Definition of terms and psychospiritual meaning
How can we best use psychedelics in terms of (spiritual) personal development? In addition to a suitable mindset, an appropriate setting and safe dosage, conscious pre- and post-operative care is crucial. It is not enough to simply consume a psychedelic substance for recreational purposes to bring about beneficial changes in our personal thought patterns and behavior.
Psychedelic integration describes the entire process of active follow-up that follows psychedelic experiences. The full potential of mind-expanding substances only unfolds on one sustainable This is wise, if the knowledge gained is consistently transferred into everyday consciousness and is used there in the long term.
During psychedelic integration, new healthy neural networks are strengthened.
Various individual strategies are suitable for processing and reflection, such as meditation, breathing exercises, intensive conversations, writing a diary or artistically creative activities.
After consuming mind-expanding substances, it is often very difficult to understand the psycho-spiritual experience or to put it into words at all, let alone to derive something personally instructive for one’s own personality development from it. It is therefore all the more important to plan enough space and time for the psychedelic integration and not let the journey within ourselves end with the end of the acute psychedelic effect.
If we want to develop further with the help of psychedelics, then we have to try to build a bridge between the experience and our everyday world. This happens during the psychedelic integration phase.
This can last a few days, a few months, or a lifetime, depending on the content of the journey and the extent of what is revealed. Memories, insights or moments can still visit us years later and finally give us the aha moment as to why a certain vision or insight has appeared and how it fits into the overall scheme of our life.
But since we are more psychologically adaptable for the days and weeks after a journey into an expanded state, this is the best time to introduce practical changes and anchor new insights into our lives.
Benefits of Psychedelic Integration
What is possible through a structured, consistent and long-term psychedelic integration:
- Make realizations about unsolved problems, create mental clarity and find practical solutions
- Develop a feeling for the meaning and purpose of life
- Experience self-realization and life fulfillment through new inspirations
- Feel and strengthen self-love
- Appreciation and acceptance of the inner self (authentic self)
- Letting go of fears, inhibitions, painful memories, emotional obstacles
- Strengthen the feeling of unity, belonging and solidarity with nature and all living beings
- Spiritual activation / spiritual awakening
- Intensify gratitude and appreciation for life
- Reorientation / realignment of the personality by recognizing new opportunities and alternative thought patterns
Consequences of a lack of psychedelic integration
What if we have psychedelic experiences Not integrate? Most of the time, what may have seemed clear during the trip slowly fades like a dream as old habits and tendencies return. Occasionally, the lack of integration can lead to disorientation, as expanded states of consciousness can expose previously unknown and possibly painful layers of the psyche.
Deeply hidden trauma, repressed emotions and unprocessed memories trigger stress and negative feelings such as fear or grief in everyday life. We then simply feel this burden without having access to the underlying background. It works and bad, but we don’t really know why.
It is similar with certain thought structures and behavioral patterns that reduce our comfort zone. We feel safe in this area, we are not afraid and do not fear any risk. The smaller this zone, the more trapped we are in it and the more difficult it becomes to leave it. When we want to dare to do something new and feel held back, this is often due to deeply ingrained patterns.
For example, imagine you want to meet new people but don’t dare to speak to them. Perhaps you are already aware that it is the fear of rejection that you perceive as a queasy gut feeling and that eventually keeps you from it. But where this fear of rejection actually comes from is buried too deep in the subconscious to be able to perceive it.
Psychedelics amplify what is already there. When we are open to everything that happens, let go and accept, much that is hidden can come to the surface during an experience with psychedelic substances.
When, after a profound encounter with ourselves, we continue to live exactly as before and our positive or negative insights Not integrate into our lives, we miss one valuable chance for healing and growth . Because the revelations of a psychedelic experience fade over time without psychedelic integration and the creeping, negative thoughts and unconscious behavioral patterns come back.
The selection of a suitable method for psychedelic integration is very individual. In essence, it is about finding an active practice in which we consciously deal with ourselves alone. Without distraction, without stress and without compulsion.
A psychedelic journey cannot be compared to a classic drug experience. In addition to a high potential for dependency, these are primarily characterized by artificially increased positive feelings and are usually used “just for fun” in leisure time without much preparation or follow-up.
Rather, the psychospiritual use of psychedelics is an encounter with our mind that we can use as a tool for our personal development. Through the influence of psychedelic substances, we experience a special kind of focus on ourselves. This enables us to be able to perceive our thoughts and feelings very precisely and to be alone with them in the moment.
Psychedelic integration is about getting that focus again to meet with our everyday consciousness. The application of the listed methods helps to work out the decisive insights into our self and ultimately to derive small, implementable changes in our everyday thinking and actions. Because it is these adaptations that enable personal growth with the help of psychedelics.
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The present moment awareness meditation is simple and easy to use at any time of the day. It is very effective in processing psychedelic integration.
In order to achieve the best results, one should plan a regular time of the day, e.g. first thing in the morning or last in the evening, preferably in the same place, in order to anchor the practice as a routine. Anyone who extends their practice to a month or more trains themselves to guide their own past and future thinking patterns to present-day thinking patterns. This makes us feel more and more relaxed.
The goal of mindfulness meditation is to be in the present moment and achieve a calm, clear, alert mind. At the same time, the body is deeply relaxed. Our goal is to let go of all inner dialogues and emotional excitement in order to become empty. A state of deep and blissful peace can emerge from this, even if it takes a little practice to achieve that state of mind.
For many people, psychedelics and meditation go hand in hand – both tools are used to observe yourself from a different perspective and to find a spiritual meaning. Psychedelic researcher and writer Neal Goldsmith says, “Just as dreams are the fuel of psychoanalysis, so psychedelics are the fuel of meditation”.
Find a comfortable posture, but not one that is likely to make you fall asleep. The goal is to have an alert mind and a deeply relaxed body, as if you were falling asleep. Sitting upright is more effective than lying down. Experiment with your posture and take the time to adopt it.
The first step is to get out of the entanglement of endless thought cycles. Move towards experiencing present reality for what it is. To do this, first set up the inner gatekeeper. The gatekeeper controls what goes into the mind and what comes out of it. Give the gatekeeper clear instructions from the start and he will do his job without further interference from you. Repeat the following sentence three times in silence, clearly, and with full attention: “Now is the time to become aware of the present moment. I let go of the past and the future. ”
Since the mind has a natural tendency to think, keep it busy with a relatively unexciting task. When you first meditate, your mind may be like an irrepressible teenager, undisciplined, and always wanting to go its own way. Therefore, as a beginner, give the mind much to concentrate on; while improving your meditation and relaxation skills. This first stage of meditation is called “present moment awareness”. Turn your attention to:
First, focus on the most obvious sounds. As your focus becomes sharper, you will notice more subtle noises, such as bird calls and distant traffic. Just let it flow over you without letting it bother you.
2. Physical sensations
Feel your arms rest on your lap, your legs on the chair. Feel how your clothes fit against your skin. Notice pain, muscle tension, fluttering in the stomach, or feelings of fear, which are exactly what you wanted to avoid. Watch these sensations shift and change, let go of them and pay attention to those that are emerging.
Watch your thoughts come and go without getting caught up in them or feeling like you have to act on them. Some thoughts are nonsense, others are so compelling that you obey them. Observe demanding thoughts, label them, label them and let go of them. For example, if you think, “I am annoyed about this remark,” you could label the thought as “hurt” and let go of it, ready for the next thought. It is like watching clouds pass in the sky and moving towards a “blue sky spirit” where storm clouds pass and the mind is clear, calm, and alert.
Observe the natural changes in your breathing as you become more relaxed. You may notice that your breathing starts out shallow and fast, but gets deeper and more regular the deeper you relax.
Affirmations are positive beliefs that we can use to strengthen our self-love and improve the image we have of ourselves. They have to be practiced regularly if you want to change the way we think and feel sustainably and in the long term.
The subconscious cannot distinguish between negative and positive or between what is real and what is imaginary. For example, if we want to be successful, we cannot say things like, “I don’t want to be a failure”. The subconscious will act on the word “failure”, ignore the word “not” and realize the undesirable result. We have to carefully choose what we share and therefore are with our subconscious positive Affirmations so crucial.
Alpha waves and binaural sounds
The subconscious is most open to helpful and beneficial suggestions when we are in the “alpha” brainwave state – our most relaxed state of mind. The alpha wave frequency is often reached in a meditative state or just before falling asleep, creating an optimal time to receive positive affirmations. Alpha wave music which is used to create the alpha wave state and can also help if you are not an avid meditator. Ideally, you will hear this music through headphones.
Also Binaural beats are one of these new forms of sound wave therapy. It takes advantage of the fact that the right and left ears each receive a slightly different frequency tone, but this is perceived by the brain as a single tone. Headphones are essential here.
According to Literature review from 2015 the tones should be at frequencies below 1,000 Hertz (Hz) so that the brain can recognize the binaural beats. The results of a Study from 2018 suggest that listening to binaural beats for a recommended amount of time can affect a person’s later behavior and sleep cycles. The study authors state that it is five different categories of frequency patterns gives. The ones listed are suitable for psychedelic integration:
- Theta pattern: Practitioners set binaural beats in the theta pattern at a frequency of 4-7 Hz. Theta patterns contribute to improved meditation, creativity and sleep in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase.
- Alpha pattern: Binaural beats in the alpha pattern are at a frequency of 7-13 Hz and can promote relaxation.
- Beta pattern: Binaural beats in the beta pattern are at a frequency of 13-30 Hz. This frequency range can promote concentration and alertness.
Holotropic Breathwork is a powerful breathing technique developed by Stanislav Grof for self-healing and self-exploration, which enables a greater self-image, an expansion of self-identity and access to the roots of emotional and psychosomatic challenges that one could face. The term “holotrop” is made up of the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “trepein” (to go) and means to approach the whole.
A long walk or a hike in nature helps us to ground ourselves and to come to mental calm. This effect is amplified when we go barefoot. Grounding therapy is based on the intuitive assumption that connection with the energy of the planet is healthy for our soul and body.
And while there is a definite, albeit modern, appeal to the concept of energetic connection with Mother Earth, there is also a more scientific angle on the practice that states that access to the abundant supply of free electrons in the (subtly negative charged) soil can help neutralize free radicals – if only we could take off our shoes and gain access to them.
Writing a diary is the best way to remember and refer to it later. In addition, the process of personality development becomes comprehensible. Our memory can easily recall events, especially when they are associated with strong emotions. However, the way you think and your precise feelings fade over time.
This phenomenon is comparable to childhood memories. We can perhaps remember our school introduction, especially through the photos with the sugar cone, which I am sure everyone knows of themselves. But how exactly we felt during the celebration and what we thought about can no longer be reconstructed.
During a psychedelic experience, we should give ourselves fully to it. However, if it comes to personally extremely important findings, it can be very helpful to note a few bullet points towards the end of the trip as a reminder for the phase of psychedelic integration.
Writing a diary is not just about chronologically recording what you have experienced. Goals for the future, open questions or the core findings can also be manifested in writing.
A branch of yoga that is based on the traditional values of yoga (and less on the western ones) is Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini is an ancient practice that deals with the transformation and expansion of consciousness by awakening the Kundalini, a latent energy in the lower spine, and lifting it up through inner energy centers called chakras.
Many modern forms of yoga popular in the West focus primarily on “asanas” – postures – but Kundalini Yoga has an emphasis on “kriyas” and uses these intense breathing techniques to change consciousness. Historically, this is more in line with traditional yoga practices. Similar to experiences with psychoactive substances like LSD or Ayahuasca, it is said that Kundalini energy, when awakened, can trigger an intense, life-changing energetic event in you. You can find countless instructions on how to participate on YouTube.
Painting / drawing
Where words fail, colors, shapes, lines and shades can help. Expressing one’s feelings, memories and insights creatively with pen and brush is a suitable method for psychedelic integration. Anyone who has never tried it here will find it easier when the painting materials and paper are ready for the next day. Simply surrendering to the moment while painting is also a good practice for letting go and trust.
In the end, this picture does not have to be shown to anyone, it does not have to look beautiful or be understandable, because it is a very personal work of art that belongs to you alone. To round out this method of psychedelic integration, try to find a suitable title and write down the date.
Having a deep conversation about the psychedelic experience with someone you trust not only strengthens the connection to this person, but also enables a further, more objective view of the experience. To interweave the extraordinary with the ordinary, to interpret the mythical and symbolic layers of a journey, to reveal its gifts and treasures and finally to anchor them in our lives – that is the aim of such a conversation.
Telling an intense psychedelic experience also helps solidify the memory of it. It doesn’t matter whether we choose a conversation partner with or without psychedelics experience. The key to having an in-depth conversation is the level of vulnerability we show that person. If we speak as openly as possible and reveal as much of the experience as possible, the more effective it will be.
Here it is helpful to include several senses. Turn on the same music, use the same incense stick, and maybe even put on the same clothes that you wore during your psychedelic experience. A combination with writing a diary makes this method for psychedelic integration particularly effective.
Ecstatic dance enables people from all over the world to express themselves freely. The liberating atmosphere creates a melting pot of acceptance, and the fearlessness with which others move gives newcomers the courage to dance without inhibitions. Events can be found via corresponding Facebook groups or here .
While working in the garden, we have the opportunity to resonate with ourselves and to slow down. Those who do not have their own garden can simply inquire about “Urban Gardening” projects in their city. These are green areas that can be used collectively for gardening.
Integrate negative experiences
Sometimes a psychedelic experience can expose painful layers of our psyche. For example, the uncovering of trauma from childhood or crises of growing up, the experience of deep fear of death in an ego-death, or we illuminate dark spots of our psyche that we would never have expected there before.
It is precisely these experiences that need to be actively integrated, because they have enormous healing potential. All the methods already described can be used for processing. The following is another one that is specific to the psychedelic integration of negative experiences.
Focusing method according to Eugene T. Gendlin
Focusing is a self-help method for solving personal problems, which was developed in 1978 by the psychologist, philosopher and psychotherapist Eugene T. Gendlin. By evaluating his therapy sessions, he found that certain patients also describe their inner conflicts to you physical experience included. He crystallized this out in his research as the decisive factor for successful personality transformation.
The method can be used in difficult decision-making, during creative low points, in complicated life situations or for psychedelic integration. In his work “Focusing.” Gendlin explains the procedure in six steps. We have summarized them briefly.
- Create space
Take a moment to relax. I would ask you to turn your attention inward, in your body, maybe in your stomach, or in your chest. Now observe the incoming feelings when you ask yourself: “How is my life? What is the main thing for me at the moment? ” Let your feelings answer the question slowly. If you are scared, don’t go inside. Stand back and say, “Yes, there it is. I can feel it there. ” Leave some distance between you and the feeling, wait a little, and then approach again.
- Felt sense
From the felt answers, choose a personal problem to focus on. Do not go in. Step back from that. Go to the place in your body where you normally feel feelings most strongly. Of course, your chosen problem consists of many individual parts, but you can also feel all the feelings together and thus experience what the whole problem feels like. This is the “felt sense”, the body feeling of the problem.
How is the quality this vague feeling? Let a sentence, picture, or word like tight, sticky, scary, heavy, or erratic come out of the felt sense. Look for a suitable description until something fits it exactly.
Go back and forth between the felt sense and the word (sentence or image). Check out how they resonate with each other. Do they match? See if there’s a little physical signal letting you know you’ve taken a hit.
Now ask the felt sense: What is the quality (word, sentence or image) of the whole problem? Let the answers come out of your body. What’s the worst thing about this feeling? What does it take to make it better? What should happen? How would it feel if the feeling was more positive? Stay in this feeling until you feel a change, a slight “surrender” or a kind of letting go.
Receive everything with one change goes along in a friendly way. Stick with it for a while, even if it’s just a slight noticeable relief. Do not judge, be open and curious and take it all in. Every feeling has its right to exist. This concludes the exercise.
Our culture teaches us to be consumers of all things, including experiences. A psychedelic experience can be a valuable event on its own. Psychedelic integration, however, goes a step further and creates a deeper connection to the psychedelic journey. The aim of psychedelic integration is to answer the following question: What does the experience contribute to my daily life?
In this phase of psychedelic integration, the decisive findings for the personal healing and growth process are worked out with individually different methods.
Psychedelic integration is the process in which individual elements are brought together into a whole.
The key here is that dedicated maintenance inner work with the help of psychedelic integration practices in everyday life. If we do not actively work to break down our unhealthy habits, our old physical tensions, behaviors and spirals of thought will prevail again.