The role of psychedelics and wellness
Written in the hills of Big Sur
It was inevitable, really, that as our civilization began rediscovering new ways to heal in this century, psychedelics would come back to make our collective picture truly BIG.
Of course, some big mistakes were made in the past, but also some foundational realizations. One of the biggest is how to utilize them with wellness tools to accomplish truly deep healing.
I speak from blissful experience upon this subject. My own experiments with microdosing and ceremonial use of these sacred plants have done much to connect me with my greater purpose in life as a business leader, a healer and a simple speck of life floating through the cosmos. However, ensuring a beneficial experience requires going in how they work to maximize your healing practice. Otherwise, you’re just going on another joy ride where you could potentially crash up your astral vehicle, and there’s enough junkers piled up by the side of that road as it is. In sum, one has to truly FEEL their way through it in order to come out the other side, transformed.
Yoga, meditation, and the charge between synapses
Oftentimes, when I’m mentoring people on meditation and Qi Gong, I’ll hear the same complaints over and over again:
- “I simply can’t turn my mind off!”
- “I can’t sit still!”
- “I can’t stay quiet.”
In the past, I’ve made those complaints myself, and just like my friends, they came from the same place: my ego. I’d get so trapped in how my practice was supposed to me, and what attaining true self-mastery looked like that it stood in the way of surrendering to the experience. Moreover, the ego prevents us from accessing true self – our experience of connectedness which stands apart from the ego’s petty desires. However, when skillfully implemented, psychedelics used alongside yoga and meditation can magnify the self while working synergistically to not only mitigate stress but amplify focus, creativity and behavioral changes. (Don’t just take my word for it – a recent study determined measurable benefits amongst participants at a wellness retreat who used psilocybin versus those that hadn’t.) It does so by breaking down the stories and narratives the ego tells us. They enter into the spaces between our synapses, and allow us to create new stories based on a stronger intuition of self.
These epiphanies come not so much from your head than your heart. Yes, human beings are made of flesh, blood, bone and soft tissue, but we’re also comprised of hopes, dreams, fears and love as well. The heart serves as the guide to these impulses, yet an overactive monkey mind can often interfere with its wisdom. On a high level, yoga and meditation puts us in touch with the eternal flow of revelation coming from this deep understanding, but that’s not easily attained. And while this state can be accessed without psychedelics, psychedelics can get us there far more quickly. Considering the state of the world and the dire predicaments we face, we need to advance our psyches as quickly as possible, and at scale. Re-initiating this project makes a great deal of sense, given the amount of work we must do on ourselves, both as individuals and as a species.
What with all the talk of psychedelic therapy out in the wild, I do believe that guides are not always necessary. Particularly with microdosing, they really aren’t needed in every use case. However, they can be vital in keeping people focused on their path, rather than letting them fall back into the usual feedback loops constructed by the ego. In most examples of psychedelic therapy, the guidance comes later during the post-trip “integration” phase. Psychedelics can be an occasionally bumpy and scary ride, however, so having a caring and experienced person handy helps. But in those times when I’ve done it alone, I’ve often come through the discomfort by learning that none of us are ever really alone and that you can often get through a lot of your darkest moments by yourself. This can be incredibly empowering, and can lead to important work you can do on yourself, all by yourself.
Sacred and small
You’ve probably heard about the microdosing trend within Silicon Valley, kickstarted by and large by James Fadiman’s book The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide (although Fadiman does acknowledge that indigenous tribes have certainly worked with the entire range of dosages, it’s still a little new to most of us up here in the West). The times I have done it, I’ve been able to access a flow and intuition that’s often imperceptible with the constant critique of the mind. As the Chinese say, the heart is where the mind goes to rest. Unlike SSRIs, which I found deadened my response to the outside world, I can more fully sense the work I am doing in front of me and truly immerse myself in it.
And then, of course, there’s the ceremonial use, which perhaps for me is the most exciting of all. In a time when traditional community spaces, such as the church or the local grange, have lost a lot of their power to connect communities, one can enter into a space where community is truly the guide. This was definitely the case the last time I participated in one. Prior to it, I felt a lot of angst coming into it, which can be common before coming into something as heavy-duty as ceremony. During that time, I was instructed to “walk with an open heart but without your eyes closed.” From there, I was able to listen and just BE in my own authentic self, to hear people speak from their heart and cry real tears, because I could connect to the emotions underneath. It left me with a greater resolve to do what I did in life, whether it was Medicine Box or just being a better friend, leader and family member, with greater resolve. It’s a great responsibility to run a company like mine, but immensely rewarding when you get a glimpse of the sorts of transformations plant medicine can be responsible for in the proper set and setting. Remember, these plants have been around a lot longer than we have. They’ve informed indigenous cultures for millenia, and they can remind us of who we truly are and can be. That gratitude, wisdom and fulfillment is at the heart of wellness, and no matter whether you engage with it as a business owner or a community member, each one of us plays a role in each other’s healing. All you have to do is plant the seed in the ground, and then just let it grow.