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Is integration overstated?

Migrated topic.


Rising Star
The concept of integration presupposes that psychedelic trips have functional value and information that is capable of being integrated into ordinary life. This has always struck me as odd and probably leads to many trippers doing the equivalent of reading tea leaves, believing that they make sense, and then structuring thought processes around said nonsense. It's as if many trippers have an experience and then through impressive acts of mental acrobatics extract meaning from the silliness and almost sanctify it.

I understand people have epiphanies but I think they happen in spite of the drugs rather than because of them. Billions of wild thoughts, at least a few are decent. Odds are against you though.

I've found that many trippers reject traditional religions but then create their own Frankenstein spirituality using arbitrary magical thinking inspired by their trips. Between this forum and the shroomery, it seems there is a woeful lack of skepticism and critical thought applied to trip experiences. I've noticed many long time trippers tend to get embedded into wild ideas that seem to fail every rational sniff test.

I understand materialism is just another reality tunnel, but it seems the most sensible and the safest for those of us who enjoy the fruits of being able to navigate consensus reality.

Anybody else come to similar conclusions?
I always thought that the idea of doing integration after a trip was to sort out the nonsense from valuable insights. whether they be about myself or my surroundings. But if integration for other people is extracting meaning from silliness and that this genuinely helps them to be a happier person, then good luck to them.
There"s more than one way to skin a cat.
Not really. There will always be people who don't think critically or believe every insight they have is 100% truth, but this is a human problem not a psychedelic one. People are stuck in reality tunnels of all sorts even if (or especially if?) they don't use psychedelics. Things just get weirder when you add them into the mix :D

My personal insights are usually straight forward: stop being a dickhead, eat better, exercise more, love more, face 'X', come to terms with 'Y', and so on. Its not always so clear, but often it is. Everyone is different though...

The main question of integration for me has very little to do with mental acrobatics and more to do with just finding the motivation to implement the changes in my life or mind that seem the most beneficial overall. The fact that they have "value", as you say, isn't really up for debate IMO. Its a subjective thing for sure and its either self evident or its not depending on your experience and what you get out of it. but there has been a number of studies on it as well confirming it at this point, such as the addiction and end of life anxiety studies.

Id like to think we're capable of maintaining a plethora of evolving ideas without commiting to any one of them too much. Especially because when it comes to the nature of reality and consciousness, we don't know much IMO. Being humans we can be pretty far off the mark sometimes.
Ummm, perhaps "Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think" ?

I think integration is the key to everything. IMO, a lot of the global problems we are facing right now are simply failures of integration, be they economic, religious, scientific or whatever in nature...

Yang ain't got no yin no more!
universecannon said:
Things just get weirder when you add them into the mix :D
Logic and reason and general monkey mind thinking are a kind of safety blanket to our psyche. Discounting the psychedelic experience, and by extension the integration process, is all too easy given the seemingly mundane world in which we live. This nice fuzzy blanket stayed with me for many years so I am all too familiar with its comfort.

That is until the blanket was ripped away through the use of DMT and I learned the meaning of integration. The moment a true synchronous experience hits you is the moment you understand the lines between the psychedelic worlds and the "real" worlds are not so clear. In fact, there are times when the two become so intertwined that your entire understanding of the universe becomes questioned. It becomes something forefront in your mind when you realize the very matter in front of you is not lifeless -- it is glowing with possibilities beyond anything you could ever imagine.

This is integration to me and it only brightens the experience while inspiring me want to be a better human being.

Far from "silly".

You meant "overRATED", right? :p Now that grammar nazism is out of the way...

First off, have you had any psychedelic experiences? I mean...
caputo said:
I understand people have epiphanies but I think they happen in spite of the drugs rather than because of them.
In spite? Are you an opponent / prohibitionist here to argue, or a hedonist drug user in it for the "wow" factor? In the second case, I doubt psychedelics are the right choice... MDMA, speed and marijuana are much better suited for hedonistic use. Psychedelics just aren't nice enough.

If you haven't had any, integration is NOT "reading tea leaves", it's the necessary period of psychologically digesting the trauma that is the psychedelic experience. Ignoring and stepping over undigested issues, and dropping the next dose invites psychological abreactions, bad trips, distortion of personality, etc.

As for spirituality, we get it that you're a reductionist, but are you really this upset about the sheer existence of other people who aren't?
PsyDuckmonkey said:
You meant "overRATED", right? :p Now that grammar nazism is out of the way...

First off, have you had any psychedelic experiences? I mean...
caputo said:
I understand people have epiphanies but I think they happen in spite of the drugs rather than because of them.
In spite? Are you an opponent / prohibitionist here to argue, or a hedonist drug user in it for the "wow" factor?

I actually agree with the OP. I think that epiphanies do happen regularly without drugs. It"s just that drugs can accentuate and colour said epiphanies. It all depends on what raw materials are contained whithin oneself prior to taking drugs that influences their form. I also think that drugs can help to bring about latent epiphanies.
I think integration is very important to a person serious about their experiences. There are things to be gained, after all, it allows you to peer deep into yourself. What you take from it is up to you.

I don't see much of a difference between believing and following an organized religion and someone who feels connected to a higher state of being by using psychedelics. Both give a sense of purpose in this confusing and short life. We don't even know where/when any religions were actually were born. My mom is a hardcore believer in the Christian doctrine and I have asked her many times why she believes in these things. She always says the same thing, "I have faith, son."

To me, that just isn't enough. I don't see the tangible evidence. But that is okay, I did the whole religion thing as a kid up until I was 17...then it started making less and less sense. To each their own. I still don't see why it is wild for someone to believe and find solace in something like the psychedelic experience but it is perfectly normal for someone to believe in a big bearded man in the sky who sees and knows everything about everyone all the time. I feel they are really more closely related than most people think or let on.

The problem is that we will never know, not in this lifetime anyway. I don't use psychedelics so that I can form some strange and unbelievable religion, I use them to learn about myself and to grow as a human... mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

With all that being said, if I didn't integrate I would be a madman with no way to come to terms with the feelings and emotions brought on by these substances. I have epiphanies with or without the psychedelics and I rely on nothing to achieve them except the power of the mind itself.

So whether or not it is overstated/overrated, I would say that it depends on the particular person as each person's view on what integration even is will be different. Life is truly a big, beautiful subjective mess.
caputo said:
...I understand materialism is just another reality tunnel, but it seems the most sensible and the safest for those of us who enjoy the fruits of being able to navigate consensus reality....
Thank you for offering the blue pill, I do understand your preference to stay put, but doing the same doesn't make me happy in a very direct and literal sense.

Too pity you narrowed down "integration" to a well of wikwack pooha. In wondering why you did that, it occurs IMHO you never needed to do it really, and then in you trying honestly to imagine what that word means you connected weird stuff to it.

To me it (integration) is essential like a rest phase after physical sport, inevitable, necessary, not open for interpretations. After deep fysio-psychological "sport" you need such a phase too, recuperation. Very natural, very logic. Nothing weird at all. My 2 cents.

All the best to you and your choices 😉
yes and no, it all depends on how each individual sees it.

Me personally, I take reintegrating fairly seriously. Even if I didn't have an egoshattering trip or one full of revolutionary insights/epiphanies I still like to at least take a while and think about and reflect on each experience.

I feel like it helps me get suited for jumping back into the regular/ordinary everyday life, and also help to prepare for future experiences. In my experience, I've noticed that sometimes you won't notice something on one trip, but months later for the next one that same insight will comeback. It helps, for me at least, to have given it some prior thought rather than jump right back into it without sorting through the tangled mess.

But again, it all depends on the individual when it comes to this.
The mind is not linear. It behave like a complex structure, an ordering chaos.
This kind of system have critical points. You take a trip, you go off the "stability range"

A metaphor : We have electricity 99% of the time; it's really stable and reliable. And if we don't have electricity, it come back pretty fast. But this is true for a "spectrum" of happenings - if, because of natural disaster, social revolution, etc etc - the electricity desappear for let's say 1 week - big cities will go through dramatic change. It make a snowball effect - no electricity, so society freak out, all other technology and comunication desable, etc, until a critical point where it doesn't come back at all. We will pass through some chaos and confusion and then find a new impermanent equilibrium

The mind is pretty like that. You don't stop smoking though a linear effort, through convincing yourself evryday step by step. This generaly require a trigger - the father from a friend die from lung cancer - the emotion trigger something and you reverse your own behaviours.

Psychedelic for me create this kind of "chaos energy" in the first place, moving out of the range of homeostasis of the mindset - allowing new structure to emerge and to stabilize. Something not so easy to do !

But so, is it all chaos and unpredictable outputs? Of course not, the output depend on what your started seeding, even if it's not totaly under control ^^
First off, I have to say that you sound like you are speaking from a place of inexperience.
Anyone that has used psychedelics seriously understands that integration is an almost automatic part of the process, one has no choice but to try to organize all of the emotions and thoughts one just experienced. One will quickly learn that if you trip too soon before integrating the last experience, the trip can be scary and confusing, aka a "bad" trip.

Second, it sounds like you have more of a problem with the actual word integration and how it is used around here versus the actual act of integration.
Anyone that interacts with the world around them is constantly integrating all the stimulus that is always happening. You hear a song on the radio and it makes you happy, that is you integrating the experience you are having at that moment. Someone cuts you off on the road and you become angry, that is you integrating the experience you are having that moment. We all do it, all the time.

Psychedelics are just tools that help us as humans learn how to access higher states and take on other points of view. I personally use them to figure out problems in my life by getting a different perspective on the situations at hand. I agree that these things can be figured out without the use of psychedelics, but they are here for us to use and to teach us to think differently. Once you learn how to do this with the use of psychedelics, it becomes easier to do it without them.
PsyDuckmonkey, I've been tripping about three times a month for about eight years. I'm a hedonist, I've had level five experiences on shrooms, ayahuasca, and mescaline. Mostly I aim for level two or three trips though. I think this class of drugs is perfect for me, I rarely have a bad time and each trip is usually astounding in its beauty and euphoria. I'm not upset that others interpret their experience differently, I'm just giving my thoughts.

Grateful One, you are exactly right: There's not much difference between believing and following an organized religion and someone who feels connected to a higher state of being by using psychedelics. I have difficulty understanding both of them as they both use the same type of magical thinking and align their lives to superstitious beliefs.

Ultraviolence, it's interesting that you view these drugs as tools. I don't. I get really high, listen to music, have strange thoughts, sometimes have powerful breaks from reality, babble for hours, and then I'm sober. You've elevated these drugs to a mystical and magical status by proclaiming "they are here for us to use and to teach us to think differently." That's a bold statement and suggests that there is a noble reason for these drugs and that reason is to teach us something. I'm waiting for Jesus to turn the corner with that line of thinking. Maybe psychedelics are here for the same reason dandelions are here and you are shoehorning arbitrary labels on some root bark.
It's been shown in numerous studies that psychedelics allow for different thought patterns when faced with a familiar problem, therefore, they teach people to think differently. They have taught me to look at problems from views I never would have taken otherwise. It's not mytical or magical, its been backed up by science.
You say that you aim for lvl 2-3 trips because you don't have a bad time, what makes lvl 4+ trips bad for you? If you are just ingesting these molecules with the intention of getting high, that is all they would provide. Why would you spend time teaching someone to cook when they are just going to eat McDonalds anyways?
I think you're confusing 'correlation' and 'causation.' Sure, many people who take psychedelics believe really wacky things. So do a lot of people who don't take any psychedelics. It may be that people who are predisposed to believe magical things tend to like psychedelics, but unless you can cite some controlled studies that showed that magical thinking is a long-term effect of psychedelics specifically, I think you're reading too much into this. You don't need to take a bunch of drugs to believe in things like magic crystals and 'Spirit Science,' plenty do on their own who would never touch drugs.

I think you are right with the statement - "integration is over-stated."
It is a slippery term, one which can be bandied about willy nilly.
Is it the filter through which the post-psychedelic experience "come down" and all the insights or lack of insights are slotted into the total sum of the user?
Is it more of a lattice like framework, one that positions itself on top of prior experience, adding connections where before none may have been?
Is it akin to the reference section of a book, providing context if you spend the effort to pay attention to it?
Is it only experienced after a trip?
Do progressive trips one after another compound the "message" if one chooses to accept it as a message?

I think UC nailed the practical definition of integration;
"My personal insights are usually straight forward: stop being a dickhead, eat better, exercise more, love more, face 'X', come to terms with 'Y', and so on. Its not always so clear, but often it is. "
When a person has a psychological experience, regardless its nature, in order to handle it in a healthy way and be able to use it as a brick for building his psychological structure and his life experience, the person has to integrate it well.

Integration stands for the process of knowing what has oneself experienced, fully understand it, and live the experience as something useful for his life and/or his understanding of reality.
When a person has a psychedelic experience, it affects the person's psychological structure, sometimes more and sometimes less, depending on lots of factors.

In order to take profit of this psychological change, as if it was any other type of experience, the person must pass through an integration process. This process is really important, as it will make the difference between a new brick which can be used to build the person's psychological structure, or, at the other hand, an empty space, where no brick shall be put on.

caputo, although I don’t agree with you, I understand your point of view. I have not always thought that integration was an important part of an experience, but I realised that it is maybe more important than the experience itself.

You state that integration is pointless, and you say that you take psychedelics only for hedonistic purposes, and have no need of integrating the experiences. Well, that is possibly valid for you.
Although psychedelic experiences can deeply affect a person’s psychological structure, they may not in some cases, and be nothing more than experiences of, like you say, beauty and euphoria. Maybe, you notice someday that they have changed their nature, and become for you really useful tools for psychological work. Or maybe not. Like being with friends, some days will be really boring, and some days you will have a really good time. It may depend on your attitude towards the situation, and also on other factors.

I recently attended to a talk which main topic was the role of integration in psychedelic experiences, focusing on ayahuasca experiences. During the talk, they exposed some cases of people having different kind of problems, all of them with a point in common, failure in an integration process after a psychedelic experience. I was really surprised to hear that, I suppose that is not only that you leave an empty space where an “experience brick” should be; it seems that all your psychological structure falls on you due to destabilization.

Maybe that brick was much more valuable than we thought.
The way we interpret our experiences creates our universe. The narrative we create is very important, and we can learn to choose better narrative and give more meaning to our experiences.
I find Entheogenes, especially Harmalas, very useful in this process. They boost my intuition and clarify the vision. They show me that thinking and language create the outer world, and that mastering of language and thinking is a road to self-mastery.

So in essence, I look at the situation very much differently that caputo, author of first post in this topic. I believe that on focus subjective experiences and personal spirituality are a healthy phenomena :)
To me it (integration) is essential like a rest phase after physical sport, inevitable, necessary, not open for interpretations. After deep fysio-psychological "sport" you need such a phase too, recuperation. Very natural.

OP, integration is absolutely not only necessary, but seemingly a factor that actually regulates itself! A person would have to be of a very eccentric psychic constitution to bypass the integration process and still be a functional member of humanity. Of course, if you don't want to be human, then by all means. Personally, I find I only need to "trip" about twice a year. For example, last year, I consumed 5 grams of dried psilocybin mushrooms in the month of March and then again in the month of September. I haven't taken that kind of a dose since. (I've just inoculated some new jars, however :D ) See, it's around that six month time by the time they are in again.

The mushroom regulates itself. If a person overdoes it, there will be consequences somehow somewhere, always, because you cannot simply ingest a "food of the gods" and expect not to be burned, or enlightened. This is something I've never understood. Some people seem to be able to take these things, for example, like every two weeks! That's nuts. I'm not saying that because it seems to take myself six months for integration that that's how long it should take for everybody else. I'm saying that for me, with the aid of five grams dried of psilocybin mushrooms, after about two hours of the agony of the ego, I dissolve back into the heart of the Soul of I, the that which than which there isn't a whicher, the that which that cannot be named, the that which of which we must consign to the eloquent language of silence. Buddha. I come to a place where there are no problems to be solved, because it is unconditionally felt that everything in the universe, that everything in life is in perfect synchronous divine order. Everything is simply exactly right somehow.
When one is there, he is everywhere, totally present, nothing can disturb him. He has attained the peace which passeth understanding. I knew that if I were to cross the yawning grave then and there, I would be enblissed. For me, the psychedlic experience always brings me back to Self; the mushroom brings me always back to the shores of eternity. Psilocybin is the catalyst for the dissolution of all that which is your illusion, your game, your mask. For me, I discover, with an incredible amount of joy that I am the same Soul that peers through all eyes each believing themselves an I.

I say these things only to defend the community of anyone who is open to any method to aid them in his or her search to find out who they really are. I believe integration should not be underestimated. You would be much better to overestimate it instead. Then, you'd be cautious, rather than foolishly (sorry) believing that the psychedelic experience could be reduced to the mere extraction of one insight to a billion nonsensical thoughts. No, my friend. Everything is relevant, because Everything is connected. Everything shares a relationship! If a person goes in fumbling around on their raft out there on those stormy seas believing most of it's not real, or that one must discern the shit from the shinola, I think that person will soon have a reality check, because everything in the world is gold! We are asleep to it. Psilocybin is but one member of the biosphere, the intelligence of the Earth herself, that acts on the human psyche to awaken it, to remove the dust off a human being's eyes, helping him realize he was a buddha from the very beginning of no-beginning. But if a person has quite the mental corruption ( mental baggage - and an addiction to thoughts ) and is resisting what the mushroom is trying to show him, the mushroom will come down even harder. This will then result in a bad, a very bad, trip, because you weren't working with it, but against it in a hostile spirit. And these are not simply "trips". These are returns to our real perception, to our Real Self, the Self behind the mind. (Ever notice how synchronicity happens altogether at once "tripping"? How about telepathy? How about symbience? Well, you're in real space, where there is only one mind, one being, one self. Of course everyone else's thoughts are your own, because you are not separate from the other person.) By comparison, this reality we think we live in is but a detour into the human domain because we thought some time ago it might be fun, and we might even Learn something while we're at it - what it's like to live inside of space-time, an egg in which thoughts require some time to manifest themselves. Human life is a trip. That's the real awakening. Life really is a dream.

Another person stated this thing about synchronicity. I totally agree. In fact, I think all these comments about the nature of the psychedelic experience being something apart, distanced from the real, to be absolutely ridiculous. I always feel in my returns to the authentic Self that the time of six months between the "trips" was a literal instant, like a mere second of time. The real reality is inside there folks. Some say we can get there through meditation. There are perhaps millions of ways to get there. But I know for myself, that psilocybin (5 grams!) will take me there, or better to say, allows the brakes to be taken off so that I can venture there. Don't demean the mushroom and say it is only a helper. You are as much a helper to the mushroom. The great event is when these two intelligences merge - then, you've got something, which leads you back to Nothingness, the great mysterium tremendum.

Integration, then, is an incredibly important aspect of every domain of life. If you don't have integration, which is the process of (not sorting shit from shinola), but rather the conscious process of re-membering, by going through a process of anamnesis to bring back together the gold one uncovered in one's journey back to Self. It is the awakening that requires reflection and integration. The human mind takes it in bits and pieces. It it is the mind specifically that requires the integration. Not the soul. The soul is what is telling you (some call it a higher self) to address your problems, call your mother, fix your life, abandon eating unconsciously, be kind to others, and this kind of thing. The soul has no problem with a psychedelic experience. So, abandon your mind. Yes, I'm saying one must go out of his mind to come to his senses. This the mushroom helps with if you approach its intelligence in this spirit. Integration is the download of cosmic consciousness into the limited perspective of the human mind. That's why it takes awhile for integration, because the mind is like a monkey, and difficult it is to train it. You can only do that by letting go of it. Right now, we're strangling the monkey inside the cage. Let it go. It'll go nuts for awhile because it's been contained so long. But it'll settle eventually.

I hope i didn't hijack the thread but this is an important subject.
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