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The View of Life Influences of Ayahuasca Experiences

The View of Life Influences of Ayahuasca Experiences is based on the material collected through in-depth interviews and questionnaires during a field study period in the Peruvian Amazon. The approach of the study is principally phenomenological, aiming to find out 1) What kinds of motives the informants have to participate in the ayahuasca ceremonies? 2) How they feel they have benefitted from participating the ceremonies? 3) How the experiences have influenced their spirituality? 4) What kinds of influences on the informantsʼ world-views have the experiences created? 5) What common similarities can be found between different peopleʼs ayahuasca experiences? 6) How the ayahuasca experiences can be compared to Abraham Maslowʼs theoretical models of peak experience and self-actualization?

The descriptions of the ayahuasca experiences and the changes on the world-views of the informants provoked by them were compared to the results of other related investigations and to Maslowʼs theoretical models by the methods of systematical analysis. The study is also partly epistemological research, as it explores a method of knowledge acquisition and formation that the informants feel they are applying. The study points out that the ayahuasca experiences have had a significant impact on the world-view of the experiencers, and on their relation to spirituality. According to the informants, however, spirituality is only one part of the range of being human. In many replies, becoming a complete human and an authentic self was sensed to be a central goal. In this process spirituality seemed to have a significant role. Many informants also reported on the positive effects that ayahuasca had on their health, and in different psychological and physiological healing processes. Comparing the results and outcomes of the research with other related research results, their similarities are considerable. The ayahuasca experiences have had a central role in the process of self-actualization of the individuals, comparable with the Maslowʼs concept of peak experienceʼs significance as a part of his theory of selfactualization, located at the top of Maslowʼs hierarchy of needs, which in Maslowʼs later theory formulation gains selftranscendent qualities. The central conclusion of the study is that these motives of self-actualization and selftranscendence, as guiding factors of a personʼs life, seemed to gain a long-lasting or permanent role in the informantsʼ life.

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