Collectively, we are at the tipping point of enormous change. Our destiny appears poised between irreversibly destroying the environment and the air we breathe, and a spiritual awakening that transcends cultural, political and ethnic boundaries. The stakes are not just the survival and evolution of humanity but the evolution of the planet herself.
The new wave of creative and spiritual thinkers are conscious that if we carry out “business as usual”, Western civilization may well collapse, catalyzing global catastrophe. This has created a growing sense of urgency for radical social, political and economic reform that will benefit all humanity and provide the grounds for a cultural renaissance. Rather than get overwhelmed by the huge task ahead, it is worth remembering that as individuals we are a microcosm of the whole.
Our personal commitment to re-awakening to our true purpose is the greatest contribution and reciprocity we can offer to each other and to our Mother Earth.
We can also take enlightening lessons from Ayahuasca to put this process in perspective. In ceremony, the most difficult moments invariably precede breakthroughs to new levels of awareness and freedom. Indeed, the dialectics of change show us that some form of chaos is inevitable, even desirable, before the emergence of a new paradigm.
But the choice of whether to engage in the demands of healing and conscious living remains. The Temple helps guests experience the reality that we are not alone and that how we respond to the call of awakening matters beyond our small selves. Greater freedom entails greater responsibility. Guided by the plant spirits, we are committed to reconnecting our guests with their true selves, the spirit world and (Mother) Nature. Our guests experience directly the true meaning of community – common unity with all life – and that compassion, connection and gratitude are not just the expressions of that unity but the very means of changing the world.
“A radical inner transformation and rise to a new level of consciousness might be the only real hope we have in the current global crisis brought on by the dominance of the Western mechanistic paradigm.” ~ Stanislav Grof, M.D.
Where We Stand
It is possible to observe shifts in dominant cultural patterns once or twice every 1000 years. We appear to be in the midst of just one such shift: a period of rapidly accelerating social change and greater transparency. A new level of consciousness is rising in growing numbers of people who are more socially and environmentally aware and more spiritually focused. They are carrying forward positive ideas and values that are slowly influencing the ideas and trends of society at large.
It is not before time. Our current energy-intensive civilization cannot simply turn off its dependence on fossil fuels without crashing. Against this background, mass consciousness is being heavily influenced – some say controlled and manipulated – by the media, governments, large corporations, educational establishments and dogmatic religious systems. Our collective capacity to respond to the global crisis is being thwarted by the difficulty of gaining access to the true state of affairs.
Following the agricultural, industrial and information ages, our planet has seen an ever-increasing level of destruction and depletion of her natural resources. Through the Temple’s outreach programs in the Amazon, founding Alianza Arkana in 2011 and The Chaikuni Institute in 2013, we have witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of this rapid environmental devastation and the marginalization of indigenous rights. We have reached a critical point. Our planet is being altered dramatically.
Through our work with plant medicines, we have become acutely conscious that our planet – whether called Gaia, Mother Earth or Pachamama – is alive and sentient. Our survival and evolution is inextricably bound with hers, and our contract with Gaia is not just about human rights and needs alone, but our obligation to be responsible stewards of the land.
“Humans merely share the Earth. We can only protect the land, not own it” ~ Chief Seattle
We have learned that the global movement towards spirituality must be based on recognition that life, nature and our environment are inseparable. Indirectly, we live and feed on light: chlorophyll is the only substance known in nature that acts as a “sunlight trap”. We live off the solar energy stored in plant food and from the flesh of animals that eat the plants. The energy we obtain from coal or oil is solar energy trapped by chlorophyll in plant life millions of years ago. Simply put, we live by the sun and we live on light.
Evolution involves not just organisms but the whole planetary surface. We simply cannot continue to pollute the air, damage forests and oceans, and deplete oil reserves (ancient sunlight). Our planet has seen widespread war and destruction, poverty and inequalities, for far too long. We need to make peace with each other and with Mother Earth.
Ancient Ways and Modern Science
Amazonian shamanism is intimately connected to our Mother Earth and the spirit world. The lineages of Amazonian healers have lived in harmony with their surroundings for many thousands of years. They are custodians of a body of ancient wisdom that may hold the answers that religious institutions have been seeking for millennia.
The true healers of the Amazon have not lost the critical link with the spiritual / non -physical aspects of nature; the divine information they hold and ultimately, how they connect us to each other and to spirit. We also hold this knowledge deep within ourselves but it has been lost in our alienation from nature and each other. Ayahuasca is a gateway to reconnecting with this information. The plant kingdom holds an “akashic record” of knowledge about mankind: our true past, present and future. Working with Ayahuasca can guide us to remember that we are actually spiritual beings living a human existence.
Ayahuasca helps to break open the doors to higher consciousness. If we are like radio receivers and information is carried as frequencies, then Ayahuasca allows us to perceive worlds that exist across different dimensions by tuning into different “radio stations”. It is not unfair to say that humankind has been stuck on the same bandwidth – a lower level of consciousness based on fear, manipulation, anger and greed – for thousands of years.
Though science, politics and economics have their roots still firmly planted in material, mechanistic ways of thinking, a new science is now clearly beginning to point back towards the wisdom of the ancients and mystics.
Scientific research into consciousness is developing a complex and mysterious hypothesis about the way we think, the power of thought, life after death, higher dimensions, the life-force energy (chi, prana) and alternative realities – many of the key elements that have long been acknowledged by the esoteric religions and transcendental practices of the shamans across every continent.
It appears we are ready to transcend the bastions of old science, such as Newton, Descartes and Darwin. Quantum physics, string-field theories, advanced molecular biology and psychology among other branches of science are opening up to a new way of thinking closely aligned to the new pathways of consciousness heralded by Ayahuasca.
By working with Ayahuasca and the plant medicines, Amazonian shamanism reawakens the spirit within us all and offers new realities and new options to heal ourselves and the planet. We can find new ways of living and being that are considerably more peaceful, understanding, mutually beneficial and wholesome.