We place the psilocybin sessions amidst meditation and mindfulness practice because we understand this to be the perfect container for deep and rewarding psychedelic sessions. On the retreat we will guide you through basic meditation techniques to both prepare for the psilocybin sessions and for integration of it. We won’t ask you to sit for hours in silence, but we will help you develop mindfulness through a series of exercises and have 20 minutes to an hour of guided meditation each day.
While it is true that the setting and the techniques used at traditional Buddhist retreats are not geared toward the use of psychedelics, it is quite obvious that skills in meditation, the practice of being at peace within one’s body and mind, even in uncomfortable places, can be of great help in the course of a psychedelic session.
— Vanja Palmers, Meditation & Psychedelics
Why Meditation As Preparation For A Psychedelic Experience?
Studies have shown that meditation practice helps to cultivate acceptance. In human psychology, acceptance is a person's assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition, often a potentially distressing or uncomfortable situation, without attempting to change it, protest, or exit. Three facets of mindfulness that fall under ‘acceptance’:
- Decentering: The capacity to observe one’s thoughts and inner experiences in a detached manner
- Non-judging: The ability to take non-judgmental stances toward emotions, thoughts and experiences
- Non-reacting: The ability to allow thoughts and feelings to come and go, without getting caught up in or carried away by them.
These abilities are extremely useful in navigating and making the most of a psychedelic experience. Meditation also helps to relieve anxiety, and we believe that being in a calm state of mind is the best way to enter a session.
Do You Need Prior Experience of Meditation?
Not at all. We aim to make meditation accessible and begin with simple and easy to follow exercises. Even a little experience of meditation can help you to make the most of your psilocybin experience.
Try a guided meditation from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Center here.
How We Incorporate Meditation
We will ask you about any experience you have with meditation on your application form and after will talk with you about the best ways to start or develop a practice ahead of your retreat.
After your call we will send you a preparation pack, which will include resources to help you begin and sustain a simple meditation practice so that you can begin learning and practicing right away.
On retreat, we include a simple course of meditation practice aimed to benefit both new and experienced meditators. This includes:
- Focused attention
- Open monitoring
- Body scan
- Walking meditation
- Compassion meditation
- Short designated periods of silence, so that you can be fully present with yourself without feeling the need to react or engage in conversation. Facilitators will always be on hand to talk to if needed.
Training in meditation is an excellent preparation for confronting the expanded states of consciousness which entheogens generate and, conversely, the intensity and forthrightness of these expanded states can provide a great impetus to apply the achievements attained during meditation in an emphatic way.
— Dokusho Villalba - The Spiritual Potential Of Entheogens, Dissolving The Roots Of Suffering
Meditation As Integration
Integration is a term used in the psychedelic field which can be defined as the process by which the material accessed and the insights gained in a psychedelic experience being incorporated over time into one’s life in a way that benefits the individual and their community.
This includes maintaining positive benefits, reflection or understanding of one’s experience, navigating relationships, and merging of one’s experience with daily life.
Meditation practice can be a great way to develop the benefits of an experience and commonly becomes a cornerstone practice for many in their integration process. Alongside suggestions for other integration practices, you will leave the retreat with a grounding in the basics of meditation and resources to develop your practice.