Down that Rabbit Hole with Ian Benouis, West Point Graduate, former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, Army Officer involved with Operation Just Cause – the largest effort focused directly on the war on drugs, and most recently a sacred plant medicine advocate for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Sacred plants and Islam saved my life. The goal of the mystical experience is altered traits not altered states. Huston Smith. Nature loves courage. Terence McKenna. Ask the plants of the earth and they will teach you. Job 12:8. If you see the day of judgement coming finish planting a tree. Muhammad
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Finding healing for his own traumas through working with plant medicines, such as Cannabis, Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, and 5MEO-DMT, Ian now spends much of his time advocating for the rights of veterans to heal from PTSD through the use of these natural remedies.
Very few people have such an interesting story as Ian Benouis. As for being relevant to the plant medicine sphere, Ian’s life experience is about as diverse at it can get.
From Blackhawk helicopter pilot fighting against drug cartels in Panama to a representative of the disastrous prescription drug epidemic to a supporter of the psychedelic medicine movement, Ian’s story is sure to both entertain and educate.
In this episode, Daniel and Ian discuss Ian’s life story, how it all comes together to make an impact on the veteran suicide and addictions crisis in the USA, and some philosophical questions on war, culture and the so-called war on drugs. Tune in and enjoy!
“Yeah, let’s transition from the bullet war to the meme war. I’ve been really moved by the responses from the Soldiers of the Vine screenings. I’m like “Wow, I built a field of dreams, and people actually showed up!” People are getting whatever they need out of it, versus our own self criticisms about what could have been better. That’s the real amazing thing about it. Share the message with people, and people will self-organize and self-activate. There’s no cult, there’s no dogma, it’s just spreading the love of healing and then people will naturally do whatever it is they feel they were created to do.
I think ultimately these plant medicines are psychic mirrors: they give the opportunity for greater self-reflection. Used ceremonially together, you get an intensification from all those spheres online together, mirroring each other. We all need to shut up and take our medicine and do our work. My personal belief is that the universe is a superorganism that makes up a mirror for the divine, where the ego is a construct that creates the illusion of separateness so that we have a game to play, and it’s the best game ever.
And that’s our potential salvation, and how our planet is getting hooked up into an electronically supported superorganism platform for communication. I think we’re trying to all connect each other up to heal ourselves, to unify as a planet, and then on to whatever’s supposed to be next. I don’t know what that is any more than the next person, but I have an open heart and open arms and trust that the universe knows what it’s doing.”
“It’s so important to ask “What are the reintegration resources for these people doing these particular medicines?” If you can’t answer that question, then you sort of have a problem. That’s like saying, I’m going to take all these people, give these great life sermons, but have no plans or way to inculcate them into their life. So, what’s the point? It’s like seeing a cool movie- it feels good and it’s entertaining, but yeah your psychedelic experience is only as good as your amount to integrate.
To me, it’s the metaphor of the tree and the fruit: nobody cares how many ayahuasca ceremonies the tree has been to, or what its spiritual practice is, you just care about the fruit. Does the fruit taste sweet?
I love these metaphors, and through my healing work I now understand the power of parables. Because on these medicines that’s what you get: those are the gifts, especially on ayahuasca. It’s a picture, a song, some kind of symbol, or an abstract concept that has meaning to you that you can take back because it’s a concept. You can’t necessarily take back the 15-minute action sequence, that’s kinda hard.”
This episode was a lot of fun and included Ryan LeCompte, Ian Benouis and Matthew Kahl. All three of these gentlemen have worked together on multiple fronts helping the Veteran community.
Whenever Terence McKenna came to town he would always thank the audience for coming to listen to him, but would also always point out that everyone that you needed to meet was already in that room with you.
So in that spirit, please come out and meet all the people in the audience that are waiting for you and join us for the inaugural screening of ‘Soldiers of the Vine: Healing War Trauma with Plant Medicine’ followed by a special Q&A panel. The film features six American Veterans that go to Peru to explore a 10-day plant dieta (Ayahuasca and other plant medicines) to treat PTSD.
The panel consists Mitch Schultz, the producer of Soldiers of the Vine, who will be the moderator, Ian Benouis, organizer of the project, Chris Schickedanz, who went to Peru and Jeremiah Looney who was unable to travel to Peru, but has participated in numerous ayahuasca and other medicine ceremonies with veterans. Please stay tuned to see if some other special invited guests will be able to make it to town.