How can you increase the likelihood of having a mystical psychedelic experience? A paper by from the Imperial College Research Centre team details four clear indicators that increase the likelihood of a mystical experience:
– Feeling ready to ‘surrender’ to the experience.
– Having a clear intention for the experience.
– Having the experience in a therapeutic setting.
– Taking a higher dose.
The model above from the paper, shows that the same four factors, plus being in the company of well-trusted individuals, was protective against a ‘challenging’ psychological experience (AKA a ‘bad trip’).
These findings, based on data from the psychedelic survey project, again show the importance of set, setting, and dose when it comes to the outcome of a psychedelic experience. In particular, they show how these variables can be used to increase the likelihood of having a certain kind of psychedelic experience which the researchers label ‘peak’ – an intentionally secular term inspired by Abraham Maslow’s work – that can effectively be viewed as a synonymous with the concept of a ‘mystical’ experience.
“Mystical experiences, which typically are extremely ephemeral and unpredictable, can actually be catalyzed in a fairly reliable and replicable way with correct use of psychedelic substance (that is, if carefully prepared volunteers, with worthwhile goals and in a comfortable and uplifting setting, are given the right dosage”
G. William Barnard – Foreword to Sacred Knowledge
You can read the full paper online here:
Psychedelics and the essential importance of context