(Tricia Eastman) Integration refers to the process of assimilating the mind, body, and spirit after an entheogenic experience for the purpose of well-being and growth. This process involves extracting meaning from your experience and applying any downloads or insights you receive into your life.
Dedicating Time to Yourself
First and foremost, allow yourself the time and space for integration. It is easy to get swept into the busyness of our daily routines and not give ourselves time to rest, reflect, and engage in new practices. Those with a fast-paced lifestyle will find it most helpful to intentionally dedicate time in their schedule for integration and relaxation in the days and weeks after this experience. We’ve found the following practices helpful, but remember to trust your intuition during this process. Try what you feel will serve you best, and be gentle with yourself throughout the process. Use this time to journal or engage in some of the practices suggested in this article.
Extracting Meaning from Your Experience
Trust that this experience is not limited to the small amount of time in which you are under the influence of the medicine; this is a process that naturally unfolds over the subsequent days and weeks after the ceremony. It is therefore helpful to avoid the tendency to very quickly over-rationalize and ascribe meaning to the experience. Expressing yourself nonverbally can be a great way to process the experience without overly relying on your rational, thinking self. Engaging in art therapy, dance, and other creative practices that speak to you can be helpful in this regard.
Reconnecting with the Medicine
This experience oftentimes is a beautiful reminder of our inextricable connection to spirit. Incorporating this realization back into day-to-day life is the real meat of the process; the “ceremony between ceremonies.” The good news is that in the days and weeks after this experience, it is generally easier to foster a stronger connection with source and your true nature. As part of your integration, aim to develop and maintain a daily self-care practice, if you don’t have one already. A self-care practice provides a strong foundation for your integration work. The practices outlined below can be helpful in reconnecting with the essence of the medicine experience. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, so follow your heart and choice a practice that suits you.
There are numerous forms of meditation, from Vipassana to loving-kindness, so choose a practice that resonates with you. Below are some helpful tips.
Working with Bufo and 5 MeO DMT may uncover or dislodge repressed emotions, so pay attention to any emotions that arise. If uncomfortable emotions or memories rise to the surface, compassionately allow them to be, and avoid resisting them. Remember that “what resists persists.” Over time, the natural intelligence of your body will clear out toxic emotional energy and trauma, if you hold a compassionate space and allow whatever comes up.
Some people may experience “re-activation” back into the medicine state during meditation or during other times in which their mind and body is deeply relaxed, such as before falling asleep. This can be a very beautiful and helpful experience to further your processing and integration. The most important point is to allow whatever comes up to simply exist, exactly as it presents itself. Drop into a space where you can compassionately accept whatever presents itself in the moment. See the section further below titled “Re-Activation” for more information.
How to Start a New Meditation Practice
If you’re starting a new practice, consider taking baby steps. Research led by Stanford behavioral scientist BJ Fogg demonstrates that starting with small behavioral changes and then gradually scaling up is a much more sustainable method compared to forcing major behavioral changes that require significant, ongoing willpower to maintain.
On this note, if you’re brand new to meditation, consider starting with 3 minutes per day and maintaining that for 2 weeks. After that, increase to 5 minutes a day for another week or two. Aim for what feels like an easily achievable amount of meditation that you are 100% sure you can maintain for a few weeks. After you get past the initial 30 to 60-day hump of resistance, it’ll be much easier to stick with 10-20+ minutes per day.
If you find that meditating by yourself is a difficult habit to start, try joining a local meditation group a few days a week. Social support can help you stick to this new practice.
Flotation Therapy (aka Floating) is another helpful method to get in the habit of meditation, and floating has unique benefits in addition to the already significant benefits of regular meditation. There is also something to be said about the fact that you must pay for the float sessions and schedule them in advance – this may provide the extra motivation needed to jumpstart your practice.
With floating, the research points to significant reductions in anxiety and depression from a series of regular float sessions completed within close succession (ie. 2-3 floats a week for a period of 6-8 weeks). Consider doing several float sessions within 2 months and then scaling back or stopping the floating after that period of time. After the first 1.5 – 2 months of regular floating, most people can scale back the number of floats they do and still maintain those benefits. This video explains the current state of research on flotation therapy.
There are many meditation centers that offer free or donation-based meditation. You may visit meetup.com or search for meditation in your area.
Sound Healing, Shamanic Drumming, Sweat Lodge, Reiki, Breathwork, Qi Gong
All of these healing practices can help open up the space to reconnect with the spirit world, and the energy of the medicine. Set an intention to reconnect with the medicine before starting these practices, and practice maintaining a state of open, compassionate awareness with whatever arises.
Social Connection and Professional Guidance
It is helpful to have someone in your life with whom you can openly share what you experienced, and what you’re currently going through. We are social beings, and having the space to let ourselves be seen and heard is very therapeutic. Consider asking a close friend to listen to you deeply, with compassion. Simply being able to express yourself openly and authentically can help with emotional processing.
If you do not have such a person in your life, consider working with a coach or therapist with psychedelic integration experience.
There are many groups that have regular talks, events, and meetings around psychedelic use. You can check Meetup.com for local groups in your area.
Here are two resources for professional integration:
Shamanic Integration Program
MAPS Therapist List
Helpful Practices for Grounding
Physical activity can be very helpful in grounding the experience into your body, especially since exercise can get you into a flow state. If you find yourself in a high state of activation in the days following the experience, it can be helpful to try more rigorous forms of exercise to get out of your head and into your body. The idea is to drop from your mind into your body, so that somatic processing may occur more rapidly. Many people are capable of being “in their head” during a walk or light jog, so consider exercises that get you into a deeper state of flow, such as vinyasa yoga, ecstatic dance, high-intensity interval training, surfing, lovemaking, etc.
Warm Baths, Sauna Use, Cold Showers, and Cryotherapy
A warm bath is a very approachable way to ground back into your body after this experience. Adding mineral salts such as Epsom salt can induce extra relaxation.
Sauna use, cold showers, and cryotherapy are very helpful for rapidly grounding back into your body, although they are more physically demanding compared to a warm bath. Use your judgment and research any health contraindications before attempting the latter three practices.
Be aware of the bodies’ hydration levels before engaging in any practice with extreme heat or cold. Some psychedelics can be dehydrating. Rehydrate the body in advance with fresh coconut water, low-sugar electrolyte-enhanced beverages, spring water and for more extreme cases IV hydrations drips.
This medicine opens up your energy channels, and so a lot of energy may be flowing through your subtle body in the days after the experience. If you find yourself having trouble sleeping, consider a few sessions of acupuncture, as it can have a balancing and grounding effect on the body. Let the acupuncturist know that you are having a lot of energy flowing through you right now and that you’re looking for assistance with getting back into a healthy sleep rhythm.
The Power of Touch
Physical touch is a vitally important prerequisite in human development, and it is something that many of us lack in our day-to-day lives. The feeling of being held and touched is extremely nurturing and grounding, and so it can be very helpful after your experience. Even hugs help release Oxytocin, which is If you do not have a partner to cuddle with, consider booking a massage or a Reiki healing session that incorporates touch.
In modern culture, we rarely take the time to experience our emotions and even slow down to process the things that happen in life. Death, breakups, and other major shifts in life end up storing in our bodies. Also, some of us were taught at a very early age that it was not safe to express emotions like sadness or anger. This backlog of emotions attached to these events is what comes up in these powerful healing experiences through various forms of purging such as laughing, crying, shaking, and throwing up.
As we build emotional awareness, this can help us to identify the emotions coming up and give proper time to process them. Rather, than storing them in the mind, body, and nervous system. Therapies such as Somatic Experiencing, Hakomi, and Organic Intelligence can be incorporated into your life to give you tools for opening up the awareness and releasing the stored energy. Working with a trained practitioner, over time one can develop a deeper awareness and understanding of their emotions.
Eating comfort foods can be helpful in grounding. Foods that we’ve seen to be particularly helpful include: warm soup and stews, bone broth, pasture-raised bison meat, root vegetables, beets, burdock root, and dandelion root tea.
Supplement Recommendations for Grounding and Sleep
Some people have trouble sleeping and staying asleep in the nights following the experience. The following supplements may help with sleep:
- Magnesium – Most people are deficient in this essential mineral which helps us to relax and supports the nervous system. Dosage range is between 100 mg-500 mg.
Note: Some people have a digestive sensitivity to large doses
- Magnesium Glycinate – is a bioavailable form of magnesium, and taking it within 30 minutes of bedtime can aid in sleep onset. The usual recommendation is 400mg daily.
- Glycine – is an amino acid that can improve sleep quality. Consider taking between 2000-4000mg of glycine 30 minutes before bedtime. Glycine is extremely well tolerated and there’s an argument to be made that most people (and animals) run a chronic deficit of glycine. Here’s a technical discussion on this topic.
- PharmaGABA – is a more bioavailable form of the calming neurotransmitter GABA. Consider taking 500-2000mg before bed to help with relaxation and sleep onset. This supplement can also be taken during the day, but be aware that it may cause drowsiness. Start small and scale up from there, and research any possible health contraindications before starting.
Warning: Taking Melatonin can reactive the effects of certain tryptamines such a DMT or 5MEO DMT, which will affect being able to sleep. Forgo taking Melatonin in the first night or 2 following ceremony.
Things to Consider Avoiding:
To have a more successful integration, gain healing and clarity from the experience. Here are some of the things that you need to be mindful of and avoid after the ceremony to avoid dangerous adverse reactions.
Stimulants and Psychoactive Substances
- Alcohol – it can shut down the newfound awareness that arises after these experiences, dulling the positive after-effects and slowing any additional healing and insights received after the experience.
- Stimulants – it is wise to avoid stimulants and psychoactive drugs after this experience, especially in the days immediately after the experience. One of the goals of integration is to ground into your body. Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, etc. push you out of touch with the natural rhythms of your body, which can be counterproductive to somatic and emotional processing.
A quick note about tobacco: When used properly, tobacco can be a helpful ally to assist with grounding. It itself is a master plant and is regularly used in conjunction with plant medicines. Remember that you should always use this plant with intention; the unconscious, casual use of tobacco will not extend the same benefits as the mindful, intentional use of this sacred plant.
- Cannabis – In general, cannabis and Bufo 5 MeO DMT get along, but please note that cannabis use can re-activate the experience. It is, therefore, best to use cannabis wisely and with intention. If you find that cannabis numbs or blunts your awareness then try discontinuing use for at least 30 days. If, on the other hand, you find that it opens you up and helps you build a stronger connection with source and divinity, then feel free to continue using it. It’s best to start small after the experience, as cannabis these days can be very potent.