Updated: Oct 26
Setting Yourself Up for the Best Integration.
"The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.“
- Joseph Campbell.
A mystic, by definition is a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.
“The mystic swims in the waters of unconscious, because he can see himself separate from the waters; whereas the psychotic drowns in the same waters, because he had already lost himself in its sweeping currents. However the end-result is the same in both the cases. Psychotic loses himself to the unconscious without being aware of it; whereas the mystic offers himself voluntarily for such a merger to emerge as the master ultimately.” ~ Wayne Teasdale
Mystics live a very particular life that allows them to reflect, integrate and devote their development to being able to receive peak experiences with ease. They are constantly adding to, adjusting and improving their lens of looking at the world. All aimed towards purer and purer perspectives, closer to the ultimate truth.
Crafting a life that allows for there to be congruence between your inner world and your outer world is no light feat. We modern western people seem to be deeply interested in finding this congruence. I think we can learn from the mystics when we consider pursuing an encounter with plant teachers to reclaim our truth. And no, its not by moving to the jungle or the mountain side. Its by applying something a bit more complex and a bit more mundane.
For those us just hoping to figure out our next career move, or how to live with our family members, this may feel a bit out of reach. Further, it may feel almost insane to choose to pursue, i dare say pursue, peak experiences without the years of regular practice and development of skills. So why are we, as modern westerners, swimming towards the deep end? Because, I believe, our own connection to spirit via peak experiences is a birthright. What we do with the experience is not quite as inherent or built in.
That is where integration practices are applied. Because, really, it is not about what kind of transformational experience we have that matters, its about what we do with it. Of course, a mystic knows exactly how to wade waist deep in the cosmos.
Consider this experience with psychedelics as an ongoing teaching relationship, not an isolated moment in time.
As said before, you are meeting a master teacher. Whether or not you believe this is an actual plant spirit or simply the universal wisdom that flows through the cosmos, it is a perspective that is confronting for a single human perspective. The more you remember this the less you'll try to sandwich in these glacial experiences in the little raindrop of your mind. What I mean by this, is do not make huge life decisions after your first ayahuasca experience. Take notes, reflect honestly and track the greater pattern over time. My favorite saying I mention to clients is this: "We are here integrating to listen to the messages, not forget the lessons and numb out but also not burn down the house."
1. Get clear on what you’re actually trying to do...
Psychedelics for ascension. I want to define ascension here: Ascension promotes a sense of moving beyond the confines of an earthly definition. For example: You may start to feel stuck in the way that you see yourself, you may feel limited in the personality you carry around. You may feel stifled for some unknown reason. Generally communing with spirit, having an ego-death or communing with your ancestors gives you a beautiful opportunity to zoom out and remember that this life is temporary. It may give you a fresh set of eyes as you arrive back to the life you have curated and crafted, whether conscious or not. A way to integrate this experience, would be to continue to make decisions asking the question, does this choice allow for the most facets of my existence to co-exist. Does this support more spaciousness in my self concept, and expectation of life or less space. Generally folks to want to pursue ego death, are preparing for actual death, are seeking to be freed from the psychological prison they’ve build, are looking for insight into why they do not feel as vibrant as alive. Its like the film between themselves and the world has thickened.
Psychedelics for incension. This is what seems to be less talked about in the modern new age communities. Incension is a fancy word for diving deep into your own self energy. It is healing within your own personality structure. It's ego development; and as lack luster as this seems, I would say an alarming 70 percent of us suffer from lack of development in our early childhood to teens via lack of rites of passage, squashed adventurous spirits in favor of career development, and general lack of elders witnessing and reflecting back the beauty of our own unique soul.
Incension not about connecting fully and sometimes overwhelmingly with the infinite cosmos. It is about looking at the very real, finite details of what seems to be constructed as your personality and all its habitual belief patterns, stories, and emotional connections. It's a reflective process, where the plants act as a sacred mirror so you might see the human you have become a bit more clearly. Once you actually see, how you are, you might come about learning where you have yet to develop, where you have wounds, or where you need to update inner definitions. I have seen most folks coming to plant medicines deeply benefit from this kind of work.
So remember, understanding the nature of your pursuit will help contextualize the results of the experience. With context, we can then apply very tangible practices to engaging in the work that comes after ceremony, also known as post ceremony integration.
Psychedelics for healing: Many people come to the work for healing trauma. The medicine, as we mentioned acts a mirror as well as an expression valve. Many times in our life, we don't get the opportunity to complete what somatic therapists call the trauma response, or healing gestalt. This is a series of physio-emotional-hormonal cascades and mechanisms and emotional bodily sensations that allow frozen consciousness, hormones and fascia to loosen and be released out of the system so system can find homeostasis. If you are coming to heal your anxious tendencies or nervousness, be prepared to practice working through your nervousness. The medicine may not be that warm comfy hug that melts all your pain away, although I have seen it, and it's beautiful. Eventually all will melt away but first, your interrupted natural healing processes need to have your attention. If you remember this in the moment, you can start to see it as, you and the medicine are teaming up to dynamically process challnigng content that would be hard to do alone. If you arent aware of the healing gestalt, you may feel attacked by the medicine or may think there’s something deeply wrong.
Psychedelics for Hope: Some people come to the medicine to ask for hope and help. I like to call it a re-infusion of spirit or sitting in the pocket of god/goddess. Many times in life, we get bogged down with our need to streamline information and we start to develop a limited aperture of how we see life, aka Default mode network. Yes, it certainly saves time, but when our society already has lost a lot of its ancestral magic, like community song, community meals, connection to the land, grief rituals and life celebration practices, our limited aperture is a steady stream of paychecks, aggressive news channels, to-do lists, traffic jams, and stressed out friends and families. Pretty bleak if you ask me. So, we ask for support broaden our lens, so we might find a bit of light in the tunnel. A re-infusion of spirit tends to lend itself well to arriving back into your life with a sense of greater perspective, connection to your life force, and inner innocence and hope. For me, this kind of intention might require all kinds of ascension experiences, incension, and healing.
2. Learn the skills to help you float.
Have you ever been caught in the riptide and it took a while to remember to not try feebly to swim towards your goal, dry land, but to surrender and float?
There are specific skills that are invaluable when it comes to journey work. These skills, put concisely, are breath, movement, sound and touch. (If you want to learn more about these schedule a ceremony prep call with our coach Luke)
To float with the infinite in a medicine journey requires constant attention to tracking the breath, tending to the physical body, and when you lose sense of the physical body, a steady well practiced mind that remembers to stay present with what is happening and to not spin out into a series of dis-regulating reactions that creates chaos, confusion, and sometimes unnecessary suffering and stress on your adrenals.
Focusing yourself in prayer, or a mantra can be also extremely helpful to help you remember what is happening. "I trust you" or "I'm listening", or "thank you". It sounds simple, but simple is good.
The mystic plays the role and does not forget they are the one wearing the mask. The schizophrenics mask has been glued on. The mystic shifts roles, with ease and thus looks more seamless in transition. The schizophrenic was never taught to transition with grace and thus their inner realm outer realm, and conflicting complex realities are like little volcanos that brew and bubble and spill over creating harm and havoc.
We all have conflicting stories inside of us, and if we can practice the way of the mystic, we remember to surrender our own attachments to our inner stories in faith that a greater story beyond comprehension is being written. The 'schizophrenic' on the other hand keeps trying to mash the stories together, because they have been told you are allowed only one story, which concludes in a series of incomplete life goals, incoherent thoughts, empty gestures, and an overall sense of distrust in life.
3. Boil down your lessons and visions into their more elemental components.
Let me explain. It is creating a kind of spaciousness (air) in our schedule where we have time to reflect to breath, and really feel how we are. Some people call this “grounding” (Earth). We need to give ourselves enough of this reflection time, so we can shift directions where the inspiration and flow is (water). This allows us to truly enjoy our lives, to feel inspired, and to truly discover our purpose (fire).
So, when we have mind blowing life-altering experiences, our best preparation is literally creating a weekly schedule that will allow you the space any time to ground, integrate, and inspire.
Rarely does someone show up for a medicine experience, wanting absolutely nothing to change. We come to ceremonies, so we can change! So we can change our perspectives, our health, our outlook. So why wouldn't your daily life change too?
This definitely does not mean you need to listen to 420 hertz youtube channels all day or attend yoga classes, although you certainly can. Perhaps it means you need to focus on making your bed each day and making conscious decision to breathe when you listen to your coworkers. Perhaps it means you need to have discussions with community about your once dormant but now awakened spiritual beliefs. Maybe you want to start hunting to bring yourself into more humble ancestral connection to the food, we as westerners generally get packaged conveniently at whole foods or trader joes. These are all inclusive of integration.
This is the essence of integration is - it's the daily commitments, big and small, that we get to make to ourselves every new day. It's the full ownership of our true creative power to reinvent ourselves again and again, to root ourselves into a new way of a being, a new way of seeing the world, and our place within it.
With love & admiration,
Alexa Iya Soro
Ps if you like the quote and want an amazing resource, check out 'Mystic Heart' Wayne Teasdale