SETTING INTENTIONS: THE KEY TO MAXIMIZING AND INTEGRATING YOUR PSYCHEDELIC EXPERIENCE
1 – Preparation
The journey starts with preparation, before the day of the ceremony. Setting your intention can be a trip in itself and it’s crucial for a successful integration. Taking some time to cultivate your intention before the journey can serve as a compass during the experience and offer insights after the psychedelic journey. Let’s discuss a few methods and exercises for boosting your integration by nurturing a clear intention for your psychedelic experience and integration.
A potent method of keeping track of your progress in integrating the psychedelic experience is to put your thoughts and emotions on paper. Going to a ceremony often means confronting forgotten memories and feelings, this can be a challenge, and it’s not uncommon for people to be overwhelmed with the emotions that arise out of a psychedelic voyage.
Keeping a journal is an effective way to organize your thoughts in a logical way. Taking a moment to think back on your experience and attempting to materialize it with words, gives a whole new grip on your integration practice.
Integration is the post-trip process of implementing the lessons and insights that occurred during the voyage in ordinary life. Even though this stage starts after the ceremony, it is important to start to think about the positive changes we want to see in our lives before the experience, during the preparation phase. In the future, we are going to come back to our journal and have a look at where we started.
- Write down your current life challenges, aspirations, and areas you seek growth;
- Describe any questions you have about yourself and your life’s purpose;
Meditation and Mindfulness:
Connecting with our inner self can be challenging, it takes some practice until the average person can surrender to their surroundings and immerse in themselves. Meditation is a practice anyone can do anywhere and it can teach us to listen to ourselves in a more intimate way.
To me, meditation is more about learning to observe myself and the world than anything else. I can tell for sure that regularly engaging in meditation was the number one exercise that was the most useful during my psychedelic explorations. The more I meditate the easier it is to center myself and find steady footing during the psychedelic trip and in life.
Going on a psychedelic experience can be a catalyst to self-connection, this is why meditation is an essential practice for every psychonaut. To me, meditation is an exercise that teaches me to center myself and find peace in any situation, and it gets easier the more I practice it.
Find a quiet place where you can concentrate and be without distractions.
- Imagine the ideal state of being or the person you want to become. Stay with this image and play with it mentally.
- Practice this visualization exercise every day leading up to your ceremony.
This will help you understand your desires and will assist in setting clear intentions for the journey.
2 – Navigating the Psychedelic Experience with Intentions
Bring the intentions you set during the preparation phase to your ceremony. Having clear goals and objectives can guide the participant to the positive changes they want to see in life. Here are some concepts and techniques that helped me during my own journeys:
- Let Go: Learning to surrender is a core part of self-improvement with responsible psychedelic use. Practice letting go of preconceived expectations and approach the trip with an open and explorative mindset. Make yourself available to embrace whatever arises with acceptance and curiosity.
- Inner Interview: During the trip, remember to take a moment to ask yourself the questions you wrote down in your reflective journal in the preparation stage. This self-reflection exercise can help you to ground yourself during the experience and get a better grip on the mystical journey.
The most popular psychedelic substances like LSD, Psilocybe, and DMT, among others are known for their potential of creating real introspective journeys. Setting our minds to the intention we set before the trip can lead us to the positive changes we want to see in our lives. If you feel like you don’t grow as much from the psychedelic experiences as you wish, then try this exercise during your next retreat. It can lead to profound insights and a deeper understanding of your intentions.
- Visual Representation: Putting your visions, thoughts, and insights into words can be hard, almost impossible. Having an artistic outlet can help participants to make sense of what they are feeling and thinking, so if it’s appropriate and safe, provide art materials for the participants to create a visual representation of their intentions during the trip.
1) Visual Representation Exercise – Draw, paint, or create a representation of your aspirations and insights;
3. Integrating With Intention After the Trip:
Going on a psychedelic ceremony is NOT the same as taking a magic pill. The real and long-lasting benefits take time to sink in, and it often requires active engagement from the participant. Making sense of the lessons and insights that occurred during the experience and connecting them to our sober life can be more challenging than it looks. Luckily, we have our reflective journal with us which can direct our sight to the benefits we seek.
Integration Journaling – Take out your reflective journal and read what you wrote before the experience. Making sense of a psychedelic experience can take years, having written documentation of the positive changes you implemented and challenges of your integration process can help you keep track of your progress, identify patterns, and come up with strategies to overcome challenges. This time, focus on the insights and lessons you gained during the ceremony.
- Integration Journaling Exercise: Reflect and write about how the experience you had relates to your original intentions and how you intend to apply these insights to your daily life;
- Think of an action plan, a concrete set of steps to implement positive changes in your lifestyle based on the insights gained during the journey.
Support Network – The most underestimated part of the integration process is the support network. Having other people to share your accomplishments and challenges can offer emotional support and offer perspective. The psychedelic approach is based on emotional release, because of this, having someone to talk to is key. Luckily, nowadays it’s possible to contact an integration coach who can help you tailor your integration practice to your goals and needs. Browse our integration coaches and find a match for you!
Safety and Set & Setting
When planning a psychedelic ceremony, make sure to prioritize safety and a proper set & setting. Setting your intentions is just one part of the process of making positive changes in our communities with entheogens, it is important to explore these substances responsibly and with science as our ally. There is wonderful research available online, stay updated with psychedelic research and other topics in our blog: