The importance of integration
Sacred plants can be life changing, and integrating your journeys successfully is the key to allowing the results to affect your future self positively. What’s the aim of your work with plant medicines, if not to create the changes where you feel they are needed? And who can create these changes but YOU yourself?
The real ‘work’ comes after the ceremonies, in the doing that follows the enlightenment.
You have to take action. Action opens us up to new experiences – you cannot think your way out of your problems. It is important to do what you can to enable your growth, creativity and meaningful revelations, while also keep doing the things that simply have to be done in your daily life. To adapt a famous saying:
Before your journeys, chop wood and carry water.
After your journeys, chop wood and carry water.
Stepping back into the constantly moving track of ordinary life can be quite a challenge, and it’s important to avoid feeling too lost or disappointed in the reality you get back into. Especially strong plants like Ayahuasca can shake your foundation and as such (temporarily) disrupt you. It is important to embody all that is touched and opened.
Sometimes it can be supportive to reflect on your situation with someone who understands. Yama guides integration sessions to help you integrate your experiences after the ceremonies.
Integration and transformation usually goes in different stages. The first one is about, step by step, bringing our ceremony-insights into our daily habits, your diet, mindset, relationships and work. Then we work on understanding and integrating the rejected aspects of ourselves, that have been brought to the light by the medicine. This shadow work has the potential to truly revolutionize our lives. And then comes the time to be at service for something bigger than ourselves, cultivating ways of being that are in touch with what really matters, showing up as our true selves and bringing our soul gifts to the world.
All these steps of integration require tools and practices to support transformation—practical ways to work with body, spirit, heart and mind. At minimum, we need to know how to deal with difficult emotions and destructive mental patterns, and how to sustain a healthy body that is both grounded on Earth and connected with Spirit. If we have any insufficiencies in these areas, the plant medicines will expose them. But… it’s not the medicine’s job to magically remedy these deficits; it’s your work — your integration work — to grow into new ways of being.
“I think the main illusion in the Western world is to think that shamanism and the use of medicine plants is something like a magic formula to increase the development of consciousness. But we are actually at the beginning of a new dimension where the use of master plants only works synergistically together with our own work to develop consciousness.” — Alonso del Rio
Go here for more information about integration sessions with Yama.