"I felt the agony of humankind, its tragedies, its hatreds, its sorrows. I reached the bottom of the tunnel and saw three thrones in a black chamber. Three shadowy figures sat in the chairs; in the middle was what I took to be the devil himself.
"The darkness will never end," he said. "It will never end. You can never escape this place."
"I can," I replied.
All at once, I willed myself to rise. I sailed up through the tunnel of fire, higher and higher until I broke through to a white light. All darkness immediately vanished. My body felt light, at peace. I floated among a beautiful spread of colors and patterns. Slowly my ayahuasca vision faded. I returned to my body, to where I lay in the hut, insects calling from the jungle.
"Welcome back," the shaman said.
The next morning, I discovered the impossible: The severe depression that had ruled my life since childhood had miraculously vanished. "