I first got introduced to the concept of clearing as a psychedelic preparation practice from DMT researcher Rick Strassman’s chapter Preparation For The Journey from the psychedelic compilation book, The Divine Spark. He outlined some basic and practical ways of clearing.
Then a couple of years ago, I saw this concept evolved when I went on on an experience Retreat with the UK psychedelic Society. As part of their preparation guidelines they included clearing and broadened the the idea to include emotional clearing; clearing space in the heart. This included, for example, having difficult conversations that you’ve been putting off, or if this was not possible, writing a letter to that person expressing your feelings (even if if you aren’t going to send it).
Clearing could also be known as creating space, tidying up loose ends, or getting around to doing those things that you have been meaning to do but have been putting off. It could also be known as closing open loops or clearing your mind.
Clearing practices can help to bring about a greater sense of peace by putting to bed nagging thoughts that may be at the back of one’s mind. Those oft subconscious unresolved things can take up space.
Clearing is so important because space is where new things can emerge. If we are hoping for an insight or a new idea to emerge in a psychedelic experience it’s best that we try to clear the way for them to grow and sprout. Nothing new can grow in a garden which is already full.
Clearing can be done on many levels, both big and small. A lot of it can be very mundane. Here are some examples:
- selling or donating clothes/things you no longer use
- household jobs you’ve been putting off
- paying overdue bills
- cleaning the apartment
Computers and tech are such a big part of our lives these days and I think it’s very useful to also do digital clearing. Digital clearing may seem less obvious because you can close your laptop and lose sight of your mess, where as if you are in a dirty room, it’s hard to ignore. However, a cluttered digital life can take up a lot more mental space than we might imagine.
Some examples of digital clearing practices:
- cleaning up your computer; sorting download and document folders
- responding to any unanswered emails or messages across all messaging platforms
- inbox zero
- sending any other emails you’ve been meaning to get around to
If we want to experience some kind of deep rebirth or renewal from a psychedelic experience then we need to prepare to let go of old things and to say goodbye to things from our past. In this way a thorough clearing practice can be seen as preparing for death. Opening and clearing the heart can be a difficult, but ultimately, powerful preparation. Some examples:
- Calling loved ones and touching base with them
- Expressing a feeling to a friend or partner that you’ve been holding back
- Having that difficult conversation with a flatmate or co worker
- Reaching out to someone you wronged and apologising to them
- Saying things that shouldn’t be left unsaid
If your time is going to be up, what needs to be cleared up before you can pass on in peace?