Lessons From The Great Mother – What ‘Death’ in Ayahuasca Teaches Us About Life

By Juliet Tang

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” – Schopenhauer

The death experience during ayahuasca is quite common, though we can experience ego death at any point in life without external assistance. ‘Ego death’ refers to the surrender of the old ego – the one that operates based on duality, separation, fear, limitation, defense mechanisms, programmed beliefs, lifelong conditioning and need to control. When we go through an ego death, there is neither an actual death, nor an elimination of the ego. Rather, through the many stages of death and rebirth, the ego transcends and awakens to the knowing and embodiment of the True Self that resides in non duality. Once we surrender the old ego, though we are still in the physical realm, this is when we can live our lives from the divine and consciously create heaven on earth.

I personally had my first ego death out of the blue years ago after having wandered at rock bottom for about a decade, I could only say it was as gloriously turbulent as it could get where everything I knew and held onto crumbled to the ground. Just recently, another layer of ego death came during one of my ayahuasca ceremonies and it was just as amazing and powerful as the first one though on a completely different level. The first layer of ego death was to burn away all the illusions in my life and awaken my spirit so I could clear the space to welcome the new, the second layer allowed me to experience and transform everything I knew intellectually so I could embrace the full power of the True Self and cement what truly matters in my life.

‘Death’ in Ayahuasca – 7 Lessons for a More Joyous and Fulfilling Life

#1 Even Death is an Illusion

During my experience of being trapped in hell and death — which I briefly described in my previous article Teachings of Ayahuasca – Creation, Death, Rebirth, and 15 Essential Life Lessons — as tormenting as it was, a part of me from time to time received a glimpse of the knowing that it was just a dream, or a state of mind like everything else.

From that night on, ayahuasca bombarded me with different visions of random realities for many days to come. Finally one morning I woke up and a light bulb went off, I understood her purpose of relentlessly showing me those realities was to help me see through the illusions of my current life challenges, and wake myself up from them!

How many of us are feeling imprisoned in a life situation at this moment? While I was having my death experience, I know I spent what seemed like an eternity condemning the hell I was in during every semi-conscious moment I had. I shouted “shut up” to all the voices in my head that I couldn’t distinguish whether were coming from an internal or external source, I cursed at my horrific luck of being stuck in that dimension and the increasing possibility that I’d be trapped there forever, I wept at all the physical, emotional and mental pain I was forced to endure, and I screamed silently at the injustices of having to die such a terrifying and unexpected death. Isn’t this what we do when life throws us lemons?

The truth is, the more energy we invest in our struggles by judging, complaining and condemning the hell we are in, the more life mirrors hell back to us in every way until we are completely locked up in the hell of our own making simply because life is set up to be a fool-proof interactive feedback system in which it only responds to our current vibration. The only way to break free from our mental prison is by first realizing even this cage that seems real in every way is an illusion.

What are the illusive cages you are currently in?

#2 We Always Have a Choice, and Surrendering is One of Them

Though life presents us with endless challenges, our power to choose how we experience any challenge will never be taken away from us, and that was something I was shown again and again that night. In the midst of endless agony, I was left with two choices, I could continue to battle against that reality which only seemed to strengthen it, or I could choose to release my resistance and embrace it. I fought and fought by holding onto the ideas of my identity in the other reality, random memories of important moments of my life, my loved ones and dear friends whom I would never see again, my upcoming classes and adventures, the hobbies I enjoyed and the things I was yet to try, and my dream of being a part of a conscious community in Costa Rica so I could continue my work with the medicine and help those integrate the experience. Though she continued to show me none of those things were real and they had been ideas in my head all along since Creation, the battle of holding onto my stories went on for a millennium because without those stories, I was left with nothing after having lost everything I held near and dear.

Lifetimes went by and in the end, in a state of total chaos that led to a moment of complete peace and clarity, I chose to surrender every story and dream to her and embrace the present without having any way to know what was to follow. I made peace with dying in that tormenting dimension full of agony and screams and being story-less and identity-less. What I did not expect, or have the mental capabilities at the time to understand was an awakening followed my death. Very gradually, I began remembering more and more I was in a waking dream, and the only thing I needed to do to walk out of death was to wake myself up, acknowledge that every story in life, even the darkest hell was part of one dream, and I had the power to choose any dream I wanted to wake up to without having to allow any dream, or story to determine who I am.

When life seemingly deprives us of all choices, that is life’s invitation for us to step into our infinite power and choose to be present, and embrace all that is being offered to us at the moment. We are never given anything we cannot handle, and all of the challenges we are presented with are here to help us awaken to our immortal and divine True Self that is without stories or limitations, and learn to completely trust life to take us to the next step. Even death, whether it is the death of the ego or the body is never an end, but a new beginning.

#3 Decide, and Keep Deciding

Every time when we make a decision, we are activating that reality in the quantum field and making it more visible to us. In the space between my death and waking, I had to decide not once, but a thousand times I wanted to wake up from the dream. I would literally get on my fours, crawl a couple of steps only to collapse from exhaustion and fall back into the dream again with my eyes closed without remembering why I even got up. Yet I’d get up again and again regardless of how many times I fell as the decision of waking up burned like a fire inside of me and slowly breathed life into my mind and body. Eventually, that decision became so strong that it woke up my body just enough for me to get on my feet and take my first step.

In life, we are accustomed to deciding once or twice, giving something a shot, and in the face of failure/s, we get down on ourselves and give up on our dreams. What ayahuasca teaches us is to keep choosing and keep deciding even if we are confronted with absolute hopelessness and have no idea how to get to the other side. In fact, it is better to surrender the “how” to Source.

Life is asking all of us to decide every moment who we are and where we are going for as long as we are breathing, and keep deciding until our decisions are loud and clear enough to cause an echo in all dimensions. Every time when we gather up the strength to get up after we fall, we are demonstrating our seriousness and power to the universe and it will in turn take us one step closer to our dreams. There is absolutely no failure in life. If it takes us 99 attempts to taste the sweetness of the end goal, then those 99 steps are merely loving and successive steps we take to reach the 100th step. Every step in life, like everything else, is part of the Creation process.

#4 Trust Your Power

To me, trusting life and Creation equates trusting ourselves because we are Creation. We house the universe within us, and all the suffering in the world arises because rather than trusting and staying centered in our power, we unconsciously give it away by engaging in behaviors like conforming, people pleasing, looking for identity and safety in relationships, wealth and material accumulation, seeking power and control over others, etc. Had we only understood how powerful we are, we would never for a moment look for it outside of ourselves.

During my experience, I did not know whether waking up or getting up would take me out of that dimension, but I did trust I had enough strength in my body to get up and that was all I needed. When I finally got up and stood on my feet, I trusted myself to be able to take one step at a time, then another, and another. Eventually, I was able to walk out of the maloka and breathe fresh air.

It is ok if we do not know where our next step will take us and cannot see the end goal, sometimes we are not meant to see the end result because life is creating the space for us to learn to trust ourselves and the strength of our wings. All life is asking is for us to have enough faith in our own power so that we can take one step, and then the next one. By taking these baby steps and keeping our chins up, we are affirming we are willing to do whatever it takes to reach our goals, and allowing life energy to flow from us and to us so tiny steps can lead to giant leaps, and eventually we will have enough confidence to take a leap of faith, spread our wings and fly to where we want to be.

#5 Always Choose Love

If I have to name one thing that is real, it is that we are made of the vibration of divine love. Everyone and everything we encounter is an expression of that state of being, and it is out of that state where all creation has occurred and is occurring. It is out of divine love that we have birthed all experiences in all dimensions so we can again and again know our true essence. Divine love does not only include the peachy (which is a common ego concept that only exists in the dual dimension), but encompasses all experiences from the most uplifting to the most challenging because in the end, they are all gifted to us so we can remember and embody our true state of being – the God Self. Divine love, channeled in its billions of expressions and manifested in its infinite aspects is meant to guide us home. Nothing is outside of divine love, just as nothing is outside of ourselves.

Moments before I woke myself from the dream, the only thing that was on my mind was the love I had for my sweetheart who was in the other end of the room. Through having to completely let him go prior to my death, the love I had for him became filtered by the divine and was returned to me thousands of times stronger fueled with my desire to be reborn and call forth a sweeter dream together. Knowing all realities are dream states, I made the decision to tune into the reality I desired to participate in. By focusing on that expression of the divine love, I was able to stay on my feet and eventually walk to where he was.

Western living is defined by individualism born from the illusion of separation when it couldn’t be further from the truth. While we are unique expressions of Universal Consciousness, we all came from the same Source and we are One with nature and each other. It is through mutual sharing and support as well as community building that we can fulfill our missions of servicing humanity and contributing to the collective.

Every time when we give and receive love, we are embodying our true essence and serving as reminders for others to do the same. When we remember and become our own light, we are illuminating the way for others and inviting them to embrace their power. By uniting and creating heaven on earth, we are offering refuge and blessings to all manifestations of us. Remember, we are the Source, and there is only One. What we do for others, we do for ourselves.

When in doubt, always choose love. Whether it is love for yourself or love for others, love is our vibration and love is what we are.

#6 Life Has No Meaning

Both heaven and hell are not actual places, but states of mind based on our thoughts and vibration, and so is every other experience in this physical life. Nothing in life has any intrinsic meaning because our external reality is merely a projection of our current perception, and our current perception is made of our past experiences and conditioned beliefs. With any event, whatever meaning we assign it will be the experience we receive from it. It is a gift we give to ourselves to be the ultimate Creator to decide how to experience any event.

Rather than discovering and searching for the meaning of life, it is up to us to create it. It truly is that simple.

Going from this perspective, the easiest way for us to live a fulfilling life is to align our mindset with the perception of the divine True Self rather than the limited and fear-based ego. This is not some passive talk on accepting life as is without having the power to change anything though at times, it may seem that way. But more often than not, knowing we live in a quantum field where all possibilities/realities exist, it boils down to a matter of creating an internal shift to call forth a more preferred reality through conscious creation which can only come from an awakened ego as an instrument guided by the True Self.


Remember, at any given moment, we always have a choice. We can either choose to walk through life judging every obstacle and injustice which guarantees the attraction of more obstacles and injustices, or we can embrace them as gifts, decide what truly matters to us and from the space of allowing and choosing, we shift into a reality that matches our raised vibration. If life continues to repeat to us the same undesirable patterns again and again, it is offering us the opportunity to re-decide and re-create.

#7 Celebrate

It is easy to argue that, if life has no point, why do we try anything and what is the point of even being here? I believe one of the reasons for all of us to remember life is an illusion is so we can lighten up and celebrate more as our True Selves. We are Creation, and our only desire in all existences is to continue to create and expand. It is an ecstatic state of being that we cannot get enough of!

Once we stop taking everything – including ourselves – so seriously, our vibration becomes more playful and from there, we are more in alignment with the vibration of deliberate manifestation, where everything we do comes from an inspired and enlightened place. Since life is a dream, we cannot possibly make mistakes and that certainly takes the pressure off of “having to get it right every time” which is one of the fears that stops us from living our dreams.

Prior to ayahuasca, I was always rather uptight and meticulous with my rituals and routines. I went into the ceremonies with one of my intentions being learning to have more fun in life, and fun did she show me! One of my favorite memories of the ayahuasca retreat is after every ceremony, no matter how long the dark night was and how much purging and agony we had to go through, as soon as the light of dawn approached, we would all get up and begin singing and dancing to the music to celebrate the passing of another night and welcome the day. Even the purging buckets seemed hilarious and became the topic of many jokes among us. As I was dancing while radiating love and joy, she laughed and told me by immersing ourselves in having fun and doing what we love, we are automatically embodying the True Self!

Final Thoughts

“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to ‘die before you die’ – and find that there is no death.” — Eckhart Tolle

Though life is eternal, there is only one version of this lifetime. Knowing we do not need to take anything too seriously because we are living a dream, what are we doing dwelling in jobs, relationships, places and activities we are not passionate about? Can you bring your consciousness to your heart center and feel the expansion of your True Self, and start to live from that space? Will you say yes to your own power so you can Be, Do and Create only what inspires you? How will you allow yourself to die a little everyday and burn some old bridges so you can make space for the new?

I invite you to join me in the dance of life to have fun, play, inspire, laugh, love, sing, create/co-create and expand! Always remember, every reality you could possibly imagine already exists, and you have the ultimate power to choose which one you would like to tap into and create in!

Be Joy.

Be Light.

Be Love.


  • Top image © Luis Tamani: www.Luis-Tamani.com
  • Featured image © Fabian Jiminez: www.Fabian-Jiminez.com

About the author:

Juliet Tang is a Consciousness Empowerment Coach who works with individuals around the world via Skype. She began her spiritual studies at a young age and specializes in empowering those who are awakening to expand their consciousness, embrace their true power and master deliberate manifestation using a variety of coaching and healing techniques. Juliet holds a BA in psychology and MA in education, and was a social worker and teacher with a decade of teaching experience. Juliet incorporates powerful and practical tools such as visualization, NLP, reprogramming of the unconscious mind through trance work, vibrational medicine as well as mindfulness techniques into all coaching sessions. She also holds workshops on conscious creation and Reiki Certification in Midtown, NYC.

Juliet’s coaching programs can be found here.

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