What the Indigenous Medicine, Ayahuasca, Has Taught Me About Human Nature

It’s filled me with so much hope.

Jeff Valdivia
5 min readSep 19, 2022


Photo by Stéfano Girardelli on Unsplash

If you’ve ever eaten a magic mushroom, taken LSD, or been under the influence of another psychedelic, you know how they can change your mind. And not just because they make you experience wild hallucinations.

An amazing and mysterious property of psychedelics is that they can have lasting impacts. Often, those impacts are powerfully positive.

Earlier this year, I traveled to Peru for a seven-day retreat during which I participated in three ayahuasca ceremonies. These ceremonies were ritualized and led by two Shipibo healers with a combined 40 years of experience. Facilitators were close by in case anyone’s experience went sideways.

If you’d like to read a description of what these ceremonies are like, I’ve written about that here:

In the rest of this article, I’m going to discuss the insight ayahuasca gave me into the nature of humanity.

Ayahuasca deconstructs our minds

Taking a psychedelic like ayahuasca is not for the faint of heart. The journey of being pulled into another world — one that is nothing like your day-to-day existence — is not an easy one.

I think of the discomfort as a painful birth into the spiritual realm. It’s an initiation. You must pay an entrance fee if you are to commune with the divine.

I know that words like “divine” and “spiritual” can engender a great deal of skepticism and eye-rolling. I’ve been there. But I don’t know what other words to use. If you believe that the countless people throughout the ages who reported religious and spiritual experiences were all mistaken, there is little I’m going to be able to do in this short article to change your mind. On the other hand, if you have the intuition that there is more to life than what you see on the surface, I invite you to lean into that intuition. I not only believe that intuition…



Jeff Valdivia

Following my curiosity and hoping it will lead me to wisdom. I write about psychology, meditation, self-development, and spirituality.