What happened on my journey towards introspection and continuous improvement.
I decided to take a journey into the jungle. I had been curious about plant medicine but had never really had a reason to go. Eventually, someone who I believe lives his life in a very conscious manner, highly recommended it to me.
He talked about what he learned about himself in the jungle. Despite all his experience in coaching and introspection, he discovered deep reflections about himself that he had never delved into before.
So I went.
But I had no idea what I was getting into. I had read about it and talked to people about it, but I still had no idea what to expect.
I had already spent plenty of time delving into past wounds and determining my intentions for my life. I had spent a lot of time looking at what works for me and what makes me successful and a lot of time focusing on what doesn’t work. I looked for ways that I react to things that happen and how those reactions thwart my happiness in life.
Unbeknownst to me, I still had so much to learn about myself.
At the beginning, I journeyed to a city called Iquitos, which is in the Amazon Rainforest in Peru. Fun fact: Iquitos is actually the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road (and isn’t on an island). You can only get there via the river or by plane or helicopter.
This is where I began my journey towards the Temple of the Way of Light. I get on a bus with 20 other people, and we start driving. I get to talking with a couple of the people next to me and before I know it, we are getting on a boat.
We start gliding down a large and very muddy river right next to the Amazon, deep into the rainforest.
After an hour, we pull up on the side of the river. The only thing that tells me we’ve arrived is this one hut perched on the riverbank. The ground is thick with mud and big pools of water since it’s the rainy season. The air is hot and moist.
We get off the boat and begin hiking towards the temple. It’s by no means an easy hike. We have to trudge through two feet worth of mud for a couple hours to get there. All of us are hot and sweaty almost immediately.
The whole time I’m walking, I’m thinking to myself “What am I doing here?” “What did I say yes to?” “How big will the mosquitos be?” “What about the snakes?” “What about the spiders?”
The only place I look is down towards my feet, watching them move with every step I take. I don’t look at the people around me or my other surroundings.
We finally get there and we’re all exhausted, but we get together so everyone can start picking their own hut, known as a tambo. I tell them to give me whatever tambo they decide on because that is the one I was meant to be in. Of course, this results in me getting a tambo far away from everything, in the middle of the jungle. There are only two others near me. I go inside mine to discover there are no windows, just screens.
Which means I could hear every noise.
I go to dinner, and it’s pitch black out as I walk back to my tambo. The foliage is so thick that I can’t even see the moon and the stars. I’m in the middle of nowhere.
All I have is a red flashlight on my head to light my way. I can barely see a few steps in front of me. However, the biggest issue I have is I’m experiencing this extreme cacophony. All the animal and insect sounds are blending together to overload my ears. It was deafening. And I hear an animal’s footsteps thumping on the ground. The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up and I worry about what I might encounter.
I finally get back to my hut and I have no idea how I’m going to get to sleep. I can hear absolutely everything and I’m feeling on edge. Suffice to say, despite how tired I was, I did not get much sleep that first night.
The culmination of my jungle sojourn was the plant medicine experience at the Temple of the Way of Light. Over twelve days, five shamans facilitated six ceremonies, singing Icaros—medicinal songs used in ayahuasca rituals. Seated in a circle on mats, the ayahuasca began its work, opening pathways to a hidden part of my mind that I can’t normally access.
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive plant medicine that has been used for centuries by indigenous Amazonian tribes in spiritual and healing ceremonies. It’s typically brewed from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub. The combination of these two plants produces a potent plant medicine.
The psychoactive effects of ayahuasca are induced by DMT, a powerful hallucinogenic compound. Users often report vivid visions, a heightened sense of introspection, and a connection to spiritual or cosmic realms.
The experience can be intense (it was) and is often accompanied by a purge, which is seen as a physical and spiritual cleansing.
Ayahuasca ceremonies are typically conducted by experienced shamans or facilitators in a controlled and ceremonial setting. The environment is crucial to the experience.
Each ceremony night was different, and each one brought up something new inside of myself. Fear, anxiety, joy, and compassion were all present. I had visions. I faced trauma. This is not an experience for the faint of heart. Your mind takes you places you never thought you would go. The fear was suffocating. But by the end of it, I felt peace.
That was the culmination of my journey. I had faced the things of my past and come out the other side.
By the last night, my Tambo has become my refuge. I’m spending hours reading, painting, and lying in my hammock. A little bit before dusk, the creatures of the jungle start. First, it’s one insect. Then another. And then another. Then an animal. I hear a boar. I hear a monkey. I hear all manner of other creatures, all coming together.
Only now, it sounds like a symphony. And I don’t want it to stop.
When I walked out of the jungle the next day, there was no looking down at my feet. I was looking ahead, seeing every tree, every single human, and every single face. It felt so different from the way I had entered and I loved it.
Why Am I Sharing This Story?
One of the biggest challenges to continuous improvement is not realizing what is holding us back. Now, you don’t have to go to the jungle and try plant medicine to discover more about yourself. There are a plethora of other ways to do that. And I highly recommend you start looking for one that suits you. Meditation, hiring a coach, journaling, and engaging in mindfulness activities are all valid ways to practice introspection.
The point is that you need to understand the problem before you can start to fix it. For me, I didn’t understand that certain things in my past still had a tremendous effect on me. This journey brought those things to the surface and allowed me to confront them. That’s something we all need.
To Your Growth,
P.S. If you’re looking to develop greater self-awareness and regain your personal drive, check out our Reclaim Your Vitality Package. It provides all the tools and strategies necessary to retake control of your life and live from your highest level of consciousness.