It is increasingly common to hear about people consuming psychedelics for reasons other than recreational use. Some even compare psychedelic trips to years of therapy condensed into a few hours. Unlike strictly recreational consumption, the preparation and integration of the psychedelic experience is very important when using these substances for self-improvement. Beyond their use in clinical psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, how are psychedelics being integrated into personal growth and development?
Integrating psychedelics into your personal growth process can allow you to see yourself and your mindstate with a new perspective. From that point on, breaking off from unconscious patterns becomes a lot easier. Psychedelics have the ability to be agents of change, triggering transformation. Research has found that psychedelics can have a significant impact on mental health, helping to heal trauma, treat depression, and even reduce suicidal thoughts.
Using the Psychedelic Experience for Growth and Healing
Leo Zeff, a pioneer underground psychedelic therapist profiled in the book The Secret Chief Revealed, believed that a trip’s value was in catalyzing personal growth. He also believed that those who approach the psychedelic experience with respect and intention will integrate the experience into their lives in a much more efficient way that allows them to grow and heal.
Zeff said that the quality of a psychedelic trip is not measured by the experience that same day but on how you grow in the coming months as a result. It is important to be accountable to the insights received during a trip so that every trip can become a transformative event and a tool for growth and self-improvement.
Psychedelics act in the brain to reduce how tightly we hold on to preexisting beliefs. Without being completely aware of it, these beliefs can be very limiting, and can weigh heavily on daily life by producing states of stress and unhappiness. As psychedelics slowly dissolve these states, peace and awareness can be found at the core of the mind, thus making it possible to see yourself objectively from a new perspective of acceptance rather than avoidance.
Psychedelics force you to face yourself, which leads to personal growth if you’re ready for it. Plant medicines such as ayahuasca are ideal for those looking to improve themselves. These substances trigger a cathartic process that ultimately should lead to personal growth and development for those who come to them for the right reasons and in the right mind state.
Personal Growth and Facing Your Shadow
Below the surface of our conscious minds, there are memories and feelings that we’d rather weren’t there. Maybe they’re traumatic or shameful. Typically, instead of dealing with them or even acknowledging them, we tend to suppress them and try to ignore them and let them sink into the depths of our minds. The problem is that we never really forget about them and from their place in the darkness they can dominate our lives without us even realizing it. This is what renowned psychologist Carl Jung described as the shadow self.
While it makes sense to avoid the parts of ourselves that are painful and upsetting to engage with, psychedelics offer an opportunity to shine light into them. This can release us from their control, promoting growth. Psychedelics can illuminate this shadow self, dragging insecurities and internal conflicts to the surface for examination and healing.
During recreational trips, people tend to avoid these kinds of experiences, finding the process too unsettling or intense. However, welcoming the shadow self is important when using psychedelics for personal growth as the shadow self is part of everyone. Whenever it comes up, welcome it, embrace it and let it move through you.
What Are the Most Frequently Used Psychedelic Substances for Personal Growth?
Psilocybin and LSD have been used for personal growth for many years. Ayahuasca ceremonies are also a common and effective way of utilizing psychedelics for personal growth. All of these substances are known to contribute to ego death by allowing practitioners to face themselves and heal from within, making them very suitable for self-development purposes. Other psychedelics such as MDMA or ketamine are better in clinical settings as an adjunct to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Psychedelics Might Not Be Right For Everyone
While using psychedelics for personal growth can work well for some, it is important to remember that they’re not right for everyone. Psychedelics can exacerbate symptoms of mania or psychosis. It is also important for anyone looking into using psychedelics to consider whether or not they are in the right place for them by honestly and wholeheartedly assessing their mental health. These substances can be revelatory, but are by no means a quick fix.
Taking psychedelics can be a very intense experience and not everyone might react positively to it. Psychedelics can force you to face yourself. If you aren’t ready, the experience may trigger increased anxiety rather than catalyzing personal growth. Please take the time to do some profound self-searching and extensive research before experimenting with any substance for personal development.