There is so much from our past that has the power to heal us if only we remember and embrace them. Today’s guest, Dennis Notten, has quite the heroic journey that led him to commit learning and sharing ancient healing modalities with others who are on the same path of self-discovery. Having reinvented himself from being a professional musician to being an ayahuasca ceremonialist, Dennis shows how he is now bridging the cultures between the West and the Amazon tribe. He shares his own self-discovery that took him all over the world – from receiving the blessing from spiritual leaders to finding the beauty of micro-dosing. In a world that is becoming less and less connected, Dennis brings us back to the connection we’ve lost that empowers our general well-being into abundance and joy.
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How To Bridge The Cultures Between The West And An Amazon Tribe with Dennis Notten
Our guest has quite a hero journey. He reinvented himself on being a professional musician in some of the world’s leading orchestra before answering the call to be an Ayahuasca ceremonialist. His self-discovery journey took him all over the world: India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, New Zealand, Egypt, Brazil and finally Peru. In his journey of self-discovery, he has been trained with different healing modalities, meditation, Kundalini yoga, theta healing and Reiki. For the last few years, he has been learning the spiritual healing modality from the Yawanawá tribe in the Brazilian Amazon.
After receiving the blessing from the spiritual leaders of the Santo Daime to work with Ayahuasca medicine in an open and free way, Dennis has been on a mission to share these powerful ancient healing modalities with the West. It’s abundantly clear that he’s committed to learning and sharing healing modalities with others who are on the same path of self-discovery and on their own hero’s journey. Please help me welcome a modern healing arts ambassador between the Amazon tribes and the West, Dennis Notten. Why don’t we speak about that? Why micro-dosing? How did you end up developing that program?
In my own journey, going with plant medicines, I started to go with plant medicine in 2011. I went to Peru on an Ayahuasca retreat, three ceremonies in the Sacred Valley of Peru. It was a beautiful place. Those three ceremonies were a very beautiful and powerful experience. I came back to Amsterdam, where I was living at the time, I was a professional classical musician. It was very interesting to see what those experiences did to me because I expected it to be a once in a lifetime experience. That was my full understanding of it even when I came back. You don’t necessarily have to go back. You’re going to do these ceremonies one time. They’re going to be transformational and that’s it. I continue my life as it is and maybe some changes come from that. I will be very grateful for those changes. I was not suspecting in any way that it would become a bigger part of my life.
When I saw the impact that those experiences have had on my life, that started to change my perspective. I started to change my inner world. I started to shift the things I found important. I started to learn more about what are my true passions and what are my true passion always has been, but not acknowledging it or not understanding that. For example, the music. I thought it was my life mission to play in the world’s best orchestra and I did. I start to see, “Maybe this is not the way I’m supposed to share music or be connected to music.” We always sit in a suit and our tails on a concert stage and the people listening sit no lower in the public listening. There’s a disconnect I started to see between the people listening and the people playing music. I’m also seeing in classical music where there was quite in a way sometimes a harsh world of ego like sharp shoulders, pushing up and competing with each other.
When I start to see that more clearly, I was like, “Maybe this is not my world. Maybe there’s another way to connect with music.” When those kinds of transformations gently start happening inside myself, I had this realization of maybe slowly my journey as a classical musician is ending. It was like somebody had pulled the ground under my feet like, “What’s next?” My whole world started to shift. It was a long journey of two years that ended in me opening up a center in Peru for healing with plant medicines, diet, natural medicines, with other physical therapy like massage, colon hydrotherapy and emotional therapies. I’m working with people to get them closer to their destiny, their call, their heart, closer to the connection to their soul. That was a whole journey and when I started to study the journey deeper, then I started to offer plant medicines to people. I started to work with plant medicines and learn more about them. I started to dive deeper into that study of what they are and why they come out of the jungle, out of the indigenous tribes into the Western world in this time.
I saw clearly that the Western world is so different than the world of the indigenous people, because in a tribe, and I spend a lot of time with the Yawanawá tribe in Brazil, those people live in a small village with 80 to 120 people. There are several villages of Yawanawá like seven villages over one river. These people are very connected. Once they go into the ceremony and once they use the sacred medicine, they live in the tribe all the time. In the ceremony, they take those medicines and connect with the force of the medicines. The bigger ceremony that is happening, which I call daily life, it’s so connected because those people are together all the time. They talk about it. They go back into the ceremony. They see what it does. They take a break or go deeper into it but there’s guidance from the elders in that way. For us in the Western world, that container is not happening at all. We live in big cities with millions of people sometimes or even in smaller villages.
Even if people go into these transformational experiences not just with plant medicine, but even with yoga, meditation, transformational breath or any of those transformational practices, many times people missed the community to talk about it, to share about it, to ask questions about it and to own that experience. Some people hold back in sharing it with their colleagues, with their family, with their friends, because that space is not naturally there like it is in the tribe. Learning and seeing that further myself and how my friends, colleagues and family reacted to that and navigating that, I was looking for a way on how can we use these beautiful medicines in a container that’s held and manageable for people in the Western life with all the responsibilities that comes with life, the work, relationships and the householder life.
Over the years, I was looking for a way to do that. I learned that micro-dosing is such a beautiful way to do that and to connect with these plants in a very gentle way. Micro-dosing means to get a tiny dose or micro-dose of those substances without feeling any of its direct effects. On the longer term, then the benefits of these medicines come in. While you take that over the long term being in your daily life with all the responsibilities that are coming up, that’s a beautiful way to micro-dose medicines. That was finding a responsible way to share these very powerful medicines with people in the Western world.
We’re going to micro-dosing more, but if you can articulate what’s your grander vision or purpose to do the work that you do, how would you articulate it?
I hope to bring people closer to their destiny and not just people, but also be part of this shift that’s happening in humanity, which is calling in this new Earth, this new time, this new era, this new age that many people speak about. What is the new age movement, even decades ago? It was sad in a bit of a condensing way. What is the new age people, the hippies? Those are the people that brought these practices like yoga, meditations and medicines into the Western world in the ‘60s or the ‘70s. The Flower Power Movement, all those people are part of pioneering this stuff. What we’ve seen in this last decade is that all these modalities have become much more mainstream. Yoga is present in our culture. Half a century ago, that was completely different. Meditation is present in the Western world. Half a century ago, that was completely different.
The sacred medicines are coming out. Half a century ago, nobody would have heard about Ayahuasca or any of those medicines. Now that becomes much more mainstream with all the movements that are happening. You see all the rules on legalization that are changing in plant medicines. It’s a beautiful movement to watch, but that also comes with a huge responsibility of people that are bringing these people that are bringing these medicines and these modalities to the Western world, to find a way and to fine tune that way, to make them available in the Western society in a way that’s responsible, that fits in the world that we live in. In the bigger sense, it’s being part of the new Earth, the movement that’s happening.
Why do you think there’s such a yearning and hunger for something like this in the Western world specifically?
There are many ways to answer that question. On a deeper level, more and more people are starting to see, feel and notice that our environment are showing, the way we’re living is not sustainable. If we continue in this way or whatever way you look at that, all being the resources of the planet. We’re living in a world where people are not connecting with each other anymore. Sometimes we live in buildings of hundreds of people. A person dies and we find out weeks later that somebody has died. Nobody has missed this person. This much disconnection is happening in this time and people are yearning for that connection. They are yearning to be understood, to be seen and to be able to fully live their dreams and visions. We’ve got a society of mental illness or part of a society that our dreams and our visions are not true and that are not real. We have to fit in a certain belief system. People slowly feel that the dreams and visions are true and that is a possibility.
It’s there even in this life to manifest and for us to call it in. That comes to starting a new level of personal leadership where we start not to just look at governments or big companies or big organizations to make the shift, but for us as people to take the power back in a very positive way. Turn-off away all the systems, not rebelling against them or destroying them but calling in a new way in our own lives by taking different choices. That calling and transformation are happening inside more and more people. These plants and these transformational modalities are coming out to help with that transformation. That’s the big reason why many people feel called to these types of practices. We know that the world that’s much more beautiful and much more connected than the world that we live in now in Western society is possible.
My personal journey has been that what I was taught in our society is when you achieve “success,” whatever that means for you, whether it be money, accolades or prestige, then you’d be happy, then you made it. The reality is that at least from my personal journey point of view, those things are beautiful but is insufficient. There is still that deep yearning for connection to be seen and from a sovereign space, how do I create a life that I love and not the life that I think I should have. External versus internal and these medicines, meditation practices, yoga are beautiful ways for you to find what truly makes you come alive.
If we can look at the history of humanity, that stuff is the very natural stuff that’s happening. For example, my grandparents in Europe, I come from Holland, the Netherlands, they grew up in the time of war. My grandmother grew up in the time of war. She was part of the bombings, the poverty and the fear. The Second World War happening there had a big impact on her life and the life of all that generation of our grandparents. For them, she was like eleven to fourteen years old, in the last years of the war. She came into life after the war in 1945, not so long ago. It was about getting out of poverty, hunger, fear and destruction. It’s about building up a good career, having a good job, making sure that your family is fed, making sure that your family has housing, building that secure system around.
That was a big part of their life because of the time they came from. The generation of our parents goes up in that mindset. That was a generation that has been such a big part of creating the society that we’re in now, making money, being successful, having a good career, having a good house. It’s amazing that happened because that was necessary for our evolution as a species. We’re slowly coming to the point that we start to see when just a few people start to do that, imbalance starts to happen. It’s good to go back to a more balanced society where we still stand for abundance fully in all levels. Not just abundance to keep on a place of fear, but also from a balance to share, from a place to ask and knowing that there’s enough for all of us.
That segues nicely to some of the benefits that you’ve either experienced personally or you’ve witnessed with all your clients. What are some of the major benefits of micro-dosing especially Ayahuasca vine micro-dosing?The test of time is the most difficult test to stand. Click To Tweet
The Ayahuasca vine, the indigenous people tell us that’s the grandmother of all plants, flowers and trees. I also call it Abuela Ayahuasca or grandmother Ayahuasca. Those indigenous people have such a connection with nature, the plants, the animals, the Earth, the sky, the sun and with each other. That connection is so much more there than in our Western world. For them, to connect with this grandmother energy is loving, caring and wise energy. It’s like a grandmother that’s holding their grandchildren and always been in their ears and also sometimes being a bit more stern like, “Why don’t you go to this direction?” Grandparents are so good at guiding grandchildren maybe much more than parents are.
This plant, Ayahuasca vine, that’s the grandmother energy comes into this time in a beautiful way, but also a powerful way to show us these new pathways that are slowly opening. What I’ve seen, where that energy is coming in and people are connecting with the energy in a very gentle way day-to-day in micro-dosing has been relaxing people. They are coming into a much more state of love, trust, abundance and going away from the space that’s much more fear, anxiety, disconnection. That general state of being that maybe are the foundation of who we are. Once we act from a state of fear, all our relationships are going to be influenced. All our work is going to be influenced. Every single decision that you make are going to be influenced by that energy.
When you shift that state of being to trust the Law of Abundance and stepping into your personal power in the positive sense of the world, not in a dominating sense of the world. It’s not forced. When you step into that and becoming you, then you take completely different decisions. You’re able to dribble into all your relationships, in your work, family and friends. That’s your general well-being. There’s a more general shift that I’ve seen in people. That’s going to result in many ways and in every person, that’s completely different.
From your personal point of view, as well as witnessing your clients, going through that journey from a very protective almost a survival and fear-based way of living, which is okay, we need that for survival, to a place of openness, to embracing the collective whole to love. Can you walk us through a little bit? What are some of the internal belief shifts that needed to happen to do that?
Maybe we can speak of it with my own journey. Once I started to feel the effect of this medicine, I totally felt the benefit of them. I felt a shift inside of me. I felt the different calling to start to share different things in my life. That came with a lot of many voices in my environment. I was in a different relationship then, different colleagues and they started to question all my steps and my path, “What are you doing? You’re playing in this orchestra. You have worked for maybe decades to get to that, practicing many hours. You went to school and got your Master of Music. This was your goal. You’re there where you always want to be and now you want to go somewhere else. What are you doing?”
I need to stop this and continue what’s happening. That feeling of security definitely built around that a safety net that comes from a place of survival. It was this very important mechanism that we have inside of us. I started to see that security isn’t real. I step more into the trust that if I follow my path, my calling, what some people would call my Dharma or my destiny, I will be taken care of. Things are going to come in my life to support that and to feel that trust. That was the way that I was able to stop working as a classical musician, let go of my salary, my life, my relationship. I step into a completely new chapter in my life where I had no clue what was going to happen and how that will unfold but in complete trust that was the only right thing that I could do.
You make it sound easy. Whereas as you said, “I was in survival mode, competing to be this world-class musician, to letting go to just trust.” It’s easy to articulate but that in itself is challenging. What I want to focus on this point specifically is the world is changing fast. The technology is disrupting different industries, geopolitical situations, the market conditions, everything. As you said, “In my mind, it’s easier to be in a monastery.” It’s a simple life. You chop wood, you carry water, you do your meditation, that’s that. As householders, there are different challenges. We do live in this realm. Money is part of the equation when you buy food, pay rent, all these things.
Walk us a little bit deeper of how did you foster that courage, listening to that inner voice and trust because you can speak for you. I speak for myself. That process in itself is challenging because essentially the transformation process, I needed to let go of these old programming and embrace the new belief that I have. Walk us a little bit deeper on how you navigate that water and in service of whoever is reading this as a path to reinvent themselves? As the macro environment changed very rapidly, people must need to or have to reinvent themselves over and over. Walk us a little bit in more details, play by play if you can.
You’re right, that process can be challenging. Two years between my first ceremonies plus opening the center in Peru was a very challenging time. I had moments where I felt lost and disconnected. I’m questioning the whole shift that was happening. I’m questioning all the modalities I was connecting to. Being in a place where I’ve felt depressed, anxiety or insecurity. I felt the judgment of people around me and I felt my own judgment. It was a very challenging time. The question of how to go through that time is a very important question. What I learned is trust comes from a place of feeling connected and fear comes from a place of feeling disconnected. That was for me a huge part of my journey.
Connection to what?
Being connected to that energy that’s all around us all the time. There’s this bigger field, some people call that spiritual energy. Some people might call that God or great spirit. From the scientific world, if you look at how the small tiny particles, atoms, electrons, neurons, there’s so much space between them, 99.999, I don’t know how many nines, it’s empty space. Still, we see this table as dense and we don’t see that open space in here, that space that’s in between that, that’s a certain force. That’s what all mystics, all religions, all spiritual traditions are speaking of that force. That force is your essence, that is my essence, that is the essence of all that is. To be connected with that, that’s a key. However you name that force is up to a person.
If you believe in higher force and are part of a religion or spiritual tradition, then that is a force to connect with. If you’re an atheist, then life is that force because that’s something that’s birthing us, that’s happening, that’s greater than us. Be connected with that and that comes on a smaller level to being connected to people that share your belief system, your values and your way of living. Being in a community of people that support you, to be connected even to one person that understands what you’re talking about. Finding connection is a big part of that. What was instrumental in my own journey was the same time I started that journey with these sacred medicines. I did my Kundalini yoga teacher training. That year of training, we’re going slowly in a daily spiritual practice doing yoga and some meditation every day.
The journey was a wobbly journey. It was something with full commitment and eight days it was doing yoga two hours a day. I didn’t do any yoga for two weeks and I was going up and down and back and forth. What’s slowly going into those practices is using my body in yoga to move those energies inside of me and strengthening my body in that way. Those practices are there to connect. All those practices are about connection. For me, building a daily spiritual practice has been the single biggest gift in my life that I could have given myself to go into that transformation. If I have not done that, I don’t think I would have found what you call courage to make those steps, those decisions and those shifts.
Even when I started and I started something very new without a lot of experience to go to those beginning steps, I still feel I’m very much at the beginning of this journey. Those practices helped me tremendously. Connecting with these very powerful plants, these very powerful medicines, I’ve seen it with many people. There are these huge transformational moments in the ceremony. Then I come out and in a few weeks, they lose that connection and then they go back. Sometimes when you go back, you’re on the worst state than you were before because you have seen what’s happening.
You’ve experienced truth more specifically, not the absolute truth per se but your personal truth. You’ve witnessed who you are in your essence.
The awareness comes in that you are not living in truth. The awareness of not living in truth is much more difficult than not having that awareness at all. People come back sometimes in a more challenging position. For me those practices like meditation, yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi, for some people that might be surfing, hiking and spending time in nature, whatever practice where you work while you use your body connecting with that spiritual force, that is a massive key to feel that connection and to go into that trust. If you look at indigenous people, our nervous system is such an important part of our body internally. The nervous system is the gateway or the highway of information between your brain and the muscles.
If you move, all go to the nervous system, those impulses but also that connection with a bigger field that’s your nervous system. The nervous system is the antenna to connect with those forces. If you live in the forest all the time like the indigenous people, that nervous system is so strong. They hunt, they fish, they built houses from cutting trees and falling them. They’re working hard and using their body in nature all the time. Their nervous system is super strong. We live in the Western world. We’re not connected to nature. We might take foods that are not completely without toxins. We don’t have those practices. Our nervous system is much weaker. We are naturally less connected. To go into these practices for some people are an amazing way to use these tools to feel more that connection.
What are some of your practices as a way to cultivate that antenna as you said?Trust comes from a place of feeling connected. Fear comes from a place of feeling disconnected. Click To Tweet
Every morning, I do my Kundalini yoga and the meditation. When I do that, I feel more connected. The difficult thing is when I don’t do it for four to seven days, there will be massive shifts. It’s big learning because the impulse of us human beings is to feel good and feel great, we stopped those practices, then we go back.
I got it. I don’t need to do these things anymore. Let’s go a little bit more tactical here. Is there a specific time? Is there a specific meditation that you use?
That is different for every person. There are many different spiritual practices around and the reason for that is because there are many different human beings. The key is finding something that you enjoy because finding joy in the practice is such a key.
Joy is an indicator that this is the right path, that you continue to pull this thread.
It’s a huge indicator. For example, when I started to connect with yoga, I was living in Berlin at that time. I traveled for seven to eight years every summer to the east like India, Nepal, Tibet, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand. In those countries, I connected with different modalities. When I went to Thailand, I did a juice fast and did yoga for the very first time. An American guy who was living in that juice fast center. I did my very first yoga class and he luckily knew six to eight different types of yoga very well. He showed all of them to me in that week. I went back to Berlin and he said, “Go find different teachers, go to different schools and see what you connect with.” He explained to me a few yogas.
At the time, I connected with Ashtanga yoga because his main practice was Ashtanga. That’s what I went to in Berlin but I’m quite tall. I learned that I’m not very flexible. At the time, I couldn’t even reach my toes with my fingers. I would bend down and bend my knees. I could maybe reach my knees. They were very stiff. Ashtanga yoga is very much working with your body. I start to feel a little bit of comparison and even shame like I’m way less flexible than all the people around me in the class. It didn’t give me so much joy and then when I did Kundalini for the first time, after the first class I was like, “This is my yoga.” That indication of joy I felt was for me a key. I have stuck to that practice since. I haven’t gone to a single different yoga class in the last few years because I know Kundalini yoga is my practice. For people that are at the beginning of the journey, find your practice and the same with the time of the day.
For me, it works what I learned over the years to do it first thing in the morning because once I go into my life, many things happen. Many things come, conversations, people, work, relationships, family, phone calls, emails and computer. Life just happens and then sometimes, I go to bed in the evening and I forget. The next morning, I wake up and I’m like, “I forgot.” I learned to do it first thing in the morning, otherwise I don’t do it. I know people who love doing both. They go to sleep and then they closed that day in that way. They sleep well. Some people like to do it in their afternoon break or when they come home at 5:00 PM. The time of day, I don’t think is important. People say it’s best to do it early morning because then also the world is much quieter. Those spirits are much easier to feel. I believe that’s true. For us householders, to meditate at 4:00, 5:00 in the morning, that’s very difficult.
Did you do the Sadhana thing? It’s beautiful at 4:00 AM.
I did a while the Sadhana. It’s amazing but I learned that playing at a concert and coming home at 11:30 in the evening and waking up at 4:00 on my yoga mat didn’t work for me. I would go to the rehearsal at 9:30, I would be exhausted. That was not serving me. That was not serving anybody. That was not serving the orchestra because I was not concentrating. I was sleepy. I found my own way and I think in this Western time, it’s beautiful to fine tune those practices that work for you. To do Sadhana at 4:00 AM as a monk living in a monastery, that’s amazing. As a householder for some people it might be easy, for some people, they’d like to sleep in regards to their work that extends late in the evening or late in the night. That might not be a possibility.
It’s not practical. I love that you emphasize on the point of saying do what works for you versus this is the doctrine, the 4:00 AM, the 5:00 AM or the Upasana, two hours per day. I don’t have two hours a day as a householder to do that. It’s impractical for me to live my householder life.
Sometimes it’s a pity because when those teachers come out so strong and these teachers are all doing Upasana several times. To do two times an hour a day of meditation in my life, especially how it was in Amsterdam, that was not a possibility. I believe the teaching that if you want to dive in that practice, it only works if you do two hours a day. That’s true but at the same time, it doesn’t work. Sometimes when these doctrines are pushed strongly, people feel guilty, “I want to meditate but if I don’t meditate two times an hour a day, then I’m not welcome. What’s this?” It brings shame, blame, fear and anxiety.
That’s exactly what we want to go away from. In that sense, it’s finding the right balance between honoring your practice, finding the practice that has a need for you, where you feel joy and the benefits coming. Honoring the practices as they are and go into the hoots of them and learning them. That balance is one of the beautiful challenges of this time for us people in the Western world to have the great gift of living in a time where all these practices are coming into the Western world. A century ago, that was not possible. We are the pioneers of bringing those practices in this busy Western world.
I can’t speak for you. I speak for myself. I don’t think that I ever feel that I’m looking forward to doing a difficult task, whether it be yoga or meditation because right away I experience boredom. Right away, I experience discontent. I also am very much aware of my internal state. The payoff of this difficult task, yoga, meditation, whatever it may be internally is a clarity, inner stillness and that quiet sense of joy. I choose to do my practices first thing in the morning because that’s when my willpower is strongest versus for the people that wait until the last thing they do before they go to sleep. I admire that, but that’s not me because by that time I just want to go to sleep and finished the day versus overcoming this internal hurdle of doing something that I know would take work. What would you say to that? Is it similar or different?
I see a lot of similarities in my own journey. I also sometimes don’t necessarily enjoy doing yoga and meditation in the morning, especially if there are a lot of things to do that day. I know that there are many tasks that are waiting for me. Sometimes I would love nothing more than to get going on them, whether it be going on my computer and doing a task or going to meetings or whatever is there. I know that resistance very much, but when I’ve done the practice and I come out with a much more feeling of being centered, calmness, joy, relax, much more concentrated, much more centered, that’s the joy I feel going to the day. What I learned is the joy in having a daily spiritual practice on the longer term is there but sometimes in the practice, I’m like, “Here we go again.”
That’s something that’s very connected to our Western society. We have learned so much that things have to be quick, things have to be now, things have to happen at this moment. With the whole social media and the whole technical realm that is coming more and more into our lives, that instant gratification is something that we get used to. These spiritual practices are not so much for instant gratification. It’s more for the long-term gratification and joy that comes from that. Spirituality does not happen at this moment, it’s a journey.
Let me bring back to micro-dosing. There’s a certain stigma that some people feel like with plant medicine, “I don’t want to be dependent on something to get me to a particular state.” I grapple with that myself at the beginning of it. I realized for me that I could reframe the concept of taking micro-dosing to taking vitamins. I drink coffee to get me to a certain state, to be more focused and to get me going. I take vitamins as a way to prime my brain and my body for the environment that is best conducive for me. Did you have to navigate that to educate and make your clients more aware of, “This is not something to shy away from?” I’m curious if you can navigate and share a little bit about your story of sharing even for yourself internally. How do you reframe the idea of taking this Ayahuasca vine as a way to prime for your best self to show up?
This is what I see with many people that are connecting with these plant medicines. Some people think, “If I go to a ceremony by Ayahuasca, for example, it will change my life completely.” I will come out transformed and healed. I’m a different person, not the same. In one layer, that can be true but at the same time, the indigenous people tell us that these plants are plant teachers. Plants teach us something. Unlike a teacher in a classroom, a teacher can point the way. They can show you where to go and give you a bigger picture of what’s possible and what’s out there. The teacher will not take the steps for you. The teacher will not shift the things inside of you.
What micro-dosing see is connecting with such a strong plant teacher, let’s say Ayahuasca, by taking a tiny amount each day. Will that shift your state of being? Maybe for most people, it does but if you don’t take different actions, if you don’t speak different words, if you don’t show up in your relationship in a different way, you’ll still be the same person. If you start to see that, it’s very empowering. To say, “These medicines are going to do the work for me. I will just lay back on the sofa and watch TV all day and wait for the shift to happen,” is very disempowering. I don’t think these plant medicines or any of these spiritual practices come into our life to disempower us. They come to empower us.Spirituality does not happen in a moment; it’s a journey. Click To Tweet
If you connect with these plants and your state of being slowly started to shift, then it’s up to you to make those changes. The way I see it, micro-dosing is not the fuel to bring you in that state that you can maybe call the state of flow. I see this happen as we meet people that seem in alignment and we feel in a good space, let’s say that’s the state of flow. Micro-dosing is not a fuel to keep you in that movement. Micro-dosing as I see it is the kickstarter to get to your own journey, but then a daily spiritual practice like meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or whatever, that’s the fuel to keep you going. I see micro-dosing as kickstarting people into the next chapter of their lives, but also taking them out of micro-dosing, so they’re not dependent on that substance for the rest of their lives. It teaches them what it is to have a daily spiritual practice. It guides them to the process that I had myself of doing ten days of yoga, two hours a day and then losing it for a month. How can you build a daily spiritual practice slowly and easy so you can make it a habit and a part of the new you? This daily spiritual practice, that’s the fuel to keep the journey going. That’s how I see the use of these very powerful plant medicines.
It’s a very modern way of thinking that if I do this, then automatically I don’t even have to think or I don’t even need to make a choice. The reality, at least for my personal journey, is that you’re still the driver of this vehicle. You still need to, moment by moment, choose what’s workable and what’s best for you. You mentioned you have a music background and part of your journey is to empower people to shift their belief system, the operating system that’s inside their brain, the lens that they look at life, this reality. How have you used your musical training as a way to guide that journey from disempowering belief to empowering belief for yourself as well as for your client?
Music is such an amazing teacher in so many ways. I love music.
Music as a consumer or music as active playing?
Music in the biggest sense of the word. If you look at music, it can show many things, especially in classical music where it’s a big part of a big symphony orchestra. That’s the world I was in for many years. It’s harmony when people play different tones at the same moment you get a chord. When those chords are built up in a certain way that is in line with the laws of nature, as Pythagoras put that so amazingly in the system, then harmony can happen. If you have a chord that’s fully in harmony and a whole symphony orchestra that plays in harmony, that can be touching. A heart can start to open like, “This is beautiful. That’s such inspiring music.”
If you take that into daily lives, if people interact with each other and you see the actions and the words of people as tones that you played in a symphony orchestra, are those tones going to play harmony? Are those tones going to create this harmony? When there’s friction between people, it’s not in harmony? When you’re able to shift the vibration where you sing with your accent, your words, and create harmony. I think that’s beautiful. Music shows us that amazingly. When you’re playing the guitar and you put your fingers on the fret, on different strings in a certain way and you strum those things, you can get a beautiful chord. If you put them on different fret it can be horrible. It’s not harmony. It doesn’t sound well. Music brings people into harmony. That’s a beautiful thing to always look for.
Do you use music as part of your training or rituals to empower your clients to shift from disempowering beliefs to empowering beliefs in the moment’s notice?
Music is such an amazing tool for that. In retreats that we do, music is a big part of that. If you look at many movements, may that be churches that are using music in their worship. A couple of years ago, I went to a church that my sister visits and it was a church that I never visited, a certain lineage of Christianity and they were singing music in their mass or in their place of worship. I entered that space and I started to cry. I felt how much energy was there and how much it was touching people. I saw the transformation it had on my sister and I saw the transformation it had an all the people there. I was like, “How beautiful.” Even if you look at the Second World War, Adolf Hitler used music also in a powerful way to get people in certain states to do some things that they did. Music is an incredible force. If you go to a pop concert of Lady Gaga and people who connect with that type of music, people that are in such a space with tens of thousands of people and being in that space of the music and dancing are almost going into a trance. It’s amazing what music can bring and how it can shift our states. Music is incredible power for a vehicle to use in transformation.
Do you have a specific type of music that you listen to when you’re in a funk during the day-to-day or do you have any ritualistic type of music? For example, I love listening to cinematic music about superheroes when I wake up because right away I’m a superhero waking up, getting ready for the rest of my day. That’s very energizing and very empowering for me. Do you have anything like that? When you encounter some setback doing your day-to-day, it puts you right back to a resourceful and empowering state.
That’s beautiful to use music in that way. One experience was maybe a few years ago when the new Star Wars movie came out. I went to see it in the very few days with a couple of good friends and the moment that tune that started the movie, the whole cinema was shouting. That piece of music had such a history and it makes people ride back to that place. It was amazing to feel that. I use music in that way as well. If I feel sad or I’ve been down, I put something that’s calming. One artist or a group of artists that I connected with is the Sacred Earth. It’s a couple from Australia. The woman sings and I’m not sure if it’s her husband or a man that plays the flute. She also plays keyboards and it’s relaxing, calm and a voice like an angel singing. The music calms me so much.
For example, when I was in the classical music world, I was going to auditions. I was feeling a bit of anxiety, stress and at the same time I needed to go on that stage and give all that I had to win that audition and to get that position in the orchestra, I would listen to the music of Wagner. That’s a big orchestra with a starting very soft overture music. It starts very softly and the whole orchestra builds this majestic and bombastic music that went to this state of feeling victory. That was my music to go into that. I’ve used music in many ways in many moments of my life to do that.
You do hold ceremonies as well outside of States. Do you have a preference to live musician versus recorded music? The reason I asked that question is that when I hear people saying, “I just play the MAPS playlist from ceremony music. It’s scientifically proven,” and in my mind I was like, “That’s a good place to start.” The pitfall of a fixed playlist is it’s not interactive. The facilitator doesn’t read into the energy of the room and play the appropriate music for their room. I’m curious to hear your perspective as a former professional musician, I don’t know if you still play music and also as a ceremonialist. What’s your point of view on that? Live musician, recorded music or a little bit of both? How do you navigate that?
Live music is something absolutely unique. When a facilitator is leading a ceremony that sings, that plays music and is fully tapped into the room and energy of what’s happening there and plays music on that energy or directs energy with the music, that’s something magical. That’s where the magic starts to happen. That’s where full transformation can start to happen because music is such a transformation. When people go to like a relief concert, they feel that transformation, they want to get into that trance state. Life music can do that and that’s what a good DJ does. Feel the room and feel the people, even on a wedding, playing dance music as a DJ. A good DJ listens to the room, sees the room and plays those songs that fit that crowd of people. It’s that fine-tuning with people. Good musicians may not be a DJ, a singer, instrumentalists, sound healer or anything, that’s such a key part of leading a ceremony or leading any type of ceremony. Live music in that sense is incomparable with any playlist.
At the same time, we live in this time where we have now access to a massive amount of music. There are different subscriptions that are readily available to the internet at this time, which is such a gift. What I learned coming back from the ceremonies in Peru, I thought it was a once in a lifetime experience but then five months later on social media, somebody posted a video of a guy from Venezuela that I had sat next to into my ceremony. The video was about him singing a song that he had sung in a very deep moment in my ceremony. When I listened back to that song, it brought me back to that experience almost immediately, tears were coming. I was almost back in that ceremony by just listening to music. In that sense, having a playlist with music that you have experienced in that transformational moments or concert that you resonate with or artists that you like, it’s such an amazing way to bring you back to those states. They both can be used in their own ways. I don’t think one is better than the other. Different tools and different moments, we use them.
You had plenty of experience with plant medicine. What are some of the criteria that you use that you experience as a way to discern who are great space holders? The ability to read the room and give what the space needs. What are some of the ways that you can recommend people reading this to evaluate their facilitator, their pajés or whoever?
I always like to go back to the tradition where a certain medicine comes from. Let’s talk about Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca comes from the indigenous people of the Amazon on their various tribes that have been working with Ayahuasca for thousands and thousands of years. That has happened to many different times. At times of great wars and starvation, at times where the missionaries came in and forbade indigenous people to use their medicines, speak their language, do their prayers, tell their stories, only be able to speak Portuguese or Spanish. Times where the rubber tappers came in and enslaved indigenous people to work for the rubber tappers plantations. Too many times these medicines have survived. They stood the test of time gloriously. The test of time is maybe the most difficult test to stand.
It’s good to go back to those traditions and to see what have those people learned over all that period of time, whether these to come into the place to hold a ceremony. I went to an indigenous tribe. I’ve met them in an amazing way. I’m grateful for the meeting and was blessed to spend until now a number of years with the Yawanawá. I was allowed to enter a ceremony. I asked them, “What does it take for somebody to lead a ceremony?” How can you get into the place to become a pajé or a shaman? What I learned over the years is that they have a very set path. The path with indigenous people is dieta. These are extended periods of time where you sometimes work with master plans or with other modalities, but they all happen in isolation in the jungle where you go away from society, just connecting with nature.
Normally, it takes complete long days of celibacy. Sometimes even not drinking water and drinking other liquids like the juice of the yucca that’s chewed by women. For example, not eating any sweets, just corn or green bananas. To take away all the desires of the body, sweets and sexuality is a tool based on desires. To take that away and then go to deep processes of transformation yourself to connect with those forces, to face them and to learn how to pay them because they told me, “Leading a ceremony, you’re going to face three major forces to work with, power, sexuality and money. Once you learn to work with them in a responsible way, then you’re more ready to lead the ceremony.”If you don't take different actions, speak different words, and show up in a different way, you'll still be the same person. Click To Tweet
When those forces still have free rein inside of you, then you might act from a different space and then you might hold a ceremony with different intentions than to provide transformation or healing for people. They came up at these periods and then a version of the Yawanawá, it’s very specific. They’re beautiful to see how things moved because through and missionaries are coming in, through the rubber tappers coming in the last century or a centrally and a half, they almost lost a complete tradition. It happened in many tribes. Many tribes in this time in the Amazon have no connection anymore with that tradition. They don’t know the songs anymore. They don’t know how to use the medicines. They don’t know their stories. They don’t know the language. They completely went in speaking Portuguese and going into the Catholic Church, speaking Spanish and leaving the tradition over a few generations.
The Yawanawá in the year 2000 almost completely lost their tradition. There were a few elders that still had that knowledge inside of them. A few young people stood up and said, “We don’t want this anymore. We want to be Yawanawá again. We want the tradition back.” They stood up and they kicked out the missionaries of their land and stood for the tradition. They entered a one-year dieta of their most sacred plant called Mucca, which they say is the true preparation to be able to become a spiritual leader, a person that can hold ceremonies, a leader of a village, a healer, a medicine man and a teacher. That one-year dieta of Mucca is their big, major and a very clear step that has happened to many generations in the last centuries and millennia to come to that place.
Three people stood up and after 40 years of the dieta not happening, they did it again. Those three elders that are still present at the time started to teach them. They started to remember that and slowly that tradition came back. What happened five years after that, once they learn again how to use the medicines, it slowly starts all ceremonies, because there were no ceremonies for maybe over a decade or two decades, then Western people came and they came with many things. Money and gifts started to come to those people. They start to build bigger houses. They had started having different clothes. Their children had food. Maybe a few years ago, the people in the tribe said about those three men that were going to do that, “Why are you doing that? The time has passed. We are not those people anymore. Forget about it. Don’t go back to these practices. It’s gone.” Those people are drinking alcohol and listening to music on big speakers and having parties in the village. Those people stood for the tradition.
A few years later when they saw the benefits coming into these people that have done these dietas, then those people wanted the same benefits. What happened is some of those Indians start to put the feather crown on their head. They got the crown on a hand. They have a bottle of medicine in the hand and, “I’m a shaman. Come to me. I lead ceremonies. I’m an indigenous person. I will lead you to these ceremonies.” What the tribe told me is, “They are charlatans.” They have not done the work to come to the place to lead a ceremony. They’re just looking for that money. They’re looking for that recognition and that power. They’re looking maybe for sexuality with women that come to the ceremonies. That’s a very dangerous direction to watch, they told me. I saw that happening. I see that happening in the Western world. Many people are leading ceremony that might not have that preparation. Also many people luckily are leading ceremony that has done that preparation. The path is clearly carved out. This is the path that many people have walked before us in the last century, which is completely carved out and simple to walk.
It’s simple to know where the path is but it’s a big challenge to go to that path. I’ve done a year and two months of dieta until now and I will keep doing dieta in my life. It has been transformational and humbling. It’s a very difficult process sometimes. Indigenous people say that is the way to come into the place to lead a ceremony responsibly. To go back to the ancient traditions and there are also questions, “How will you get to the place to do that?” I think it’s a very good place to start then to take those steps and walk that path. That’s a very responsible way to go.
From all the ceremonies you’ve done, you have plenty of experience. What are some of the criteria that you use to find the perfect and the proper facilitator for those who are reading?
What’s good is to ask questions. Even before you ask some questions, what’s good to know about connecting with plant medicines. The indigenous people say working with plant medicine, you’re working with the spirit of the medicine like Ayahuasca, you’re working with the spirit like Abuela. This great being that’s behind the drink. This drink is almost as medicine, almost like a gateway to connect with her. They say this spirit is singing all the time. It’s like a calling that he sings out. First of all, it’s important to hear that calling. That calling is not the calling that you hear with the human ears.
It was a calling that comes to you and several ways by reading a book, hearing somebody talk about it, having a friend and having an experience like, “That’s something I would like to do one day.” That’s the calling of the medicine. Listen to that calling. If you don’t feel the calling, then the medicine isn’t for you. If you talk about it to other people and you feel the other person on that are calling, there’s no need to convince them or to pull them an experience. Let everyone have their own calling. The first step, see if you feel the calling to have the experience. Never go into the experience because your friends are going or your family or like it’s a business trip from your company or anything like that.
Someone is pressuring you into it. That’s exactly the total opposite of why you should go into the ceremony with.
“Let’s do the next experience,” that’s not a good reason to go. Hear the calling of the medicine. If you’re reading this and you’re like, “I don’t know what that means,” then you have not heard the calling. The second is if you go, “Where can I do that?” There are many places in the world where you can do ceremonies and go to retreats. It’s sometimes difficult for people to find the place that’s in integrity. That’s why it’s held by people that know what they’re doing. At least they’re all certain amount. Ask questions and I think a few questions that are important to ask is like, “Are you connected to any tradition or any lineage?” In the medicine world, there are several traditions with Ayahuasca, for example. These are lineages with long traditions and the people that are there are holding those type of works. They went to several processes to get to their place. You can trust that. If there’s a lineage behind it, that’s a good guideline of knowing that the place is safe. That’s what happens.
“Maybe have you studied with a certain tradition? Have you spent time with an indigenous tribe? Have you done dietas? What’s your study? Where have you studied? Why have you learned this?” Those are good questions to ask because not everybody is connected to a tradition like that. Maybe they studied in the Amazon with other people and followed the certain paths to get to that place so that you know it’s not just somebody having a handful of ceremonies, learn ten songs, found some medicine and is holding a ceremony. Finding their background a little bit. Then the most important is to trust your intuition. Even when all your friends have gone there and had an amazing experience. You come to that place and you’re sitting in front of the facilitator. He or she offers you a cup of medicine and your whole body says, “No,” trust that intuition and step away.
Never go somewhere other than your own path. You don’t have to explain it to yourself or to other people, only at the ceremony when you fully trust the environment, when you fully trust the people that are holding you. If you go to deep places inside of yourself and if you don’t feel fully held, it’s going to be a very challenging experience. Wait until the next time and trust the timing because that will show you that the time is not now yet and just wait for next time because something better is waiting for you. Always follow your intuition. If your intuition says no, then don’t go into it. If the intuition saying no is something else, then get rid of fear. Resistance can come up naturally going to those places because the mind is very powerful. The mind wants to be controlled in going to these experiences. One of the first teachings of these medicines might be to let go of that control. Feel out the resistance because it’s sometimes good to go to a little bit of resistance. If the resistance is something else, then your intuition is telling you it’s these people that are holding the ceremony.
How do you discern the resistance versus the intuition? How would you advise someone to discern the fear, the resistance versus the inner calling of saying no?
For example after my first ceremony, I had a huge resistance because I did not have the experience that I want to. I thought, “I would never do this again.” I voiced that to the man that was holding the ceremonies. I listened to the answer. “I don’t think I want to go back to the second ceremony. This is not working for me. Maybe it’s even a scam. I didn’t get anything out of this first ceremony. I just want to go home.” He gave this beautiful smile with open eyes and the answer he gave me, it gave me so much trust in this person. There was not anything I felt from him. He didn’t go into anything like trying to shift my mind or feeling attacked or something like that.
He was seeing my resistance and he gave me a beautiful answer that will help me to go to it. Then I knew this is something inside of me. It’s not something inside of him. Ask questions and go into the conversation. Send an email before a ceremony like, “This is what’s coming up. How would you work with that?” Listen to the answer. If the answer comes from any place of feeling defensive from the facilitator, there you go. If it’s an answer that supports you come to that resistance, then you can see what’s happening inside of me. That could be one way to find it out.
One of the things I tell people is that going to the ceremony is similar to going into spiritual surgery. In some ways, it’s even more important than finding a doctor because in your ceremony work, you go into the deepest part of who you are, the subconscious, parts of you that you may have suppressed. Parts of you that you may have avoided looking at it. It’s super important that you find someone to have you feel safe and helped. Mixing analogy a little bit, it’s almost also like finding your spouse or your partner. There is someone perfect for you, but not everyone’s perfect for you. It’s like that. A lot of times it’s not just the training, the experience and the testimonials. A lot of it is a resonance level.
If you don’t resonate with that particular facilitator, that’s okay. There’s probably another circle or another facilitator that’s perfect for you, to each his own. Thank you so much for sharing your answer. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey doing dieta? I haven’t done dieta myself but I would imagine this. Plant medicine is a non-specific amplifier of who you are, your light and your shadow, from my personal mental model. What I’ve heard doing a dieta process is you’re going to drink the medicine every day yourself remotely.
In my mind I think it’s difficult enough to drink medicine with the groups’ pure support, with guidance. It’s super advanced me to do it along the dark by yourself in the remote part of the jungle. Walk us through a little bit about the dieta process mechanically. What’s the mechanics of the dieta process as well as what are some of your personal journey, the internal grappling of facing your internal light and shadow in the dark by yourself? This is my guess, my speculation. If you can tell us a little bit more from your personal experience, that will be useful.Music is an incredible power and vehicle to use in transformation. Click To Tweet
First of all, the dietas in different traditions might be completely different. The dieta Mucca is very specific to the tradition of the Yawanawá. It’s a big step, one-year dieta. It’s a massive step and not many people have done that step. Other types might have different ways that they found in their history to do that. I can speak about the dieta of the Yawanawá. You go into a place outside of the village. I built a house outside of the village. It’s half an hour walking and people are taking care of me in the sense of making food and making the drink I could drink. They’re giving me the plants, the guidance and the teachings. It was not in complete isolation. The teachers and the guides that lead you to the dieta are guiding you.
In the ceremony, those people are not going to hold you in a sense as you might go as a participant to a ceremony where people will guide you, hold you and lead you to that process. One basic of holding space for other people is to learn to hold the space for yourself. There’s only one way to do it. It’s in those ways. That’s a learning curve because what they told me is it’s easy to say yes. When you are a spiritual leader, then I am responsible for my power. When I am a spiritual leader, then I will be responsible with my sexuality. When I am a spiritual leader, then I will be responsible for all the negative energy that will move inside of me. That’s not how it works. You start now and you work with those forces inside of yourself and once you learn to understand them, face them, integrate them, facing your own shadow, embracing your own shadow, stepping into the place of power of holding that, owning that, learning how to tame those forces. Then and only then they say you can slowly start to hold that space for other people. By experiencing that inside of yourself, you understand much more what’s happening inside of other people.
You’re supervised, just not supported in that way.
You’re supported in a way but in a certain way, much less supported like somebody holding your hand going to the ceremony.
I do a little sharing myself. I started boxing. In my mind, I can go into the ring. It’s easier to watch TV and make comments about the boxers in the ring. It’s very different. When you want to learn how to fight in a ring, similarly, you got to step into the ring and fight and is supervised. There are trainers around, give me guidance and everything. Nonetheless, I need to step into the ring and practice that practice. Can you share with us a little bit of the internal journey doing the dieta? What did you have to grapple with or face that you didn’t particularly like? What did you learn from that process?
What you say about boxing is beautiful. I think that might be a difference between having knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge can be just having inflammation, watching, seeing, reading, knowing in another way. If you combine that with experience, having gone to all and stepping inside the ring and knowing what it is to be in a fight, then knowledge plus experience becomes wisdom. Wisdom is something very precious which can only come from experience. You had to earn it. Let’s see what I can say about my dietas. My second long dieta was six months. I took the saliva of an Anaconda.
Is it toxic?
No, you don’t feel it. You don’t taste it. You don’t smell it. There are no psychoactive effects but it’s a big force to many things in your life. I went into that and at that time in the tribe, when it was just two months in my dieta, one of the elders started to end his life. He fell and went to a difficult process. He went to the hospital in the big city. They found some things and said they had nothing they could do. They flew him back in a helicopter to the tribe. I was there in the village, half an hour walking outside and the whole village was next to the bed of the elder taking care of him and guiding his passage that we call death. I was in the forest alone, not with people guiding me. I felt abandoned. I felt betrayed. I felt many things. Strong emotions came up and it was a challenging dieta to me. I lost twelve kilos of weight in a week. I had to walk half an hour to the village. I was exhausted. Many times, I stood up quick. I would be dizzy. I have to hold myself to something in order not to fall.
I went to many emotions and then it came to the realization like, “Am I doing this dieta to learn to help people and to support people through difficult processes?” There’s a difficult process I’m having here. It’s a very difficult process. One of the elders of the tribe and the most revered, one of the last two shamans is dying. The whole tribe was there. “What am I doing here, pitying myself, going into this stage of desperation and abandonment and many things?” That was a huge lesson for me.
What’s the lesson?
The lesson was to show up and do not let my own inner process of feeling abandoned and betrayed, all these things that were coming up guide me in my actions, my words and my judgments. To remember what was my intention of doing it. It’s to learn to help people. The whole time they needed help in so many ways with us. They went to one of the most difficult periods of the last decade. The relationship with my teacher was very challenging at this time because I felt that abandonment and betrayal. When I came back to that realization, I felt so sorry for the way I had shown up. I felt so sorry that I had gone completely in my own world and not been in support of what was happening there.
That opened beautiful conversations and I apologized deeply and he apologized deeply also for not honoring the commitment that we did have. It ended up with a whole new deeper level of a relationship. It took me out of those negative feelings and I went into compassion, I went into gratitude and seeing their journey as a huge gift and teaching, instead of seeing that journey as a time where I was lost and betrayed and left alone and abandoned. To go to that fall at three months, that was a big thing. Was it a difficult time? Absolutely, it was one of the most difficult times of my life but also many gifts came from that.
How are you taking that gift and that lesson into your everyday life? Especially as a space holder for others to go through that as well very easily because now the roles are flip. This person, whoever your students and clients are, they may be going through something deep and it’s very easy to blame you for not showing up for them or whatever it may be. Especially coach-client relationship as well. Now, the position is flipped. How are you able to take a very beautiful lesson in your everyday life?
One way to answer that is to always keep connecting with my intention of why I’m doing something. To know that once I enter an agreement with somebody, I’m responsible for what happens at that time of agreement until the end. I can’t abandon that before the end is there. To stand for that and whatever happens inside of me, that’s a secondary. That agreement that I entered by leading people to a process that’s a very sacred agreement that I always want to hold. I think that’s integrity.
It’s part of being professional.
That’s part of being a professional. You can say that and part of being a true professional is integrity. That the words you speak and the actions you put are in alignment, and the thoughts that you have and even ideas as well. Once that is all in alignment, then you have integrity. The dieta made much clearer to me now what it is to be in integrity. If something happens like let’s say something strong like that happens, it’s to open a full transparent communication to explain what’s happening and maybe to change an agreement or anything like that. It’s to be always open and transparent and not to just step away without open communication.
I always admire people who had taken the healer’s path. That’s one of my realizations in Ayahuasca ceremony. It’s difficult enough to live this human life. It’s even more difficult to take a healer’s path from my point of view, because not only you’re handling your own internal state, your own affairs, grappling with whatever is happening inside your head, now you’re taking on somebody else’s. I’ll expand the definition of the healer a little bit more. It’s more challenging to be a leader because now you’re responsible for someone else.
If you are an entrepreneur, if you’re a parent, if you are a friend in the deepest way, you’re now taking on someone else’s stuff. I’m curious to know your thoughts why did you pick this healer’s path? One may say, relatively speaking, it’s easier to go into an orchestra, play your thing and then you go home and you’re done. It’s another level up to now taking the healer’s path. Tell us a little bit about the journey from being a musician, employee, contractor to now healer, willingly taking on someone else’s pain, suffering or whatever they’re dealing with.One basic thing about holding space for other people is to learn to hold the space for yourself. Click To Tweet
You touched on something beautiful and that’s very connected to the dietas. That’s exactly what the indigenous people told me. To come to the place, to be a leader in the biggest sense of the world, you have to go to several steps. The first step is to have personal leadership. To become the leader of yourself and those dietas is a big part of that to become the leader of yourself so you can control all the forces that move inside of you.
Can you control the forces inside of you?
It’s not about being 100% able to control them. It’s also not controlling in the sense of the word as with force and forcing somebody or yourself in a certain direction. It’s more having control, like if you have control of your hands. You can move your fingers when you decide to move. You cannot move your fingers when you don’t decide to move them. That’s the control you have over all the things you have in your body. We have certain control of our body. You can also have certain mastery over your internal process and learning to observe it, but not learning to be driven by those processes. That’s personal mastery. There’s a lot to do with all the body whole. The food you put in your mouth. The drinks you put in your mouth, the supplements you take, the words you listen to, the music you listen to, the things you would choose to see. All that is becoming holy in the true sense of the word is having full control over all your body whole.
That’s personal leadership. They told me it’s your first layer of leadership, personal leadership. You don’t have to be 100% master on that, but it’s the very first step you have to study. It’s a constant study. The second step is going to your friends, your family and becoming a leader in that sense or become an example in that sense for people, the living example of what’s possible so people get inspired. You have a conversation with people and things start to shift in your family, your relationships, your friends. That is the second layer of leadership. Only then, because let’s say there’s a bigger leadership to be like a spiritual leader or leader of a nation or leader of a tribe or whatever leadership you want to put there, can only be bestowed upon you something much bigger from the great spirit or whatever you say after you have reached a certain level of mastery in those two.
You can see now with many leaders in this world, we can call many examples that have personal leadership. They are in the place of being a bigger leader of countries, governments and big companies. They do not have the level of personal leadership. You see how messy it gets because they bring down so much stuff. They project and so those steps, personal leadership, stepping into the leadership of your family, then going to greater place of leadership and say that are the steps, the responsible steps, to get into that place where you will not be governed by those forces inside, which can be power, money and sexuality.
Confucius said, “Personal mastery, household, country and then the world.” That’s a factual relationship.
Many ancient traditions are something in that direction. It’s so beautiful to hear that.
I’m curious, in your coaching program, micro-dosing to be more specific. You don’t just give them this Ayahuasca vine and say, “Take this three times or take this once a day. Good luck.” What do you give them as part of the service, the transferring of knowledge to empower them to move through the different spaces? I’m assuming and what I’m projecting right now is, “Here’s the Ayahuasca, good luck.” There’s a lot more there. If you can share a little bit of the methodology that you use to guide them through the different spaces, that would be very useful.
The program as it is now and will keep evolving hopefully is there are a few components. One component is the micro-dosing, I’ll come back to that. What’s important, first of all when you enter the journey is where would you like the journey to take you? What’s your goal? What’s the direction that you want to go to? That’s setting out that they’re working for your journey, that setting very clear intentions of what you want to call it. The very first step of the program is to help people to get clear on their own intentions. What do you want? We guide them through that process. They have a workbook around that. How to set clear intentions, easy way, super easy steps. We come to a set of 20 to 25 intentions and they can happen in several aspects of your life. It can be your relationships, your health, your career, your wealth, abundance, your spirituality.
We have nine aspects of your life that we divided and you set intentions at each one of them or just in one or a few of them that you want to concentrate on. We guide people and we teach people how to set a clear set of intentions. We’re helping with that. We would give some comments and suggestions until we have that set in a beautiful way that people feel like, “This is what I want to call into my life.” That’s the very first step. The second step is that we help people to go on building and cultivating a daily spiritual practice. What’s the fuel that keeps your journey going? It’s to stay connected to this bigger field. That is having a daily spiritual practice. For me, that’s a key for anyone that wants to go on that path. Just taking sacred medicines will most probably not going to take you to the place that you want to take too.
It’s very disappointing, I’m sure, for some people to hear that.
They are very important. When you shift your perception around that, it’s not disappointing at all. It’s very empowering because it means you have the power to make the shift. If you come out of the journey and somebody else has to make the shift for you, you can feel, “Without that power, I’m not able to shift.” You’re your own teacher. You’re your own master. Nobody’s a master of you. The medicine as a teacher, come into that way. Building a daily spiritual practice is a big key on that own level of mastery, that own level of leadership.
We help people go into daily spiritual practice. First, it’s with a guided meditation. It’s super easy, connecting with love, trust, abundance, and slowly shift that state of being. From that place when you have a very clear intention, when you have slowly started a daily spiritual practice with all the hurdles that come with doing in the day, two days and missing a day, missing two days, life coming in, traveling, many things can happen. We are there and we’re guiding people. We’re coaching calls and all this email support. There’s a Facebook group. There’s a lot of support where a whole team, it’s not just me holding that department, it’s a whole team.
They’re beautiful people on the team that guide the participant to all that. Two to three weeks in, then the micro-dosing comes. People don’t start the micro-dosing. They wait a little bit to set the whole stage for the medicine to come. Two to three weeks in, we supply people with the vine only tea. It’s a very high quality, beautiful medicine made in the right way. We teach them how to micro-dose. The doses in micro-dosing are very important. If you take too much, it might be overwhelming for people. If you take too less, you might feel nothing. That sweet spot, that’s what we teach people how to get to that sweet spot. Micro-dosing is taking a small dose of a substance so you don’t feel its immediate effects. What many people are looking in this time for a micro-dose is to feel an effect immediately. That’s not what micro-dosing is. It’s basically doing a mini-ceremony. It’s something different. We guide people to find the right dosage in the micro-dosing.
How do you do that? How is one supposed to feel when they hit that sweet spot?
I would say for micro-dosing for the first two to six weeks, it depends how sensitive a person is, you should not feel anything. A very good guide is if you feel anything, it’s too much. When you go to the first phase of micro-dosing, let’s say a month, a bit more or less depending on the person, then that state of flow is coming in and that’s what we’re looking for. The first phase is letting the medicine come into your body. Your body is welcoming the medicine, accentuating your system and then going into that state of flow. We navigate people how to do that.
The second stage is when you’re in that state of flow, how you can keep that state of flow. We teach people to keep the micro-dosage going. At one point we teach them how to go off so that the daily spiritual practice can become the fuel to keep that journey going. We don’t teach people to be dependent on the medicine. We teach people to empower them and to do micro-dosing afterwards. After the program, people get a whole library of spiritual practices in videos so they can continue in that way by themselves.
The overall length of the program is 90 days. Why 90 days? Why not 60 days, 45 days, six months?You’re your own master. Nobody's a master of you. Click To Tweet
90 days is a good time to establish a new habit. Why is that? What is happening in our physical body that’s carrying our state of being, that’s carrying our belief system? If you study that, your blood and especially your red blood cells are very important in that because your red blood cells carry a lot of oxygen into the body and carries a lot of toxins out of the body, but also that red blood cells as the yogi teachings tell us that carry your belief system. The moment that they had that cell born in the bone marrow, it carries their belief system at that moment. The life cycle of that cell is 90 days. If you go into that whole life cycle of a red blood cell with one practice, that’s a very secure way to build a new habit.
Going back to your intention setting. In my mind, 25 intentions are a lot of intentions. Do you help them to pick one and focus on for the 90 days? Do you pick one in each area and then focus on the 90 days?
We helped them to create a set of 20 to 25 intentions. For the people that are reading and are thinking, “I would love to have a set of intentions,” if they go to our website, AyaFlow.com, they can download for free as a gift the Intention Setting Workbook that I hope to help people go to the process. In that book, I described what are the nine areas of your life. You can choose one of those areas. You can choose all of them. You can choose a few of them, whatever you want to concentrate on. It’s easy steps on how to come to a place that you have such a list of intentions. Because the problem is 90 days and I know is a lifelong journey, 20 to 25 intentions have been proven to be a good amount. One intention can be good to go into a ceremony for example. It’s too much shorter experience, but 20 to 25 is a good amount to go to such a journey which is 90 days.
Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you wanted to cover in our time together?
I think that place of personal leadership I hope is something that people can take a formal conversation. Whatever governments are doing, whatever bigger companies are doing, whatever is happening in the world on a bigger level, your choices, words and actions matter. If we all make different choices, different accents, speak different words, that’s a beautiful way first of all to shift your world. Changing your world is not changing all the things outside of you. Changing the world is changing your world and that’s empowerment. I hope that’s what people can feel from that conversation. We all have that capacity to change our world. Trust that, believe that and know that all your dreams, all your visions are absolutely the truest things that you might ever find in your life. Trust them, follow them, take the steps to get there.
For those of you who are reading, I asked the question of what are some of the criteria that Dennis use to evaluate your teacher, your facilitator, your shaman, your pajé. A big part for me that you didn’t mention but you so much illustrated is the embodiment. For me, how you do one thing is how you do everything. If someone tells me, “Do this, do what I say,” but then they go out and start to not act accordingly, to me that’s a big red flag because then I can’t trust the wisdom because then it’s on a theoretical level. They’re sharing their knowledge level. They may be able to elicit some experiences from the ceremony or whatever but ultimately, what I’m looking for any guru teacher is the embodiment. Thank you so much for embodying everything that you share through your words, through your experience, but also I hope people hear the sincerity, the authenticity, the work that you have taken on, Dennis, to illustrate what it means to live in body life. I’m an engineer by training, so I operationalize everything that you learned. It’s not just empty words that you say. Thank you so much for being here on the show.
Thank you so much. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be here. I’m very grateful for the invitation.
About Dennis Notten
Alright, today’s guest has quite a heroic journey. He reinvented himself from being a professional musician in some of the world’s leading orchestras before answering the call to be an ayahuasca evangelist.
His self-discovery journey took him all over the world: India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, New Zealand, Egypt, Brazil and finally Peru.
In his journey of self-discovery, he has been trained with different healing modalities: meditation, kundalini yoga, theta healing, reiki.
And for the past four years, he has been learning the spiritual healing modality from the Yawanawá tribe in the Brazilian Amazon. After receiving the blessing from the spiritual leaders of the Santo Daime to work with the ayahuasca medicine in an open and free way, Dennis has been on a mission to share these powerful ancient healing modalities with the West.
I think it’s abundantly clear that he is committed to learning and sharing healing modalities with others who are on the same path of self-discovery and their own hero’s journey.
Please help me welcome a modern healing arts ambassador between the Amazon tribes and the west, Dennis Notten.