While modern psychonauts are becoming more intentional about “set” and “setting” for the actual psychedelic journey, the post-journey integration period tends to be somewhat overlooked. Our cultural conditioning compels us to rush back to our daily responsibilities, and to all forms of “doing,” rather than just “being.” As a result, we shortchange ourselves on post-journey grounding and emotional self-care. However, our personal transformation unfolds in the days, weeks, months, and even years following the psychedelic journey. What follows are some essential grounding practices that can aid psychonauts in the period following their psychedelic journeys.
Ground Practice #1: Nature Connection
Spending time in nature in the days following a journey is a kindness for your soul. A recent study conducted at the Imperial College London demonstrated that psychedelics can aid us in strengthening our connection with nature.
Depending on where you live, consider hiking in the woods, walking on a beach, or visiting a botanical garden. Even working in your garden can be grounding and can elicit strong feelings of connection to the Earth. Also, return to nature often in the weeks and months following your journey. Slow down, breathe deeply, and take the time to notice the intelligence and sentience of nature. Nature teaches us profound lessons, especially when we observe the cycle of life in climates where the seasons are well-defined.
Grounding Practice #2: Meditation
Meditation and psychedelics are close companions, as they both help us learn to be more “present.” When we are more present, we spend less time dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. This is the essence of how psychedelics and meditation help us loosen our grip on the thoughts that lead to anxiety and depression. Daily meditation practice allows the insights from our journeys to settle deeper into our psyche. In addition, regular meditation practice strengthens our ability to sustain present-moment awareness, thus helping us maintain mental health and emotional well-being.
If you are new to this concept, consider meditation as a continuation of your psychedelic journey. Many apps such as Headspace, can be excellent resources that provide simple meditation guidance, and often include a free trial period.
Grounding Practice #3: Stoicism
Stoicism is a branch of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium circa 300 B.C. It is a practical philosophy for navigating the challenges of life on Earth, and it has remained relevant throughout the ages. The essence of Stoicism is to gain objective clarity over what is, and is not, under our control; and then to act virtuously toward what we can control. Self-reflective journal writing is the essential practice of Stoicism. Regular journaling and contemplation of the Stoic virtues helps us cultivate resilience, wisdom, and tranquility.
What is the connection between Stoicism and psychedelics? Often, the psychedelic journey has an ethereal quality that makes the return to ordinary existence feel rather harsh. Stoicism helps us ground the journey, and learn to accept things as they are. At the same time, Stoicism gives us the tools to improve ourselves, and to have a positive impact on the world around us.
Visit The Daily Stoic website to learn more about incorporating this sturdy philosophy into your integration and grounding practices.
Grounding Practice #4: Contemplating the Great Spiritual Leaders
The psychedelic journey leaves us open to the profound mysteries of existence and consciousness. It is common for psychedelics to elicit a closer relationship with the divine and a familiarity with ancient wisdom. It is best practice to allow this phenomenon to unfold without additional input.
However, the modern psychonaut who prefers additional guidance can find comfort in contemplating the teachings of the great spiritual figures. The works of (or works inspired by) Lao Tzu, Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), Jesus Christ, the Dalai Lama, Ram Dass, or Eckhart Tolle are potent companions to have nearby as you ground your journey.
A Gentle Landing
We must give ourselves permission for a gentle landing from our journey. The period following the psychedelic journey is when the real transformation takes place. Nature, meditation, Stoic wisdom, and the spiritual masters can be our trusted companions during this period. It is also important to tune in to the continuous mindset shift that occurs in the extended post-journey period. If we forego integration or grounding practices, the lessons of our sacred plant teachers may fade away, perhaps forever.