This webpage is intended as a guide for those who are engaged in psychotherapy or life coaching with a therapist or coach skilled in "psychedelic assisted psychotherapy" even when not formally practiced (due to legal issues). The information can also be helpful to anyone who is on a disciplined healing path not grounded in a psychedelic/mystical experience as a step-by-step guide for establishing and deepening supportive daily practices (meditation, healthy diet, exercise, etc.). This material like all the material on my website, is not offered as a replacement for the support offered by an established therapy or coaching relationship. However, I also recognize that some folks will not have access this level of personal support so I offer this material with the hope that it will be helpful and not contribute to any harm.
Having a profound mystical experience, (read this description) from psychedelics, deep meditation experiences, or from other sources (e.g. near death experience, religious ceremony), can lay a foundation for deep healing of emotional and psychological wounds. The model I facilitate most frequently with my therapy and life coaching clients is grounded in an understanding of how to use this experience(s) in combination with daily stabilization and deepening practices (e.g. yoga, meditation, contemplative prayer). These practices when engaged in a loving, disciplined way over a significant period of time, can lead to mental stabilization (mind), embodiment (body) and a trans-personal (non-dual) perspective (spirit) similar to those found from a well-planned, well-conducted and well-integrated psychedelic/mystical experience.
With this three-part stabilization coming into place, deep healing can unfold organically (fueled by the natural drive toward health and wellness in all forms), can progress rapidly and with little danger of re-traumatization. When healing work is done from a trans-personal perspective (i.e. resting in witness or non-dual state of consciousness) within which, fear and resistance arise less often and with less power to frustrate or limit healing. As this healing process unfolds with regular skilled and loving guidance, one is able to become increasingly free of old established conditioning that has in many cases, have severely limited their progress toward becoming the best person they can be (i.e. the authentic Self), with little risk of harm or regression back to lower states of consciousness in everyday life. What Daniel P. Brown referred to as our "vantage point" or the state of consciousness that's becoming stabilized throughout our everyday life.
Most often with my clients, this highest state of consciousness is experienced during a psychedelic journey. Other clients have had mystical experiences during stressful times, near-death experiences or during powerful spiritual ceremonies. For this approach, the source of this high state of consciousness isn't important. It's the realizations and insights that arise during and closely following them that matters. These insights often include a "Knowing of Oneness with All that Is" - a realization that we are not separate from any aspect of the infinite cosmos and an understanding of the ego's proper place - as a devoted servant to "All that Is" and not a fear-based, self-centered master. Rather the experiences are some version of the arising of selfless compassion, generosity and a movement toward service - the qualities of the True Self.
If well prepared before having a psychedelic/mystical experience and know what to look for, or, if we missed preparation, we reflect on the experience we had from this broader perspective, we can realize that the needs we brought into our life with our parents and later with peers, teachers, relationships, etc. are fully met (safety, attunement, being received with joy, affect regulation and knowing someone has our back) during these experiences. A map that can help us form a cognitive understanding of these early needs can be found in Attachment Theory. The path I take with clients draws from a variety of healing approaches grounded in this model. Here's an article about Attachment Theory.
A powerful part of this puzzle is "re-parenting" where we recognize that the "ideal parent" is us - we know what we need, we knew it when we were infants. It is a part of our inheritance from our evolution from the Big Bang up until now. The realization that now as an adult, we can provide whatever was missing from the caregiving we did not receive as a child, youth or young adult. Here's an article I wrote on this topic.
Now we'll move into the first basic elements of a disciplined daily practice that supports this high level of healing and re-parenting: waking up (received as a result of psychedelic/mystical experience or by other means), staying awake (meditation, etc) and embodiment (QiGong, yoga, etc).
Some stabilization of this highest state of consciousness can be obtained using a multi-faceted practice that evolves over the years from the most basic practices to more subtle ones. At this step in the process, we will begin with the tried and true practices of meditation and QiGong.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment without judgment. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we are not fully present in many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives, but also fail to realize the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation. Dwelling in stillness and looking inward for some part of each day, we touch what is most real and reliable in ourselves and most easily overlooked and undeveloped (from Jon Kabat-Zinn). In this process, we work directly with the body as it is a storehouse of psychic energy related to trauma (watch this 25 minute video about Somatic Experiencing). The Body Scan can be very useful as we seek to embody the psychedelic/mystical experience and it's an excellent option for cultivating a sensitivity to subtle changes in the body that often accompany reactions to old habits and conditioning arising.
QiGong is an excellent option for bringing moment-to-moment presence into the body (if you already have a yoga practice or are called to it, then practice yoga instead of QiGong - no worries).
• Practice a body scan meditation at least once a day, two or three times would be better if you can pull it off, using one of these Body Scan Guided Meditations: 20-minute and/or 45-minute versions or one you prefer from the internet just make sure it's a body scan (here's an example).
• Begin each day with 2-5 minutes of Body Scan practice as soon as you wake up and before you get out of bed.
• Practice with this 10-minute re-parenting meditation by Daniel P. Brown 2 or 3 times a week.
For a couple of weeks or more make the changes below and notice any change in how you feel, your moods, energy levels, etc.
• Pay attention to your diet, limiting or eliminating animal products as well as excess fat, salt, sugar and caffeine. Consider intermittent fasting.
• Strongly limit or eliminate alcohol, tobacco and other distracting habits (TV, movies, news, video games, etc.)
If you want to go deeper into some of the topics mentioned above, spend some time with these resources:
After working with these practices for a few months or so, a next step to consider is "Parts Work" which allows us to recognize and transform the conditioned adaptive strategies that came online during our development. While these strategies came online to protect and support us at the time, we can come to see how limiting and confusing they are now. This book with lay it out for you. Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation by Janina Fisher.
I'm confident if you make a significant investment of time and energy into these practices and in understanding what you're doing and why, you will begin to notice a stabilization your higher mystical perspective on the world and your place in it and be in a good position to heal deep psychological and emotional issues that may have "kept you small" for all of your life. Enjoy the journey!