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“Turning Pro” – Mastering Psychedelic Exploration

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in this article
  • Introduction
  • The Myth of "Take The Dose, Expect The Magic"
  • The Origin of the Concept of “Turning Pro”
  • Turning Pro in Psychedelic Exploration
  • Adopting the Pro Mindset in Psychedelic Exploration
  • The Benefits of Adopting a Pro Mindset in Psychedelic Exploration
  • Testimonial of Turning Pro
  • Join The Conversation
  • 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 Chemical Collective or any associated parties.

Introduction

I have a confession…

I used to believe that simply taking the dose was all that you needed to do to get all the magic and benefits that psychedelics have to offer. That was until I had a series of psychedelic experiences that did not bring me all the benefits that I’d come to expect: clarity, creativity, and a mental spring clean with an accompanying sense of rejuvenation.

It was at this time that I started learning about techniques for the preparation and integration of psychedelic experiences. I became more systematic in my approach, and ultimately, I ‘turned pro’. 

‘Turning Pro’ with my psychedelic use has been a total game changer for me. It has led me to a more considered approach which has in turn led me to reliably beneficial experiences.

But what do I mean by turning pro? What are the techniques for preparation and integration that can be used to increase the chances of beneficial experiences? And what are the benefits of these approaches?

In this post, I will be answering all of these questions. I will begin by exploring the mistake of believing in taking a dose and expecting magical benefits. Then I will be explaining the concept of turning pro and how it can be applied to psychedelic exploration. I will finish with some concrete examples of how you can ‘Turn Pro’ and explore the benefits that this mindset has to offer.

The Myth of "Take The Dose, Expect The Magic"

 One mistake I frequently observe in those starting with psychedelics is the misconception of simply taking the dose and expecting magic. This involves believing that just ingesting a psychedelic substance will result in all the transformative benefits and experiences touted in the media and research.

This misconception often arises from a lack of understanding of the broader context and the multifaceted factors contributing to the positive results we often read or hear about. This is a mistake that I have fallen into in my early days of psychedelic exploration, too.

The problem with this belief is that it can result in disappointment and frustration if the anticipated experiences or benefits do not materialise. People can feel disheartened, believing they have done their part by taking their dose, whilst the expected benefits do not come.

Besides potential disappointment, the problem with this mindset is that it can compromise safety. It can lead to a negligent approach, one with minimal or zero preparation and integration. Without careful preparation, there may be a lack of diligence, caution, and care, which can lead to potentially uncomfortable and unsettling experiences. This can result in problems rather than benefits, and as a result, can even hinder personal growth rather than facilitate it.

In the world of psychedelic exploration, understanding that there is more for us to do than just take a dose is crucial. If we as serious about reaping the benefits, we would do well to adopt a more comprehensive approach that encompasses thoughtful preparation, mindful integration, and deep respect for the complexities of the psychedelic experience.

In short, we need to ‘turn pro’.

The Origin of the Concept of “Turning Pro”

Before we dive into the application of turning pro in the realm of psychedelic exploration, let’s take a moment to understand its roots.

Steven Pressfield, in his seminal work The War of Art, introduced the concept of turning pro in the context of creative endeavours. In the world of artistic expression, turning pro signifies a shift in mindset. A shift from amateur to professional.

I wrote in the War of Art that I could divide my life neatly into two parts: before turning pro and after. After is better.

Stephen Pressfield

Pressfield argues that the distinction between an amateur and a professional is not defined by talent. Rather, it is defined by one’s approach to their craft. Turning pro means treating creative work with the dedication, discipline, and respect professionals bring to their jobs. It involves showing up consistently, overcoming resistance, and committing to the pursuit of improvement.

Turning pro in psychedelics is not about mindlessly taking substances; it is about adopting a mindset that makes these experiences deliberate and purposeful.

Turning Pro in Psychedelic Exploration

When we borrow the mindset of turning pro and apply it to the realm of psychedelic experiences, it means adopting a professional approach to our psychedelic sessions. This involves diligence in preparation, mindful navigation during the session, and intentional participation in the integration stage.

There’s no mystery to turning pro. It’s a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our minds to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that.

Stephen Pressfield

Much like a professional artist or athlete, turning pro in psychedelics requires more than just showing up when we feel like it; it requires a commitment to craftsmanship and a deep respect for the transformative potential of the experience.

Let us take a look at what it means to turn pro in the world of psychedelic exploration and how this mindset can elevate the experience.

Adopting the Pro Mindset in Psychedelic Exploration

A simple way to think about it is; if you were a professional psychedelic explorer, how would you approach the experience? What would you do to prepare, navigate, and integrate your experience?

What might turning pro entail?

Here are some examples: 

Preparation – Setting the Stage

In preparation, turning pro involves carefully setting the stage and laying the psychological ground for beneficial psychedelic experiences. This includes:

  • Introspection and reflective practices, to explore and get acquainted with our thoughts and emotions before the journey.
  • Clarifying our intentions, to get a clear understanding of what we hope for from the psychedelic experience.

Clearing Practices

To ensure a clutter-free mental space during the session, we engage in clearing practices. This involves:

Awareness Practices – Mindfulness Meditation

Key to turning pro is the incorporation of awareness practices, particularly mindfulness meditation. These practices:

  • Help us to have a responsive rather than reactive approach to stimuli during the psychedelic experience.
  • Increase the gap between stimulus and response, which helps to take more conscious choices in navigating the experience.

Checklists, Schedules, and Protocols

Adopting a professional mindset also means introducing structure through:

  • Comprehensive checklists, ensuring everything necessary is at hand.
  • Thoughtful schedules, planning the day to optimize the mental state for the psychedelic session.
  • Clear protocols to guide the entire process, mirroring the meticulous approach of a seasoned professional.

Integration Stage – Active and Intentional Participation

Turning pro extends into the integration stage and this includes:

  • Active and intentional participation in maintaining the benefits derived from the psychedelic journey.
  • Thoughtful consideration of insights, prioritization, and strategic planning for effective integration.
  • Anticipation of potential obstacles, accompanied by a plan to address and overcome these challenges.
  • Recognition of any needs for support and accountability, to assist in a successful integration process.

Hopefully, you now have a clearer idea of what it means to turn pro. But why do it? Is it really worth it? Good questions that are certainly worth asking.

The Benefits of Adopting a Pro Mindset in Psychedelic Exploration

Adopting a professional mindset offers several benefits that extend beyond the psychedelic session itself. Here’s a look at some of them:

Enhanced Set and Inner State

  • Turning pro cultivates an improved mental and emotional state, setting a better foundation and an optimal “set” for entering the psychedelic experience.
  • A prepared set also contributes to a more receptive and open state, maximizing the potential for meaningful and transformative experiences.

Conducive Setting for Exploration

  • Consideration and care in the preparation process contribute to a physical setting that both is cleaner and safer.
  • This setting enhances comfort, safety, and the overall atmosphere, creating an optimal backdrop for exploration.

Facilitated Navigation Through Experiences

  • The pro mindset equips individuals with the tools and practices needed to navigate the complexities of psychedelic experiences.
  • By approaching the journey with a deliberate mindset, individuals can respond thoughtfully to stimuli which leads to a more enriching exploration. For example, this could mean responding to challenging material with curiosity and acceptance rather than anxiety and panic. This can lead to more insightful experiences. 

Extended Benefits in the Integration Stage:

  • With a proactive and intentional approach to integration, we can solidify and extend the positive changes and insights gained during the psychedelic journey.
  • We understand that the work is not done once the effects wear off, and have a better motivation to continue with our process and and pursue ongoing growth.

Overall, adopting a pro mindset with psychedelics not only shapes the experiences but also creates opportunities for enduring positive changes.

Testimonial of Turning Pro

Before I wrap up, I would like to share a testimony from Kristi, who turned pro in her approach to psychedelics.

Before turning pro, Kristi had previously explored ayahuasca and set up her own experiences with psilocybin. Despite her efforts, the transformative experience she was looking for remained elusive.

Seeking assistance, she joined my course The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer, which helps those exploring psychedelics to turn pro in their approach.

Upon completing the course, Kristi set up a psychedelic session soon after its conclusion. 

I dropped right in and used all the tools and everything you taught us, resulting in a really deep, insightful, and valuable journey. I have witnessed a tangible change in results.

Kristi’s words and experience show the impact that adopting a professional mindset in psychedelic exploration can have. She conscientiously implemented every aspect taught in the course, from scheduling to cultivating the right mindset. As a result, she reaped the benefits of a valuable and transformative journey.

Join The Conversation

As you reflect on my thoughts shared in this exploration of the “turning pro” mindset in psychedelic experiences, I invite you to share your thoughts.

Have you personally experienced the transformative power of intentional preparation and integration in your psychedelic journeys? What practices resonate with you, and how have they influenced your experiences?

Your contributions to the discussion can further our collective understanding, so please share your experiences and insights in the comments below.

Final Thoughts

Adopting the pro mindset, inspired by the principles shared here, can elevate your psychedelic experiences to new dimensions. From meticulous preparation to active participation in the integration stage, each step can contribute to your personal evolution.

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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