Take this short quiz to assess your mental and spiritual readiness for a psychedelic retreat.
During a mystical journey there is a huge shift in the inner landscape. For some people it is from doing ayahuasca and healing transgenerational trauma, for others it is losing the ego from 5 MeO DMT and for many it is a clear sense of seeing their lives from a birds eye view with psilocybin.
These experiences are powerful because they shatter belief systems we had once held as a form of truth. They show us the gravity of our own potential. They allow us to forgive. We see beyond the smallness of ourselves and we attach less to our personal suffering. The depression and anxiety cease as consciousness increases.
Mystical experiences are a taste of the beyond, beyond the body mind complex, beyond the social conditioning, beyond the codes of the culture. We have a taste of liberation, and then we come back down to Earth.
The most important part of any peak experience is taking the lessons we have learned from their teaching and implementing them in our daily lives. Psychedelics, when done in a good set and setting, can help us to see the nature of life and the mind. We are able to see what does and does not serve us and the importance of living in truth.
What counts is not just the hour of bliss from a peak experience, but our involvement in life after. The change that lasts is the change we decide upon in every given moment. Who do we want to be, and how do we want to conduct our lives?
Below are tools for integrating a mystical experience into everyday life, to keep the essence of your ceremony with you closely.
Though many mystical experiences are beyond language, translating the experience down onto paper can help us hold the information on this plane of reality. After a ceremony or psychedelic therapy session, writing down the key takeaways or anything you saw surface within yourself, can assist you in keeping the memory so it does not blur over time. Write down your intention before the ceremony and then the days following the ceremony reflect upon what it has taught you.
The best time to write is first thing in the morning and in long hand, as the creative part of the brain is stimulated, and it involves a more contemplative part of you, then when you type on a laptop.
A helpful method by artist Julia Cameron is called ‘morning pages.’ Every morning as soon as you wake up from the unconscious realm of dreams, go to the desk and write down in longhand three pages of whatever you feel. Morning pages can contain introspective thoughts on your emotional landscape, your dreams the night before, what you need to get off your chest.
Morning pages can even include to do lists, things you want to accomplish during the day and manifestations. Basically, when writing everything down first thing in the morning, the mental space is clear. Everything you feel and want is down on paper. Possibilities open up.
After my first ceremony, morning pages helped me stay accountable. I often used it as a way to reflect upon the alignment of my actions and words. I wrote down my dreams, which were very much connected to my ceremony. According to Julia Cameron “These pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing will provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize, and synchronize the day at hand.”
So much of the mind is in automatic reactions to the given present moment all based on the past. Our partner says something rude, and we automatically defend. A person cuts us off on the road and we automatically rage. Our parents say something triggering, and we become a five year old again. As Ram Dass says “The universe is made up of experiences that are designed to burn out our reactivity, which is our attachment, our clinging, to pain, to pleasure, to fear, to all of it.”
Because psychedelics and plant medicine increase consciousness, they create a small space to witness experience rather than be heavily involved in it. In this space there is the ability to see and respond rather than react, but it takes careful watching. It takes less involvement in your own story and a greater view of life and the predicament of others. The space is where wisdom blooms.
In the space, there is a moment to just breathe and see the moment for what it is, rather than react. Go slow to go fast. As each moment comes do not rush in and out of it, allow yourself space to respond. Breathe through the triggering moments. Allow consciousness to take you rather than old negative behaviors.
One of the main tools for creating mental space is meditation. If everyday you sit down to meditate for at least ten minutes a day, life will change inevitably. Just the act of sitting in silence and breathing, regulating the nervous system, is enough. Even if thoughts come, allow them, just watch them. Do not get lost in thought webs. See them and let them go with grace.
In the stillness and wordlessness, there is a break in the matrix. As Mooji says, “There is a presence, a silence, a stillness which is here by itself. There is no doer of it, no creator of this stillness. It is simply here in you, with you. It is the fragrance of your own self. There is nothing to do about this, it is naturally present. This fragrance of peace, this spaciousness, it is the fragrance of your own being.”
Meditation done consistently slows down the ever thinking mind, and allows us the time to truly watch the nature of the mind. Meditation fuels personal growth and mental health. By understanding ourselves we can then go beyond ourselves. The ego death you felt during a ceremony you can feel glimpses of within a deep meditation.
Most of the problems we have are concepts, and not real. As psychedelics and plant medicine break down reality, we see that so many of the things we worry about do not matter. We see that what we waste energy on worrying, deviates us from the present moment.
We focus on doing the best we can in the moment, and we trust life to take care of life. We do not try to control people or our environment because we know it is futile. We focus on the quality of our thoughts because they make up the quality of our lives.
There is a lightness of being the less we worry, the less we control others, the more we surrender to the now. We are not plagued by the things that used to bring us down, because we know what matters, and what does not.
In this taking life less seriously, we direct our energy onto only the crucial. We become aligned with our purpose and being good to others. In this state of lightness, joy is accessible easily.
Plant medicines and psychedelics shatter illusions. The illusion of separation, and the feeling that we are all one. The illusion of self and small egoic problems. The illusion of control, when universal law is at play. This breaking down of reality can be heavy, and we must reassess our lives when we get a taste of the truth we have been seeking.
How can we live in alignment with this truth? Question everything you thought you knew and get down to the fundamentals of your existence.
Self inquiry is a form of self awareness and unraveling the concept of self, the “I” we have known. The question is asked: who am I?
Self inquiry puts the focus back on you, it does not blame others for the way you feel. It looks at the motivations, fears, and desires from the sense of self. This questioning of identity, asking who feels sensations, who feels the desire, who feels the fear, is psychedelic in itself.
It brings us back to our true self rather than the self composed of labels and behavioral patterns, and childhood traumas. It brings us back to our essence, our true nature. As Sri Ramana Maharshi says “Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
Go inside and look around. Assess and reassess your “I am”.
The sense of oneness, the shadow work, the unraveling past traumas, all of it does not need to be momentary. You can keep the essence of your mystical experience with you but it must be through creating conditions in which they can live.
Carve your life out thoughtfully. Watch the nature of your mind through meditation and journaling. Be good to others in action by being awake to the present moment and listening. Allow the beauty of life to grab you and take you instead of trying to control things, and being stiff and serious. Let your compassion pour though in developing more intimate relationships.
The magic of psychedelic therapy and plant medicine can change you forever, but you choose at each moment how.
Learn more about consciousness, plant medicine, and spiritual transformation