Ayahuasca retreat remains a fringe psychiatry, but it’s slowly working its way into the mainstream. Until fairly recently, you had to travel to South America if you wanted to experiment with the plant, but now ayahuasca retreat are popping up in the United States and Europe. Indigenous people in countries like Colombia and Peru have been brewing the concoction for thousands of years, mostly for religious or spiritual purposes. It’s considered a drugs , how to heal internal wounds and reconnect with nature your highest truth.
It wasn’t until 1908 that Western scientists acknowledged its existence; British botanist Richard Spruce was the primary to review it and write on the “purging” it invokes. He was mainly curious about classifying the vines and leaves that made up the magic brew, and in understanding its role in Amazonian culture. Handler’s of ayahuasca retreat experience appears to be common. The scientific evidence on ayahuasca is restricted , but it’s known to activate repressed memories in ways in which allow people to return to a replacement understanding of their past. In some cases, it helps people run through memories of traumatic events, which is why neuroscientists are starting to study ayahuasca as a treatment for depression and PTSD. (There are physical and psychological risks to taking it as well — it can interfere with medication and exacerbate existing psychiatric conditions.)
Buddhists, cognitive scientists, and philosophers have all made persuasive arguments that there is nothing like a “fixed self,” no thinker behind our thoughts, no doer behind our deeds. There is only consciousness and immediate experience; everything else is that the results of the mind projecting into the past or the longer term . But this is a difficult truth to grasp in everyday life. Because you’re conscious, because it’s like something to be you, it’s very easy to believe that a wall exists between your mind and the world. After do ayahuasca retreat you’re experiencing something, then there must be a “you” doing the experiencing. But the “you” in this case is just an abstraction; it’s in your mind, not out there in the world.