“vyutthāna—the several-minutes-long process of coming out of deep meditation, of moving from fully introversive awareness to the extroversive state. It is in this vyutthāna phase that we have a golden opportunity to integrate the former with the latter. Kṣema teaches us that the way we transition out of deep meditation (samādhi) is just as important as the meditation itself.”
– Christopher Wallis on the Recognition Sutras
A Window Into A Therapeutic Methodology
In the following paragraphs I partially outline two stages of my practice, initiation (the Conclave‘s word for setting) and integration, which conjoin rather seamlessly. I”ll begin by sharing first about a theoretical underpinning to my approach to initiation. I’ll then follow by touching on how I put theory into practise via interventions. I end the chapter by describing the ways in which my clients are supported beyond the initiation and throughout until the following one. I wish to thank all the peers, colleagues, mentors, and teachers who have continually provided me with the reflections I’ve used to stay humble and sincere, as well as open, curious, and bold.
A core element of my methodology mirrors the wisdom-teaching of Rajanaka Kshemaraja, a nondual Shaiva Tantrik who wrote, in Sanskrit, the Recognition Sutras around 1000 years ago. When I say the methodology mirrors the teachings, I mean conceptually as well as practically. The conceptual and philosophical framework of the Recognition philosophy mirrors my own cosmovision and, by extension, my own understanding of what is happening with 5 (at least at the time of writing). Practically, the predominant way that I engage participants in my sessions is a sort of modern take on Sutra 19. In this Sutra, the observation of a unique moment is introduced. The word for that moment is vyutthana and it refers to a short period of time directly after a samadhi experience.
To explicate vyutthana and how I consider it to be a core part of my private practice, I will rely exclusively on the translation of the Recognition Sutras by Christopher Wallis. For consistency throughout the text, I will use the numeral “5” to refer to 5-MeO-DMT (as an isolated molecule) as well as the secretion of the Sonoran Desert toad. My own rationale for this can be explored in other texts. I will also use the word “participant” to refer to those who receive what it is that I offer.
I am relying heavily on his one Sanskrit word samadhi to embark on a sharing of my process here, so I will simply use the word samadhi to reflect what I believe to be other words nearly synonymous with nondual, pure consciousness, zero-point field, satori, great spirit, the All, the Holy Kingdom, etc. (this list is by no means exhaustive). My own articulations and thoughts on what a nondual or full-release state is considered in other texts and media.
I don’t pretend to be a Sanskrit scholar whatsoever. However, it is important to note here that the word samadhi is defined in many different ways. It seems to me that for Westerners, the more common definitions and understandings of samadhic states and stages come from well before the Recognition Sutras were written, such as in the Vedic texts, including the Yoga Sutras. Since there is an entire field of study and philosophy around this experience, I won’t be discussing it here. Rather, I will simply say that the definitions of samadhi in the Recognition Sutras resonate with me more than other definitions.
I will begin by commenting on the citations from Wallis’ book.
Sutra 19 of the Recognition Sutras
“When emerging slowly from deep meditation, while still feeling its effect, contemplate the Oneness of whatever is perceived with awareness: practising this again and again, one will attain samadhi that continuously arises.”
Wallis’s interpretation of the above translation:
“vyutthāna—the several-minutes-long process of coming out of deep meditation, of moving from fully introversive awareness to the extroversive state. It is in this vyutthāna phase that we have a golden opportunity to integrate the former with the latter. Kṣema teaches us that the way we transition out of deep meditation (samādhi) is just as important as the meditation itself.
The practice described here is simple: if in the meditation you abide in your true centre even only for a few moments, then, when coming out of meditation and opening the senses to the external world, let yourself perceive whatever you perceive as a direct expression of the fundamental awareness of the center. Everything you experience, without exception, is a direct expression of the simple, sweet, quietly alive sense of being at the center. But you don’t necessarily realise this automatically[…].”
Wallis uses the English word “meditation” to replace the Sanskrit “samadhi.” Since the fully transcendent state with 5 is “even only for a few moments” (if it is “arrived” at at all), it is not long after ingesting 5 that the “extroversive state” is gradually entered into. This is where the various aspects of the sense of self begin to amalgamate into a cohesive unit again. As the self reconfigures (bringing on self-consciousness), it doesn’t “necessarily realise this automatically.”
“The moments of vyutthāna—the liminal space between samadhi and the state of being actively engaged with the world—are the golden opportunity to integrate whatever arises in the sphere of perception into the ever expanding sense of ‘I’-ness until it becomes totally all-inclusive. Then your samadhi becomes continuous, for the word samadhi really means ‘intimate union with’; in the first instance, intimate union with the Center, and in the second, through the practice given here, intimate union with the totality of reality.
In this case, the samskara of the samadhi state is what allows for the practice of integrating all that is perceived with the fundamental awareness of that state. It is precisely when you are bathing in ‘the afterglow of the sweet taste of deep meditation’ (the samskara […]) that you have the natural ability to see the mass of existent things, beings, feelings, and mental states dissolving […].”
Integrating “whatever arises in the sphere of perception” is what I call the real-time integration of the specific mental, emotional, and physical phenomena that can be observed in this “liminal space.” Presencing these phenomena (what may be called the samskaric material and other energetic imprints), can be the continuation of what the “fundamental awareness of that [transcendental] state” has revealed. I consider this material as an accretion of clues, signs, or traces that have been revealed. They have been revealed by having had all the self-identifying functions dissolve. The revelation, then, is pure and unfailing. The “medicine” has done its job. It’s a realisation.
From initiation to integration and beyond
In my private practice, I take it to be my role to help the participant realise what has been revealed (with “real eyes” of course). To do this, I use “presencing” techniques of various sorts in the “several minutes long process” after a participant has sufficiently regained enough mindfulness to be able to be guided (often verbal, sometimes physically). The guidance is simply taking stock of what has arisen at this time. Specific thoughts, emotions, and sensations are evident and yet, naturally, the actively reconfiguring, reconstituting mind is often not attending to these phenomena.
Sometimes, immediately after the extroversive state has begun, there is either a fixation with the awe of what happened, or more likely, the scrambling to determine what has just occurred. This can obscure or divert attention from what is happening in that “now.” Without being too directive, my process can “capture the rapture” for future processing. There is, admittedly, a risk to be prematurely analytical or unnecessarily “heady.” However, the aim is to bring a slight degree of mindfulness to the divine phenomena. I consider it divine because the participant is experiencing specific things that have come directly out of the dissolved state, from Source. Engaging with that material begins the practice of integration for the participant.
1 conscious or aware of something
2 focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, especially as part of a therapeutic or meditative technique
At the time of writing, there is much emphasis in popular, mainstream dialogue on being “present” and being “mindful.” For many born into and growing up in an increasingly stimulated environment, it almost goes without saying that paying attention to what is “at hand” is a good thing. Generally we are more “grounded,” clear-headed, and functional when we are attentive to what is immediate—both spatially and temporally.
To use Wallis’ words in his definition of vyutthana, mindfulness is akin to the extroversive state. This is when personal consciousness is present or active enough to be aware of and observe what is happening in the moment. For example, current thoughts (observations as well as narration), emotions (whether core or peripheral; observational or instinctive), sensations (including proprioception and interoception). It is in these moments that I assist in directing the participant’s attention to these phenomena, at least enough simply to report them.
Before this state was the introversive state, samadhi or similar. It may be a reach, but I liken this to mindlessness. Typically, mindless is associated with a lack of care or concern or—and this will be expanded on later—an activity that is so simple that it is performed without thought. Hang on to those last two words: without thought.
Is it not that samadhi is partially defined as a state absent of conscious thought?
If so, we could say that it is a sort of mindless state. What is introversive, as per Wallis, is when personal consciousness is absorbed entirely by, or dissolves into, pure consciousness. Certainly, there are many semantic quandaries here (what do we mean when we say “mind,” “consciousness,” “personal,” etc.?). There are naturally difficulties expressing these experiences as well as describing their phenomenology. It’s inevitable that we arrive at the ineffable. It’s an “ineffitability.”
The vyutthana phase begins when various senses of I, primarily coming from memory, emerge “slowly from deep meditation.” My approach emphasises Wallis’ word “slowly.” Quite often, from such a deep meditation, or samadhi state, a sense of awe and wonder can dominate the attention of the participant. We could all benefit from more “shots of awe” as Jason Silva might say; the state of wonder is more and more elusive with hyper-stimulation and so it is by no means undesirable to behold amazement. Yet, just beneath that experience of awesomeness, I take the “golden opportunity” to capture what personal awareness can perceive in those precious minutes. For whatever can be perceived is, as Wallis says, “a direct expression of the simple, sweet, quietly alive sense of being at the Centre.”
I often put it this way: after the profound, direct experience of Source, a participant could be thinking, feeling, and sensing anything. And yet, in those several minutes—vyutthana—there are specific and identifiable thoughts, feelings, and sensations that can be observed/perceived. These are the direct expressions of the Oneness—gifts from pure consciousness perceived with personal awareness. Within this phase, the zone between mindlessness and mindfulness is one of integration.
This is where the “guidance” begins. This is where I, as a guide, can be in support of what can be the “take away.” What the mind observes in the moments of samadhi (mere minutes in my experience as a witness; often eternity in the participant’s) is not unimportant, yet, as the late Rajanaka Kshemaraja would have it, the moments emerging from samadhi are equally as important as the samadhi experience itself. This is my integration work. It happens in the immediacy of the peak experience.
After the session, when the identifiable phenomena have been consolidated, the participant is left to chop the wood and haul the water. This is when their “work” begins. And so, integration is engaging with that consolidated material. And given that the material is patently personal in nature, integration is a necessarily customised process. Each individual is on a unique path. In a session, their path has just been marked by an extraordinary experience. After the session, I use tracking and coaching to support them in actualising the potential.
1 follow the course or trail of (someone or something), typically in order to find them or note their location at various points
• follow and note the course or progress of
• follow a particular course
• prompt or urge (someone) with instructions
What can be called “coaching” and “tracking”, then, is what follows a session with me, whether in subsequent in-person meetings or, more likely, video calls. As sacred witness to what was there in both the samadhi and vyutthana phases, I am able to remind the participant about what was presented (in the time that passed while fully dissolved), what was “presenced” directly after, and why it’s important.
The tracking is together recognising and interpreting the traces, the clues, the signs, that were apparent in the session. Like a trail of breadcrumbs outward (extroversive) from the Centre, the signs of the path are everywhere. Of course, as Daniel Schmidt, creator of the Samadhi films, would say, “the path is you.” Following the breadcrumbs inward (introversive) toward the Centre is always available. And so, the trail’s markings become invaluable.
The crumbs (the material that emerged into perception from the centre) may be thematic; related to repressed memories (biological or otherwise); sublimated behaviour; related to relationship; somatic/physical; theological/philosophical/metaphysical; or any number of such things. I may coach a participant to heed the signs on the path by addressing them in very simple and direct ways. This is a creative and collaborative process, as opposed to a prescriptive one. This is one of my favourite parts of what I do. It’s personalised and customised.
Personal path considerations
Sometimes the intention of the participant is reflected in what arises in the vyutthana phase, sometimes not. Since an intention is created with a certain degree of mindfulness, an experience of mindlessness—if indeed samadhi was realised—doesn’t always yield to what the mind wanted or intended. In other words, despite the intention, the participant and I attend to what arises. Again, sometimes there is an obvious correlation, sometimes not. What can be perceived directly after an experience of the Centre is paramount, and the faith in that primacy helps detach from what the participant wanted. The trope of getting what is needed, not necessarily what was wanted, can apply here.
Sometimes the information gathered before the session is reflected in what arises in the vyutthana phase. Taking in information about what circumstances a participant has lived and how they have been responding to those circumstances is, in many cases, a key component in tracking the material that is present in a session, whether in the samadhi or vyutthana phase. The trick is, as I mention above, not to let what has been gathered prior to the session to override the immediacy and primacy of what happens in session. I allow that whatever presents in the samadhi stage or vyutthanic phase are of greatest importance. I trust the unerringly divine nature of the experience and treat it as clarity itself. I then assist in making it coherent for the participant.
Sometimes the information gathered before the session is reflected in what arises in the samadhi phase. In the samadhi stage there can be a seemingly infinite array of presentations that can only leave me to deem the experience as utterly unpredictable. I believe this unpredictability is due to the entire human condition being available: anything a human could ever encounter (in the past or future) is possible to be presented here because the whole of consciousness is “channeled” via the body without the filter of the self-identifying parts of the mind. Much like a fetus presents in a certain way in relation to the cervix as it comes forth from the womb, I regard the participant’s body presentation (and any other phenomena) as an expression of human experience that may be biographical, perinatal, ancestral, or transpersonal in nature (bascially, a COEX system). This is an entire field of focus in and of itself and so I’ll leave further explorations to be expounded in other texts elsewhere.
5-MeO-DMT in a therapeutic context: a theramony
While the definition of a therapeutic orientation to 5-assisted work is up for grabs, my therapeutic approach is the combination of 1) the assessment of the individual’s life story, 2) the real-time integration in the session, and 3) tracking and coaching. By tracking the information gathered in the vyutthana stage, the participant is coached to take that and apply it. The application of that information is the “work”—the actualisation of the realisation. The work can be done with continued guidance sessions with me or not. Participants can lean on me as a tracker: I help a participant to see what’s on their path, coherently piecing together what the session revealed with what may be an optimal way to move forward.
I believe that each one of us is a wayfinder. This belief results in a process that empowers the tracker in us all. I use each session with 5 as an initiatory starting point from which a pattern can be seen to emerge. Whether someone is having their first session with 5 or their fifteenth, there will always be something to track. Naturally, most people become great trackers for themselves over time. At some point, clients seek me out less and less as they become more and more skilled at following the traces—the guidance that is everywhere.
A psychedelic guide
I am a guide, yes. I offer guidance. However, the guidance I offer with 5 isn’t about navigating multidimensional or transpersonal spaces in the session. The guidance is about navigating this human life by way of extracting what has sprung from the Centre and transmuting it into excellent, optimal living.
The word “heaven” is often depicted as being above the sky. The sky is above us. It’s vertical. Similarly, when we turn our attention to what we’re standing on, we’re aware of the ground. And it’s below us. There’s a continuation of that verticality. Now, when we look across from us with these human eyes, we see anything else that is before us as also on this ground. It’s horizontal. Each one of us, as long as our personal consciousness inhabits this Earth-suit, is an axis, a point at which these lines connect. And as we move about this life, we find optimal ways to “align” ourselves, vertically and horizontally. Sometimes we are “off-track.”
Re-alignment is a part of the constant course-correction of living. Guideposts help one stay on track, staying centred—”connected,” as it were—yet also grounded. After all, this human life is happening—for now—horizontally, on the ground, on Earth.
• not electrically grounded: an ungrounded screen can act as an antenna
• with no illusions or pretensions; practical and realistic
The peak experience with 5—some may say a type of samadhi—may be the most ungrounded experience a human can have. Since the concepts of ground and of human are completely “up in the air,” there can be a cosmic, stellar, dreamy quality to the transcendent event.
As a guide, I help ground the experience.
As a guide, I help to bring heaven down-to-earth.
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