We’ve been trying to solve emotional suffering for a long time – thousands of years.

Everything from ancient and contemporary ascetics meditating in caves and ashrams to years “on the coach” in psychoanalysis. And prescription meds, lots and lots of prescription meds.

And for us Westerns, psychedelics recently entered the picture in a very serious way. This begs the question of what does psychedelic “mind expansion” have to do with overcoming emotional suffering? …and is the focus of my blog this week:

We are so confused. Are people taking psychedelics because they long to “look within”- that is, pursuing a mind expanding exploration? Or do they really not care about expanding their minds as such, but more just about getting rid of painful emotions that plague so many today – anxiety, depression, self-doubt, that sense of unworthiness, anger, loneliness, and so much more?

So, Mind Expansion versus Emotional Recovery. Truly, it appears that countless people are pursuing both. I mean, look at all the recreational use of psychedelics during music and art festivals, for instance. That’s about heightened sensory perception, which, in this instance, is entertainment. Mind Expanding exploration as entertainment. Much of what Burning Man is famous for – that hotbed of self-expression – is about psychedelic experiences.

And then there’s Westerners flocking, at least before COVID, to tribal ceremonies in South America and Africa, officiated by indigenous medicine men with the intention of participants alleviating suffering using psychedelic substances like ayahuasca and iboga.

So we have those seeking mind expansive experiences, and those seeking emotional healing experiences. Let’s call it “psychedelic entertainment” and “psychedelic treatment.” But the two categories, if you will, have become very confused. “Why is this?” you might ask.

Well, here’s my take on it: the two categories have become very confused because these ceremonial activities on other continents have been culturally adopted in this country by white people who facilitate these kinds of gatherings. This is in the underground of course, since psychedelics are illegal in this country. But if you’re in “the know” about these underground activities and have money, these gatherings are everywhere, every weekend, every week. Because hallucinogens are illegal in this country, the quality of these gatherings are very uneven depending on who’s guiding the ceremonies and overseeing and administering the substances.

Even though I’m not in the psychedelics arena per se, I know a lot about this because my work involves cannabis, as in cannabis-assisted emotional recovery, which I talked about last video. And, because my work involves emotional recovery, lots of folks who have explored psychedelics cross my path. And I see people attending these underground gatherings for both mind expansion entertainment and those who are looking for emotional healing.

So any “psychedelic journeying” group will more than likely be made up of those who long to put out the emotional fire in their head, and those who long for cosmic exploration – and you can certainly get some important downloads and breakthroughs from doing that. But, let it be said, a lot of people are in it for the entertainment. It’s fun to be with others while tripping, often cuddled up in collective hugs called “puppy piles.” I’ve been in a few. It feels good, that sense of belonging and acceptance.

But I digress. The bottom-line question, in my estimation, is, “are people who are wrestling with difficult emotions getting what they need from these psychedelic experiences? Are they realizing healing?”

One of the foremost experts on trauma, and a prolific bestselling author on the subject, Peter Levine, has said that while many people do have valuable experiences while they’re on a psychedelic substance, it may, in Dr. Levine’s words, “be less accessible in the normal waking state, and is therefore not embodied”. End quote. “Not embodied” means these realizations are not “integrated” so as to experience true emotional healing.

Further, he says: “That – the process of it becoming embodied – takes additional work which includes asking questions like, ‘How did I close down my body? How did I dissociate?'” In other words, “what are the origins of these emotions that are making me suffer so much?”

I agree with Dr. Levine. This embodiment, this integration is pivotal to emotional recovery. And it is the work that we do in my Emotional Liberation method. Yes, I like pairing the judicious use of cannabis to enhance and amplify this work. And I believe that cannabis is a gentle boundary-dissolving medicine to do this important work. And legally and readily available and safe.

Well, that was a mouthful, wasn’t it. Have you tried psychedelics for emotional healing and trauma recovery? How’d that work for you? Have you tried cannabis for that? Drop down to the comments section and share your thoughts.

I’m Becca Williams, and I want you to lead your most magnificent life… and I want to help you do that.