Every year millions of people will use psychedelics, many for the first time. Some of these psychedelic experiences will be difficult ones. Even though society has termed these experiences "bad trips,” a difficult psychedelic experience is not necessarily a bad one. The challenging situation can be seen as an opportunity for transformation.
A true psychedelic experience, even a so-called bad trip, is sacred. In earth-oriented, shamanic cultures, even a psychotic breakdown, induced by a psychedelic, is part of the initiation. So remember the way of the ancients: this is a process, a process of awakening, healing, and ultimately celebrating life.
One of the most common felt threat to sanity is the feeling/experience that one is going crazy, losing one’s mind, or that this will never end. This feeling/experience is supported by changing mental states and powerful (sometimes) changes in perception. Major shifts in ego/personality structure, regarding one’s belief and understanding of oneself, the world, and god, are common.
Another harsh experience is when old traumas may be remembered and relived. These memories can be either of a physical nature or of an intellectual, emotional nature.
These traumas can also be of a transpersonal nature, meaning phenomena that go beyond our personal identity or biographical understanding of the universe. These could be experiences from another life, becoming one with the earth or other life forms, or experiencing the life cycle of an animal.
One could leave one’s body, have the experience of merging with an archetype, or experience the world of a god or a goddess. The memory of a violent death can be a most traumatic experience.
There can be many different, sometimes never experienced, sensory, energy, and body sensations. These can range from hearing colors to seeing music. It could be an extremely heightened sense of smell, taste, hearing and vision. Some of the most frightening manifestations of the psychedelic experience are energetic.
People go through powerful releases, rendering their bodies out of control, shaking, twisting and vibrating.
Here’s a small list of reactions that can be triggered by challenging experiences:
• Feeling alone or trapped
• Memory Loss
• Altered sense of time and space
• Fear of losing control
When dealing with negative experiences, always remember:
This will pass, this is a process.
This is an experience other people have had.