second reply to question about ayahuasca

Dear Luis,
Thanks for writing back.  I understand your concerns about psychological dependence on altered states as a way to avoid the external reality of life.  I too have seen this, in the Santo Daime church and, of course, elsewhere.  My point is only that the use of mind-altering drugs is a complex issue, not easily resolved by familiar dualistic thinking.  The Pathwork Guide often says that no action is in itself good or bad, it depends on many factors, most notably intent.
In the case of our family, ayahuasca, taken in the context of the Santo Daime church, was an important catalyst to our spiritual growth.  It brought us through a serious family crisis for which I will always be grateful.  The Santo Dame is no longer my path, mostly because it feels that I received what I was supposed to receive, and I have no further need to drink ayahuasca. (This is, incidentally, very different from how addiction proceeds.)
I totally respect that ayahuasca was/is not your path. It is certainly not for everyone. (Did you read the the Disclaimer at the back of the book?)
Just as I have seen people “stuck” in the Santo Daime church, I have also seen people “stuck” in the Pathwork.  The Pathwork can, inadvertently, encourge recycling process work because it is the known path.  This can never take one to a different level of reality, which can only be entered if the known path is released and the unknown is embraced.  As long as you think you know what reality is, the deeper truth of life will elude you.  As long as one looks through any particular lens, that lens will define and limit what one sees.
Eventually one outgrows any path, since a path is based on a specific world view, and life itself has no world view about itself.  It just IS itself.  And we are THAT.  So, sooner or later, one awakens from any path which attempts to lead the seeker toward the reality of what we are.  Instead, we awaken to that toward which all paths are pointing.  And that is the end of seeking, and the end of identifying one’s “self” with any path.
I love the Pathwork and the wonderful work it does with many people.  I support the Pathwork at Sevenoaks and occasionally still participate in Pathwork events.  I have deep, wonderful, life-long relationships with many friends who are Pathwork helpers and students.  I also have deep, wonderful, life-long relationships with many friends who are committed to the path of the Santo Daime, though I no longer participate in the ceremonies.
 
I do not judge my friends on the basis of what path works for them.  I am happy that they have found a path that works for them.  But at this time in my life I no longer feel a “part of” any particular path; it simply is not true for me now.  No one knows what the future will bring!
Thanks again for the dialogue,  Susan 
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2 Responses to second reply to question about ayahuasca

  1. Donna Evans Strauss says:

    Greetings Susan,
    I fully understand your path and growth and have struggled many times to expand my consciousness, outside of the Ronald Regan Era where many of us were brainwashed into thinking all drugs were bad, the teens were out of hand, mother’s marched on Washington because they didn’t understand why their children were smoking pot, trying hallucinogens, and traveling to yoga retreat centers. There was so much research being done during that time which later became illegal. Now, we see that all those laws did not work and many of us formed several belief systems around drugs in our culture. Many of us are uneducated in these areas, and were never exposed to the historical significance of Ayahuasca within indigenous cultures. So many pioneers, like yourself and Donovan opened yourself to this type of work during a time you were bringing the Pathwork around the world and into Brazil. I find there are many researchers and pioneers like yourself who have risked their reputation to explore and write about the medicinal properties of this plant and it’s help with people with addictions and their creativity etc. Here is a quote about Graham Hancock’s work in this area. He is a well respected author and researcher in ancient culture ( yet because of his work in this area one of his TED Talks was banned). “As part of his research for Supernatural, Graham Hancock traveled to the Peruvian Amazon to drink the powerful plant hallucinogen Ayahuasca with indigenous shamans. Such visionary experiences, Hancock argues, were fundamental to the unprecedented and astonishing evolutionary leap forward achieved by our species during the past 40,000 years and provided the inspiration for the earliest art and religious ideas of mankind. It is difficult for those who have not experienced Ayahuasca, or other related shamanic hallucinogens, to visualize the strange parallel realities into which these substances bring us. Fortunately, however, a number of shamans in the Amazon are also gifted artists and have made paintings of their own visions. Through these paintings it is possible for all of us to get some glimpse of the Ayahuasca Otherworld – which, mysteriously, is not a different place for each different individual who drinks Ayahuasca. On the contrary, whether experienced by an Amazonian shaman, or an American lawyer, or a European businessman, or a Japanese fashion designer, the Ayahuasca realm is always recognizably the same place, inhabited by the same intelligent beings with the same mission to teach us important truths about ourselves and the nature of the universe.” see http://www.pabloamaringo.com. There is so much we don’t understand about our consciousness, altered states of consciousness, and many of these paths. For myself, I have never adventured in this area, yet had other types of experiences during my teenage years. I agree with Graham Hancock and Susan that this may not be someone’s path, and if it is, it is important to work with someone who is experienced and has a lifetime of experience. There are many You tube videos of Graham ( a respected journalist, economist, author) speaking about his experiences and research for over 30 years. I respect you Susan for being honest and holding a sacred space. Donna

  2. LOVEadmin says:

    Thanks, Donna. I appreciate your support. I realize that many Pathworkers felt betrayed when we explored another path. I am sorry this is so, and have done my best (after our initial, naive and inappropriate enthusiasm) to make clear that this path is not for everyone, and is not associated in any way with the Pathwork. They are two very different paths, each with something to contribute to our understanding of the vastness of human consciousness and spiritual evolution. It is difficult for anyone who has not walked such an unusual shamanic path to make room for it in their minds. I appreciate your open-mindedness.