A lifelong process
Psychedelic integration is a lifelong process of making sense of and incorporating the insights and lessons gleaned from our journeys into our daily lives to benefit us and our communities. While we may initially think the actual psychedelic experience is the sole or primary source of healing, the most crucial work is integrating its lessons into our daily lives. Hence, the insights become meaningful, active aspects of our lives rather than distant memories.
Medicine is a concept. Each thought, activity, and object can be medicinal or poisonous, and our psychedelic journeys help us recognize these differences. For example, eating a piece of chocolate can allow the chocolate to be a medicine, while eating two whole bars mindlessly while driving can turn the chocolate into poison.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the latter, but it probably won’t lead to happy states of mind. Integration involves remembering and acting from our innate wholeness, which is always present.
Just as in our daily lives, some psychedelic experiences can be challenging or complex. Integration practices can help us ground, re-center, find our balance, and confidently move forward. They allow us to incorporate the teachings into our regular routines, continue learning, and let go in a non-altered state. The practices show us that life is more fluid than we thought — our evolution, growth, and healing are cyclical and can sometimes only be understood upon reflection.
The healing that begins with our psychedelic experience continues as we practice loving kindness and compassion in every aspect of our lives, especially the areas we tend to ignore or overlook. We learn to be gentle, soft, and generous with ourselves and others.
Even the anger, grief, shame, and guilt we experience can be teachers instead of enemies to destroy. We practice consciously choosing how we relate to and act in the world.
Proper integration that increases the quality of life while minimizing the risk of retraumatizing behaviors and interactions requires some planning and effort. While it may be tempting to hang onto the memories of our psychedelic experience like a lifeline, we must continue looking and moving forward. Unless we take concrete actions to apply the teachings, our healing will be limited. We should approach our integration with purpose and mindfulness.
Each psychedelic experience allows us to reach a mountain peak, and in between climbs, we can sharpen our tools and skills, allowing us to venture into subsequent climbing experiences with more perspective and wisdom and hopefully less suffering.
But where do we start? This question can be overwhelming, mainly if our experience is challenging. Even if we had a pleasant journey, what can we do that will ever recreate the clarity we experienced while we were in it? We may feel the need to change everything about our lives all at once, but how do we do that? And should we do that?
It may be better to wait at least a few weeks or even several months before making major life decisions, but you know best what you need. And while this realization may feel overwhelming, it can also provide a great deal of calm; you are the one you’ve always sought.
Note: This guide is incomplete and is a reflection of the editors’ limited experiences and perspectives. Some of the passages are summaries or paraphrases of widely available information. This is a non-academic document, so formal citations have been left out.
You are encouraged to question, examine, and come to your own conclusions about everything shared in this document. You should keep what resonates and discard what doesn’t.