It’s difficult to believe that an omnipresent benevolent force exists when we live in a world filled with human suffering. A few years ago, I found myself so morbidly overwhelmed because I felt as if the world was being consumed by darkness. I had always had an intuition that all things in the Universe were connected, that I was a part of something greater than myself, yet skepticism and adolescent ambivalence discouraged me from fully embracing this concept.
Our modern society puts us through so much distress that it’s hard to really think about anything other than our own internal struggle. We’re driven through life caught up in the hysteria of our personal fulfillment and blissfully detached from the problems that are greater than our own. On the other hand, taking a compassionate and conscientious interest in the global state of the world can be so distressing that we begin to question the existence of any goodness, least of all a benevolent omnipresence. God? What God? How could there be a God when there is so much misery and unfairness on this planet?
‘God’ can be quite a confronting word, but when I use it, try not to associate it with a bearded man in the sky passing judgments on us, but rather as the Source of our existence and the Universal consciousness, which directly influences our lives. I used to immediately associate God with organized religion; I would often judge and criticize others for their faith, not understanding how someone could put all of their energy into one spiritual belief. Since then, I’ve come to understand that it was an error on my part to pass judgment, as it is the ego that judges, not the soul. Although it may sound un-saintly, psychedelics have connected me to my spirituality, and in turn have connected me to God. Although most of my experiences have been under the medicine of ayahuasca, it was psilocybin mushrooms and LSD that scratched the surface.
It was a few years ago that my eyes were first opened to the world. Two friends and I decided it would be fun to take a psychedelic stroll through Prospect Park, Brooklyn. It was my first time taking the reported “heroic dose” of psilocybin mushrooms and I knew that I was in for quite the experience.
The journey started off very gently. The trees in the park were starting to change color and everything seemed as if it was breathing. As we walked, earnestly in deep contemplation, we began pondering the meaning of life as many of us curious humans do. We continued walking, watching oncoming park-goers and wondering where they were in their life’s journey.
I had been in a very deep depression and felt disconnected from the world around me. The only way that I could feel happy or connect with others was primarily through the use of ecstasy and other drugs. This was the first moment of my life in which I was at peace with myself.
After an unaccountable lapse of time, we found ourselves at a staircase in the center of the park and sat down for a smoke. Suddenly I was seeing everything around me more clearly and vividly than ever before in my entire life. While I was looking at my surroundings, I had this overwhelming understanding that there was a grander conscious force that was driving all living beings, as though it was an enigma I’d been struggling with that had suddenly become clear. I was one with this force and could no longer feel my body. For the first time in my life I felt my soul, the driver of my own material existence. The three of us were vocalizing our thoughts and feelings in a way that was more fluid and articulate than anything we had ever experienced.
Within moments our newfound consciousness morphed from euphoric elation into hopelessness and despair. We were being tuned into all of the pain and suffering that was going on in the world. This overpowering force wanted us to wake up to the truth and take an honest look at ourselves. We began to realize that we were drowning in an existence completely diluted by substance abuse. We knew we had always been subconsciously aware of what was wrong with humanity, yet none of us had wanted to face it. We sat there together in tears trying to process the information that was being giving to us. It was at this moment that an elderly man ascended the stairs below us, maneuvering around our circle. I swore I saw a glow radiating off of him. We apologized for being in his way. He looked at us and said these words: “Why are you apologizing for just living? Life is beautiful. Have a wonderful day.” And then the man walked away.
Though they were simple words, they were spoken to us from the lips of God. If you open your heart and just listen to the messages that are given to you by others, you will realize that the Universe speaks to you all the time. It took a while for me to process everything I learned during that experience. I stopped using all substances for a while but was inevitably sucked back into it. You would think that such a powerful experience would leave a long lasting impression. Had I not been so young, susceptible and naïve at the time, it might have. I gradually forgot the empowerment that I had felt that day and eventually fell back into a deep depression. I was craving the sensation of that connection and the triumph over my despair.
A month leading up to me leaving for South America, I went to a music festival in up-state New York and took a very generous dose of LSD. I had been overwhelmed by all of these feelings inside of me; ignoring and abandoning everything I knew and was afraid of the unknown. I was spiritually ill and wanted nothing more than to heal. I was dancing in the midst of thousands of people and began to feel my fears and haunts dissolve on my tongue as I allowed myself to be taken by the music.
There was a kaleidoscope of colors in front of me, and this kaleidoscope morphed itself before me and became a bright white light. I felt the same force that I had felt in Prospect Park and suddenly became aware that I was in the presence of God. My body’s relation to time slowed down and I could see the vibrations pulsating through the speakers, over and over. Thus pulling everyone in the crowd and leading them all into a deep state of trance.
My hands went into prayer and the words “only let love and light into your heart” whispered through my mind. I was being reminded that I had the power to make anything possible, that my life was a manifestation of my own thoughts and that I was going to find the healing that I was looking for once I made it to South America. All of the fears and anxieties that I once had about leaving the United States left me. Since first hearing about ayahuasca, she had been at the back of my mind, and I knew that through her I would find what I was searching for. I made my way to Iquitos, Peru and there I met a local shaman named Roman and began translating ceremonies.
Ayahuasca has been where most of my spiritual healing has taken place. She has allowed me to make sense of my life and understand some of the painful experiences that I have had while living on this Earth. Both in this life, and the many lives that I have had here. I have begun to make connections that I could not see prior to my use of the medicine. Moments of my life that have caused me deep remorse and regret I now see as learning lessons that were given to me with reason. A common message that she has been giving me is that we are living in a critical point for the evolution of human consciousness and that many of us have been preparing for this moment since our first incarnation on Earth.
Through the use of ayahuasca I have accessed memories from previous lives. The experiences that I have had looking into my past lives have been subjective, intimate and have allowed me to deepen my conceptual understanding of reincarnation. There was a lesson that I took from each of these lives that I have been unknowingly implementing in the present. I was shown that in an earlier life I was a woman in 1950s America and was confused and conflicted by the world I lived in. I felt that everyone around me was completely blind, diluted and only concerned with material gain. When I expressed my concerns, no one would listen to what I had to say purely because I was a woman. I lived under the shadow of my husband and pleaded to the Universe to take me from that life because I felt oppressed and couldn’t make the change that I wanted to. As if my prayer was granted, I died young in a car accident, leaving my husband mourning my death.
My soul was relieved and resurrected into this incarnation now. That life engrained a gentler, more effeminate dimension into my character, which would later be very important for my life purpose. It also instilled in me a strong conviction for the importance of human equality, as the frustration of not having my voice heard and being heavily discriminated will always be encompassed in my being. I do not feel that there was a separation between each of my lives. My physical body is just the suit that my soul is wearing to have its human experience. This was a concept that was difficult for me to grasp as I have always been very attached to my identity.
Before my most powerful ceremony, I help up my cup and said “ayahuasca, I am your student, teach me… I love you.” My ego had a very strong hold on me at the time, and I knew that it was an obstacle that I had to overcome. I was sitting quietly in the ritual house waiting for the medicine to take effect. I saw spirits surround me and lift my body up high. I suddenly began to feel this vibration and once I allowed myself to surrender, I saw my spirit guides surrounding me. I was in a room made of stone, which had a pedestal in its center, and around it were beings that had direct influence over my life. These have always been with me. guiding my life in the right direction. I began to sing a melody that I had never heard previously. The spirits were working through me to help guide the space.
I was then taken back to the Source of my creation, the birth of a star in which my consciousness was born. This is when I finally understood that I was pure love and light. A force pulled my hands up above my head and then put my palms together into prayer. They came down to my chest and I could feel and see a surge of energy coming in through the tips of my fingers. There in the palms of my hands, I saw the Universe. I was part of it, and it was part of me. I was being sent a message that I was being recharged and cleansed and that I was an instrument of God. My ego was my greatest enemy and it would ultimately get in the way of me helping others reach God-Consciousness.
I began to pray. I prayed that we would one day live in a world in which we are taught from youth to love, give and be one with all beings on this Earth. I felt an enormous compassion and empathy for every single being that is in existence. It was interesting, because I had only prayed once before, during my experience on LSD, but it felt natural. As I prayed I felt directly connected to the Source of my being and it was as though my prayer was being sent out into the cosmos.
Now, I pray everyday. Not just for myself, but for others as well. I have had personal comments from loved ones telling me that they have felt my presence and energy when I had never expressed that I was praying for them. From that moment on, I began to understand why so many people yield to the concept of faith. Something that was so foreign to me was suddenly second nature.
We live in a culture where it is socially acceptable to hide behind alcohol and other substances, yet it is frowned upon to seek truth in these psychedelic medicines. We are conditioned to believe that happiness is achieved through attainment of material possessions, through success and money. Why is it so easy for us westerners to be swallowed into a system of living on autopilot and falling at the hands of substance abuse? Why is it that we are so miserable? After my experiences with psychedelics, it became apparent to me that the reason we are so miserable and diluted is because we have lost our connection to God.
Once you re-establish this connection you will see everything for what it is. As chaotic as everything may seem, I have come to the realization that everything we feel and experience serves a grander purpose. It’s as if my entire life is an orchestra. Every moment that I have ever experienced has been a cell in the anatomy of something grander than myself. Once I became one with God and realized that I was part of its dimension, everything in my life began to fall into place. Instead of seeing chaos, I see harmony and synchronicity in everything. All spiritual beliefs have common strings and links that bind them all as one.
There is a reason that we have been praying and answering back to the Source for so long. Faith has become a guiding force within my life and because of it I know that I am capable of anything. God does not judge or discriminate; God is pure love and light.
We are all creators, students and teachers reflecting back and forth between one another, constantly learning and growing. Enlightenment is not some finite point at which you suddenly know everything. It is something that you must work on your entire life. Until one day, you go back to the Source of your creation, to the Universe, to God.