During many transformational workshops, I have been able to witness that individuals are generally in need of additional integration support, especially after aspects of awakening arise into the conscious mind. It is also the case for those undergoing a powerful entheogenic awakening. It can be hard to wrap one’s head around a process that is multi-dimensional and so deeply personal.
What is Psychedelic integration?
I suspect that more people than not have had a life-transformative experience. There may different names for the experience, such as: out of body experiences, mystical experiences, or near death experiences. Maybe you’ve had an experience of talking with angels to God, or to people you know who have passed away. Maybe you’ve been in a profoundly altered state of consciousness. Maybe you’ve had visions, energy experiences sometimes called Kundalini awakenings, or something else that was outside normal 3D reality. The experience of synchronicities, of wonder, of awe, of beauty, of oneness all, can be (spiritually) transformative experiences.
These occurrences can happen at any time to anyone: during sleep, walking in nature, during an illness, pre-death, near-death, making love, reading a book, or during a psychedelic journey.
When undergoing a deep transformative psychedelic experience it typically requires an extended, period of adjustment. Integration is ideally achieved when the experience, its meaning, and its aftereffects have been incorporated into one’s life to a degree that is assuring to the experiencer and when accompanying challenges, stresses and disruptions are reduced to an acceptable minimum.
The search for Reality is the most dangerous of all undertaking, for it destroys the world in which you live. — Nisargadatta Maharaj
How do we integrate?
There isn’t a specific formula for integration because it truly depends on the individual experience and their intentions. For some, the focus is on transforming trauma or recovering from addiction. For others, it’s about spiritual awakening and expansion. Or maybe it’s about growing and experiencing the world differently. Whatever your intention is for undergoing a psychedelics experience, it can have a big impact on what your integration process can feel like.
The journey and integration are both very particular to the individual. However, there are some practices that I can recommend that can help you make the most of your journey or sacred medicine experience.
Phases of Integration
In the 1st month the “Honeymoon Phase” the psychedelic afterglow is still circulating. You are taking it all in, this lasts usually first 2-4 weeks.
In the 1-3 months “Bridging Worlds”. Here you might not feel that you are the person you once were and not yet fully embodying the person you are becoming. This can sometimes be the most challenging period. The vision for your new found life is still unfolding and it requires lots of support & community. This process is unfolding and your new actions need to be solidified. It can be hard to release the old patterns as the new path is explored.
3-6 months “Clarity of Knowing”. You start to see and feel more evidence of your new vision for life in the here and now. Implementing the necessary pieces. Easier to release the old patterns and the starting to fully embody the remembrance of your gifts.
Focus on practices
It’s time for you, you, you. Really allow yourself the time and space for integration. Apply gentleness to your everyday routine and ask yourself regularly, ‘what do I need?’. Use this time to journal or engage in some of the practices suggested here.
Start new habits. Because of the disruption of your ordinary state of consciousness, psychedelic experiences offer an incredible opportunity to make lasting practical and behavioral changes. There is a window of opportunity before your brain gets back into an automatic living mode, during which you can more easily institute new practices. These can be health practices, such as eating a healthier diet or starting a regular exercise practice or be spiritual in nature, such as creating a routine for meditation, yoga, prayer, intention setting, etc.
Or you could look into the following practices for further integration with a trained practitioner:
- Transpersonally-oriented psychotherapy
- Holotropic Breathwork
- Shamanic Integration work
- Different forms of bodywork
- Different forms of energy release work
- Work with archetypes
- Different art forms, making music, dancing, painting, sculpting
- Meditation and other spiritual practices (following the images or insights of the experience)
There are numerous forms of meditation, from Vipassana to mindfulness, so choose a practice that resonates with you. Below a simple meditation that can help you when you feel overwhelmed or help you process.
Energy Field Meditation
∆ Imagine yourself sitting in the center of a circle of light that extends 1-2 meter from your physical body.
∆ Focus on your breath and with your intention bring your awareness to your circle.
∆ It may be helpful to breathe into your circle with your inhalation and breath out to the edge of your circle with your exhalation
∆ Become present to the energy in your body. Notice how you feel–Where are you experiencing areas of stress, anxiety, fear or discomfort? Softly breathe into those areas.
∆ What energies are needing to be cleared?
For example, A constant thought that won’t go away? Anger over a conversation with a friend, worry about a sick relative?
∆ Whatever the experience, bring it to mind and with love and intention, gently place that thought, or that feeling outside of your circle. Visualize it on the other side. Continuing to put whatever is no longer serving you outside of your circle.
∆ As you gently see your thoughts and feelings outside your circle, notice how your body feels. Has the uncomfortable shifted, the thought left, the anxiety lessened? Any of these indications means you have cleared your field and your body of that energy.
∆ Bring your awareness back into your circle. Focus on your breathing. Is there anything else you see, feel or sense that needs to be released?
Continue with this exercise until you feel lighter, calmer and more at peace.
Being aware and taking cautions
- Psychedelics are not for everyone, never pressure or be pressured into using them
- Do not undergo these experiences alone or without proper screening
- Only undergo these experiences with a trusted and experienced practitioner
- Only undergo these experiences in a safe environment with the proper set and setting
- Dosage does matter and cannot be guessed
- Do not combine psychedelics with other substances, or fail to communicate any drugs you are taking to a facilitator
- Know that psychedelics are illegal in the US and some other countries
- Know the contraindications of each substance
- Do not take psychedelics if you’ve had a history of severe psychiatric problems
- Do not take psychedelics if you’ve been experiencing any heart difficulties
Something to remember
Integration is where the fruits of your psychedelic labor blossom in your life. The benefits and opportunities have a wide range for each person to explore. You cannot know what benefits you will receive; hence you must enter without expectation, an open mind, and gratitude for the experience you get no matter what it is. Know that the benefits will emerge into your life and that a big percentage of the benefits you will notice after the experience, sometimes weeks, months, or years later. And keep a curious outlook on life while realizing that what we want is not always what we need.
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