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Conversations with Ayahuasca: Why are you here?

“So, why are you here?” I heard the question addressed to me. The shaman was looking at me with genuine interest emanating from his one good eye while his question was being translated for me. His other eye was completely white, which gave him an enigmatic appearance. He was smoking a mapacho beady while cozily observing me from a hammock attached to the wall.

I sat in front of an audience comprised of four facilitators, three shamans, and a couple of other people who seemed to be volunteers. They were all quizzically looking at me, some apparently ready to take notes. One of the facilitators translated the question from Spanish to English. Now it was my turn to reply.

I had a whole speech prepared, but instead of giving it, something else came out of my mouth. “I want to know what reality is,” I heard myself say, and my comment was immediately translated to the shaman. He continued smoking his mapacho and nodded in response to what I said.

I left the intention-setting session pondering the words that came out of my mouth. The question that had always been at the back of my mind somehow came forward, and as I was uttering it, it became clear to me that this was what I needed to know. It was the missing piece I had been looking for. Nothing would make sense until I knew the answer.

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