[Silverback Kent is our crypto consultant for The Jungle. This post is from his newsletter Kent’s Corner. You can sample more and subscribe at: https://kenth.substack.com/ PS–This Silverback invests only in bananas. SB SM]
Whoops. I did it again. I let life take precedent over my newsletter for more than a month. The guilt has been gnawing away at me, but between weekend-laden travels to the US, a wedding to perform, a birthday party for my child, and a dieta in the Amazon, Kent’s Corner wasn’t happening. But if you’re still here and reading these words, my hats off to you — somehow, someway, we have developed a relationship.
Building a one-way e-quaintence across the interwebs is not a terrible thing. But unfortunately, it seems to be the norm these days as we discover our tribe of like-minded folks sprawled across the planet. It seems to be par for the course as the age of the nation-state gives way to the internet state. I’ve developed many one-way e-quaintences with podcasters I’ve listened to for years who wouldn’t know me from Adam if we bumped into one another at a small pub.
Dieta? Yeah, I figured you’d clue in on that word. And it’s true — I left that as a teaser since almost no one on the planet knows what a dieta is. Most initially take it as a diet or food restriction program. And it is that, but it’s also so much more. A dieta is THE Amazonian tradition of Amazonian traditions. In days gone by, tribal cultures would use the dieta as the cure-all for almost any non-acute ailment. Digestion problems? Dieta. Depression? Dieta. Heartbreak? Dieta. Loneliness? Dieta.
The resident tribesman would go to the local curandero (shaman), describe the ailment causing suffering, be diagnosed with a plant to dieta, and head off into the woods to sit in a tambo for days, weeks, or sometimes months. Then, another villager would periodically bring bland food and help prepare the dieted plant into a juice for daily consumption. Eventually, the results from the dieta would occur, and the tribesman would return to the village, restored, harmonized, and cured of their ailment. Just a standard medical procedure, yeah?
Though I’ve conducted several dietas, my last was in 2018. These have profoundly impacted my development, helping to harmonize my relationships as a friend, brother, son, father, husband, and leader. Not having gone on dieta in four years, I was excited not only by the therapeutic impacts of the dieta but for the chance to have a “me” break. As every parent of small children knows, getting alone time is a treasure not to be squandered. So squander it I did not — for eight days, I rotated between hammock, bed, and bench where ants would educate me on their way of life. Swaying in a hammock while watching the jungle cycle between night and day seems challenging, but by day three, the hours melt, and time becomes timeless. My only job was to let time have time and feel the earth turn under me.
“What about the plants?” you ask. Yeah, I wish I could intellectualize this for you to digest, and I will try, but I can assure you it’s understandable only through experience. As Westerners, we live in our heads, even when we think we’re not. The dieta is an experience beyond rational — literally outside the mind. By consuming just rice and boiled plantains, the body is not receiving salt, causing the energetic body to open. The plant being dieted (drank as a juice twice a day) enters your energetic body. Dreams open. Latent, undigested emotions come to the surface. Physical vibrations in the body are felt. Realizations about life occur—some even experience waking dreams.
The tradition of the dieta is at least 3000 years old — I’ve come to think of it as the most incredible wisdom of the Americas. That these traditions did not get entirely erased by modern man is a minor miracle and likely attributable to the difficulty of dominating the Amazon rainforest. Takiwasi offers the dieta experience to outsiders to help fund their addiction treatment program. At Takiwasi, a clinical therapist is paired with the dieter, providing therapy sessions before, during, and after the dieta. The blend of Jungian talk therapy and traditional Amazonian medicine is the only one of its kind in the world. It is why Ana, my wife, chose to conduct her therapy internship here.
As a studious seeker of self, I cannot believe my luck in having discovered Takiwasi and the dieta experience. Instead of having a book, guru, or youtube video explain the world, I get to embody the knowledge of the sacred through the experience. Unexplainable, exquisitely delicious, and full of the discomfort of growth, the dieta is not a practice suitable for everyone. However, nothing compares to the dieta for those who seek to understand the human experience at its most profound level.