Stay Grounded in This World

7 03 2008

By Derek Beres

The “Asanas and Ayahuasca” dialogue between Daniel Pinchbeck and Sharon Gannon at the first Evolver event, Wake Up and Dream, had a personal resonance for many. Some in the audience “sided” with one speaker or another; others were disappointed with technical problems; still more were inspired to be in such a progressive environment where such a conversation could take place.

I have never tried ayahuasca. It is one of those medicines that I would like to experience on its own turf, in South America. Yet I have a 15-year history with similar substances, most notably psilocybin, LSD, peyote, mescaline, DMT and salvia divinorum. In total, I have taken these medicines roughly 150 times, and the visions and revelations encountered during such experiences continue to inform me. In some ways, you can say that the mind-altering aspect has never stopped. Put another way, I’ve integrated the lessons of these substances into the perceptions and psychology through which I now see the world.

Around the same time as I started eating these curious chemicals and plants, I began studying yoga. Not the asana classes that most associate the word with; that began roughly eight years ago. I attended Rutgers University in the mid-‘90s, graduating with a degree in Religion with a focus on Eastern philosophies and sacred medicines. At the same time that I was expanding into the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, my head was being broken open. Today I practice yoga, often at Jivamukti, while teaching at Equinox Fitness and East West Yoga, as well as continuing my career as a journalist, writing about subjects such as international music, mythology, religion and hallucinogens. With so many possible angles and so little space, I will entertain what I feel to be the underlying essence of both asanas and ayahuasca: focus and integration.

Read the full blog on Reality Sandwich.

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