The Hippie and the Scientist

Super, Super Spiritual

This is always going to be a hot button topic in this space. Psychedelics are unique substances that seem to have the ability to blur the lines between the rational physical world and the fantastical spiritual world. Some people seem to gravitate towards them specifically for the spiritual culture that surrounds them, while others tend to run in the opposite direction at just the mention of that crunchy “hippie stuff”. I wouldn’t have put myself necessarily in either category before developing my illness. I was not overly curious about other states of consciousness, and I definitely was not spiritual. I would continue to describe myself as a materialist even now, an individual with no beliefs that extend past the physical material world, though I am probably more understanding and tolerant of the spiritual stuff since voyaging into the world of psychedelics.

Spiritual Is Nice, But Not Necesary

When I developed hemicrania continua and ended up turning to psilocybin, that was my first personal experience with psychedelics. No, it did not turn me religious. No, I did not meet any celestial beings. I still would not describe myself as spiritual, but I would describe the experience as spiritually satisfying.

Psychedelics for pain management is a unique space because it is one space that brings people who love psychedelics together with people who need them, but who want absolutely nothing to do with them. Incredibly painful conditions can happen to anyone, not just those who are naturally curious and open to a mind-bending trippy experience. I personally have seen many types of people of many ages and walks of life go through this process, and it makes for some almost comical juxtapositions. For example, in the early days before the retreat I was there to witness a conversation between my original “dealer” and an elderly ex-Navy gentleman. The man was suffering from cluster headaches, and his grand daughter had suggested he try magic mushrooms. The look of disgust and dismissal on his face when he heard this guy refer to “the healing energy encoded in the DNA of the mushrooms” was intense and unfortunately it prompted him to end the conversation. Unfortunately, sometimes the unscientific culture that surrounds psychedelics can be a huge turnoff to those that can benefit the most from them.

My job as a “Psychedelic Guide” requires a bit of duality from me in this aspect that is sometimes difficult. I can’t refer to the “healing energy in the mushrooms” with a straight face because I don’t believe in that. But as a team, we have it covered at the retreat. Our yoga and meditation guide handles all the situations and questions related to spirituality so we can handle everything in the most direct and authentic manner possible. Spirituality is an especially important part of being human, priorities just vary from individual to individual.

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