Reflections by Lee Albert
Copyright © 2005, Lee Albert. All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Permission of the Author
An ibogaine (eboga) session is like a burst of light that clears out all the cobwebs in the mind and shows us a world within that has long been hidden by the drowning effects of the Shadow that daily haunts our lives cutting us off from our soul, our Child within.
The Shadow itself being that part of our ego that contains all the repressed and unacknowledged memories and experiences that in one way or another have contributed to our state of unease. It is as much a part of our consciousness as the “I” that is reading this article except the “I” of our awareness does not enter its realm, i.e., the “I” of our awareness closes its eyes from the content of the Shadow. The Shadow being, if you like, the dark side of the moon where the moon is our whole ego and we choose to block all awareness of its darkness. Yet it is constantly affecting who we are.
After an eboga session we are shown what it is like for a while to be without the Shadow affecting all our thoughts and actions. Which is why in the months immediately following an eboga session we are most open to all forms of positive therapy work as we can see more clearly the difference between the positive and the negative. It is an opportunity to learn new ways of behaving before the Shadow returns in force and we once more return to many of our old ways.
It is the repression of the Shadow that leaves us on the edge of pain and dissatisfaction. It manifests in our lives in an impulse to hit out and act destructively in our relationships and general well being.
However, eboga (ibogaine) when used properly helps to expose the Shadow and to eventually heal what it contains. There is a movement within our whole being physically, mentally and emotionally, towards wholeness. At the same time tolerance for drugs, alcohol or anything else which hurts the body, including one’s tolerance for hurting others or being hurt, lessens. Eboga is a movement towards wholeness on all levels.
At times on this journey it can seem that the Shadow and our destructive ways are as strong as ever. But this is an illusion as we have simply hit upon an area of difficulty which temporarily blocks out our awareness of previous healing work. For this reason the keeping of an “Eboga Journal” recording what has been achieved is a useful way to remain aware of the process one is going through.
Another stumbling block along the way is the release of emotional pain (due to the freeing of the Shadow) as repressed thoughts complete their course and enter into our emotional apparatus. Fortunately most of the released pain is handled within an eboga session. However residual pain can endure after a session and further pain can emerge subsequently. This is why it is important to view eboga as a process, which requires ongoing sessions varying between low and high doses. If this process is not entered into properly then one will most likely return to whatever form of self-abuse one indulges in to suppress emerging pain.
Hence, the eboga healing process is not simply a question of taking a pill. To achieve a healed state using eboga requires intention and spirituality in the form of growing self-awareness. The unraveling of the Shadow and thus the healing process accelerates once we are prepared to look at the issues and learn the lessons involved. In all likelihood this can take some years depending on the person and the problems one has. However, the rewards are nothing other than divine.
What is the Goal?
A primary goal of Eboga healing is the clearing of the Shadow within the ego, to the point where it is inconsequential to the unification of the ego with the soul (the Child within), as the heavens do not bear darkness and the unexplored Shadow is an area of darkness, which prevents spiritual connection. I imagine within an eastern tradition the same is achieved through years of meditation practice, which allows the seeker to connect with the soul without being affected by the Shadow.
Many Stages to Healing
There are many stages to healing and each can seem like the last hurdle to mount. Yet there always seems to be another hurdle just ahead, like climbing a mountain and seeing the peak only to discover that another lies beyond. So it is natural and understandable to begin with the idea that if I can simply get clean I will be fine. We can only really deal with one or a few obstacles at a time. Otherwise the task would appear too daunting and we might give up before we have even started. Thus I am afraid to say, for most of us, “getting clean” is only the beginning.
Give Me Another Fix. Now!
What is it that underlies addiction and drives us to return time and time again? Does it matter if it is genetic, learned or simply dependence? Obviously whatever it is, it’s something we desire to complete us.
The sensations, the feelings, the wellness that we seek, I believe, are to be found elsewhere. But where? For the sake of simplicity I will call it healing and describe what we seek as simply wholeness, the release and resolution of our whole self and that includes the Shadow. The releasing of the Shadow however can also release dark forsaken states of mind which we have suppressed which fill us with a sense of self hate, alienation and rejection from life and relationship. That is why it is very difficult to face.
Prime Time for Therapy
In this regard, the first 3 to 6 months post-treatment is prime time for therapy of all kinds, including emotional release, group therapy and one on one. During this period one is open to new perceptions (if one is prepared to look at oneself honestly) and a lot of new behavior patterns can be appreciated for what they “really” have to offer, and be put into place before the ego re-cements its hold or better put, the Shadow re-exerts its influence.
The point of any therapy work etc (from the point of view of eboga) is to connect us with where we are right “now” so that we can focus in on the issues that are relevant in the here and now. These are the issues we take into a mini-session which when contemplated upon bring us deeper to their source. When we see the truth, and its effects, we have the chance to accept it and to move on. Acceptance is the antechamber to healing.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
The cravings can be the last thing to go on the path to wholeness, as they may in fact be the catalyst that keeps you in the work, i.e., The Eboga Process. It is also worth noting that as we progress in our healing our defenses lessen and we no longer can exert the same dictatorial control over our actions that perhaps helped us control our addictions in the past. Thus, addiction at the beginning of the healing process is not necessarily the same as addiction at the end.
Struggling with addiction itself is a struggle, I believe, with unmet needs and subdued Shadow material and thus, perversely, our addiction oftentimes brings us into the depths we need to explore. If there were a halfway house to healing then most likely many would choose not to go the full way and in the end this is where the soul is encouraged to go. Eboga in that sense has its own agenda.
If we look at addiction as an escape from the depth of pain our Shadow masks, we can see that as we journey on our path fighting the dragons our Shadow throws at us, we will from time to time encounter extremely painful truths. Sometimes the hidden pain is simply overwhelming and we may for a time become re-addicted. It’s simply a step on the way until we fully face the problem before moving on once more.
It’s not a simple journey and sometimes it is a case of 2 steps forward and 1 step back. The old ways will try to reassert themselves from time to time but the new, which is gradually introduced, is a connection to your true self and the sense of the natural it contains. It is a force, which will lift you up and allow you to go deeper into relationship on many levels where before it was impossible. It is what grows as the other loses its power. In turn it strengthens us. The fun and joy of relationship along with the passion of the body are slowly restored. This is the divine feminine and in my opinion the key to recovery.
Once we heal, the idea of using drugs such as cocaine, heroin etc is out of the question, as we have no need to cover our pain or wounds. Also, our newly acquired clear state of mind is seriously lessened by these substances. They interfere with a connected and “whole” state of mind. Realizing this we finally dump all the shit (including the wars) and embrace a life of love that is lived in freedom, freedom from the past and emotional freedom in the present. This for me is the goal of healing and with it comes an understanding that is born out of clarity. In such a state all one’s needs are met. The universe also plays its part.
Switch to Reality
I believe that beneath addiction (chemical or otherwise) lies a cause that holds it in place; which is why I see the overall program of being clean and eventually independent of addiction as one of self-knowledge, self-confrontation and a growth in love for oneself and for all life.
But all of this takes time, as the ego is an organic reality and has its own inner capacity for change and healing. The soul can grasp the truth but the ego has to take it on board – become rewired. Hence why I advocate intention-driven low dose or mini-sessions over an extended period of time. Each session being an opportunity to work with the present psychological environment one finds oneself in. This in turn leads to a gradual reprogramming of the ego coupled with a gradual release of the emotional body.
In our darkest moments life is a place of confusion, at times a valley of darkness but most of all it is an illusion that we have constructed out of the broken pieces of our past that haunt and destroy our present.
To forgive and to find the love in all is a very difficult journey and begins with oneself. In this regard I would like to share a piece of writing which I feel describes the ongoing eboga experience:
A Psalm of David
THE LORD is my shephard; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Eboga As Master Teacher
To my mind spirituality and healing are inextricably intertwined and time is required to allow the ego to take the lessons on board. This time is also utilized in the deepening of one’s spirituality.
In that sense there does not, and cannot, exist a magic bullet that will take away all our woes in one god-almighty session. That would defeat the purpose (spiritually speaking) of what we can learn from the problems underlying our “dis-ease.”
Hence, one should expect a long period of growth in self-awareness, coupled with greater awareness for all, aided as required by the power eboga gives us to explore our innermost self. Eboga is a master teacher.
Thus, in return for the healing and wellness of our being, we are being asked to learn.
That is the deal. That is Eboga.
I Relate, Therefore I Am
Is relationship with oneself and others not really the basis of happiness and can relationship exist if we live in a delusion imposed by our unacknowledged Shadow? Does relationship not depend on a deep connection to reality and does this not depend on a clear mind, uncontrolled by past, submerged influences – some of which we seek to avoid through addiction?
Through eboga we become more and more aware of our issues and at some level, in order to reclaim our lives, we have to become conscious of them, accept them, forgive them and ultimately release them. This, eboga can help us to do if we are truly resolved to move on in life and are ready to focus ourselves towards love.
Eboga & Spirituality
There are those of course who feel that the linking of spirituality to recovery is an intrusion, or worse still, a desire on the part of some to proselytize others into a way of being. In the excitement to pass on what one has learned on the path to recovery this can often seem the case. But like in any treatment option, spirituality and lack of personal, freely given intention is an oxymoron.
Should one enter treatment committed to a particular belief born from imposition or indoctrination? Perhaps not. Any true spirituality is born of free will, self-discovery and a movement towards wholeness in oneself. It is meaningless unless it is born of freedom, knowledge and a hunger towards self-completion born out of a desire to bridge the gap between where one finds oneself and where one seeks to go. With this in mind recovery becomes a journey where nothing is presupposed and all is ready to be discovered and understood one day at a time.
The question of course is: is it possible to arrive at a state of wholeness and be left untouched by spirituality? Well, there’s the crunch. In the place where healing exists lies truth and if spirituality does in fact exist, where is it most likely to be? For this reason if we chose to dismiss spirituality based on a dislike for orthodox religion we risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
The onus of the question then is with you, the reader and not with me or any particular creed. It is fundamentally a personal matter.
Are You Looking For The Truth?
When I started with eboga I found that in order to go deeper I had to connect to its energy and its movement – all of which are spiritual – truth being an important part of that energy. I also had to discover many things within myself including acceptance, compassion, humility….. yet I struggle with all of these still. However, once encountered, the question of spirituality itself became a non-issue as in the letting go, the ego ceases to block what before it was prejudiced towards.
Eboga practices love and understanding and it’s the experience of this that draws one in deeper as it is the most real and genuine experience one can have in a world filled with people seeking love who for one reason or another cannot properly give it and thus are unable to receive it.
Eboga gives love and infects you with its influence. You desire to go deeper and it is willing to take you there, if you ask. It is not about judgment or indeed about being forced. It is about seeing the pain that our actions have caused others and the pain that their actions have caused us. Once you become acutely aware of these things you realize that the world can never be a better place until we take the veil from our eyes and put aside the old ways. It is then that the process of building a new life begins; one that in itself is rewarding and which puts the idea of self-destruction into the past.
Self Empowerment – Your Own True Self
Self-empowerment, as I see it, is an acceptance of the totality of who we are, commonly described as befriending the Shadow. This in turn allows the merging of the soul and the ego as one self-centered entity, i.e., one is self-empowered as there is no conflict between the Shadow and non-Shadow parts of the ego distracting one’s attention from the connection of the whole ego to the soul (which has itself also been healed). In other words the split between the ego (nature) and the soul (spirit) is mended. This merging of our nature and our spirit leads to a return of the divine feminine (the goddess).
In this state we take our knowledge from the internal feedback of the body itself and the promptings of our soul. Our actions are governed by what is natural (common sense) and not by what is speculated or manipulated. We are thus moving into reality.
Eboga Gives Options
There is a poignant tale told by Jean-Paul Sartre, called No Exit, in which the protagonists end up in a room together that symbolizes hell and are at odds with one another. Their differences are irreconcilable and they are fixated on them. In the final act the door swings open showing an azure void. Then the door swings shut and they are locked forever in their chosen hell.
Unless we embrace the peace and not the war we can become like the protagonists in this tale who end up fighting with their own phantoms in a self-created hell.
We all have to choose but if we do not know the options how can we choose? Eboga shows us the options and helps us to understand that it is necessary to face our unmet needs rather than foster the desire for something which in truth we can never own and which will never fulfill those unmet needs, as what we desire and what we lacked are two distinct things. It shows us what it is to have but not possess and the beauty, wealth and joy that this brings.
Eboga shows us what is possible in terms of healing one’s past and we learn that each situation has many aspects to be considered, i.e., we learn compassion. Eboga is a master teacher of life and shows the part you and others have played in it. You see that it can be another way.
Become a Revolutionary
Finally, I would like to ask a question: is it not better to die seeking to lessen the suffering in this world through lessening our own suffering than to do nothing at all? In changing ourselves we change the world and in this lies a key to humanity no one can touch; a life fostering destruction becomes a life fostering life.
Wishing you a safe journey……………………….
Author’s Book & Web site details:
Amazing Grace: A true story based on the use of eboga / ibogaine over a six year period. Includes section on the Eboga Healing Process: www.myeboga.com/amazinggrace.html.
My Eboga: A website dedicated to practical guidance and spiritual interpretation of the eboga experience. Includes a mailing list for those already initiated into eboga: www.myeboga.com.