When we embody our spiritual growth, we receive our soul’s essence and gifts, express them through our bodies and being and pour them into the world around us.
More than anything else embodying our soul’s gifts will require that our attention is resting deeply in our bodies.
When we’re resting in our bodies we are able to process life’s highs and lows through a lens of acceptance, which produces wisdom and embodied spiritual healing in us.
The question is, do psychedelics help us create deep safety in our bodies so our attention can rest there, and in the end do psychedelics increase our spiritual growth and spiritual maturity?
In order to answer that I’ve got to unpack a few things first.
A teacher of mine, Shinzen Young, said that the basic unit of creation is a simultaneous expansion and contraction.
And since we are embedded in the fabric of life our bodies and lives are constantly doing this expansion and contraction dance.
Examples of this dance show up in our world as male and female, democrat and republican, the digital world is built on a binary language, right versus wrong, yin and yang, light and dark.
It’s easy to be happy when everything is going well, when things feel expansive, but what about when things are not going so well, when life is more contracted?
These moments are opportunities to come into relationship with the dark parts of ourselves and the world.
The process of coming into relationship with our repressed, dark material is known as shadow work.
It’s shadow work, and the act of feeling through contraction, that pay off huge dividends in terms of embodied spiritual growth.
By the way, here’s an in depth blog post I made on shadow work called Shadow Work: 3 Keys To Quickly Integrating Your Shadow Self.
Two to four weeks after conception the primitive base layer of our nervous system comes online, what I call the primal brain.
From then until about age seven the primal brain runs the show.
The primal brain’s job is to gather information about how to do this human thing in order to ensure safety.
It relates directly to the energetic back-office of every thing and every one it encounters… feeling into our environment.
When the primal brain feels into the people around us, it senses how they have pushed important parts of themselves way.
It senses their unhealthy conflicted relationship with things like love and power and joy and grief and pleasure and fear… you know, all the things that make us human.
Since we rely on the people around us for our survival, we instantly match the ways that they’ve repressed parts of themselves, and our various shadow selves are born.
The shadow self, according to Carl Jung, is the repressed parts of our personality.
However, repressing our shadow material goes against the nature of nature.
Life is always seeking to bring our shadow to the surface of consciousness, always putting pressure on us in that way.
But the survival brains says we’ll die if we feel this stuff.
So there is this friction in us between the shadow material that life wants to bring to the surface and our habitual and unconscious tendency to repress it.
That friction shows up as this deep vigilance as our primal brain has us bracing against really occupying our bodies.
Here’s a video I made on psychedelics and embodying spiritual growth:
…or if you prefer to learn about the subject in podcast form:
Embodiment is incorporating the all the parts of our being, both spiritual and corporeal.
When we can fully live in all the parts of ourselves and feel empowered by it, are embodied.
Embodiment allows us to experience the love and light that is inherent to life, while also being able to look into the shadows and see what life is teaching us about ourselves there as well.
It is the ability to ride the waves of life without becoming consumed or subsumed by the expansion and contraction of life’s various expressions.
It is the ability to learn from the moments of enlarging wisdom and knowledge that come to us, without shying away from the requirement to spend time in the shadows.
Many of us have a predilection toward the expansion, to the new and interesting and growth aspects of life and knowledge.
We are less apt to focus in, or contract, on the details of the darkness and shadow within ourselves and our universe.
Embodiment therefore, requires courage because it is the ability to sit and commune with both of these scenarios.
Embodiment is the courage to look closely at what life is asking us to see, and then understanding it through the bigger picture that life has already shown us.
Pain, tension, and the other symptoms that we encounter along our journey, are not just telling us about what is wrong, but about what our life and body are conspiring to bring to the surface in order to draw our attention to areas of growth and opportunity.
Embodiment is the strength to remain mindful and present throughout this process and not get bogged down in the mental work of it all.
Moreover, embodiment is the ability to fully see ourselves, our gifts, our natural abilities and talents and feeling compelled by the love and light we see there to share these things with the world.
When we can find that kind of love, acceptance, and understanding of our whole selves, we are embodying our spiritual self.
This brings immense power, strength, and clarity to our lives.
Getting embodied requires that that vigilance and that bracing softens.
In order to do that the primal brain has to feel safe.
The first step is to simply bring our attention to the sensations in our bodies.
When noticing a sensation try to get familiar with exactly where it is.
Are the boundaries fuzzy or well defined?
Does it have shape or volume?
Does it have color or texture?
Is it moving in some way, collapsing, expanding, vibrating, throbbing, etc…?
Once we’re able to do that then it’s time to bring the heart in.
Breath the sensation into the heart or reach toward the sensation wit the heart.
This bringing kind attention to the sensations in the body will give the primal brain the sense that it’s being seen and consequently it will relax.
When we’re not habitually bracing against being in our own bodies we can settle down into them and embody them.
The truth is I don’t have a lot of experience with psychedelics, but I do have some.
The majority of my experience comes from years of consciousness awakening practices like yoga and meditation.
The experience that has the largest impact on my opinion on this subject happened during a 10-day silent meditation retreat with my teacher Shinzen Young.
During this retreat I had some experiences that are very similar to the experiences people report while tripping.
However, what I recall is that I felt so sober, so clear.
It was like Source had come into me and the doors of perception gently swung open on their own accord, such that every aspect of my body and being was aligned with Source.
On the other hand, under the influence of psychedelics, I’ve always felt very much under the influence of a substance… quite inebriated.
As opposed to Source gently aligning physicality, physiology, mentality, emotionality and spirituality, psychedelics have always felt like my physiology was being manhandled such that the door of perception were kicked down forcefully and left hanging, dented and half open on their hinges.
Insights happen under the influence of psychedelics but there are many layers of information that I had to deal with to glean the wisdom as if seeing through a number of filters as opposed to all filters being removed by Source.
Psychedelics have always felt hard on my body and I don’t think so apt to allow the primal brain to feel safe and the habitual resistance in the body to relax.
Again, my experience here, so I’m admitting bias.
My experience has been that consciousness awakening practices have provided a constantly elevated level of abiding consciousness, whereas psychedelics seem to be more about peak experience.
In working with thousands of clients over the years I’ve noticed that peak experiences produced by psychedelics were ultimately intepreted through the lens of the baseline level of awareness.
There can be a furthering of awareness with psychedelics but at some point, because the deep rest in the body is not happening, the forward movement plateaus.
In other words there’s a lot of integration that doesn’t get to happen.
Furthermore, a lot of unintegrated psychic information can cause health problems, whether it’s physical problems like back pain or whether it’s emotional issues like depression or anger.
And something else I notice is that people who have a history of frequent psychedelic use typically don’t have very precise body awareness.
Where the awakening process is concerned not being able to track sensations in the body is a limiting factor for sure.
Let me share a brief example.
A client came in recently.
He had the opportunity to use guided psychedelics in the past.
He reported that he had found some enlightenment about the nature of nature and had an incredible expansive experience.
However, that feeling of understanding and peace began to leave him over time and caused a lot of frustration and depression.
I pointed out that during the psychedelic experience, he found the expansion only as he focused in on the gritty stuff in the shadow material.
That is what lead to the expanded view.
He couldn’t get back to the feeling of embodiment until he let go of searching only for the expansive moments and focused in on himself again.
As I mentioned earlier, more shadow work was necessary.
Without it, he would remain stuck.
The answer is, to a degree, but certainly not beyond our ability to create deep rest in the body.
Of course, everyone needs to listen to their heart where their spiritual evolution is concerned, there is a time and a place for everything.
If one is going to use psychedelics I was say the best case scenario is to have a professional facilitate the journey.
I don’t know about other places but here in Boulder, this is fairly common practice.
The other thing I would suggest if someone does undertake awakening via psychedelics is that people have a solid foundation in being able mindfully track experience.
Feel free to make any comments below if you agree or disagree.
If you think you might benefit from integrating your shadow learn about yourself in this personalized, shadow self, guide.
I look forward to helping you express more life,
Dr. Jay Uecker
I've been supporting people through the ups and downs of their healing journeys for almost two decades now, mostly delivering BioSoul Integration from my office in Louisville, Colorado. However, it's possible to receive BioSoul Integration at a distance, as well. Those who seem to be most drawn to my work tend to be those who have felt the strong calling to consciously do the work of leaning into their growth and evolution as human beings. Discovering our soul's gifts, embodying them and then serving others with them is where true life satisfaction lies. Life will keep nudging us in that direction, anyway. BioSoul Integration can help speed up the process and smooth out the rough spots created by our innocent and unconscious resistance. Click the link to get your Personalized BioSoul Integration Guide.
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