“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” – Schopenhauer
The death experience during ayahuasca is quite common, though we can experience ego death at any point in life without external assistance. ‘Ego death’ refers to the surrender of the old ego – the one that operates based on duality, separation, fear, limitation, defense mechanisms, programmed beliefs, lifelong conditioning and need to control. When we go through an ego death, there is neither an actual death, nor an elimination of the ego. Rather, through the many stages of death and rebirth, the ego transcends and awakens to the knowing and embodiment of the True Self that resides in non duality. Once we surrender the old ego, though we are still in the physical realm, this is when we can live our lives from the divine and consciously create heaven on earth.
I personally had my first ego death out of the blue years ago after having wandered at rock bottom for about a decade, I could only say it was as gloriously turbulent as it could get where everything I knew and held onto crumbled to the ground. Just recently, another layer of ego death came during one of my ayahuasca ceremonies and it was just as amazing and powerful as the first one though on a completely different level. The first layer of ego death was to burn away all the illusions in my life and awaken my spirit so I could clear the space to welcome the new, the second layer allowed me to experience and transform everything I knew intellectually so I could embrace the full power of the True Self and cement what truly matters in my life.
‘Death’ in Ayahuasca – 7 Lessons for a More Joyous and Fulfilling Life
#1 Even Death is an Illusion
During my experience of being trapped in hell and death — which I briefly described in my previous article Teachings of Ayahuasca – Creation, Death, Rebirth, and 15 Essential Life Lessons — as tormenting as it was, a part of me from time to time received a glimpse of the knowing that it was just a dream, or a state of mind like everything else.
From that night on, ayahuasca bombarded me with different visions of random realities for many days to come. Finally one morning I woke up and a light bulb went off, I understood her purpose of relentlessly showing me those realities was to help me see through the illusions of my current life challenges, and wake myself up from them!
How many of us are feeling imprisoned in a life situation at this moment? While I was having my death experience, I know I spent what seemed like an eternity condemning the hell I was in during every semi-conscious moment I had. I shouted “shut up” to all the voices in my head that I couldn’t distinguish whether were coming from an internal or external source, I cursed at my horrific luck of being stuck in that dimension and the increasing possibility that I’d be trapped there forever, I wept at all the physical, emotional and mental pain I was forced to endure, and I screamed silently at the injustices of having to die such a terrifying and unexpected death. Isn’t this what we do when life throws us lemons?
The truth is, the more energy we invest in our struggles by judging, complaining and condemning the hell we are in, the more life mirrors hell back to us in every way until we are completely locked up in the hell of our own making simply because life is set up to be a fool-proof interactive feedback system in which it only responds to our current vibration. The only way to break free from our mental prison is by first realizing even this cage that seems real in every way is an illusion.
What are the illusive cages you are currently in?
#2 We Always Have a Choice, and Surrendering is One of Them
Though life presents us with endless challenges, our power to choose how we experience any challenge will never be taken away from us, and that was something I was shown again and again that night. In the midst of endless agony, I was left with two choices, I could continue to battle against that reality which only seemed to strengthen it, or I could choose to release my resistance and embrace it. I fought and fought by holding onto the ideas of my identity in the other reality, random memories of important moments of my life, my loved ones and dear friends whom I would never see again, my upcoming classes and adventures, the hobbies I enjoyed and the things I was yet to try, and my dream of being a part of a conscious community in Costa Rica so I could continue my work with the medicine and help those integrate the experience. Though she continued to show me none of those things were real and they had been ideas in my head all along since Creation, the battle of holding onto my stories went on for a millennium because without those stories, I was left with nothing after having lost everything I held near and dear.
Lifetimes went by and in the end, in a state of total chaos that led to a moment of complete peace and clarity, I chose to surrender every story and dream to her and embrace the present without having any way to know what was to follow. I made peace with dying in that tormenting dimension full of agony and screams and being story-less and identity-less. What I did not expect, or have the mental capabilities at the time to understand was an awakening followed my death. Very gradually, I began remembering more and more I was in a waking dream, and the only thing I needed to do to walk out of death was to wake myself up, acknowledge that every story in life, even the darkest hell was part of one dream, and I had the power to choose any dream I wanted to wake up to without having to allow any dream, or story to determine who I am.
When life seemingly deprives us of all choices, that is life’s invitation for us to step into our infinite power and choose to be present, and embrace all that is being offered to us at the moment. We are never given anything we cannot handle, and all of the challenges we are presented with are here to help us awaken to our immortal and divine True Self that is without stories or limitations, and learn to completely trust life to take us to the next step. Even death, whether it is the death of the ego or the body is never an end, but a new beginning.
#3 Decide, and Keep Deciding
Every time when we make a decision, we are activating that reality in the quantum field and making it more visible to us. In the space between my death and waking, I had to decide not once, but a thousand times I wanted to wake up from the dream. I would literally get on my fours, crawl a couple of steps only to collapse from exhaustion and fall back into the dream again with my eyes closed without remembering why I even got up. Yet I’d get up again and again regardless of how many times I fell as the decision of waking up burned like a fire inside of me and slowly breathed life into my mind and body. Eventually, that decision became so strong that it woke up my body just enough for me to get on my feet and take my first step.