Starting when he was 28, Mehcad Brooks went through a harrowing couple of years—a parasite picked up in Africa caused him to flatline from the medication used to treat it, and the near-death experience led him to travel to India looking for answers. Back in the U.S., an accident left him in a coma for three days, essentially giving him a second brush with death. The combination of those three journeys led him to try the hallucinogenic Ayahuasca to gain more perspective.

When did you do Ayahuasca, and why did you choose to go that route?
It was May 20th, 2012, and that date is significant because it was the same date as when I died and then was resuscitated in 2009, and exactly one year after my coma. So, I see May 20th as kind of my spiritual birthday. I saw Ayahuasca as another step toward spiritual expansion.

What was the experience like? I’ve heard you vomit.
You do, it’s called purging. Think of it this way: The human body is basically two-thirds water. And water conducts electricity, stores it, and your emotions are electronic impulses so that gets stored in you. Trauma from every age can get stuck in there. It’s all there. And then when the Ayahuasca hits it, that shit gets pulled out and you’re literally throwing up stuff from when you were a kid.

How do you think all of these May 20th experiences have changed you?
Now that I’ve had some time and perspective away from them, I’ve been able to thank the universe for them. As soon as you can thank the universe for whatever happened to you, it’s no longer happening to you. Now there’s a lesson coming your way. Nothing in your life happens to you, it happens for you. Had these things not happened, I’d have been a piece of shit, a real asshole.

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