Two weeks ago I had my twenty-fourth ayahuasca experience. It was almost exactly a year to the day since I drank for the first time. That makes pretty simple math: for the last year, on average, I have drunk ayahuasca twice a month.
For this man, that's a lot.
I have been challenged and confronted with trauma and age-old patterns of dysfunction and despair. I have been shown the myriad ways in which I have sold myself short, ignored my soul's higher purpose, believed lies about my own powerlessness and insignificance.
It's the hardest thing I've ever done.
Lately it has been getting harder. I appear to be getting taken to the deepest levels of my soul's wounding - the wounds that were so enormous and cruel that they left me with a simple, brutal choice - leave my body and bury the hurt all the way down, or be utterly destroyed by it.
I took the first choice. Thank God I did. As a grown man, apparently strong enough to finally feel it in its entirety, I have felt almost completely overwhelmed by it. Some days I can barely function. As a child it would have, without question, either killed me or driven me insane. My little boy's container was simply not strong enough to withstand its full force.
Lately I've been seeing homeless mentally ill people in a new way. These days when I pass by a bearded, unwashed man on the corner, gibbering to himself and begging for enough money to silence his demons for a few precious hours of oblivion, the first thought that comes to mind is, "Oh you poor man. You poor lost soul. What happened to your precious, innocent little boy that drove him so completely out of himself?"
The only thing that separates me from those guys is my constitution: my resilience and my ingenuity and my will to survive. I was clever enough to figure out means of tolerating an intolerable situation, and strong enough to implement them without fail.
Believe me, I say this not by way of self-congratulation. Merely precision. Whatever gifts I have were God's to give, and they appear to be part of his plan for me, part of my soul's purpose. I feel only compassion for those subjected to severe trauma who do not possess them. These people are grist for the mill of our global DeathMachine. I'm glad that God loves them, because virtually no one else cares in the least.
I'm not ashamed to say it: I pray with all of my broken heart for a world that cares for every single one of its precious children. I take it on faith that our species neither can nor should survive if we refuse this challenge.
That's the terrible gift I was given by trauma and abuse and neglect: a long-dormant, finally-emerging, desperately resisted Christ consciousness. The birthright of all humanity. If it's happening to you it's happening to me. We are all God's children.
There is no longer any wall I can build that will separate me from this spiritual reality.
And then there's the question of the here and now. The job to perform; the mortgage to pay; the lights to keep turned on; the daughter to raise. Yes, by God, I am fortunate enough to have these burdens and these blessings. And being constantly torn apart by ayahuasca can make it nearly impossible to fulfill them.
Failing in my responsibilities and giving up is a dubious luxury I do not possess: even if I were willing to condemn my own soul to that fate, there's no way I'd do it to my daughter.
And so, again, I must find ways to tolerate an intolerable situation: discharging my duties as a father, a partner, an employee, and an adult in American society who does not want to be homeless, with as much Grace as I can muster, all in the midst of a complete dismantling of my ego.
Lately I've been getting creative. I've been exploring energetic healing work: there appear to be some truly gifted lightworkers on this planet who are capable of performing spiritual surgery on us when the need arises. I've also been very consciously making new friends and reaching out to old ones. It's a two-pronged weapon: it gives me help in the present moment and it contradicts my old pattern of isolation, that tool that used to serve me so well and now keeps me locked in darkness and despair. I've been exercising like crazy. I've been sitting in steam baths. I've been praying and meditating and reading spiritual texts.
In short, I've been doing every blessed thing possible to help me make it through this ordeal. Just like I did when I was little. The difference is that today the ordeal is taking me closer to the light, rather than pulling me away from it.
So that makes it especially ironic that today my coping strategies include drinking less ayahuasca. For most of the last year drinking large doses several times a month has seemed manageable and useful. In fact, it has seemed necessary. That appears to be changing.
A few days ago I did something I haven't done once in the last year - I passed on a chance to drink. I was just starting to feel some ground under my feet after the last ceremony 2 weeks before, and I got the message loud and clear - "Don't go this time. Take a rest." And so I did, and I know that it was the right choice.
I'm not totally sure when #25 will be. I'll know when it's time.
God bless you, whoever you are.