Healing Through the Amazon: Dr. Isabel Sharkar
Ayahuasca, found in the Amazon jungle of South America, is a medicinal plant that has been used for more than 5,000 years, first documented by a famous Western ethnobotanist from England in 1851. When Sharkar speaks of ayahuasca she refers to the plant as having intelligence. She points out that all plants have intelligence as a whole, and when a pharmaceutical company uses a plant to make medicine they mainly isolate one aspect of it, forgetting the entire plant has a synergistic effect.
Sharkar’s journey was hosted by an integrated healing therapist and evolutionary leadership coach,Steve Jack, and overseen by three shamans and a medicine woman. Her journey took place in the Peruvian Amazon, the ‘lungs of the planet,’ and lasted 15 days. Dr. Sharkar and the 19 other participants in her community had an ayahuasca ceremony once every three days for a course of five ceremonies. Rest and teachings of the ‘Nine Limitless Principles for Living’ by Steve Jack followed each ceremony. The ayahuasca tea is prepared the day of the ceremony and takes eight hours to brew. Before each nightly ceremony, the shamans sing the Icaros into the tea to activate and bless it.
The ceremony begins with the host saying a prayer to protect the environment and those on their journey, followed by the medicine woman singing the Icaros, a song that “brings the ayahuasca to life within you” and is sung by the shamans throughout. Finally, the shamans administer the ayahuasca tea for everyone to drink, the lights are turned out and “you sit in silence until your journey begins.”
Although the lessons Sharkar experienced through her journey were personal, she feels many of them apply to our culture. She went through deep self-reflection, realization and acceptance. She realized the interconnectedness between everyone, everything and God, as well as how we all have the power to heal ourselves within. Sharkar stressed the importance of coming into our hearts, letting go of control and not taking life so seriously. Most people are so stressed out in their daily lives that they usually operate from a place of fear and lack of abundance, trying to control their future outcome and holding such a tight grip that does not allow life to flow the way it’s meant to. This stress manifests to countless diseases and issues within the modern man.
She emphasizes that ayahuasca is not for everyone, especially not the faint of heart because it is a serious journey driving you to depths of your being. Sharkar took nearly a year from first hearing of it to take her own journey. “Ayahuasca is something that calls to you because it is part of your spiritual journey.” She also notes that it is important to begin the journey with intentions but to release all expectations. It takes six months to a year to integrate all the lessons learnt from ayahuasca into everyday life.
She is currently applying the lessons she learned from her journey while residing in England to write her book about becoming one with mind, body and soul.
When not journeying with ayahuasca or writing, Dr. Sharkar practices naturopathic medicine at the Indigo Integrative Health Clinic in Washington D.C., which she co-owns with her mother.