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Published: January 30th 2007
My travels have slowed down the past few months. I have remained in the area surrounding Pucallpa, making the 1 hour journey into town by boat, a few times each week to check email and buy food. I have not encountered any new pueblos, villages, or tourist sights, so this journal will be more about the cultural aspects of the Shipibo culture of San Francisco and surrounding area. Also, more of my thoughts and experiences......
Life for the past 7 months among the Shipibos has been interesting, (to say the least). Because of western influences, such as religion, tourism, (especially ayahuasca tourism), logging companies, electricity, (and with it radios, WWF wrestling, soap operas, and all other influences from the modern world), and a new road connecting Pucallpa to San Francisco, life for the Shipibos has changed dramatically over the past 20 years.
I have spent hours listening to Elders of the community talk about a time not so long ago when the community was living in near-paradise. A dense tropical jungle surrounded the village with monkeys, birds, and animals of all kinds, the rivers and lake were clean and overflowing with fish, all food could be found, and life
was sustained without the use of MONEY......
This was just 20 short years ago.
In my lifetime....., this culture has been so dramatically changed that I cannot begin to put myself in their shoes. Logging companies have bulldozed what was once a jungle, and most of the animals have left since their habitat was destroyed. The rivers and lakes are polluted from chemical spills, gasoline, oil, detergents, waste, and an electrical plant located a few miles upstream. Fish? There are no longer fish like there was before.... they now catch few smaller sized fish. Their diet now includes items such as salt, oil, eggs, chicken, coco powder, refined sugar, soda, drink mixes, and a lot of fried foods. Cancer and especially Diabetes, which was unheard of 20 years ago, is now affecting the community. Some of the young children are sick for weeks at a time with diarrhea and vomiting, and with that comes loss of body weight and malnutrition.
I listen to stories of the past and I look at where the Shipibos are at today, and I know where their current path leads. The Material World is calling them to change their Values and natural
way of life. To give up Customs and Traditions and trade them in for a new television, designer jeans, CD discman, and a new western education so they can be free to leave the village and find a good, low paying job, in the city.
The Shipibos are friendly, inviting, warm, kind hearted, and innocent. This does not mean that they are all perfect, but such is life on planet earth. When tourists visit the village the Shipibos often try to sell everything they can so they can put food on the table, or to help pay for school costs, or medical bills....most will invite you into their home to live, for a donation. I also see that often they are friendly to tourists.......as long as the tourists have money......but I can’t blame them for this as they have not had an easy life, with the rapid changes entering their culture from every angle.
I have enjoyed my time here and have learned a lot about my life, and the lives of others. I can see more clearly the negative and positive effects which come through the introduction of the Western World, which I am a part of.
With the use of Ayahuasca I have gained new insights, and a feeling of clarity like I have never experienced before. I have come to know that everything is perfection and that everything is One. The only separation exists as an idea within the human mind, along with fear, pain, and suffering. I have learned that I am not my identity, I am not my mind, I am not the person known as Joel, but that I AM. This can be fully understood by those who take the Time to go within...very important time which is lacking in the Modern Western World of consumerism, capitalism, WAL-MART, war propaganda, and fear creating news media.
.....something to think about. If America is the best country on earth, which leads the world in capitalism and if capitalism is a good system and it must be because most people in America are supporting it, then why is the Shipibo culture being destroyed, and where will they be 20 years from now? .....working in a sweat shop in Lima, sewing clothing for WAL-MART...or worse?
I hope that those who happen upon this blog will seriously consider LIFE...and what LIFE is...... we are speeding
up to a breaking point in the Modern World. We often Agree to live with stress, unhappiness, greed, self gratification, hours and hours sitting and waiting in traffic, all forms of abuse, etc...We should be figuring out by now that this system is not functioning.
When did all forms of stress, and sickness become normal...and acceptable?
From Here......I will most likely travel with a friend to the Cuzco area, or Lake Titicaca, leaving in about 1 month. There is also a possibility of travel to Iquitos, the main jungle tourist destination in Peru, in a few weeks time. (my journal should get more interesting in the near future with my coming travels....more new places to visit!) Also, I have not been involved with Ayahuasca for several weeks now, in part because I don’t have any more questions. My use of Ayahuasca assisted in gaining insight and clarity as to what my path in life is. Now that this is known, and my path is clear, Ayahuasca is not calling me anymore. When I used the medicine in a ceremony, Ayahuasca helped to short-circuit my mental pre-programming (Ego or Identity), which allowed me to step away from my former life,
and look at everything through the eyes of my soul, (or Self) to see clearly what was Truth and what was not. To put this into a modern language that is easier to understand: I basically hacked into the system, and then re-wired the program. And...it was quite and adventure.......and, I have lived to tell about it.
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