“Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you” (Zechariah 9:12).
I have been a prisoner of hope for too long. Hope as the promise of redemption. Hope as the last virtue standing. The stringy vestige of hope, apparently made of unbreakable sinew, that wouldn’t let me give up on my life and my dreams.
I did not come to ayahuasca on a winning streak. I was desperate: desperate enough to spend several thousand dollars I didn’t have on a trip to Peru; desperate enough to drink a powerful psychoactive in the middle of the Amazon, despite the fact that my last psychedelic experience had been so traumatic that I swore off those substances for the rest of my life; desperate enough to “break” a dozen years’ sobriety in the process and try a strange and stigmatized new spiritual path.
I used to call my humble temporary abode, a lung-busting climb above Cusco, Peru, The Cave. Notwithstanding that the real caves were a few hundred yards away, at a sacred site known as the Temple of the Moon, The Cave was austere enough for my purposes: to hold my feet to the fire and see what happened to depression when I refused to run.
I don’t know about you, but I have uttered this refrain many times, often on the brink of crisis. The last time was when I had come to a point in my working career where the gulf between my aspirations and my day-to-day reality appeared a bridge too far.