Due to this mainstreaming of the former ‘underground’, there are, of course, many more people experimenting with psychedelics such as magic mushrooms and LSD. This is an awesome thing. (As well as something that would have been almost inconceivable 20 years ago!)
However, some of these new psychonauts are so keen to dive in sometimes they might skip the ‘preparation’. That’s not to say that they haven’t researched a reputable source from which to buy or grow their magic mushrooms. Or that they haven’t researched dosage, strain, or whatever. Rather, they have not done the preparation for what may come after. This is called ‘integration’. And, it is said to be one of the most important aspects of the entire psychedelic experience.
Not to get all Forrest Gump-ian about it, but a psychedelic trip can really be like a box of chocolates. You really don’t know what you’re gonna get. Of course, not everyone goes into a shroom trip looking for deep revelations and a spiritual shake-up. Some people just go in for a good time — to play, relieve stress, giggle, and watch the walls wiggle. But, even if you’re not counting on it, sometimes a little home truth, realization, or deep-buried something may work its way to the surface during your trip. So being prepared, in case this happens, and especially if this is what you are aiming for, is essential to the psychedelic experience as a whole.
Your ‘Post-Trip Plan’
Integration is your post-trip plan. An idea of what you may experience, and how you can absorb any of those insights, lessons or realizations into your everyday life. Some people say that post-trip integration is as important as the trip itself. Because of this, in many guide, shaman, or therapist-led magic mushroom experiences it is often included as a key part of the process. But not always. In the much more likely circumstance you are not tripping with a professional — either alone or with friends — it is vital to take matters into your own hands. By understanding psychedelic integration, and planning ahead.
Psychedelic Integration: The Basics
Integration is a pivotal process after the psychedelic experience. It helps the individual to understand and make sense of their journey, and apply this to their daily lives. It consists of reflecting upon, deciphering, and incorporating the emotions, insights, and lessons abstained from the magic mushroom trip.
But why is this so important? Let us spell it out for ya…
It Helps to Find Meaning in Your Experience
As we said earlier, psilocybin trips can simply be easy-going, joyful, and enjoyable. On other occasions they can be deep, meaningful, and profound — which can lead to insights and strong emotions. Using integration as a framework helps us to process and find meaning in the journey they have just embarked upon.
It Opens a Dialogue with Our Subconscious
Psilocybin, from magic mushrooms and truffles, can summon to the surface that what is usually buried in our subconscious. Memories, thoughts, feelings, trauma, desire — all the feels. Our brains are wired to protect us by keeping these things separate. But sometimes this can do more harm than good; it is only by acknowledging these things that we can heal. Integration lets us get deep into these feelings — exploring them, building our self awareness, and through that our personal growth.
It’s a Safe Space to Process
Occasionally, psychedelic experiences can call up unresolved issues, emotions or trauma. For many people, one of the appeals of psychedelics is that they can help them to address these things. However, it can still be intense and challenging. Integration gives you a safe space to confront any unfinished business, helping you on your way to healing, and then closure.
It Puts Those Insights to Work in Everyday Life
Without integration after a trip, any insights gained may stay ephemeral — i.e. they’ll melt away like a puff of smoke. Integration helps you make what you’ve learned earthly and graspable. You can then apply this to your personal behavior, your relationships, your habits, your work life — ect. etc!
It Makes Sense of Any Confusion
Sometimes a psychedelic trip can just be a purely mind-jumbling experience. Without integration it can be difficult to pull apart the sticky tendrils of confusion and get to the profound message at the core of the experience. Taking the time to integrate creates a link between the psychedelic world just experienced, and the everyday one. It’s ok to be confused! Give yourself time to ponder…
It Strengthens Mental Health
Integration can strengthen mental health by letting you process emotions, establish healthier behavioral and thought patterns, and coping strategies. It can help you to identify the areas of your life that can be cultivated. These can be either personal or professional, or any other area you feel needs care. This can help you to build a more fulfilling and authentic way to live.
So How Do You Do This Integration Thing, Anyway?
Psychedelic integration sounds great right? But how do you actively do it? Well, it’s all about intention. To focus and to think through your processing, giving yourself time. It’s about deliberately trying to understand the often confusing aspects of a psychedelic trip, and consciously making the decision to apply it to your reality.
Here are some key tips on how to put integration into practice:
Reflect and Think
Give yourself time. Time to mull, to ponder, to navel gaze. Reflect on the emotions you felt, the thoughts you had, and the sensations you went through during the experience. Definitely take the day if you can. Refrain from doom-scrolling and social media for a little bit. Just be with yourself and let your thoughts flow.
Recognize Key Lessons
Identify and legitimize any profound insights, realizations, or lessons you experienced during the trip. How did they make you feel? Were they positive, difficult, confusing? Why?
Journaling, making voice notes, or throwing yourself into any kind of creative expression can help to solidify aspects of the experience in your mind and body. Trips can be overwhelming for every sense in our body. As you decompress, some of these intense thoughts, feelings, and images can be lost. Recording these through writing or voice recording can be the key for holding on to them. Other creative expressions such as painting or playing music can help to explore them in a more abstract way.
Share Your Experience
Talking about your experience with trusted friends, family, or a therapist who has an understanding of psychedelics can be an incredibly useful and reassuring process. Simply saying your thoughts and feelings outloud can have a profound effect on your perspective. If you do choose to discuss your experience with a friend, make sure you clarify whether you just want an ‘ear’, or you actually want their input or feedback.
In the days post-trip when you are integrating, help yourself by staying grounded. Make a soft routine — be in bed by a certain time — or set out specific moments to meditate or treat yourself to a tasty snack.
Apply Your Insights to Daily Life
Take clear steps to apply the insights you obtained from your magic mushroom trip. If you had the realization you need to strengthen your friendships — make some concrete plans to regularly see friends. If you realize you need to care for your body — plan an exercise and self care regime. It doesn’t have to be intense! A coffee date with a friend, or a brisk walk in the park can be those first baby steps. The most important thing is doing it; from there on it will be easier.
Be Kind to Yourself!
Integration gives us the opportunity to be compassionate to ourselves. Think about how you talk to animals or plants. Kindly, right? Why not treat yourself the same way. New insight can make you fragile. Treat yourself like the precious thing you are! This will only help you on your journey.
Integration: The Takeaway
Integration is a constantly evolving process that will be individual to each person. However, it is the essential method to making the most of your psychedelic experiences, as well as for healing and growing in the long run. In life we are constantly changing, and subconsciously integrating these changes. Psychedelic integration is just a more conscious way of doing this.
- Integration is your post-trip plan.
- It is a way of making sense of the psychedelic experience and any insights and perspective changes it may bring up.
- Integration is a way of solidifying the ephemeral lessons learned and applying them to everyday life.
- There are various ways of actively integrating. These include reflecting, resting, and giving yourself time.
- Journaling or any way of recording your experience is a form of integration.
- Talking through your experience with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist is also a key integration method.
- Being kind to yourself, and setting yourself small goals to build upon will help you along your psychedelic integration path.