Alternative Spiritual Community: psychedelic ayahuasca journey: shamanic journey, Hawaii
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
It was a small community filled with an amazing assortment of diverse and individual souls. It was a spiritual community, though without any guru, temple, monastery, rules, orders, ideologies, or sacred books. Which is to say, it was a true spiritual community, for it had been formed sublimely by the spirit itself- just as with the collection of musicians I had come upon in Dharamsala, India- a fact which made God-the-Father the only guru, God-the-Mother the only temple, love the only rule, and life the only sacred text.
I had been guided home, or, at least, to one of my homes. For it was here that spirits and souls kindred to my own heart's longings lived in abundance, in varied locations in the area. Most of them existed in austere abodes, under large tarps, with no walls, only a basic kitchen area, a bed, some chairs, and an open-fire cooking pit in the center of their home. It was like visiting a camp of nomads who never moved, at least not on outward journeys, but instead had set out long ago on an inward course which would lead each one of them into the God of their own soul.
The folks whom I encountered there were a neverending barrage of delight and amusement to me. One such fellow named Tim had a great many tales to tell of his time on the mainland, while working amidst the dark spirit of the world. Tim was an odd fellow, to be sure, but one in whom I sensed a great deal of honesty and authenticity, which is why I enjoyed listening to his anecdotes- despite their oddity- about his habit of going into homes all across the land which had recently been the sites of mass murders, and sleeping there, and sensing and communicating with the tortured souls of the recently departed. It was as weird a hobby as I could imagine, and one which made me think Tim was a crackpot, and yet he held my eyes and did not seem to be lying.
On top of this absurd habit, Tim related other tidbits of his personal research and experience. He spoke of how the earth was ruled by a society called the 'Bonesmen', which was an elite group of men based in Yale university. He spoke of wars on Mars- those which had been and those which were to come. He claimed he had seen a person spontaneously combust, and spoke of personally being abducted and attacked by certain aliens, and of being healed by others. And lastly he spoke of his time as a roadie for the Grateful Dead, and of all the sublime spiritual events which occurred during the years that group focused the energies of thousands of souls into the vessel of love, freedom, psychadelia, and psychosis.
Another unique character I came across was a fiery, dreadlocked, genius renegade named Koosa, with whom I sat sipping wine one evening and who- in his own words- had died completely one night on an ayahuasca trip, died completely, and in that death learned that life and death are but one thing, and that death is simply a breather, allowing us to return to life rejuvenated, and- as I had found years earlier on one of my own mushroom journeys- that death occurs only when life in the flesh is no longer worth living. As well, during that trip in which Koosa had died completely, after coming back to life he learned about the necessary duality of oneness. And he learned this from a tree, no less, which told him that a female is like the roots of a tree, which are buried in darkness and would die if exposed to the light, and a male is like the branches, which must grow ever higher, and only towards the light, and that both the roots and branches are necessary, and one cannot live without the other or the entire tree would perish.
Next I met a woman living nearby who stated that she had met every president since and including Nixon, none of whom could meet her eye to eye. She claimed to have willed, and then been offered, an apprenticeship to be the anchor for the Today Show, but turned it down because she realized everyone in the industry was so unhealthy, an observation which she was perhaps qualified to make, because she had healed herself from cancer by forgiving a man who had abused her when she was young, and therefore had healed her inner anger. And after that self-healing she spent the entire following year eating nothing but ice cream and cake, and yet growing healthier, happier, and stronger all the while.
Yet there were not only these types of fringe oddballs running amok in the area. There were also absolutely sublime, peaceful, and wisened Buddha-types. One such fellow was John, a fifty-something father and grandfather, who had worked six days a week for twenty-five years while living on the mainland, and then had become divorced and lost everything, which he claimed were the best things that ever happened to him. When I met him he had been living on the Big Island for a number of years, making, selling, and playing bamboo flutes, living here and there as a caretaker, and enjoying the peace and tranquility of the earth, and, as best as I could see, entering into the inner chamber of his soul, without effort, without pride, and without care. In doing so he had become one of the most peaceful, non-reactive, fluid, and harmonious individuals I have ever met. And never a single word about spiritual or religious things. Nothing. He had arrived, and no words, nor ideas, nor pedantry could allude to the subtle realm into which his spirit had floated. He had become as if an epiphyte, which grows above the earth and not in the dark soil, and yet is as much a plant as any other plant, though it is rooted in the sky, and not tangled in the ground.
Though as peaceful and inwardly harmonious as John appeared, I was to meet with a young man one day who held an empty perfection and inner cleanliness that came upon me as if I was looking not at a being composed of flesh and spirit, but a window only, perfectly polished and without flaw, and which therefore had no interaction with anything, whatsoever. This young fellow had become the eternal, intermingled membrane of the invisible self flowing unmoved through the entire cosmos. And that is all I can say. For he and I met while in the presence of a number of others, and spoke only our names to each other, and then did nothing but hold each other's liquid stare for perhaps ten to fifteen timeless minutes, until a gentle smile crossed each of our faces, and we released each other from the harmony of that deep communion, and I have never seen him since.
It was in the presence of such a diverse group of souls that I found myself full of gratitude and acceptance, and in which I enjoyed a number of potent congregations that provided my life with experiences of spirit in community, the likes of which I had not known existed.
I recall one blessed gathering to which my twin soul and I had been invited, where an assortment of free individuals gathered to share spirit, song, ayahuasca, and healing.
As much as I had been filled with awe and admiration for my time spent with the group of musicians in Dharamsala, which I described earlier, that impromptu event in India had been but a trickling stream compared to the gushing river of life which poured this night through these people who had long ago turned away from convention and respectability, and had turned instead towards the earth, God, and their own eternal selves.
The evening was hosted by a man in his late thirties who had lived in remote valleys on Kauai for many years, had prayed and asked for guidance, and eventually had been led to the Big Island where he slowly built a life for himself out of cinders and lava, and at the same time he had created an invisible umbrella of spirit under which the community now gathered like a forgotten tribe who had not forgotten God's home.
To describe even a fragment of the characters attending the event would be to digress endlessly into the sacred precincts of three-score hallowed souls, for it seemed to me that I had come upon one of those anachronistic occurrences written of only in mythological or ancient tomes, because the entire collection of our spirits were released from our separative confinements by the medicine- as ayahuasca is called in the shaman's world- and we were then gathered up as one, into another realm, via the ecstatic music of numerous Sufi bards. For in attendance that night were a number of young men and women who had been called early in life to go to India, live in caves and with sadhus, and then take up as their spiritual vocation the art of the Sufi song. And boy could they sing. Let me tell you, I was in awe and gratitude while experiencing the overwhelming passion, grace, commitment, and talent I felt in this family of perhaps six men and six women, all sporting gigantic dreadlocks, heavenly countenances, and lithe bodies covered in flowing robes. And their music …their music was rapture itself. The songs went on into the early hours, and all souls danced in the unmoving ether, through the rapt presence of all who were one.
I had found a community to which I finally could belong. And yet, as is the way of surrender, I was soon being told in a number of dreams, that yes, these people were great spirits, and great souls, filled with immense faith, love, and service, and, yes, I would find myself drawn to these folks, and would accept and be accepted by them, and, no, it was not yet the place for me to stay. I was being told to live and love amongst them, and then to go another way.
It was the necessary repetition of this message, in a number of dreams, which helped me realize that though I cherished this opportunity to live in such a brilliant place filled with kindred spirits, there was yet another chosen spot up ahead for me, and were I to stay here I would surely find peace, freedom, harmony, and joy, but I would not fulfill my life's most perfect goal.
Following the spirit as such, over a number of years, I had finally come to learn one of the most important lessons of all- how to give myself completely to a situation, and how to let it go; how to invest my whole being into whatever lay before me, and then, to know when the shift was complete, to divest myself, to hug the ones I loved, to say goodbye, and then move on to other fertile ground. I had to learn to die only because it led to more life. I had to learn to let go only so that I could further receive. I had to learn to say goodbye, because only then could I say hello.
And though I know now where I am directed to go, I know not what lies there, but this, after all, is no longer a necessity for me. I say, let my Christ self be my inspirer, and I shall wander on.
For throughout the earlier dementia of my unbecoming, I had lost sight of the hard won reunion, and hid behind the shield of trivial whims, as life fell not loosely about me, but clung fast in wanton, false division. I had betrayed my sacred non-understanding by embracing a profane understanding. But now I had only the mystified acknowledgement of a stupendous, debilitating obviousness: awe and acceptance were the only responses I had left for being. For though mine was a distorted illumination; like the blinding light of the sun, bouncing off the lightless, light-giving moon, I did still rise up in the night of existence, and shine forth despite my subliminal darkness.
Ah, blessed be Thy entanglements which complete me, for it is Life's hand which moves me along, and I am but a reed in the flute of the infinite heart, a song of the generous voice which sings, and a dream of the fabulous Dreamer.
Divine orgy, profane delight. Fiddler, I am your fiddle.
(excerpted from Roots and Wings: adventures of a spirit on earth, by Jack Haas)