open mind trips at the ayahuasca conference

 

Exploring the World Ayahuasca Conference with an Open Mind

 

I recently travelled to Ibiza to represent Open Mind Trips at the first World Ayahuasca Conference, which was held in Ibiza, Spain. The Ayahuasca conference was arranged by ICEERS Foundation, whom I believe we all owe a big thanks to, as well as to The Beckley Foundation who helped fund the conference. They arranged this huge conference to create more focus on all aspects of Ayahuasca, and to help 700 people from more than 50 countries connect in one place.

shaman at world ayahuasca conference

The conference was held in the beautiful surroundings of the magical Island of Ibiza.

I was told that the first people who brought Ayahuasca with them from the South American jungle to Europe, they brought it to Ibiza. As they say "If the mountain will not come to Muhammad/Moses..." - well in this case 'the mountain' e.i. Ayahuasca actually came to the European people, and she had thereby left the jungle. But the view of the world is quite different here in Europe compared to how it is looked upon in the Amazon, and there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion about the plant, which is why Ayahuasca is currently being treated as a Schedule 1 drug in many countries around the world.

Thanks to a lot of people from all over the world who are putting a lot of effort into creating a larger focus on these plants, we can hopefully get closer to changing this perception of viewing Ayahuasca as a 'Drug' instead of a Medicine as it really is.

At the World Ayahuasca Conference more than 50 speakers were offering their viewpoint and knowledge simultaneously in 4 different rooms, from early morning to late evening during the three days the conference lasted for. Amongst the speakers where Medical Doctors, Lawyers, Psychologists, Doctors in Psychology, Journalists, Shamans, Doctors in Anthropology, Doctors in Pharmacology, Doctors in Ethnobotany and Doctors in Medical Sciences.

Many interesting subjects where being discussed, such as

  • The Scientific Research of Ayahuasca
  • Law, Policies and Human Rights
  • Ethics and Safety
  • Sustainability
  • Social Sciences
  • Phenomenology, Psychology and Public Health
  • Biomedicine etc.

 

was astonished by the meeting with all these interesting people, and also very grateful to be able to meet what I believe is just a small part of this great Community of the Protectors of the Teacher Plants. And I do believe that this work we are doing is important. I believe we owe it to ourselves to investigate the uses of Ayahuasca, as well as of other teacher plants. Investigating things is natural for us, and we have always done through the history of mankind. 

 

 

Words of Wisdom from the Ayahuasca Conference

 

For those of you who were not at the conference, and who might not be familiar with the plant, I would like to share a couple of Words of Wisdom I received from some of the speakers:

 

Ayahuasca vine at the ayahuasca conference

At the conference it was said that Ayahuasca acts like an inner guide for people drinking her. The vine itself is formed like our DNA, which is believed to be the symbol of the Stairways to Heaven, which connects the people of this lovely planet with souls and spirits in the higher realms.

A myth from the Matsigenka Tribe in the Amazon says that Ayahuasca gives you true vision or true sight. For me, I feel like drinking Ayahuasca has helped me see things from a new perspective. Well not just "things", more like seeing life, the world, the univers and the multivers from a new and more healthy perspective.

machiguenga girl, view of the ayahuasca conferenceIt feels like having walked around your whole life being convinced that you knew more or less what reality was, and then being showed that there is so much more to it. It is like having studied a specific part of being alive through a microscope, and then remembered to look up from it once in a while, and see all the other beautiful things surrounding you. Can you imagine how amazed you would be? When realizing that reality might be different than what was presumed earlier, that it might be full of endless possibilities, and that you might have been wrong assuming some "basic facts of your life", it is hard not to feel a sense of gratitude of being wrong. Just realizing that there exists more loving kindness from everything in the multiverse than you could ever imagine is a gift, which can feel like a deep healing. More like the "Arrrh yes, I get it now! How could I have been so narrowly and closed minded?".

That being said, Ayahuasca is not a joyride, and it can be really tough to be faced with our own personal illusions. That is one thing our Ego is not fond of. But as Dr. Gabor Maté (Medical Doctor, Canada) says "Ayahuasca can show you the pain you are running away from. It enables you to see the pain from your childhood from the perspective of an adult".  I believe most of us can agree that it is not always easy being the adult. Yet being able to realize that the understanding we have of the world, which we have gained as children, might not be the exact same as the one we have as adults, can actually be very liberating. Just a change in perspective can by healing by itself. Have you ever tried questioning your own thoughts for example? It can be quite a tough job! With the help of Ayahuasca you get faced with the thoughts, feelings, behavioral patterns and understandings that are not serving you anymore. It is like Ayahuasca guides you to heal yourself, as most of the speakers agreed on.

Another common view at the conference was that Ayahuasca is a personal experience, which gives you personal results. The way I experienced Ayahuasca is therefore probably very different from the way you would experience it, and that is very important to keep in mind for those who have not yet had their own experience with the vine. Still some things seems to be experienced by everyone. That is the magic of this plant.

 

The importance of the Integration of the Experience

An important factor of the Ayahuasca Experience is the integration of it, as Danae Saenz (Clinical Psychologist, Chile) from the Takiwasi Center in Peru stressed during the conference. Just like a scientist is also testing what he has found through his studies, we too have to integrate what we have learned from our Ayahuasca Experience into our daily lives.

During a ceremony Ayahuasca can show you the choices/changes you need to make to become a healthier person. For me it was very clear that I need to stop postponing things. In order to  live a healthier life I must do what needs to be done right away. That could be to do the dishes, clean the house, catching up with work or whatever needs to be done. By postponing things because they seem to be "hard" or "boring" tasks just makes them even harder to complete. And there you have it - that is the negative spiral. I realized all this and more during a ceremony, but I mostly really understood it when I started doing the actual change and thereby integrating it in my life. Only by integrating it I was able to really know if Ayahuasca had been right about what she had showed me during my Experience, and of course she was.

Danae Saenz also pointed out that even though it is good to talk to someone about your Ayahuasca Experience, is it not enough to integrate it properly.  The real challenge is to transform the insights and understandings during the ayahuasca session into concrete actions in your everyday life. As she said "We all have a great deal of homework to do after a ceremony. The integrations of the Ayahuasca experience is a process which we have to work with on a daily basis. Change is never easy".

 

ayahuasca conference speakers

 

 

A few Scientific Aspects

Some speakers from the Ayahuasca conference presented a many of interesting scientific aspects of Ayahuasca. One of the aspects I found most interesting was that it is scientifically proven that Ayahuasca helps you get more aware of the mind wandering. Mind wandering is what the scientists call it when our mind wanders off to explore something other than the thing we are trying to focus on. Meditation helps you be aware of the mind wandering as well, though it can take years to get really good at focussing.  Meditation is also known as Mental Training because it is a way of training the mind to become more aware, so I guess we could say that Ayahuasca also is a form of mental training. What do you think?

Another interesting fact is that it is scientifically proven that Ayahuasca lights up our visual system and memories in the brain. This is interesting since we usually believe what we see, not what we hear. This could explain why people often feel that they experience more healing from one Ayahuasca ceremony then from 10 years of psychological counseling. Either way -  as the scientists said - it may be useful to take into account that the scientifically proven-stamp only assures us that this statement is going to change with time, as our scientific understanding will evolve.

 

Ayahuasca vibes at the Conference

Being at the Ayahuasca conference was definitely a special experience. At times it almost felt like being part of one big ceremony.  On the second day of the conference, while I was listening to a debate in one of the conference rooms, it all of a sudden felt like the sounds and my vision changed, just like it did when I was under the influence of Ayahuasca. I felt the love and security of being part of one big community (with every other living being), exactly as I had felt after my very first Ayahuasca experience at The Sacred Valley Tribe in Peru.

The same night I woke up in the middle of the night after having a very vivid dream about meeting some the souls of the other participants of the conference. In my dream I was learning how to fly, but I had not quite managed to do it properly yet, since I did not fully believe that I actually could. Some of the other souls said that is was because I still had not purged, and all of a sudden I woke up and felt like I needed to throw up. I spent the next half an hour in the bathroom, still not being able to purge. Maybe the vine is telling me something?

At the last day of the Ayahuasca conference ICEERS had arranged a Final Party which was held at the Sansara. Most people from the conference were there, and it was great to meet people in different surroundings. I must say that the vibes at the Final Party felt like the ones I have felt after having participated in a ceremony. Even when I was about to leave the party to go back and have a good night sleep before heading back to Denmark, I even accidentally said "Thank you for this lovely Ceremony" to one of the ICEERS staff.

Well, if you were at the 'ceremony' called World Ayahuasca Conference,  you might know what I am talking about. To refresh your memory, and to better give a feel to those of you who where not there, I will share this link with music from the Final Party, where Othon was playing this!

 

Thank you for reading!
I will continue my integration of the Conference-ceremony.

Love and Light to you!

 

ayahuasca art, ayahuasca conference

 

-Amelliya Rosenberg
Founder and Mother of Open Mind Trips