In this moment, we humans are further dividing ourselves along lines of color, gender, political ideology, and countless other identity characteristics. Likewise, we are witnessing a growing division among the “counterculture,” “mainstream,” and various other factions within the psychedelic community. Dividing ourselves is likely an expression of some deeply embedded survival trait. However, improving the collective human condition requires us to yield to our higher selves. Our condition will only improve when we work as one human tribe toward healing our communities. We are all one.
Walking Each Other Home
We must elevate our thoughts and actions to a level that is truly unity-based in order to elevate the human condition. We must maintain the conviction that self-love and love for others is the only path forward.
As Ram Dass reminds us:
“We are all just walking each other home.”
However, the trek is more challenging for some members of our human tribe than it is for others. Therefore, empathy and compassion ask us to offer our hand to those struggling, in order to enable all of us, mankind, to walk this earthly path alongside one another—united.
It follows that the psychedelic community must lead by example. The various factions must cast aside divisions, adopt an inclusive attitude, and truly listen to one another. Additionally, we must be willing to embrace different perspectives to create a healing path toward a stronger, united human species.
A Call to Action for the Psychedelic Community
As psychedelic practitioners, our plant medicine journeys have likely shown us the path toward an elevated condition, and possibly even visions for a better world. Access to these experiences is a privilege, and with this privilege comes responsibility. We can all play a role in advancing psychedelic science and healing practices. In addition, we can enable wider psychedelic healing access to all members of our human family, with the aim of communal and societal healing. Yet, psychedelic healing practices still involve an activity that can result in criminal charges, particularly in less privileged communities.
Taking action at the community and society level requires big thinking. The following are a few examples of organizations and individuals that are working to ensure equity, justice, and inclusion in the psychedelic realm. Consider supporting or drawing inspiration from these efforts, with the aim of expanding access for psychedelic healing.
Decriminalizing Plant Medicine
Decriminalize Nature is leading the effort to decriminalize psychedelics and increase access at the community level. Their vision is “happier, healthier individuals and communities reconnected to nature and entheogenic plant and fungi traditions and practices.” Decriminalize Nature’s open-source format makes it easy to volunteer and bring this movement into our own communities.
The Drug Policy Alliance is an organization that aims to end the War on Drugs. They advocate for responsible drug policy and believe in the individual’s sovereignty over their own mind and body. In particular, they work to ensure that drug policies no longer target those whom the war on drugs disproportionately affects—i.e. young people and people of color. The Drug Policy Alliance provides opportunities to take action and support the much-needed shift in drug policy.
Healing Communities with Justice, Equity, and Inclusion
In her talk titled Psychedelic Justice: Intersection of Psychedelics and Collective Societal Healing, Dr. Jae Sevelius highlights the need for Community Engaged Research and Collaborative Ideation to ensure inclusivity and diversity in psychedelic research and intended outcomes. Dr. Sevelius posits that psychedelic science should be a movement for justice, humanity, and the planet.
Dr. Monnica Williams is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. She is well-known for her work in broadening access to psychedelic-assisted therapy for minority communities and healing racial trauma. In addition, she is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the field of psychedelic research. In a recent interview with Reality Sandwich, Dr. Williams succinctly helps us understand the racial disparities in psychedelic culture.
The Chacruna Institute of Plant Medicines is a research- and education-based organization that serves as a bridge between indigenous plant medicine traditions and modern psychedelic science. Accordingly, one of Chacruna’s major programs aims to broaden access to psychedelic healing therapies for people of color, women, and sexual minorities. Chacruna welcomes support through membership and volunteer opportunities.
Organizations such as The Equity Organization, are diligently working to “right the wrongs” of the drug war. Along with the Last Prisoner Project, they seek to free those incarcerated over cannabis charges.
A Solution for an Impossible Problem?
In her fascinating article titled Can Psychedelics Play a Role in Making Peace and Healing Cycles of Trauma?, Natalie Lyla Ginsberg details her interviews with Israelis and Palestinians who have used psychedelics together, with the aim of reconciliation and community healing.
She observes that one of the most commonly reported experiences among both Palestinians and Israelis was “a strong sense of togetherness, oneness, and connectedness,” and that “people commonly reported shifting their frameworks from hatred and fear and anger to love and compassion.”She reports the remarkable experience of a Palestinian woman who described “moments of love and open-heartedness … there is no ‘you are Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian.’ Everything was stripped, all this nonsense was out, and only acceptance and love were present.”
This might be the most potent example of people wielding the power of psychedelics and their own consciousness to solve the impossible. Now, envision a scenario where Israelis and Palestinians first heal their relationship. Then, a new geographic/political solution emerges, built to reflect, support, and sustain this healed relationship. This is possible!
If psychedelics are demonstrating the capacity to alleviate the most intense identity conflict of the last several millennia, imagine the possibilities for the rest of humankind.
Changing Our Model
We all want to see an end to suffering for all beings. It is imperative that we act beyond the divisive nature of our survival instincts and start walking home together.
We all have the power to participate in advancing psychedelic healing practices for our communities. We need a mindset shift from “fighting against” the other to “healing with” one another. If we need a mantra to keep us on this path, consider this bit of wisdom from the late Buckminster Fuller: “You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
Our plant medicine experiences have revealed the new model; it is time to build the path toward healing our communities.
*Image credit: Aina Giro de Pedro