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Psychedelic Insights to Real-World Action: A Step-by-Step Guide

in this article
  • Introduction
  • Identifying Insights
  • The One-Off Action
  • The Practice
  • Preparing the Practice
  • Combining One-Off Actions and Practices
  • Final Thoughts

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Chemical Collective or any associated parties.

Introduction

Have you had any profound insights from your psychedelic experiences?

If you’re like me, or the millions of other people using psychedelics intentionally for healing, insight, and growth, the answer is simple: yes.

But as many of us know, real lasting change comes from the successful integration of our experiences. It is living, embodying, and growing into the insights that we discovered and translating these insights into our day-to-day.

How do we convert those deep insights into real-life changes? The kind of changes that improve our physical and mental health, that improve our relationships with ourselves with those we encounter in our lives, that help us to grow personally and spiritually?

Today I’d like to share a process to help you move those psychedelic insights, those moments of clarity that you may have had following a psychedelic experience, from theory to practice. To move them from idea to action. From the realm of imagination into tangible changes in your behaviour.

In this post, I will walk through this process. I will begin by giving some examples of insights, and then I will offer two ways of creating change; the one-off action, and the practice. I will continue to offer examples along the way to illustrate the process. I invite you to try this with your own insights or areas of your life where you desire change. 

My intention with this post is to help you successfully integrate your psychedelic experiences, and create real and meaningful positive change in your life.

Let’s dive in.

Identifying Insights

The first step of integration is to identify any key insights that we would like to integrate. This can be any flash of a deeper knowing that may have come up for you in or after an experience. Something that you know is important to you. This can then be developed into a ‘wish’ to help you apply this new-found insight. Here are a few examples:

  • My physical health is an absolute privilege. I would like to take better care of my physical body.
  • I would like to have a better and more loving relationship with my father.
  • Sometimes I act from a place of knee-jerk fear. I would like to improve my capacity to remain calm. Especially in stressful situations. I’d prefer to act from a place of groundedness.
  • This world needs more love. I would like to be a more kind and loving person.

These are just examples, so if yours is different, that’s not a problem at all. Yours can be on literally any topic or area of life. If you are having difficulty identifying a specific wish, you might begin by considering:

  • What are the key themes that emerged during your experience?
  • What did you learn?

Based upon your answers you can create your wish. Once you have your insight and your desire for change, we will look at two different ways to create this change.

The One-Off Action

Now you are ready to start planning action. The first way of acting is with a single one-off action. To identify this, start with your wish-based insight, and then answer this question:

What is one thing you could do to help this become a reality?

Just one thing. It’s that simple.

Let’s run through the examples, again, each with example answers to this question:

I would like to take better care of my physical body.

Do a workout.
Eat a salad.

I would like to have a better relationship with my father.

Write Dad a heartfelt letter.
Give him a call just to see how he’s doing and lovingly hold space for him.

I would like to improve my capacity to remain calm.

Meditate for 20 minutes.
Sign up for a meditation class

I would like to be a more kind and loving person.

Perform a random act of kindness today.
Do a loving-kindness meditation

I hope these examples help to give you an idea. Note that I have given two examples for each one. This is for demonstrative purposes, but if you wish to keep it simple, you can keep your answer to one single action.

The acts can be big or small, but my advice would be to start small and make the action very doable. If the action is too big, if it seems like too much of a mountain to climb or too difficult to follow through with, then I would recommend breaking it down into smaller chunks.

It might also be that there turn out to be some preliminary steps that you need to complete before you can follow through with your action. If this is the case, with your bigger action in mind, go back one step and answer: What is one small step that I can take towards that?

For the examples, these preliminary steps might be:

  • Put on my workout clothes.
  • Shop for some ingredients to make salads.
  • Message Dad and ask him when would be a good time to talk.
  • Clearing a short space in the calendar to write that letter.
  • Research local or online meditation classes.
  • Finding a guided loving-kindness meditation online.
  • Ask a friend if they have a recommendation for one.

Go back to fill in any preliminary steps that you might need to take care of until you are able to flow into action.

Then, the most important part of this process is following through. Make sure to do the action you have identified!

Do it as soon as you can, or if needs be, schedule a time to do it. Once you have done it, take a virtual high-five from me.

To continue integrating, you can continue to return to your insight with this same question:

What is one thing you could do to help this become a reality?

You can continue to use this as a guiding star for integrative action.

The Practice

The second way of implementing change is developing a practice. This means intentionally forming a habit that will help you grow into the person or the change that is your wish from step one. Different from the one-off action, this is a recurring action. This is something to be repeated. The act might well be the same, but in this scenario, it would be repeated, and ‘practiced’. To identify a practice, return to your wish-based insight, and then answer this question:

What is something that you could do regularly to help this become a reality?

Let’s run through the examples again:

I would like to take better care of my physical body.

Attend a weekly group workout class.
Eat salad for lunch three days a week.

I would like to have a better relationship with my father.

Have a check-in call with Dad at least every two weeks.

I would like to improve my capacity to remain calm.

Meditate for 5 minutes a day.

I would like to be a more loving and kind person.

Perform a random act of kindness every day for a month.
Give one compliment a day.

Once again, the most important part of this process is following through with the practice.

Preparing the Practice

The practice can be more difficult to maintain consistently than a one-off action because of its recurring nature. For this reason, it can be useful to spend some time preparing and planning for this ongoing practice or habit. To do so, consider the following:

  • Is there anything you can do to help prepare yourself to keep this up?
  • Is there any extra support that you might need? Where can you receive this from? This could be via guidance, coaching, or some kind of tracking or accountability system.
  • How long do you intend to keep up this practice? A week? A month? A year?

Try to be specific and detailed where possible. To help you set up your practice, you may need to handle some one-off actions. For example, that might be joining a gym and signing up for a class. It could be creating a shopping list and plan for meal-prepping salads for a week. It might be setting a time each week or month to speak with your Dad. It could be brainstorming some random acts of kindness that you might dish out in the world.

Also, remember that a practice needn’t be lifelong. It may be something shorter term to help move towards that goal of integration. It could be carried out on a trial basis for a shorter period, and then once that period is over, there is always the option to recommit to another period, potentially for a longer time.

Combining One-Off Actions and Practices

As you can see, the one-off action and the practice are not mutually exclusive. They can support each other and work synergistically to help bring about your desired change. One-off actions can help to set up and prepare practices, and practices can work over the long term to help shape you into a person who is capable of handling and taking on bigger one-off actions.

Keep an eye out for those one-off actions that help to support something longer-term. These can work like investments and save time and effort down the road.

Final Thoughts

There we have it, a very simple framework for moving your insights from ideas into reality.

Of course, some insights will be more suited to one-off actions than to practices (sending that thank-you letter or having that difficult conversation) and some will be more suited to adopting practices (hitting the gym or meditating). Use your discretion to decide if a one-off action or a practice is most suitable for your specific insight and wish, and remember that many will likely benefit from a mixture of both. 

If your intended action or practice seems too challenging, or you seem to be hitting a block and not being able to move forward with it, try breaking it down into smaller steps. What is the smallest one thing that you could do to move it forward? Is there anything that could help you to move forward with it? Continue to break them down until you feel confident that you can move forward with it. Remember, integration can be a lifelong process, so be patient and kind to yourself along the way.

Is there anything I missed? Do you have any techniques or methods that help you to integrate the insights from your psychedelic experiences? If so, we’d love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

I wish you the very best in translating your psychedelic insights into positive, real-world change.

John Robertson | Community Blogger at Chemical Collective | mapsofthemind.com

John is one of our community bloggers here at Chemical Collective. If you’re interested in joining our blogging team and getting paid to write about subjects you’re passionate about, please reach out to David via email at blog@chemical-collective.com

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tom
19 days ago

highly useful, thanks

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