The 3 steps of Psychedelic Healing: Neuroplasticity (part 1)

In the series we will review 3 steps of psychedelic healing: Neuroplasticity (part 1), Catharsis (part 2) and Integration (part 3)

The initial phase of most spiritual journeys embarks upon a transformative stage that I refer to as "clarity." This state of clarity is achieved through the intricate interplay of neuroplasticity and neurogenesis within the human brain.

Neuroplasticity, a fundamental phenomenon, underscores the brain's remarkable capacity to restructure its architecture, connections, and functions in response to a myriad of experiences, acquired knowledge, or even the impact of injuries. This dynamic process involves the fortification or weakening of neural pathways, endowing the brain with the ability to adapt and optimize its operational efficiency.

In tandem with neuroplasticity, neurogenesis comes to the fore. This intricate process entails the birth of fresh neurons, or brain cells, in specific brain regions, with the hippocampus often taking center stage. These nascent neurons play an integral role in learning, memory retention, and the regulation of mood. Remarkably, while the majority of neurogenesis unfolds during early developmental stages, a measure of this process continues to transpire throughout adulthood, contributing to the ongoing flexibility of cognition and emotions.

The profound impact of psychedelic experiences on neuroplasticity is a noteworthy facet. By momentarily diminishing established neural pathways, psychedelics amplify neuroplasticity's effects, allowing novel connections to take shape. This phenomenon is a key contributor to the profound alterations in perception, cognitive function, and emotional states that hallmark the spiritual journey. Moreover, empirical studies suggest that certain psychedelics can stimulate the generation of fresh neurons, further enriching the cognitive landscape.

As new neural pathways form within the intricate tapestry of our brain, we encounter an unprecedented opportunity to dissolve, or at the very least, become conscious of our belief systems. These belief systems, akin to imperceptible filters, often shape our experiences without us being fully aware of their influence.

This newfound perspective, often described as a paradigm shift, affords us the ability to perceive hitherto imperceptible aspects of reality in a direct, experiential manner, free from dogma. Consequently, we are granted the privilege to reevaluate and reexamine our existing belief frameworks. This is clarity.

In the realm of yogic philosophy, these intricate neural structures find resonance as "samskaras." Samskaras are imprints left on the mind by past thoughts, actions, and experiences. These subtle impressions wield substantial influence, molding an individual's beliefs, habitual patterns, and inclinations, thus intricately shaping their present behaviors and future encounters. Within yogic teachings, the transcendence of samskaras emerges as a foundational prerequisite for spiritual elevation and evolution.

When aligned with my previous share on the role of our Belief System in the construction of reality, the profound symbiosis between psychedelics and the self-development journey becomes strikingly apparent. Assisting individuals in recognizing the "filters," or belief systems, through which they interpret reality is a formidable task. This endeavor is akin to aiding someone in locating their eyeglasses while they unknowingly wear them. The elegance of the psychedelic process lies in its uncanny ability to navigate and enhance this intricate journey of self-discovery and growth.


Read next: Catharsis (part 2)


Los Angeles, August 22, 2023