go offline psychedelic journeys

Welcome back to PSYJuly, day 12 🙂
Today we’re looking at an aspect of psychedelic setting and how in preparing that, we prepare ourselves for a richer experience.
I’m tired today, so I hope this one reads alright!

Going Offline for Psychedelic Journeys

Going offline is a foundation to doing deep work.

There is a reason why you are not allowed access to your phone at any serious meditation retreat. At Vipassana, for example, you have to put it in a locker for the 10 days of a standard retreat. If you’re doing Deep Work, a la Cal Newport, your phone is off, or in another room.

Why?

You want to be fully immersed in your experience, without distraction. 

If we want to make the most of our psychedelic experiences, the same goes for them.

What greater source of distraction in our lives these days than our phones and our inboxes? 

These are the things that fall onto the urgent but not important section of our task matrix and should definitely not be attended to in the midst of a deep psychedelic experience. Just as if you are travelling and at a beautiful location, you don’t want to be looking at your phone. You want to be immersed in the beautiful landscape that you’re in, experiencing the experience. 

Sending Important Messages

Maybe you will have a realisation in your session about a personal relationship. With that may come a deep desire to send a message. You may feel there is something you need to say, or a conversation you need to have. 

This should be done as part of the integration, not as part of the session.

You’re probably going to need to review your message. To get clarity on what it is you’d like to express, and how you’d like to express it. If it’s a written message, you’re probably going to want to read it over again, in the sober light of day. Or you might want to get a second opinion on it from a close friend. 

If you have something to say, learning to say it when you’re sober is an important step of long term integration and growth.

The Challenge of Using Tech Whilst Staying Disconnected

The tricky bit is that tech is awesome and we may have much use for it during our sessions. We might actually be using our phone or computer to play music. If it’s a lower dose session, we might want to keep that access to the internet for exploring a theme or topic. After an intense experience, watching a film or nature documentary can be soothing on the glide down. A phone can also be very useful as a Spotify remote for a more relaxed session.

This tech dilemma is something that is not easy to navigate. Having access to all of these things enhances psychedelic sessions. But a message, phone call or email can really throw off the mood, depending on what is being delivered. A challenge for a psychonaut in the modern world is being able to use the benefits of technology whilst staying disconnected from the day-to-day back and forth messages of daily life.

You can find your own solution for this. Here I will share what I do.

How I Disconnect Whilst Still Using Tech

For my psychedelic therapy style sessions I will download the playlist offline on both my phone and my laptop. I will also download some other music that I might want to listen to afterwards or the day after. I’ve found that it’s a good idea to have a good selection for different moods.

That enables me to disconnect completely, putting my phone on airplane mode and disconnecting from the wifi on the computer. I can still connect to the sound system via bluetooth and use that technology without any possibility of receiving a message or phone call. 

I also keep a rule that I will not come off airplane mode until the playlist is finished. Usually, until the day after.I have this agreement with myself to rule out any possibility that I may get sucked back into the super addictive device that is a smart phone.

For lower dose or more relaxed sessions, I find having my phone as a Spotify remote for music playing from my computer to be very useful. Downloading music beforehand doesn’t really work because I don’t really know exactly what I’m going to want to listen to, and I like to be able to just go with the flow. I enjoy following the feeling of a song and diving into that a little bit.

For these sessions I put my phone onto airplane mode but leave my Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections on. I keep all notifications switched off on my messaging apps so there’s never a problem getting a ping from whatsapp, telegram or whatever. I have to actually go into those apps to see new messages.

This allows me to keep that connectivity and access to control music without any potential texts or phone calls coming in. I also just have as a rule and agreement with myself that I will not enter email during those sessions. I’m not working, it is not the time. No email cannot wait til the next day.

Another option is keeping a separate device which has nearly all the benefits of a phone (music, podcasts, internet browser, watch, timers, voice memo recorder) but is not something through which anyone can reach or contact you. This can be an old phone simply with the SIM removed and all messaging and email apps removed.  I actually just got a new phone to have as a separate offline device as part of my evolving practice of digital minimalism (read: ongoing battle against the addictions of tech), attempting to follow Deep Work and Digital Minimalism author Cal Newport’s principle of maximising the benefits of technology whilst minimising the downsides. 

Side note: I love applying Newport’s ideas to psychedelic work, something about that just makes me happy.

Final Thoughts

If you really wanna be able to dive deep within yourself and look inside, then respect the meeting with your inner healer and make sure that you’re offline. Doing digital clearing as a preparation can help to relax into this.

Awesome travels, happy exploring. 

Stay in, stay deep, and stay offline.