Integration Does Not Hurry
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” -Lao Tzu
One of the beautiful yet pesky things about the flow of psychedelic integration is that lessons tend to unfold over time. While some psychedelic journeys can seem clear as day in the insights and messages they provide, others are vague. The latter can lead psychedelic explorers to a myriad of responses, ranging from feelings that “nothing happened” and moving on with their day, to potential confusion about the experience, a lack of understanding of the relevance of the journey to their lives, and sometimes disorientation or a temporary state of psychic disintegration because hopes or expectations were not met.
I’m reminded over and again how patience is a virtue in when integrating peak experiences like psychedelic journeys. Why? Because a cornerstone of psychedelic healing is the practice of sitting through uncertainty and discomfort while staying centered and grounded. We attempt to remain calm in place of allowing emotional charge get the best of us and refrain from categorizing the experience into “good” or “bad”. Learning this skill through navigation of psychedelic space in ceremony ultimately translates into a life-management competency that can be employed daily: an expanded capacity to remain peaceful at the face of inevitable adversity and challenging moments we all must brave through the human experience.
So sometimes I find myself floored at how psychedelic wisdom transcends like a budding sprout in the Spring. I’ve had consciousness journeys with messages that spread out and deepened layer after layer over multiple ceremonies, like individual petals they opened slowly, one by one to reveal the flower’s center, my core of the Self. Other psychedelic polaroid moments developed through tender integration to reveal their essence only after a number of years... Yes, years. Sometimes I literally don’t know what it is I’m integrating exactly; I just know that my attention has been captured and aware of my duty to pay mindfulness to this particular space at this time in my life - and observe without judgement. This, of course, is the hardest part - I mean, with all the respect to psychedelics, self-development and enlightenment, we’ve got a life to live and bills to pay. Who has time to not take action and wait for the universe to guide us to the next perfect destination? Sitting back and letting things happen are not my strongest suits. But it’s exactly at these times when two core qualities of emotional health and alignment with one’s purpose are tested: patience for life to take its course, and trust that everything will somehow work out.
Consider psychedelic experiences to be the looking glass through which we witness the perfect order and harmony of nature. Even though, or particularly if, messages weren’t obvious in a journey that seemed mild and not much happened, by ingesting a psychedelic the looking glass received a good buffing - and a seed [of inner expansion and growth] was planted. You cannot see the seed yet you know it’s in the soil, doing its thing. This is the time to nurture, water, feed and lay it in the sun to bake and grow in its time. With consistent nourishment there is a silent agreement that the sprouting process will commence, without any other actions on our behalf aside from presence. We cultivate patience to allow the bloom when nature decides it’s right, and trust that indeed it will do just that - in a way that is more complex and perfect than our human mind could ever orchestrate. This surrender to the Great Mystery that is so unbeknownst to us is the key principal to psychedelic exploration and the ultimate life skill - not an easy lesson to learn necessarily but probably one that yields the most reward and peace. This understanding of the ways of the world - really, coming to terms with the fact that invisible forces are at play and not everything has to do with us - is a level of internal maturity that many psychedelic explorers who practice mindful integration somehow arrive to. So while the journey of getting to this place can seem long, winding, uncertain and slowwww, the divine celestial garden that awaits fragrant and in full bloom makes its trusting, patient visitor appreciate every breath of the pilgrimage. So… Exhale. You’re home.