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Ayahuasca: 9 Common Misconceptions About the Ancient Visionary Plant

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Ayahuasca Visions

With the growing popularity of ayahuasca, misinformation is unfortunately quite prevalent. Here we have listed 9 of the most common misconceptions regarding the ancient visionary plant.

If you would like to know more about ayahuasca or retreats please visit New Life Ayahuasca.

1. Ayahuasca is a drug 

Many misinformed or uneducated members of the general public still hold the misconception that ayahuasca is a drug—so much so that many of our retreat participants have admitted they were unable to tell their families, friends, coworkers or significant others that they were going to Costa Rica to drink ayahuasca because “they just wouldn’t understand.” When I say ‘drug’ I am referring to what the word brings to mind. For many the word ‘drug’ is associated with addictive and harmful substances like cocaine and heroin. Ayahuasca is a natural psychoactive medicine that can increase quality of life. It can change your perceptive and help you move toward a healthier and happier future. Misconceptions like this one are holding back the progress of psychedelic therapy. The stigma surrounding the use of ayahuasca is still prevalent but ayahuasca is most certainly not a drug.

2. It’s all love and light

Ayahuasca is often described as beautiful and loving, like a warm hug. People are quick to share their visions of nature and recount communicating with gods or aliens but rarely do we address the dark and painful side of ayahuasca. Real growth comes from confronting and understanding the darkest aspects of ourselves. It is only in this way that we can appreciate and embrace the light. This is what ayahuasca shows us—the duality of life. Sometimes in can be physically and emotionally painful, so if you are interested in ayahuasca you should be prepared for both.

3. Ayahuasca is addictive

If you ask anyone who has ever drank ayahuasca if it is addictive, the answer will always be a resounding NO! While ayahuasca is a psychedelic that can be blissful and beautiful at times, it almost always has elements of darkness and pain as well. While these dark periods can be quite uncomfortable, they can lead to a cathartic release. Most often these are the experiences that push us toward change. In fact, ayahuasca is often a tool that is used to address other harmful addictions as it allows us to see our lives and behaviors from a new perspective and move toward a healthier lifestyle.

4. It can cure addictions

Speaking of addictions, with the growing popularity of ayahuasca, some centers are making outlandish claims about what ayahuasca can treat. Many say that ayahuasca can cure addiction but its not quite that simple. You might be saying to yourself but didn’t you just say… yes, ayahuasca can be a valuable tool for addressing addictions, but it does not cure them! Making changes requires a lot of work and you have to be willing to put in a lot of effort. Being a former addict myself, I know that I often looked for the easy way out and it seems that many other addicts also want to be magically be cured without taking responsibility and action. For those that are ready and willing to put in the work required to move on from addiction, ayahuasca can help kick-start the journey. The bottom line is, ayahuasca can offer an opportunity learn, grow and change, but it will not cure you.

5. Shaman must be indigenous to the Amazon

Unfortunately, there still seems to be a fairly common belief that to be a good/qualified shaman one must be indigenous to the Amazon. Experience is experience, regardless of where an individual comes from. Learning to be an ayahuasquero is about developing a relationship with plants and the spirit of ayahuasca. The best way to do this is to drink ayahuasca many many many times and complete plant dietas. An inexperienced indigenous man can dress the part and claim to be a shaman without a second guess, and with the growing popularity of ayahuasca tourism to poor countries, they often do! It is hard to research ayahuasca without seeing the warnings of these false shamans and charlatans. On the other hand, a Westerner’s qualifications are always under scrutiny, whether they’ve been working with ayahuasca for 5 years or 30—there are always those that will question their capability and experience. This means that most westerns have to work harder to be respected and taken seriously. The notion that anyone needs to be of a specific skin tone or origin to be capable of developing a skill in any area of study is outdated and detrimental to the progress of humanity as whole.  

6. You always have visions

Ayahuasca is an ancient medicinal brew and, although having visions is fairly common, it is not unusual for some participants not to see anything at all. Ayahuasca works on a deeply intuitive level and will give each participant exactly what they need. Sometimes the process is purely emotional, sometimes it’s just a subtle shift in thoughts, sometimes participants don’t feel anything at all. There are all types of experiences for all types of people and visions do not equal a therapeutic experience. You can still have a deeply profound experience on ayahuasca without the psychedelic or visionary aspect.

7. It’s like 10 years of therapy in a single session

Let’s be clear—ayahuasca can be like many years of therapy in a single night. A single session can leave a person feeling new, unburdened and with fresh perspective and direction. The problem is, these kinds of breakthrough experiences rarely happen the first, second, or even third time you drink ayahuasca. It can happen—and we have seen it happen—but working with ayahuasca is a journey and it can take many ceremonies to reach those kinds of profound experiences. Every time you drink ayahuasca is an opportunity to learn. Some may never experience that pinnacle ah-ha moment, but instead just take little lessons from every ceremony and apply them to their lives to make big change. Everyone is different. Expectation management is something we as providers struggle with on a regular basis. Don’t expect that you are going to come out of your first ceremony a completely different person than you were before. If it happens—amazing, wonderful, great! But if it doesn’t—don’t be discouraged. Growing through ayahuasca can take time, so be patient and keep an open heart.

8. You always vomit and/or have diarrhea

Vomiting and/or having diarrhea are typical during ayahuasca ceremonies but are not always guaranteed. There is, however, almost always some kind of purge on ayahuasca. The purging process is actually an extremely valuable aspect of the whole experience and is a way to cleanse the body physically and emotionally. The purge can come in a variety of forms such as: crying, yawning, sweating, laughing, moaning, shaking etc. Vomiting and diarrhea are just two of the most common ways that people experience the purge so it’s still a good idea to prepare yourself for the probability of them, but know that you many not always experience the purge int that form and it will also be different time you drink.

9. Ayahuasca can be deadly

On its own—when prepared properly and given to a healthy individualayahuasca can not kill you. The problem is when ayahuasca is combined with certain prescription medications or preexisting medical conditions that the results could be fatal. One of the biggest concerns in regard to ayahuasca safety is serotonin syndrome, which can occur when antidepressants (SSRI, SSNI’s and MAOI’s) are combined with ayahuasca. Serotonin syndrome can be extremely uncomfortable at best and fatal at worst. It is paramount that you are honest with your ayahuasca retreat facilitators about any and all medications you may be taking. Another factor that can make ayahuasca deadly is when other plants are added to the brew, making it extremely important that you know what is in the medicine you are going to consume and where it came from.

Awareness

3 Reasons Why Introverts Are Undervalued in Today’s Society

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It’s undeniable that our society favors assertive extroverted personalities with strong communication skills and underestimates the quiet ones. If you are an introvert, you have probably learned it the hard way.

It could be that you felt unseen in the classroom as a child or teen. Or you may have watched your less competent co-workers get a promotion thanks to their social skills.

It feels unfair, but if you think about our society, it makes perfect sense. The consumerist mindset that has become our second nature inevitably affects the way we treat other people. It seems that everything, including our personal qualities and worth as human beings, is translated into some kind of market value.

In other words, to make other people see your worth in personal or professional life, you need to be able to ‘sell yourself’. Yes, this expression alone tells it all.

You need to know how to make a good first impression, say the right things, and be assertive. If you can’t do it, you are perceived as incapable and uninteresting – whether we are talking about a job interview or an informal social gathering.

But it’s not the only reason why introverts are undervalued in our society. Here are a few more:

1. They are less efficient in teamwork

Communication and teamwork skills are required for all kinds of jobs. It seems that without being able to work in a team, it’s impossible to do your job even if your duties don’t involve interaction with clients.

Introverts are much more efficient when they work on their own and are given a certain extent of independence. They thrive in quiet environments with few distractions and interactions. This is when a quiet person gets the chance to unleash their creative self and make good use of their analytical skills.

Most office jobs don’t give employees this opportunity. Office meetings, group projects, phone calls and all the other attributes of a 9-to-5 job make it almost impossible for an introvert to be productive.

2. They don’t like to be in the spotlight

Sometimes it feels like we are living in a society of attention seekers. Today, you are expected to go public about the most personal matters, such as your relationship and family life.

People share their most intimate thoughts and feelings on social media, post updates about the most trivial events, such as what they had for dinner, and upload countless selfies.

Introverts are among those who still value privacy. They are less likely to showcase their lives online or share the details of their personal affairs with the whole world.

At the same time, the quiet ones don’t like to be in the spotlight at social events. An introvert will never interrupt you. They will listen to you and talk only when they have something important to say. This tendency to avoid attention can be mistaken for insecurity and even a lack of intelligence.

3. They prefer to be real than to be ‘nice’

If you want to make a good impression on others, you are expected to be nice. But what does it mean to be ‘nice’ anyway?

In an introvert’s mind, it equals saying things you don’t mean. Quiet personalities will never bombard you with compliments or say meaningless social pleasantries just to win your fondness. But if an introvert said something nice to you, then be sure that they truly meant it.

Small talk is another component of social relationships most introverts struggle with. To them, it embodies utterly dull, uncomfortable, and pointless conversations they can perfectly do without. For this reason, introverts are often mistakenly believed to hate people.

The truth is that they don’t – they just crave stimulating, meaningful conversations and choose their social circle more carefully than extroverts.

In my book, The Power of Misfits: How to Find Your Place in a World You Don’t Fit In, I write about the reasons why so many introverts feel inadequate and alienated from other people in today’s society. It all goes down to social expectations this personality type has to deal with from a very early age.

But the good news is that every introvert can overcome the negative effects of these expectations and find the right path in this loud, extroverted world.

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Activism

The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix

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More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.

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One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.

Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.

What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?

Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.

What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?

Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.

The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening

With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.

You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.

Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies

Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.

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The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.

The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.

This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.

Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.

Imaginary Rights

Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”

To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.

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This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.

In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.

We Must Start With the Imagination

There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.

Wake Up Neo — You Are the One

Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.

Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”

This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.

By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.

If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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All my work is open source and I encourage it to be reproduced. I only ask that you give me credit, and include links to follow me — as listed in the EXACT FORMAT above — in an effort to help me build a formidable following of people truly intent on learning and creating positive change. If you are not willing to do that, you are NOT permitted to use my work.

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Awareness

This Clever & Controversial Artwork Will Help You Think Deeper About Society

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True artists are what I view as the antithesis of entertainers…

You see, an entertainer is concerned with popular opinion and giving the public what it wants to see. They intoxicate us with mindless amusements to help us escape reality and the everyday stresses of life. But artists, on the other hand, they give us what we need to see; by challenging us to to think deeper about the nature of reality, and the society in which we live, and they do this through the transcendent language of art.

With that said, I decided to collect some of the most thought provoking artwork from around the internet and offered my own little commentary on them…

Some people are hungry for food — Some people are just hungry for attention/Artist credit: Sergio Ingravalle

We are all so blinded by our ignorance and rage, that while we blame each other for our mutual struggles like fools, we’re ultimately getting screwed by the same elitists/Artist Credit: Lubomir Arsov

Be very wary my friend, clever predators always position themselves in places where they have easy access to their prey/Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

We don't want to see the Truth, we want to see illusions that comfort us

Despite what they might say, most people don’t actually want to see a reflection of reality — and therefore the Truth — Most people just want to see a narrow minded illusion that comforts their sensitive ego and impulsive feelings/Artist credit: Angel Boligán Corbo

Social Distancing = Social Isolation

Everyone talks about how social distancing saves lives, but why’s no one talking about the science that shows how social isolation can also destroy also them??/Artist credit: Steve Cutts

Although they might appear different on the surface, what we find through media monopolization, is that they are often times steered by the same controlling force/Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

“There is no greater disease than fear, and there is no greater danger than those who weaponize it against us.” — Gavin Nascimento/Artist Credit: Lubomir Arsov

Thinking happy thoughts doesn't change reality

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” — Attributed to Pericles/Artist credit: Mana Neyestani

The “Beauty” Industry…/Artist Credit: Lubomir Arsov

Feed your child with knowledge and watch them grow/Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

You cannot ever hope to expect justice from those who have a consistent history of oppressing you./Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

Fighting Fake News or Censorship?

Is Facebook really fighting fake news or are they engaging in authoritarianism and censorship?/Artist credit: Luis Quiles

In a society as toxic as ours — where a climate of hatred, ignorance and fear insidiously infects the bulk of the population — In order to safeguard our health and wellbeing, we must stay connected to whatever it is that gives us an authentic sense of peace/Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

In spite of overwhelming historical evidence proving powerful people have engaged in child sex abuse, and it occurs in the shadows of every element and class of society, many of us pretend not to see, which is a shameful betrayal of our children/Artist credit: Lubomir Arsov

Peaceful Revolution or Violent... you choose.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” — Attributed to John F. Kennedy/Artist credit: Mana Neyestani

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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If any of the images in this article have not been credited correctly, or you are the artist and would like them to be taken down, please contact me HERE

All my work is open source and I encourage it to be reproduced. I only ask that you give me credit, and include my social media profiles — as listed in the EXACT FORMAT above — in an effort to help me build a formidable following of people truly intent on learning and creating positive change. If you are not willing to do that, you are NOT permitted to use my work.

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