Psychedelic Integration is the practice of transforming the psychedelic experience into long-lasting positive changes in daily life. If done with proper coaching and preparation, the integration stage can be an effective way to change old habits, kick addictions, and promote self-growth. Nevertheless, this process can be challenging if the participant doesn’t know what they want and where to go with the integration. Setting an intention for the psychedelic experience and sticking with it throughout the integration stage can help the psychonaut to converge their attention to certain aspects of life in which they would like to see a change.
A good time to think about your intention is before the psychedelic ceremony, at the preparation stage. In the days leading up to the experience, the participant is encouraged to take some time to reflect without distractions on the aspects of life they would like to see an improvement. A useful technique is to imagine that the ceremony is an interview with the spirit of plant medicine and we should bring questions to ask during the encounter. Being on the peak of a psychedelic journey can feel like being thrown into the middle of a stormy ocean, preparing a couple of questions beforehand and mentalizing them during the voyage can help the participant to find solid footing.
Ask For Intention
If you are blanking on your intentions during the trip or if you can’t come up with good questions to bring with you to the ceremony, don’t worry. Some questions are universal and, totally worth revisiting every once in a while. Entheogens are great tools for self-discovery and self-growth; questions that illuminate our idea of self and indicate how we can improve ourselves usually guides the experience to fertile soil. The following questions are some that I like to bring with me:
1 – Who am I?
2 – What do I want?
3 – How can I improve?
4 – What improvements do I want to see in life?
The mystical experience can bring us to unexpected places. If we try to forcibly guide the journey, we may miss what the medicine wants us to see. While the intention can help the participant guide their experience, it is important to keep a loose grip. Taking a moment at the beginning of the ceremony to mentalize your intention should be enough to have your intention reverberate throughout the journey. During the journey, it is important to be present and centered. Not knowing how things fit immediately is not a reason to be alarmed. During the integration practices the unresolved issues are going to gradually fall into their places
The Intention of Your Integration
After the experience, the integration stage starts. This stage involves reflecting on the experience and connecting the epiphanies and insights that occurred during the experience and applying them in a practical way in daily life. The psychedelic integration is an ongoing process and having a clear intention throughout the practice can help the psychonaut to make the connections they need to implement the benefits of the psychedelic world into a balanced lifestyle.
In the weeks following a transformative psychedelic experience, I like to sit down at the end of the day and write about the connections between the lessons I extracted from the ceremony and my daily life. I investigate my day by mentally revisiting the happenings of the day, trying to look at it through the lens of my intention. The relevant exercise here is connecting the ceremony experiences to tangible positive changes in normal life. Journaling of this kind accomplishes the following:
a) Prompts me to look back on my day and reflect on how the ceremony impacted my behavior;
b) Organizes ideas in a logical structure;
c) Helps me prepare for the next day of integration;
Integration: Reflection and Application
Participants who have trouble translating the mystical experience into positive changes can try using the intention they set before the ceremony as a compass. Reflection and application are two ways we can divide the psychedelic integration. During the reflection stage, thinking about the experience is encouraged. In alternation, the insights that occurred during reflection are going to be put into action during the application stage. Ask yourself questions like “What changes would I like to see in life?”; it can help direct the mind to find the connections it needs to reach the answer.
Continue investigating your intention. I don’t like to be too rigid about my intention and I am open to changing it throughout my integration process. I have worked with many psychonauts who have pivoted during the integration process and ended up finding answers they didn’t know they were looking for. Because psychedelic means ‘mind expanding’; keeping an open mind is a requirement for successful psychedelic integration. However, to extract the gold from the experience it can be fruitful to offer a rigid structure for the psychedelic experience to flow through. The intention can be this rigid structure.
Psychedelic integration consists of reflecting on the happenings of the psychedelic ceremony and putting it into action in everyday life. The intention the participant brings to the psychedelic experience can help them navigate the psychedelic landscape. It can serve as a riverbed for the mystical experience to flow guiding the psychonaut to the positive changes they want to see in their lives. Coming up with your intention can be challenging, but rewarding. An integration coach can be of great assistance in defining this important aspect of the psychedelic experience.
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1 – Frymann T, Whitney S, Yaden DB, Lipson J. The Psychedelic Integration Scales: Tools for Measuring Psychedelic Integration Behaviors and Experiences. Front Psychol. 2022 May 23;13:863247. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.863247. PMID: 35677137; PMCID: PMC9168432.