Why Do People Fail To See Change After Using Ayahuasca & Other Sacred Medicines?
The time has finally come. You’ve saved up your pennies for months. You’re finally about to begin your adventure with the visionary medicine Ayahuasca. Mixed emotions are running rampant. You’re excited, scared, anxious, curious, relieved that it’s finally here.
Six hours of mind-bending visions ensue. It’s blissful. It’s terrifying. You deal with emotional trauma. You gain insights. You purge away your demons in the dark of the night. Your journey is life-changing. You make beautiful connections during your time away and have experiences that would give your grandma a heart attack. Your internal environment has been flipped upside down. You’ve just been through shamanic brain surgery and received a much needed life reset.
Upon returning, you’re left to navigate an external environment where everything is the same as you left it. Everything is going great, you’re looking at life through a new lens of awareness and perception. Time continues to pass, and while you’ve successfully made a few necessary changes, the afterglow eventually wears off. You’re left feeling confused, not quite knowing which direction to the point the needle of your compass. While you’ll never quite be the same as before, life has slowly wrapped it’s tentacles around you and you find yourself stuck, wondering when you’ll ever really align yourself to your truth, your highest self, your meaning, purpose, heart and spirit...
Well, if you haven’t seriously taken into account two of the most important aspects of working with visionary plant medicines, this has either happened to you, or this could be what awaits you on the other side.
WHAT ARE THESE KEY ELEMENTS?
Ah yes, so simple but so often overlooked...
Preparation and Integration.
Integration is a word that is synonymous with the psychedelic experience. In case you’ve been living under a rock, integration is the stage after we engage in medicine work, where we process all that has happened and assimilate it into our daily lives. Preparation on the other hand doesn’t seem to be talked about as much. At least not to the extent and depth that it should be. Preparation usually covers the specifics directly relating to drinking Ayahuasca, or any other psychedelic brew for that matter:
Pay attention to contraindications
Ensure you have the appropriate diet plan in place
Set your intentions
Be mindful of set and setting
The thing is, if we’re looking for conscious upgrades and holistic expansion when using shamanic medicines and psychedelics, we need to dig a little deeper beyond the basics of set, setting and general preparation.
If integration means to move towards become more whole, it's important to take into account all categories that make up the totality of our lives. And to ensure our integration process goes as smooth as possible after we finish dancing in the spirit world, we want to be putting as many pieces of the puzzle together during our preparation phase.
A lot of us have their intentions set to focus on their main perceived problems or challenges currently in their life, those of which we’re affected by emotionally to varying degrees. Rightly so. It's just easy to forget that when we receive emotional and psychological healing, these fragmented aspects of ourselves that are becoming healed so that we can become more whole, are tied into many aspects of life that extend beyond the category of purely emotional or psychological.
And often, if we don’t have the basics covered, we can’t really expect to level-up when it comes to things like aligning our lives with our life mission, our heart and spirit, our meaning, our purpose. Some of these layers of being that I'm talking about could include the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of existence. There's our relationships, our sexuality, our relationship to sex and pleasure. There's our job, our career, our finances. Our home life, our social life, our environments, our lifestyle.
All of these categories and aspects of life interweave and intertwine. They all affect each other to some degree. If we’re the centre of a wheel, the cog if you will, and the spokes make up the different categories of life, if one of these spokes is much shorter and underdeveloped compared to the others, that’s going to make a somewhat bumpy journey down the road of life. One that I assume, we all intend to travel all the way down, and if we’re coming to visionary shamanic medicines and psychedelics, it might be safe to say that a lot of us want to be as integrated as possible to ensure that we can do our part to ensure as smooth a ride as possible.
So it’s important to take a stock-take of our lives; to not JUST narrow in our focus to our most pressing needs, but to take a meta-view of everything and see where we may need to level-up to ensure we’re walking a path where we’re trying to become as integrated as possible.
AH YES, STATING THE OBVIOUS IN THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH I SEE…
I can also hear you saying, “that all makes sense, thanks Captain Obvious, but you know what? That all seems like a LOT of work.” Not to mention all of you mere mortals thinking, “well what about this category, or this aspect of life, or under this context or that context...“
Yes, this is generalised, but the point is that when we're 'doing the work', arguably, it's to walk the path of becoming as integrated as possible. So yes, it is a lot of work. In today'‘s fast-paced, drive-through, warp-speed, digital download, laptop lifestyle, I know a bunch of you just want to rub the magic lamp, drink some shamanic potion, have the psychedelic experience reveal the secrets of the universe, and transition back into daily life as an enlightened being, spouting love and light everywhere you go.
Well, you’re allowed to dream, right?
These particular tools of transformation are NOT a panacea, as many of us know. They ARE a catalyst for transcendental, mystical, healing states of consciousness that have the potential to be incredibly beneficial to our lives when used in the appropriate manner. Just like any other tool of transformation though, we have to be prepared to do the work back in our daily life; to make the appropriate changes we need to make; to release the burdens and the baggage holding us back.
Shamanic medicines and psychedelics have played a significant role in my life. They’re certainly one of my main tools in my toolbox; one of the master keys that continues to help unlock various doors in my life.
I've received a great deal of healing from these sacred substances. Part of my continued progress on my path of personal evolution has been because I’ve taken the time to implement the skills, strategies, tools, maps and models during the preparation and integration stages of working with these sacraments.
If you’re one of those people who feel overwhelmed at how much work there really is to do on your own path of personal evolution, keep it simple. Start with the basics. Movement. Mindset. Nutrition. Hydration. Sleep. Nature. Getting these dialled and scheduled into your day will help lay a solid foundation for the rest of change to occur.
It’s so important that we look beyond the immediacy of the psychedelic experience; to the phase of preparation, and integration. This is where the growth begins. This is where sustainable change happens. We need to set ourselves up so that we’re primed for progress. So we have a plan going into these experiences, and we have a plan coming out.
Sometimes we’ll get lucky and things magically fall into place and we ride away on the white dragon living happily ever after (Unicorn works too, but dragons are obviously way more bad-ass…) But if we decide to wing it, jumping into our sailboat without doing the pre-check, we may realise that the needle point of our compass isn’t quite working the way we’d like it to, misleading us through all kinds of unnecessary weather.
SET INTENTIONS, DROP EXPECTATIONS.
Another thing that leaves people feeling frustrated or let down after a psychedelic voyage, is how tightly they're grasping on to their intentions. There's a difference between intentions and expectations. Intentions are important. They help shine the light in the direction we know we need to focus. If we're expecting a particular outcome to happen, and it doesn't come to fruition, well it's highly likely this will lead to all kinds of disappointment and frustration. So set your intentions, but drop your expectations.
Ultimately, these are some of the reasons why people fail to maintain sustainable change and keep up with the results they're after. Because they don't have these critical pieces of the puzzle in place. Preparation and Integration will look differently to everyone, as we're all traversing different paths, with our own set of hopes, dreams, goals, fears, frustrations, challenges and obstacles.
But even though we're the only one's that can walk our own paths, there are certainly maps, models and frameworks out there for us to utilise and guide us; allowing a birds eye view of the landscape before us.
Whatever your spiritual or metaphysical beliefs are, when it comes to utilising shamanic medicines and psychedelics, let's remember to bridge the gap between the spirit world and the world of matter; ensuring the bulk of our change is anchored in the realm of everyday physical reality.
As enchanting as it is to explore the ethereal, we are grounded in this reality for the majority of our day to day lives. Having a sound Preparation and Integration protocol will ensure we get the most beneficial results and keep moving forward towards being as integrated as possible, as smoothly as possible.
If you’re keen to get a few tips and tricks on how to prepare, explore and integrate like a psychedelic white wizard, check out Sacred Psychedelics. If Gandalf was a real person, I’m sure he’d approve!