Tag Archive for: explorer

the conscious psychedelic explorer course

Next week I will begin The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer, a comprehensive six-week course on developing the ability to use psychedelics for insight, healing, and growth. We start on Monday, and signups close in 3 days, at midnight this Friday, the 14th of October.

Ahead of the course, I wanted to refresh and share my intentions for this cohort. This will be the second group, after having run it with the first group over 4 weeks in November last year.

Support

My primary intention for this course is to support others on their path of growth, exploration, and healing, through the conscious use of psychedelics. It’s something I know, something I feel good at, and an area I feel I can help other people in a valuable and meaningful way. Psychedelics are a personally meaningful topic for me, having helped me hugely in my own life, so I naturally have an enthusiasm for sharing on this subject and helping others where I can.

I will offer support primarily by way of video lessons, live calls and a group chat.

The video lessons will run through the core content of the program. My intention with these recorded lessons is to create a body of work that can support the members, and people who are using psychedelics for years, and hopefully decades, to come. I put a lot of thought into this and devised a four-part framework to approaching work with psychedelics that covers all of the key topics. I call this The Path of the Psychonaut.

It covers two levels of preparation and two of integration; preparing to work with psychedelics, preparing for a single experience, integrating a single experience, and integrating on the path of using psychedelics. You can find out more on the program page, or hear me talk about it with Josh Gonsalves on a recent episode of the Mind Meld podcast.

the path of the psychonaut

The framework is cyclical, as the path continues

Community

I also intend to continue building a community of mindful psychedelic explorers. I really enjoy hosting live calls with members of our group and having a chance to interact with people in real-time. It offers an opportunity for a deeper level of learning, and a chance to connect with like-minded others. 

I’ve met a few of the first cohort in person, in Switzerland, Amsterdam, and Berlin, as well as those I’d previously welcomed on retreat, and hope that these online connections continue to spread into the real world.

It’s beautiful when a group comes together with a common cause, or of course, common-unity. It was something I experienced growing up, primarily in sports teams and music groups. In both of these, I experienced a sense of kinship and bonding with my teammates or bandmates. When we stepped out onto the pitch, or the stage, we were in it together. We had each other’s backs and would’ve (and often did, in rugby), taken blows for each other if it helped the team and our common cause.

I’ve also experienced this sense of community as an adult in yoga and meditation groups. More recently, a meditation group that I helped to organize for a couple of years in Berlin. Though individual motivations may have varied, what we all shared was the desire to develop in some way. Everyone wanted to be a better person and saw the group as a means of helping realize that goal. We practiced together, and I practiced guiding the group in all kinds of meditation and mindfulness exercises. And like all the other communities I’ve been a major part of, I found some great friends in the process.

This group also had a shared interest in psychedelics, and I’ve organized sessions with most of the regular members at one time or another over the last few years. I’ve sat, I’ve been sat, and I’ve journeyed alongside them. And the nice thing was, I knew everyone had experience in mindfulness, which is a recommendation I offer to anyone working with psychedelics. That is a practice that I’ll bring more of into The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer Community with this next cohort.

Awareness

My deepest level of intention is to do work that contributes to the evolution of consciousness. I believe we are here to learn, and to expand our awareness, and that psychedelics are an invaluable tool that can accelerate this process.

In doing so, I hope to spread positive ripples and benefit humanity with whatever contribution I can.

Join Us for The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer

If you’d like to go deeper in your use of psychedelics for healing, insight or growth, then I invite you to join us.
Whatever your level, beginner or pro, you’re welcome.

Registration is open for 3 more days, until Friday 11:59pm Eastern time.
The group will be capped at 10 and there are still some spots left.

You can find information on the course page here and sign up here.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and contact me or book a call.

If you feel you’d benefit, then I hope to see you inside!

Warm wishes,

John

What is the ideal mindset for a psychedelic journey? I would say the best approach is that of the explorer.

So. what does it mean to be an explorer?

Openness

A good explorer is open to possibilities of experience. When an explorer goes into a new territory or land, they need to remain open minded, letting go of pre-judgments or expectations, if they really want to learn about the landscape, terrain, peoples or culture. Having a fixed idea of what something should be or look like limits the possibility and potential to see it in other ways. This limits the potential for what can be learned in an experience.

For example, if you have a very specific idea that you should feel love and joy and understanding but in fact you feel fear and sadness, then you may get caught in thoughts of “this isn’t what its supposed to be, its not what I signed up for“ and miss a great opportunity that the fear and sadness presented.

Upon encountering the unexpected in a new place, whether it may be shocking or disappointing, a good traveller doesn’t judge “that shouldn’t be there”, they openly accept.

Being at war with what is actually arising is not the way. Being open to and accepting what comes up allows you to work with what is there. This is where I trust comes in.

Trust

Trust that whatever comes up is part of the experience you are supposed to have. Psychedelics are amplifiers for consciousness meaning they bring up what is deep down inside you. They will pull up things from your subconscious to your conscious mind. So trust that whatever arises in the session is something that is deep within you and is an opportunity for you to know yourself more deeply.

Curiosity

Any good explorer is curious about the terrain they are exploring, their surroundings and the situations they find themselves in. Curiosity brings attention to detail and is the bedrock of a deep learning. Curiosity brings a wonder to things and a richer and deeper experience.

Curiosity comes in the I of the RAIN process

Anything that arises in a psychedelic session can be looked at with a curiosity. For example, say you start feeling annoyed. Perhaps there is some noise coming from your neighbors that you haven’t planned on being part of your experience. Curiosity can transmute this feeling of annoyance and irritation to an object for investigation. You can then ask:

OK, why do I feel annoyed about this sound? What am I believing that causes me to be annoyed? How do I know I feel annoyed? How does it feel in my body? What sensations arise in my body? What is this felt experience of being annoyed?

Maybe it could be a feeling of worry and perhaps thoughts come up like “oh no I took too much, this is too strong for me, I can’t handle this“. Again, after recognizing this you can investigate with a curiosity:

What is this feeling of worry? What is it I’m believing that makes me worry? How do I feel this in my body?

Dig in to those sensations. Really look at them. What is their substance? What is their tone or colour?

“Look the monster in the eye and move towards it… Dig in your heels; ask, ‘What are you doing in my mind?’ Or, ‘What can I learn from you?’ Look for the darkest corner in the basement, and shine your light there.”

From Bill Richards’ Flight Instructions,
given to participants of John Hopkins psilocybin studies

The ability to hold this curious approach to difficult feelings can require mindfulness and a lot of patience. Having a tripsitter there to be with you and if necessary, talk you through it, can be a huge help. In the long term, meditation is good practice to develop both patience and mindfulness.

Adventure

Another aspect of the explorer’s mindset is that of the sense of adventure. To head in to unknown territory can be scary and nerve-racking, but it can also be very exciting. Seeing your psychedelic journey as an adventure acknowledges all those feelings and makes space for them.

Jim Fadiman expressly called psychedelic journeyers explorers in his now classic and highly influential book

Experimenter

I also find approaching psychedelic sessions as exploration via experiments to be very beneficial. I find it helps to relieve pressure and let go of the feeling that it’s necessary to figure everything out and receive all the teachings that you ever wanted all in the one session. If you learn anything then the experiment was a success.  You have new data that you can use to move forward on your path of growth. This again ties in to not having too many expectations.

“Think progress, not perfection“
Ryan Holiday

Trying to push too hard, to get the absolute maximum best optimum psychedelic experience can actually have an adverse effect and lead to a less rewarding experience.

After all each psychedelic experience is only one of many experiences in your life, and trying to control the experience too much or confining it to certain ideas or expectations that you have about how it should turn out or make you feel will be counter productive.

A kind and gentle approach, acknowledging where you are and what you are capable of, at that time, whilst still making an honest and sincere effort, is the best way forward…

Kindness

Finally I think a very useful approach is that of kindness. Kindness to yourself and kindness to anything that arises within the session.

Relating back to openneness, any idea of what is supposed to happen in a session can lead to a clash between expectation and reality.

If thoughts such as “I’m not doing this right” or “I should have been paying more attention” or any kind of such negative self talk comes up, then remember that you cannot do it wrong. I find it very helpful to remember that I can always be kind to myself.

Cultivating The Explorer’s Mindset

The explorer’ mindset can be cultivated in your day-to-day life. The next time you go out for a walk, look around your neighbourhood as if it was for the first time that you saw everything, as if you were a tourist. Be curious about the color of the paint on the buildings, the style of the architecture, the textures, the smells in the air, the types of food, the people on the streets. Suspend your judgment and be open to and accepting of what is there. Cultivate this mindset and carry it with you into your next psychedelic journey. Have a great and curious day, and explore!