I used to work at a healing centre where there were twelve ducks and a large pond. One of the main outdoor seating areas was quite close to the pond, and many of the guests would hang out there.

At this particular centre, people often came for Ayahuasca retreats. Ayahuasca is an entheogenic plant medicine brewed by shamans in South America. The experience of drinking Aya can take a person into profoundly deep states of consciousness. But there is also a lot of cleansing work that occurs, and this can be quite an ordeal for some people.

The guests who would arrive were often quite nervous. And if there were entities arriving with some of the guests, they would become quite agitated as well. This often resulted in a sort of psychic tension. It was not very discernible on the surface, as it wasn’t like people were panicking or being overtly emotional — but it was perceptible. It was as if the energy field at the centre would go from peaceful and calm — to frenetic and turbulent within a few hours of all the new guests arriving.

It was always rather interesting, and I learnt to notice the outer distortions of inner turmoil. I mentioned the ducks earlier — and they were very good indicators. Outside of retreat time, the ducks were for the most part calm, and would bop around doing their thing. But once retreat guests arrived, the ducks would often start being aggressive to each other, and would sometimes start acting in strange ways, such as preening themselves in an agitated manner that resembled self-harm.

There are lots of hummingbirds living in the area. But they would rarely show themselves at the beginning of a retreat. There are sand flies that would bite people, and they were usually much more prevalent at the start of a retreat. Little disputes amongst the staff at the centre were also more common at the start. As were little errors with housekeeping or dietary requirements. Even the weather would sometimes appear to reflect the shift in the energy field, and heavy rains and strong winds would sometimes appear during the initial part of a retreat.

As a retreat progressed and people went through their healing journeys, they became calmer, and then a calmer, more serene atmosphere would begin to return. Rainbows would appear, hummingbirds flew by to say hello, and the ducks would make peace. The staff would regain their composure and work well together. The energies would flow more harmoniously.

Our inner sentiments are often reflected into the outer world — and can influence how events and circumstances unfold.

The more you cultivate inner calmness and composure, the less outer distortions of inner turmoil there will be.