The Path less traveled
This experience is very personal one and what will be reported is also just based on my own perspective and perception. I went for a travel to Peruvian Amazonas retreat.
My stay was only for 5 days in the jungle – basically with no access to the outer world, which means no Internet, no traffic connections and no tv or other media. Moreover, the offered food was very essential with no sugar, no salt, no spices, no coffee, no alcohol, no meat and fish – only fruits, vegetables, juice, tea, rice and potatoes. Additionally, I was invited to an Ayahuasca ritual, which was also very special for me as I never took any drugs or so-called plant medicine.
This is, I assume, what a retreat means really. For me it was my first stay in such a place. Fortunately, it did not rain – although it was rainy season. The mosquitos were very much around and so, I slept under a net and protected my body under long clothes, socks and rubber boots (see Pic). Furthermore, I used a repellent frequently. Temperature was moderate for the Amazonas around 30 degrees. However, sweating was usual and did not stop in the nights.
This was a life changing experience and I will try to explain why.
My preparation for this trip started already some weeks before. As a vegetarian eating no meat was not such a problem, but I used to eat fish and seafood. Stopping to drink coffee and alcohol was also no challenge as I trained this in my several interval fasting periods in the past. Sugar as an ingredient and sweets as such did not bother me anymore for some time. All seems to be fine you may think. But looking at this picture, where I walk in the jungle, you can see my face in pain and irritated to the core. Something must have happened to me for feeling so strange.
It was indeed a deep-down emotion of abandonment. This feeling came up for me during my first Ayahuasca ritual upon my arrival in the jungle. It came from childhood and I am acknowledging very clearly that I am scared still at the age of 60! Letting go of people, situations, work positions, routines, habits and groups was overwhelming process in the past few years. It feels like everything and everyone I hold close and dear in my life got separated from me. Also, money and financial security did leave me in my personal life. I felt so lonely and lost as a person can feel. And – boom – in this moment the retreat happens to me. I decided to not participate in another ritual, because my realizations were so strong even without it. Not eating regularly, leaving out meals, salt, sugar and tasty food in an environment I am not used to live and having no access to the outer world nor escaping it on my own, put me in a weakening physical condition.
I could not think of something worse; you can believe me! There was nothing to get hold of nor relate to – all was gone – except myself!!! I started journaling and wrote down whenever I felt like what came into my mind. It was surprisingly helping me to calm my mind and stay in the moment. I felt a strong and deep awareness of my body and quiet serenity. A deep conviction that I will survive and more than that: I will be perfectly fine and healthy in my body and my soul. Whenever I felt this loneliness, I practiced meditation, breathing and yoga to overcome my fears. It was a relief that in this period I was able to transcend once into the divine union with no thoughts! I consider this with gratitude and humbleness. The ego was gone for a little space of time sitting there in the jungle with no normality and no one present, who I share my life with. Also, my body was very light and present – no harm, no pain, no distraction! What a grace and blessing I was able to receive in this moment!!! It was unbelievable and more than I ever expected.
So, what I mostly tried before and wished for in affirmations and visualizations, happened there in this Amazonas retreat: Being in peace of mind!!!! I felt my strength and empowerment to be myself. Nothing will take this away, when you are your authentic self. No harm nor pain can reach you, because you are at ease with yourself. Inner balance and calmness are the gifts of letting go. You start to enjoy your loneliness for what it really is – staying alive and aware in the moment.
Okay, you may say, that is all what I can achieve with a “normal” meditation when closing my eyes, too. But this outstanding and extraordinary situation out there nowhere in the Amazonas was different, I can tell you that. Listening to the river flowing, chirping of crickets and singing of the birds, while you are forced to stay in this moment, because there is no distraction, is a huge challenge. You simply are asked to go through this period and let go of any thoughts. Only when you surrender you can heal. This is what I understood – for the first time in this depth of being alone.
I do not want to hold back, what release I felt after being back to normal life again though. Frankly, I am not a person, who can stay in such a place forever. This is what I discovered of myself as well. But going to a retreat is definitely something I may do again, because it is an earthing process, that we all need from time to time. Calming down our thoughts and deal with our survival skills is a healthy treat to explore our own willpower and stop our inner dialogue. It makes you a stronger person and train your male energy. For me at least it felt exactly like that.