My Journey to Rythmia Life Advancement Center: The Land of Miracles


My Journey to Rythmia Life Advancement Center: The Land of Miracles

BY JUSTIN FAERMAN

Rythmia: The Land of Miracles

This is a hard article to write… because, as I write, I am acutely aware of the fact that words can never truly capture the immense, life-altering profundity of what I experienced at Rythmia. But I am going to try to capture as much as I can in the hopes that those who are ready for a quantum leap in their personal and spiritual growth will get a sense of what awaits them if they decide to make the journey down to this beautiful little slice of planet Earth. So, with that being said, let’s begin.

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First off, it’s important to know that there are two layers to this story: the trip to Rythmia and the trip at Rythmia. The edges of where each begins, and ends are fuzzy as there is a fair bit of overlap, but I’ll do my best to sort it all out into something coherent that captures the essence of each.

The Trip to Rythmia

Rythmia Life Advancement Center is a luxury wellness resort located on the northern end of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, which just happens to be ground zero for one of the world’s most famous Blue Zones. What is a Blue Zone, you ask? In a nutshell, it’s one of those special places on the planet where people live longer than anywhere else, with many breaking the 100-year-old mark and far beyond. Experts aren’t entirely sure why that is, but it has something to do with the food, the culture, and the pristine nature of the region that all combine to produce extraordinary levels of health and well-being. Great place to put a resort—and if that is all Rythmia had to its name, it would be a great reason to go.

But, they do something very special here that makes all of this pale in comparison—they serve Ayahuasca, and when Ayahuasca is served, it always steals the show. Sure, longevity is great, but when it comes to life, it’s all about the quality of time spent over the quantity of years walking this earth. If you want an ultra-high quality, deeply fulfilling life, there are few faster ways to achieve that than through the intentional use of plant medicines like Ayahuasca, which is why a resort like Rythmia, which is dedicated to improving your quality of life big time, puts this sacred medicine front and center.

These days, most people have heard of Ayahuasca in some form or another, but in case you haven’t, or in case what you’ve heard about it isn’t accurate, here’s a quick primer.

Ayahuasca and Accelerated Personal Growth

In a nutshell, Ayahuasca is a sacred plant medicine used for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years by indigenous tribes throughout the Amazon basin and adjacent regions of South and Central America for miraculous levels of healing and highly accelerated spiritual growth. How the plant does that is by sending you on a powerful, deeply transformational, and oftentimes psychedelic journey over the course of about 6 to 8 hours that typically takes you to the edges of the universe and back, with healthy doses of exploring the depths of your heart, mind, and soul. If that sounds intense, well, I am not going to lie, it is, but trust me it is so worth it.

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Admittedly, it’s not for everyone and once again, fair warning that it can be extremely challenging and unpleasant at times. But it can also be the most exquisitely beautiful experience of endless waves of bliss washing over your body for hours as your heart chakra is blasted open, overflowing with unconditional love for everyone and everything, burning away your deepest fears and anxieties forever. The fact is, you never quite know what you are going to get (and it’s usually a little bit of both ends of the spectrum), but you can always count on it being massively transformational at the highest levels.

Every single person I met there was incredibly glad they chose to partake of the medicine by the end of the week, even those that had more challenging experiences. Out of our group of 60 or so people, there were miraculous healings of chronic illnesses and pain of all flavors, peace made with family members and lifelong grievances, letting go of deep trauma from childhood experiences, clarity on one’s life purpose, the lifting of long-seated, stubborn depression and anxiety, journeys into peak spiritual experiences of oneness, bliss, and the pinnacles of consciousness, and much more. When all was said and done, everyone got something profound, and no one was the same person who walked in at the beginning of the journey. Just another week at Rythmia…

Nourishing Your Body, Mind, and Soul

If the only thing they did is serve Ayahuasca, that would be another great reason to go; but the truth is that Ayahuasca is only half of the transformational equation they have incredibly well dialed in here. Rythmia is also a world-class destination for breathwork (which is just as powerful as plant medicine in its own way), workshops from leading spiritual teachers, and all the healing and lifestyle amenities to support the deep transformation that ensues that you could want. When you couple that with the incredibly kind and loving facilitators and staff, who make the whole experience feel like coming home to a long-lost soul family, you have the recipe for a peak experience that you’ll never forget.

Retreat-by-the-Pool

It helps to think of Rythmia like this: everything here is meticulously designed and continually being optimized to facilitate deep healing, deep transformation, and deep rejuvenation at every level of your mind, body, and spirit. Literally. Gerry Powell, the founder of Rythmia, is obsessed with feedback from people who come to visit and is constantly making tweaks and upgrades to the facilities and programming to deliver a beautiful, heart-opening experience that flows smoothly and effortlessly from start to finish. And it’s working.

As someone who spends quite a bit of time sampling luxury retreats all around the world, I can say that my time at Rythmia was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, especially in terms of its ability to catalyze high levels of personal growth. And I have high standards too. As someone who has been committed to eating the highest quality organic food whenever possible, who practices breathwork, meditation and yoga daily, who has spent nearly a decade being personally mentored by and studying with many leading spiritual teachers (and could write a book on all of the different types of healing modalities I’ve experienced), and who has co-hosted and co-facilitated wellness retreats all over the world for 100+ people, I know what constitutes quality on many levels, and Rythmia hit the mark on every single one of them.

The Equation for Deep Transformation

Let’s start with the food. First off, the quality is awesome, and it’s 100% organic, which is an incredibly hard thing to pull off in Costa Rica. We spent a month traveling the country a few years ago and finding high-quality, organic food was probably the most difficult part of the trip. But somehow, they’ve figured that out here. Second, all of their food has a secret ingredient that makes it exceptionally delicious and nourishing: copious amounts of love. I know, I know, that probably sounds very corny, but stay with me for a minute. The restaurant at Rythmia is run by an incredibly beautiful and caring soul, Meg Pearson—a talented holistic chef—who radiates love and happiness out of every pore of her being, and the local Blue Zone-raised staff who support her share that same kindness and passion. And, if you have been following the latest quantum physics and noetic sciences research, you’d know that our intention most definitely affects the food we eat and actually changes it at a molecular level, affecting how healthy it is for us and whether our body reacts positively or negatively to it. So, the fact that the kitchen crew here is oozing loving kindness means you are getting very special food that is very rare to come by.

Now a word of caution: don’t come expecting five-course gourmet meals. The food here is tasty, but simple. And that’s intentional—it’s actually not good to eat richly when drinking Ayahuasca and engaging in deep transformational work. Your body needs a simple, light diet to conserve energy for the internal rewiring and healing that is going on, and you want food that is going to make you feel great and energetically light. And that’s exactly what they serve here: organic food, infused with love that supports healing and doesn’t add any burden to your body. We highly recommend their organic juice cleanse option, and yes, whatever unique diet you are on, you will find plenty of options here, even for the most restricted palette.

To support the healing of your physical body even further, all Rythmia visits include massages and colonics to help purify and release any tension and toxins that might be lingering in your system. While I didn’t personally get to try the colonics (I was busy experiencing waves of profound insights, bliss, and joy from all the Ayahuasca), I heard they were excellent from many people. I did, however, get a massage and that was fantastic. Costa Rica is a good country for massages. All of the ones I have had down there were excellent, and Rythmia’s was no exception—they used 100% natural and organic lotions infused with your choice of deliciously fragrant essential oils, and the therapist who worked on me was very experienced. I felt amazing during and afterwards, and it was a nice touch after the long nights of ceremony.

After your massage, you are just a few paces away from their geothermal, spring water-fed hot tubs, steam room, and mud baths, featuring deeply exfoliating and detoxifying mud from local Costa Rican volcanoes. Quite frankly, after a trip to their spa center, it’s hard to feel anything but amazing, and most of it is open 24 hours, so you can visit whenever it feels right.

And finally, if you really want to go all the way with your physical healing, you can try their NovaCell program, which is a cutting-edge, research-backed stem cell treatment that has been shown to measurably reduce inflammation and confer an incredible range of anti-aging benefits. I spent one of the nights there in deep conversation with their medical director John Jacob Mubarak learning all about it, and I can confirm it’s truly a breakthrough in holistic medicine that you will be hearing a lot more about from leading universities and medical journals in the coming years and decades. Rythmia is one of the only places on the planet that offers it currently, so if you are interested, be sure to check out their presentation on it while you are down here.

All of these things combined create a beautiful foundation for what are, in my opinion, the main attractions of Rythmia: the breathwork, the workshops, and the quality time with mother Ayahuasca, which take the physical healing to another level entirely and add on copious amounts of mental, emotional, and spiritual expansion.

First, let’s start with the breathwork. If you’ve done it before, you know how powerful it can be; and if you haven’t, well, just know that you are in for a real treat. For some, it’s more transformational than the Ayahuasca itself, and once you learn how to do it, you’ll have it as a tool you can use whenever you want in your day-to-day life. And unlike Ayahuasca, it’s something you can safely do at home without having to take a break from your normal routines in life. But, like everything they do at Rythmia, this is not just a basic breathwork workshop. It’s an expertly facilitated, multi-sensory journey that helps to not only integrate everything you experienced on the plant medicine, but also take you to places the plants can’t. There is something uniquely organic about breathwork, which uses your body’s own energy and capabilities, to heal itself that is distinctly different from, and yet still complementary to, the plants. I saw some of the biggest breakthroughs of the whole week happen in the two breathwork journeys I participated in, and many people said it was the highlight of their experience. In short, the breathwork sessions make a great combo with the plants; and with the experienced facilitation of Christian Minson and his crew helping and guiding you throughout the process, it’s absolutely not to be missed.

Spending Time with Gerry

Next up on their transformational buffet are the workshops held throughout the week by visiting guest teachers like Reverend Michael Beckwith, Graham Hancock, John Gray, Anita Moorjani, and many more, including Rythmia founder Gerry Powell himself. And let me tell you: make sure to go to all of Gerry’s workshops if he is there when you are. They are absolutely not to be missed and were definitely a highlight of the trip. He’s hilarious—really, truly laugh-out-loud-for-hours-straight funny (he should really consider a second career as a stand-up comedian)—and his workshops prepare you very well for the Ayahuasca journeys.

Integration-with-Gerry

Plus, he knows a thing or two about life, having created and sold a $90 million company and overcome extreme drug addiction. He’s also very experienced with plant medicine and has one of the most lucid understandings of the dynamics of the medicine journey I have seen in a while that really adds to the experience in ways that are hard to describe. Moreover, he has a heart as big as the moon, and he takes a personal interest in the transformation of all of the guests.

The Art of Being Well Cared For

That’s another thing I really liked about Rythmia. It was very casual, not pretentious, and down to earth. Gerry and all the visiting guest teachers, shamans, and facilitators mingled openly throughout the week with participants, tracking their journey and transformation closely and offering support above and beyond the call of duty whenever needed. These people aren’t simply doing their jobs—they are here because they care deeply—they show up from a loving place for those who attend because they are incredibly passionate about helping others. I experience this from time to time at retreats, and when it is present, it always turns the event into a peak experience. The fact that they are able to do this authentically, week after week, is a testament to their commitment to creating miracles for everyone who attends. It’s also a testament to the power of Ayahuasca, when consumed regularly (which pretty much all of the staff do), to opening your heart in a big way and helping you transform into a very high quality human being.

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And, it probably doesn’t hurt that this all takes place in a Blue Zone too. The land here is powerful; don’t be surprised to see wild howler monkeys and giant iguanas roaming through the property. After all, this is the jungle, and the jungle itself is its own healing medicine. The incredibly fresh air, the close proximity to the gorgeous beach at Playa Avellanas (which is only a short bike or shuttle ride away), and the beautiful star-filled night sky, which is absolutely unreal when seen through the lens of Ayahuasca, combine with everything else at Rythmia to make the experience a real treat for the senses that works its magic in subtle yet profound ways.

Each night as I returned to my cozy bed in my cozy casita, I noticed a different aspect of the experience that I previously had missed that made it that much more special than the night before. And this is in large part because each day, I was truly a new person, having been transformed at the deepest levels from my nightly journeys on the wings of Ayahuasca.

The Trip at Rythmia

As amazing as everything I just described is to experience, few things can truly compare to the magnitude of what I experienced during my time with Ayahuasca. Before I dive into the nuances of what I personally experienced, there is an important disclaimer I need to make for those who are interested in what an Ayahuasca journey is like:

What I experienced is unique to me, and what you experience (if you decide to sit with the medicine) will be unique to you. No two journeys are ever the same for the same person, let alone different people, and it’s important to trust at all times that you are getting exactly what you need, because that is exactly what is happening.

Rythmia-Moai-Head

Now, with that being said, there are often overarching similarities between people’s journeys. Common things that most people tend to experience include: visions of all kinds and flavors, healing of physical ailments, physical purging and crying, laughing and feeling waves of bliss and joy, release of long-held mental and emotional blocks, being brought to the edge of what they think they can handle, having direct experiences of one’s soul or God, deep forgiveness of oneself and others, psychedelic imagery, profound insights into the nature of reality, visiting higher dimensions, and so on.

A Father-Son Journey into the Unknown

With all of that being said, here’s what my father and I experienced. That’s right, I went with my dad. In fact, there were a few families there. Brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, parents and children, and so on. And even though we went together, we had wildly different experiences.

My father’s intention was largely to get to the mental and emotional roots of his stubborn and intense health challenges from Type 2 diabetes that weren’t really being helped by the treatments he had been doing over the last few years. Despite his best efforts with both natural and western medicine, he felt stuck and, in many ways, hopeless as things were getting worse. It was clear to both of us that some kind of miracle was desperately needed, and when the opportunity to go to Rythmia presented itself, it quickly became obvious that this was likely his best shot. Being a fully licensed medical facility, staffed with EMTs and doctors around the clock, this was pretty much the only place he could safely do Ayahuasca.

As a young, radiantly healthy 34-year-old who has spent the last 14 years deeply committed to my personal growth, my intentions were somewhat different. I chose to generally focus on expanding into the next level of my personal and spiritual evolution, whatever that entailed. Be it deep healing of unconscious blockages, or activating higher psycho-spiritual faculties I had been exploring for many years through my meditation practice, and everything in between.

There was, however, a shared intention between us: that we trusted the plant’s wisdom deeply and surrendered to the experience, whatever it should bring. These plant teachers are unfathomably complex and intelligent, far beyond what we think we know; and when dealing with a power of that magnitude, it is always wise to ask for a bit of protection from your helper spirits (a tried and true shamanic practice) and to try and stay in beginner’s mind throughout.

And with that, we were off.

The Ayahuasca Ceremonies

Every night for four consecutive nights, they offer Ayahuasca ceremonies at Rythmia. I say offer because nothing is mandatory, yet participation is highly encouraged. At around 5:30 each night, you gather with the other participants in your cohort to enter the Maloca—traditionally a long, ancestral house used by the natives of the Amazon, notably in Colombia and Brazil—the name of the meticulously kept space where Ayahuasca is consumed at Rythmia, named as such to honor the indigenous tribes from whom the medicine came.

After a relaxed introduction and a question and answer session with the shamans and facilitators conducting the ceremony for the night, Hapé is offered. Hapé is a traditional indigenous snuff made from a mixture of wild jungle tobacco and sacred psychoactive plants that is traditionally consumed before Ayahuasca ceremonies to prime the mind, body, and spirit to receive the medicine. Once the serving of this medicine is complete, the Ayahuasca itself is offered next. Everyone starts with about one cup, more or less, depending on what the shamans determine that you need, and throughout the ceremonies, further doses are offered if one is feeling called to go deeper.

Each night, different shamans facilitate the ceremonies; and yet they all share one core trait: they are highly experienced, highly trained masters of working with the plants, who have largely studied in the Inga lineage under the tutelage of Taita Juanito, a master Colombian shaman that carries the traditional ways of his people and oversees much of the Ayahuasca work at Rythmia. Although they each have a unique energy and style that changes the dynamics of each ceremony, one thing persists, you can intuitively feel you are in good hands, and there copious healers, helpers, and EMTs on staff with Rythmia to help ensure you are as safe and as cared for as can be.

ayahuasca-taita-juanito

After receiving the medicine from the shaman’s, you return to your mattress to wait for the journey to begin. Some also choose to go outside, but either way, nature is never far away as the Maloca is designed to have minimal separation between you and the jungle—just enough, essentially, to keep you quite comfortable and free from bugs. Large windows encircle the space, offering glimpses into the starry night sky, and the sliding glass doors are almost always left wide open, letting the warm Costa Rican breeze seep in and allowing the purifying smoke from the burning copal resin to drift out. If you are feeling coherent enough to venture outside during your journey, it is highly recommended, but know that you will get exactly what you need wherever you decide to rest.

The Sacred Journey Begins

And then it begins. Over the course of a few minutes to a few hours, the medicine begins to take over your awareness and usher you into a world far beyond the edges of what we perceive as reality. For me, it was rather quick the first night: within about 30 to 40 minutes, I had been blasted off into a higher plane of existence—the intensely psychedelic symbolic realm where the archetypal forms that permeate our reality are birthed. My entire field of vision was filled with a rainbow-like spectrum of sacred geometric shapes and forms that shifted and changed with each passing second. It was simultaneously amazing and confusing, and then frustrating. This was it? After 30 minutes or so of cosmic fireworks, I wondered if all Ayahuasca was going to be for me was some psychedelic eye candy devoid of any real depth. But no sooner had I had that thought than the experience began to change.

I laid down on my mat and that’s when the real journey began—the journey into the heart. Suddenly, the medicine spoke to me for the first and only time those entire four days as it whispered, “This is going to be a lesson in love.” As soon as the words finished, a flurry of warm energy began piercing into my heart, blasting it open into a direct experience of unconditional love, which, little did I know at the time, I would be bathing in continuously for the next four days and, in fact, many weeks after. Still to this very day, the feeling lingers, something forever changed and softened in me, but we’ll come back to that later.

As I acclimated to the new reality of profound joy and wonder that I was thrust into, everything intensified in the best way. I was suddenly being shown aspects of my life now (and in the future) in a profound way. I was tapped into the cosmic Google—the Akashic field—where the essence and secrets of the things I pondered were shown to me in real time. I was “learning,” as the tribes who drink Ayahuasca regularly say. I was aware of myself evolving in real time and the experience of being shown those things essential to my personal expansion and growth that would prepare me for what was ahead in life both literally and at the level of the soul. Speaking of which, in the midst of this hours-long cosmic download, I saw my soul purpose (that is, one’s purpose or essence that transcends lifetimes) as clear as day, the experience of which filled me with a deep peace, confidence, and knowingness that catapulted the journey into an intensely transcendental space far beyond the concerns and worries of everyday life.

Revelations of this magnitude continued throughout the night. It was like a getting a Ph.D. in the mechanics of my personal reality and our collective reality in one sitting. I was shown lesson after lesson of why and how things are the way they are, some of it known to those seekers of truth who dedicate their lives to this level of understanding, some of it yet to be known widely. A sacred gift of immense proportions that is still unfolding and influencing my life greatly to this day.

And everything I have just shared is only skimming the surface of what transpired on night one. To capture everything would require hundreds of pages for each ceremony. Such is the nature of these medicines and why they are often lovingly referred to as “teacher plants.”

Night Two: Deeper and Further

Night two continued the journey I began on the first. I went deeper into unconditional love. Further out to the edges of reality. I bathed in the perfection of all that is—the immensity of the wisdom of nature. I saw its inner workings, our inseparability from its essence and its cosmic proportions that dwarf our human melodrama a trillion times over. I became the Tao. I watched the galactic interplay between light and dark unfold over eons of time and how this Shakespearean epic continues to unfold on our planet to this very day.

I wandered outside this night. Good move. It was stunning. Seeing the stars under the influence of the medicine was astonishingly beautiful. People were dancing, meditating, smiling, praying, and channeling messages from higher dimensions in ancient languages I had never heard, but I nevertheless understood because in that moment, I was telepathic. I received the transmission directly into my body, not filtered through the limits of the mind like it normally would be. As I paced back and forth, laughing to myself in gratitude and bliss, my deepest fears and anxieties were being burned from my nervous system. Each moment spent occupying this divine frequency was purifying my body and mind from old hurts, wounds, and traumas that had somehow escaped my awareness after all these years.

I came back inside to close the night. The absolutely exquisite music being played—sacred icaros and inspired songs from those singing and creating directly from the level of the soul—was its own transformational experience. As we sat in the closing circle that night, speaking freely about our experiences together as a group, it became clear that many miracles had taken place only two days into the journey and quite a few more were clearly on the way.

Although my journeys were nothing short of profound, not everyone was having the same kind of experience. My father, for one, was stuck at the edge of a breakthrough. Each night the medicine would confront him with the very things he needed to let go of, inviting him to surrender his desire to control and allow the transformation he sought on this trip to occur. To make peace with his past once and for all—to unhook the wounds of disappointment and shame that were almost certainly contributing to his illness. He toed the line but was not yet able to cross. I wondered if he would get what he came for—if he would let himself have it.

Others were in a similar place too—and this is why the medicine is traditionally consumed for multiple nights in a row. It’s clearing out lifetimes of pain and suffering—decades upon decades of self-doubt, fear, trauma, and self-sabotage. It almost always takes more than one go. And so, no matter where people were on the spectrum from blissed out to burned out, we all continued the journey on night three. Sort of.

Night Three: Cosmic Dreams

I actually decided to sit the ceremony out. This is not the normal protocol; and for the vast majority of people who go, it would be a mistake. But I spent the entire day in meditation, listening deeply to my intuition and being clearly told that I was supposed to sit this one out. I consulted with the shamans and facilitators, and they agreed that although it is best to attend all the ceremonies, if one’s intuition is clearly saying no, then that is the highest wisdom of all. But the truth is, it didn’t matter that I didn’t drink Ayahuasca that night, because I had one of the most intense journeys of all my time there, despite my abstinence. For one thing, the Ayahuasca is most definitely in your system for quite a few days after even just one glass, so I was still very much on the medicine. Secondly, Ayahuasca is far more than a plant. It’s a living breathing field of energy, and if you happen to be in close proximity to a group of 60+ people deeply in its throes, you are going to have some kind of transcendental experience yourself—like it or not.

And that’s exactly what happened. I thought I was staying in my room to get caught up on sleep—what I got instead was the medicine taking over my dreams and pushing me even further out to the edges of reality as I lay by myself in the darkness of my room going, higher, farther, and deeper into the depths of my soul. That night I confronted my own mortality. In fact, I went even further than that, having long made peace with death—I confronted the existential concept of existing on any level, period—human, spirit, or otherwise. I was brought to the edges of the primordial void, the edge of the universe, the eye of god, and asked if I was ready to proceed into the unfathomable mystery of what lies beyond all of it. I hesitated. I wasn’t sure what yes meant. Would I cease to exist? Not just physically, but at all? Would my soul dissolve into nothingness? I didn’t know, and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if I was prepared to find out.

Night Four: The Edges of Reality

But the next night, I did. The last night of ceremony was supposed to be an all night, 12-hour marathon celebration that all the Rythmia staff had been singing the praises of all week. It was not to be missed, I was told. They served Yagé, I was informed, a special type of brew popular with many indigenous tribes in the Amazon that was different from the rest. At this point, for me, everything was icing on the cake. The first three nights, in ceremony or not, were incredible; and if I had left right then, it would have already been a peak experience. But I was ready to go deeper. After all, that is why I had come, to go as deep as possible, and this was promised to be the deepest night of all.

Night-in-the-Jungle

It started like any other. We received our Hapé, we drank our Yagé, and that’s where the similarities ended. The Yagé was very different than the first three brews. It was thicker, and denser, and more elusive… literally in how it tasted going down and in its psychological effects. For me, at least. Three hours or so after drinking my first and only cup, I wasn’t sure if I was feeling anything. And then like a jaguar pouncing upon its unsuspecting prey, it snuck up on me with a fierce intensity. I was suddenly thrust to the edges of my capacity. The self I thought I knew as Justin was being burned away. I was discovering what was on the other side of the void, and its immensity was swallowing me whole. But I didn’t disappear. I didn’t die. I didn’t lose my conception of self.

Instead I became infinite.

And while I am tempted to try and describe what that was like, I can’t. As anyone who’s been there knows, it’s simply beyond words. Sure, I could describe what unfolded… I could recite the facts as they happened. But at the end of the day, it’s not something that can be fully communicated, only experienced, and attempting to put it into words most often diminishes the sacredness of what transpired. In order to know what I experienced, you have to go there yourself. You have to be willing to journey deep into the unknown and confront the vast and often times overwhelming mystery of inner space. Whether you do that work with plants or not is up to you, but that is the price of admission to venture into the territory of the infinite.

As the sun rose and the night came to a close, I found my father once again precipitously at the edge of receiving the miraculous healing he came to get. Something had changed that night. He was different, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I later learned he had died that night. Not physically, but existentially—his old self was gone. The part of him that was holding on to the story of struggle and pain. After three cups of medicine and his fair share of purging, he was “clean.” Exhausted like all of us, he looked like shit, but even though his physical appearance reeked of tiredness, his energy had noticeably shifted.

We went our separate ways and met again briefly over lunch. Gerry checked in with us both, and we all set our sights to reconvene at breathwork that night. The week wasn’t over yet, and everyone was determined to see him get what he came for.

Breathwork and the Final Miracle

The transformational theatrics I witnessed during the four nights of the Ayahuasca ceremonies with a room full of people purging, crying, laughing, dancing, and channeling different dimensions were truly over the top, but little did I know that would continue so strongly into the breathwork sessions that followed. While no one purged physically, they did emotionally, my father included. Twenty minutes into the session, I was absolutely certain the air everyone was breathing had been spiked with more Ayahuasca. The catharsis taking place was downright intense at times. My journey into waves of bliss and insight continued, but all around me people were writhing in some sort of shrieking, orgasmic ecstasy as they released any lingering blocks that had not yet been healed. By the time the workshop finished an hour later, people literally looked 20 to 30 years younger. No joke. The before and after photos from that experience would be priceless. It was truly an incredible experience, and as mentioned previously, I am no stranger to breathwork.

I looked back at my father who was in the row behind me. His face had changed color. He had vitality and life for the first time in years. It was palpable.

At dinner a few hours later, we met as a group to begin saying our goodbyes. Many people were leaving the next morning, and they casually made the rounds dropping in to part ways with their newfound family they didn’t know existed a week earlier. Each person who stopped to talk to my father and I remarked how different he looked. Instead of his normal, somewhat frustrated and pessimistic self that had developed since the diabetes set in, he was hopeful, even excited about life. He spent the dinner rattling off all the changes he was going to make from that moment forward, describing his new life in detail. Already many of the symptoms he had come to Rythmia with (from dizziness to neuropathic pain to a metallic taste in his mouth that made eating unpleasurable and caused him to lose a dangerous amount of weight) had become significantly better. You could see it just by looking at him. As he scarfed down the biggest meal I had seen him eat in years, he received a seemingly endless stream of compliments from the people who stopped by, all of whom shared the same glowing reflections, despite not knowing what the people before them had said. It was truly a miracle.

In one week, he had healed more than three years of allopathic and naturopathic care combined. He truly got a new lease on life and, perhaps most importantly of all, a permanent shift in mindset that has persisted to this very day, over a month and a half later. In the time since leaving Rythmia, his symptoms have continued to recede, and a full recovery is looking very hopeful.

As for me, well, I’m doing great and continuing to embody the shifts and insights I received during my journeys have thrust my trajectory even further upward than it was already. The last month and a half has been especially remarkable and shows no signs of letting up. My creative output has tripled, the daily flow of synchronicity and wonder I experience is off the charts, and my heart is still wide open from the experience. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about my time there and the people I met on the trip. I’m looking forward to heading back soon… I can still hear the medicine calling my name.

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About The Authors

Justin Faerman is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine.

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