Simeon Ivanov: What would you tell anyone who is interested in Ayahuasca, but is not sure whether they should experience it or not?
Dimitar Ivanov: Read a lot. Just learn about it, but definitely start with other things, like meditation, maybe start with holotropic breathwork or shamanic breathing. Everywhere there's places you can do it. There's a million places in the states. It's called gong meditation or holotropic breathwork or shamanic breathwork. There's so many places everywhere, and it's so easy to do and so accessible, and you just breathe. And you get a sense of what is possible. Obviously it's not as deep as Ayahuasca, but you kind of get a feeling that there is more.
But definitely if you cannot meditate for 30 days in a row, don't even think about Ayahuasca. There is no point for you. It needs some simple discipline. And if that's not something you can do, then just don't look for other answers, don't look for other solutions. Just get to work. You get a lot done just from meditation, just from reading books. And then you can go for a boost or to learn more, but at least you've done some of the work beforehand. If you don't have the discipline to meditate 30 days in a row, then whatever you see there you won't be able to do anything about it. You just need to work on this first. And Ayahuasca is not going to do it for you. You will need to do it for sure.
Simeon Ivanov: Yep. I believe in that too. Especially having in mind that some people think that they would go there and take a drug where they will have an interesting trip and it will be a lot of fun. First, it's not fun. It can be pretty fucked up, as I experienced, and you experienced as well. It's really really really hard work. For me, I think it's the hardest thing I've done in my life. And it is so hard that from ceremony to ceremony, you are like, "Can I do this again? Can I actually experience it? Am I strong enough to experience it again?" So yeah, if you're not doing the daily work, then it's just stupid to waste your time and the time of the healers there. Because they are actually investing their whole lives into that, and it's a pretty serious thing that they've been developing for maybe thousands of years. And I have grown to respect that quite a lot.
Dimitar Ivanov: No, it is a very serious thing. And like with all serious things, you need to ... you just need to be serious about it. And it's not a nice trip, it's not a retreat, it's not a yoga retreat, it's not a place you go to just get some laughs with people and just relax. It is a lot of work, and it is really hard work. And possibly the hardest nights that you've had. So I'm not saying this to discourage anyone, and I'm also a person that will do it again. But what I'm saying is there's so many easier ways to get some result in much nicer, much more affordable, and much closer to where you live. And then it doesn't make sense to go there, if you don't do all the other things.
Simeon Ivanov: Do you think it makes sense ... we went to Costa Rica. Do you think it makes sense for people to go as close to the source as possible? Which is in Peru.
Dimitar Ivanov: Well, if you can afford it, yeah. And if you can take time off, and if you can spend so much money, I would definitely say go there. And if you go there, then definitely look for a place that you know is good, that you know people practice this medicine in the right proper way, and have the best intentions, because that's not always the case. And right now Ayahuasca is becoming this big industry in Peru and it's a big tourist thing. And you don't want to end up in a place like this, where people are just doing it for the money.
Simeon Ivanov: I have an example, actually. I'm not going to say names, because I haven't experienced that other place, but I met a few people that have been to this place which is very commercial, has a lot of reviews, five-star reviews, it's very luxurious, and you get ten different speakers there, so it's a big touristy thing. And I asked them what their Ayahuasca experience was there, and how it compares to the one that we went to in Soltara, Costa Rica. Which I found was amazing.
And they said that first, they paid a lot more money. Okay, maybe you had a nicer bed and bathroom, but they said other than taking the Ayahuasca, we didn't have any healers from Peru. So no healers at all. They were putting music on, like some ... just putting some music in the maloca, and there was no integration talk, which is kind of the most important thing that you do with Ayahuasca, is how do you get these lessons and apply them in your life. And if you don't get some coaching about that, the chances are that you won't do anything with it. So people just go there, they take the Ayahuasca, they get some insights, but they don't know how to first, navigate their experience while they're in it, and second, they don't know how to implement all the lessons that they've learned once they're back home. Which is just useless, and they're just ripping people off.
Dimitar Ivanov: That's on the one side, but also there's a lot of people that now do it … I mean Ayahuasca is just spreading across the world like crazy, and today a lot more people know about it and want to do it and try it and experience it. And there's shamans that travel all other the world, and there's shamans that come to Bulgaria, and I know people that have thought about it, and I know people they have done it. And we have talked about this idea. But I wouldn't risk it just with a shaman that comes on a plane and brings something in his suitcase and you have no idea who this guy is, and this is some dangerous shit. It's not stuff that some guys get together in a house and a shaman just sings something, you drink this tea, and next morning, "See you guys, hope you enjoyed it, see you next time," and he goes home. You can be seriously fucked up from this.
And as you know from our medical business, where you've gone in different surgeries to heal doctors, usually you can do the same shit that he does. Usually. Until something bad happens. That's when you see the difference between you and a person who really knows what he's doing. If I look at what the doctor is doing, the surgeon, I can most likely do it. I will practice a few times and I'll do it. But the problem comes with the troubleshooting. And if shit happens, and sometimes shit happens with Ayahuasca, because it's really intense, it's really deep, and it really brings out a lot of shit in people, and that's the time when I would not want to be with a guy that was just interning with the shamans in Peru and decided to make a trip to Bulgaria, or to Los Angeles. So it's good to be in a place that you trust, and that you know the people who are there, a place that is really …
Simeon Ivanov: … that you feel safe.
Dimitar Ivanov: A place that researches and knows the shamans and where they come from and their intentions, because this is important stuff.
Simeon Ivanov: And a place where it is actually legal, because it is illegal still in so many places around the world. So that is an important consideration to have too.
Dimitar Ivanov: Oh, that's ... of course, yeah. Don't do it anywhere where it's illegal. That's an obvious disclaimer. But seriously, don't do it, not just for legal purposes, but just the thought that you can get busted, and you can be in a house somewhere taking Ayahuasca …
Simeon Ivanov: That won't help with the experience, for sure.
Dimitar Ivanov: Oh my God, this would be ... the worst, the worst thing that can happen to you.
Simeon Ivanov: It'd be a little traumatic, yeah.
Dimitar Ivanov: You can get seriously fucked up. So you need the right setting, you need to trust the process, you need to trust the healers, you need to trust the medicine, and you just need a safe environment where you can just go through this whole process. If you're missing any one of those, I would say don't do it. And if you're trying to save on money ... don't be that guy. Don't be that guy.
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After years of testing, after all experiences as a professional racing driver, an entrepreneur, a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Coach, and simply a human being that wants to grow, I've narrowed down a set of skills that help me win the day, the week, and the game of life.