We travel to far lands and go way beyond our comfort zone to receive a taste of wisdom from Plant Teachers. In Pursuit of this little beam of consciousness, we learn to recognise the severity of damage that the broad spectrum of traumas leaves on our general well-being. In this emotional turmoil, we are often pushed without a warning towards a better understanding of ourselves and others.
Working in a temple that serves Ayahuasca as healing practice, we have witnessed many traumatic experiences surfacing and felt how severe it is for an individual to re-live and finally let go of those. Working in the temple is one thing, however, living in the temple opens the door to a whole new world. We must harmoniously live and co-work with a family of Shipibo healers. They are Shamans and therefore, respected by the westerners and looked-upon. We seek advice in their eyes and expect a piece of their plant knowledge. We sometimes even take the freedom of qualifying them as “very good” or “not so good Maestro”. We like to see them always smiling and understanding. We want to connect to them during ceremonies.
Having realised how deeply our traumas have affected our well-being, do we ask ourselves how big of a trauma living in constant poverty must be? Holding generations and generations of poverty on your back. We go from our comfortable homes and see the slums as we approach the little oasis called temple. But do we really feel what it must be to grow up in such sub-human conditions? How big of a childhood trauma must it be to constantly struggle for a living? These questions push us to understand that is not only us in need of healing. It is the native people too. They must heal their traumas as well. They must witness their children living better lives than they used to live in. They must see their children surrounded by opportunities, receiving education, travelling the world. We must help them with this. It is our responsibility. We must recognise the depth of the mark that poverty has left on generations of Shipibo and be a part of their recovery. Pachamama temple Guests have recognised this and helped the family of our Maestros in many ways. Together we have built them homes, helped in times of trouble, went together through births and deaths, and slowly through our daily life and struggles, we became a family. They now see their children receive education at Pachamama; it gives them peace. And Gringos are a big part of that. And that makes us happy.
There is also the “history of violence” trauma that needs to be healed. This one we find the hardest to fade in memories of Shipibo people. They give us their icaros, wisdom and love, but somewhere, somehow, deep down, there is still an almost invisible veil of dis-trust in their eyes. And this veil can only be moved by the hand of forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness we have received, but trust is an ongoing path, and we are building it together, stone by stone, day by day. Gaining a person’s trust is a great achievement in this life. Gaining trust that has been lost hundreds of years ago, or probably never even gained, is a challenge and a fight! And we signed up for it. It takes hard work and heavy adjustments in our perspective and approach. It took us many hours of “lost in translation” conversations, pushing ourselves to understand a completely different culture. A culture that was not only painted in Shipibo patterns through the history, but also to a great extent defined by lines of poverty and violence. A culture that is now daily designed by somewhat unwanted influences of the west. The same influences that made us drink Ayahausca. What we are trying to achieve, on our Pachamama micro-level, is to have the Shipibo future defined by the good influences from the west: education, mobility, cultural exchange and deeper self-knowledge. Through our deed, not only word, we are trying to win their trust. This is the mission that we signed up for and every day we have more and more soldiers on our side. Soldiers of compassion and love.