Saturday, July 31, 2010

Santo Daime, Part 3

Sorry for not reporting anything on my third vision quest.

I tried many times to sit in front of the computer and share my thoughts with you, but some force prevents me.
It was too sacred and too deep and words won't come together.

I know this much, Sasha got very curious and wants to travel to the birthplace of ayahuasca in Mapia. Deep in the jungles of the Amazon.
If anyone is curious about the first ayahuasca community established, pick up a book written by Alex Polari, Forest of Visions.

This trip will be organized in November or December during high festivity time.
There is a very special medicine woman living in the community, she works with the local plants, apparently she teaches her students to communicate with the spirit of the plants, not just knowing their medicinal properties. I look forward to seeing her.

This is will be a very exciting journey!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Ayahuasca and Santo Daime, Part 2

With an open heart and gratitude, I look forward to drinking the tea that opens you up to a different reality.
However, little did I plan to witness in that altered reality the truth according to my soul's journey.
The following information only reflects the journey of my soul, you should not assume that this response applies to all.

That being said, on with my journey.

There were many more westerners this time around, the godfather did not have enough chairs for all of us, but we managed. I think he was a little surprised at the outcome.
The people in uniforms created the two inner circles and the guests on the outer.
We are always treated with respect and certainly felt welcomed.

I can feel in my heart that I am conflicted about certain things that the organization represents, reminding myself that duality is normal as long as we are in human form. I manage to set those doubts aside, and engage my adventure with the ayahuasca.

Once I took my first shot, my body handled it much better, I managed not to purge. And the visions appeared. Before I describe the visions, I must express what the body is going through... there is deep contraction at first because of resistance, you can feel every muscle tight, the jaw locks, the insides are churning, there is cold sweat dripping on the back of the neck, then the chills, unexplainable chills, then you are reminded to breath deep and surrender to the experience, not to fight it.

You see, the contraction is our fear to loose control, I watched many in the room struggle with this, including myself, we try to control what the body and consciousness is feeling, organically afraid to feel it's implications because it is unknown and whatever is unknown by extension is feared.

In the relaxed state, the journey is revealed.
I am traveling back to history, back to when there was only one faith, one god, no organized religions, no icons to worship, no temples representing the house of god. Just one people, one faith, one path to evolution...LOVE. No division, no separation.
I feel the presence of something very strong, the voice of the universe, it penetrated every cell in my body. I will refer to this energy as god, to simplify my expression.
God is witnessing us in this gathering and he is very upset, because man continues to seek god through worshiping something, in this case the ayahuasca.
He is laughing, saying when will you understand that this isn't inviting me to dwell in your heart. This is another organized religion, with strict rules, created by man, controlling your relationship with the divine.
Drop these rules and be as you are. Be present for life, be open to life, engage in life, see the magic in your daily existence, fall in love with creation.
At this point, I am attacked by laughter, I laugh uncontrollably, I laugh so hard, I can barely contain myself, I laugh to tears. Until a uniformed lady taps me on the shoulder asking me if I was OK. I said yes, I felt like she was going to draw a ruler from her pocket, the members don't encourage expression. There is a strict discipline to be followed. I am not too clear about the strictness, but I may not understand the importance of all the rules yet.
Once the session was complete, I asked my landlady, why did the woman tap me on the shoulder with great disappointment, I was told that they are trying to prevent bad entities from entering our circles.

Immediately I pulled into the present reality, controlled and abiding, not allowing myself to enter that state again because it scared the congregation.
I wanted with all my heart to continue the journey, but felt afraid that my reaction would not be in accordance with the rules of the Daime Church.
I took another shot, and this one was purely psychedelic, trippy and too many hallucinations for my body to process. This part was highly unpleasant.

As far as the revelation, well, it was supreme. My understanding of the journey has been simplified, and I thank the Santo Daime Chuch for blessing me with this vision.

There will be one more ceremony to attend before I travel home, I will report my discovery on the 16th.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Discovering a new religion in Brasil... AYAHUASCERA

I am at the Casa De Dom Inacio in Brasil, staying in a small private compound open and ready to start my spiritual work. My relationship with the the medium and the casa has changed, I am witnessing too many things I am unable to reconcile. It's been nearly two years since I've visited the spiritual hospital.
God works in mysterious ways, as one door closes another opens.

I have tea with my landlady, Gizella one starry evening, and we spend the entire night talking about her faith and spiritual practices.
"I am an ayahuasquero" she says, "I belong to the Santo Daime Church", I am curious and so I naturally inquire. This is a religion I ask? "Yes, It has helped expand my consciousness and helps me see the world through different eyes," she explains.

I have a terrible flashback of Ecuador and the terrible ayahuasca experience in a spa like setting (most of you have read that blog entry). I don't feel I want to engage this conversation any longer, I have crossed out the possibility of this "sacred visionary medicine" being my path to evolution. Despite my hesitation, she continues to describe the transformation she experiences as a soul.
She talked about feeling more love, more compassion toward humanity and the resolution of the fear of death. She also thoroughly discussed one common practice in Brasil, a vaccine, frog poison injected into your arm and for the next 15 minutes you will experience the death of the body. "You will panic a great deal if you don't surrender to the experience," she says, "you must surrender to feeling death,it is so liberating." She continues to describe the details of feeling the body dissolve. And the purpose to this practice is to resolve the fear of death, because ultimately at the core of all worldly fears is the fear of death, I get this clearly, frog poison- this will take time to digest.
Frog business aside, she invites me to a ceremony at the Santo Daime Church, "It's a special ceremony, 6 hours long and we are celebrating our freedom, the day we were liberated from Portugal."
Six hours of ayahuasca, I just sat 7 hours in meditation at the casa, am I crazy? Guess what? Apparently I am.
I tell her I will sleep on it, I feel conflicted, maybe I will receive an answer in my dream, I ask for direction but none comes until the day of the ceremony, I feel the green light.

'Ayahuasca' itself is the name of a jungle vine. The vine is considered to be the "spirit" of ayahuasca, the gatekeeper and guide to the otherworldly realms.
It is any of various psychoactive infusions or decoctions prepared from the Banisteriopsis spp. vine, usually mixed with the leaves of dimethyltryptamine-containing species of shrubs from the Psychotria genus.
For the chemists:
The three most studied compounds found in the vine are harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine. Harmine and harmaline are selective and reversible inhibitors of MAO-A, while tetrahydroharmine is a serotonin uptake inhibitor.
Its purgative properties are highly important.
Shamans believe that the inevitable vomiting "purging" caused by the ayahuasca mixture is a physical manifestation of negative energy being dispelled from the body.

Gizella tells me a little bit about the godfather (the leader of this Daime church), he was ill and came to Abadiania to see Joao and the Entities for healing. The medium channeled King Solomon the day of his healing, and gave him clear instruction where to built this church and all the specifics regarding the spiritual practice.

To all my Jewish friends, pay attention to the correlation of the rules of this church to a traditional synagogue. This temple and rituals conducted here was blessed by King Solomon.

We arrive at the site, it's about 3 miles from the Casa, a woman greets us, takes us to an office where we need to sign a waiver and make our donation. I quickly glance at the waiver, a very short one, I had to laugh because it was so simple and clear. "You are taking a plant that may induce hallucinations and we are not responsible if a black puma swallows you." Not exactly like that but you get the drift.

At the entrance to the temple stands a huge sculpture of the Star of David, there are no walls, the entire hall is round shaped. There is a wooden table in the center of the hall and yes it is a Star of David, with three women and three men sitting around the table. Like in a Dan Brown chapter, all of the details seemed like a meeting of a secret society.
I notice a large, beautiful glass bottle in the middle of the table filled with what I assume to be the ayahuasca. Outside this table are three circles of chairs, inner, middle and outer circle. The spaces between each circle and each chair is carefully measured to fulfill the sacred structure. All across the entire ceiling with lighting running through is a huge Star of David, same for the floor.
Women and men sit separately, the women must ware skirts and have their shoulders covered. Attendees are members of the society and visitors.
Members must ware uniforms, the colors are blue and white.
The men in blue trousers, white shirts and ties. The women in blue skirts, white shirts and bow ties. All the members wear a large gold Star of David pin.
Two men from Poland, an Australian and myself were the only foreigners amongst the congregation of 50. They welcome us, we are not briefed at all, Michael, the Australian is a bit cerebral and wants to know what to expect, will there be orientation and can someone please translate? Marian, Claudio and myself are less interested in the explanation we just want to start journeying.
The thought of sitting through this for 6 hours is overwhelming. I get a bit antsy. "surrender" just "surrender" is the voice I keep hearing.
The entire night is dedicated to chanting and singing to King Solomon and King David, to the ayahuasca, Mother Mary and Jesus. Beautiful music, with plenty instruments participating, the society members were so passionate in their singing, and in between the chanting and praying we would be instructed every hour to go to the coolers and help ourselves to the ayahuasca, you must drink it in one shot, no sipping. It doesn't taste so great, tastes like kvas minus the sugar (the Russians would know). There were four trips made to the coolers, people of all ages were drinking including several girls who were about 10 years old.
I made it to only two trips, and I vomited violently the first shot. I tried really hard to keep it in.
After my first trip, I couldn't contain the nausea, I was the first to take a visit to the bathroom and vomited the entire first shot. It took 30 minutes to clear it all out, I felt like I was vomiting from the depth of my gut.
A note on ayahuasca vomit, it's not just undigested food coming forth, it's extremely painful, there is an energetic element to the purification, you feel like you are moving some dark black stuff out, there is a need to shout and yell in the process. The bathroom is situated close to the gathering hall, every one hears what goes on in the bathroom, how embarrassing.
Throwing up was a big relief. I come out feeling frustrated that I won't experience the ayahuasca or the altered state.
I go for a walk, immediately to find out that I am only protected if I stay next to my chair, I cannot wander outside the protected circle because my aura is vulnerable and I can easily be a candidate for a psychic attack. We definitely don't want that.

Time for my second shot, I glance over to my friends across the room, Marian looks pale as a ghost, he is leaning against the wall and bobbing his head all over the place with a huge grin on his face, occasionally opening his mouth wide, his eyes are rolling side to side, I wonder if he is having a good experience, he looks strange but I know he is seeing stuff. Michael, my Aussy friend looked perplexed, he isn't feeling much. And Claudio is a strong man, not really surrendering yet. The little girl I mentioned earlier, an hour into the ceremony collapsed on the floor, her mother did not seem worried at all, she covered her with a blanket and went on her way to consume another shot. The little girl wrapped herself entirely in the blanket and begins to have a horrifying experience,at least according to me. Maybe to her it's a liberating one.
Her body is rolling all over the floor, she is banging her head and feet against the floor, whispering to herself in a very devilish voice, she is crying and at times fighting with someone. No one is paying attention, this is totally normal, the godfather occasionally glances over at her and then to me making sure I don't get freaked out. The little girl plants herself behind my chair, for hours she is struggling with some obsessor and no one is assisting. Of course, my heart breaks and I start to pray for her, when Gizella notices what I am doing, she is a seer, she instructs me to not interfere, this is not my business, I need to let her experience the healing.
The second shot settles in me, I manage not to throw this one up. I look across the room, there are several women having intense chills, body shakes, they sweat, they cry and they are freezing. I pray to the ayahuasca, "please show me my illusions, my conditioned personalities, my fears, so I may be free from them."
Then I get the chills, wow! Talk about freezing, I did not feel this cold next to Mt. Everest.
Gizella wrapped me up in blankets, told me it was ok to lay down on the floor. I am afraid to lie down, well no one else is on the floor except for the convulsing girl, I am not joining in.
I manage to sit still and have my experience, I begin to hear a voice speaking to me, It is very loud, it's bouncing all over the place, having an opinion about everything and super loud. I feel like a monkey jumping all over the place. This continues for a while, it feels exhausting, I get my lesson.
Then another voice enters, now I am not sure is it higher consciousness or my monkey brain?
The voice says I allow you six questions, ask and I will answer.
I find myself not being able to focus on the questions too much, because there isn't a full surrender. I am still observing the crowd, being fascinated by their gestures.
I look over and Michael is being escorted out, he has assistance, he isn't walking too well- I guess he had too much.
Then the voice shouts, ask your questions, why are you naughty?
So I ask the first, why do people have difficulties in relationships and love? of course I instruct the voice, don't tell me karma!, please don't tell me karma.
The answer: for your learning, for growth!
My second Q: Why do we have natural disasters? Again I tell it please not karma.
Answer: The law of Cause and Effect.
The third Q: Why do we suffer with illness? Please not karma.
Answer: The law of Cause and Effect.
I kept wandering away, fascinated with the physical sensations and vibrations running throughout my body, and ignoring the voice that kept yelling out you have three more questions.
It's 2am and I feel wide awake, frightful emotions coexisting with blissful and happy ones, not concerned with any worldly things, my body feels etheric, and I continue to feel like this the entire day after, expanded consciousness, alert and clear and at the same time free and liberated from all attachments, what a wonderful feeling indeed, if it can only last.

We will travel again on the 30th. of this month to the Daime chruch, stay tuned.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Rollercoaster experience in Abadiania

Dear friends,

I returned to New York leaving Abadiania in April, Sasha joined me in May. Our intentions were to work, attend my brother's wedding and start planning our next phase.
I knew I wasn't quite prepared to close the chapter on Abadiania so the decision was not hard to make. Particularly when the the intense energy of New York City absorbs you entirely. After two months of managing our practices in New York, we found ourselves exhausted and naturally pushed into the next phase.
Relocating to Brasil.
That is all I can think of, daily I feel emotionally and energetically drawn there. I have visions at night where Medium Joao reveals new direction, guiding me to clearly understand that my work in Abadiania is not complete. These visions are appearing often, I conclude that my lessons are continuing even at such a great distance.
Sasha agrees to give Brasil a chance, we pack three oversize suitcases with all the essentials and take our chances.
During the first month in Brasil, we allocate a lot of time investigating permanent visa requirements, speaking to lawyers, agents, and people who have emigrated to Abadiania. We find out that if a family gives birth to a child in Brasil, they automatically receive citizenship. That was an option we were considering, or at least I was considering.

My work with the Medium and the Entities did not resume until all the stagnation around me was resolved. There were some battles with the westerners- and this story is too ugly to tell.
It is so unfortunate that such a pure mission can attract people with no intention to serve others.
Medium Joao is a saint for witnessing all the distrust, the jealousy, the ambitions, the competition and deciding to pardon and be merciful so he may continue to serve others. I pray to embody that mercifulness.

I suppose this element is to be expected in any spiritual community. This is my second experience working and living in a spiritual community and the variables are very similar.
Abadiana becomes too small for Sasha, he can't develop his practice here, he doesn't respond to the Casa or the work of Medium Joao and we feel challenged.
With a lot of love and guidance from Medium Joao and the Entities we decide it is best for me to leave.
The Entity warned me that the United States will be exposed to a huge spiritual crisis in the next 6-7 years and I will need to do my work, he gave me instructions and his blessing.

With certainty and readiness we leave Brasil on November the 10th. to explore Hawaii. It feels like it is time to make a home and set some roots.
Maybe our wandering days are over.
Hawaii is so special.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

On Praying

I don't really pray that much.

You'd think I would, given how involved
Anjelika is with all things spiritual. But I really don't. My ego gets in the way of appealing to something bigger than myself.

But today was a day that was special and I couldn't resist writing about it. The
dadas in India wouldn't be happy as they always told me not to share my mystical experiences. But today I can't resist.

We've been in Hawaii for the past 3 weeks and things just haven't been going smoothly.
The Big Island was beautiful but the
VOG (the gas from volcanic eruptions) is getting bad and we felt we couldn't stay.
The last week on Maui has also been difficult. I got sick with a mysterious illness of running a fever and sore throat at night ONLY. I wake up every morning and feel like I drank a bottle of something very strong the night before. I spit out yellow gook and try to clear my nose that's closed from eating bread to which my body has developed an allergic dislike.
realtors don't call us back and those that do, quote prices that would make a New York agent blush with shame.Anjelika feels "flat" on some days and ecstatic on others. Sometimes she feels both things on the same day.
A gallon of milk costs $5 and a gallon of gasoline is not far behind. Fish, a staple of island diet, is approaching Whole Foods prices. A few days ago we scored a piece of salmon in
Costco that was cheap. We ate it today and now I feel like I just drank from a pipe that leads to a nuclear waste dump.

Our new friend Reggie took us shopping to Costco. Reggie really likes Costco because Reggie is unemployed and sleeps in his van. He also likes it because you can get really good deals on electronics and Reggie is a photographer. He used to be an electrician but now feels that he'd rather "take pictures". He says: "If I could get this zipline job, then I would just take pictures". He calculated how much he can make and there's a nice ranch with horses for him somewhere in that calculation. Reggie is a cowboy despite being a black man from San Francisco. To me he looks like Winnie the Pooh. Always happy, easy to make friends and ready to help people out just because it feels good.

His zipline job is owned by the Baldwin family who came to Hawaii in the mid 1800's as missionaries. Somewhere in between they bought up lots of land in Hawaii and now every major town has Baldwin avenue. Baldwin the patriarch has recently bought zipline business for his sons who now put people on it and Reggie wants to make a living taking pictures of tourists strung up high above the Hawaiian forests.

But I digress. NO ONE CALLS US BACK WITH GOOD DEALS. I think it is much easier for people to accept that their house is worth more than when their house is worth less. They'd rather have them sitting empty for 2-3 months than accept a smaller rent.

So, yesterday I had a crisis. I cried a little (it was for a good thing) and today I prayed. I prayed to Baba and the Brazilian entities as we were driving to yet another town that looked unfamiliar. I said that the vision I have for Maui is very good and I believe I can help people and if Baba and the entities are watching me, now would be a good time to talk.

About fifteen minutes later we come across a Waldorf School. I've never seen one before but I've heard from Anjelika that it costs about 20 grand a year to send a child to one of these in New York. In Abadiania I also met June who ran a biodynamic farm that supplied Waldorf schools with veggies. Both biodynamics and Waldorf schools are based on the the work of Rudolph Steiner and Waldorf schools prefer biodynamic foods because, according to June, biodynamic vegetables are much, much better than organics. And June should know because June played classical music to her chickens.

So, as we're passing the school, I decide to stop by. Why, asks Anjelka, we don't have children yet. But I stop by anyway and that is where we meet Rich...

It started off innocently enough. We asked Rich where a farmers' market is. We just can't seem to find one. People always point us in one direction or another but we are not finding it. I don't know why, things are growing very well here and I expected a farmers' market on every corner before I came here but we aren't finding it.

So anyway, Rich was giving us directions and then we started talking and before long we were invited to lunch with three of his kids who were just finishing school.

Rich came to the island ten years ago on "a wing and a prayer" as he put it, with his wife and three small children because he felt like he needs to be here. His wife gave him a year to make it work before she would pack up and go back to Japan where she is from and where Rich had spent the last 12 years of his life. A year went by and they were still barely scraping by. Things were getting tight for Rich and it was then that he met a woman who was selling her business of swimming with the dolphins. The idea was good but Rich couldn't afford it. They were having a conversation at a diner and a man overheard them. He said that he could help Rich by going in as a silent partner and having Rich run the business. It was a lucky break and Rich took it. Three months later the man called Rich and said "I've made so much money this year, how about I just gift this to you". And just like that, Rich became an owner of a dolphin-swimming business that last year grossed 2 million dollars.

Rich feels that people who come to live in Hawaii get tested for a while before they either make it or leave to go back home or elsewhere.

After lunch Rich took us to his home because he wanted to show us a DVD of what happened to him.

About 13 years ago while Rich was still in Japan he had an accident that damaged his neck. He tried everything to fix it but the problem was getting worse. First the right side of his body became numb and painful, then the left. Chiropractic, massage, painkillers, past-life regression (he thought that maybe he's done something wrong in his past lives) - nothing was working. He couldn't play with his kids and dreaded going to sleep because that's when discomfort would become most intense. A few months later he was in so much pain that he seriously thought of killing himself. He had to go to a hospital again and again and on one of those visits the doctors told him that they have to operate. First, they'd put him on a traction for three weeks with an IV and then cut his neck open. The operation had a 50 percent chance of success and if it was unsuccessful he'd become paralyzed. And that's when Rich decided to go to Brazil.

We have to go back in time here. A few days before Rich hurt his neck he woke up in the middle of the night. He said it felt like someone pulled him by his big toes. It was exactly 12 o'clock. He couldn't fall back asleep so he went to watch a video that a friend gave him. The video was about a medium in Brazil who channels doctor Fritz.

Those of you who read Anjelka's posts know about the tradition of mediumship and spiritism in Brazil from her writings about John of God. There are a lot of mediums and spiritist centers in Brazil. People from all walks of life go to the centers to get healed or learn how to channel spirits, heal with hands or do automatic writing.

Rich watched the DVD and forgot about it. Later his problem started, he had another sign when he met a woman reading the book about the medium chanelling Dr. Fritz and when the doctors gave him a 50 percent chance of making it he knew he had to go.

He bought a ticket and on the day he was going to the airport a friend told him about a little technicality called "visa". Rich did not have it. How he made it all the way to Japan without learning about visas is beyond me. In any event, Rich's plane is leaving in a few hours and he has no Brazilian visa. He takes a taxi to the Brazilian consulate and a woman tells him that the consulate would be happy to issue him a visa in two weeks time. Rich tells her that he doesn't have two weeks as his plane is leaving today and he is in so much pain that in two weeks he may kill himself. He needs a visa now. The woman tells him that even if the prime minister of Japan walked into this office, he wouldn't get a visa NOW. Rich tells her that he needs to go to Brazil to see doctor Fritz. As he is telling her this, the consul general walks past to get a cup of coffee. He hears the conversation, pulls the woman aside and a few minutes later Rich has a stamp in his passport instantly becoming a hero for the consular staff who've never seen this happen. Rich tells us later that he thought that the consul was either healed himself or had a family member healed by the medium channeling Dr. Fritz whose name is Rubens.

As he is about to board the plane Rich throws away his painkillers believing that this is now in the hands of God and Rubens will heal him. That wasn't a very good idea. It's 12 hours from Tokyo to New York and another 12 hours from New York to Rio with a 6 hour layover. Rich told us that by the time he was on a plane to Rio he was in so much pain he couldn't sit and couldn't be quiet. He had to scream from the pain and shuffle his feet non-stop. The stewardesses layed him down in the aisle at the tail of the plane and prayed over him because they saw how much pain he was in.

The plane lands in Rio at three o'clock in the morning. Rich walks out on the street. He said: "You have to understand, by that time I am completely delusional. I see just one taxi parked in front and a guy is standing in front of it and he's dressed in white. He looked like an angel to me and he looked like he was waiting just for me".

Rich says to him "Dr. Fritz!" The guy puts him in a taxi and they drive for a while until they get to a favela. A word about favelas here. Brazil has some of the worst poverty rates in the world. Many of the poor live in the favelas, cardboard shantytowns that ring all of Brazil's major cities. These places are not for the faint of heart, most of the guidebooks to Brazil carry an explicit warnings: never, under any circumstances go into the favelas, you will be robbed. Most Brazilians will tell you the same thing. I once knew a guy who speaks fluent Spanish, was born in South America and looks like a local. He took a city bus in Rio that goes through a favela and he wanted to get off there and wander around for a while. The bus driver was so concerned about him that he offered to stop a city bus (!) and wait for him for 5-10 minutes. Interestingly enough, nothing happened to my friend.

So, as Rich is being driven into the worst ghetto he has ever seen, yelling from pain on every bump they hit, he starts thinking that maybe coming here wasn't such a good idea. They get to a place that looks like an abandoned warehouse. There are close to a thousand people waiting there already. Rich said that the smell of death was palpable in that giant hall. Before they got there he was sure that he was going to be seen first because he had such a big problem. But, as the assistants help the people around him, he realizes that maybe he won't be the first after all. There are people with IV's, coming directly from the hospitals, people with cancers, paralyzed, maimed in accidents. There was even a guy who just got shot and was brought in to remove a bullet that lodged in his head.

No one speaks English but Rich manages to explain the problem and he's ushered into a smaller room where they sit him at the front row. There was just one seat open there even though there are hundreds of people waiting behind. He hears others complain about the preferential treatment he gets. There is a woman passing around selling batches of incense. No one is buying from her except Rich who makes a promise to himself that he will lite one incense every day after he's healed. When he buys the incense from a woman, she's delighted, she made her 50 cents for that day. That simple act of kindness opens another door, the woman talks to one of the assistants who knows her and Rich is taken to even a smaller room. A few minutes later Rubens comes in. He's incorporated and Rubens is no longer there. It's doctor Fritz now.

At that point Rich stopped telling his story and popped the DVD in for us to watch. I was about to see one of the craziest footages I've seen in my life.

The reason Rich had this DVD is that on the day he went to see the medium, Brazilian television was there filming a documentary. Because of that the mayor of Rio showed up to get on TV and present Rubens with an honorary bone cutting tool.

The medium talks to Rich for a few moments, surprisingly he speaks pretty good English. He lays Rich face down on a simple bed. There is no anesthesia, mediums in Brazil never use it. He picks up a scalpel and just starts cutting into his spine. There is blood but not a lot as the medium cuts deeper and deeper into it. He then picks up a pair of forceps and starts banging it into Rich's spine with a small hammer. And then, and this is something I will never forget, the mayor who's next to the medium, happy to be on camera, hands him this bone-cutting tool. It had a large handle with an electronic motor and a circular blade at the end. I've seen people who ice-fish use something similar to cut holes into a thick ice. Rubens picks it up, it's clearly the first time he's using the tool as he needs people to show him how to turn it on, and then he puts the tool to Rich's spine moving it up and down.

Rich is not anesthesized so he remembers everything. He said he felt the pressure and heat and smelled the bone that was being cut but he felt no pain at all.

A few minutes later Rubens stops and puts a few stitches in. He sits Rich up, pats him on a shoulder, says "no more pain", and walks away. Rich sits there with a big smile, he moves his head around, tells everyone there's no pain now, and then bows, saying he was healed by God today.

It is now 13 years later. Rich is completely healed and thanks God everyday for bringing him to Rubens. For a few years after his healing he would bring people to Brazil as their guide to see the medium. On one of such trips he met the woman who sold him the dolphin business.

As we are leaving Rich and his wonderful kids, two large pitbulls wander into his front yard. They are very friendly and I pet them. They have huge heads that feel very powerful.

On our drive to Makawao, a town nearby that turns out to be a gem, I thank Baba and the entities for answering my prayers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Abadiania through my eyes

In the above photo, you are seeing King Solomon, one of the entities that incorporates Medium Joao. When King Solomon incorporates, most of the volunteers witness the Medium's body expand to hold the King's energy. The color of his eyes change and the size of his body changes.

Well my dear friends, my six month journey expires in one week and I prepare myself once again to part with what appears to be a small piece of heaven on earth.
The Abadiania experience will be cherished in my heart, I can already feel the longing to return and I haven’t left yet.

My relationship with the entities and Medium Joao has fulfilled every possible desire to know more about energy medicine and its applications. This is a lifelong commitment to an apprenticeship that will continue to develop.
My family and friends are very curious about what I have learned and if I can begin to apply my teachings in New York. In the practice of Spiritism, developing mediumship abilities requires a great deal of training. Cultivating an art as sophisticated as energy medicine is a very subtle, gentle, and lengthy process.

One very noticeable shift in my consciousness is
my energetic magnetism has expanded and enhanced. This magnetism is usually transferred through the hands and body. There is a vibration emanating from the vital channels in the body that is always activated. People tend to be drawn to this frequency –mainly expressing that in this presence they feel a warm sensation throughout their body, they feel a deep presence.

In the above photo you are seeing the cleansing current, everyone passes through this room before seeing the Medium.

My intuition has magnified, the cultivation of a healing energy defined as LOVE in Abadiania begins an unfolding process that enables me to tap into a divine intelligence. Accessing this database of wisdom allows me to structure a more effective healing in my psycho-spiritual healing work.

So what is the function of a medium at the Casa?
Most of the mediums are utilized by advanced, intelligent beings to hold the space. To raise the vibrations so that the healer can be more effective in treating people.

There are cleansing mediums, they utilize specific techniques to help cleanse people of lower vibrations, of disease or any other harmful energy.
There are mediums who incorporate spirit, they surrender their consciousness so that more evolved spirits can come through to perform healings. Spirits are in need of physical bodies to do their work.
Medium Joao is very much dependent on the energy of his mediums.
There are mediums that de-obsess people. In the Spiritism philosophy, it is believed that one reason why people behave irrational emotionally particularly people with clear indications of schizophrenia is because there are bad spirits attached or obsessed with these beings. A strong medium helps the obsessor release his victim and rise to the light.

There are many other kind of mediums, but the Casa mostly benefits by the warrior kind. The kind who is willing to surrender their body, their consciousness to engage in hard work, sometimes it feels like a battle.
And why would one choose to stay in Abadiania?
Certainly many foreigners have created an abode for themselves here.
So what draws the foreigners to park long term in Abadiania?
There are three types of identifiable groups guided to live here. The first is the obvious, those who are in need of physical/emotional healing. The entities of the Casa advise people in need of treatments to stay in this bubble of magnetic energy for a specific length of time depending on your condition.

The second group are those who are called to be of service. To assist the healer and become a part of a universal desire- to be of greater service to humanity.
Usually, the volunteers have been miraculously cured by the entities. As a gesture of appreciation they choose to guide others on their journey to healing.
The third group are the somewhat modern day hippies- they just love being immersed in this delicious energy. They are usually easy to identify, they all look naturally at ease and happy.

What about the guests, the visitors?
Who is likely to be guided here?
People who arrive to Abadiania come here as a final resort. Many are very ill and disappointed with modern medicine due to their inability to address or cure their illness. These are generally the quality of people that are helped most. Their desperation creates a special vulnerability. They are more open to God, and they have surrendered all doubt and tend to trust more. This is an extremely significant component that is required in order for us to receive the healing.
A simple, but magical virtue.

This is why the medium prefers to work with the simple minded people, their hearts are more expanded. The results are profound. When you believe, miracles happen. It’s like every cell in our body invites the energy of God and this transforms our body, mind and spirit.
Trust and faith generates an invisible universal magnetic healing energy that is capable of making the impossible possible.
What else is required to enhance our experience in Abadiania?
A radical evaluation of our lives;
Our values, interests, intentions, thoughts, and emotions.
A complete transformation of the mind. This is crucial. The Medium is very clear at communicating that if we paid attention to our spiritual lives our physical bodies would be healthy and we wouldn't require medical interventions.
Medium Joao asserts that healing in Abadiania happens at the core, our spiritual bodies are cleansed, and we are delivered messages by the invisible beings or an advanced energy in the Casa through meditation to re-evaluate our lives. This is why nearly everyone experiences emotional catharsis, healing crisis on an emotional level - strong release of blocked and repressed emotions surface as a result of this cleansing.

We are forced to look at our inner demons straight away. If we’re fortunate we won’t run from this revelation - we will do our inner work. This is a loving, nurturing environment - this is the perfect place to resolve the trauma, the turmoil.

The above photo demonstrates how the healing is administered at the Casa. On the bench you are witnessing 5 mediums who are responsible for raising the healing vibration. The patient lies on the bed, as the Medium is fully incorporated by the entities, you are seeing one entity guide the Medium's hand in surgery and several above assisting in this procedure.
Other than the seriously ill folks who appear in Abadiania, you have a diverse selection of healers who come here. Hypnotherapists, astrologers, reiki masters, shamans, priests, interfaith ministers, psychics, and a handful of others I am failing to list.
What’s interesting is the entities forbid all kinds of alternative healing administered while people are being treated at the Casa. So as not to interfere with the Casa treatments. You meet really interesting people, except they are not here to share their wisdom but to learn and grow - they are here to heal and some of them are mediums of the Casa, and they usually are being utilized as vessels to raise the vibrations in the meditation rooms for cleansing and healing to manifest.

We need to be carefully prepared; if you decide to come to Abadiania please remind yourself you are coming to a hospital, leave all the fantasies about coming to a perfect spiritual community of love and kindness where miracle cures are offered on a silver tray. It will be a huge disappointment if you come to see Medium Joao expecting to receive your miracle cure.

I have witnessed miracle cures but they are granted according to your karmic disposition. If you saved many orphans in your past life, chances are you will be cured of fourth stage inoperable brain tumor on your second visit, as happened with my friend Robert from Chicago. Robert devoted two weeks on both visits.

It’s not the healer’s fault if we accumulated a heavy load of debts from previous lives and therefore are facing the consequences - our healing journey is a process.
One thing I have witnessed, your karma expedites here, as the cleansing of the karmic body begins to unfold, you are given the opportunity to pay your debts faster.
But be sure to look out for this, and not make the mistake to assume that the universe is attacking you. It is through contact with delivered messengers that you begin the payback.
So this is the difference between miracle cures and a much longer response to healing.
We receive according to what is earned, at least according to Kardec, the French philosopher who introduced the concept of Spiritism all across Brasil.
I thank the entities of the Casa for granting me the opportunity to be a part of a profound community of light seekers. I pray that they continue to educate me where ever I may be and I hope to be able to apply their wisdom every day in my life.
I pray for everyone across the globe to experience the profound healing that the Casa De Dom Inacio has to offer.
Blessings to all who are willing to explore the generosity, the love that this healing 'abode' has to offer.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ananda Nagar- Part Two (Sasha's entry)

Coming to Calcutta early in the morning feels like traveling back in time. The normally chaotic and busy Howrah train station is half-asleep. Fast-food shops are closed and thick pollution fog is hanging over the station's tracks. The only beings awake at this time are a few porters getting ready for the day's work and a bunch of homeless dogs looking for food. You almost expect a British Raj soldier to come out from around the corner.

Dada Vishvabodhananda and I came to this busy city to attend the annual gathering of Ananda Marga's devotees. It happens in October of every year around the date of their guru's death. Dada told me in advance that there will be a lot of people and even more kirtan or devotional singing. Kirtans are designed to awaken in a devotee a sense of the divine through the use of chanting. In Ananda Marga's tradition Baba Nam Kevalam is the central and only mantra. I've heard different explanations of Baba Nam Kevalam. The literal translation is "Baba's name is everywhere". The version I liked the most is "Love is all there is". It is used in sickness and in health, since, as Dada once explained to me, everything they do is for Baba. You have a good day, Baba it's for you. You have a bad day, Baba it is also for you. Baba is everything to them: father, friend, and, above all, manifestation of the Divine on Earth. 

Ananda Marga's Baba was a social and spiritual reformer who left an incredibly rich scientific, medical, and artistic legacy. He also instituted a lot of changes in the way Tantra is practiced, at least within this group. He is the spiritual motivation behind all of Ananda Marga's social projects, i.e. schools, orphanages, and medical clinics all over the world.
Now, as a side note, I should mention that in India, the land of God-intoxicated people, there are many babas. Here they have naked babas, brown-sugar babas and I even heard of Pilot Baba. Naked babas are a respected sect that are...well, naked. Their bodies are covered with ash, their hair is matted and they look like Rastafarians who smoked too much hash. They are usually given the honor to be the first group to take a dip in the holy Ganges at the end of Kumbh Mela. This is a once-in-12-years gathering of spiritual seekers that last time attracted close to 70 million people. Naked babas even ride Indian trains naked while holding swords. The usual explanation is that they are emulating goddess Kali but it maybe to fend off train conductors since naked babas never pay for train tickets. 

One person recently wrote to me that he wants to come to India and ride its trains to see the naked babas. Dada Vishvabodhananda said that if the guy wants to see a naked sadhu Dada will be happy to take off his dress.
Brown sugar babas snort heroine because they say it helps them in meditation and Pilot Baba got his name because of the years he spent in the Air Force. He is now a guru with many devotees but he stills wears a pilot cap.
So, I've been to kirtans before in the United States. They were orderly gatherings of well-behaved spiritual seekers listening to nice music and sipping bottled spring water. The Indian kirtan is as different from that as Calcutta’s dirty, fume-spitting, crowded bus is different from a high-speed German train. For three days close to four thousand people will be packed into a small space that is Ananda Marga's central ashram in India

The kirtan goes non-stop for the time that the celebrations continue. The groups of chanters change every hour, continuously singing Baba Nam Kevalam, Baba Nam Kevalam...for 72 hours straight. The rest of the large hall is full of people dancing and chanting. For the next 3 days the people will live on the ashram's premises. They will sleep on the ground and eat in a communal space. Anyone can drop by at any time they feel like chanting even if it is 3 o'clock in the morning. In fact, some devotees have told me that night kirtans are the best.
I was, of course, unprepared for all of this. Dada told me "come, it will be nice". We get to the ashram at 6 in the morning on Friday, the official first day of the celebrations. Most of the rooms are already full, in fact most of the outside grounds are packed with people. The luckiest ones got the prime spots on the grass and the rest just spread their thin blankets on bare ground. 

Dada ran around trying to find a space for me with other Westerners. Ananda Marga has many foreign devotees and, when they are in India, they are treated with much care to protect their gentle souls. We sleep in rooms and are fed in a separate kitchen with senior dadas. I don't think we could handle standing in line for 3 hours waiting for a free lunch, baking in Calcutta’s sun and pushing other seekers. The lines start well before the food is ready and people are broken up by gender, possibly to prevent groping. When a call for food comes, the lines begin to push threatening the shaky foundations of the temporary communal kitchen. Two hulky dadas with large sticks stand on either side of the entrance and keep a watch over the diners.

It is not an easy task to arrange food for a few thousand people all at once. At later nights I'd wonder ashram grounds and watch cooks prepare mounds of rice as high as my waist. There is no electricity where they work and the cooking fires are the only light they work with. They stir enormous vessels full of curry with giant spoons that can be used in rowing competitions. Their half-naked bodies are shiny with sweat and the light of large fires reflects on their faces. They could be used as guardians of the gates of hell in some religious movie.
While Dada was busy arranging my stay, I sat in the room full of monks who were doing their morning routine. They just finished brushing teeth and were meditating and doing asanas or yogic postures. Ananda Marga is a Tantric sect which means that the main focus of their spiritual practice is meditation. Asanas are done to maintain the body's vital functions and to assist in the meditation practice. The dadas were surprisingly flexible, even the older ones. Afterwards we had a nice conversation about America's foreign policies and George Bush and I wasn't the one who started it. More than a couple of young monks asked me how much an acupuncturist makes in the United States. They are an interesting group, these young dadas. Because of long hours spent in meditation their eyes emanate intense spiritual energy that, I felt, they were proud of. The older dadas don't pay much attention to these tricks as if knowing that even this will pass. 

Dada V. came back a short time later to tell me that I am in luck, a space has been arranged for me on the floor of one of the rooms. For the next 3 days I will share that floor with three other Westerners.
I go in to meet my new neighbors. We have a Croatian who is already a monk, an American studying to be a monk, and a New Zealander who is just a nice guy with a guitar. The group is supervised by a very pleasant German dada who spent many years in the States and is in charge of Ananda Marga's activities in Illinois. He has some intestinal problems and can only eat bland food. Because of the long track here from abroad (and probably because of too many boiled vegetables) he has developed a cold and we can not turn the fan on in our room since he spends much of his time in our company. The other margis, keeping in line with the group's tradition, will only do the asanas in the room. Baba advised that asanas should not be done in an open space since the sweat itself is beneficial and should not be wasted. Also, the wind may enter the pores and cause disease. Whatever the reason, the net effect of inside yoga and no fan is that by the end of the first day our room smells like a horse stable. Compared to the clean rooms of older Western margis, ours looks and smells like a frat house. I begin to think that I am either extremely unlucky or Baba is testing me.

The next three days I spend in the ashram will go down in memory as one of the most uncomfortable times in my life. I sleep on the floor of a smelly room and refuse to go to kirtan because it seems like a crazy idea to spend even a minute in a hall packed to the gills with the sweating and wildly dancing chanters. I wonder the grounds of the ashram being miserable, concerned with what will happen to my slippers if I go in to chant and leave them outside. I've been told that there are slipper thieves who come in under the pretext of joining the kirtan just to steal nice shoes. I later came to realize that the reason for my misery was in me but at that time I was too busy being pissed off at Baba, Dada, and myself for agreeing to attend. I spend hours mentally arguing with Baba but he is immovable and silent like a mountain. He looks at me from giant posters and he does not care to enter into an argument.

The outside of our building is full of people day and night. Early in the morning attendants walk around with buckets of chlorine. They dump it on the ground to prevent disease from spreading. By 8 in the morning Calcutta’s hot sun comes out and bakes the mixture of chlorine and sweat and before long the ashram begins to smell like the pool I swam in during my youth. We had an alcoholic caretaker whose method of pool control was to heat up the water and dump enough chlorine on Monday to sustain the water for the rest of the week. His job done, he'd disappear till next Monday to hang out with his friends. It would usually work but that also meant that the first few days of the week we'd swim in a hot, chlorinated soup.
Despite all the precautions, disease begins to set in by the second day. The Westerners fall down first or maybe I just notice them more because they are the ones who come to complain to me. The news of my acupuncture training spreads and, since I don't have much else to do, I begin to treat the victims. One woman collapses in the morning and we treat her with burning herbs. As soon as she is able, she goes back to the chanting hall. No amount of discomfort can stop the truly faithful from attending kirtans. I admire their strength and resolve but because of my thick-headed judgment can't share the enthusiasm.

All the spiritual energy generated at the ashram must have an effect on me because whenever I leave ashram grounds to go elsewhere, a deep calm descends into my heart. It is a pleasant feeling that can only be described as seeing good in everything. I ride the buses and watch the city's life on its busy streets. It is polluted and noisy but it seems familiar and dear like visiting home. Calcutta has a lot of people and much of their activity happens on the streets. People eat and drink chai from side stalls and talk to friends at the curbside. Many use public fire hydrants to take showers. It is common to see men busily soaping themselves at a filthy intersection that gets more traffic than Times Square. My bus rides by a woman who is washing her two naked children with the water that is a mixture of hydrant stream and a run-off from the street stalls outside.

Whenever I come back to the ashram I long to leave again and when I am out, after a few hours, I begin to miss its spiritual charge. I finally find an Internet cafe close enough to the ashram. I spend some time there checking up on the news. A Swedish margi named Joytish keeps me company. Joytish has spent the last four years in Myanmar and he set up two schools for the local kids there. Because of the recent political events in the country Joytish is sought out by the news outlets as a Myanmar authority. That keeps him busy for hours.

By the end of the second day I start to bug Dada about returning to Ananda Nagar. He is wonderfully patient with me and tells me that if I tried kirtan, I might enjoy it. But I am too concerned about my Brasilian slippers to leave them outside unattended. Finally, by the end of the third day, kirtan marathon is finished and we head to the train station. Dada did not book the tickets in the days before, despite my urgings to do so. It happens to him sometimes, he spaces out and forgets to do things. When we arrive at the station we are still on a stand-by because all trains are full. We sit near the ticket counter and wait for the latest news. I notice Dada looking sadly at his shoes and I ask him what is the matter? He tells me that on the first day someone has mistakenly taken his shoes and left him with a pair that looks just like his but is a few sizes smaller. He shows me a large boil as evidence of his suffering.

An hour later we are issued "reservation against cancellation". In my mind it means that we are assured beds for the 9-hour overnight journey. When we board the train, I realize that in India RAC means that if two of you are listed on a ticket, you'll be given one bed if only one bed is available. And that is where I loose it with Dada. After three days of hard floor sleep I loathe to spend another uncomfortable night, cuddling on a small train bed with Dada Vishvabodhananda who is a nice guy but not nice enough for me to hug him. I "scold" him, to use his language, about his lack of organizing it properly. He is so clearly upset and so apologetic that being mad at him just does not make any sense. Dada offers that he will sleep on the floor or go and find other dadas to sleep with. I refuse his offer and Dada runs around the train to find if there are any empty beds. Alas, the train is completely full. As we depart, a bed across the aisle remains empty. Dada tells me to go and occupy it as we see other unfortunates trying to stake their claim to it. When the train conductor comes, a few people, including Dada, surround him and start quickly saying something while pointing to the bed on which I seat, unsure of my status. The conductor thinks for a minute and then allows me to stay.

In the evening Dada and I talk about our experiences in Calcutta and he shares with me that before the train left, he prayed to Baba and said to him something like: "Baba you know everything. I am Indian and can sleep anywhere but my guest is a foreigner and he needs a bed". "You see, Sasha" Dada says "for you it may be just a lucky coincidence but I know that Baba helped me. The train is completely full and yet a bed became miraculously available just next to us for you to use. I know it was Baba who arranged it for us." I go to sleep thinking that if I am to spend the next 6 month with the margis and actually enjoy it, I should try harder to understand the depth of their devotion.