Renowned Doctor Gabor Mate on Psychedelics and Unlocking the Unconscious, From Cancer to Addiction
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The ayahuasca got rid of my coping mechanisms in a flash, and there I was experiencing something, and I knew then that this is something to work with. And within half a year I was working with people shamanically trained in Peruvian Shipibo tradition, and beginning to lead retreats. We’ve led a number now, and the results are increasingly but uniformly astonishing.
So I’m going to read you some communications sent to me by people that have participated in our ayahuasca retreats and then I'll talk about their experiences and why ayahuasca is so potentially helpful. Although, as the previous speaker said, nobody should ever say that it’s a panacea.
So this is Dr. Stuart Krichevsky, who writes about ayahuasca. ...
Decoctions like ayahuasca, similar to many forms of meditation, has salutogenic potential. Salutogenic meaning health-giving potential i.e. can enhance physical mental and spiritual health by calling into play what is referred to as participating consciousness.
So if you can become conscious of your patterns and your beliefs, these core beliefs, and how you attain these beliefs, then you can let go of them. Rigid feeling, thought, and behavioral patterns can unclench; the self can rearrange itself and develop its inner and outer resources more deeply. So there we get to the concept of a true self and one that can be reconfigured, or at least rediscovered with the help of the psychoactive plants, particularly ayahuasca.
So I’ll read you now what some people have said about their experience at our retreats, and I’ll talk to you more about the retreats and how they function.
“The last two nights have been challenging, but I'm getting good practice. Negative thoughts as they come up, under the effect, I can feel the physical sensation of fear in my gut as the thought arises and returns to a safer place."
In other words, when you have a certain thought, like you have a negative thought pattern—when I say negative, I mean a self defeating, self-deprecating, self invalidating thought pattern—that’s not just the thought up here, that’s immediately a physical impact on the body. You feel it in the gut, you feel it in the heart, if affects your whole nervous system, your cardiovascular system, your immune system, and this person is getting in touch with how their thoughts are influencing your body.
"In the past I’ve made many bad, irresponsible choices with hurtful consequences to myself in others. Despite knowing that right now, I’m presented with new choices I can make from a place of love towards myself and the people in my life. It’s hard to push despair aside. The despair that tells me I will continue to make the same poor choices over and over again.
That’s the core belief showing up again that "there’s something wrong with me." But this person at least is conscious of it.
This is a physician, by the way, who has nearly lost his license because of addictions, and his marriage is falling apart, and he came to the retreat. And he thought he had a perfect childhood, by the way, and I won't even go into the details.
“The other very powerful moment I had involved looking at the sense of being too much for my parents. I know no matter how much love they felt for me, they probably were all alone with their own fears and anxiety. Well yeah, the father had a near-fatal heart attack at age 28. I’ve experienced myself as a child when this child was a one-year old. I’ve experienced myself as too much for the world for a long time. I’ve made a grand effort over the years to prove that true, which is why it cracks my heart open so wide to feel welcomed in the hearts of you and the people here, knowing that my feelings, my hurt, fear, sadness, and need for connection are not too much. I feel that the world can hold me, in fact, always has. And maybe I can learn to hold myself. It’s painful to think that Miles, my son, may feel himself to be too much for me. I desperately don’t want that to happen. Much love and gratitude.”