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Exploring Common Themes of a Psychedelic Experience

“Exploring Common Themes of a Psychedelic Experience” acknowledges that while themes are not guaranteed to occur, they tend to recur across different psychedelic experiences, despite the variations in individuals’ histories, beliefs, and the substances used.

The hosts delve into the misnomer of ego death and explore different variations of ego. They also touch on the amplification of emotions and the resurfacing of repressed or suppressed memories during psychedelic journeys. How do defense mechanisms allow these emotions to emerge, and how can we use this to maximize potential healing and growth?

The episode sheds light on somatic processes and energetic releases that occur during psychedelic journeys, explaining how trauma can be processed in non-cognitive ways. The hosts describe how clients have reported sensations like heart-opening, throat-clearing, or symbolic experiences that represent emotional and spiritual breakthroughs. 

Later, Nicholas and Jimmy touch upon the theme of connectivity, discussing the profound  sense of connection that can be experienced with others, nature, and the divine during psychedelic journeys. They share examples of clients communicating with departed loved ones and recounting life events that highlight the deep relationships forged throughout our lives. 

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Episode 51 – Exploring Common Themes of a Psychedelic Experience

Nick: Welcome to The Psychedelic Passage podcast. My name is Nick Levich. I am here with my cohost, Jimmy Nguyen. As always, thank you so much for joining us today. And this week, we are talking about common themes that emerge during the psychedelic journey. 

I wanted to address this one, because I think there’s a lot of people that are curious about what the psychedelic experience is like, what psychedelic induced altered states of consciousness feel like, what comes up, how it works.

What I want to start by saying is that everything we’re going to talk about in this episode today has the potential to come up, but it’s not a guarantee. And so, what these really are is like, common themes, patterns, trends that can emerge, but are not guaranteed to emerge.

And so, the way that I personally think about this is like, if you take a sample set of hundred people who have gone through a psychedelic journey, you’ll likely see a lot of overlap in these common themes-

Despite the fact that they are different humans, all have their own history and beliefs, and also may be working with wildly different psychedelic substances, there’s still these common themes that tend to emerge over time.

So, is there anything else that you want to add [Jimmy laughs] to my intro/disclaimer on how we’re approaching this? 

Jimmy: You did a really good job. Knowing me, you know me very well, the audiences, I likely usually do have something to add. The one thing that I want to share with folks is that “maybe” is a really powerful framework in this discussion and in psychedelic experiences.

And so, what I highlight is that for a lot of folks, and to no fault of their own, when they hear from folks that a psychedelic experience was the most meaningful to their lives. 

When they hear that, “Oh, my God, I felt this unity connection to all things. Oh, my God, I connected these dots,” and all of that. 

And if you’re a listener, or friend, or you read something online, or you read a report or study, it’s natural for you to be like, “I want that.” It’s natural for you to be like, “That’s what I’m looking for.” It’s so natural for you to be like, “If only I could have that, then I can heal.” 

What I want to share with folks is that, the psychedelic process is between you and the psychedelic medicine, which means that it is tailored to you. And so, with all the things that we’ll talk about today, I really want folks to invite in this concept of “maybe”. 

When you hear this and you’re like, “Huh, I wonder if that’s going to happen to me.” Maybe. “I wonder if I’m going to X, Y, Z.” Maybe. Here’s another question. “I wonder if that’s even a vital step in my own healing process.” And guess what I’ll say? “Maybe.” 

And so, I just really want to get ahead of this intention versus expectation setting versus the “shoulding” that we talk about throughout a lot of our episodes. 

What this is, is more, as Nick said, if you zoom out across the likely hundreds of thousands, if not millions of psychedelic experiences that have happened in human history, there likely are a couple of themes and patterns that emerge. And so, that’s what we’ll be talking about today. 

Different Forms of Ego Death

[00:03:40] Nick: Cool. So, my idea for this is just that we start talking through a couple of these. We’ve got a list of things that we wrote down that we see time and time again. 

I think we’re just going to address these in a way that helps you understand what these concepts or themes actually are. 

Jimmy: Yeah, the first one that we have on the list is ego death, which I will remind folks that we have an episode– [crosstalk] 

Nick: A whole episode

Jimmy: A whole dang episode. I’m thinking about how I go off pretty passionately about this. We talk a little bit about the misnomer of ego death as a necessary process. It’s not a process that everybody experiences or goes through. 

Also, there are different variations of this, whether you call it an ego death, or an ego dissolution, or this blending of the self into something greater. So, we go through that quite in depth. 

What I will share with folks is that psychedelics are akin to virtual death and rebirth processes which may or may not be experienced through an ego death. 

Sometimes, that’s the death of a relationship, or the death of an old version of you, or the death of an event or something that happened in your childhood. It’s not always my ego is dissolved and I have a death there. And so, please refer back to that episode. 

It’s worth us noting because this is one of those sexy coin terms in the psychedelic healing landscape where they’re like, “Well, if everybody can just go through an ego death, great.”

Well, also, what support do you have when you’re super destabilized after an ego death? What care do you have if you need a couple of weeks off of work, and people around you to support you healthily and meaningfully through an ego death? That’s my rant to start off. [laughs] 

Nick: For those that don’t want to go back and listen to the episode or don’t have the time to do it now, I will sum this one up by saying, what this effectively is a lost sense of self, a lack of a sense of identity of self. And ego death sounds sexy–

Or at least, it’s been promoted in that way but when you phrase it as like not knowing who you are, that is actually can be very frightening and destabilizing, which is what you’re getting at. So, that’s just the spark notes for anyone that’s unfamiliar with this term of ego death. 

Jimmy: Yeah, and I think all of these thick concepts that we’re talking about can go in different directions. You can have an ego death where you lose your sense of self in a way of questioning the true you, your true identity.

Nick: A healthy inquisition.

Jimmy: Yes, a healthy inquiry. Yeah. And then you can also have an ego death where you’re literally questioning reality, and what’s real and what’s not. 

And then if you’re not disclosing whether you have a mental health, certain condition, or background, or whatnot, you can see how that can compound. And so, the biggest difference, I think, between any of these things that we’ll be talking about today. 

The difference of this being a potentially healthy– I even say this loosely a positive outcome versus this being a really challenging, and maybe a nonproductive outcome is the type of care and support you receive throughout it. 

To me, that’s the major difference between any of these things being something that you’re able to navigate and move through in a graceful way or something that feels really f*cked up, you know? [chuckles] 

The Medicines Ability to Tailor to Your Needs 

[00:07:31] Nick: I also just want to say, you touched on this in our intro, but I know this is a little, I guess, woo-woo to some, but we talk about this specifically in our prep guide and our prep workshop–

Which we’re soon going to start offering on the site, which I’m really excited about. So, those who are interested in our approach will have access to that. But in the meantime, what I want to share is that, this sounds cheesy, but I really believe it to be true–

The mushroom or the medicine, whatever you’re communing with scans your body and gives you an extremely tailored experience. And the only way I can describe this is almost every client I’ve ever worked with is like “How did they know?”

“How did the mushrooms know that was exactly what I needed at that time, at that instance? So, the reason I bring this up is because you’re only going to get served up what’s going to be helpful to you, and what you’re capable of holding, and what you have the support around you to hold. 

If any of those conditions aren’t met, you’re just not going to get it served up to you. I think about a while back, you were telling me, you’re like, “Hey, man, I think I just need like an ego death.” And you tried like four experiences on your own and it didn’t happen, because you– [crosstalk] 

Jimmy: Nothing happened. [laughs] 

Nick: Your ego wanted it, but that was not right. And so, it just goes to show, even someone like you with a whole bunch of experience, a whole bunch of reps under your belt–

And also someone who knows better, so to speak, can get caught in this cycle of like, “I think I know what I need.”

Jimmy: Yeah. 

Nick: I just want to just shoutout that like, “The plants know, the fungi know, they know.” It sounds so cheesy, but I really do believe that. 

Jimmy: Yeah. I went for about a year and a half really certain that this is what I was needing, this is what I was seeking. I searched, and I pined for it, and I had this lack, this feeling of not enough, this feeling of, “Oh, I’m not worthy.” 

And then guess what it happened? When I totally gave it up, I completely gave it up the whole notion that there’s anything that I need and then boom. [laughs] 

Nick: Smacked. 

Jimmy: Smacked up. I got dissolved. I got dissolved. Yeah, anyway, so– [laughs] Yeah. 

Nick: Yeah, I just want to make clear the point of sharing that is that, you’re only going to get what you’re ready, willing, and able to hold, and it’s not anyones say whether any of these things happen. 

Jimmy: Yeah, and I also want to add that what you’re talking about the medicine, giving you this tailored experience, giving you what you need, giving you only what you can handle–

This is a little bit of a hot take, but I really believe that this is true for challenging, difficult, and overwhelming experiences. I have worked with a lot of clients, and this is a theme, one of these common themes. So, maybe we start here. 

Nick: Let’s start there. 

Jimmy: The amplification of the things that you are trying to address, that’s what I call it. So, there are many times that folks go into an experience seeking relief, they’re like, “I’ve dealt with anxiety. I’ve dealt with depression–

I’ve dealt with dealing with my trauma my whole life. I’m just looking for some relief.” And very regularly, I see people actually what I call sitting in their sh*t. They’re sitting in their anxiety. They’re sitting in their depression. It’s so alive. It’s so visceral. It’s so real for them. 

I, somewhat, have an interpretation around this. My thought is that psychedelics can really bring things to the surface, so that we can work with them, address them, be in contact with them in a way that’s often very difficult to do in regular, default, sober life. 

I’ve also seen clients whose entire experience is challenging, and difficult, and overwhelming. When we look at one of the Zendo principles, difficult is not the same as bad–

What a lot of this is to say is that, with the right care, with the right support, with the right integration, all of these things can pose as great teachers. And so, I find that there’s a lot of folks who– It’s almost like this switch up. I’ve seen it two ways. 

I’ve seen folks who are really prepared to go to war with themselves, really prepared to confront these things. And then when they go through it, it’s none of it. It’s the bliss. It’s the comfort. It’s all that. 

Conversely, I’ve seen people looking for relief, looking for a little bit of something, and they actually have to navigate through their anxiety, depression, and trauma for them to even get to the potential of that part. 

So, I just want to remind folks, this is a nonlinear process. It’s not algorithmic. It’s not like, if I put in these right ingredients, then I’m going to feel relief and healing and so on and so forth. 

What I share in my own life is that, I’ve needed to have the lessons be so abrupt and so in front of my face, because I’m super stubborn and I can talk myself out of anything. And so, the medicine scans me, and the medicine knows that, and the medicine is like–

“We’re going to deliver this to you in a way where there’s no way that any of your defense mechanisms can cause you to ignore the stuff that you actually need to address.” That’s the lesson for me. I can’t say that that’s the same for other folks. 

Processing Trauma & Repressed Memories

[00:13:10] Nick: All right. So, this is going to perfectly segue into the next couple of themes here, because when our defense mechanisms are turned off or down, and a lot of folks scientifically associate this with the default mode network. 

But when our defense mechanisms are turned down or off entirely, guess what happens? A whole bunch of repressed or suppressed emotions start bubbling up to the surface. Oh, and guess what else? 

You start to get access to memories that were previously unavailable to you, because you had to keep a lid on them in order to function in the world. And so, this often relates to childhood trauma. 

Folks who have experienced violence in childhood, sexual abuse in childhood, in these extremely developmental years of zero to seven, let’s call it. 

It’s not unusual for that to come to the surface and folks to go, “Huh, I always had an intuition that there was something there, but I never had access to it. I could never get to it.” And so, this is riding right on the heels of what you’re talking about–

Which is like, people want to feel better, but oftentimes, the prerequisite to feeling better is airing out and working through all the stuff that’s resulted in what I like to call, emotional constipation. It’s undealt with. It hasn’t been resolved. It hasn’t had any light shed on it. 

Jimmy: Yeah. Gabor Maté has a theory that all of our neuroses and all of our mental health conditions are rooted in trauma, like, every single one of them.

I think the other important thing to say here is that, when we think about memories, we’re thinking about thought. We’re thinking about recall. But the way that these repressed emotions, memories, life events show up can be very dynamic. 

And so, I’ve seen people who can’t fully identify what it is, but then they go through a bodily, energetic, whatever process that we’ll speak about here in a moment, and they’re like–

“I don’t even know what that was, but I know that it encircles something of a certain period in my life. And now, I actually feel that release.” I’ve also seen people regress into that age and that state, people who regress down into a nonverbal infantile childlike state. 

I’ve seen people regress into a teen or a childhood phase. I’ve seen people regress into younger 20s, 30s versions of themselves. And so, there’s a lot of different ways. Also remember that this is not just a linear mind cognitive process. 

A lot of times when I see this repressing of emotions and memories, many times, clients don’t even realize that that’s happened until they’re in integration, until they’re able to look back and connect the dots. 

What I also find sometimes is there, is this insulation of the mind that sometimes happens here. And so, that’s why you have folks who say, “I don’t know that exact memory that’s being recalled, but I do know that I’ve processed through it.” And I do know that something shifted there.

Nick: Which is so cool that you can [Jimmy laughs] move through it without actually having to-

Jimmy: To relive it. 

Nick: -relive the whole thing. 

Jimmy: And sometimes, the medicine knows that you are capable of reliving it and that maybe you do have to relive it as you go through. 

And so, this is where that maybe, that really powerful word maybe comes in. I also think that this segues into somatic processes. Processes [crosstalk] 

Nick: Yeah, I was just going to go there too. 

Jimmy: Yeah, please. 

Nick: No, go for it. Basically, what you’re talking about is, there are ways to process trauma that are not cognitive in nature. 

And so, what this really comes down to is the nervous system and the nervous system’s ability to naturally discharge energy. We also have an episode on this topic entirely. 

Jimmy: [laughs] Can you give them that quick Peter Levine, like a fawn out there. Just that real quick one. 

Nick: So, the super, super high level concept theory here is that, essentially, this wonderful author, Peter Levine, he’s actually a– [crosstalk] 

Jimmy: I think it’s a gazelle. I don’t know. 

Nick: Yeah, he’s a psychologist as well. But he wrote this book called Waking the Tiger. It’s awesome. I highly recommend for anyone that wants to better understand this concept. 

And essentially, he said, “Okay, well, animals experience traumatic events all the time, all the time in the wild. Why do they have no residual trauma? And we as humans are carrying around sacks full of all of our sh*t, all of our trauma?” 

What he basically boils it down to is that he studied animals in the wild. I think you’re right. A gazelle was trying to outrun a cheetah, a lion, some sort of predatory creature. 

And it escaped, which you can imagine how traumatic that would be. It’s like the equivalent of someone hunting you down with a knife and a gun, and you’re running away. 

The first thing that gazelle does when it escapes, the immediate fear is it lays down on the ground and shakes. And it shakes and shakes and shakes until their entire nervous system has discharged all that energy, and then it goes on its way. 

That discharge is what allows it to move past and through that event without the residual buildup in the nervous system. That’s the interesting thing about trauma is, it compounds. And so, if we don’t let it out, we keep layering on more and more and more and more and more. 

When we’re talking about trauma here, this doesn’t mean big T trauma like rape, physical abuse, war. It also means surgery, car accidents, crashes, having your boundaries violated, all these little things. 

Jimmy: Being embarrassed as a child, not getting a specific need met as a child. Like, it can be an awkward interaction with somebody that left a little residual trauma that made you think that you’re less than somehow. 

And so, there’s all these little things in the way that this trauma builds up. The thing that I’ll add– Thank you for that, because I think that was a quick course into that episode also–

But then also about somatic processes where then you add that to our society that tells you what’s normative to be, act, think, and feel. So, men, for example, are shown as weak in society when they talk about their emotions. 

And then I immediately think about first responders who deal with trauma on the day to day, and they don’t even feel comfortable talking about it in the firehouse, or to their partner in the ambulance, or whatever. 

And so, you can see how we’re just naturally built up into a system where we’re supposed to lock this stuff in. We’re supposed to act like it didn’t happen. We’re supposed to be strong enough to move through it. 

I say that both for men, women, and transgendered, and queer folks. It’s like everybody is confronted with that type of pressure. And so, psychedelics become this place, where not only is that okay to do, but it’s actually encouraged by the medicine. 

And so, I have plenty of people who are like, “I’m shaking back and forth. Is this okay? Is this allowed? Is this all right for me to do? It feels good. I have no idea why it feels good.” I’m like, “Yes.” I deeply encourage that.  

Nick: Yeah. And so, this could look like shaking, trembling, yawning, mumbling, convulsing, hot temperature, cold fluctuations.

Jimmy:  Yeah, sweatings, eye fluttering. I’ve seen like neck and shoulder movement. It can be very subtle and calming like a rocking back and forth even up to something that looks a little bit more overt like a jerking of the neck or something like–

I call them either more internal somatic experiences versus what I call more large and external somatic experiences. And so, there can be a lot of different ways that somatic processes can happen. So, that is more about the process of the body. 

Now I think what’s akin to that, and I’ll just preface to say that the reason why we call it this is because the English lexicon or just human language is very limiting in describing this stuff. 

So, we call it energetic releases mostly, because Nick and I can’t come up with a better term for it, but can you help folks understand what that is and what that’s akin to like the somatic process. 

Energetic Release & Examples

[00:22:07] Nick: Yeah. The example that comes to mind for me is, I’ve had clients express, I can finally feel my heart opening. I’ve had clients express, “Oh, it feels like there’s hair stuck in my throat. I’m trying to get this hairball out.” 

It’s not physical inherently, and it’s not bodily inherently. It’s this energetic, or you could think of it as spiritual. None of this is trying to impress our beliefs on anyone. 

It’s just this to your point that we have such limited terms to describe these experiences that it’s hard. And so, when people describe their heart opening, they’re not talking about their physical heart. They’re talking about– [crosstalk] 

Jimmy: Obviously, your physical heart is working. It’s working. [laughs] 

Nick: They’re talking about your spiritual heart, that deep place within you. And the same thing goes with the throat. It’s not that there’s an actual hairball in there. It’s that there’s this energetic clearing of the ability to express yourself is most often what that is tied to. 

Jimmy: I have a great example of this. So, I’ve had many clients, enough clients, where I can speak about the trend of it, where they’re like, “I just went to the bathroom and I have to pee again”. 

And so, I help them get up, support them in the bathroom, give them their privacy, close the door. I’m within earshot, if they need something. 

A lot of clients have reported, “I’m sitting there needing to pee. I know I just peed. I know nothing’s coming out, like, urine is coming out, but it feels like something came out.” [laughs] 

Nick: Yep.

Jimmy: Or they visualize something, or they visualize a certain color, or something. And so, they clearly, logically know that they didn’t pee. 

They still have the sensation and the feeling of whether a pressure, or a sensation, or something on their bladder, maybe their bladder is full. And then they’re sitting there for sometimes an hour being like–

“Something needs to come out here, and I don’t know what it is.” And so, it’s just a funny thing that you can’t really fully describe, [laughs] but I also know that this is something that comes up with a lot of my clients.

Nick: For those that are maybe more, I guess, versed in mysticism, spirituality, ethereal healing arts, whatever, a lot of times, this is referred to as the energetic body. So, just because you can’t see, it doesn’t mean it’s not a thing. 

When we’re in these altered states, this stuff tends to come out. Even if you’re, excuse me, atheist, or agnostic, or non-spiritual, it doesn’t mean this can’t happen. 

That’s what I think is so interesting about these experiences is that’s part of how they shift our belief system. It’s hard to ignore when you experience something like that firsthand. So, I thought that that was a good overcap. 

Jimmy: Yeah. We have a couple of other things on this list that we wrote. I think that we touched upon repressed memories and emotions, accessing memories that were previously unavailable.

I think another part of that is a term that you say like confronting skeletons. And here, we’re talking about skeletons in our closet. 

Those are pieces of content and things, or things that we’ve done in the past or situations at events that we are somewhat aware of in our conscious mind in a way that we tuck it away.

What I often find are clients who hold the secret of like, “Man, I hope that doesn’t come up in ceremony. I hope that doesn’t show up, because I’m not ready or equipped or whatever.” 

I know this firsthand in my own life, for sure. It’s very funny, because if you’re really doing the work, if you’re really moving into a place of true healing with psychedelics, it’s going to come up. 

Nick: There’s no way you can avoid it. It’s only a matter of time. 

Jimmy: Exactly. You might not know when you can be like me who went through a hundred and whatever odd experiences having the skeleton in my closet being like, “I wonder when it’s going to come up.” And it just came up recently in my life. It just came up. 

Nick: To me, the thing that I associate with this skeleton in the closet concept is it’s often tied to shame and guilt. And so, we all have these events in our life that resulted in us feeling guilt or shame. 

And sometimes, it’s not conscious but it still has that effect, and psychedelics like to air that sh*t out. Because we are unhealthy humans, if we’re walking around with stored shame and guilt. 

And so, this is a natural process of working through those emotions so we can move towards inner peace, and a little bit of compassion, and perhaps, even self-love.

Jimmy: Which is on our list as well. 

[laughter] 

Confronting Skeletons: The Importance of Self Love & Support 

[00:27:35] Jimmy: But I hear you. When I look back in my own personal experience, I wouldn’t have been ready to confront those skeletons, if it weren’t for now. 

But a real reason why is not that I wasn’t worthy enough or good enough to confront it, it’s because it’s very clear that I need to confront that with the right support

With the right community, with the right people, with the right tools, with the right frameworks, with the right self-reliance and self-worth actually to confront those things. And so, maybe-

[laughter] 

Jimmy: -maybe it comes up for you in your first ceremony, maybe it comes up for you in your 500th ceremony. Maybe you don’t even have 500 ceremonies. Maybe it doesn’t even come up in psychedelic experience. 

Maybe you have a psychedelic experience or a life experience that causes you to confront the skeleton in your closet, which then an important way of navigating that is having true self-love and compassion–

Which I know that this has been really important in your trajectory, because you got that early on in your process, and so I’d love for you to just talk about this a little bit to the listeners. 

Nick: Yeah, it’s funny. We didn’t do this intentionally, but I feel like all themes we addressed up to this point are more challenging in nature. We’re starting to move into the stuff that’s left on the list that’s a bit more like joyful, light, and perhaps, even positive. 

So, I love this one of true direct experiences of self-love and compassion, because I think a lot of us have ideas in our mind around what that might look like, but it’s an entirely different thing to feel it. 

And so, the analogy that I used for myself is, the first time I even heard the word self-love, I conceptually understood it, but I didn’t have an emotional target for what it felt like. 

What psychedelics provided me was a direct firsthand experience of feeling self-love, feeling compassion towards myself. It honestly brought me to tears.

Like, it was truly a life changing moment, because up until that point, I have been trying to hit an emotional target without knowing where to find it or what it felt like–

Which is a very confusing place to be, because conceptually, you hear the term, you conceptually understand it, and yet you don’t feel it. And so– [crosstalk] 

Jimmy: It’s elusive. It escapes you. 

Nick: Exactly. And so, I have seen this an amazing amount of times with clients where they finally have an opportunity to feel love in the present moment. 

It’s not rooted in conditionality, there’s nothing they have to do to earn it, there’s no requirements. It’s just your presence is enough. 

And that is a remarkable thing to be able to experience. What I think is so cool is, once that direct experience has been had, the neural pathways have already been established in a way where you can refire those, you can get back there with or without the medicine. [crosstalk] 

Jimmy: But you have to work on it. You get a template, but you have to work on it. It’s like restoring an old car. It worked really well in the 1930s. 

And it still has all the same stuff, but you got to work on that thing to get it operational where you can drive it around every week or whatever. 

The Result of Self Love: Connecting to Something Greater

[00:31:17] Nick: Totally. That’s a big one. Perhaps, we move into the next one, which is tangential is like, once you start to realize your own worth, your own sense of self-love and enoughness–

I think a natural thing that comes from that is starting to feel this connection and relation to others. And that’s another theme of feeling deeply connected. I don’t know if you’ve had this experience. I’ve personally had it, I know other clients have too–

But almost the life recap where you’re getting an opportunity to just evaluate and reflect on all your relationships, all the people you’ve ever interacted with, and often highlighting those people that are just super important, and pivotal, and dear to you in your life. 

Jimmy: Mm-hmm. I think that this connectivity to something greater than yourself, I might call it, can show up in different ways. Connectivity to your relationships and the people that you have in life, which you’re saying starts off with this connectivity to the self.

And then by extension of that, some folks do go into a connection to nature, or a connection to all living things, or a connection to inanimate things, rocks and trees. Well, trees are not inanimate, but you understand what I mean. 

A connection to the little ant that they see crawling across the front porch. And then some folks view that as a connection to the divine, a connection to the universe, a connection to spirit, a connection to God. 

Again, it’s not for us to define what that’s like for you, but there’s this common theme of connection through all of those different facets that can be experienced. 

And so, I find that they’re interrelated, and I also find that, oftentimes, it’s not about the cognitive evaluation of the health and the strength of that relationship. 

Sometimes, people are just like, “I’m really thinking about the specific person, and I just feel so connected to them.” Or, what can be even more common than you would think, feeling a connection to a lost one, or somebody who has died, or somebody who and they’re like–

“I know, maybe they’re not here, maybe they’re not, but they feel so present right now in this time or space.” Or, let me take it a step further. A connection to a lost you that was back there when you were 10 or 12 or whatever. And so, it doesn’t always have to be in divinity.

It doesn’t always have to be in nature. But there is this trend of almost like there is something greater that interweaves all of us. Maybe, [laughs] again, maybe you experience that, maybe you don’t. 

Nick: I mean, tangibly, I have definitely seen clients actively communicate with loved ones who have crossed over to the other side. 

Jimmy: Same.

Nick: It’s definitely a thing, and it’s also not a guarantee, but I have seen it several times. 

Jimmy: Not for me to validate or invalidate that person’s experience, I can share with them, yes, I’ve worked with other clients who have had something very similar–

But it’s not for me to put on my own dogma or belief or yes, you had a spiritual channeling or whatnot. That’s up to the journeyer. 

Nick: Totally. 

“Aha!” Moments & Connecting Dots

[00:35:03] Jimmy: And then I also think that you were saying something before about this life recap as it relates to this connectivity to others, which I also think that that’s related to our last couple of things here, which is this, I call it connecting the dots. 

I know you call it these like aha moments, but it’s almost these things that might have been disconnected, unrelated, maybe it’s a random memory, maybe you don’t even figure it out in the psychedelic experience. 

It may be after an integration or the best for me is that I let life continue for a little while, and then a couple of months later, I have this life experience or this thing that I’m like, “Oh, that’s related to something that came up in the psychedelic experience.” 

And so, there can be these aha moments, these ah, that makes sense, these oh, that’s so clear to me in the here and now, that can be a common theme in psychedelic experiences too. 

Nick: That to me is a direct function of being in an expanded state of awareness. What’s cool to me about that theme, that pattern. is once you’ve seen it, you can’t really unsee it. 

Pandora doesn’t go back in the box. And so, once you’ve connected that, “Oh, the reason I do this is because of that,” it’s really hard to unsee it. It doesn’t mean you still have to put an effort to change your behavior, adjust pivot, whatever it is. 

But it’s really hard to put awareness back in the box. That’s the interesting thing about these tools is, once your awareness has been expanded, once you’ve connected the dots, that’s the new normal. What you do with that is up to you. 

Jimmy: Yeah. I will also say that there’s a lot of folks who I work with who report like, “Ah, that was so clear in that moment. But now that I’m out of the experience, it’s a little murky. I’m forgetting. I’m a little bit further away from it.” 

My theory on that is because your cognitive mind is now back online, and then your cognitive mind is trying to piece all that together, and so what I share with folks is that you may have that deep truth moment, that aha moment in that time. 

You may come out and it be fuzzy and you may not remember. Hopefully, integration helps you get back to whatever that place, space, and time is for that connected moment. 

And also, you don’t need to remember all of it, because it still happened. You still had the aha moment to your point on the neurons still fired off the way that they fired off. 

And so, you do technically have a template on getting back to that, even though it might not be through memory, it might not be through, “Ah, I wrote down exactly what this thing means to me.” 

Nick: Yeah, the way I explain it is like, you still flip the switch in your subconscious mind, and that’s where a lot of this work is being done. It’s the hardest part of ourselves to access. 

And so, it still happened. It’s just not as present in the thinking mind. That’s totally okay. In an effort to, I guess, bring more tangibility to this whole thing, I’m happy to share a quick aha moment that I had, so people can see how this works. 

I was in a journey at one point, and I was in a very dark place at the time. I kept asking myself this question like, “Why is this all happening to me? All these crazy life events, why is this happening to me?” 

In the journey, in this expanded state of awareness, I realized, “Oh, my God, I literally wouldn’t even be sitting here right now, had all this stuff not happened.” 

I started to slowly piece together that the events in my life that I had viewed as the most challenging, the most heartbreaking, the most painful were actually essential stepping stones for me to get to where I was right then and there–

And to be able to show up in this world the way that I want to. I’ve also seen clients have similar types of experiences, but it’s amazing the way that this expanded state of awareness and connecting of the dots can reframe our whole worldview. 

Jimmy: Yeah, which when you’re talking about expanded awareness, I think it’s worth talking a little bit more about what that means to our listeners, which is just very simply you’re picking up on more data than you normally are in your default sober waking state. 

And oftentimes, when you can get into this altered state of consciousness, your awareness expands. That can look a lot of different ways. That can be like, “I have the sense that people’s bullshit meters go up really high-

Nick: 100%.

Jimmy: -when you’re in a psychedelic state. What they notice- a little sound, a little light change, a little something, a little whatever, you’re picking up on that. 

Those are very a social example and an environmental example, but the same holds true with your internal process. And so, what ends up happening is, you may be thinking about it’s your– Thank you for that share, by the way. 

I know that you don’t share a ton in these podcasts, and I think that that was really helpful and meaningful for folks to listen to. 

When I hear you saying that is that all of the stuff you were aware of, all of the stuff you knew, all of the stuff you were experiencing and feeling, but you were asking why? And then you got into a state where you just had more tools and instruments. 

Like, it was almost like your radar was a little bit more expanded, or some way that I might think about is that you were looking at it through the visible light spectrum, and infrared, and ultraviolet, and sonar. 

You know what I mean? [chuckles] It’s like, you had all of these tools for you to be able to look at the whole thing and be like, “Oh-

Nick: Exactly.

Jimmy: “All of that actually led up to this moment.”

Nick: Exactly. And what’s funny is, if you look at the brain scans of the human brain on psychedelics, that sh*t is lit up. 

Jimmy: It’s lit up. Lit up.

Nick: It’s lit up. And so, things are talking to each other that aren’t normally communicating, and that’s part of what I think allows for this connecting of the dots, the expanded state of awareness, et cetera. So, this is a good episode. Is there anything else that you–? 

Jimmy: No, I’m feeling complete. I really enjoyed this conversation, and I know that we went off on a couple of tangents and things like that, but I do hope that this conversation resonates with people. 

The main thing that I want to express is that, all of these can be a part of your psychedelic experience. None of it’s required, because, to your point, Nick, that it’s between you and the medicine. Like, the medicine will give you an arc of what you need. It might not all happen in one experience.

Nick: It usually doesn’t. 

Jimmy: It usually doesn’t. 

Nick: Yeah. 

Jimmy: Yeah. 

Nick: Oh, my goodness. Well, thank you all so much for joining us today. As you know now, you can download episodes of The Psychedelic Passage podcast on all major streaming platforms–

Whether it’s Apple Podcast, Amazon, Spotify, or wherever else you choose to get your podcasts. If you like the show, please rate and review us, so that others know how you like it. 

If you do have friends, family members, loved ones who you think would benefit from our content, we encourage you to share it. And that brings us to the end of our episode this week. So, thank you all so much and we’ll see you the following week.

Speak With a Local Psychedelic Guide

It can be extremely helpful to be aware of what could come up and what that may look like.  As we highlight the big Maybe, we also show the commonalities that appear across psychedelic healing. 

Whether you have more questions or you’re ready to take the next step, we empower you to book a consultation with one of our concierges today. There they can connect you to our network of carefully pre-vetted, experienced psychedelic facilitators. 

Our resources page has lot’s more educational material just like this podcast, including medical and supportive articles to assist you on your journey. As always, stay safe, be mindful, and radiate love!

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At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

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