By Françoise Bourzat
My work in guiding people through mushroom experiences has shown me, over and over, that everyone wants a better harmony with themselves, their family and the world around them. As our current societal conversation starts to include the world of psychedelics and their promise for treatments, the interest in creating companies around their manufacturing and distribution is starting to rapidly emerge.
Some of the leaders in this field have consulted with me, and I have heard some investors and entrepreneurs share their own “come to Jesus” moments during psychedelic experiences; they connected with their pain or their isolation and somehow, they landed in the graced space of peace. And as they did so, they woke up to the sacred nature of the psychedelic experience itself.
I consider the human experience through what I call the Holistic Model, comprised of five aspects of the human life — the body, the mind, the spiritual dimension, the community, and the environment. For a psychedelic experience to be assimilated fully, it has to be integrated in these five aspects.
As wonderful it is to hear that people reached a state of absolute peace, it is also important to remember that ultimately, integrating these experiences goes beyond the self. The question becomes, during the process of integration, how do we get from working on self to the last ripple — to being of service to the world? How do we bring healing to ourselves as individuals, and then share it with the world through our participation to our community?
When we want to bring ongoing fruitfulness to a psychedelic experience, we need to pay attention to the way integration is conducted. It starts with our own self, in stabilizing the experience; when the insights and healing are grounded with the actions we take within our life, we are actualizing our transformation. The many ways we learn to care for our self is deeply healing. The ways we show up with our family, our work, and our friends gradually become our new normal. These steps are essential, but they are only a part of integration.
The last steps — community and the environment, or the “world out there,” — are where integration often falls short. The ultimate step in the integration process involves putting our self into service. There is hard work to do here. The principle of psychedelic exploring is not just a personal endeavor; it is about a global world healing; it is not just about receiving but giving. On these aspects, integration takes shape in actions, and fundamentally it is about making changes in the culture, about concretizing principles such as solidarity, generosity, reciprocity. In this way, integration ripples.
In my years of working with people, I have seen people — entrepreneurs and investors alike — have meaningful psychedelic experiences and slowly wake up to their own integrity in being called to help, share, and open up to the community around them in ways they had not considered before. Their awakening to reciprocity and supporting of others becomes important, like a tug from inside their hearts. Calling to be made manifest, their curiosity in this field of psychedelics becomes a space of inner integrity and ultimately, an engagement to participate.
The question arises; how does reciprocity become a core part of the person or the business? Is it to make social changes in their companies? Support employees who are young parents? Create less stress in board meetings? Give a percentage of profits to worthy causes? Advise new organizations focused on psychedelics for the development of their structures?
The people involved in companies directly designed to distribute psychedelics are also confronted with the same question of reciprocity. For example, a starting point is for a business manufacturing or administering psilocybin could be to say, “we realize this is a compound that has existed in other traditions, and we’re here because of them. There are people who have held these traditions for centuries, often with great sacrifice. We will give back to them and their culture.” The various ways individuals and companies can give back to these cultures include health clinics, children education, water sanitation, traditional cultural preservation.
In my own relationship with the Mazatec people of Mexico and their exquisite mastery of mushroom ceremonies, it has been obvious to me to support them through diabetes treatment, college education for some children, funding for important celebrations, and better homes.
In all first nations, there is a need for the conservation of herbal medicines, for farmers to have appropriate food and drinking water. There is a need to protect forests and land, and to preserve traditions. Individuals and companies could commit to giving a percentage of profits to send back to the communities that have held these medicines throughout history. It would show acknowledgment and gratitude, it would place them in a process of reciprocity.
As the wave of business approaches psychedelics, there is a real danger of appropriation, commodification, and abuse. This comes from the mindset of taking as much as possible. It is rooted in the suffering in the world leading us to be scared and focus on ourselves. Getting out of a colonialist and extractive principle is essential if, as a modern society, we aim at using psychedelics for healing and growth. We can’t continue the stealing of knowledge and wisdom that has been the norm for so long.
In the deep space of the psychedelic experience exists a teaching on unity principle and belonging with the earth. It is from this place that the avenues of reciprocity extend. Reciprocity, solidarity, generosity and love. In the end it is about loving. Part of learning to love is learning to give back. This too will ripple outward. It will help to build a better world.
For further reading, Françoise recommends, “Mazatec Perspectives on the Globalization of Psilocybin Mushrooms,” by Rosalía Acosta López, Inti García Flores, and Sarai Piña Alcántara, published in Chacruna.
This piece reflects the perspective of the author, independent of North Star, which serves as a platform for the message.