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The Psychedelic Evolution with Paul Austin

(An Excerpt from the Deep Flow Conference Interview)

Paul: So the topic of micro dosing first came on the scene in 2011. There is a psychologist by the name of Dr. Jim Fadiman, who was a professor at Stanford. You know, he had his first psychedelic trip in Paris in 1962 with Richard Alpert at the time, who we now know is Ramdas and Jim Fadiman is like an OG of the psychedelic movement.  And in 2011, he published a book called The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, and he wrote a single chapter in there about Microdevices, where there were several people in his personal circles who he had sent out little doses of LSD, too, or little doses of mushrooms. They had tried taking it a couple of times a week for about a period of five weeks, and they noticed that there were some significant benefits to that micro dosing protocol. And so when it comes to micro dosing in particular, it isn’t just taking a low dose of a psychedelic once, like eating a stem or eating a cap or taking a little bit of LSD and seeing what happens. The process of micro dosing is a protocol. It’s saying, hey, just like I commit to meditation every morning for 30 days or just like I commit to doing breath work in the presence process every day for whatever month or two months, my dosing is the same way where it’s I’m committing to taking a micro dose of a psychedelic two to three times per week for a period of 30 to 60 days. And just observing the gradual changes in my way of being, in my creativity, in my mood, in my energy levels as a result of that. And so when we get a little bit more granular, the actual micro dose amount is about a tenth of a regular dose. So to have sort of that mystical experience with LSD, people will take anywhere from, let’s say, 150 to 300 micrograms of LSD. A microdots tends to be anywhere from 10 to 15 to 20 micrograms of LSD with psilocybin mushrooms. Again, to facilitate that mystical experience, someone might take anywhere from two to five grams of psilocybin mushrooms. So a tenth of that would be point to two point five grams of psilocybin mushrooms for a micro dose. Now, for any of you who have worked with go. Jeff: Oh, no, it’s OK. I didn’t mean to cut you off, so I just wanted to say you’re not when you’re taking these you’re not getting you’re not hallucinating. Paul:  Yeah, that’s what I was going to go into that. Yeah. You can’t you can’t be at a good time. So the idea is like these are susceptible, perceptible. Right. So these dose levels are it’s sort of like you can kind of tell but you can’t tell, like you’re not having any visuals, you’re not sort of giggling and kind of losing it. You know, you’re fairly still in control, you know, in the driver’s seat. But people just notice that they have a little bit more energy. Their mood is a little bit enhanced. It’s sort of the feeling like after you’ve meditated fairly consistently where you’re just less reactive, there’s less clutter going on in the mind and just things feel more clear and clean and full. And and the important part to emphasize about all psychedelic use, whether that’s microdevices or higher doses, is every single person is different. And it’s not just based on, you know, your height and your weight and your age. It’s also based on emotional things. So, for example, people who are more neurotic, people who are more like needing to be in control, they often need a lot more of a psychedelic in order to break through that. Whereas those who are already more emotionally sensitive, emotionally open, emotionally tuned in, so to say, often need quite a bit less to get the same benefits and experience. And so this speaks a sort of a, you know, a concept that we’ve been talking about more and more at a at a at the third wave, which is how can we approach psychedelic use as a skill. So just like we can become skilled at martial arts or just like we can become a skilled writer or just like we can become a skilled meditator or anything else, the process of developing the skill of psychedelics is being able to titrate up and down based on your intention for the day. So let’s say you have a day where you want to enter a state of flow. You really want to work on maybe a creative project like writing a blog or, you know, writing a book. You might decide that, hey, taking a micro dose of ten micrograms of LSD is perfect for that reason. But on another day you might decide, hey, I’d love to go for a hike in the woods to relax, to see perspective on things. I don’t want to quote unquote trip, but I love just to have a little bit more like being able to zoom out even more. That’s what we would call a Hachiro dose hike dosing. And for that, you might take 50 to 60 micrograms of LSD, where you definitely notice there’s an enhanced sense of touch, an enhanced sense of smell. Right. You’re in an altered state, but you’re not tripping. So to say you’re not seeing massive visuals and having that experience, that is much better for like on a couch with an eye mask. And the playlist, so that’s the other interesting element to pay attention to is how can you think of microdevices and psychedelic use as a skill to facilitate a certain intention that you’re going to that experience with? That’s a little more advanced, too. Jeff: So, yeah. Yeah. So you’ve talked about these things with a lot of people, and I’m I’m unable to see the audience’s faces now, but I’m wondering how many people might be just freaking out a little bit like people are. You know, there are. So what are the most common responses that you get from people that are kind of resistant or just find themselves a little bit at odds with this idea? What are the beliefs? What are the the cultural mores that are being challenged and so on? Paul: That’s a that’s a great question. I think there are two main ones to address. One is psychedelics are illegal. And since they are an illegal drug, they must be bad and or harmful, so that that’s been a more common one. And I think that mindset, that way of thinking about it, is becoming less and less relevant, in particular because of cannabis. Right. So we know psychedelic research has been shown on this. There was a fantastic former UK, you know, who worked in the government, and his name is David Nutt and Mutty, who published a paper showing that Ecstasy MDMA is actually safer than riding a horse. And he published another paper showing that psilocybin mushrooms are the safest drug, safer than tobacco, safer than alcohol, safer than cannabis, safer than, you know, any any other legal drugs as well, like Adderall or benzodiazepines or, you know, opiates or anything like that. And and so the interesting element about that is many of the drugs that I just mentioned, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, even certainly opiates, benzodiazepines, almost all the cocaine, heroin, almost all of these drugs are addictive by their very nature. And that’s because of their relationship with dopamine and a few other things. Psychedelics are largely serotonin activators. They work on something called the five H.T. to a receptor in the serotonin system, and they are actually anti addicted so they can kill addict addiction and negate it.  So I think that’s the first thing, is that to understand that just because these are illegal does not mean they are harmful, does not mean they are addictive, does not mean they are quote unquote bad. Our current drug policy is not rooted in science. It’s rooted in political ideology. So I think that’s that’s the first thing I think. And I think that’s fairly easy to understand and that’s becoming easier for people to understand as they’re seeing medical cannabis become normalized, recreational cannabis become normalized, as they’re seeing the ills of antidepressants and benzodiazepines and all these legal drugs, Adderall, Ritalin, which are actually quite harmful. So that I feel like it’s pretty easy. I think the second element or misunderstanding or sort of hesitation that a lot of people have. Is this is a shortcut? And because this is a shortcut, I want to do something that is, you know, more consistent, more reliable, et cetera, et cetera. And to that, I would say, yes, it can be a shortcut. And that’s part of the beauty of psychedelics, so there’s this fantastic book called The Secret Drugs of Buddhism, which was published a few years back. And in that book, the author interviewed 40 Zen masters who lived in the United States. So essentially Westerners who in the 60s and 70s, when abroad became Zen masters and came back to teach in various monasteries and places in the United States.  So we interviewed 40 of these people. And what he found with these Zen masters is that 39 out of 40 of them. We’re influenced to pursue that path of Buddhism and meditation because of psychedelics. Thirty nine out of 40 of them. And the one person. Who who said? That oh, no, it wasn’t the case that one person happened to be lying and he found that out after the fact. So I think that’s an interesting element is psychedelics. Often what they do is they sort of. They clear that the clouds from the mountaintop, right? They allow you through that peak experience, through that mystical experience that we talked about earlier, to see the mountaintop of self actualization, if you will, to see that beautiful being that we are all becoming. And then, of course, we would get back into everyday life. It’s not just, OK, I took a psychedelic and now whatever it’s about consistently coming back to that point of quiet and stillness. So I often use an analogy when talking about that relationship between these peak experiences with psychedelics and a practice like meditation. It’s similar to like when we go to the dentist, right. Where every six months we go to the dentist, we get a deep clean. Right. It’s a little uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. We got to keep our teeth clean. And then every single day, hopefully in between appointments, we brush our teeth, we floss, we use mouthwash. Right. We keep it clean in there. So that’s sort of the relationship between psychedelics and these other contemplative practices is psychedelics can be that open window. And then in between these experiences that people have to sort of continue to cultivate that sense of stillness and quietude. It’s important to have a practice, to be meditating, to do breath work, to spend time in nature. You know, some of these things that allow us to go inwards and cultivate stillness and cultivate quiet. So I would say like. Drugs are bad or these drugs are illegal, that’s why they’re bad is one misconception. Another misconception is these drugs are shortcuts. And for that reason are, you know, I don’t want to take a shortcut. I just want to do it the hard way. And I think within that as well. There’s one more point. Which I had oh, which speaks to the importance of setting and setting when working with psychedelics, because for a lot of people who maybe jumped in to taking a handful of mushrooms or a few tabs of LSD or any other sort of intense psychedelic, if there wasn’t proper attention paid to set and setting to preparing for that experience, to having a guide or a sitter or a therapist for them with that experience, then those experiences can be traumatizing. These are very, very intense experiences and they are not to be taken lightly. Right. You do need a sense of reverence and preparation in coming into these. And so I think that’s more like that where the resistance comes from in terms of this might be a shortcut that sort of the outer layer. I think what the ego is communicating behind that is the ego is communicating. This is potentially very intimidating. This could potentially go wrong. And how do I ensure that if I’m going through with a high dose psychedelic experience, that it’s a safe and effective as possible? One of my one more point. And then. And then. And then I’ll kind of be finished with this element. One of my favorite podcasters, two of my favorite podcasters, Tim Ferriss and Sam Harris, recently had a conversation where they talked about this and they said there’s no such thing. As a bad psychedelic experience, there are only safe and unsafe psychedelic experiences, and for us to fully utilize sort of the benefits that can come from these, we need to make sure more than anything else that we are in a safe container that we can surrender to whatever is moving through us in those experiences.