January 4th 2019. “God, I’m nervous … What if anything will go wrong? Oh jeez … Am I really going to do this? …”
We are sitting with the group around the kitchen table, the ceremony hall is behind us. A little dog is happily wagging her tail and giving support to whoever needs it. The guide is explaining what we can expect and how we can overcome something if we feel ‘stuck’.
We enter the room, and I immediately choose my spot. That’s where I want to be, right in the middle of the back of the room, facing the window.
We sit in a circle, light a candle and think or speak out loud our intentions.
“I’m going to do this, I’m participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony.”
“What is holding me back?”
After my graduation, I fell in a black hole. One night, I felt like I was having a heart attack and was hurriedly taken to the hospital. I wasn’t having a heart attack, but I was hyperventilating.
I felt scared, small, insignificant … I quit the job I had just started because the tension was too much for me to bear.
Over the next four years, things went up and down. Once in a while, I would work on certain projects, like a painting commission, a graphic design order or even some coding requests. But nothing that I considered significant.
I felt useless and sometimes, if I allowed my feelings take over me, I could scream and cry out loud …
I don’t know if I was depressed, that’s a big word, I think. All I know is that I had trouble feeling happy. I did feel happy from time to time – hard not to when you travel around together with the love of your life in the most beautiful nature of Scandinavia.
Being God and being lonely
Yes, I’ve been to ‘that other place’, the big white light, the place where everything is one. Most people describe it as a beautiful place, they feel so amazed that everything is connected, that we are all one.
Well, I didn’t like it one bit.
Because if we are all one, that means I’m the only one there is. There isn’t ‘somebody else’ anymore. I can’t talk to anyone, nobody can comfort me, I can’t share anything … Even this experience; I can’t share it with Jan, my love, since he’s ‘just’ a flick of my imagination … These were the things that I was convinced of when I was there …
If you want to know how I felt, watch episode 9 of the 11th series of Doctor Who, the one titled “It takes you away”. The plot revolves around this other consciousness which makes a strong appearance. I cried my heart out when I watched this episode. Because that was exactly how I had experienced the place I had visited during the Ayahuasca ceremony …
Did I feel like I was ‘god’ during this whole thing? No, I didn’t, although when I start talking about it, you might see it that way. Suddenly I understood why, as it is written in the Bible, God created the Earth.
Because he wanted, I wanted, we wanted, to experience life.
The beauty of living
It took me a while to get ‘back’. Time passes completely differently during the ceremony, and it felt like ages to me. During the long way back, I started to realize that this world, where I am being me and others are being themselves, is also real. Just as real as the fact that we are all one. And that being able to live this life, to experience this life is just … amazing.
You know, just try for a moment: sit still, focus on one of your senses and just … sense. Feel (or see, or smell, or hear, or taste) as much as you can perceive. All those tiny little things! Isn’t that amazing? That you can experience that? How cool is that?
If you really are in the moment, you can’t be anything else than completely happy.
Of course I already knew that. I had done some meditation, yoga, and of course, that was exactly what I used to tell people about why I was making art.
But I didn’t really know it. Not like this, not with this kind of certainty. I had to experience that other place first.
What if this is Heaven?
I once listened to an interview with Anita Moorjani, who wrote a book called “What if this is heaven?”. The question she presented to the public was this: what if this existence we have here on earth is the actual heaven? After all, life is about the journey, not the destination … And that’s exactly how the Ayahuasca has taught me to look at things too.
We are, well at least I was, always looking for that deeper thing: enlightenment, heaven, some place somewhere different than here, a place where everything would be better.
But I’ve been there, and it wasn’t that grand at all. No, here is grand. Life is grand. I don’t know if it was God, me, consciousness, energy … Whoever or whatever ‘created’ it, it does not matter … But oh my, isn’t living the most precious gift of all?