Category: Integration

Exploring Psychedelics for Emotional Healing

Exploring Psychedelics for Emotional Healing

In this article, I will be integrating understandings I have gleaned from the disciplines of neuroscience, shamanism and psychology to explore the role that spirit plant medicines can play in emotional healing. I want to state up front that I’m not an expert at neuroscience or shamanism or psychology. My intent is to share one of my gifts, namely, the ability to look across the realms of science and spirituality with an open and curious mind, and in the process perhaps connect some dots for those interested in experiencing or facilitating deep healing.

Here’s a quote I’ll invite you all to consider. It’s from The Right Use of Will: Healing and Evolving the Emotional Body by Ceanne DeRohan:

“In the process we call awareness, consciousness provides understandings with which to interpret our emotions, and emotions provide information (in the form of sensations) to inform our understandings. Balanced awareness is not possible without both thinking and feeling functioning freely.”

So let’s start in the world of neuroscience. I think it’s probably obvious to all of us that the experience we call human awareness results from the interplay between our conscious, thinking selves and our sentient, feeling selves. These components of awareness are housed in different parts of the brain and through the advances of neuroscience we now have rudimentary scientific understandings of how our thinking and feeling selves interact on a physical level to create what we call awareness.

Based on the best available data and modelling of brain activity, it is becoming clear that our subjective experience of reality (i.e., awareness) results from the dynamic interaction between bottom-up sensory information coming from our feeling selves, and top-down projections coming from our thinking selves that interpret these incoming sensations based on previous experiences. Most of the time the frontal cortex sits at the top of the neural hierarchy sending strong projections that modulate and constrain information coming from our feeling selves to our conscious awareness.

“In the process we call awareness, consciousness provides understandings with which to interpret our emotions, and emotions provide information (in the form of sensations) to inform our understandings. Balanced awareness is not possible without both thinking and feeling functioning freely.” ~Ceanne DeRohan

Now, when neuroscientists first started imaging brains on conscious-altering plant medicines they were surprised because they fully expected to see large increases in brain activity. What they found instead were areas of significantly reduced neural activity, especially in the frontal regions of the brain–the parts mainly associated with our thinking selves. This led scientists to compare neural activity across brain regions and they have since documented significant increases in activity in posterior regions of the brain corresponding with the decreases in activity observed in the frontal regions. These posterior regions are the parts of the brain associated mainly with emotional and visual processing. So what the heck is going on?

The newest research suggests that spirit plant medicines and other psychedelics can induce a “temporary disruption of neural hierarchies” where our conscious thinking selves, which for most of us dominate in day-to-day awareness, lose the “cognitive grip” they exert over our sentient feeling selves. These findings suggest that spirit plant medicines induce a reversal of information flow in the brain that allows access parts of the brain associated with emotions. In other words, these medicines can provide access to feelings locked out of our consciousness due to the top-down control our thinking selves typically exercise over our perception. In the extreme, this locking out effect is what psychologists call disassociation or emotional compartmentalization.

I believe that the cognitive grip we exert over our emotional selves results most fundamentally from mental judgments we hold that rigidly interpret some feelings as good (e.g., joy), and some feelings as bad (e.g., grief). Based on these judgements we are imprinted to seek out and express “good” emotions, and imprinted to avoid and suppress “bad” emotions. On a practical level this means is that for many of us our nervous systems have not developed the capacity to feel and productively express the so called “bad” emotions. However, at their most basic level emotions are just chemical and electrical signals in the body. It is our socially and culturally conditioned minds that interpret certain feelings as bad leading us to avoid, suppress and, in the extreme, disassociate them. This avoidance, in turn, means that most of us don’t develop much real capacity to productively interact with the so-called challenging emotions, and therefore are not very good at feeling and expressing them in healthy ways.

The good news is that there are ways to increase our capacity to remain present for and productively express strong emotions like grief. These involve carefully practicing being present for stronger and stronger feelings until, eventually, it’s possible to experience something like intense loss without gapping into the unconscious realm of depression. As you can imagine, this work is quite delicate because we are literally working at the boundary between consciousness and unconsciousness, and in the presence of powerful and often not very helpful social and neurological imprints.

In terms of practical approaches for enhancing emotional resiliency, mindfulness, with its focus on acceptance and being present in the moment, is one discipline I’ve found that can help increase the capacity to experience and stay present for strong emotional energy. Kundalini Yoga is another practice I’ve found helpful in this regard because it actually trains our nervous systems to be “comfortable with uncomfortableness” through the intentional use of challenging breathwork, postures and movement.

And just how does all this relate to kind of deep healing we are discussing today? To answer this I will step away from the world of neuroscience and into the realm of psychology for a moment. Here’s how I think it works: When we encounter an experience that elicits an emotional response that threatens to overwhelm our consciousness, our minds can respond by disassociating the aspect of us that feels this sensation to separate it from our conscious thinking selves. However, it’s now well understood that disassociated aspects of us can and do influence our being even if they are not integrated into our conscious awareness.

The degree to which these compartmentalized aspects of our awareness affect our day-to-day life is directly proportional to the amount of awareness that is fragmented off in trauma. Sometimes it’s a relatively small aspect of us compared to our total awareness, and sometimes it’s a relatively large aspect. I believe that the younger we are when experiencing trauma the more likely that significant aspects of us can be lost to our consciousness in this way. This brings up the importance of doing all we can to protect infants and small children from experiencing significant trauma. This is a topic that has been discussed at length by Dr. Gabor Mate in some of his work on addiction.

A key understanding about all this is that sometimes the aspects of us trapped in these unconscious emotional realms can’t return to our conscious awareness on their own. As it was explained to me, if the trauma and resulting disassociation are significant enough the trapped parts of us don’t have the ability to spontaneously free themselves from these unconscious realms because they literally know no other experience except what they are feeling in that realm. They are relegated by our imprinted minds to an unconscious existence defined almost entirely by the emotional energy in the realm and therefore don’t have the presence to free themselves and return to the light of consciousness on their own. However, these aspects can and do unconsciously influence our perspectives, choices and behaviours through what I call undercurrent influences. And of course sometimes these trapped parts can drag our conscious selves into the realms of unconscious feeling…a fact that anyone who’s experienced deep depression, debilitating anxiety or blind rage can attest.

Thankfully there are ways to recover aspects of ourselves trapped in unresolved emotional trauma. For example, there are shamanic healers who have trained themselves to enter these realms on behalf of clients and negotiate the return of disassociated awareness. There are therapists who work with gestalt, narrative, and expressive therapies who can also assist clients with this kind of healing.

Relating all this to the neurobiology of spirit plant medicines, it appears as though these medicines can aid in the recapitulation of disassociated emotional awareness by pharmacologically removing our cognitive grips and thereby providing us access to awareness trapped in unresolved emotional trauma. And what is the best way to recover these aspects once we gain access to them with the help of spirit plant medicines? By accepting and loving them as best we can! And what is the best way to show these parts of ourselves that we accept and love them? By surrendering to and feeling what they feel as deeply and as authentically as possible. Surrendering to and accepting the feelings that our trapped aspects are immersed in allows our conscious selves to merge with them on an energetic level and this means we can then bring them back into the light of consciousness once again as part of us.

What I’ve learned is that the process of integration is vitally important for this kind of deep, emotional healing because the recovered parts of us can easily slip back into the unconscious realms if they don’t feel genuinely welcome in our day-to-day worlds. Put differently, if we don’t explicitly and diligently work to create genuine emotional space for our recovered aspects, when we go back to our lives outside of ceremony the cognitive grip can quite easily return causing us to re-compartmentalize them because they don’t fit with the lives we have created not having them. Suffice to say that sometimes fundamental life changes may be required to create the space our recovered aspects need to remain present with us after ceremony.

Suggestions for increasing the likelihood of deep healing from ceremonies involving Spirit Plant Medicines (SPMs)

Pre-ceremony:

  1. Practice mindfulness meditation to cultivate acceptance for feelings and being present in the moment
  2. Practice Kundalini Yoga or other physical disciplines that enhance nervous system capacity
  3. Identify and release mental judgements especially judgements against the so called challenging emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, fear)
  4. Practice Shamanic journeying to develop relationships with Spirit Plants and other helping spirits and gain experience navigating non-ordinary reality
  5. Develop ongoing relationships with ceremony facilitators and other participants to enhance the sense of and actual safety
  6. Follow dieta and other guidelines for as long as feasible to reduce strong stimulus and recover natural sensitivities
  7. Reduce interactions with technology and spend time in nature to quiet the mind and become more grounded

During ceremony: Relax the mind and be open and accepting of feelings. Surrender, surrender, surrender. Don’t resist challenging sensations.

After ceremony:

  1. Create space for aspects recovered from emotional trauma by easing back into life and shifting as necessary to accommodate the desires/perspectives of recovered aspects of awareness
  2. Participate in integration circles and other support groups to help ground the new awareness within our consciousness

This article is adapted from a presentation I gave at the Exploring Psychedelics Conference in Ashland, Oregon in May 2017. Listen to the audio recording and my personal story. 

Gerald Thomas, PhD
Gerald Thomas is the Director of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis and Gambling Prevention and Policy at the British Columbia Ministry of Health, a Collaborating Scientist with the Centre for Addictions Research of BC, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of British Columbia, and owner/operator of Okanagan Research Consultants. He lives with his family near Qualicum Beach, British Columbia.
Meditation for the Psychedelic Explorer: Approaches & Orientations

Meditation for the Psychedelic Explorer: Approaches & Orientations

It is commonly accepted within the larger community of psychedelic users that meditation is a useful and healthy thing to do. What is less commonly talked about are specifics: how exactly can meditation practice be helpful to people who use psychedelics? What approaches to meditation are likely to be most fruitful? And in what ways are the use of psychedelics and meditation practice not necessarily in alignment with each other? These questions are primarily what I would like to discuss in this article.

When I was initially asked to write a piece about meditation for people interested in psychedelics, my immediate response was “I don’t know anything about meditation!” This was both unexpected and fairly amusing, as I have had a more or less daily meditation practice for the past eight years, at times practicing up to three hours a day, as well as both short and long retreats, and sitting with a number of contemporary teachers. I began meditating following an extremely difficult and destabilizing psychedelic experience in my early 20s, and have found it to be a nearly constant companion and grounding practice ever since.

Nevertheless, I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of meditation as a practice, and I hope to retain this ‘beginner’s mind’ for as long as I am able. Accordingly, please take this article as some thoughts from an enthusiastic practitioner, take what resonates with you into the laboratory of your own experience, and forget about the rest.

There are literally thousands of techniques of meditation, from every conceivable spiritual tradition—far too many to discuss even a few in detail. Instead, I would like to present a few possible orientations to meditation practice. By ‘orientation’ I mean both intention, in the personal sense of ‘what is my goal or purpose in engaging with this practice,’ and a sense of the larger context or framework in which practice occurs. I think by and large orientation is more important than the specific practices we may engage with—sincerity and clarity of purpose or aspiration will take us further than searching constantly for the ‘right’ technique or set of practices. Accordingly, below are a few orienting ideas that may be useful when beginning, or reflecting on a meditation practice:

 

Ground State Training

The first and perhaps simplest orientation to take is to simply approach meditation within its original context. In the language of the world’s spiritual traditions, this means seeing meditation as a means of realizing what is variously called ‘Consciousness,’ ‘God,’ ‘Mind,’ ‘Self,’ ‘True Nature,’ and a multitude of other names. All these names point to the part of us that is most truly real, and unmoved by thought, emotion, sensation, or perception. By contacting what is most fundamental and real in us, we are cultivating a capacity to remain as our center, able to see, feel, and respond to our outer and inner circumstances from a place of equanimity, fearlessness, and compassion. Dale Pendell, in his excellent Pharmako/poeia terms this approach ‘Ground State Training.’ If we are going to play in the realms of consciousness that psychedelics afford us easy access to, we had best be very sure of the nature of the ground under our feet. If we are not clear about who and what we fundamentally are, it is very easy to be thrown this way and that by the various states and experiences we may find in a psychedelic journey. This is just as true when our experience is positive and blissful as when it is difficult.

This kind of work may begin with simple mindfulness— mindfulness of breath, of body, of our sensory environment, but will eventually lead us to the part of us that is always present, always unmoving, always uncluttered, simple, and content in spite of whatever else may be going on in our experience. By attuning to this part of ourselves, we develop a strong ability to discriminate between the parts of our experience that are useful and meaningful, and the parts that may simply be phantasmagoria or delusion. We also develop the capacity to remain present through mood or feeling states that we would otherwise find overwhelming, unacceptable, or aversive.

Within the context of a psychedelic experience, we develop the sense of rootedness and confidence that allow us to open to whatever material we may be presented with, be it heavenly or demonic. Practices or techniques that support this orientation include most traditional Buddhist practices (vipassana, zazen, Dzogchen), atma vichara or ‘self-inquiry’ in the Advaita Vedanta tradition, and some contemporary approaches such as Loch Kelly’s Shift Into Freedom materials, Adyashanti’s True Meditation, and Judith Blackstone’s Realization Process.

 

Integration

‘Integration’ is certainly the term currently in vogue in much of the psychedelic community, and rightly so. Coming out of a powerful psychedelic experience, ‘how do I integrate this into my life?’ is perhaps the most commonly-asked question. There are many excellent tools for tackling this question—art, journaling, and psychotherapy with an open-minded therapist are excellent options, and meditation is another useful tool to have available.

It is important to understand, however, that integration is something that happens when we provide space, openness, and availability for it to happen; it’s not really a process that we can force or even necessarily guide. Contemporary spiritual teacher Adyashanti, in answering a question about integration, asks the questioner ‘Who is the one who integrates?’ In other words, the part of us that feels the need to direct and ‘do’ the process of integration doesn’t actually have any idea how to accomplish integration at all. It’s a mystery, and if meditation is a tool we wish to employ, we will have to let go of any ideas we might have about what is ‘supposed’ to happen or what direction our integration should take.

An attitude of openness, warmth, and attentiveness toward the process is probably optimal—it’s as if we are watching a plant sprout from a seedling, watering it with our attention without attempting to tell it how to grow. There aren’t many traditional approaches to meditation that address this specific intention that I am aware of, but simply making some time to sit quietly each day, with an attitude of curiosity and gentleness is probably a good place to start.

 

Devotion

Typically, meditation and devotional practices are discussed as basically different approaches to spiritual development, but I am increasingly of the opinion that this is something of a false dichotomy. Ecstatic chanting, prayer, and movement practices seem to develop concentration and awareness just as much as meditation, albeit with an emphasis on the heart and emotions rather than the mind.

Meditation itself can be an act of devotion: a turning toward and affirmation of what we feel to be most important, an offering of our time and attention on the altar of our awareness. Integration is doubtless an important part of working with psychedelics, but if we wish to really embody the insights or visions we’ve been given in our everyday lives, devotion is a necessary ingredient. Without it, we will find it easy to fall back into old habits and ways of living that are not in alignment with our new understanding.

In a devotional orientation, we turn toward the source of transformation, which we may not even be able to see or feel, and offer ourselves up to it. It’s as if we are saying ‘Here I am, do what you will with me.’ This may sound unappealing to some, but at the end of the day, if we are not willing to surrender either our sense of control over the process of transformation, or our tendency to appropriate our experiences for the gratification of our self-image (“Let me tell you about my amazing ayahuasca journey!”), we are still engaged in an ego game. In order to stop playing this game, at some point we have to be willing to let a force bigger than our own self-will take charge.

Learning to trust this force is the work of devotion. Some approaches that I have found helpful in this regard have been kirtan and zikr, both ecstatic chanting practices in Hinduism and Sufism, respectively, contact with the prayer services of traditional religions, and Centering Prayer, a modern development of Christian contemplative practice.

 

 

Finally, a note of caution. A piece of folk psychology that I have heard many times in the psychedelic community says that ‘meditation and psychedelics do the same thing, but meditation is the slower, gentler way to get there.’ It is intended as a compliment to meditation practice, but I think there are ways in which psychedelics and meditation are aligned with each other, and ways in which they are not. In the sense that both can lead to an increased sense of openness, wonder, and peace with oneself and the universe, they are certainly on the same page. But if we approach meditation practice expecting to have fantastical experiences, visions, or even anything other than the simple fact of sitting and breathing, we are going to be aimed in the wrong direction.

Any pursuit of a particular state, even elevated, expanded, or ‘spiritual’ states of consciousness, is still on some level an attempt at escaping what’s present in this moment. These experiences can be healing, transcendent, and powerful, but they don’t last, and at some point we will have to give up the idea that we can arrive at some final bliss point, where all of our worldly sorrows will never return. I’m not just picking on psychedelic users here—experienced meditators and spiritual practitioners of all stripes have to contend with this tendency as well. Whatever is showing up in this moment is what we have to work with, and in this sense, psychedelic experiences are no different than everyday life—more intense, to be sure, but still composed of the same ups and downs, pleasure and pain, as a day at the office or a day at the beach.

Meditation, at its core, is about accepting what is, as it is, without argument or interpretation. When we do this deeply, we can contact a vast and limitless space in which all of our experiences, psychedelic or mundane, arise and disappear. At some point, even the concept of meditation may disappear, leaving us in the simple flow of our own lives, unobstructed by grasping or resistance. If we can make that kind of acceptance our guiding star, no matter what kind of experience we are having, we won’t go far off course.

 

 

References and further reading:

  1. Adyashanti. The Impact of Awakening. San Jose: Open Gate Sangha, 2013.
  2. Adyashanti. True Meditation. Boulder: Sounds True, 2006.
  3. Blackstone, Judith. Belonging Here: A Guide for the Spiritually Sensitive Person. Boulder: Sounds True, 2012.
  4. Chodron, Pema. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind.  Boulder: Sounds True, 2013.
  5. Goldstein, Joseph. The Experience of Insight: A Simple & Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation.Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1976.
  6. Kelly, Loch. Shift Into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness. Boulder:  Sounds True, 2015.
  7. Pendell, Dale. Pharmako/poeia: Power Plants, Poisons, and Herbcraft. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2010.
  8. Ramana, Maharshi. The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1972.
Ben Shechet
Ben Shechet Author
Ben Shechet has been working on projects for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) since 2013. He currently coordinates MAPS’s Phase 2 study of medical cannabis for military veterans with PTSD in Phoenix, Arizona. In his free time, Ben enjoys meditation, yoga, and spending time in the desert.
Group Therapy For Psychedelic Integration

Group Therapy For Psychedelic Integration

Originally published at Chacruna.net by Elizabeth M. Nielsen, PhD:

Psychedelic experiences have an unpredictable place in psychotherapy; some therapists are openly comfortable discussing them, and others are worried by the mere thought of their patients engaging in psychedelic use. True, psychedelics have a history of use in mental health treatment, and several are currently being tested as part of psychotherapy protocols for a range of diagnoses, but there is still little precedent for integrating people’s experiences with psychedelics outside of the psychotherapy setting into the course of psychotherapy. This can be problematic for people who have had intense, difficult and/or positive, life-altering psychedelic experiences, who then feel they must gloss over, hide, or even deny these experiences in order to…….. read full article.

Elizabeth M. Nielson, PhD
Find out more about Elizabeth's integration and mental health services on her profile page in the Psychedelic Support Network. Contact today for an appointment.
Integration: Psychedelics, Spirituality and the Ego

Integration: Psychedelics, Spirituality and the Ego

Originally published at Chacruna.net by Sharon Rafferty, PhD

Integration has become a buzzword in the world of psychedelics, but there are still questions being asked about what it means to be integrated, who can do it, and how it can be done. As a clinical psychologist and practitioner of Eastern spiritual traditions, I have been contemplating the role of the ego for more than two decades. In psychology, the ego is something to be integrated. From the wisdom practices of the East, the ego is something to be transcended. As an increasing number of clients are approaching me about their use of psychedelics, I am left with the task of preparing and supporting them for altered states of consciousness where the ego has seemingly been dissolved. So, from these various perspectives, what does meaningful integration look like?… read full article.

Find out more about Dr Rafferty's integration and mental health services on her profile page in the Psychedelic Support Network. Contact today for an appointment.

Articles by Sharon

Category: Integration

  • Integration: Psychedelics, Spirituality and the Ego

    Integration has become a buzzword in the world of psychedelics, but there are still questions being asked about what it means to be integrated, who can do it, and how it can be done. As a clinical psychologist and practitioner of Eastern spiritual traditions, I have been contemplating Read more…

Developing Integration of Visionary Experiences: A Future Without Integration

Developing Integration of Visionary Experiences: A Future Without Integration

Originally published at Chacruna.net by Marc Aixalà, MS

Recently, the concept of integration has become a hot topic in the context of the use of psychedelic substances, and particularly in the Western ayahuasca-drinking circles. Emphasis is placed on the need for integration; new professionals are emerging who offer integration services, and many people request integration of their psychedelic experiences. However, if we ask what integration is, what it consists of and how it is done, the answers are unclear…….. read full article.

Find out more about Marc's integration and mental health services on his profile page in the Psychedelic Support Network. Contact today for an appointment.

Articles By Marc

Category: Integration

Integrating Mystical Experiences and Non-ordinary States of Consciousness

Integrating Mystical Experiences and Non-ordinary States of Consciousness

“What gives light must endure burning.” –Victor Frankl

Mystical experiences can allow us to feel an oceanic state of oneness, a connectedness to others, to the planet, and to ourselves in ways that we may not normally experience. However, afterward it can leave us feeling even more isolated and lonely in comparison. What can compound this is the recent popularity of eastern spiritual practices and the talk of “unity of Being” or “oneness”, which can leave people feeling like there is no room for pain, suffering, anxiety, or depression. It can actually generate and reinforce fragmentation and separation by rejecting what is painful and needs healing. However, I have always believed that everyone has the ability to move toward wholeness if given the opportunity to do so.

For centuries human beings have been exploring non-ordinary states of consciousness in order to experience healing and personal growth. There are a variety of modalities to approach this, including music, dance, chanting, meditation, holotropic breathing, and medicinal plants and herbs. Mystical experiences can be very affirmative and we can reorient our life to align with what we learn. These experiences can also be scary, taking us to depths of our psyche that we may not be prepared to handle.

In helping individuals work with these non-ordinary states, I believe it is important to prepare for the experience beforehand as well as integrating it afterward. This involves setting intentions prior to the experience, scheduling time afterward to let the experience sink in, and processing the experience in a way that will facilitate healing and growth. A skilled practitioner will be able to create a safe space, providing encouragement and support for individuals to engage in significant emotional depth work, moving through the experience and avoiding spiritual bypassing. In order to facilitate this the practitioner needs to maintain a solid state of coherence; sustaining calm, clear and connected communication.

Spiritual bypassing was first coined by psychologist John Welwood and refers to the use of spiritual practices or beliefs to avoid dealing with pain and suffering. Spiritual bypassing is a way for us to not only avoid pain, but legitimize such avoidance because of our cultural intolerance for entering, facing, and working through our pain.  Spiritual bypass is when someone is not dealing with their emotional pain – it’s a metaphysical limbo. Often we don’t even know we’re doing it. The process of integration can involve helping someone to move through a difficult experience instead of bypassing it.

Somatic therapy informs the integration process for me. It involves trusting the wisdom of the body; the body knows what to do. Our body is a powerful container that we can always have access to. It holds all the information we need – and it is literally encoded onto our DNA. With this understanding, I encourage clients to be in the felt realm, cutting through the story/narrative realm.  By encouraging clients to feel what is happening and allow it to sink into their body will help maximize the benefits of an experience and give a reference point to come back to when needed. When we ask the body to be an active participant it can tell us things that we might not have realized intellectually. Most people in the West are disassociated and not embodied so working with the mind-body dichotomy is essential.

Somatic therapy provides an excellent way for people to find their edge. Growth is just on the other edge of fear. It helps to have someone coaching or assisting us as we move through that area of fear. This felt sense of support helps the client face what needs working with, moving through that experience, and then afterward becoming grounded and returning to a settled state.

Another aspect of the integrative process can involve breath work. Breath work is a non-specific tool that can facilitate integration and bring people to somatic catharsis or to a cognitive awareness which can help them reframe the experience. It can often give a gentle push to move forward and explore a difficult experience again but in a gentler way. Using the breath allows the experience to unfold on its own and for each person in the way that is most useful for them. Often the experience doesn’t have words and may need a felt sense awareness of what happened; and encouragement to trust that there is this innate intelligence in the body that can guide us. The breath is key in helping to self- regulate the nervous system. This requires an active participation as well as allowing.

In addition to the somatic process and breath work, another important aspect to integration is encouraging being in nature. Nature helps us to get in touch with things that are outside of ourselves. Becoming connected with the rhythms of life facilitates that feeling of connectedness that we all need and crave. The universe speaks to us through nature. Nature encourages us to be engaged, promoting a felt sense of calm alertness, ready to experience the world around us in a modulated way.

The whole point of exploring non-ordinary states of consciousness is to embody what we’ve learned. In addition to processing the experience with a therapist, meditating, walking in nature, writing, and expressing our creativity are all important ways to gain incredible insights and to facilitate further growth. It is important to note that this growth in the area of personal and spiritual development is a lifelong project.

Find out more about Shari's integration and mental health services on her profile page in the Psychedelic Support Network. Contact today for an appointment.

Articles By Shari

Category: Integration

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