enter with an open and humble heart
The best attitudes to foster when you experiment 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 allow ourselves to be grateful for whatever shows up. The medicine will reveal that holding onto expectations is the cause of unhappiness. Disillusionment is part of the journey.
If you expect to have the same experience you have read or heard about in videos, books, or trip reports, you may be let down. Your distinctive life experiences will result in a journey that cannot be compared 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 that there is nothing to fear, you are safe, and it will all 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 extremely well, and/or making a mushroom tea may help you avoid some of the physical unpleasantness. Ginger tea, ale or candies can also alleviate some of the 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 find yourself struggling, remind yourself that everything is temporary and the journey will end. The less you resist the discomfort, the less it will affect your journey. If you relax, ground, center, and surrender, the annoyances may disappear. Taking deep, slow, and continuous breaths may help you through challenging moments. Putting your hands in prayer pose, or on your heart and/or belly may also soothe your mind.
If you have a sitter with you, you can always ask her to give you a hug or hold your hand. You can also ask for help to navigate, breathe or ground. You may find asking for help difficult, so asking and receiving in itself can be healing.
Wisdom comes from realising that one does not know much, if anything at all. Holding onto ideas, philosophies, or ideologies will only lead to resistance and psychological suffering. When you catch yourself struggling or resisting, remember to relax and let go. 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 who are 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.”
At certain points during your journey, you may feel like you are ‘losing your mind’ or dying. You may be afraid to lose or let go of control, or you may 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 common. It’s important to release the desire to control, and surrender to whatever shows up. 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 into this feeling may be scary and may feel like dying. The more you are able to face this feeling, the more likely you will enjoy the love, joy, and peace that many report on their journeys.
There’s no way to predict what you will see or experience during your journey. Some of your experiences may feel alien, other-worldly, horrifying, terrifying, confusing, shocking, or painful. During the same journey, you may experience all-encompassing love, joy, compassion, peace, and gratitude. If you can face every emotion, state of mind and sensation with curiosity and accept that it will pass, you will come out of the journey lighter and brighter.
On your journey, you may encounter your hidden strength, innocence, softness, resilience, love, and compassion. 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, suicidal ideation may all come up during your journey. In order to feel whole, open to every aspect of yourself, and expand the range of emotions you allow yourself to feel. You cannot cut off parts of yourself.
Some of the most pivotal journeys can at some points feel overwhelming or challenging. Your journey gives you a chance to fully experience and release pent-up emotions in a safe way 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 points, you may feel like you have lost partial or full 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 that 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 being said, having the proper set and setting will greatly 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 difficult or 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 into your mantras. In general, you may find it helpful to keep one or more of these benevolent beings in mind in your preparations and journey. You may find prayer beneficial or even essential before, during, and after your journey.
For days or weeks before your journey, commit to living a healthy lifestyle and abstain from certain sensory inputs that may cause unwholesome and uneasy states of mind.
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes and other substances that have similar effects on the body, mind, and spirit.
Some people like to consume cannabis in the form of CBD and/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 and/or essential oils can also provide the same benefits.
Transition into a calmer, more introspective 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 4 or more hours before ingesting the medicine. Sometimes, you may want to have 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), make sure to research potential contraindications and, if necessary, follow guidelines for tapering off these substances.