About a month ago I was backpacking in the mountains with my wife Tasha and we were chewing lots of coca. We had a beautiful hike and both had a great time connecting with this powerful plant teacher. During this trip I had many insights from the plant and many new realizations.
Coca is a wonderful plant with many benefits. Besides being one of the most nutritious plants on the planet, it also provides very gentle euphoria, energy and spiritual insight. It encourages hard work, compassion and love, and teaches awareness and receptivity to the world around you. In Peru it has been used daily as a food source and energy source, and its daily use by the local people has taught them to be some of the most hardworking and loving people on the planet (despite living in one of the harshest environments around).
The benefits of coca are often very subtle and gentle, and this is part of why they are so beneficial. The energy boost isnt much noticed like the jittery boost you get from caffeine - instead you just find that you dont tire as easily from hard work and it is easier to push yourself hard. The euphoria isnt as pronounced as that from cannabis or alcohol - instead of getting disoriented you just have a slight boost to your joy and compassion. Because these boosts of energy and euphoria are so gentle they do not cause any crash or any dependence - just enough of a boost for great benefits.
Coca also opens you up gently spiritually. For thousands of years healers in Peru have used coca to help them connect to the spirits in the land all around them. But this isn't an instant opeing of the spiritual senses like you might experience with Ayahuasca or San Pedro - this is a gentle and mild opening that helps you build deep relationships with the spirits around you over time. Coca doesn't help you do these things overnight - she helps you learn to do these things through your hard work and dedication. This allows for slow but steady and strong development of your charactor and practice.
Imagine the development of a hardwood tree. In many spiritual traditions hardwood trees are considered to have some of the most powerful medicine and wisdom. Because they grow so slow they grow really strong. They don't grow the fastes - but they take the time to spread deep roots and slowly build each new inch on a powerful foundation carefuly laid before it. This slow and steady development takes time and hard work, but it pays off in lessons learned and integrated, and in strength and stability. Development with coca is similar to this - it doesn't open you up right away like Ayahuasca or San Pedro does, but it opens you up slowly over time and requires you to learn how to meet the plants half-way - your work and dedication is required to get to the destination.
I think this is why the Q'ero healers we work with are so powerful and dependable. They took a lot of time to slowly develop themselves and perfected each stage of the process. Nothing came easy or quick to them, but because they learned the hard and slow way they are true masters. This works perfect in their society because they have many other healers to take care of their society while they train and perfect their practice. There is no shortage of healers because they have a continuous line teaching the next generation.
Sadly in our society we do not have the benefit of time to develop this way. Our culture is killing the planet and many of us have suffering health or depression. We need help now before things get worse. This is why San Pedro, mushrooms or Ayahuasca are so helpful and important for us - they are helping us get back on the right page and helping us save ourselves quickly before it is too late. We need to shift fast, and we need these faster acting medicines. But coca can still help us return to stability and focus when we listen to her - she is always there waiting to teach us her wisdom.
In many ways I think coca is the perfect plant medicine. Great nutrition, pleasant euphoria which encourages compassion and love, and a energy boost that encourages hard work. Slow but steady development that comes to those willing to put in the time and effort. Some of the medicines that allow faster development also offer temptations of power or can build up our ego's.... But coca reminds us to be humble and hard working, and to appreciate the little things we have in each moment. I think if the whole world could benefit from one daily habit - coca might be my first recommendation.
Munay - and much love from the heart of Mama Coca!