“When the ego dissolves, so does a bounded conception not only of our self but of our self-interest. What emerges in its place is invariably a broader, more openhearted and altruistic—that is, more spiritual—idea of what matters in life. One in which a new sense of connection, or love, however defined, seems to figure prominently.”
- Michael Pollan
The following set of instructions will give the reader a general sense of what good process entails when taking a psychedelic. It takes into consideration key principles of harm reduction and evidence supporting best practices for psychedelic use to create a safe and ideal experience.
Do your research. The process of taking psychedelics is simple, but should be done thoughtfully. The journey often begins with a curiosity or general interest to take psychedelics, and so, the journeyer begins by conducting their own research about the drug of interest. After reading and getting to know the drug, the journeyer should reflect on their life stability, their health history, read about the potential risks and benefits of psychedelics and make a decision over the course of weeks to months if psychedelics are right for them. Importantly, this decision recognizes there is no guarantee of a specific outcome when using psychedelics - some trips are positive, some are difficult and some are destabilizing which inherently makes informed consent challenging - your not always sure what your going to get and if their is 'work' required to find your footing again during integration. A journeyer may also be making this decision with their primary healthcare provider, especially if they taking SSRIs or other medications to manage mental or physical health conditions. If the journeyer decides psychedelics are right for them, they will then acquire the drug and have it tested for impurities or adulterants. After the journeyer ideally picks a date to do the psychedelic where they are free from obligations and stresses on the day of and day after their journey - this maybe a Friday evening journey with a Saturday morning and afternoon to rest into it all.
Prepare and consider having a trip sitter. Next, the journeyer will want to cultivate a healthy mindset in the week leading up to the experience, gather the supplies they will need and prepare the setting making it comfortable and safe. The journeyer will develop a clear purpose often referred to as an intention for the journey to help guide self-inquiry during and after the experience. In the one to two weeks leading up to the event, the journeyer may ask a trusted friend or family member if they will sit beside them during the experience, keep them safe and provide support as needed during the psychedelic experience. If you are having a trip sitter with you, you would provide educational resources for them sitter on how to sit, make a journey plan with them, go through any questions they may have and review the plan just prior to the consumption of the psychedelic. If you are travelling solo, tell someone about it before you embark your trip.
Take the journey. At this point, you have had the psychedelics tested, you have done your own research, completed a medical screen, you have prepared your mindset, the setting, the intention and tidied up any loose ends where possible, that may invoke worry or anxiety during your experience. Perhaps you have found a trusted trip sitter and they are ready to embark on their travels with you. Now, you consume your psychedelic, get into comfortable clothing, lay down on a bed and get cozy, have a little bit of water on a table next to you, turn off the lights, wear a blind fold, silence your phone, and turn on your music. As the experience unfolds, remember your mantra: trust, let go, be open, breathe, and surrender. Capture insights in your trip journal along the way. After the journey, tend to your immediate needs and integrate your experience in the weeks and months that follow.
Go with the flow of the journey. If you are having a difficult experience, remember that the degree of resistance is often equal to the degree of suffering. Trust, let go, breathe and surrender. If you find yourself feeling anxious or fearful, be curious about what is bringing this up. It is better to face it and explore it than to keep avoiding it. Trust the psychedelic, trust in your trip sitter if you have one, trust the process and trust the inner healing intelligence. After the experience, capture any insights with a journal, chat to a trusted friend, family member or your therapist about it, and begin to make meaning of it through integrative practices for the weeks and months ahead.