This guide will help you:
- Prepare for your mushroom journey with exercises and practices.
- Set an intention.
- Navigate your journey and various thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
- Integrate your experience into real life to make a positive lasting impact.
PreparationSimilar to how athletes prepare for a competition and actively maintain their physical and mental fitness levels, it’s helpful to also prepare yourself as much as possible before a psychedelic journey.
General ActivitiesFirst, I want to note these three general activities to improve your mental and physical health. They are important because sometimes people think that psychedelic medicines are a solution to a health issue when really, they just need more consistent sleep. They are typically the biggest levers you can pull to improve general health and should not be neglected.
- Sleep – the more rested you are, the better. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night (maybe more if you actively exercise) and keep your sleep and wake-up times consistent. Visit Dr. Huberman’s site for more info about how to master your sleep.
- Diet – Everyone’s body is different in the way it deals with food and our ‘relationship’ with food varies. For most, we recommend following a healthy diet with no “fast foods” for at least a week before your session.
- Exercise – Regular exercise is one of the best ways to naturally boost your mental and physical health. If you can’t hit the gym, that’s okay, but try to do some form of exercise daily, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.
Exercises for the Mind and SpiritThese exercises will help elevate your awareness of mind, body, and spirit.
- Journaling – Writing helps uncover and process things living in your subconscious. The more you’re aware of these things and process them through writing, the better your mental state will be. The first journaling technique we recommend is called Morning Pages where you keep writing whatever comes to mind. The second technique is called Future Self Journaling which helps you consciously rewrite your patterns through intention. You can download the Future Self Journaling PDF here.
- Yoga – There are many forms of yoga, from restorative Yin yoga to Power yoga. Yoga means ‘union’ and is great for increasing your mind-body awareness and discovering where your body is experiencing blockages.
- Breathwork – The practicing breathwork is thousands of years, and it has roots in yoga. It helps to calm your stress and bring balance to your body and mind. There are many methods of breathwork; some methods are calming and others are elevating. You can check out the breathwork app Othership or find free guides on YouTube.
- Professional Talk Therapy – Engaging in CBT talk therapy with a therapist or clinical psychologist is a very popular and effective form of therapy. It can be even more effective when paired with psychedelics.
- Cold Showers / Ice Baths – this strengthens your immune system, tolerance for feeling uncomfortable, and willpower. You can find places for ice baths in Playa on this local guide or practice cold showers at home in the morning.
What is an intention?By now, you’ve probably heard lots of people talk about “Intention” and tell you that you need one for your journey. Your Intention is basically your goal for the experience. What do you want to get out of the experience? Setting it can help guide your journey and help you understand and integrate your experience.
Benefits of IntentionsTruth is that you don’t absolutely need an intention to have a positive experience…but having one is largely believed to give people a higher probability of receiving what they’re seeking. Key Benefits:
- Feel Better – simply establishing an intent means you’re treating the experience with respect and honor and this will embody you and radiate to the collective energy in the group, making the overall experience feel better for everyone.
- Maximizes the probability of getting what you’re seeking – When you make an intention, you signal your subconscious to start turning its wheels and you’re more likely to receive relevant insights, healings, lesions, and transformations.
- Establishes a mental mind map – Use your intention as an anchor you can sail your ship back to when you travel too off-course or find yourself in challenging waters. Intentions are a great tool for grounding yourself.
How do you make, or “set” an intention?Setting intentions is a powerful tool and you probably already use them in your daily life. Framing an intention in a positive, solution-based perspective makes it easier to keep during your journey vs. a negative-framed intention that is more likely to project negative feelings and thoughts. In journeys, setting intentions can be immensely more impactful. You can try starting your sentence with “Teach me….” ”Help me….” or ”Show me…..”. Examples:
- “Help me accept the views of others even if they contradict my own”
- “Show me the truth I may be avoiding that will help me improve”
- “Teach me how to love and accept myself”
- “I will embody an open and positive vibe throughout the ceremony”
- “I will flow gently down the river and let the medicine guide my path, over the rocks and other obstacles that may come into my path”.
Feeling Stuck?Feeling stuck trying to craft an intention is common. Your subconscious mind and ego may be putting up mental blocks or maybe you’re still becoming more aware of your feelings, emotions, and internal workings. Why did you decide to embark on a plant medicine journey in the first place? Maybe you want clarity on something in your life but don’t know how to formulate the question of intent. Maybe you just want magical insight downloads from the universe or tap into your inner wisdom and see what’s there. It’s okay! You don’t absolutely need to come up with a specific intention. Consider keeping it broad and letting your journey unfold as it will. For example “help me heal all which is needed” or “show me what I need to see”.
Simply “Having One” May Not Be EnoughOne of the most famous intentions is from Paul Stamets, a pioneer in the magic mushroom world who suffered from a lifelong debilitating stutter. One day deep in the woods, he got caught in a thunderstorm and sought shelter by hugging a tree. To distract his mind from the violent storm, he intensely repeated “stop stuttering’ over and over going deep inward with his intent and focus. By the time the thunderstorm was over and he woke up the next day, he was curred What’s amazing is Paul wanted to stop stuttering for a while but didn’t craft this intention before his trip (this was before intentions were a thing). However, during his trip, the length of time and the level of attention, focus, and desire he spent were immensely powerful.
Key success factors of strengthing your intent:Like the exercises mentioned above, these factors will help maximize your results.
- Time Duration – In school the more time you spend studying, the more you will learn. The more you meditate or exercise the healthy you will be. But keep in mind, if you’re distracted the whole time, duration won’t matter.
- Attention & Focus – keeping focused and not getting distracted and letting your mind drift. It can be more effective to a single task than multitasking.
- Desire – How bad do you want it? How impactful will this be to your life? You can’t fake this feeling but you may be able to increase it by thinking about it more in-depth. For example, maybe thinking about someone will help you appreciate them more, and keeping a positive relationship with them will become more important and desirable.
What to AvoidWhat kind of intentions should you avoid setting for a plant medicine trip? Avoid intentions that are too specific, too surface-level, negative-framed, not-the-most-important, or rely too heavily on factors outside of your control. These intentions may block your mind and heart from seeing and receiving other benefits that you don’t perceive as being related to your original intent but would otherwise still give positive outcomes. Here are a couple of ways to rephrase intentions for better outcomes:
- “Show me how to make $20k/mo” > “Show me career paths that are more aligned with my heart and strengths”
- “Help me lose weight” > “Let me learn why I grew a toxic relationship with food”.
- “Make me happy” > “Help me see the happiness inside of me”
Dieting the day of your journeyThese are general diet recommendations and may not be suitable for everyone. Please consult your doctor or let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Typically, consuming mushrooms on an empty stomach will give the fastest onset of effects and minimize potential discomfort or nausea. Consuming mushrooms on a full stomach may increase its onset time (from 15 mins on an empty stomach) to over an hour on a full stomach. On the day of the session, eat foods that are easily digestible, like vegetarian or fish dishes, and avoid oily, inflammatory, acidic, dairy, and spicy foods. We recommend planning to eat your last meal at a time to have a near-empty stomach by 5:00 PM, which is time we begin the mushroom ceremony. We will have simple fruit available during the session in case you really need to eat something.
Tips to Navigating Your Journey
Sticking with Your IntentionPlay with your balance of focus between your intention and other thoughts and emotions that arise during your journey. Be open to unexpected outcomes and trust that this journey will provide what you need. Mushrooms are very non-linear and associative. A thought may bring up other thoughts which bring up memories which bring up feelings which bring up other memories. It can be easy to catch your mind drifting but try to keep control of your ship and stearin directions that you feel need exploring. If you want to explore something for longer, stay with it but don’t forget how you arrived there. Create a map in your mind and expand it as your journey evolves.
Use MantrasMantras can be sacred utterances, phrases, or sounds. They can have various uses, importance, meanings, and types depending on the schools of philosophy being referenced. Your intention can also be a mantra – and it will become a mantra once it’s spoken or chanted, either out loud or silently. Chanting mantras can help you summons its energy and unleash its magic. Here are a few examples:
- “My mind is brilliant. My body is healthy. My spirit is tranquil.”
- “My positive thoughts guide me to new heights.”
- “I am conquering my fears and becoming stronger each day.”
- “My potential is limitless, and I choose where to spend my energy.”
- “I am a leaf flowing down the river of consciousness”
- “Release, let go, and flow”
- “I am love, I am light”
- “My body is a temple. I keep my temple clean.”
- “Every cell in my body is alive and beautiful.”
Relax Your EgoYour ego is your sense of self. It’s not good or bad, it just is. It can block us from seeing negative things about ourselves and can also block us from seeing positive things that contradict a limiting belief. For example, if you subconsciously believe you are unlovable, you might not easily see and acknowledge the characteristics other people love you for. Psychedelics decrease neuron activity in the brain that’s responsible for your ego and although you probably won’t have complete ego disillusion with mushrooms, it will still be easier for your ego to step aside and let your journey with fewer filters.
Challenging MomentsThrough great challenge comes great transformation. Psychedelic mushroom journeys are overwhelmingly heart-opening and insightful. Many thoughts, emotions, and feelings are experienced and the weather from one emotion to the next can change quickly. Feeling sad or confused one moment can suddenly turn into joy and appreciation. If a thought, memory, or trigger arises which makes you feel uncomfortable, use this as a golden opportunity. Lean into it and sit with it as long as needed to analyze and learn from it. Be mindful of your ego’s defense mechanism trying to distract you from what is uncomfortable. Remember:
- Everything is temporary.
- Millions of people have experienced transformative healing through challenging experiences.
- Your facilitators will always be there to help. They can offer a weighted blanket, calming teas, talk about what you’re experiencing, and with your permission, hold your hand or touch your shoulder.
- Your mantras. A couple of mantras you can use during challenging moments are: “Trust, let go, and be the observer” or “I am a leaf, flowing down the stream, over and around the rocks and sticks, I am in the flow”.