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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, January 21, 2010


You don’t need Ayahuasca to have an experience of altered consciousness. Ordinary life often supplies opportunities and they come in many forms.

I was speaking to a friend by phone and he was asking about my Ayahuasca experience. Just before he called I had been reading the book The Antipodes of the Mind by Benny Shanon in which the author was describing a vision he had while on Ayahuasca.

Shanon reports having a vision of being present for the capture and torture of Zedekiah by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 B.C as told in the Old Testament of the Bible.

In the vision, Shanon is present while Zedekiah is physically restrained and forced to witness his sons being burned alive in a fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar has Zedekiah’s eyes plucked out.

But this is where the biblical account and the vision differ. In Shanon’s words…

What could poor Zedekiah do? He could not help his children and could do nothing to change their awful lot. He could neither resist nor fight. He could, of course, curse and blaspheme but that would have done him no good. The only thing that he could do really was praise the Lord. This, I saw, is what he did. The blind man who had just lost his kingdom and both his sons was singing a great Halleluiah.

When I read this passage to my friend over the phone we were both quiet for a moment. Then he told me that he had thought of the Haitian people caught in the January 2010 earthquake. Yes, I said, that is it. I am sure many of the victims as they suffered and died, pushed by those horrendous circumstances, found peace and power to the point of rejoicing as they experienced the falling away of all that this consciousness, we call the self, so desperately clings to. In the Ayahuasca vision that Shanon describes he witnesses and experiences “a catharsis that comes from accepting that which cannot be changed.” The message is that we must have this catharsis before we can move forward beyond our greatest fears or even into that which lies beyond our mortal existence.

My own experience with Ayahuasca has shown me that this consciousness, this spirit, is capable of transcending all the judgments and the fears that continually flood into my ordinary reality. This awareness leaves me in a place of wonder, awe and appreciation. From that place I too can sing Halleluiah.


Blogger Cherie Ann said...

Hey Micheal, thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I really enjoyed reading your posts. It was nice connecting with you yesterday.


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