QUESTION: Recently, I traveled to the Amazon Jungle for an ayahuasca experience. I did not have any visions, but I am not really surprised since I spend a good deal of time clearing. The jungle was pretty cool though, and the trip was good. Any thoughts on the non-vision aspect of the ceremony?

ANSWER: The vision piece of any shamanic journey is only one element of the experience. As cool and fun (or terrifying) as it can be, it can also be distracting. Of course, the ego loves shows and distractions. But unless something touches us deeply, there will be no lasting change. The visions themselves are just that: visual pieces thrown up on the mental screen for us to take note of and apply to our lives. And non-visions in ceremonies do happen, but messages are always given, we just need to pay attention to what and where.

Just exchanging one’s daily surrounding for a place that is so other, like the jungle, can start a healing process. This change can allow our hypnotic trance to soften and for our ego mask to loosen. Not getting visions (as much of a bummer as it can be since we are all geared up for the grand show) in a ceremony has its own benefits and gifts if we can break our addiction to expectations. As you noticed, lots of clearing can take place and we can get washed psychically as well as physically. 

The clearing can and does keep taking place many months after any ceremony, whether with or without medicine or visions. Spend some time every week sitting with yourself and paying attention to your emotional as well as mental state. Feel what the jungle and ceremony is still communicating with you. See what needs to keep clearing and being released and what needs to be invited in. 

The ceremony is just a doorway. We have to keep stepping through the doorway every day, every hour, every minute, and moment to moment. We can (and amazingly commonly do) experience many ceremonies and affect zero change, or pay attention to one moment and remember what it is, what we are looking for. Which is always, in fact, what we are looking with.