#023 Suraya Sam: on the alchemy of plant medicine, painless birth, and sound healing
Is it possible to have a painless birth? What is plant-based medicine, how does it help people? And what is ego death? Big questions that we are deep diving with Suraya Sam—co-creator of House of Ascend, master of gong bath and sound healing journeys and meditations.
Suraya Sam (Sue for short), is the co-creator for House of Ascend, an avid Practitioner, a Wife and a Mother. She is a certified Guide, Trainer, Teacher and Facilitator, with over 11 years of experience in Yoga, Gong Meditation, Gong Nidra, Pranayama and Aromatherapy. Suraya is also a Yoga Alliance continuing education provider with more than 27,000 registered hours. To top it all off, Suraya has also run ceremonies, sessions and mediative intensives, for international brands like BBC, Netflix, LinkedIn Soho House, Sofitel, just to name a few.
In this episode, we talk about how to have a truly pain-free birth. Why we need to learn to deeply trust and surrender. And the power of breath, plant-based medicine and sound for healing. You can listen to the whole conversation on the Live Wide Awake podcast here or read the highlights below.
On Suraya’s San Pedro experience…
First, it goes into your physical body. If you have rashes, if you’re constipated… anything physically, it will move into that state. For example, if you are constipated, then you will start to go to number two for many hours. If your third chakra is blocked, then maybe you start throwing up. If you’re emotionally imbalanced, you might be angry, or sad. You might find yourself crying or being angry for a few hours. It is actually really important to have a shaman or a guide there. So that whenever you go into this vulnerable state, you’re being taken care of. You need people to hold your hand, when you’re moving into these places, be it mentally, physically, or emotionally.
That’s true for other health practices as well, right? Mentally, you do need a meditation facilitator. With mental health, you need psychiatrists to guide you. And then physically, you have doctors you go to for check-ups. You go to the doctor and then they would tell you what is going on. So with plant medicine, it’s the same. You do need to have somebody, a specialist, to guide you through what you’re going through. My family, for example, they don’t do it in big groups, because it’s just too much.
On what comes after the physical experiences and multidimensional healing…
After the physical experiences, it moves into your energy. How’s your energy body, how are your chakras? Are they aligned, misaligned, out of tune? How do you retune it? With plant medicine, you don’t just go for few hours. You go for sometimes days, sometimes months, just with one drink. Maybe the effects stop after 24 hours, but we are multidimensional beings. So when we take this medicine, it moves and alters the consciousness of the self, moving through many layers of us. Through the physical layer, through your energy body, and then it moves into your breath. Is there enough oxygen moving through your body? Are you hyperventilating? Are you breathing enough?
Because for a lot of people, when they’re emotionally or mentally blocked, there isn’t enough oxygen that moves through the body. Maybe even some parts of the body are dormant, blocking the energy. So how do we move that? For me, that’s what the plant teaches me. Like, okay, physically some parts of my body aren’t strong enough. Then this directs me to move into the right dimension for healing that part. For example, if you have a lower back issue, maybe it’s an injury from a past life. Then in this life, you have this pain to remind you of this. Because sometimes it’s not just this life that you’re healing, it’s the multidimensional layers of you across those times that you’re healing as well. That’s what plant medicine does for you.
On why the death of the ego is important…
I think of the death of the ego as more of a rebirth. The question is: what is rebirth to you? Why do you want to upgrade yourself? Is the ego bad? No, it’s not. From the perspective of modern psychologists, the ego can be thought of as an accumulation of three components. First, the human psyche, so the view that the individual holds of themself. Your self-image, in other words. How much value is placed on yourself, or your self-esteem, and the many beliefs, ideologies and affiliation that individuals can hold. When you go through plant medicines, there’s a lot of this self-inquiry. Is this what I am? Are these my beliefs? Or are they my parents’, my grandparents’? Using plant medicines is an act of reducing or shutting out your thoughts and sensory inputs. Which is all to be your authentic self.
The ego eracts boundaries, which can lead us to feel isolated. Which is why before I facilitate, I have to isolate myself for at least half a day, to harness this energy, So that it comes from my heart, and from my soul. Your mind can tell you a lot of things otherwise, but your heart and your soul are in sync with your environment. So the ego death can be described as a temporary transformation from the psyche, I think, in short. You have to shift from a self-centered to a completely unbiased state of mind.
On what sound meditation is, to Suraya…
What you experience during sound meditation is basically a reset. I take people through a journey that’s similar to taking plant medicine. When I use the sound, I use the frequency of the instruments to realign your body. Sometimes you might feel like you need to move, or like you’re not relaxed, because you have to shed that insecurity, that energy, so that you can surrender. I think a lot of people don’t know how to surrender. Because they’re afraid of this death—it can be ego death, or anything… Anything that requires you to surrender. Certainly, not a lot of people can harness that energy. Not a lot of people can relax.
For you to rebalance or reset or rewire the layers of the self, you do need to relax. You need to learn how to soften, to be compassionate towards yourself. Because we’re always so hard on ourselves. We’re so rigid about what we’re supposed to do, how we contribute to society. But instead of listening to all of that noise, my practice allows you to relax. So you’re able to intuitively listen to what your body, mind, and soul needs. Normally, and most times, people don’t have such connections. My practice is a way to connect that, to plug into the right frequency for you to listen. It is like a plant medicine journey—you go through multidimensional layers of yourself to attune to the right frequency. The frequency that your soul needs. This eventually helps you immerse yourself into your story, to be more aligned and balanced within and to your self.
On the lesson learned from Suraya’s painless birth…
From my entire experience, the lesson is to basically understand the chemicals in your body. What it’s doing to you. And trust that gut instinct, when you are able to feel it. Because everybody has it, not just women. Everybody has it. When you understand how to be one with yourself, your endorphins, your oxytocin, your happy pills are cheering for you as well. I think when my daughter came to earth sight, she shed so much like light… She radiated it so much that it was like an explosion of happy pills that everybody, the entire room, including the nurses and the doctor… They felt it, and everybody was happy. They were like laughing and joking, while in the other room, I could hear screaming…
On how we can live wide awake…
It’s to understand how to be balanced. You need to slow down. You need to listen to your breath first. Because your breath has a lot of frequency, whatever that you’re breathing in, right? There’s an energy exchange. When you breathe in, you’re breathing in what kind of oxygen, right? For us here, we’re breathing in all of the evergreens and the conifer trees. And now I’m staying at my sister-in-law’s place, so we’re by the countryside… What am I breathing in? What is the message here? So wherever you are, attune yourself to your environment. And ask yourself, is this is the information that you want to receive? Is this the energy exchange that you would like to have for your family, for yourself? Whatever that you receive back, that is what you need to download. And that is what the knowledge is: that is the wisdom.
So wherever you are, know that you are supported. Pachamama is everywhere. Even if you are in the city, know where her spot is for you to be attuned to her.
Three things I’m taking away from this conversation with Suraya:
1. To rebalance and rewire the layers of self, we need to relax and soften.
2. It is important to trust and surrender—we are supported.
3. Spend the time to understand how to be one with yourself. Slow down, and listen to your breath.