Wednesday July 17, 2019

Ayahuasca: The Spiritual Journey Hollywood Is Talking About

The experience is deeply spiritual, intensely psychological and can be stunningly self illuminating

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Ayahuasca means “Vine of the Spirit” or “Vine of the Dead”. Ayahuasca tea is typically made by mixing Chakruna leaves and Ayahuasca vine. This is considered to have healing properties and is popular in South America. Image
Ayahuasca means “Vine of the Spirit” or “Vine of the Dead”. Ayahuasca tea is typically made by mixing Chakruna leaves and Ayahuasca vine. This is considered to have healing properties and is popular in South America. Image Credit: Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center

Everyone in Hollywood is talking about ayahuasca and, most especially, the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat.

The retreat center is an eight day fully immersive program that include: meditation, yoga, workshops, ayahuasca ceremonies and other activities that finally allow one to confront repetitive behavior patterns to experience lasting life change.

Everything is designed to fully prepare people for the ayahuasca experience–and that includes a special “Spirit Vine” diet. While not a fast, it can be compared to the centuries-old tradition, allowing people to focus deeply and experience deep self-awareness–a spiritual purging, if you will.

“Ayahuasca is a therapy for the spirit, where we can discover the real cause of our problems. We go to places which are not commonly accessible, and it’s profound–so every element, including diet, is designed to prepare people to face their demons,” explains Silvia Polivoy, Ph.D,  founder of Spirit Vine Retreats.

Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center is situated in Bahia, Brazil
Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center is situated in Bahia, Brazil. Image Credit: Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center

Polivoy even recommends that people start their vegetarian/vegan meals–organic, free of gluten, salt, sugar, fermented foods and all additives and flavorings–a few days before coming to the retreat.

“This way people can be lighter and physically cleaner before they arrive. Ayahuasca makes people purge what is not good for them anymore–both physically and emotionally–so by detoxing physically, they can cleanse more deeply spiritually.”

She continued: “Some meat-eaters are a little apprehensive at first, but then discover how wonderful eating a meat-free diet can make them feel. In fact, some of them even decide to follow the diet permanently after the retreat.”

WHAT IS THE SPIRIT VINE AYAHUASCA RETREAT CENTER?

For thousands of years indigenous peoples living in the rainforest regions across South and Central America have used the powerful hallucinogenic brew or tea known as ayahuasca, the “spirit vine” or “vine of the dead.”

ayahuasca
Ayahuasca.

The Western World is taking note, and visitors now include Hollywood celebrities, actors, spiritual leaders and well-known authors.

Ayahuasca tea is made by combining two plants known in South America for its medicinal and visionary properties.

When brewed together, these plants produce a mind-expanding, modified state of consciousness that enables the participant to experience a deeper spiritual journey, receiving messages from soul wisdom that enables one to release fears, traumas and awaken to their real life’s purpose.

Ayahuasca tea is the center of the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center of Brazil.

Silvia Polivoy, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist for, for 20 years, had her own private practice specializing in altered states of consciousness.

She studied in Mexico, spending time with the shamans there and decided to focus her efforts solely on the spiritual realm. “Everything is energy,” she says, “and even one’s dreams have meaning.”

Ayahuasca sends users into intense far-flung realms of an epic visionary quest. It offers intense introspection and piercing insight into one’s own deepest mind and essence.

The experience is deeply spiritual, intensely psychological and can be stunningly self illuminating.

Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center is situated in Bahia, Brazil
Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center is situated in Bahia, Brazil. Image Credit: Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center

A LIFE OF HARMONY

Silvia Polivoy Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist with more than 20 years experience as a therapist. She started as a psychoanalyst and moved on to transactional analysis and transpersonal psychology.

Deeply interested in the field of modified consciousness, her work led her to the investigation of the psychotropic effects of natural plant substance and their possibilities for exploring human consciousness.

While Polivoy doesn’t consider herself a shaman, she does draw from the relationship that exists between the invisible realms and the realm of ordinary life as we know it–by incorporating her experience as a psychotherapist she does employ many shamanic tools with hypnotherapy and altered states of consciousness.

Shamans, she points out, were considered the first physicians and are seen as diagnosticians, therapists, religious counselors, storytellers and performance artists.

“ The difference between them and conventional practitioners iis the way shamans manipulate energy to enter the invisible world at will through altered states while maintaining self-control as they move within and without.”

In 2004, Polivoy co-founded The Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Spiritual Center whose purpose is to bring this experience to the modern world. The eight-day fully immersive program includes yoga, meditation, workshops (such thing as past and future regressions, intuitive solutions, aligning with your higher self, and more).  A gluten free, additive free vegetarian/vegan/ organic diet, with the complete elimination of salt, sugar, and any fermented foods, is included. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs are prohibited and strictly enforced.

“Safety is our main priority, ,” said Polivoy, “and we’re not commercial–we don’t sell ayahuasca nor do we just give ceremonies. We don’t accept just anyone, but only take those who understand the value of this program.”

ayahuasca
Ayahuasca.

THE AYAHUASCA CEREMONY

While they don’t just give ceremonies, it is an important part of the program.

Polivoy and a highly-trained staff lead their participants through what is called “a spirit vine ceremony, what can only be called an intense spiritual journey and awakening of self awareness, developed through uncounted centuries of traditional practice, indigenous rainforest shamans guided their people in structured sessions.

Experiencers drink the tea. “But you can still have the ayahuasca experience without it,” says Polivoy.  “Often, participants will come to experience the program, but cannot drink the tea, whether for medical or other reasons. Of course it’s better to be free of all medications and chemicals, but if that’s not possible, you can still learn plenty of tools to help you get through life.”

As the subsequent powerful consciousness-expanding effects unfold, assisting guides and healers watch over them to facilitate the process.

“Some who come to partake in a Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat might be struggling with depression, addiction or some kind of anxiety disorder or phobia,” Polivoy said, “while others may simply be on a spiritual journey and want to find a doorway that can springboard them into a higher state of consciousness or enlightenment.”

She continues:  “They all have one thing in common; that is, they are seekers.  However, ayahuasca tea is powerful and should ONLY be done in a supervised setting.

The effect is long-lasting and Polivoy says it’s common for her to receive letters from past participants, such as one who said he was still experiencing sharp perceptions, such as brighter colors, more acute hearing, and peak performances in reasoning, weeks after attending a retreat.

“Just about everyone finds the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat a profoundly transformative lifetime experience,” Polivoy said. “We constantly witness lot of peoples’ amazing transformations after only one week at our ayahuasca retreat.”

She continues:  “BUT I want to emphasize that success isn’t just coming from drinking ayahuasca tea, it is the combination of that with workshops, a special diet, yoga, meditation, group shares, etc.  We teach people tools to discover the cause of their behavioral patterns to they can understand, and integrate, the lessons after they go back home.”

Next Story

Heartfulness Meditation for Living by Heart

The entire facility is completely self-sustaining with solar energy systems meeting the power needs

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Mindfulness
Mindfulness can aid in treating chronic pain: Study. Pixabay

By Mohammed Shafeeq

Tucked away from the hustle bustle of city life is a sprawling 1,400 acre campus with people craving for internal peace flocking to the global headquarters of Heartfulness system of meditation.

Located in Chegur village of Ranga Reddy district, about 50 km from Hyderabad, a drought-prone landscape for several decades is now transforming into a lush green eco-system with environmentally self-sustained world-class facility.

Home to variety of trees, many of which are almost extinct, Kanha Shativanam, as the area is called, offers a perfect setting for those practicing Heartfulness, an approach to the Raja Yoga system of meditation called Sahaj Marg.

Heartfulness meditation is a set of practices for self-development that helps a person find inner calm and stillness. Offered at no cost and without any dogma, it is the ancient art of yogic transmission or ‘pranahuti’.

“The effect of Heartfulness meditation with pranahuti on brainwave patterns, heart rate and blood pressure, vagus nerve activity and telomere length on chromosomes, amongst other things, are being supported by research. Many feel the effects of transmission in their first few Heartfulness meditation sessions and are often surprised at their own ability to plunge into an absorbed meditative state,” says the Heartfulness Institute.

Heading the institute is Kamlesh D. Patel, the fourth global guide of Heartfulness. Daaji, as he affectionately known, has touched the lives of millions at home and abroad.

“Heartfulness is all about living by the heart. Mind, body and the heart form beautiful rhythmic triangle. The voice of heart always dominates over the mind. Though feeble but it always dominate in the end. Mind may tell you something but heart will always guide you in right direction. I don’t say mind always misguides. It can also be in sync with the heart. This is a rarity,” Daaji told IANS as people from various walks of life sat in pin-drop silence waiting for a meditation session with the guru.

According to him, people who are egoists and obsessed with desires can’t listen to the heart.

“Through meditation we sensitise the awareness. We sensitise in a conscience that little voice. It is one part of Heartfulness method. Most of us listen to heart but very few follow it. It needs little bit of commitment, wisdom and some courage.

“Most people come here is to find peace. Some sort of calmness. That is also very small goal. If we approach god with peace of mind, of course he is benevolent and generous he will grant you peace. But if you ask Himself, then peace will automatically come. One has to be wiser in asking. We narrow down our vision and say I want only peace. The ultimate goal should be to one with Him,” he added.

Stress, meditation, PTSD
Meditation can boost emotional intelligence, cut stress at workplace. Pixabay

According to Daaji, even to have a minimum thing like peace of mind one needs to meditate.

Heartfulness is offering ‘Dhyanotsav’ a free of cost three-day master class wellness fest focusing on teaching techniques of Heartfulness relaxation, meditation and cleaning. It will be held in cities all over India.

For students and teachers of yoga, he recently launched Heartfulness Yoga that integrates body, mind and soul in the true spirit of Ashtanga Yoga. It not only teaches classical yoga asanas but also the ultimate goal of Yoga, which is oneness through meditation.

Heartfulness Institute, which had its headquarters in Chennai, shifted to Hyderabad because of its central location. Daaji laid special emphasis on developing green cover as he believes plants have a much greater capacity to retain the subtle vibrations of yogic transmission compared to human beings.

In less than four years, the barren area has undergone transformation with the plantation of two lakh tress. A six lakh sapling nursery is acting as a supply for the plantation in the region, while 1,000 trees saved and translocated from faraway places resurrected here. Buoyed by the success, Heartfulness Institute is now working to develop rain forest.

Daaji said that every year they want to plant one lakh trees and once this space runs out they will take up plantation in villages, ponds and forests.

People voluntarily contribute in terms of work, time and funds. People working at Amazon, Google, Apple, Cisco and other corporate giants voluntarily participate in plantation.

Also Read- Researchers Identify Gene Associated with Sudden Death in Epilepsy

The facility will unveil its meditation hall next year. It promises to be one of the largest in the world by accommodating one lakh ‘Abhyasis ‘(practitioners of Heartfulness) at one go.

The entire facility is completely self-sustaining with solar energy systems meeting the power needs.

The facility is equipped with temporary and permanent living spaces to support housing of large gathering often in excess of 35,000 practitioners who travel from across the globe to take part in mass meditation sessions while staying over three to five days. (IANS)