Room for something else

It’s just one more week before I take part in my second ayahuasca ceremony. I’m very curious as to how it will be and I’m carefully looking forward to it. The nice thing this time is that for the coming few years my life is quite clear to me as I have formulated several goals for myself and I can now see a somewhat clear path towards those goals. This relieves me from some mental tension and I will arrive at the ceremony with a pretty blank mindset as opposed to the first time I took ayahuasca, where instead it greatly helped me to orient myself. Another way to put it, as a friend commented: there is room for something else now. I will try to let ayahuasca guide me and let it take control as much as possible while I give myself over to this entheogenic brew.

Before the ceremony starts it is advised to fast or follow a specific diet for at least 3 days. This is to lower the nausea that might occur after drinking ayahuasca when it reacts to foods eaten in the preceding days. This ceremony will start around 9 in the morning to give each participant more than enough time to journey and to come back out of it. My first ayahuasca ceremony was in a small flat apartment. It was a bit crowded with too many people, 8 who drank and 3 guides. This time however, it will take place in a residential home with just 5 participants and 2 guides, so it should be a bit more spacious. The guides explain what’s going to happen, everyone introduces oneself and shares their intention for participating, as much as they’re comfortable with. Next there may be some blessings for a helpful and pleasant journey and then a first glass of ayahuasca is served to all participants. In the background there is some soothing music playing and after finishing the glass you can optionally join in meditation to calm down the mind and to concentrate on oneself. It takes a couple of minutes before the effects become noticeable and that’s when you will start your journey.

About 6+ hours later, when you wake up from it, you are able to walk around for a bit and to stretch your legs while recollecting yourself after an incredibly intense experience. You are also offered some fruits and other foods to ground yourself in your body again. This is the basic outline for ceremonies held in the Netherlands as far as I’ve gathered. There are also some organisations that start in the evening and where you will spend one or multiple nights at their location.

On a side note I’d like to mention that I will fill in a psychedelic survey created by researchers at the Imperial College London. It consists of answering a list of questions 1 week before, 1 day before, 1 day after, 2 weeks after and 4 weeks after the planned psychedelic experience. So earlier today I have in a fact filled in the first set of questions. The feedback will hopefully help to increase their understanding of psychedelic substances. They stress the importance of a scientific approach towards psychedelics, a point of view I share as well.

I hope this was of interest to you and thank you for your attention 🙂

Hopes and Dreams

So… I guess I should start with some kind of apology or excuse. My hope was to update this blog weekly as can be read in my post from about a year ago and obviously I have not. But the silence is over now as I have finally found something purposeful to do with this bit of web space I have claimed for myself.

But first I will have to tell you a short story to make any sense to you. Last year, before I was getting myself ready for volunteering in Malaysia, I had a wonderfully beautiful and soul shattering experience. Thanks to specifically two people in my personal life, I found myself in a ceremony around December of 2015 drinking a dirty little brew that is commonly known as ayahuasca. The things that happened in my 6 hour internal soul journey after drinking ayahuasca were very otherworldly and difficult to describe, in part due to a lack of a suitable vocabulary to talk about these experiences.

Nonetheless, this very positive experience had been extremely powerful, insightful and motivational and has severely affected me throughout the months following that ceremony. It was actually the main catalyst for me to google for volunteering opportunities literally around the clock for two weeks straight until I had found the organization which my post from last year was about.

What had happened in that ceremony that made me unstoppable and fully convicted that this was the way to go? Well… this is what ayahuasca did for me. Somehow it decontructed and defragmented all my internal desires and wishes, hopes and dreams, some of which I wasn’t even fully aware of or conscious about and it shoved them in my face with a force that was, as I said, otherworldly.

And why did specifically this happen to me during my ayahuasca experience? A simple answer to that is: that’s what I asked it to give me. Indeed, anyone taking ayahuasca should mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for it by reflecting on what their personal motivations for taking ayahuasca are. Before the ceremony starts these motivations are shared with the group for the sole purpose of aligning your mental state with these motivations through speech.

Besides the benefits of truly getting to know myself, as if my soul stared at itself in a metaphysical mirror for 6 hours, ayahuasca also helped me overcome the feelings and thoughts that held me back from pursuing these insights. The motivational part of my ayahuasca experience showed me how my moral values and belief systems were in fact a good and sincere way to view the world and that I should embrace them and learn how to love and trust myself. This gave me the strength to face my doubts and fears which I felt was missing all this time.

Allow me to expand on that last bit right there. My entire adolescent life I have noticed the way I think about and look at the world to be quite different from most other people. Ultimately, this has made me insecure about that which I believe to be true and good because there were so incredibly many people who sometimes thought the complete opposite. And I mean everything, from their world views to their life choices and from what they value to how they constructed their arguments. Plenty of these people were way more intelligent than me so that really got me questioning a lot about myself and in a way I got stuck in that trying to find myself some answers.

In short, and to be honest, incompletely, I have tried to tell you about my first experience with this entheogenic substance and how it has been extremely beneficial to me. I highly recommend to anyone to read about it and, if you feel like it, to partake in a ceremony. I hope to go one step further by sharing my experiences surrounding ayahuasca here on this site which has been aptly named afteraya. Because it truly feels like there has been a deep personal transformation that has taken place and afterwards nothing has been the same anymore.

Thank you for reading and feel free to comment or contact me 🙂

Thank you Teacher and all my friends

I had landed in Kuala Lumpur (KL), which is now about 2 weeks ago, so that I could start working for an international NGO. The work consists of teaching in a so-called Solar Academy, whose students are youth from underprivileged and underserved communities. It is unpaid volunteering in exchange for free accommodation and food, which the students get as well.

After spending a week at the HQ, where I got to meet many new amazing people and other international volunteers just like me, I was transferred to Segambut, a sub-district of KL. I’m stationed in a Youth Development Center (YDC) and the 100+ students here are learning about everything they need to become independent and self-sustaining. After completing the program they can either find work or go back to their communities to share their new knowledge.

My first days of teaching the solar energy classes were really amazing, the students are eager to learn and very thankful for the opportunity. They greet me with Hello Teacher every time they see me and after each 1 hour class the students rise up and together they say Thank you Teacher and all my friends. The first time they did this I almost started crying, I had never seen this before in my life.

The way this NGO developed and provides its education is miles ahead of any typical education that I know of and within just a couple of days it already became clear to me how effective their method is. I will be staying with them for at least 6 months and possibly longer after that. I have my own room here as opposed to the dormitories at the HQ and after the first night it already felt like home to me. My neighbors/colleagues are very nice and friendly, they are locals and have shown me some nice places around this area while I could practice my Bahasa Melayu with them.

I hope to update this blog once a week, thank you for reading 🙂