Living the Ceremony in Daily Life
Living the Ceremony: 7 Ways to Bring the Teachings of Ayahuasca and the Sacred Medicines into Daily Life
Over the past five years, the Eagle Condor Alliance Family has had the opportunity to expose hundreds of individuals to the sacred medicines of the Americas. Each individual participant brings his or her unique past, whether it be full of traumas, successes, or dreams realized or lost, into ceremony. He or she also brings a desire to move forward with the current projects, relationships, personal issues, and strengths and weaknesses that shape one´s daily life.
During and immediately following an ancestral shamanic ceremony with one of the plant medicines (Ayahuasca, Peyote, San Pedro Cactus, or Temazcal), individuals feel clear-headed, connected to their inner healer, and optimistic about their ability to make progress in various facets of their lives. However, when they return to the daily grind they sometimes feel that connection slowly slip away.
How can that level of inner peace, vision and hopefulness be sustained? That is what this article is about. We want to provide a list of tips or suggestions for maintaining that feeling and even strengthening it outside of ceremony. We want to help people live the ceremony each day.
1. Develop a practice that connects you to yourself. This practice, be it meditation, yoga, walking in a neighborhood park or the woods, or exercising, should be able to be done alone and without any equipment or devices. This is a time to be unplugged, alone, and focused on your internal state.
It’s a time to check in with yourself and see what thoughts and feelings deserve more attention, and which ones need to be put aside for you to be able to continue to make progress towards your personal growth goals. If you would like to try to include breathing techniques, they can be very helpful as you take a step away from active participation in your mental structures, and towards being the observer of those structures.
During an Ayahuasca ceremony, participants are often shown what aspects of their lives need to be nourished, and which ones are barriers to them fully flourishing. The toxic elements of life are often purged, whether they come in the form of emotional weight, physical pollutants, or spiritual boundaries, and it is this purge that gives Ayahuasca its curative properties. When we return to our daily lives, all of those elements come rushing towards us again, and we need to set aside dedicated time to recognizing that inundation, discarding that which does not serve us, and fostering the elements of our lives that make us happy to be alive.
2. Prepare your own food. We are what we eat but we also appreciate the food that we make. Two of the fundamental teachings of Ayahuasca and the other medicines is to be grateful and to respect your body. Make your meals and make them with fresh ingredients. If buying organic breaks the bank, do the next best thing and stock your fridge with other fruits and veggies. When cooking, prepare your food with love, care, gratitude and intention.
3. Use water consciously. One of the fundamental elements of our days, whether we recognize it as such or not, is water. It is what sustains all life. We typically do not use water consciously, yet when we are in ceremonies which honor the spirit of water and cherish its cleansing and healing properties, it is obvious to us that we should be conscious of its use. In San Pedro Cactus, Peyote, and Temazcal ceremonies, we dedicate songs and tobaccos to water and sing its praises as one of the 4 elements that comprise all things.
Our recommendation is to continue to summon the healing powers of water to your home, office, gym, friends’ houses, bathrooms, kitchens and gardens.
One way to do this is to wake up in the morning and pour yourself a glass of water. Before drinking it, give thanks for its presence in your home by speaking the words ‘’Thank you for being present in my home’’. Then, put an intention that you have (being a more patient listener, appreciating your family, or whatever it is that you want to foster in your life) into the water. Speak the words into the glass. Then drink the water.
Another simple way to honor water is to conserve it. We all know how. Wash the dishes consciously with a small stream of water, or fill the sink first. Take shorter showers. Don’t leave faucets running while brushing your teeth. Collect rain water.
These small acts make a huge difference when performed on a daily basis, and they set the stage for a life of intention, health, and consciousness.
4. Grow food in your home or in your gardens. Growing your own food sounds intimidating or even impossible to many people living in urban environments. It doesn’t have to be.
If you’re fortunate enough to have land and want to embark on the project of growing most of your food, that will be a massive benefit to you. You will be touching the earth and honoring its place as the provider of life, your food will be medicine for you and your family, and the act of caring for the garden will become a time for reflection.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the time or land for a garden. We live in apartments. Luckily, we can still grow food. Put planter boxes on your windowsills, fill them with soil, and pick out some seedlings from the nursery. Grow herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, or anything else that will work. You´ll be surprised to find that each time you reach for your plants, the medicines’ teachings about the unity of all living things, your own personal health, and appreciation of life will come streaming back.
5. Keep a ´gratitude list´. Many of us have a tough time keeping a journal going for more than a week or two. Instead of writing out long, emotional entries, make a list of 3 – 5 things that you appreciated, learned, or found beautiful over the course of the day. Do this each night before you go to sleep and you will quickly notice yourself paying more attention to beauty and being more observant of the gifts that surround you.
6. Get into nature whenever possible. Ayahuasca, San Pedro and the sacred medicines reconnect us with Mother Earth and remind us that we come from and will return to her. This connection is inherent in us as biological organisms, but many of us forget that we are from the earth when we return to city life. It is absolutely pivotal to take every opportunity possible to walk in the woods, walk barefoot on grass, go camping, bathe and swim in rivers, go to the beach and sea, or take a rest under your favorite tree. These are our medicines. The earth is medicine. This is not optional, so find a way to reconnect to your Mother.
7. Feed the birds or get a pet. All life is sacred. All living things are composed of the same building blocks of life. This is what we learn during Ayahuasca ceremonies, San Pedro Cactus ceremonies, Peyote ceremonies, Temazcal ceremonies, meditation, yoga, immersions in nature, vision quests, sun dances, and all other spiritual activities.
To bring this teaching home, connect yourself to animals. Care for an animal. If you have always wanted to have an animal in your home, do it. If you do not have space for a dog or cat, get a fish. Feeding your fish each day and watching it eat will become something that soothes you and gives you the feeling of connectedness that is so easily lost in the daily grind. Having another life in your home will warm your heart and calm your mind.
We do not have pets, but each morning we go outside and offer the birds, squirrels, insects, and butterflies a piece of fruit. The birds around our houses love ripe plantains. This small act is a daily recognition of the fact that all life is interconnected. We are not independent from nature and its creatures, but part of a larger ecosystem.
We hope that this short list will help you after the retreat!
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin