We understand so much. Interpreting immediately. We read about the use of plant medicine, watch all the videos and see interesting films. We sit and define our intention. Then we do a ceremony with a group or a guide and go on the journey. And now… we are back. Back to our daily life, the routine, the obligations, the dread mill and and and. We are back to all the reasons we wanted the “medicine” and the journey to help in the first place. Now what? What about integration?
The internet is full of advice. INTEGRATE !! Write, meditate, share with peers, work with an integration coach, read, do Yoga, hug trees, stop eating meat, change everything etc…. It’s overwhelming. It’s too much for most of us.
Many ceremonies end with suggestions about how to integrate the experience. Often some exercises are done. You might make a “collage”, write a bit and then… you go home.
So.. why do I write another page about “integration”?
Relax… I won’t !.. But I will share my own experience with you. Maybe you can identify. See it like a supermarket: “take what you need and leave the rest”.
When I had my first contact with “psychedelics” it was a long, long time ago. Yes… I am this old. In the 60s we took LSD. Many friends read “Castaneda” – we all tried the “power walk” and wanted to hear the “voice” and copy what we read. And some of us maybe even had this type of experience with “medicine”. But most of us did NOT. We had very different experiences.
“Bad trips” we called it. But many didn’t share what they experienced, because it was not what was expected. Especially when it was a “horror trip” ..or so they thought. There was little room for “sharing” and exchanging experiences. We all wanted to enjoy the promised: “colourful happy joyful connectedness”. If this did NOT happen… we were lost.
Very few took the “long way” and went to the East to find a guru or at least a group of people that exchanged thoughts and experiences. In these groups, you had to become “one of them”. Some of these groups expanded even to the “west”. Some turned into cults. For the rest of us, it was just too esoteric. For most of us, daily life continued and reality took over quickly. The profound experience was covered up with the routine. What might have been an important spiritual awakening or even a mystical experience was put in a box in the mental basement and soon denied and forgotten. Often, because it didn’t fit into the storytelling of the esoteric community. The scientific research programs were few and went underground in the late 60s. Very little was published that would have helped to find one’s own explanation of psychedelic experiences.
Nowadays, for a few years, the world is seeming to wake up.
Psychedelic-enhanced therapy is on its way out of the closet. The press is positive and more and more “retreat places” offer legal ceremonies. Books are out that talk about indigenous rituals and traditions. And similar to meditation, the middle-European culture looks for other sources than our own.
Spirituality has to come from abroad. It has to be South America, Asia or at least a rural area with lots of “nature” to have a proper ceremony. Also, legal status plays a role. That’s all not bad. But it’s not for everyone.
What about all the suffering people that just want therapy because they have depression, PTSD, anxiety attacks and fears.. What if they can’t afford to travel? Or if they do NOT have the education to read books about mental health? What if Yoga, Pilates and vegan food are just not in their program? How can they profit from our experience?…
Easy does it. We have to boil it down. Make it clear and simple.
Someone that loves to ride motorbikes might use the “medicine” and have a “vision” of “fearless flying through curves”, guided by some strange energy that lets them feel 100% safe!..
This might be a wonderful spiritual experience. Feeling ONE with everything!..
But what if the expectation was: to see “white light” and feel one with a rosy-cosy universe?
Then it might NOT be recognized as a spiritual experience. The person might even not be able to accept this “corny” expression at all!!
In cases like that, “down-to-earth” integration is essential. Sharing with equal others might be the first tool. When you hear others share experiences like yours, experiences different from the esoteric world, you might be able to identify. And identification is the first step. Helping a person to remind themselves of the “fearless flying through curves” in times of anxiety might be a tool to overcome fear. But only if there is help to understand and integrate the very individual process. Not everyone is guided by a proper therapist or guide that has this experience. Also, the language that we often use when we talk about “psychedelic experiences” is not inclusive. For many, it sounds too arrogant and exclusive.
Here is a place where we try to help you to integrate whatever you experienced on your “journey” in your own language and time. And then even a “bad trip” turns out to be the most important experience for you when you share it with like-minded friends or speak to a psychedelic coach of your choice.
Enjoy your experience!