weekend). Which goes back to putting down the load I'm carrying over my shoulder. I thought how I'm not through with G (boyfriend), and whether this was an excuse, an ego thing (false sense of responsibility for someone else), a way of keeping/desiring a part but not the whole (Sitter said something about this to someone else this weekend, too -- that once you move on you move on, you don't keep one foot in the past, you can't just pick and choose the good parts of a relationship that you are trying to put behind you). I was even thinking that I'd like to have a love affair! This was an expression of the desire to have choice and love and pleasure instead of a feeling of obligation and chore.
I saw visions of helpers (psychedelic neon female elves) dusting and cleaning out stuff in my psyche and then encouragingly pushing my barf bucket towards me for disposal. This vision repeated in a loop, as if they were patiently straightening up and offering me relief. Then I literally knelt over my bucket and looking down into it felt like looking down an cavernous black hole, like a scary infinite tunnel. I didn't purge, maybe just spit up a bit. I was scared at seeing what was on the other side, scared of feeling free and happy, scared of leaving behind my sadness. I imagined that if I purged I would enter a whole new level of raving and ranting tripping -- possibly with hollering and great need for assistance -- and I didn't want to risk that. I laughed at how I'm in love with my sadness. (later in the evening another woman in the group said something sweet about that (love/sadness) and it seemed OK suddenly.) I was in the sad disappointed place for a long time, looking out the window and seeing how pretty the trees were and how there's such a paradox there -- I have felt this responsibility to feel all this sadness and the responsibility to feel joy is a new and tender thing for me.
I was able to keep my observer self and see some of the ways my ego works its will, and I also saw the ego's responsibility to ask for what the soul needs and this felt empowering (you risk both getting what you want and not getting it.) For example, I saw how my desire to figure out whether this relationship with G is what I want caused me to exert my will and encourage him move to the same state as me, and I also saw how this ultimately hasn't worked for me. Essentially, our personalities have been enamored in one another, and we have held an illusion about what the relationship is. I feel like extricating from this and expressing and seeing my authentic self and that of another. I felt a little disgusted at how we play into each other's egos. I thought, horrified, that I 'bought' G by lending him the money to buy his car to move down. Sometimes we buy who we want. Their karma wants it or appears to.
[other thoughts in the midst of my intoxication:] What is, is. It just is, it's neither good nor bad. I can wallow in sorrow and pain -- I already know I'm good at it. It is a choice. I can choose pleasure, happiness and gentleness. I don't have to be unhappy and perpetrate sadness and fear and desperation. I'm not responsible for anybody or their emotions or happiness -- I chose to be with the people I'm with. I can scare myself with the negative possibilities of my choices or I can own my responsibility and choose pleasure, gentleness and clarity. In the past I've chosen partners that promise sadness. And this time I imported my sadness to [the state I live in]!
(about the same dose as midday, maybe a little less) I'm proud that I had the courage to go back in, and yet it's loving and gentle and wise! Gentleness was my mantra for this session. I just have to remind myself over and over. I forget easily. I felt that now is not the time to push my limits, but the time to hang out in the comfort zone. Whatever comes up is good and OK. I reviewed my actions and decisions and felt pleased that 'I'm on the right path' (my own). This went back to my April 1999 session where I also felt this same pleasure. The whole time my head buzzed like the electric buzzing of a speaker, and the buzzing moved around.
I thankfully had no visions (they seem to distract me and keep me on edge) and felt gentle loving messages telling me in many ways how OK things really are. I realized with happy astonishment how simple and attainable gentleness is. I spent time unlearning the feeling that there's no one to count on (like it was for my grandmothers). I felt different kinds of sadness -- of a little girl, forlorn; a mother; an older woman alone. Had visions of streaming bits and bytes, DNA strands, marching along in opposite directions, with some things 'clicking' or fitting -- like people, genes, thoughts, words. I thought about what I was perceiving as [my boss]-grandfather-Jewish-German karma and it frightened me that I may be slaving for some sort of karma payback related to the Holocaust [my family is partly German]. I had thoughts about the slave/dominator dichotomy and what role I play -- how it's not right for me to play that game. And I'm not [my boss's] slave or slave to my ancestors. Because theyıve been there, I am here, and I have choices and I am choosing to enjoy and choose pleasure, for the sake of humanity.
I thought for a while how I could try being the coquette and sex-kitten -- not in self hate but in the exploration and delight of sexuality. Thought of a the potential of relationship that moves beyond sexual teacher-student to sexual co-creation (not babies, pleasure).
The breath is who you are -- consciousness = inhalation = ingestion = active will = receptivity = acceptance AND exhalation = release = receptivity = expelling = active will = speaking = purging
When a cannabis pipe was quietly passed around once everyone was pretty much 'back', I decided to smoke (hadn't done this in three years, see Clear Communication over the Toilet Bowl
.) I stayed lying down and felt like I could *really* explore my breath with this, I was playing with pressing and pulling out a sharp 'stick' I felt in my back. I also felt like I was massaging the inside of my spine with my exhalations. It felt really really good. Later in the evening the cannabis made me confused/gentle. At one point I lazily cheered, 'choose pleasure!' as a summing up of the day's lessons.
2001 comment: The women in my family have been yang, forced to rely on themselves with little emotional help from others, becoming 'hard' in a way. I am unlearning this pattern. I'll probably take ayahuasca again. I am still integrating what I learned in 1999 -- have not yet applied some of the information I received then (like the importance of taking more serious steps to strengthen my body). Until I make a few more steps -- honoring the messages grandmother ayahuasca gave me -- I will wait before visiting with her again.
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