The Meaning & Purpose of Psychedelic Integration
Psychedelic Integration: Meaning & Purpose
Lots can be said about the value of psychedelic substance use; in fact, it has been said in numerous anecdotal case reports, journalism and academic articles, as well as demonstrated through scientific research. As manifesters of the mind, psychedelics are incredible tools of access to universal wisdom, knowledge of Self, ancestral soul searching, shadow illumination, and can induce healing on both the cellular and collective level. Much has been reported about possible occurrences during the psychedelic session, as well as the gravity of preparation in regards to set and setting. However, an aspect that is often overlooked in psychedelic use is the importance of integrating the psychedelic experience following the session. Psychedelic integration is the mindful rebalancing of the mind, spirit and body, and actively anchoring the insights gleaned in the psychedelic realm in our default state of consciousness and everyday lives. But what does the integration process look like, and what is its ultimate purpose?
Psychedelics, contrary to the popular opinion, are not all fun and games. Yes, the experience itself can be trippy, colorful, dazzling in its beauty; it can bring about blissful feelings of incredible awe, cosmic love and a deeply felt interconnectivity to all beings. It can be a light and happy experience that invites one on a loose joyride to dance the night away. While all of that holds true, in certain contexts psychedelics are seen by many as “work” – more specifically, work to release and heal past trauma stored in the abyss of the unconscious and in our DNA, in hopes of living a better life. Doing so often involves walking through dark valleys of the shadow and facing great fears. It can include perplexing understandings about ourselves, our environment and our world, in a way that can completely shatter any notions we recognize to be real. Walking through the shadows demands the most incredulous of persons to demonstrate strength, resilience and above all trust in the process - however long, stressful and unfamiliar it may be. Though ultimately rewarding, working through the unknown can be taxing on even the most experienced of psychedelic connoisseurs – physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically and spiritually.
What’s interesting, is that doing “the work” while on psychedelics is quite simple in a way – there is not much work to do except for surrendering to what comes (only sounds easy!) and staying present with the process for the duration of a few minutes or quite a few hours through the psychedelic session. Moving forward, there is a need to integrate back from the altered state into a standard state of consciousness safely and with the least possible amount of disruption to our stability. Harnessing psychedelic use for the purpose of psychological and spiritual (psycho-spiritual) healing and growth, the integration phase is an opportune time to rebalance with the added intention of utilizing any visions from the psychedelic plane towards self-care, personal development and a visible improvement of our lives. The integration phase following the psychedelic session is when the user is invited to partake in the work that is required to fulfill these opportunities.
“The work begins when the ceremony ends”
In psychedelic integration, “the work” as we know it necessitates a proactive approach and a demonstration of long-term diligence in action to nurture the planted seed as it takes its sweet time to flourish into juicy fruits. Though psychedelics can momentarily shine the light on the areas in our lives that can use an upgrade and the lessons that would do us better when learned, they only plant in us the seedling of wellbeing. It is up to the journeyer to tend to the seed for it to stake roots, germinate and develop into a plant. Then, sustain its maturation through the days, months and years following the session; rigorously, meticulously, mindfully working away as each day brings with it growth in the form of joys, challenges and indifferences. Heck, sometimes the plant doesn’t even seem to do anything! Just perches in the soil in still life. Until… The bud appears. The tenderness of a single evergreen leaf. There is movement, transformation, life. There is reward to our hard work, and boy is it satisfying. All this daily work following the psychedelic session is spent servicing the land – our land - to be able to nourish off the ripened fruits in their season. The edible beauty in nature bares a testament to our efforts invested in our healing, our mending, our development, our growth, our expansion, our wholeness, our refinement, our success. And they’re all a taste of heaven, with our precious energy a nectar of the divine.
The work begins when the ceremony ends – the work, in fact, is integration. In psychedelic integration, we have made the work work for us. The plant transformed, bloomed and fulfilled its potential, as we did. Thus, integration is truly the purpose of the psychedelic experience when engaged with for psycho-spiritual growth. And the purpose of integration itself is psychological, spiritual and physical grounding, expansion and evolution with the goal of attaining wholeness and well-being as individuals and as a collective mankind.