Iboga: Meeting the Divine

Foreword to the Short Documentary

Paulina Alanis

The journey of discovering our true self or our inner sense of being is not a given process, is not something we follow from other people’s journey, it is unique to each person.  The exploration of what reveals our heart, our wisdom and our guidance depends on the intention and effort we cultivate.  We do learn from others, from different practices and approaches. We can immerse ourselves in nature, in communities that support different aspects of these discoveries, in activities that impulse our curiosity.

I propose that integral approaching the movement to discover our true self is about opening our minds and hearts, to stretching the boundaries of our limitations, to allowing ourselves to make mistakes and to have huge success that make sense to us, and hopefully to others.  This means that if we use an entheogen, we use it with integrity and reverence for the plant, and our planet and for the dimensions that we might visit; that we use it within an integral life practice; we use it for our development and to benefit our relationships with others and to the world; we use it consciously and cultivating mindfully the healing effects it has in us, in our everyday life.

For me this discovery has included experiencing altered states of consciousness, some induced (through substances or practices) and some that arise naturally. My search moved me into medicinal plants, into the sacred and delicate arising of greater awareness of the self while in an alternative state… finally into a letting go of the continuous attachment to the need to grasp the moment or the experience, letting go of the need to define myself to find my true self.

Paulina’s altar during the Iboga ceremony
Paulina’s altar during the Iboga ceremony

It may be that the arising of this need to discover our inner self is a natural force and that the actual attitude or relationship towards it, is what has more fluidity and flexibility now in how I experience life.

During my integral research about “Ibogaine: A Therapeutic Tool for Transformative Practice,” and as part of the autobiographical method I decided to do a video about my experience of an ibogaine treatment. The video includes data from my journaling before, during and after the treatment. It also includes memories and sensations that live in me. It includes information from my ibogaine provider’s notes from the lay-down session. Lastly it includes a video editor who is passionate about entheogens.

The process of writing the script has been a meaningful part of integrating my experience.  Finding images that could transmit my experience was also a way of discovering what meanings and archetypes I identify with.  Lastly finding the music was about going with the emotional sense of what I wanted to transmit.  Recording my voice was humbling and healing, as if the microphone and video editor were the universe witnessing allowing me to exist.

The first time I watched the ‘almost’ finished video my heart melted in recognition of the beauty of existence and of the power to share an experience. I feel deeply grateful.

So this is my experience of an ibogaine treatment, even when most inner experiences are hard to express and transmit, I hope that those who watch it get a sense of how a medicinal plant may produce healing effects. It is important to remember that psychedelics are not necessarily for every person. Lastly I’d like to say that the use of psychedelics needs to be approached integrally, without giving the responsibility of our transformation to the healing properties of a medicinal plant or to what is experienced during the alternative state. An entheogen opens a door and teaches us something then it is about us to take the steps, to interpret the teaching, to hold our intention and apply the healing guidance in our life.

About the Author

ALANIS PaulinaPaulina Alanis is a transformative coach weaving psycho-shamanic exploration, shadow work and altered states within an integral practice. During her Integral Theory MA studies she focused on shamanism and altered states as elemental for personal growth. Paulina has been in Mexico researching on the use of Ibogaine for self-realization and psychospiritual work. Her research integrates perspectives from phenomenology, hermeneutics and empirical analysis to answer the question how to use Ibogaine for transformative work within a coaching program. Paulina was trained by Integral Coaching Canada.