So, eventually I'll be writing a lot more about my Course studies, but I also know that working with psychedelics is becoming a supplement to my healing journey. I understand that everything I will be experiencing with psychedelic work is still within the illusion, but the Course teaches us to first learn how to dream a happy dream. And then from there, we're in a better position for our true Awakening to occur.
In other words, Jesus tells us it's OK to use physical means of healing while we're in the dream. He calls these tools "magic." This would include things like taking medication or supplements, seeing a doctor or therapist, or doing holistic practices like energy work or psychedelic therapy. It's ok to utilize these tools while still holding the Truth in your mind. That it's all within the makings of the dream and eventually we will wake up to our true reality which is perfect Oneness with God.
However, while we're here in the dream, these magical healing tools can be helpful because we've made them to be. Some of us might be able to get to a place where we can utilize the power of the mind for our healing (the true root of all sickness), but we also have to work with where we're at. It's ok to stay humble and acknowledge where you are in your spiritual process. I know I am nowhere near Awake enough to heal myself using just the power of my mind. But I'm certainly taking the steps I believe I need to take to get there.
With all of this said, my work as a therapist led me into the world of psychedelic therapy and I'm currently beginning my own work with these plant medicines. I've completed three journey's with different combinations of MDMA, sassafras, and kanna, and a couple days ago I completed my first journey on psilocybin, or magic mushrooms.
What we currently know about psychedelic therapy is limited, but the research is exploding. It's proving itself to be extraordinarily effective at helping individuals navigate challenges with addiction, OCD, anxiety and depression, eating disorders, chronic pain, and more. My mind felt it had to experience it to believe it.
It's also important to note that it's not always the journey itself that reveals benefits, but the days, weeks, and even months after the utilization of the medicine that people report astounding changes in their physical and mental health or their overall happiness and sense of peace in their lives. For some individuals this feels purely clinical and secular. For others, the experience quickly becomes mystical and spiritual. It was this latter aspect that really pulled me into the work when a friend of my husband's casually mentioned that working with psychedelics would probably answer all of my questions about God. WHAT?!?!? Sign me up.
Even though this first journey didn't introduce me to God or provide me with any direct answers to my existential questions, I am taking a whole lot from the experience and new insights are only continuing to download as I process what happened. A lot of it still feels bewildering to me. At times it still feels scary, dark, and creepy. But I think the overall feeling it has left me with is a sense of wonder and personal empowerment.
So. Here's what happened...
I did a solo journey while my friend/colleague/mentor sat for me. I also had another friend there who specializes in energy work and massage. They sat on either side of me while I took the mushrooms steeped into tea, put on my eye mask, and laid back for the journey. I believe this first dose was around 2.5 grams.
Within 30-60 minutes I experienced a couple quick bursts of emotional release. I shed some tears and my breathing deepened. Not long after, I began to see my first visuals and it wasn't what I wanted to see. The first things I remember seeing were two creepy crawly alien-spider-like creatures crawling in from both my left and right peripherals. Everything was black, white and grey for awhile. Somatically, my body was vibrating from the inside out and there was a lot of complex emotion moving for most of the experience.
Things continued along in this way as I moved through a colorful and ever-changing mozaic of creepy-crawly and animal-like creatures with glowing eyes. I remember seeing a lot of cats, some owls, some Christmas symbolism, and a lot more I already can't remember or recall. It felt like this went on for a lifetime and I made a lot of comments about how scared I was. However, I also remember feeling very grounded in my higher awareness, reminding myself I was in a temporary experience and that it was here to teach me something.
The other theme I experienced was a theme of building anticipation. At one point I sensed a kind dancing light (the mushrooms?) behind all of the dark images. The dancing light took on a theme and I kept hearing in my thoughts... "Do you see this? Do you see what the mind can do? Look at this... See this... this is how powerful the mind is."
I would often end up at a ledge or precipice where there was light on one side and darkness on the other, or light above and darkness below. The beat of the music would inch me toward the light and then I would get stuck at the edge of light and dark. I wanted desperately to move into the light, but the pulsing would dance and tease me with building anticipation. And I could never get all the way into the light. At times this led me into fits of laughter. Right when things started to transform into more loving visuals, things would back up again and the darkness would return.
I wanted the experience to shift and I kept verbalizing that I didn't know how to surrender. I'm still continuing to explore the concept of surrender as I reflect on all of this. I know you can't force surrender. I know it just happens. At times I felt like I really had surrendered to the experience and was just fully present for what I was seeing. At other times I was very resistant.
At one point I was asked if I wanted to up my dose to see if it would help my ego let go. I leaned into that second dose, but I don't know whether it did anything to change the experience. My ego is powerful! I know this about myself... I am not easily swayed. My analytical mind will stop at nothing to find the answers it's looking for. I... doubt... everything. And I always have.
Near the end we laced in some MDMA because I needed to be pulled into a more open hearted experience. After some dry purging into a pink trash can that turned into a lovely sunrise with a dancing tissue in the bottom, I was pulled up into the light of the room where both of my sitters were glowing like angels. They said to me, that's it! The hard part is over. Now you can just enjoy the rest of your experience.
My major takeaways at this stage of the integration process are humbling. I think the experience was showing me the power of the mind. The wisdom of the medicine really wanted me to see and understand that. Look what our minds can make! This cannot be underestimated! I also know that I went into the journey hoping it would be a sort of magic bullet. I was brought down to Earth for a reason and part of me feels like the medicine didn't want me to have the experience I desperately wanted.
I've been searching for a magic bullet to end my suffering for as long as I can remember. I've never liked putting in the work, even though I technically always have been. I always want to be further along than I am. I want to be a teacher before I'm a student. I want to be healed when I'm still sick. And lately, I want to be enlightened when I'm still very much stuck in my humanness. My journey was mirroring that constant lack of patience. That constant anticipation that something better might be right around the corner.
This journey showed me that it's time to let all of that go. That it's time to relax into the present in a deeper way, and really accept where I am in life. I want to go right into the light, but I can't. I have to learn more about the darkness. I have to be honest about my pain, and my fear, and my judgments and I have to put in the work before I can live fully in the light. That's the way out of the dream. That's the way back to God.
So what exactly is happening with psychedelics? The research I've done so far is showing me that science doesn't exactly know. From a purely spiritual lens, I can't help but wonder if there's an ancient wisdom in the plants that is simply more evolved and more highly conscious than we are. It's all still within the dream... But to me that doesn't mean that there isn't something mystical occuring with the use of these substances. Many people report having experiences that are very similar to near death experiences. A bright light. An overwhelming experience of love and oneness. A fleeting, but life-changing experience of being introduced to our Creator.
For me, it's still very much a mystery. But we know the plants are altering our state of consciousness so our mind is less blocked by constant thinking. And perhaps when that happens it allows us to access experiences of revelation more easily. The Course explains that we can have revelations within the dream, which are momentary experiences of feeling our true oneness with God. We won't be able to stay there for long until the final Atonement, but to me it's pretty cool to know God is not completely inaccessible while we're here dreaming our silly dream. And perhaps the mystical magic of mushrooms can help me access those experiences more readily within my own process of Awakening.
Perhaps it's also nothing but another experience the mind is making. But if it helps us dream a happy dream and leads to increased joy and well-being, I choose to take that too. The Course does not claim a monopoly on Truth. It tells us it is not the only path back to God. What's most important is learning the lessons of forgiveness and perfect wholeness and perfect love and oneness with everyone and everything. I plan to keep on keeping on. Because God is waiting for us.