Psychedelic Integration Week at Esalen
Psychedelic Integration Week comprised a full 6-days of talks, workshops, and conversations, taking place from March 31st-April 5th at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. The event was a week-long exploration of the particular challenges and opportunities unique to this moment in human history. As a species, we inhabit a very critical time period in which we face a global ecological crisis. Thus, the Psychedelic Integration workshop aimed to examine how psychedelic medicine can help us to move forward in an ecologically holistic and personally integral way.
Among the workshop leaders were Allan Badiner, Rick Doblin, Michael Pollan, Ben Sessa, and Stanislav Grof, just to name a few. Leaders provided an opportunity to learn about the latest research findings as well as facilitated interactive discussions on themes as they arose.
Learn more about the workshop leaders here.
Why Does Psychedelic Integration Matter?
Globally we are experiencing a renaissance of research into psychedelics, with psychoactive substances becoming more commonly accepted. Due to accumulative research illuminating their therapeutic, medicinal, and spiritual benefits, substances like MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, and ayahuasca are making a reappearance in public awareness.
The term ‘psychedelic’ literally means ‘mind-manifesting’, and was originally coined by the English psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond. Osmond was a close friend of the well-known writer, and psychonaut, Aldous Huxley, with the term first being suggested when the two men were exploring ways to refer to the unique category of substances that we able to provide access to the visionary state.
To fathom Hell or soar angelic,
take a pinch of psychedelic. —Humphrey Osmond
Thus, the ‘mind-manifesting’ nature of these substances alongside the fact of their global resurgence call attention to the necessity of integration. When we speak about ‘integration’ in this context, we refer to the incorporation of valuable insights from the visionary state into our daily lives. In short, these substances have the potential to offer opportunities for growth, transformation, and self-insight, but only if we willing to work with them after the fact, and incorporate their teachings into our lives to create long-lasting change.
More About the Workshop Leaders:
Allan Badiner served as the editor in the first and second editions of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, as well as two other books of collected essays, Dharma Gaia: A Harvest in Buddhism and Ecology and Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism. Allan is a contributing editor of Tricycle magazine, and serves on the board of directors of Rainforest Action Network, Threshold Foundation and Project CBD. He has been a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh for over than 25 years.
Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D., is a psychiatrist with more than fifty years of experience researching the healing and transformative potentials of non-ordinary states of consciousness. His groundbreaking theories influenced the integration of Western science with his brilliant mapping of the transpersonal dimension, being one of the founders and chief theoreticians of Transpersonal Psychology. Currently, Dr. Grof is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, CA. Among his publications are over 150 papers in professional journals and many books including Beyond the Brain, LSD Psychotherapy, Psychology of the Future, The Cosmic Game, and HR Giger and the Zeitgeist of the Twentieth Century.
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist.
About the Esalen Institute
The Esalen Institute is more than a retreat center or an educational institute. Anchored by the inspiring beauty of Big Sur and an unparalleled intellectual history, Esalen is a worldwide network of seekers who look beyond dogma to explore deeper spiritual possibilities; forge new understandings of self and society; and pioneer new paths for change. They offer up to 600 workshops and programs per year devoted to cultivating deep change in self and society.
Check out @EsalenInstitute on Facebook to keep up-to-date their upcoming events.
Featured artwork: “Contemplation” 1990 by Francesco Clemente