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” That energy gave me a new power to enjoy my life and feel a strong connection to the world “

I grew up in a post-Soviet Union time in the family that taught me to live a very rational and hard working life. As a result, for most of my life I’ve been almost completely driven by my ego. I always wanted to be more accomplished, be stronger, be better, and be extremely rational in whatever I was doing. My approach to life was very scientific, and I almost completely disregarded the possibility of spiritual or non-physical existence. As I went through life I achieved what some would consider great success. After spending a few years in a senior role in a large tech company, graduating from a top ranking business school, starting my own business, and achieving many of my goals, I started to realize that I was not getting the satisfaction I desired from my life. Every time I would achieve a new goal, I would celebrate it for few minutes and then move on to the next one. I was curious to find a way to break my vicious cycle of constantly chasing success, but never finding real satisfaction from life. Around the same time, my friends, whom I trusted and wanted to follow in many respects, began sharing with me their experiences working with different psychoactive plants, which made me interested in trying them too, which after further exploration I eventually did. As I began my journey working with various plant medicines, I started noticing a significant decrease in ego driven motivation. 

I wasn’t driven anymore to be bigger, better, smarter and faster, but at the same time I didn’t have an alternative source of motivation and drive for a while. I stayed in that head space for some time until what might have been one of the most profound and intense ayahuasca ceremonies of my life. It was a really hard ceremony for me: at some point I thought I’d gone crazy and literally wanted to die. But the culmination was beautiful. I experienced something akin to rebirth, after which I discovered a lot of inner energy unavailable to me before. The next morning when I woke up, everything was totally different. I gained a new perception on the world. I was very calm and grounded, I felt my connection to the earth, and there was a warm feeling of that new energy in my stomach. This energy gave me new power to enjoy my life and feel a strong connection to this world. It also changed my perspective. Instead of seeing the world as a series of fully describable and predictable patterns completely explainable by science and tangible observation, I now believe that there is so much more complexity and so much unknown about our existence. I am also pretty convinced now that there are other dimensions of existence that we can’t easily perceive, but that play an important role in the universe.

Interviewer: Kirill Ignatieff (founder of 22STORIES)

Photography: 22PORTRAITS

Story editor:  Seema Seraj


Project Description

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive medicinal mixture of plants used for healing purposes in a ceremonial setting. The next morning after each ceremony a “Sharing Circle” takes place where all participants share their spiritual journey from the night prior.  The stories that come out of those sharingcircles are very profound and life-changing, but only very few have access to them. This project is about sharing those stories with a broader audience and help people understand the power and the benefit of the medicine and it’s community.