If you have been digging into the growing content around psychedelics on the internet, you have probably encountered this buzzword. But what is integration in the context of an expanded consciousness experience? And most importantly, why is it important for you to go through it? We give you a short and concise set of information in this article.
1. Looking back in time…
Psychedelic substances and consciousness-expanding practices have been used by humankind probably since the beginning of our conscious existence. Maybe even before (check out the Stoned Ape Theory by the late Terence Mckkena in the 90s and now championed by Paul Stamets among others). From the Vedic Soma to the Classical Mysteries, from the Aztec “Food of the gods” to the Siberian shamanic rites, these substances have been consumed throughout the whole existence of humanity.
However, one clear trend we can see is that these sacred medicines were taken mostly as such. A sacrament to be respected, and with a clear social, religious, and sacramental structure attached to them.
2. What about today’s world?
Nowadays, we are rediscovering these substances in the western world. Supported by scientific research and a pressing need to find new solutions to a growing mental health epidemic.
While up-and-coming psychedelic therapies are surfacing, (mostly with ketamine and MDMA) the legal status of other medicines like ayahuasca and mushrooms has made psychedelic seekers search for underground possibilities or foreign countries where these are legal.
After a consciousness-expanding experience, adapting back to everyday reality is nearly always a challenge. Due to stigma among other reasons, it is difficult to share with others and keep in touch with the insights that came up during the experience once one is back to their daily routine. This is where “integration” comes into play.
As westerners, we lack the sacramental tight social support you find in traditional settings. So we need to adapt and take action to avoid drifting back to our routine while forgetting the new insights the experience brought to us during expanded consciousness.
Integration is an ongoing process. It’s not a checklist to mark off “to-do’s” after the experience. Just like preparation, we believe it is highly personal, meaning that there are many approaches for different people and situations.
Born from the same paradigm of the now-classic “set and setting”, this preparation & integration approach allows you to have a clear understanding of the experience you are going into and how to make the most out of it.
4. Be mindful
Psychedelic medicines are a great gift to all of us, but they are not without risks. We want to emphasize that regardless of the hype, one needs to be cautious and aware of their own limits and intentions before engaging with them. The old greek maxim of ‘know thyself’ applies – it’s about knowing what exactly you are going into and how to work with the experience that emerges.
Our mission at psychedelics-integration.com is to give you further information about different approaches, and resources, and to offer the possibility to find qualified coaches that are glad to support you. You are not alone on your journey!