Enter with an open and humble heart
The best attitudes to foster when experimenting with psilocybin are openness, curiosity, and surrender. The fewer expectations you have, the happier and less anxious you'll be before, during and after a session.
Practice lowering expectations as much as possible before a journey. The more we expect to get something from the experience, the more disappointed we will be. When we expect little, we are grateful for whatever shows up. The medicine will reveal that holding onto expectations is the cause of unhappiness. Disillusionment is part of the journey.
You may feel disappointed if you expect to have the same experience you have read or heard about in videos, books, or trip reports. Your distinctive life experiences will result in a journey you cannot compare with others. Be open to unexpected lessons.
Some journeyers may feel different types of discomfort during the journey. Anxiety is common during the come-up phase, which may last an hour or so after ingestion. Some sensitive journeyers may feel unpleasant sensations throughout the experience. Nausea and stomachache are the most common side effects of taking mushrooms.
Trust that whatever physical or psychological effects you encounter are natural. Remember, there is nothing to fear; you are safe, and everything will pass. Welcome every sensation with curiosity. Accept and fully surrender to whatever arises. The decision to surrender often instantly transforms the experience from a challenging one into a positive one.
Grinding up your mushrooms into fine powder, chewing them well, or making a mushroom tea may help you avoid some physical unpleasantness. Ginger tea, ale, or candies can alleviate some symptoms. Some people recommend taking the ginger half an hour before the mushrooms. Other remedies for nausea may be papaya enzyme pills, dry crackers, lemon oil, mint, chocolate, kola nuts, dramamine, and Gas-X tablets. Each person reacts differently to these substances.
If you struggle, remind yourself that everything is temporary and the journey will end. The less you resist the discomfort, the less it will affect your trip. The annoyances may disappear if you relax, ground, center, and surrender.
Taking deep, slow, and continuous breaths may help you through challenging moments. Putting your hands in a prayer pose or on your heart or belly may also soothe your mind.
If you have a sitter with you, you can always ask her to hug you or hold your hand. You can also ask for help to navigate, breathe, or ground. You may find asking for help challenging, so asking and receiving can be healing.
Wisdom comes from realizing that one does not know much if anything at all. Holding onto ideas, philosophies, or ideologies will only lead to resistance and psychological suffering. Remember to relax and let go when you catch yourself struggling or resisting. The more you surrender, the more you make space for the medicine to work its magic. You are on this journey to learn and explore, so stay open.
Most human beings naturally fear the unknown. The comfort zone can feel familiar and reliable, whereas anything outside this zone can feel overwhelming. Paul Stamets, the famous mycologist and psilocybin advocate, says, "The fear of the loss of self-control is the central issue amongst all users as their dosage increases. Those willing to let go, and who do not fear their inner self, seem better prepared to tolerate higher doses. They flow with, not against, the tide of the experience."
You may feel like you are 'losing your mind' or dying at moments during your journey. You may be afraid to lose or let go of control or feel confused about rapid psychological and emotional changes. You might forget who you are, your name, or your memories. You may worry that you'll remain stuck in this state forever.
These experiences are natural and expected. It's essential to release the desire to control and surrender to whatever happens. Remember that you are safe and breathe. When you accept life as it is, energy flows, and struggles dissipate.
As you move beyond your familiar sense of self, you may encounter a sense of emptiness or nothingness. Letting go and surrendering to this feeling may be scary and feel like dying. The more you face this feeling, the more likely you will enjoy the love, joy, and peace many report on their journeys.
Predicting what you will see or experience during your journey is impossible. Some of your experiences may feel alien, other-worldly, horrifying, terrifying, confusing, shocking, or painful. You may experience all-encompassing love, joy, compassion, peace, and gratitude during the same journey. You will come out of the trip lighter and brighter if you can face every emotion, state of mind, and sensation with curiosity and accept that it will pass,
You may encounter your hidden strength, innocence, softness, resilience, love, and compassion on your journey. You may also come across painful thoughts, feelings, and impulses that you don't usually allow yourself to see or feel.
Shame, guilt, grief, anger, frustration, restlessness, and suicidal ideation may arise during your journey. To feel whole, open to every aspect of yourself, and expand the range of emotions you can handle. You cannot cut off parts of yourself.
Some of the most pivotal journeys can, at some points, feel overwhelming or challenging. Your journey allows you to fully experience and safely release pent-up emotions without hurting yourself or others.
Emotions may be expressed or released in many ways: yelling, cursing, crying, wailing, laughing, dancing, singing, speaking, writing, making sounds, rolling on the ground, praying, shaking, trembling, punching a pillow, or vomiting. At certain moments, you may feel like you have lost partial or complete control of your body's movements.
It's usually wise to let your body manifest its natural intelligence, no matter how weird or scary it may seem. It knows what it's doing. Cultivate patience, stillness, and equanimity with everything that happens during your journey.
Some people say there are no "bad trips" -- only difficult ones, in which old traumas, energies, and undesirable patterns come to the surface, stay a while, and then dissolve. With that said, having the proper set and setting will significantly reduce the chances of having a "bad trip." No matter how weird, uncomfortable, or scary the journey gets, remind yourself that you are safe and the journey will end.
A mantra may help you through challenging periods of the journey. Make up your own or borrow one you like. Here are some examples:
If you have faith in God, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Krishna, or another entity, spirit, person, or energy, you may wish to include him/her/them/it in your mantras. In general, keeping one or more of these benevolent beings in mind in your preparations and journey is helpful. Prayer may be beneficial or essential before, during, and after your trip.
For days or weeks before your journey, commit to living a healthy lifestyle and abstain from specific sensory inputs that may cause unwholesome and uneasy states of mind.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances similarly affecting the body, mind, and spirit.
Some people like to consume cannabis in the form of CBD or THC before, during, and after a journey. For others, avoiding cannabis may be the best option.
Reduce or eliminate animal products and processed foods that cause mucus to accumulate.
Eat foods that nourish your body, including organic fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water and make juices or smoothies. Kombucha and other fermented foods and drinks can help rebalance gut flora.
Make sure you sleep well and feel rested.
Consider pampering yourself with a massage or a day at the spa to help calm your nerves and prepare you for surrender and inner exploration. A warm bath at home with music or essential oils can also provide the same benefits.
Transition into a calmer, more reflective state of mind and body. Practice regular meditation, yoga, breathwork, or other self-care techniques.
Spend more time in nature and reduce screen time.
On the day of your journey, consider fasting for four or more hours before ingesting the medicine. Sometimes, you may want a light snack (sandwich, nuts, fruit, smoothie) with your dose or slightly beforehand. Ideally, you want to enter your journey with clean, empty bowels.
If you are using any medications or other drugs (prescription or otherwise), research potential contraindications and, if necessary, follow guidelines for tapering off these substances.