“Everything rests at the tip of motivation.” - Tibetan Buddhist proverb
What’s the most important thing? What am I here for? What is my deepest intention? Each of these questions moves us toward clarifying our deepest intention for participating in this ceremonial practice period.
This phase is spent relaxing into the space we’ve created and contemplating why we’re here. And not just why we’re here, but why we’re really here!
But contemplating isn't enough--we must also express our aspiration. So this phase involves personal reflection on our motivation for participation, whatever that may be, as well as an outward expression of that intention. If you’re with others that often means sharing your deepest intention aloud with one another. If you’re alone that means writing it down or recording it in some other way.
It’s also good during this phase to plan out what type of meditation practice, and how much of it you’ll be doing during the Meditation Phase.
Once our Intentions are clear we take the...
Once we have connected with, and have communicated, our deepest intentions we then take the sacrament. Here, sacrament simply means a ‘sacred substance’. We are relating to the psychedelic as a substance which can help reveal and deepen our experience of sacredness. Or more precisely, a substance that can help eliminate the false notion that there’s anything which is not already sacred.
Practically speaking, during this phase we initiate the “trip” by ingesting the substance. This also brings up the very important point about dosage. There’s huge variance here in terms of assessing an appropriate dose for a particular substance. With more natural substances (such as mushrooms or ayahuasca) it can be difficult to measure the active dose, or to know just how potent a particular dose will be. Here, it’s helpful to do some research beforehand--erowid.com is a great resource for this--to understand where the substance was sourced, and if it has been utilized before how it went.
After taking the sacrament we enter into...
After we’ve taken the sacramental substance we move on to formally practicing meditation. I'd recommend something like a 30-60 minute practice period to begin, just after ingesting the substance. You can obviously go as long as you like, but this is a starting suggestion, and it’s based on entering into the active phase of the psychoactive experience with a meditative mindset.
Depending on how you want to structure your experience you can choose to do more or less formal periods of practice during the journey (make sure you set your alarms beforehand!). You can also experiment with a more formless type of practice. This isn't the same as just hanging out and playing out our habitual patterns. Rather it’s a broadening of the understanding of what meditation is and what it includes. Now we can begin to relate to everything as meditation in a more free form and spacious way. Our interactions and our spontaneously arising experiences become the meditation. Whatever we do is meditation, a fresh and unbounded way of relating to life.