What is Consciousness? Expanding consciousness with Ayahuasca

So, what is consciousness? In simple words, consciousness is awareness of what’s happening around us and within us. The point of awareness or consciousness is called the observer, the soul, the self. You are conscious while connecting to this materialistic world, but also when you choose to quiet your mind and listen to your higher self. It’s when you pay attention to something or someone and when you experience things that are making you feel alive and aware of your surroundings.

Consciousness is everything you are, everything you are not, and everything you want to be and experience.


Evolution of consciousness

Are you curious when the term consciousness first came into being? 

Well, there are no proven facts to answer this question correctlyconsciousness is an ancient concept with several defined and undefined meanings.


However, it is believed that psychologist and philosopher William James first developed the idea of “the stream of consciousness”. According to his theory, consciousness is a thing that keeps going on, like a stream of thoughts, ideas, and images that flow through our heads.


Let’s look at how consciousness has been seen and felt by great minds that need no further introduction. As we grasp their definitions, we will take it further and look into expanding consciousness and how Ayahuasca might play a role in it. 


Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud is known for his five-stage theory of human development. His psychoanalytic theory originated through observing and studying his patients during therapy sessions.

Beginning his work in the 1880s, by the close of the 1890s, his theory began to acquire the more formal attributes of its five stages. According to his theory, the components of the mind encompass the conscious, pre-conscious, and subconscious mind, alongside the three components of personality: the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. These elements answer the question, “What is consciousness?” The three distinct levels of consciousness have unique functions and play a pivotal role in human evolution, aiding individuals in unlocking their true power.

In Freud’s eyes, the conscious mind includes thoughts, memories, and feelings one is aware of. The pre-consciousness mind could be seen as a buffer space that contains everything one might pull out in the conscious mind. The unconscious mind is a vast reservoir of repressed memories, feelings, and desires completely unseen and unknown by the conscious mind. 

According to this theory, expanding consciousness becomes tapping into the unconscious mind and integrating what we find into our lives. In other words, we are to uncover the mechanics behind our behaviour, feelings, and how we relate to life and others if we seek to expand our consciousness. 

Back in the day, Freud used dream analysis to support his patient’s psychological distress. Today, we are beyond blessed to have the help of Ayahuasca and other plant medicines as we uncover the subconscious mind. 

This dark mass runs our behaviour, which we know so little of. But it isn’t until we are distressed that we open up to learning more about what makes us us. 

Unhealthy habits, negative thinking, difficult relationships, fear, anxiety, and depression are just a few of the reasons people seek to uncover the unconscious mind with the help of Ayahuasca

 What makes Ayahuasca ceremonies one of the most chosen tools for expanding consciousness is the loving motherly spirit that guides the journey and the potential speed of integration of that which is found. There is an undeniable presence that whispers to all your bonesall is wellas you dive deep into the unknown, and that makes all the difference. 


Charles Darwin 

Charles Darwin has made a real contribution to the study of evolution and human origins, yet many of us are unfamiliar with his botanical research. In his book “The River of Consciousness”, Oliver Sacksa British neurologist and naturalistsays, “If the world had read the book of orchids before that of origin, Darwin would have been seen as a prophet.” What his studies revealed (if we are to put it simply) is that orchids and their pollinators co-evolved. Beyond a doubt, this is consciousness in action, moved by a core knowingmy growth is also that of my neighbour and community. 

In this case, expanding consciousness would mean reaching out to those around us, learning to communicate, and engaging in compassion as we learn to understand each other’s needs and grow together. 

 As you know, Ayahuasca ceremonies are social gatherings. Not once, as we opened circles of introduction, we heard stories of common denominators. The experiences we have in life should bring us closer to those alike, but also to those who chose differently, yet sometimes we struggle with doing so. 

Not understanding oneself leads to self-criticism and, thus, that of others too.  With the help of Ayahuasca, one finds meaning in his train of thoughts and actions, and love springs out of this newfound awareness. This very love then extends to those around us, leading to a new way of interacting and growing.


Thich Nhat Hanh

When teaching the Heart Sutra, Thich Nhat Hahn refers to consciousness as being one of the five elements mentioned by Avalokitesvarabodhisattva of compassion. These elements are form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness, and they make our body and mind.

The Heart Sutra focuses on understanding that all things are, in fact, emptiness, and as one follows this path, all suffering will disappear. In this case, expanding consciousness would represent a play of simultaneously observing and being these five elements. 

While the Buddhist approach is meditation, Ayahuasca can also facilitate reaching these states of being. Many of our participants arrive with previous meditation experience, and all acknowledge that after Ayahuasca, their capacity to connect to beingness through meditation has greatly enhanced. 


Eckhart Tole 

Ekhart Tole believes we are an emanation of source; thus, we don’t have consciousness; we are consciousness. 

According to him, the brain is a receiver and invites his readers to journey towards the place of birth of all things, underneath the touchable, the seen, the world of matter. 

What could expanding consciousness be here, then? It is finding the sacred, that which always speaks to us from a place of unconditional love. 

We heard this very sentence more than once as our participants found the words to explain their experience with Ayahuasca. This is why we believe that here, too, the medicine can be a friendly tool for those who choose this path in life. 


What is consciousness? Expanding consciousness with Ayahuasca | weareavalon.love


David Hawkins

In the introduction of his book “Transcending the Levels of Consciousness”, Hawkins says, “The all-pervasive universal energy field, called consciousness, is of infinite power and dimension beyond time and is compositionally nonlinear. It is the light of the world as it emanates from the unmanifested to the manifest, from the nonlinear, infinite potentiality to its linear expression as the unfolding of creation”.

The original map was developed in the 70s as a clinical science and became known worldwide due to numerous books that have been largely translated.

Hawkins presents the following levels of consciousness:

1000, Enlightenment 

700-1000, Divine states, peace, love, joy

600, Serenity 

540, Reverence 

500, Love

400, Reason

350, Acceptance 

310, Willingness 

250, Neutrality 

200, Courage

175, Pride 

150, Anger

125, Desire 

100, Fear 

 75, Grief 

 50, Apathy

 30, Guilt

 20, Shame

 0, Death or non-existence 


Expanding consciousness here would mean outgrowing these levels whenever they occur through understanding the duality that holds them in place. 

In our experience, Ayahuasca is sought in moments of willingness and courage because it takes both to look at the nature of the lower levels of consciousness. Learning to break free from recreating and feeding that which makes these lower levels is what Ayahuasca is known for. 

We hope the above information enhanced your curiosity about expanding consciousness through Ayahuasca. If so, check Avalon’s retreats in Barcelona and find the program that best suits your current needs.

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