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The Varieties of Ayahuasca Experience

Maybe I was just lucky. Oh no, not another Ayahuasca tale....

A foto of the Ayahuasca vine
An Ayahuasca vine (Paul Hessel, @Flickr)

My personal experience was the opposite of the following statement :

In the psychedelic space, real learning is so rare it is nothing short of miraculous. Most of the time, psychedelic experiences are no more transformative than a day trip to Disneyland.

Perhaps my age at the time (61-64) helped. And my beginner´s mind.

The varieties of Ayahusca experience: lessons

The following is a list of my various experiences with the entheogen Ayahuasca, and what I (hopefully!) learned from them. Without intending to give ayahuasca a "personality", even if it feels like one, I call it "ayahuasca as teacher". I understand why many call it "grandmother ayahuasca", but I am not shamanistic enough to accept this view for myself.

As I read a few years later, such writing can be a valuable type of integrating psychedelic experiences into one's life. The interpretation of what happened may change over time (Aixala 2021, in "Psychedelic Integration")

Each experience is annotated with references to science, psychology, some aspect of neuroscience and/or to meditation.

I am no expert in any of these - I was only brought to these through a single Ayahuasca experience described here.

Experiences, not traits

When I say "experiences", I mean what they were: subjective experiences that came and went. I do not confuse them with "insights into truth" or other wild claims to have seen the world "as it really is". One is not necessarily God when one imagines oneself to be. They were states. They were not traits

Set and Setting

I was 61 at the time of my first experience; I was one year away from retirement. The experiences took place over a period of four years, from 2016 to 2019, and were spread over four 3-day events, one event per year.

This corresponds to 12 ayahuasca ceremonies of about 8 hours each. All in all, I have 96 hours of altered state with this entheogen. This is comparatively little: there are people who have hundreds of ceremonies, for example Dennis McKenna or Benny Shannon.

They all took place, legally at the time, in a large converted barn in the Netherlands, in groups of 30-70 people. I never went to the South American jungle. So I might have missed the typical jungle visualisations of snakes and jaguars. Instead, I heard a rooster crawling very mystically, as if it were announcing a very important global message :-) But I missed nothing else.

An experienced Brazilian, with a team of 6-10 helpers, led the ceremonies. He died of covid in 2021 (showing that ayahuasca is not a safe protection).

What is an Ayahuasca experience

Experiencing ayahuasca is not like experiencing any other psychedelic/entheogen. All experiences with ayahuasca take place in an expanded inner space that has a completely different tone of feeling to that of an ordinary experience.

It is a miraculous world of unknown emotions, thoughts, perceptions, visions, sensations, love, insights, encounters, reversals, surprises, bliss, sadness, terror, extreme sensory sensitivity, schizophrenia, and deep sexuality, and timelessness. An Ayahuasca experience is always suffused with numinosity, mysteriousness, eternity, sacredness and unfathomable significance/ salience of every experienced second. At the same time, it appears more real than everyday reality, it seems to be a revelation of the true reality that had been hidden so far.

The possible breadth of experiences, their phenomenology and types is described in a thick 490-page book by the Israeli cognitive scientist Benny Shannon ("The Antipodes of the Mind"). It was published in 2002, long before the current wave, by Oxford University Press. A very reputable academic publishing house.

Although this book is a relatively dry and analytical read at times, it is also utterly fascinating and very accurate when I compare it to my experience. The author has attended hundreds of ceremonies, so his base of experience is much broader than mine. My experiences are a small but representative subset of his.

The following quote is Shannon's view:

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew consumed throughout the entire Amazon region. The term is a compound word meaning "vine of the dead spirits"... Typically, Ayahuasca introduces powerful visions well as hallucinations in all other perceptual modalities. Pronounce non perceptual cognitive effects are also manifest. These include personal insights, intellectual ideation, affective reactions, and profound spiritual and mystical experiences. Moreover, Ayahuasca introduces as those who partake of it to what are as other realities. Those who consume the group may feel that they are gaining access to new sources of knowledge and that the mysteries and ultimate truths of the universe are being revealed to them. All this is often coupled with what drinkers describe as an encounter with the Divine. (Shanon, 2003, p. 13)
As attested to by all who have had any significant exposure to a Ayahuasca the effects of this brew can be stupefying to the utmost. Both in the literature and reports of people have interviewed and I have found Ayahuasca visions to be characterised as exhibiting a beauty that is beyond imagination. Invariably the visions impress the viewers as marvellous and when powerful, they introduce drinkers to what seem to be enchanted realities that fill them with wonder and awe. The affective and spiritual impact that the Ayahuasca experience may have on people can be very profound. Often people say that their exposure to Ayahuasca has radically changed their lives; many say that after this exposure they were no longer the same person, but even when it does not have radical ramifications on people's lives at large the Ayahuasca integration is a wondrous experience that those who have been subject to it almost invariably describe as nothing they had experienced before. "(Shanon, 2003, p. 17)

Another great collection of experiences that manage very well to transmit the feeling-tone of Ayahuasca is the book "The Ayahuasca Experience" by Ralph Metzner.

An ayahuasca experience is something that cannot be properly described, but as they say in the rental agencies, "you have to experience it to appreciate it". The great researcher and practitioner Stanislav Grof found ayahuasca to be one of the most therapeutic of all psychedelic compounds/substances. In particular, in contrast to LSD, for him and for me an encounter with ayahuasca is like an encounter with a living being. With LSD, there is no "encounter" with what appears to be another organic living being who is wise and infinitely compassionate and a "teacher". It should be noted, however, that psilocybin has the same effect for many people.

An example is Sam Harris, reporting in his "Sam´s Mushroom Trip" that it felt "like something other than an encounter with my own mind". I have no primary experience with anything else than Ayahuasca in high dose.

Against this type of experience, with all respect to a great researcher, the idea of Roland Griffiths, stated in a recent interview with Jordan Peterson, that one-day electrode stimulation might achieve this, as an improved solution, sounds preposterous. With all respect - I cannot imagine that Griffiths had any Ayahuasca exposure.

The following is a short version of my experiments. For each experience, I try to point out an important general idea, scientific insight or area of research behind it.

After the experiences

Of course, after such experiences one should actively integrate them into one's mind stream and life, whether they are emotional, mystical, psychological or intellectual experiences. The experience itself can fade from memory and emotional impact. This probably explains the sceptical statement at the beginning of this article. The experience needs to be anchored in real life through reflection and behaviour. I started meditating.

Integrating these experiences can be a lifelong process.

Is ayahuasca addictive? No. At the moment, after almost 3 years of abstinence, I have no need for further such experiences. I am still saturated with its richness and the changes that result from the inner unfolding.

A catalogue of experiences

The experiences show the enormous bandwidth and richness of the Ayahuasca phenomena for which I am eternally grateful. Some examples:

The experiences

In the following descriptions, my comments and quotes are marked in blue.

Experiencing flowers dance

During the onset of ayahuasca's effects, in my very first ceremony, I suddenly realised that the flowers in the vase on the small altar were subtly and seductively performing an undulating erotic dance. Dancing flowers or moving walls etc. are one of the first surprises that everyone experiences with psychedelics, so there is nothing special here.

I didn´t know then, that I was just repeating Huxley´s flower experience in "The Doors of Perception": "Shining with their own inner light and all but quivering".

This immediately burned into my mind the realisation that my previous experience of life had been a construct, an illusion of stability, an invention sustained by the mind.

Such surprising sensory experience can be much more convincing of the fact of change and impermanence (a core Buddhist tenet) than the abstract thought that we are all going to die one day.

Also, it shows how our experience is anchored to priors or assumptions: these are unquestioned top-down rules by which we construct our perception of reality. Examples of priors are: "flowers do not move dance-like", "walls don't breathe". Even these fundamental perceptual priors can be unhooked in psychedelic experiences. This un-hooking of priors is well described in Chandaria (2022) as effect of psychedelics and of meditation.

Gallimore (2022) explains this "quivering flower" (or breathing wall) phenomenon in the context of the predictive brain theory: the brain´s filter has been been removed, so that more information is absorbed. The brain is trying to model the flowers in a way that the model is constantly updated, trying different hypotheses.

As a typical pattern for DMT-experiences, or through other psychedelices this pattern is called "drifting". It is explained in a wider context as a pattern within the "hyperbolic geometry" phenomena and theory (Gómez-Emilsson, 2016)

My conclusion was therefore the same as that of the philosopher Bernardo Kastrup: everything we see is an illusion. This prepared my later intuitive understanding of Tibetan Buddhism and its concept of "mind-only" and emptiness.

Experiencing intense sounds

Outside, walking on the wet grass of a field near the ceremony hall, I heard something fall to the ground with a soft silvery sound in a circle of about 2-3 metres around me every time I took a step on the grass. At first I could not believe it, but then I consciously tested it. It was true. I could hear individual small drops of dew falling.

This showed me, how little we normally use of our sensory abilities. We can physiologically be highly sensitive antennas, but we are shielded from sensory overwhelm.

It gave me an insight into what Aldous Huxley called the power of "The Doors of Perception" after his experiments with mescaline and later, LSD.

This insight was repeated in the following experience.

Experiencing intense smell

I smelled the perfume and skin aroma of a lady a few meters away from me, like a dense cloud into which I could enter.

I got an idea, although a weak one, what it means to live as dog. Of course, it was probably still the experience of a severely handicapped dog, by what I know about dogs' incredible olfactory abilities.

Update Mai 2023: in fact, it seems that the human sense of smell is NOT so far away from that of a dog. For example, people can perceive 0.2 parts in 1 billion of mercaptan (the smelly additive to cooking gas). Check out Huberman, A., & Sobel, N. (2023, May 1).

Experiencing flow-state dancing

Ayahuasca is known to enhance and liberate artistic expression.

At the end of one ceremony, I was suddenly transformed into a completely uninhibited free dancer, moving to the sounds of live drums. Later, several people spoke to me with appreciation about what they had seen. I never lost that freedom of movement, even though I had been shy and reserved before.

I learned from this, that we use only a fraction of our creative potential.

Experiencing piano improvisation

Another example of increased creativity through ayahuasca was my sudden unexpected leap in my ability to improvise on the piano.

Below is one of the first pieces I played after a 5 year break. I had never experienced myself playing like this before. The piece just came out of nowhere, without me having a melody in my head, and without me having practised for it. I just sat down, it "played" itself and I would be totally incapable of playing it again. The melodic developments, the phrasing, the technique and the rhythms were way above my pay grade, even though a professional musician will find many musical, rhythmic, etc. problems with it. I was lucky to have recorded it.

This piano experience reflects exactly what Benny Shannon, the Israeli cognitive scientist reports about his sudden ability to improvise as amateur musician. I quote his text because it accurately describes and validates my own experience. The only difference to me: I had started to improvise some years before, but at low level.

I have played only classical music, always from the score, never improvising, and very seldom with an audience. Once during a private Ayahuasca session, I saw the piano in front of me and decided to play. A score of a Bach prelude was there. I played the piece repeatedly and felt I was entering a trance. I left the score aside and began to improvise. I played for more than an hour, and the manner of my playing was different from anything I had ever experienced. It was executed in one unaltering flow, constituting an ongoing narration that was composed as it was being executed. It appeared that my fingers just knew where to go. Throughout this act, my technical performance astounded me. I felt that a force was upon me and that I was performing at its command. No, it was not that I was an automation, nor was I enslaved by any external agency, rather the playing was an expression of a woundrous cooperation between me, my very self, and forces that were superior to me (page 22.f).

The "force" that was above me and brought me into this flow state was the sudden felt presence in me of the late jazz pianist McCoy Tyner.

Many years before I had had the accidental privilege to talk this this revered pianist. I had listened to him since I was a teenager. Our encounter occured during one of his last stays at the piano festival at La Roque d' Anteron . He stayed in the same hotel as me, and I had approached him with goosebumps on the hotel veranda on a sunny Sunday morning.

We got into a deep conversation about death, gratitude and relations. He shared his soul deeply with a complete stranger. He had just recovered temporarily from cancer from which he eventually died It must have been around the years of this recording - this is how I saw him.

As I write this, tears well up. I am very grateful to him.

Maybe I should go back to study how to sound like McCoy Tyner in a systematic way, rather than relying on a mystical flow state! Unfortunately, it is never possible to step into the same river twice in improvisation.

PS. I do not claim to have sounded exactly like McCoy Tyner through Ayahuasca. But I think Ayahuasca allowed that the spirit of his playing was there, the dynamic, the energy and abandonment and the full grasp and orchestral treatment of the keyboard, with the support of the Yamaha P515 and its electronic rhythm section that I experienced like a live entity at those moments.

Ayahuasca removes inhibitions to access one´s available resources. That is the magic of it for the artist. I also do not claim that in a literal sense McCoy Tyner took possession of me.

Experiencing coming home

At the beginning of the first ceremony in year 2, I had the overwhelming feeling that I had been in this space before, for eternities, and that I recognised this sacred space.

This was the first time in my life that I had felt a truly sacred space.

In a later experience, this feeling of coming home to a space where I had been for eternities reappeared in a Mahamudra meditation retreat. Then, it reappeared as feeling-tone of a mystical "mind only" experience.

In Tibetan Buddhism, this feeling of "home" is one characteristic of the natural mind. Keith Dowman (2022c) has described it as such in "The Dzogchen View":

Ninth, the nature of mind is our natural dispensation—it is home. Spaciousness may induce the image of tractless spaces of empty nothingness, but that is an alien notion. Spaciousness, here, is warm and cloying, full of color and light, and above all ‘being there’, or rather ‘being here and now’, has the overwhelming sense of finally coming home. All tension has vanished, and finally there is nothing to do and nowhere to go, and at the same time every goal is consummate and every destination is achieved. ‘Home’ is recognition of what is without any conceptual projection or interface. ‘Home’ is the here and now understood by self-less cognition. ‘Home’ is the place of security where whatever needs to be done is automatically and immediately done without hesitation. ‘Home’ is the nature of mind, sufficient in itself, utterly complete and

Experiencing timelessness

I lost all sense of time and spent an eternity in endless space with billions of bored birds like black crows. One or two would occasionally creak as they sat on endless strings that spanned the entire universe. I still don't know what that meant!

Maybe showing me "this has been your life so far"?

Maybe suggesting, that I should not spend another eternity like this? Sitting isolated and creaking... ?

Anyway, I had a very intense impression of what eternity feels like, when the mind's normal processing (or, construction) of time is interrupted. It gave me a running start when in a Mahamudra retreat the guide gave pointing-out instructions for a Nagarjuna style emptiness of time special insight meditation. Conceptually imagining no time is actually quite difficult or even impossible.

The experience can become more explainable when one accepts the theory of cognitive science, that time is actually a way in which our mind "packages" a set of sensory impressions to make sense of them retroactively as a mind moment. Culadasa explains the cognitive science aspect of this in "The Mind Illuminated".

Experiencing letting go of lying

10-15 minutes after having taken the tea, during my very first ceremony, I was standing and watching everyone else who was on the floor. Everyone else was puking or crying or contorting or being very quiet.

Suddenly I noticed with surprise that I was projecting the image of "someone who is still able to stand up, is full of care and total control over his senses" . I saw myself performing an act. Actually, a lie. I was not real.

I saw myself clearly doing this impressive show-act, and I saw myself without sham and without the usual self-criticism. Instead I saw myself with deep amusement and a forgiving and compassionate "aaahh, that´s what you are doing! I got it!"

My main insight from this: in principle people can change permanently from one moment to the next. It may require extraordinary circumstances, but it is possible.

I never lost this ability to see myself doing an act in real-time. In the manner of the so-called "automatic self-liberation" mechanism described in Mahamudra meditation, these kind of urges or false images usually dissolve quite quickly, so that I am and feel more genuine. Role playing ("lying") has become very difficult or impossible. I now have my own bullshit-detector.

The bullshit detector increasingly detects all kinds of bullshit, such as the 17 kinds of lies quoted by Stephen Wolinsky. Not that I don't occasionally succumb. But I notice.

The Seventeen Faces of Lying


As Realized through the Teachings and Practice of Swami Pranvananda

1. Pretending

2. Withholding

3. Misinforming

4. Distorting

5. Denying

6. Justifying

7. Explaining

8. Manipulating

9. Marginalizing

10 Rationalizing

11 Deceiving

12 Going Along

13 Enabling

14. Hiding ones true intentions

15. Miss-representing

16. Omitting

17. Editing-out, cutting and pasting to fit or reenforce a position, point of view, identity or to makeor prove a point or point of view.

Others have noted this too: Ayahuasca spoils the funs of lying.

At the same moment, I learned to be fully non-judgemental towards myself and others. This is a commonly known effect of Ayahuasca in a therapeutical function.

A reading note. I am just reading "Moonbeams of Mahamudra" by Tashi Namgyel, a 16th century Tibetan author of a major work of mahamudra meditation practice . Here is a quote from a section on "path integration", i.e. the embedding of meditative practice in everyday life:

"Pride: identify the mindset when you feel impressed with yourself and feel superior to others, such as when you think "Me!" on the basis of yourself and you feel proud that you are better than others" (Namgyal & Callahan, 2019, p411)

Ayahuasca certainly makes said path-integration easier, since it removes large parts of aversion and clinging to self and objects, and since it is a great guilt and shame remover. The first effect (no self) may have to o with a deactivation of the Default Mode Network, and the second effect (no shame) with the ability of Ayahuasca to bring up memories without their attached emotional content (see the quote above).

The other most important effect of abandoning playing a role was a deep opening up for genuine heartfelt communication and empathy. I have really no idea how it worked, but from day 1 after coming home, I noticed a sudden skill in understanding other people's blocks and challenges at a totally intuitive level. It includes a deep compassion - the same compassion I extended to myself in that moment.

This effect is similar to the Buddhist tenet, that egolessness / no self is necessarily paired with compassion.

"The ultimate dedication is dedicating through the 3-fold purity, which takes place when you have actualized the true condition of the basic nature. Why is this so? Since the recipients of the dedication, what is dedicated, and the one who is dedicating are not conceptualised in one's mind, and since is not a contrived dualistic dedication, it is a unified dedication. To proceed in this way is also the pinnacle of benefiting beings" (Royal Seal of Mahamudra, vol 2,Khamtrul & Abboud, 2015, p411)

Thus, I now know, the few seconds of this lightning-like and staying insight was my first introduction to mindfulness and meditation. I later became aware of Culadasa (concentration meditation) and Daniel P Brown (Mahamudra / Dzog Chen / Insight Meditation)

Experiencing intense grief

On the second day of the first year I was overwhelmed by a massive flood of endless sadness at the separation of a long partnership. I experienced the raw brutality of the separation as the tearing apart of the intertwined roots of two very old large trees that had blocked each other's growth.

I also felt infinite compassion and love for her. I felt her pain as my own. I also saw clearly the flood of existential panic of losing me, who had always been a part of her, literally a part of her mind, which had encouraged her extraordinary behaviour that had so frightened me and strengthened my decision to leave. All was forgiven in that moment.

At one point I saw her curled up like a little child, begging for forgiveness. I cried endlessly, desperate for her pain.

I told her that a part of me would always love her, and I still do.

In this sense, Ayahuasca has been described as "just what you need to consciously uncouple" in an older Vice article.

Maybe, Ayahuasca in this case acted as an amplifier what Selvam Raja (2022= in "The Practice of Embodying Emotions" calls "emotional embodied attunement"., the ability to feel another person´s emotions directly within one´s body. Moreover, since there was no simultaneous contact with my wife, this attunement must have been enabled by my own unconscious body memory at the time when we were separating.

Experiencing a goddess who is my own mind

In a ceremony where my partner was also present and looking at me, I suddenly experienced her looking at me as if she were being looked at by a goddess.

This gaze had visual and emotional characteristics.

Her face was covered with fine golden-green-blue symmetrical patterns running horizontally across her face from left to right. The symmetrical visual patterns were superimposed exactly on her face, they did not spill out into the surrounding space. It was like a computer simulation. Here the eyes were large and completely rounded, and her face also seemed completely symmetrical.

Her gaze expressed exactly how she looked at me: perhaps the right words are knowing, forgiving, teasing and promising.

Visually, overall, her face and facial expression looked very much like Alex Jones Dharmadragon.

This meant, that my mind acted as psychedelic artist without any preparation or training or exposure to this kind of "art". In fact, as I later read, this is not art, but typical geometrical appearances through DMT.

The image of her face was extremely pleasurable. I have used the term "symmetrical". Years later I came across this characteristic as fundamental for the pleasurable "valence" (feeling tone) it generated.

"Psychedelics are, in a sense, unlocking the valence capacity of your visual cortex. It’s kind of transforming your cortex into a pleasure machine, basically allowing it to exhibit these profound symmetries, and that is what actually is making them feel so compelling. People will struggle to explain “Why were the visuals cool? Why were they interesting?”. When it comes down to it, I think it is the symmetry." (Andrés Gómez-Emilsson 2020)

As a general pattern of perception with DMT, it was an instance where "quasi-symmetric patterns tend to “lock into” perfectly symmetrical structures" through a lower symmetry detection threshold (Gómez-Emilsson, 2016).

I spent the next hour or two longing for this view to last eternities.

The next day I suddenly had this insight : the true lesson of this visual/emotional projection was that my own mind was capable of constructing all the characteristics that I perceived in that moment as being her's. Thus, in order to project these characteristics, I would have to know them already as my own (hidden in some corner of my brain). Thus, in a way, I was the true goddess from the beginning.

This insight was the same insight as that of Manolis Kellis in a Lex Fridman podcast (Lex Fridman, 2023): one day woke up from a dream where he had a significant discussion with his friend, and he remembered deep insights provided by his friend. Obviously, he said, it was his own neurons projecting those insights onto his friend - it was he having them. So, there are similiarities between what happened in my vision and dream processes.

That was also alesson: whatever happens as experience seemingly coming from the outside, is a fabrication by the inside. In a way, this was another preparation for my current meditation practice.

There was actually a similarity to one of the "extraordinary preliminaries" practices in the Tibetan Tradition. The adept visualises the lama sitting before him - and eventually

"he knows in absolute truth ..that the lama is merely an emanation of his own mind, which, like the rest of the world, is empty" (Mahamudra Meditation Stages, Brown 1981, p.158)

This experience also gave me an idea what erotic "devotion" feels like. So, while I find the "I am a goddess" cult a bit annoying, here is something to be said to experience one´s partner as goddess or god! It´s unique and gives another perspective on gender on an experiential level. As long as it is not conceptual and results in entitlement and hierarchy, I guess it´s fine!

Experiencing erotic freedom

I had a very visual fantasy a trois where I directed the scene in a dominant way that was/is completely uncharacteristic of me in real life. Sorry, no salacious details here!

I learned that at a deep level, one's mind has hidden abilities that can be completely invisible for the entire life, also in the pleasure domain. Wouldn´t it be good to have direct access to them without having to go through expensive courses like one of Jaiya Ma.!

It was a demonstration of the Kinsey institute´s theory of brakes and accelerators: there are two control areas for sexual desire, one that increases and one that diminishes it. Our natural state is one of pleasure, but the "brakes" are pressed all the time in order to let us life a notmal life not ruled by overwhelming desire! This theory is well explained in Emily Nagoski´s "Come as You are", and in more brevity , in a Guru Viking podcast with Shinzen Young series dedicated to the exploration of Jhanas, Kundalini and orgasm.

The effect of psychedelics on sexuality has been widely explored now (Jesso & Elyse, 2021). In fact, one of the Ayahuasca guides now also runs "Tantrahuasca" events. Women only :-(.

Experiencing kundalini ("taking down the goddess", "descent experience")

I was standing in the middle of the ceremony hall when I felt a blissful flow of pure energy like high voltage running through my body from head to toe. This continued for many minutes. The energy felt like a current and was so strong that my leg muscles were tense and vibrating.

A female guide noticed what was happening, came over and silently embraced me from behind. So we both experienced it in a non-sexual union of physical-energetic bliss. Thank you for this embrace, unknown sweetheart!

So, now I know, in a way, about energy channels and energy phenomena"about which I had known nothing. This has been enriching my life with possibilities that I actively use since.

From a bland neurological perspective, this experience corresponded to an "unrestrained oscillatory activity of the nervous system", as it may also be experienced as krya, kundalini etc in meditation. These are all high-pleasure states.

Such energy streams can also be experienced through whole-body breathing in meditation, or Holotropic Breathing, slowly building up the awareness of energy currents going out and into my body. If you want to try, check out the detailed instructions in Culadasa´s "The Mind Illuminated". But in my experience , the intensity of energy sensations through breathing is nothing like my Ayahuasca experience.

It can also happen completely out of the blue, as to the renowned Prof Garry Nolan of Stanford Medicine School who one night woke up with his his body filled with "electric fire, and a voice that said 'This is how you connect'". He is still puzzled what this was and what it meant. There are may experiences of this kind, and science is catching up to explain them.

In 2023, I received the following comment on the tradition from someone in a Buddhist group, who also has experience with Ayahuasca:

What you have experienced is called "taking down goddess" or "pulling down goddess". It is the most important preparatory step for real kundalini awakening when kundalini is moving upstream. If the goddess is satisfied with you and your purity (no flesh, nicotine, or alcohol) kundalini is going to start awakening spontaneously for a couple of months or years or two. Tantrics never begin the process of awakening without a successful goddess taking down, on an 'empty ride' it could be dangerous, it could damage your astral and mental body! (including Tibetan Mahamudra tantric from tummo yoga, they are also doing the first invocation of the goddess in your body). Then it can start spontaneously anywhere, but it is much better when the process is being done under the supervision of a guru on an isolated place.

This was an interesting hint. Well I didn´t find anything on Google called "taking down the goddess", but instead something called "descent experience" linked with Sri Aurobindo:

In Integral Yoga, after the constant practice of mental silence and concentration of the consciousness above the head, one inevitably experiences what may be called a “descent“, in which there is a palpable feeling of a Power/Force descending from above the head and working its way down the Brahmarandhra (door of Brahman, AKA anterior fontanelle) through the back of the head and down the spine. With progress, it is this Power that fills the heart and other parts of the lower being and gradually brings about a change of consciousness.
This “descent experience” has no equivalent in other Yogas where the focus is on raising the Kundalini upwards towards the head from the Muladhara at the base of the spine. (Descent Experience, 2016)

In fact, I was neither supervised nor in an isolated place (actually with 60 people), so I am a bit less risk-averse for anyone else. That said, it seems that the energy-experiences have by now been researched with significant results (Guru Viking, & Young, S. (2021a, February 12).

Experiencing the inner child

I had the visual and kinesthetic experience of giving birth through my body to myself as a baby. There was no pain, luckily, I only felt the gliding in the birth canal. When I was born, I held myself and looked at myself, realising the enormous vulnerability of me.

In a letter I had written this:

It suddenly opened like a window or a door to an area of my brain that still contains the old traces - the original need structure of a newborn, only the needs for hunger, shitting, and being held.

It was extraordinary, blissful, and then a stream of love and tenderness from myself for this little one, first I perceived only this emotional structure, and then I saw a little face, in a narrow channel inside myself, looking at me openly and joyfully. I still have tears in my eyes. It was like a rebirth of myself in my consciousness.

I spoke to him.

THAT was "inner child work". Everything else, conceptual, is pale and abstract. You can't imagine how it feels to BE a baby and at the same time an adult.

This had already started on the second day like a weather lightning. But then it was a bit scary because I had no idea where this wild, chaotic, simple came from. The urge to eat and defecate, to have something in my mouth. I always had to check, with some misgivings, if I had followed the urge. On the third day in the afternoon, after some other things had gone on before, as preparation, so to speak.

Until today I kept this feeling of the vulnerability of all of us. This imagined birth of myself through myself had been prepared throughout all day by alarming feelings of incontinence, and the very primitive urge to just shit and eat and be held.

So, now I have a very real, non-conceptual experience of therapeutical concept and technique of Inner Child Work. It's not a dry abstract concept for me. I experienced it as rooted in what must be very early neuronal networks that can still be accessed. In fact, I now know that there is inside whole set of different ages and associated personalities. As interesting aside: here is actually a possibility that we have stored 100% of our dreams: we just cannot access them.

I am therefore not astonished, that James Fadiman, one of the early pioneers of psychedelics, in his new book "The Symphony of Your Selves" lines up with the psychological/therapeutical parts theories, for example with Richard Schwarz "Internal Family System". It is interesting, furthermore, that Schwarz too now sees an important role for psychedelics in therapy.

Experiencing non-reactivity

My set and publicly stated intention for this ceremony was to get rid of my reactivity, which (I now know) I had experienced as a traumatic reaction to many interactions with my partner.

In the experience I was shown a scene where I had to pick up my partner and carry her across an endless desert while she had turned into an ugly witch. There were several challenging events. For each of them, my task was to practise equanimity and not to react. I must applaud myself: I completed all the tasks!

For example, she looked at young men with erotic lust. Or she was very greedy, trying to grab all sorts of things as we walked. I was shown various not-so-nice characteristics of her, but I had to carry her along and learn from it. I think that's not a bad description of reality!

Becoming non-reactive, I learned later, is also one of the psychological benefits of meditation. In fact, Daniel P Brown often stated, that the term dhukka is mistranslated from Sanskrit as "suffering". Instead, it should be translated as "reactivity".

Experiencing emotion-less sadness

While processing some deep emotions without really knowing what they were, I experienced all the physical signs of sadness. These included, in particular, flowing tears. But I did not feel any of the usual emotions of sadness. There was no story attached to it either. Instead, I observed myself being sad without feeling sad. Very unusual!

From that I learned a practice of letting myself experience emotions through somato-sensory inner expression without attaching a story to it.

This confirms, I think, what I read later: Lisa Feldman Barret's (2918) theory regarding the way emotions are constructed: as sensory reactions to which we attach cultural and individual patterned meanings.

As she sais: an emotion is an instance of a conceptual category that we learned as children. For example, that tears may mean feeling sad in specific circumstances, feeling angry"in others.

Note: this purely autonomic reaction is also a result of long meditation, according to Dr Daniel P Brown.

This experience of grief as purely physical feeling has also been reported by other people in Ayahuasca ceremony, as in the following example :

I dealt directly with the death of my brother during ceremony. The strange thing was, the uncontrollable tears I cried in which I was an observer to my body's response to the grief. I sat there with tears flowing but felt very numb to any pain
In one of the ceremonies, I asked Aya [ayahuasca] to help me feel my grief. Rather than looking and reviewing the stories associated with the many losses I've had in my life, Aya had me sit with my grief. I actually physically experienced in my body the emotion of grief as a heaviness, pressing my shoulders and back toward the earth, as an absence of any color except shades of grey. Even the visions were grey. Aya specifically told me not to go into the stories, as they were a distraction from the feelings. She [ayahuasca] also told me that by being with the feelings I was honoring the experiences, the losses, and myself. (Source for both : Labate 2022, Ayahuasca Healing and Science).

Experiencing self-reconstruction

Lying on the mattress, processing, I suddenly saw my mind, in a strange way, "working on the brain", flattening out the usual peaks of emotion. I was touched to see the infinite power of our mind to improve itself on a biological level. Later, I saw this "flattening of spikes" in a diagram by Daniel Siegel, in "The Mindful Therapist".

It looked somewhat like this:

A chart showing spikes of cortical activation

This gave me an enormously positive outlook on the possibility of change, and a direct view into how mind works on brain , while brain is creating mind (is it?).

Experiencing evolution

This is not a very clear memory. I have participated as an observer and as part of the history of human evolution. I experienced animalistic and cannibalistic states, raw and naked aggression for survival, and then later more and more refined cultural states.

I do not know whether I learned something from this; except maybe that I - possibly everyone - has some kind of inbuilt knowledge of how it may feel to be in each level. Obviously, the perception will be colored and shaped by the culture in which one grew up, in particular the later stages. It is well possible thought that the raw states have somehow survived deep inside and may turn up in exceptional circumstances such as expanded states of consciousness.

Experiencing the universe

I experienced myself as a kind of Creator-God, observing the whole universe from the point of view of its outer edge, along which I was stretched out, thus being part of it.

Later, my partner joined me in this god-like scene, and we came together and separated a few times, marvelling at our creation of which we too were a part.

I know of course, that this experience was just an experience and not some deeper reality. The deceased Culadasa pointed this out very clearly, mocking the idea that one "is" God.

But "being the creator" and overlooking one´s creation is a fun experience!

The experience may also have primed my mind for my later emptiness meditation exercises which require the meditator to take the vantage point of a timeless changeless borderless expanse without edges or corners, depth, height etc.

Experiencing I AM

I experienced the processing of anger against my parents who had neglected me so much as parents when I was between 1 and 7. I triumphantly told them, "I exist in spite of you!

This was during the only period of intense physical purging (vomiting) I have had in all my ayahuasca experiences. Physical purging may or may not accompany these experiences.

Then, as the rage slowly disappeared, this changed into an overwhelming feeling / perception of "I AM!

This feeling of "I AM" can only be compared to the power of sunlight versus the normal feeling of "I am" as a dim light bulb. I had never felt myself so strongly. I was aware of this change and marvelled at it as it happened.

It had been preceded by a certain typical illumination.

"A common effect is that part of the visual field being focally Illuminated. Typically, it is as if a, flashlight were illuminating it" (Benny Shannon, p275)

I remember that the perception began as an ego-feeling, but then generalised as if there was only one of these "I AMs" that encompassed everything.

This experience of myself as "I AM" was continued in another mystical view described below.

This experience is actually interesting. It is apparently just the opposite of the effect Ayahuasca has on the Default Mode Network (DMN). Ayahuasca is known to reduce the activity of the DMN to an extraordinarily strong degree.

Experiencing mirror-like awareness

This turned out to be a core "Buddhist" experience of non-duality. I have described it in detail here.

I left the small room in which I had experienced "I AM" and went outside. There, I was suddenly confronted with a giant, all-encompassing mirror of which what remained as "I" knew it was reflecting "my" own mind. In it were all objects of my perception - trees, clouds , sky, houses, people etc. I was in awe about "myself" . However this was not the usual "myself". It was the single awareness itself.

This experience brought me to meditation. I never forgot how "I" had been looking at myself as awareness. I later learned, and got confirmation by the famous meditation teacher Culadasa , that this was an awakening experience, and that I had experienced what is "the new normal of an awakened person".

For my modest and unassuming definition of awakening, see my post on a special meditation retreat with Daniel P Brown.

Being very lucky, some years later I stumbled upon a retreat (the first I ever did) with Daniel P Brown. This was in the Mahamudra / Dzog Chen tradition. And there, I re-experienced fully the view that I had had through Ayahuasca. But this time, I was systematically guided there through the pointing-out instructions of the meditation teachers.

Through this single experience I was fully introduced experientially into the world of cave yogis, Mahamudra, DzogChen. I admit - I am a beginner. But also - what an advantage!

Experiencing a murderer

I saw myself drag two dead bodies behind me, over a hot and dusty, dirty road. I knew that I had killed them, although it was not in my awareness how or why I had done that.

I learned from this about how devastating my behavior must sometimes have been towards the important women in my life. My unbearable closedness and lack of empathy and compassion and sharing in important moments of their life. And I learned that I had done it unconsciously, without intent. I also learned, that I would drag this knowledge with me, regardless of the effort: I would never forget this.

Experiencing my brutality

Immediately after that, another, even more disturbing fantasy appeared. I saw myself, in a corner of my vision, taking part in an orgy of brutality: hacking and slashing at corpses with a sword or machete. Even more disturbing, after a while I realised that one of the victims I was mutilating was my partner. It was a horrible thought. I wished the images would go away, and after a while they did.

Looking back at it, the story evolved. First, the devil had been projected on another person, Norberto. Then, it was the little devils that emerged from my inside. And finally, the truth emerged: the real devil was myself. The infinite wisdom in which these stories can be constructed, with Ayahuasca!

I still knew that it was all a projection of my mind, but all the thoughts and interpretations expressed here came only later. At the time I was just wishing that this "truth about me" would go away.

The memory of what was hidden in my unconscious mind never left me. Just as my mind is capable to project godlike wisdom on the face of my partner, it is able to tell me that I might be her murderer. Humans...

The couple therapists David Schnarch and Terry Real are fond of the terms "Normal Marital Hate" and "Normal Marital Sadism".

Experiencing the devil

I walked out of the big hall with its pandemonium of drums, shouting, screaming, vomiting, ecstasy of 60-70 people, alone with myself. I had thought that after yesterday's 'enlightenment' experience I might get some more blissful lessons today on how to put it all into practice. But no: I was shown demons.

First, I began to experience our host, the ever-peaceful Norberto, as an incarnation of the devil. Fear came up, along with the knowledge that "this is just my mind under ayahuasca, playing a trick on me". Nevertheless, the fear was very real. When another person came out, my mind made me imagine that he might be a hidden emissary. In short, I was experiencing what schizophrenia can feel like, when the mind gives ordinary people and things a frightening significance. A furtive glance; or a glance held for a second too long: what threat might be in it?

Still, I breathed through it and kept walking outside until this subsided. I learned about the strength of the mind when clearly seeing itself. I also got an experiential idea how psychosis and mystic experiences may be related.

Experiencing abandoned ghouls

But then a second illusion appeared. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a cigar box with 4 little ghouls coming out of it, looking at me angrily. They were menacing and had sharp teeth, as far as I could remember. At first I wanted to ignore them so they would go away. But they did not, they kept coming out of the box. So I tried various ways of being threatening or defensive, all in my imagination of course.

But that did not help either. So in the end I came up with the idea of approaching them with care and compassion, speaking to them in a friendly voice. This was what they seemed to need. In an almost comical retreat, they slowly retreated into the box, mumbling something incomprehensible to me. But it seemed as if they were talking about me.

Six years later I read this in Wangchuk Dorje´s "Mahamudra. The Ocean of True Meaning" (ca 1600).

My own mind is the obstacle. My own mind is called mara. All obstacles come from conceptual thinking. Therefore conceptual thinking must be cut through.
Thus it has been taught. Demonic appearances arise out of conceptual thinking, out of the magical display of the mind. It is certain that they are in your own mind. Take the mind as clarity and emptiness, free from grasping...and meditate that the demons themselves are the four kayas. In this way they are overcome.

I learned from this once more about the need for compassion and patience, and for not misunderstanding what seems initially to be attack and aggression. Dealing with one´s own ghouls as growing compassion!

So I had put the little ghouls at rest.

It occured to me later , that these 4 little "ghouls" might also have been symbolising my 4 children, who rightly feel that I have neglected them as father again and again when they were young. What they would have needed, and need now, ist attention and care. Who knows? Ayahuasca symbols can be like dream symbols. They may have many meanings.

Experiencing living and conscious trees

This experience occured three days after the end of an Ayahuasca experience. This is my protocol.

During a walk in the forest, after almost 2 weeks of quasi-fasting, one week of which was a bad flu in bed, I feel the forest differently, the trees. I see a large branch lying bent on the ground, it moves me to tears with its expressiveness. I see the branches reaching for the sky and feel their growth. I see a group of 3 birches standing close together and feel them as 3 close mutual friends. The whole forest has become for me deeply felt expressive life that speaks to me and touches me.

I reflect and I think that I have made acquaintance with the forest and he with me through Ayahuasca.

This type of experienced is of course not limited to psychedelics. This is an account of the American meditation teacher Jackson Peterson.

"My attention focused on one particular pine tree and its dark brown bark. For a moment it seemed that I felt the texture of the bark with my eyes and that my space of awareness expanded to include the tree. In that brief moment I could feel the tree’s life force as the sun’s warmth on the upper branches drew the sap upward from the roots. It felt as though the sap was passing through me. I felt as though I was that tree in that brief moment." (Peterson, 2016)

Experiencing eye-gazing

I had and have the experience of looking at myself by looking into another person's eyes. Yes, I have the direct experience of looking at myself.

Now this can happen with anyone on the street. A passer-by, a shopkeeper, a friend, a beggar. It is a miraculous thing: I look into a deep, endless space. This space is somehow not in this other person, but it is "myself" in another embodiment. Sometimes I look for people's eyes to have this experience of connection.

Our Ayahuasca guide had foreseen this, and I am particularly grateful for this. In an introductory exercise, before drinking the tea, he had the group of 30 people wander about in the large hall, such that one would pass other people by walking towards them. This should be done without thinking and without conceptualising about them, and without judging or projecting, while looking them straight into the eyes. At another ceremony, this exercise was conducted as a pair exercise. After the 3 days of ceremonies had ended, he again asked the group to look other people into the eyes and notice the difference. It was as if a window had opened up. A little bit of person-person non-duality.

I have to give credit here to David Carse who, in "Perfect Brilliant Stillness" gives a much deeper and poetic description of this way of looking into someone´s eyes in chapter "Not a taxi", where is is accidentally looking into a beggar´s eyes in Mumbai.

It is difficult to describe the sense that is experienced in these moments. Whatever feeling might have been starting to arise stopped, and there was no pity, no anguish, no aversion, no awkwardness or discomfort, hardly even compassion. As I looked at him it was clear I was staring at myself, and clear that I was staring at God. The twisted Taxi physical form of this beggar seemed so transparent, stretched so shimmeringly thin in the heat of the tropical city, and the Brilliance streaming through him and around him so visible, that it was impossible not to see him and the street scene behind him as dream forms and the light of the Brilliance as the obvious underlying reality unable to be hidden. In that moment there was a sense of intense neutral quietness: as our eyes stared into each other there was nothing to do, nothing to say, nothing to feel, nothing to think. (Perfect Brilliant Stillness, page 150)

Eye gazing is in fact a fundamental way in which we get into contact with others from our earliest time on. And there are many ways in which we may have had early experiences making it difficult. I think it's worth quoting a longer passage from the book "We Do" by Stan Tatkin (2018). Tatkin, a couple therapist, integrates knowledge from what is called "nterpersonal neurobiology into his work, as well as adult attachment theory and others.

Thus, when our guide directed us to look "without judgement and without schemas", it was actually therapeutical intervention which then was massively improved through the Ayahuasca experience.

In the attachment world, making and maintaining eye contact is a fundamental way we communicate love, interest, and emotion. We tend to fall in love through the eyes—with our babies, children, and partners (even pets). Eye contact is a powerful connector. It’s also one of the ways in which we can read others. Eye contact is highly stimulating and can be very difficult for some people. Sustained eye contact, even with one’s partner, can lead to increased anxiety, panic, sadness, tearfulness, depression, shame, and anger. Here are some reasons you may encounter problems with sustained eye gazing:
No one made loving eye contact with you as a child. Mothers who frequently held their babies away from their bodies or turned them to face outward set the stage for decreased eye contact in adulthood. If eye contact is difficult for you, it may be that you didn’t receive a great deal of eye contact as an infant and child.
A parent or other authority figure used eye contact to intimidate you. It’s a sad fact that eye contact, which should be used for love, can also be used for abuse. Yet some of us had early experiences where eye contact was used as a method of intimidation or aggression. Doing so repeatedly, especially in the eyes of a loving partner, can rewire the experience into something relaxing and comforting.
A parent or other authority figure used prolonged eye contact to monitor or shame you. Some of us were looked at with less than loving eyes too much of the time. Eye contact then becomes overly exposing because the other is looking inside you, without your permission, and not in a good way. It feels as if they’re criticizing you, observing your defective parts.
A parent or other early caregiver “chased your eyes” or was insensitive to your cues. Some caregivers demand eye contact by “chasing your eyes.” They’re insensitive to their child’s cues of discomfort or overstimulation. On the receiving end of this, the child feels trapped. Once grown, eye contact continues to feel like entrapment, which can feel threatening.
A parent or other early caregiver behaved as if they could see you, but they couldn’t. There are caregivers who project their thoughts, feelings, and intentions on their child, which results in repeated misattunement. The result is being seen inaccurately while feeling invaded and intruded upon.
Regardless of why you might be gaze averse, you can train yourself to acclimate to sustaining eye contact with your partner, with the eye contact–avoidant partner in charge of how long you maintain your gaze. But don’t avoid this, at least not with your partner. Be curious about what pushes you around inside, and if it’s appropriate, push back."

Experiencing synchronicity and telepathy

A very strange and at first disturbing experience is that of synchronicity. Especially when it happens three times, each time in an ayahuasca ceremony, and can be confirmed by comparing date and time. Each time the physical distance was about 400 km, between Wiesbaden and Utrecht. I am still trying to explain it!

The reason I keep explaining it away is that this kind of synchronicity experienced was a kind of telepathy. And telepathy would break the laws of physics, as Joscha Bach explains (Theories of Everything with Curt Jaimungal. Podcast(2022a, 7 February))

There were three. The first synchronicity caused my partner to go into an ayahuasca-like trance around 1:00 in the morning. But she was at home, not in a ceremony. It was at this time that I had a very erotic dream involving her (described above). When she awoke, she told me later, she felt my physical union with her, as well as my spiritual closeness.

The next two times she communicated with me "through other women". Each time I was in a state of needing some support, feeling a little lonely. On both occasions, one of the women in the group turned to me, spoke to me and looked at me in such a way that I immediately thought 'my partner is speaking to me'.

On one of these occasions, the woman lying on the mattress next to me suddenly turned to me and said, "It's so good to be close to you. We had not spoken before, or had only exchanged a few brief words of welcome.

These events might have been unremarkable had my partner not told me when I came home that at certain times she suddenly had an overwhelming feeling that I needed her. She would then focus all her inner attention on me, imagining me in that particular state during the Ayauhuasca ceremony. These were exactly the times when I was spoken to. I know this because I had the strange impression that I was being spoken to and looked at from a distance.

I still don´t know what to make of this, like the many people to whom this happens in Ayahuasca ceremonies! I take the Mahamudra view that it doesn´t exist and doesn´t not exist :-)

But one starts to believe that it has been used in the jungle by indigenous people for centuries, also to establish communication with tribal members over a distance, or to find animals.

Recently, I heard Daniel Siegel speak in a podcast, curious about these synchronicities in the interpersonal field.

The latest book on this topic from a serious therapist and researcher, Selvam Raja (Raja, 2022), calls this general phenomenon (outside of psychedelics) "resonance at longer distances". He hypotheses, and uses personal examples, that such direct contact can / may be explained by quantum phenomena enabling long range instant information transfer between our body-minds. While this is not (yet ?) a scientifically proven or provable theory in the field of psychology, it can at least no longer be excluded. If there is truth to it, just like with "emotional embodied attunement", Ayahuasca could be seen a non-specific amplifier for capabilities innate to the human brain/mind.

The "resonance" theory is also mentioned by the well known German AI researcher and philosopher Joscha Bach in a Lex Fridman podcast .


And this was the end of each ceremony, 30-70 people standing in a circle, holding hands.

The verses ending all Ayahuasca ceremonies which I attended


Aixalà, M. (2022). Psychedelic Integration: Psychotherapy for Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness.

Theories of Everything with Curt Jaimungal. (2022a, February 7). Donald Hoffman Λ Joscha Bach on Consciousness & Gödel [Video]. YouTube.

Brown, Daniel P. (1981). Mahamudra Meditation-Stages and Contemporary Cognitive Psychology (Dissertation).

This dissertation is a free download. It is a massive, highly technical volume that nevertheless gives an unparallelled insight into the education of a yogi.It draws on the knowledge of cognitive science as of the late 1970s, so it is not the newest in this regard.As compensation, Daniel P Brown gives some insight into the experiments with tachiscopy. to which he still referred in his retreats in 2021.The Universits of Chicago library entry:

Brown, D. P., & Thurman, R. (2006). Pointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition (Annotated). Wisdom Publications.

Carse, D. (2017, July 31). Perfect Brilliant Stillness. Perfect Brilliant Stillness. Retrieved 6 October 2022, from

Shamil Chandaria. (2022, October 30). The Bayesian Brain and Meditation [Video]. YouTube.

Yates (Culadasa), J., & Immergut, M. (2017). The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness. Hay House Uk.

Also available for free on Youtube

Note: while this is free, the value of the print edition lies also in the appendices. it´s worth spending the money on the paper version, if only to support the audio version.

Culadasa. (2021c, September 17). Culadasa June 2020 Patreon Q&A N°2 Recording (on Psychedelics) [Video]. YouTube.

Descent experience. (2016, August 5). Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & the Mother.

Feldman-Barrett, L. (2018). How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain (Main Market). Pan.

A science book by a very reputable author that does away with the idea that the brain has specific centres for emotional processing. Surprisingly, even the famous amygdala is no longer associated with fear etc. Lisa Feldman Barret has recently been making the round on all top level podcasts such as Sam Harris.

Fadiman, J., (2020). Your Symphony of Selves: Discover and Understand More of Who We Are. Park Street Press.

Lex Fridman. (2020, October 4). Lisa Feldman Barrett: Counterintuitive Ideas About How the Brain Works | Lex Fridman Podcast #129 [Video]. YouTube.

Harris, S. (2020, March 22). Sam’s Mushroom Trip [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved 12 October 2022, from

Fridman, L. (2021a, February 28). Andrew Huberman: Sleep, Dreams, Creativity, Fasting, and Neuroplasticity | Lex Fridman Podcast #164 [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved 18 September 2022, from

Fridman, L. (2023, April 21). Manolis Kellis: Evolution of Human Civilization and Superintelligent AI | Lex Fridman Podcast #373 [Video]. YouTube.

Lex Fridman, & Bach, J. (2023, August 1). Joscha Bach: Life, Intelligence, Consciousness, AI & The Future of Humans | Lex Fridman Podcast #392 [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved August 3, 2023, from

Gallimore, A. (2022). Reality Switch Technologies: Psychedelics as Tools for the Discovery and Exploration of New Worlds: Gallimore, Andrew R: 9781739110109: Books.

Gómez-Emilsson, A. (2016, December 12). The Hyperbolic Geometry of DMT Experiences: Symmetries, Sheets, and Saddled Scenes.

Gómez-Emilsson, A. (2020, December 17). The Symmetry Theory of Valence 2020 Overview.

Huberman, A., & Sobel, N. (2023, May 1). Huberman Lab - Dr. Noam Sobel: How Smells Influence Our Hormones, Health & Behavior. Google Podcasts.

Dr. Sobel explains his lab’s research on the biological mechanisms of smell (“olfaction”) and how sensing odorants and chemicals in our environment impacts human behavior, cognition, social connections, and hormones

Huxley, A. (2009, July 28). The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell (Later Printing). Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

Jesso, J. W., & Elyse, M. (2021, January 7). Heightened Sexual Experiences and Psychedelics | Miriam Elyse. Adventures Through The Mind.

Jaimungal, T. O. E. W. C. (2021, February 20). Bernardo Kastrup on Analytical Idealism, Materialism, The Self, and the Connectedness of You and I [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved 18 September 2022, from

about the sense of reality with psychedelics: 2:45:50 ff

Labate, B. C., & Cavnar, C. (2022). Ayahuasca Healing and Science (1st ed. 2021 ed.). Springer.

Metzner, PhD, R. (2014). The Ayahuasca Experience: A Sourcebook on the Sacred Vine of Spirits (3rd Edition, New Edition of Sacred Vine of Spirits: Ayahuasca ed.). Park Street Press.

A collection of experiences told my highly educated and self-aware people, most of them from the healing or teaching professions (eg coaches, therapists, healers, teachers). Wonderfully expressive reading. More emotional than Benny Shannon. One gets a much better impression of emotional feeling-tone of Ayahuasca experiences through this book.

Moram, K. (2018). Six ways in which Ayahuasca works like a good trauma therapist. Chacruna Net. Retrieved July 2022, from

Nagoski, E. (2021). Come As You Are: Revised and Updated: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life (Updated ed.). Simon & Schuster.

Namgyal, T. D., & Callahan, E. (2019). Moonbeams of Mahamudra (Tsadra) (Translation ed.). Snow Lion.

Peterson, J. (2016). The Natural Bliss of Being [Kindle e-Book].

Raja, S. (2022). The Practice of Embodying Emotions: A Guide for Improving Cognitive, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes. North Atlantic Books.

Seth, A. (2021). Being You: A New Science of Consciousness (The Sunday Times Bestseller). Faber & Faber.

Shanon, B. (2003). The Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience (Illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press.

A book of several hundred pages with a systematic overview of the experiences of this cognitive scientist, who had stumbled over Ayahuasca like me. Many more experiences, his own and that of other people.

Siegel, D. J., & Audio, B. (2011). The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician’s Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration. Brilliance Audio.

Tatkin, S. (2018). Tatkin, S: We Do: Saying Yes to a Relationship of Depth, True Connection, and Enduring Love. Sounds True Inc.

Theories of Everything with Curt Jaimungal. (2022, April 19). UAP Evidence and Psychedelic Forces | Garry Nolan [Video]. YouTube.

User, G. (2023, March 4). Tony Moss Psychedelics — Modern Psychedelics. Modern Psychedelics.

(minute 46.30 on the role of purging)

Wangchug Dorje. (2017). Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning (1st ed.). BoD – Books on Demand.

Wolinsky, S. (2000). Advaita is Vedanta. Stephen Wolinsky PhD.

Guru Viking, & Young, S. (2021, October 1). Ep115: Jhana, Ego, & Orgasm - Leigh Brasington, Shinzen Young, Chelsey Fasano, & Dr Sanguinetti [Video]. YouTube.

Guru Viking, & Young, S. (2021a, February 12). EP81: Orgasm, Epilepsy, & Mystical Experience - Shinzen Young & Chelsey Fasano 3 [Video]. YouTube.


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