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How Psychedelics Can Be a Path to Transformation

An exploration of psychedlics' potential to support personal, spiritual, and cultural transformation.

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In the post psychedelic condition, integration is the key to maintaining transformation. Integration is a function of intentionality -- conscious and unconscious. Integration occurs both without effort -- as a redesign of the central processor of our minds -- and voluntarily as a deliberate effort to understand, find meaning, and as rectification -- of our behavior towards others and towards ourselves. The psychedelic experience in and of itself may be transformative of our consciousness, but support for change by deliberate and disciplined absorption in the myriad spiritual/emotional/psychological/activist opportunities for increasing clarity and breadth most probably results in a more long-term and positive transformation of self. The human mind while extraordinarily plastic, adaptable, and mutable is also built with a great rubber band that returns us to our dominant character. This serves both as preserver of the integrity of the self and as a block to transformation -- holding onto deluded Self.

Grounding in the world of the interior and the external world -- finding balance -- is a prerequisite for successful psychonautical voyaging and for a mind expansion that is in essence kind, creative, and that loosens the spell of the propaganda-filled social world we inhabit that tells us what to think and feel and especially what to desire and purchase.



Suggested Reading

  • A lovely, illustrated history of mind-altering drug use: High Society by Mike Jay Park (Street Press, 2010).
  • More on the sixties, the CIA, LSD, etc.: Acid Dreams by Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain (Grove Press, 1985) and Storming Heaven -- LSD and the American Dream by Jay Stevens (Grove Press, 1987).
  • A glorious mytho-poetic encyclopedia of psychoactive substances: the Pharmako trilogyby Dale Pendell (North Atlantic Books, updated editions 2010).
  • For the current state of psychedelic science, policy, and controversy, subscribe to the journal from MAPS -- the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Substances ( www.maps.org).

Phil Wolfson, MD, is a practicing psychiatrist/psychotherapist in the Bay Area. He is the author of the forthcoming Noe -- A Father/Son Song of Love, Life, Sickness and Death.

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