5 Sacred Lessons I Learned from Shamans and Ayahuasca
“Plant medicine showed me that all we have to do is be who we are, love and light.”
I’ve come back to Costa Rica hoping to shatter my limitations.
We are all seekers. To be human is to be curious and open up to our creative potential. Yet, so many of us feel stuck, off track and behind. We feel as if something is missing. That something missing is the reason we are here.
I’ve come to Rythmia, a life advancement center, to try a plant medicine known as Ayahuasca. Made from the vine Banisteriopsis caapithis, this plant is said to shine a spotlight straight into the massive gap between who you think you are and who you truly are. My date with destiny is here; ayahuasca is the magic genie granting me wishes.
Imagine the lamp with a magic genie is in your hands and you have the power to finally get the answers you’ve been searching for your entire life. What are your three wishes? My ayahuasca experience showed me all the ways I hide from myself and the world. I wanted to know possibilities, but first I had to see my limitations. In order to get what I wanted, the universe, or genie in this case, showed me all the things blocking me from receiving my heart’s desires. This is pretty common with plant medicine. In order to advance in our life, we have to look honestly into who we have become. And for many, it isn’t always pretty.
The truth can be alarming but only when we don’t use the information to advance ourselves forward. In my ayahuasca ceremonies it became crystal clear that we are all here on earth as spiritual renegades, at the courageous forefront of cosmic reality, on a mission to advance ourselves into a greater understanding of love. What we do with our time on Earth is completely up to us, but choosing to live with intention, well-being, hope, and joy is the shortcut to happiness. (For more, read “3 Models of Psychedelic Healing.”)
Here are the sacred life lessons I learned in working with shamans and plant medicine.
Life Truth #1: What is has no bearing on what will be.
We arrive feeling our pain, the traumas, the bruises of life that have banged us into submission, into feeling we are unworthy. But with each shamanic journey and new cup of ayahuasca tea, the dust is removed from our glasses and we see that these mistakes, these habits, these painful parts of us are not us at all, but part of being alive. We are not defined by our past or the pain we have endured. We are so much more than this, and soon enough we begin to show up more fully for ourselves as we let the light in. What we soon see is resilience, the immaculate condition of humanity. We rise—we see what is real, the truth, the love, the wholeness that was always here, because it is who we are. We are not what we’ve been through or where we are in life. We have the power to be who we are meant to be.
Life Truth #2: What you resist will always persist.
A full surrender washes away all things left undone. Ayahuasca teaches us what it means to truly be alive—to come face to face with your fears and see that you don’t have to run from them. They do not need to define you. You see that you can exist as you are alongside them. This is living, this is life. When we stop pushing against what is, we can free ourselves into what will be.
Life Truth #3: You have a hidden power.
For me, my desire in doing plant medicine was specific: I wanted to advance myself spiritually and remove everything unseen holding me back—ego, limiting beliefs, fears, and patterns. I was hoping to reveal a refreshed, whole version of myself, but the path to wholeness is never clean. When you go on an ayahuasca journey, you will inevitably meet pieces of yourself that have been long abused, hidden, tucked into the background. We learn at a young age how to fit into the world: don’t rock the boat, don’t shine too bright, don’t be yourself, do what you can to fit in and just make it through the day. So we lean into fear and let it drive our reality.
Our fear of what others think of us keeps us safe and small. It keeps us in a predictable reality forcing us to hide our light. But your mission and soul work are to shine your light and rise above the darkness. When we see our fears as illusions holding us back, we can release their power and choose to live in our light.
There is a hidden power within us. It’s called authenticity. It’s called your unique self, and ayahuasca showed me the true power that we all possess. It’s been hidden from us and blocked by fear. The light within you is so immense, and when we see our fear for what it is—an illusion—the light and love can emerge and your true self will shine.
Life Truth #4: We always have only two choices: to be inspired by love or fear.
We are at the forefront of conscious creation. Quite honestly we are all courageous AF. We’ve raised our hands to say, “Yes, count me in. I want to be part of the glorious life adventure called Earth.” We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and we said, “I want to go into the darkness to find my way back to the light.” When you awaken to the truth—that we always have only two choices, to be inspired and influenced by love and light or fear and darkness—everything becomes more enlightened. Life becomes a dance and you get to create your own reality. You soon want to make your choices from love and connected to source because this is your true self. When you’re in fear, you cut yourself off from this divinity. Your mission is to courageously accept the challenge to rise above the dark and be the light. It is why we are here to expand into our potential.
Life Truth #5: Your purpose is personal expansion.
We can make a difference in this world, by being our true self, by releasing our need for approval and instead focusing on approving of ourselves and growing into our own greatest love. Your life is about you. So stop hiding yourself and shine your gorgeous light. Your ego may tell you this is selfish, but when you live in your light, the ego cannot exist and your true self knows love is the only way. And it must first start with love and kindness to self. Putting yourself first is not selfish, but self-loving, and we all need more love in this world. It has to start with you. Plant medicine showed me that all we have to do is be who we are, love and light.
We are all spiritual renegades on a mission to be our truth, which is love and light. Don’t be afraid to shine your gorgeous light.
This is a guest essay written by Shannon Kaiser, the author of the forthcoming book Joy Seeker: Let Go What’s Holding You Back so You Can Live the Life You’re Made For.