Thoughts on Using DMT Safely and Respectfully
DMT is a bottomless well of never ending befuddlement, an unsolvable riddle of epic proportions spoken in alien tongues. It will call into question all that you know, all that you’ve learned to accept as reality and introduce you to a state of being that defies all comprehension.
This experience is not for everyone, and not all who choose to open the door deal well with the questions it raises. It should never be undertaken lightly or treated in a casual manner. Those who approach the experience without respect often pay a psychic price. Should you choose to proceed, be aware that integration issues may ensue. What you find inside may change your life and will almost certainly alter your deepest, most fundamental assumptions.
DMT/Ayahuasca and Health
Research shows the relative physical safety of DMT. Ayahuasca, the DMT-containing brew from the Amazon, has been studied by multidisciplinary groups in Brazil and other countries and it has been shown that in reasonable doses in a careful context, it presents no negative cognitive, psychiatric or physical consequences (Callaway, 1994. Callaway et al, 1996. Callaway et al, 1998. Grob et al, 1996.). There has been minimal research into vaporized DMT, but there seems to be no sign that it is more physically dangerous than other methods of administration. There are no reported deaths from vaporizing DMT.
It should be noted that somatic effects such as the possibility of increased heart-rate mean that people with heart or other life-threatening conditions should NOT take DMT unless they have consulted a qualified health professional. Also, it is possible that during the experience, you will temporarily lose orientation in consensus reality, so smoking or ingesting DMT in a hazardous physical environment is not a good idea. DO NOT use RIMAs/MAOIs (Banisteriopsis caapi, Peganum harmala, extracted harmala alkaloids, etc.) together with stimulants (e.g., MDMA or amphetamines) or SSRI medication (e.g., Prozac), as this can cause serotonin syndrome and lead to convulsions or death.
The research mentioned above has shown that in a carefully controlled setting, ayahuasca (oral DMT) use, even with regularity, causes no apparent cognitive, emotional or social problems. Habitual users actually reported improved well-being and overall health. However, these users were part of a strong community with shared values and constant support. The controlled setting in which they took ayahuasca helped them make sense of the experience and they took special care with regards to integration (see the Integration section below).
Vaporized DMT has not been the subject of any peer-reviewed scientific studies. The overwhelming nature of the experience, as well as the almost instantaneous onset (wherein the user is launched into the peak experience within a minute) lends itself to the possibility of panic and existential terror. The complete and utter inscrutability of the experience can leave the user vulnerable in the aftermath. Integration issues are not at all uncommon and most who have vaporized DMT have dealt with this in some way. It is very important that anyone who plans on vaporizing DMT takes special care with regards to set and setting, approaches the experience with a respectful attitude and takes time to integrate their experience(s).
As with other psychedelics, DMT provides a very powerful emotional and mental experience, so those with personal or family psychiatric history should not use it. A psychedelic experience can possibly trigger latent schizophrenia or exacerbate a pre-existing mental illness.
While there have been several cases reported of “psychological healing” along with anecdotal reports of cured depression and other mental health issues, DMT and psychedelics in general should not be considered a cure-all and will not heal everybody. If you are going through a difficult period in your life, you should be aware of the increased risks that undertaking this experience carries. If, after informing yourself thoroughly of the possible risks, you still decide to do it, it is recommended that you do so only under the supervision of an experienced individual, medical/spiritual professional or shaman, and take special care concerning set, setting and integration.
Addiction and Frequency of Use
DMT is not physically addictive and many users find it has a self-regulating quality. However, any drug has the potential for abuse, and DMT is no exception. If you feel yourself slipping into an area where you might be overindulging, trust your instincts – chances are you’re right.
It is unclear how often DMT can be smoked safely. There is most likely a point at which frequency of use has a negative impact on the user’s body, mind, or social life due to neglecting friends, family and personal duties. The safe limit of use varies from person to person, context to context and moment to moment. If at any point you find that you are investing more emotional energy in “that world” than “this one”, we strongly recommend that you reduce your frequency of usage or take a break altogether.
Dealing With Negative Trips and Dark Entities
It is possible for people to have negative trips or meet dark entities within the context of their exploration(s) of hyperspace. The interpretations of what these experiences mean or where exactly they come from are as varied as the individuals who use DMT and there may be no easy answer to these questions. However, there are constructive ways for dealing with them.
There are several factors which can decrease (or increase) the chance of these negative experiences, many of which are related to preparation. If these experiences occur, there are a number of different techniques you can use to deal with them in a positive way, both during the experience, as well as during the subsequent integration period. Here are some tips collected from different members of the Nexus:
- Work on your daily life and fulfill your responsibilities. Being a productive and healthy person can serve to create a strong foundation from which to start engaging with alternate states of consciousness.
- Take care of set and setting. It is important to ask yourself: Is it a good time and place to take MT? Is the room clean and organized and is this an appropriate mindset?
- Create a clear intention to carry with you into Hyperspace (a short and sweet mantra).
- Meditate. Clear your mind and evict any obnoxious inner voices or negative emotions.
- Surround yourself with “power objects”. Things you consider sacred, or find comforting and calming can be used to create a positive atmosphere.
- Make sure you are well-nourished and hydrated.
- Play music that makes you feel safe and loved in the background.
During the Experience
- Some people feel that it is best to avoid dark entities. Others feel that there may be something to learn from dealing with them, as long as you maintain a state of inner strength and work towards integration afterwards.
- Have a mantra to fall back on. It doesn’t have to be esoteric and can be as simple as “All is well,” or “This too shall pass.”
- Stay calm and release any negative emotions as or before they arise. Some people find that fear and anger attract negative experiences.
- Try to surrender to the experience and let go. Take it in without judgment.
- Actively use your intentions to find the experience you want. There is nothing wrong with being passive and seeing what unfolds, but if you are not happy with what is going on, tries to move onto something better. This may take a bit of practice, like navigating a lucid dream.
- Try not to focus on, pay attention to, give energy to, or otherwise encourage any beings or spaces you encounter that make you uncomfortable. When in doubt, seek positive affirmation within the experience.
- Detach, rather than identify with any negative images, visions and experiences.
- Remember the Common Source that binds us all. Ultimately there is nothing to fear, because this is all part of Existence.
- Ring a bell or singing bowl.
- Dance, use yoga, qi-gong, tai-chi, or engage in other forms of movement.
- Use breathing exercises. Some people visualize blowing out the negativity.
- If all else fails, you can call on guardians you have met previously or have an affinity for. Allies that might come to your aid can take any form, and the spirit of the ayahuasca vine itself can be quite protective. It helps if you have cultivated this and have worked with your guardians previously, but you might be surprised who or what will come to your aid if you implore with sincerity.
- Write down your experience in a journal.
- Think deeply about what happened and try to remember events that might have slipped your mind.
- Be patient with the blanks in your memory.
- Meditate on the most impressive or important aspects of your experience. Contemplate symbols and images you encountered.
- Talk through your experience with someone who you trust and can ask you questions that you might not remember to ask yourself.
- Question yourself about the experience. A few guiding questions that can help are:
- Was there something in my preparation and “normal” life that I have done that could have caused this experience?
- Can I improve something?
- Is there a message to me in this experience?
- Can I use this in a life-affirming way to improve myself and/or the world around me?
- Should I do this again or perhaps take a break or stop altogether? If I do, is there anything I can do better?
- Can I improve through changing something in my dosage, intentions, set and setting, actions during the negative event and/or integration?
- Should I get some help, whether it is simply talking with others who can understand me, or more thorough psychological/spiritual support?
Finally, be thankful and let it all go!
One of the fundamental aspects of a psychedelic experience is digesting what you have faced and putting any lessons presented into practice in daily life. Without this, a psychedelic experience can become meaningless, dysphoric and isolating.
This is not to say every single hyperspace experience must be decoded into a particular lesson. Many experiences may be so out-there that it will be hard to relate them to daily life in some way. However, at the very least, a sense of humbleness, respect or awe and the happiness of being back and alive can be used for making positive changes in your life.
We spend most of our time in “consensus” reality, and it is here that the real tests present themselves. It is here that we write the story of our lives and make good (or don’t) on our responsibilities and aspirations. The difficulties of daily life should not be seen as a problem we must avoid at all costs, but rather as opportunities to improve ourselves.
While it can be extremely blissful, treating DMT and the psychedelic experience as ends to themselves is very dangerous. Balance is always key! Appreciate the gift of being alive and being able to deal with normal life. Entheogens might be a beautiful part of the process but they are not self-sufficient and won’t make life meaningful for you on their own.
Pointers for Integration:
- Talk to different people and listen to what they have to say. By definition, our vision of life and the events we go through is one-sided and self-biased. Other people, (experienced with psychedelics or not) can provide differing viewpoints that aid in our learning process, like mirrors that help us notice our blind spots.
- If during an experience you receive messages about how you should change your eating habits, treat others better, study more, etc., then make all the effort possible to put that into practice. You may want to avoid using entheogens again until you have achieved your goal (or have made significant progress).
- Express yourself creatively. A large part of the DMT experience is ineffable. Yet, it is important that we try to digest it in one way or another in order to integrate our emotional and spiritual experiences. Expressing yourself creatively after smoking DMT (or taking other entheogens) through drawing, painting, music, poems or other art forms can be helpful.
- Question things! Do not believe literally and take at face-value what anybody tells you (whether it’s religious leaders, politicians, your friends or your psychedelic experiences/entities). Be self-critical and put things in perspective. Be aware and skeptical of any experience/feeling that involves thoughts or feelings of grandeur and anything that leads to extreme dissociation from other human beings (e.g., “I’m the chosen one, others are sheep.”). Be extremely careful with suicidal thoughts.
- Balance is key! If you are investing more time thinking about and putting effort into psychedelic experiences while neglecting other areas of your life (family, work, health, studies, etc.), take along break. Dedicate yourself to life. Don’t worry; psychedelics will still be there in a few weeks, months or years. There is no need to rush.
- Remember: You may have experienced Eternal Bliss and seen the Fractal All and Everything while interacting with Hyperspacial Beings…but the bills still have to be paid, the house still has to be cleaned and the food still has to be cooked.
- Health is a priority! It pays off in both consensus reality as well as in the entheogenic and hyperspacial realms of consciousness to eat healthy, exercise, improve interpersonal relations, accept and address your emotions, etc. If DMT or psychedelic use is negatively affecting your health (physical, emotional or intellectual) directly or indirectly, stop using it and return only when you have addressed those issues.
- Do NOT make strong decisions during or immediately after a psychedelic experience. If your ally feel like saying something important to somebody, quitting your job due to a realization, or making any other radical change. Write it down and think it over (for a day, week, month or longer). Evaluate this new perspective from another state of consciousness. If it is the right decision, you can still make it after you have waited, but if it’s the wrong decision and unmake it impulsively, there might be no turning back.
“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.”
Happy Journeying and Stay Safe.