Mindfulness and Ayahuasca medicine

I would like to begin with talking about the heart. Not the physical organ, but rather the heart center, the place where you may feel joy or sadness and the place from where that soft inner voice of love and wisdom comes.

The heart is like and everblooming flower that has the capacity to open and close. We are the gardeners to this flower. It takes great skill, patience and practice to keep this flower blooming openly. We need to be finely receptive and fully present for it to bloom. There are many ways to loose touch with this flower as well as many ways to connect with it. When you connect with it, it will tell you what it needs to bloom, it will kindly and lovingly guide you into becoming a perfect gardener.

I am convinced that together, mindfulness practice (meditation, yoga and other grounding modalities that bring one into the present) and Ayahuasca medicine offer a perfect way of connecting with the heart and teach the skills of maintaining that connection.

I believe that it is human to have one’s heart open and closed at different times. It is a natural interaction with one’s world – the same way as when we blink in reaction to a sudden loud noise, when we close our eyes in a dusty gust of wind… or when we keep our eyes wide open before someone kind and loving.

Shamanic medicine works by helping one regress through one’s life story into oneness ((out of which one’s life story emerges)). It then helps one re-trace each step of one’s life through the prism of medicine. In this process the long-forgotten memories, suppressed traumas and any experience that has not been fully harmonized, may be re-lived to the point where it no longer ails one in the present, thus allowing one to rest in the heart.

The practice of mindfulness helps one to anchor awareness into the present moment through breath, equanimity and through loving-kindness. Instead of reacting to various thoughts and feelings, we learn to become aware of them as the observer, rather than as the possessive ‘I’. In the daily practice of mindfulness, we learn to embrace the preciousness of this moment by focusing on that which is directly in our experience and giving our best to that which we are doing right now.

As we grow in mindfulness, we bring the presence of equanimity and loving-kindness into the Ayahuasca ceremonies. This deepens our experience and helps us surf the “mareacion” (Spanish, the effect of Ayahuasca) with a clear and focused mind, instead of drifting and being swooshed around by it.

As we learn and expand through the medicine of Ayahuasca, the experiential insight into being connected to the heart deepens our practice of mindfulness.

This is why I see Mindfulness practice and Ayahuasca medicine as one medicine, one practice. Working together in perfect harmony they teach us ways to keep the flowers of our hearts blooming.

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Sanango

We have a Sanango tour coming up at El Corazon, and I thought I’d share some info about this beautiful wise medicine.

Sanango is a very powerful white medicine. The bark from the Sanango
root is dieted, somewhat similar to a regular barks diet, but instead
of taking barks four evenings in the row, one takes Sanango three
nights in the row, at 3am. Traditionally no Ayahuasca ceremonies take
place during the Sanango diet, as Sanango gives it’s own form of
Mareacion. It is very different from aya, there are no strong visions,
but Sanago definitely has a strong presence, very fine, but very
thorough. Once taken, it tastes pretty hot. Some compare it to ginger,
some – to licking a car battery :) It aggravates secretion of saliva
and digestive juices, and sometimes mucus and tears. Sometimes
vomiting may occur. All this secretion usually passes within 30
minutes. The following morning some people may find themselves in a
strange physical condition, where control over body has become
questionable. Muscles go limp, or cramp, bones disappear, eyes don’t
focus, tongue doesn’t move – that is Sanango medicine working in the
body and straightening energies. It brings a lot of inner heat and is
known for healing nervous system and joint ailments. Usually by the
second half of the day coordination normalizes.
Not everybody goes through the physical trials of Sanango, but if they
do come, the best thing is to just patiently let the medicine do it’s
work and take lots of showers.
Sanango steadily moves through very deep layers of one’s psyche,
straightening anything that gets in it’s way, removing old obstacles
and helping one establish more solidity and clarity in one’s journey.
The deep effects of Sanango usually continue to unfold in one’s life
for many months to come.
Once the Sanango diet is complete and the salt is taken, we proceed to
Ayahuasca ceremonies to receive the visions of the work that took
place and to help open-up to the levels of vibration that Sanango
prepared us for.
In Amazonian Shamanism Sanango is seen as one of the most respected
medicine spirits, Abuelo Sanango, Grandfather Sanango – he has a long
white beard, is very wise and strict, his universe is medicine and he
is a fantastic teacher.
I deeply admire Sanango medicine, every time I dieted Sanango, I faced
some deep personal challenges, but every time once they were
transcended, I came out full of gratitude, clarity and renewed sense
of direction in my life.

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Jenaro-Herrera

I would like to share a brief video about our village of Jenaro-Herrera. The video was shot by AmazonEcology. Take a look:

Jenaro-Herrera

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The site!

HOOORAAAYYY!!!

After two months of ploughing through html, css and javascript I can happily announce that our website is now flying through the world wide web! Special, BIG thanks to Oleg Samus, who helped me through my web-building difficulties and who counseled me on late evenings on how simple logic is the foundation of programming.

My good friend Lucas is a hero, as for two months I was grinding his ears about the website. On top of that, he was writing his articles for the website and reviewing mine.

Kate Russ, who is now settling in Cuzco, is spinning the wheels of progress – our flyers are already hanging in strategic locations around Cuzco. Kate has arrived in Peru two weeks ago, and she already teaches yoga, and offers workshops in Healing Arts Center. If you’re in Cuzco – go see Kate, you’ll get such a zap of vitality and inspiration!

Mom – this might sound trivial, but I have the best mom in the world! You might meet her on some of the tours, and you’ll know what I mean. Mom stayed with me at El Corazon this January, an celebrated her birthday on a Shamanic Diet, in a ceremony. Mom likes Peru, Jenaro-Herrera and Ayahuasca. Mom has lots of love, and not just for me. Through her patience, wisdom and support, she is also my teacher.

www.elcorazontours.com

Oh, by the way, “el corazon” means “heart”

 

 

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Maestro Alberto Torres Davila

Master Shaman and medicinal plants expert, Don Alberto was introduced into shamanism by his grandfather, who was a a Master Shaman as well, at an age of 8 years old. After his grandfather passed away, Alberto was taken under the wing of Don Julio Llerena Pinedo, and the two entered into lifetime pact of shamanic medicine. Don Alberto has led over 3000 ceremonies and is considered one of the most powerful healers in the Ucayali River region. Don Alberto is also a well known shaman outside of his community, as he has been conducting ceremonies at the Blue Morpho for many years and is the teacher of Hamilton Souther, the founder of Blue Morpho.Don Alberto believes that plant medicine belongs to the world and that we are all equal in the face of the medicine. As such, he has been openly working with the westerners. By sharing medicine with travelers, he sends the light of medicine into different parts of the world.

Maestro

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About

El Corazon
We are dedicated to uniting traditional Amazonian Ayahuasca Shamanism with mindfulness training, such as yoga, meditation and sound therapy. The ceremonies are led by Maestro Alberto Davila Torres who has been practicing Amazonian Shamanism for over 30 years. We offer stimulating, safe and transformative experience in the ceremonies, and yoga and meditation practices during the daytime allow you to deepen and expand your experience with ayahuasca and help you bring mindfulness into the ceremonies as well as into your daily life. The daytime program is coordinated and led by well-trained and experienced instructors who provide you with necessary foundation for making the retreat most fruitful.

The retreat are offered in small groups of 6 to 15 people, which offers more privacy and ensures that each guest receives individual and close attention throughout their transformational process.

Community: We collaborate closely with the villagers of Jenaro-Herrera for the sourcing of food, supplies and labour, thus supporting the local economy. We also offer ceremonies for the villagers at a very low cost. Part of the profit goes towards the waste management project for the village.

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LOGO

Here is the first blueprint of our logo. Some fine-tuning is at hand, and I will play with colors some more.

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Hello world!

After spending six months in the heart of the Amazon, I am back in Toronto for a while to develop a website for El Corazon and to work out the logistics for upcoming tours, that I will be offering in Summer 2011 -Ayahuasca Shamanism, intricately blended with therapeutic modalities, such as yoga, meditation, sound therapy and more. So little time, so much to do. But first, let me tell about what I have been doing over the past six months and what has led me to this dream of offering the tours and sharing the love, the light and the medicine of Ayahuasca.

I encountered the Ayahuasca Shamanism in 2008, when I travelled to Blue Morpho for a 9 day tour with Hamilton Souther and Maestro Don Alberto. In the summer 2007 I met Ruslan and Sveta at Open Air Anahata, the annual music/yoga retreat dedicated to opening the heart and connecting to the nature and the light within. They told me about their plans to go to a camp in Peru, called Blue Morpho, to drink Ayahuasca. Their story left me suspicious and intrigued. Intrigued – because I have heard of Ayahuasca long ago, but had not encountered anyone who had experienced it directly before, and it was calling me strongly. Suspicious – because I imagined that Ayahuasca ceremonies should take place in the jungle, with a native shaman with no more that 3-4 participants. As to the stories of Ruslan, Blue Morpho was a civilized camp, where ceremonies were led by a westerner, for groups of 30 people. We agreed that Ruslan and Sveta would visit me as soon as they returned from Blue Morpho to share their experiences. So they did.

Within first minutes of our encounter and within my first glance into Ruslans eyes I knew that I could put all my suspicions and doubts to rest. I saw such light and beauty in Ruslans eyes that I knew that whatever he received in Blue Morpho was legitimately powerful and transformational. Ruslan, who previously had not practiced any form of spirituality spoke of experiences of ego transcendence I have only heard of from meditation instructors and have read in various spiritual books. He went on describing transcendental visions and out-of-body travels that made my heart rush. I finally found my credo.

In August 2008 I travelled to Blue Morpho, together with the group of 7 dear friends for our first Ayahuasca tour. We had five ceremonies during that tour which changed our lives forever. Upon my return to Toronto I continued to feel deep connection to the Ayahuasca medicine in me, as it continued to unfold it’s beauty in my heart and to teach me. By August 2009 I was ready for my second tour at Blue Morpho, this time with Shamanic Diet (traditional practice to connect deeper to the plant medicine within the Amazonian Shamanism – I will write in detail about the diets separately). During the diet I felt a strong calling to continue working with the Ayahuasca medicine, to stay for another diet and to continue the transformational process. Blue Morpho was offering another tour, only one week after the tour that I originally came to. I decided to leave it up to the spirits to guide me – if I was meant to continue my work with Ayahuasca, circumstances would allow for it. The following tour was a 12-day tour that included Sanagno diet and three Ayahuasca ceremonies (more on what is Sanango and how it is dieted will be posted separately).

This tour was fully booked months in advance, and my chances of getting in were very slim. Nevertheless, I approached Hamilton, asking for a place in the tour. Hamilton explained to me that the tour indeed was fully booked and there was no space for me. He turned and started walking away. As he walked to the door, he suddenly turned around and said that he just remembered that last night one person cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances and there now is one vacancy – it is now mine. Hoooray and Thank You! Now I only had to rearrange my return flights and excuse myself from work obligations for additional three weeks. A few calls to the family and to the office liberated me from work obligations. The flight change turned out to be most nerve-wrecking, however I received the confirmation of successful change one hour before having to head to the airport. I was now on my way to Jenaro-Herrera, the home village of Maestro Don Alberto to spend a week there, getting to know the realities of traditional shamanism and having ceremonies with Maestro in his home, before returning to Blue Morpho for Sanango diet.  That week in Jenaro-Herrea strengthened my connection to Ayahuasca medicine and the calling to continue on the path of medicine was getting louder and louder.

The Sanango diet tour taught me and healed me and showed me Maestro Don Alberto as the teacher I am to follow. The last ceremony on that tour showed me that there is no limit to how much the heart can open, and I knew for sure that in a year I will be back to Jenaro-Herrera to study with Maestro.

I worked hard for a year, saving money for my journey, and on September 9, 2010 I left Toronto for Peru, to find Maestro Don Alberto and to stay in Jenaro-Herrera, dieting, participating in ceremonies and learning. My original plan was to stay in Herrera for only two months and then to spend two months in Cuzco, volunteering, but within my first diet I decided to spend all four months in Herrera. After a month in Herrera I purchased land and started building house to stay in during my diets and shortly after I also decided to extend my stay to six months. These six months have passed in diets, construction and ceremonies and my love for the medicine has expanded to the extent where I am eager to share it, to share the love, the light and and the medicine, which teaches that…

There is no limit to how much the heart can open.

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