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Psychedelic Suitcase Podcast and the Importance of Sustainability

Daniel Visits The Psychedelic Suitcase Podcast and discusses the importance of being sustainable with your integration practice. We talk about how integration is a process and should be moved through naturally and organically.

Quotes and Highlights

“When I started joining integration circles, I found that I was able to be really raw with expressing my feelings and experiences, to really lay it out. As a result, things were really getting processed, things that I had trouble even finding context for on my own. I found that by sharing these things with people who had similar experiences and who really understood what I was expressing was deeply transformational for me. And by listening to others share their stories gave me new meanings & understandings”

“My first suggestion when helping people learn about meditation is to focus on learning how to train the mind’s intention. One of my favorite things to do is to dispel myths about meditation, as I find that the meditation instructions that people receive are from like a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who maybe learned some stuff from an actual monk. Let’s think about monks for a bit–I love monks of course, but they lead very different lives than the vast majority of us. So, what’s appropriate for someone who’s cloistered in a monastery & doesn’t have much to do but stare at walls all day and cut potatoes doesn’t really translate well for the majority of us. My clients are people with jobs, families, mortgages and they have a very hard time trying to meditate like a detached aesthetic, like a celibate and poverty stricken monk. It’s a bad fit! And when they try hard to make it fit it’s very frustrating and probably causes neurosis”

“Meditations that come from religion are ridden with dogma, like the idea that you’re supposed to meditate to achieve total oneness. But, what if your aim is to be a better team leader, or to quit a bad habit? I like to promote the idea that you can meditate for any reason that you want to, to strive for any goal that’ll help you become your ideal self”

“It’s better to do your dharma perfectly than to do someone else’s dharma imperfectly”

“When I say ‘training the mind’s attention,” we consider how the mind goes all over the place; the past, future, things we want to happen and things we don’t want to happen. You can make a matrix with four boxes: past, future, likes, dislikes. Do it right now with a pen and paper. Most of the time, our minds are in one of those boxes. With meditation, we learn how to watch our breath and we train our attention to it. Your mind will wander and you’ll notice where it went. Now make a dot in the box of where your mind went! And then go back to your breath. Repeat this and you’ll see your proclivity, you’ll see where your mind tends to go. This turns on our ability to notice what our mind is doing, which is an ability which is regularly turned off, right? You’ll become aware of how your mind likes to dress things up in a thousand different ways. It will be alluring and glamorous, it’ll make it seem like “oh, this is very important stuff!” Which it is when you’re off the meditation cushion. I’m not telling you that you’re not supposed to want things in the future–a healthy person wants good things for their future, and they know what that is. If you’re afraid of dogs, and all you’re doing is worrying about future dogs that you’ll meet, there’s going to be a dog. If you suppress that and everytime you see a dog you get really weird, you’re not going to live your best life. The goal is to gain insight, and you train your mind’s attention in order to get to that insight, not to get to an empty mind”

“Another insight that I come across with my clients is seeing that they get hung up on wanting a future that they think they’re supposed to want. So they’ve been indoctrinated and conditioned, society says this and that, and maybe they’re even skilled at a job like they’re a software engineer for example. They’ve been chasing a dream that’s been empty for them. They keep thinking about all of these things that they’re supposed to want, but when they’re face to face with those things, say realize “well, that’s not even me!”

“With clients, one of my main focuses is on their sustainability. Often, in the immediate days following a deep psychedelic experience, people want to go hard and fast into dismantling their life. Here, I ask if there’s a way to do this safely and sustainably so that you don’t just nuke your life! This is assuming that a client isn’t in immediate danger of course, like the person isn’t being abused, things aren’t super terrible in their day to day existence. Many people are in decent jobs but feel that it’s just not for them and are seeking ways to expand”

“I focus on communication with my clients, like helping them find a way to speak their new-truths with people in their lives without shock and worry. Like for the breadwinner of a family to ditch their job, go home and say “oh honey, by the way, I’m a crystal healer now!” Or “I’m a psychedelic podcaster now, deal with it!” That scenario probably won’t end well for most people.

“I’m eager to listen to clients and learn about what they hear is calling to them. I had someone once who was convinced that they had to drop everything, move to the Amazon, play their guitar all day and live a simple life. I listened, asked some questions, and what we found was that the person was really missing a connection with nature and creativity. One question I’d asked was “how much do you play your guitar right now,” and it turns out that they didn’t play it at all. So here, I suggested that they should maybe carve out some time each day or every other day or whatever and play the guitar. Similarly, with the calling to nature, I asked “when was the last time you just went for a walk in the park,” and their answer was the same. So I suggested that they go for walks more often. So here we can enhance our lives by making little adjustments here and there; you don’t have to radically change your life to be the better you. Let’s get to the root of what you want, like how we talked about how the mind glamorizes things you know? Like a person says that they want to move to the jungle and play guitar all day, well, let’s start by going to the park near your apartment and play the guitar for a little bit. And we’ll see how that feels in your system”

“Our minds tend to focus on these big and shiny external changes, when really what we seek are internal feelings of love, creativity, connection to nature. We want to feel cozy, heart centered and connected. So let’s work on that first and then maybe we look at the external stuff, and then by nurturing both worlds, we create a whole being”

“There’s something very profound about using the power of spiritual love as an integrative tool. For me, the teachings of Ram Dass and others, following their practices, have been very supportive in my life; heart-opening, purifying, and stabilizing. There’s nothing in these teachings that “normal” people cannot do. There really aren’t any hard terms to Dass’s teachings, more like vibes of: what are you doing right where you are, what is the energy of your breath, what are you bringing to the people around you, and how do you unapologetically just cultivate more love and kindness? And how do we unearth the indomitable darkness that holds us back from being able to do that?”

“When you’re in a deep psychedelic experience, you’re met with darkness in 7-dimensional technicolor and you must be willing to face that and tell yourself that it’s workable. Having the courage to say “I’ve got some horrible stuff inside of me and I’m going to love it anyway. In fact, maybe I’ll remove my judgment of it so it’s less horrible! I’ll be kinder to other people and too myself and I’ll allow myself to hear through that love that was reflected back to us by people like Ram Dass”

“How do we accept the love that’s reflected at us and how do we reflect back love and acceptance to people who come into our lives? There are so many things that we can do to increase our capacity to get out of our own way”

“People are showing up to the party. They’ve read Michael Pollan’s book and they want their psychedelic experience to be a certain way. I’ve had folks who’ve read that book and come to me seeming like they want coaching, but what they’re really looking for is a drug dealer. There’s this huge expectation about what the psychedelic experience should be like, and the mentality that accompanies that is very consumeristic and entitled, like they want to purchase a cathartic experience from me, and it just doesn’t work like that. People try to overlay commerce onto a mushroom, expecting instant productivity, like if they take the amount that they read about in an article that they’ll have a specific experience, and again that’s not the case”

“We find that this very act of grasping for a quick fix, that’s what we’re trying to overcome. The grasping is at the root of the suffering. So if we seek a relief from suffering, it’s the grasping that needs to be released. The root of the grasping is (35:20, jumbled audio) is identification, is the grasping of ego”

“People act like it’s something external that’s the problem. And really, the ego is external to who we really are. There is the self-centered creation amalgam that we call ourselves. I’m a person, you’re a person, we’re our individual selves. We think we want “Dave” to be free from suffering, but here the problem is “the Dave.” We don’t realize that we need to be free from “the Dave, “that “Dave” is the oppressor.” If “Dave” has the breakthrough, then it’s not a real breakthrough. In actuality, the breakthrough would be a release from “Dave’”

“There’s this minister I heard about who works with inner-city gang members, a real tough crowd, who talks about “ventilation of the soul.”

“We’re not monks; the idea for us isn’t to eradicate the self. We need that guy to get around, to make sandwiches and podcasts! Everyone’s got stuff to do, that’s just the way it is. So how to we ventilate ourselves and let the light in, so that we’re not taking ourselves so seriously all of the time”

“There’s a terrific book called the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, which is an encyclopedia of 112 mediation practices, perfect for everyone. It begins with Shiva and Shakti, the divine pair, the masculine and feminine. What’s the nature of reality, what’s this overflowing bliss and how can I know it more fully? Here, she’s not trying to leave life or eradicate suffering, she’s saying how do I come more fully into an embrace of the gorgeousness of the universe. Shakti tells Shiva to practice, that the only way this can be done is through personal practice. Do the work, get on the mat, the cushion etc”

“Community is real medicine, just being with folks who get you, it’s a huge deal. There’s a difference between being in conscious intentional space with people vs. ‘just hangin’ out and grooving on the scene.’”

“DIY integration circles are revolutionary acts! To take the creativity and conversations to the people and for the people, as opposed to running it through some corporate entity that doesn’t care if you live or die.

“DIY integration circles are revolutionary acts! To bring the conversations directly to the people, as opposed to running it through some corporate entity that doesn’t care if you live or die, that’s what we need”-Daniel Shankin

“With setting, I like to keep it entertaining! With all the current medicalization of psychedelics, it’s like they’re trying to extract all of the fun out of it. Like we’re hung up on the work aspect of the experience, ‘I’m not ok and I need drugs to make me ok.” To keep the experience fun, entertaining, and loving is very important”

“Are we guided by self-hatred? On the one hand there’s a deep desire for love, healing and growth, and on the other hand we can get all wrapped up in the ‘I’m not good enough, I’ll never be good enough, I need to fix this’ mentality, and that can become a very heavy mental loop which will probably cause more suffering than it cures.”

“Considering mind-set, yes of course you probably should’nt be in a bad mood when you take psychedelics. But, there’s much more to that and that’s where meditation comes in, by helping us be more proactive with our mindset, to drive the ship with more finesse. We speak often of ‘going through’ things, and here it helps to think about how you’ll navigate that passage. Looking at negativities, getting a jump on them ahead of time vs. being in a fox-hole situation where it’s trial by fire and the journeyer navigates on the fly. If you’re trained ahead of time, it really helps you navigate the myriad twists and turns of a psychedelic experience. With practice, you get muscle memory of the mind where you learn to default to compassion, gratitude, and deeper inquiry. It’s how we can greet trauma and not be re-traumatized by it”