THIRD WAVE PODCAST
What Do Psychedelics And Holotropic Breathwork Have In Common?
This week we talk to Joe and Kyle from Psychedelics Today, a regular podcast that explores important events in the field of psychedelics. We hear about how Joe and Kyle met, and about their unique personal experiences with psychedelics. We end up pretty much covering it all – life, death, rebirth and (of course), holotropic breathwork.
Joe and Kyle met through a shared interest in holotropic breathwork – a technique for transpersonal development created by LSD-psychotherapist Stanislav Grof. Joe describes holotropic breathwork as a method of intense, focussed breathing, in a group setting, aided by loud, evocative music. It can often produce a psychedelic state that is used for healing or personal development – and many describe it as being similar to psychedelic therapy.
Now experienced holotropic practitioners, Joe and Kyle also run the Psychedelics Today podcast in an effort to provide a resource for anyone interested in any aspect of the psychedelic world – including holotropic breathwork.
Kyle’s personal interest in psychedelics resulted from a near-death experience after a traumatic snowboarding accident. He experienced a blissful peace on the edge of death, only to return to life with confusion and dismay. He suffered from depression until an experience with magic mushrooms, which changed his life dramatically. Since then, he’s been fostering an interest in all things psychedelic.
Joe’s past lies in holotropic breathwork. During his philosophy class at university, Joe came across the work of Stanislav Grof, and decided to try out a holotropic breathwork course. He ended up getting hooked on the sense of community, and the authentic connections he could form with others. Experiences with ayahuasca and other psychedelics further enhanced his appreciation for breathwork.
Joe and Kyle tell us that holotropic breathwork can produce psychedelic states very similar to those experienced on substances – but with differences worth mentioning. Breathwork is less predictable, sometimes producing intense psychedelic states, and other times not. Breathwork is also more of a body-oriented technique, and can help people process a lot of body-related trauma – more so than most psychedelic substances.
We talk briefly about the stages of birth, and how holotropic breathwork can get people in touch with their own birth-related trauma. The theme of rebirth is often brought up during holotropic breathwork sessions, and people can end up discovering a lot about the source of various physical and mental traumas.
Finally, Joe and Kyle give us their opinion on the future of psychedelics. They see the hopeful legalization of MDMA in 2021 as a big stepping stone, which will lead to an explosion of psychedelic culture into the mainstream. They hope to help steer the conversation during this milestone, and hopefully encourage concepts like peer-to-peer therapy (i.e. veterans helping other veterans by administering MDMA therapy) or psychedelic hospice care. The future is psychedelic!
0:00:29 Paul Austin: Listeners, welcome back to The Third Wave Podcast. I’m your host, Paul Austin. As usual, we have another excellent show for you today. But it’s a little different because I interview two people instead of one. I interview Joe and Kyle from Psychedelics Today, which is a regular podcast that explores important events in the field of psychedelics. In this podcast interview, you’re going to hear about how Joe and Kyle met, and about their unique personal experiences with psychedelics. In the interview, we end up pretty much covering everything; life, death, rebirth. But my favorite thing that we cover is Holotropic breathwork, which is a trademark phrase that was invented by Stanislav Grof as a way to access altered states of consciousness when LSD became illegal in the late ’60s, early ’70s. And both Joe and Kyle have extensive experience with breathwork, and so we get into that topic in probably the most depth possible.
0:01:29 PA: Now I also did an interview with Joe and Kyle a couple weeks ago on their podcast. So if you want to hear more of my perspectives on psychedelics, I would highly recommend going and checking that podcast out. You can probably find it on their site. Because really in this podcast, I don’t really talk a whole lot about my own thoughts and my own experiences. I interject every now and then but it’s not too much. So if you really wanna get a thorough, in-depth insight into my specific thoughts on psychedelic, check out the podcast I did with them. If you like the podcast, reminder, please, please, please, please, please leave a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, take a little screenshot, send me it, we’ll send you a free microdosing book. I’ll also just be forever in your debt for helping us spread the message about responsible psychedelic use to those who need to hear more about it.
0:02:23 PA: If you enjoy the show as well, consider a donation to our Patreon campaign. We are currently trying to raise enough funds to make Third Wave a sustainable website in the long-term where we don’t have to invest any of our external money into the site, but we can just run it on the funds that are generated by the community. So if you think that’s something that you would like to do, please go ahead and check out our Patreon page at patreon.com/thethirdwave. We have a number of prizes available if you do donate and so check that out. So let’s get into the podcast now, and Joe and Kyle from Psychedelics Today. Enjoy guys.
0:03:02 PA: Hey Joe. Hey Kyle. Guys, it’s great to connect again. Thanks so much for coming on my show this time. It’s great to have you.
0:03:08 Joe Moore: Excited to be on. Thanks for having us on.
0:03:10 Kyle Buller: Yeah, I really appreciate it. Thanks.
0:03:12 PA: So let’s start with your story. You know Joe and Kyle run the Psychedelics Today Podcast, and obviously that has a story to it. So where did you guys meet? How do you know one another?
0:03:24 JM: Our mentor’s out of Vermont. Dreamshadow breathwork connected us after a little bit. They were actually surprised we hadn’t met each other. I’ve been going there since 2003. Kyle had been going for three or four years at that point, and they were shocked because we had a lot in common and interesting stuff to educate each other on I guess, and they connected us. We chatted on Skype a while back, and then dug into this whole project together which is pretty cool. I think that’s accurate Kyle. Do I have brain rot or is that good?
0:03:55 KB: No, that’s pretty spot on. We met through the breathwork with the Gibsons, and yeah, we hitted it right off. We had a lot of mutual interests, and yeah.
0:04:05 PA: So what were those mutual interests? What were those commonalities that your mentors saw in you that you thought, you know, “Oh, these guys would be a great connection.”
0:04:13 KB: I think obviously the breathwork. They were training me, and Joe had already started facilitating some workshops and he’s a few years older than me, so they thought that it’d be really great for me to connect with him just to see how he’s running workshops and this and that, and just like philosophically, same interests. And I remember, I think Joe and I connected ’cause we were talking about master’s programs, our first conversation, ’cause I was trying to help out this college developing a breathwork curriculum and a trans-personal degree. Well, they had a trans-personal degree, but we were trying to incorporate a breathwork training in there. And so, me and Joe were chatting about maybe doing that and helping out with them. What’s your take on that Joe?
0:04:57 PA: Yeah Joe, I bet… Were you taken by Kyle immediately? Was it love at first sight or did you have some hesitations?
0:05:06 JM: I had hesitations. He’s young.
0:05:07 PA: He’s young. Exactly.
0:05:10 JM: Yeah so, I’m what, 35. Kyle, are you 28?
0:05:13 KB: I’m almost 30, almost 30.
0:05:15 JM: You’re almost.
0:05:15 PA: Almost 30.
0:05:16 KB: I’m 29.
0:05:17 PA: That’s usually something you don’t hear people say. It’s not like, “I’m almost 30. It’s like… ”
0:05:22 KB: Yeah right. So my knees were already bad. So I was like, “I don’t know if I have the energy for this.” But yeah, like Kyle said, “We really got on well when we chatted, and philosophically, we both had interests in Shamanism, psychedelics, breathwork. So a lot of shared experiences. Kyle had been, I think at that point, to the Psychedelic Science Conference in the past, and got to hang out with Stan a little bit, so we got to chat about that, and I think had plans to hang out with Stan Grof a few months later or something. Timeline’s a little confusing, but we got on pretty good, talked about our university education’s dead, all that kind of stuff and… Where is value going to be created in the future for education and what are the opportunities ’cause I’m really interested in having a PhD, I just don’t know if I’m gonna put in the work anytime soon, or spend the money to do it.
0:06:16 PA: Well yeah, with the democratization of education, and this is a topic that we can talk about in a bit. I would like to dig into this a bit more, but you’re right it seems like getting a PhD is becoming less and less of a good investment.
0:06:29 JM: I saw this photo, there’s like a headshot of this philosopher Peter, you might have heard of him from Sweden. He’s into Nietzsche, Whitehead and psychedelics and somebody else too, a Schopenhauer, and seemingly really cool dude. He’s wearing a jacket, PhD, cool sunglasses. I’m like, “Ah man, that could be me in like 20 years.” Be like a cool philosopher dude, just smoking cigars during a cigarette or drinking coffee and talking philosophy. I can kind of do that already if I chose to but…
0:06:58 PA: Yeah, you don’t need the five or six years writing a thesis to get to that point. I think you could co-adopt that at anytime if you really wanted.
0:07:09 JM: Right, so we’ll talk to that dude in the future, but I’m not him yet.
0:07:12 PA: He was just on the Psychedelic Milk podcast, which is… Have you guys spoken to Ed before?
0:07:18 JM: We just recorded an episode with him last night, and it should be up by the time this is up. I’ll actually probably hit publish 30 minutes after we’re done recording here.
0:07:26 PA: Cool, cool. Yeah so…
0:07:27 KB: It was really fun.
0:07:29 PA: I’d spoken to Ed about a week ago or so, we’re also planning to do something and I had heard of Peter, I had seen he had written like a really extensive article on high existence. And he also is interested, I believe I heard this, in micro dosing, and the role that it plays in trans-humanism which I find interesting. But that’s another topic for the… Let’s get back to your story quick and I still wanna dig into that a little bit more. So you guys met, it was love at first sight. Joe’s slightly older, and you guys had similar philosophical interests, where did it go from there? So you get introduced, how do you decide to make a podcast about psychedelics?
0:08:11 KB: Yeah well, I remember it just being that our teachers are getting a little old, and they are probably wanting to pass this work down. So, we’ve just been in discussion on how we can continue to move their work forward. And so we were, I mean Joe has recorded, and along with somebody else, a bunch of recordings of our teacher talking, and recording the lectures. And so, that’s been a project that they’ve been working on for a little bit. And Joe and I were like, “Yeah, let’s just keep this rolling.” And we decided our first episodes were with our teachers, Elizabeth and Lenny Gibson, just to get some background on breathwork. And then it just started snowballing from there, we’re like, “Well, we should just keep interviewing some folks and then maybe create a resource for students.” And then we actually met in, when was it July the first time? So not too long ago, we hosted… We helped facilitate a breathwork workshop up in Burlington, Vermont. And yeah, I’d say it was pretty natural working with you right off the bat, not ever meeting you in person until then. [chuckle]
0:09:13 JM: Right, ’cause we had the opportunity to spend a lot of time recording, so had repertoire already, same teachers, so pretty much the same methods. So was… Yeah, it worked fine. And we had a great, very successful workshop and a lot of people were there. And it was awesome.
0:09:29 PA: And Joe, you had some previous podcasting experience, right?
0:09:32 JM: Yeah. Yeah, so I had three retired podcasts. One on skiing, snowboarding that kind of failed quick. One on permaculture, sustainability with ethics bolted to it. It’s really basic definitions but it’s better than that. But and another one that was… It was called a Cult Sentinel and I did a lot of interviews with people in various shamanic traditions, either from Asia, Africa, the West, so freemasonry and stuff that spawned from that. And yeah, that was really fun. Voodoo too, which is really interesting. So I really was more interested in breathwork than joining some club and doing their program. I thought I was doing fine with breathwork and helping a lot of people, and psychedelics were just on the fringe. I’m like, “Why are you guys discounting psychedelics, they’re so powerful, what the hell?” And the language they would use to criticize it was so blaze and meaningless, that it really got me a little pissed. I’m like, “Alright, I’m out. You guys do your thing. I’m gonna go do mine, later.” And here we are today.
0:10:41 PA: What was that language? What type of language would they use to describe it?
0:10:45 JM: Great question. So I saw it on both east and west side like, “You’re gonna fry out your nervous system. Your energetic body isn’t ready for it. You’re gonna do permanent damage to your nervous system.” And people weren’t too concerned about mental harm. It was more like physical/subtle body stuff, which I know that they have to talk about that stuff because thats their business, but to me I’m like, “Ah, you guys don’t really know. This stuff is too new. And it was too foreign to your tradition, as your tradition was maturing.” So it’s not even part of it and realistically, a lot of these traditions were secretly using drugs like alchemy. They were probably creating drugs, and witches were using drugs like the broomstick was a way to apply ointment, all sorts of stuff like that. And shortsightedness and lack of willingness to take in new data and new perspectives was what I saw there. And yeah, I hope that was a complete enough answer.
0:11:42 PA: Definitely it was. And so just, was that for a holotropic breathwork? Or was this… Sorry, I’m just clarifying, was this for something…
0:11:49 JM: Yeah.
0:11:50 PA: Okay.
0:11:50 JM: So yeah, two totally different things. Holotropic Breathwork is still a close passion of mine. I’ve minimal criticism about that world. But the… It was more criticism of stuff like freemasonry, taoist magic, alchemy, different magical traditions that involve astrology and other stuff that you might see coming out of the guy that worked for Queen Elizabeth, John Dee or Agrippa, or some other kind of important philosopher/magicians.
0:12:17 PA: What about Aleister Crowley was that ever mentioned in those traditions, that name?
0:12:21 JM: Oh yeah, for sure. I’m kind of big on him. I’m still big on him but the divergence is he loved drugs, but his…
0:12:27 PA: Yeah, absolutely.
0:12:27 JM: Followers didn’t have too much of a sophisticated… The people I’ve met at least. I’ve hung around three to five different organizations in different cities of his, and they didn’t really seem to have a nuanced knowledge on psychedelics that I could appreciate as being slightly more of an expert than them. I’m like, “Well, you guys are just being dismissive of this huge treasure trove of secrets, or possible new information in healing.” And healing isn’t really necessarily on their radar. I wish it was a little bit more, but well, I suppose it depends on the tradition, who is more into healing than exploration and expansion, which is also an issue in psychedelic world, right? Is it about expansion, or is it about healing, is it about productivity or what?
0:13:13 PA: Or is it all, is it all interrelated? I think that’s one question that I come back to is… I was just talking about this with a friend earlier, it’s like there are subsets. So you have… I think the two biggest subsets, nah and we’ll say, the three biggest subsets are yeah entrepreneurs, creative types, Steve Job’s Silicon Valley -esque creativity productivity. You have spirituality I think, and understanding spirituality and exploring spirituality. And you have those who are looking into it for mental health, PTSD, depression, addiction, anxiety. At the same time, that’s all on a spectrum, I get the sense, and it’s not necessarily a linear spectrum, but it’s like a 3D type spectrum.
0:13:54 JM: Absolutely.
0:13:55 PA: Where all these things play off of one another because often times, a lack of spirituality is, or it can be directly related to mental health issues because of the disconnection and the separation comes from that. So. And even people who are using it for optimization in Silicon Valley, I think there’s a reason why microdosing is taking off, and people are preferring it to regular nootropics because it’s a much more holistic, clean mindfulness that helps you to remain engaged and get things done. And again, mindfulness is tied to spirituality.
0:14:28 KB: Yeah and the topic on creativity and productivity, I think it’s this new trend that’s going on, and something that just popped in my head when you guys were just talking about that. Our teacher actually had a conversation with Stan, Stan Grof. And he was saying, “Stan, isn’t this great, that all this research is starting to re-emerge and da da da da.” And Stan was like, “Yeah, it is great. It’s all been done before in some sense back in the ’50s and ’60s, and we have data, maybe not as great safety data as we’re collecting now.” But he was saying that the real potential in some of this stuff is in creativity, and that type of exploration. So I think it is cool that people are exploring that realm.
0:15:09 PA: Well, especially when we look at solutions are more important now than ever before, solutions to problems. Big huge pressing problems. I don’t think it’s no coincidence that the world’s top entrepreneurs, many of them have done psychedelics. It’s no coincidence, I can’t speak for Elon Musk, but I know Elon Musk has been to Burning Man a couple of times. I don’t think that’s a coincidence either. So it’s this new breed of 20, 30, 40-year-old entrepreneurs that has been on the up and the up and up, so to say, a lot of them use psychedelics as tools to help solve some of the most pressing problems in our world today. And many of them have this sense of consciousness, or social responsibility that they integrate into their work. And it’s not necessarily always tied to psychedelics, but I think it would be a mistake to say that it’s never tied to psychedelic use.
0:16:03 JM: Right, right. Yeah.
0:16:04 PA: So we’ll keep moving the conversation forward. I wanna dig a bit more into both of your personal histories with psychedelics. Can you each just give maybe a two to three minute overview of how did you guys get into psychedelics anyway?
0:16:18 KB: Sure, I guess I’ll start that one off. I got into it… I guess I’m always been open to, I don’t know, say the spiritual world in some sense as a kid. And when I was 16, I got in a really bad snowboarding accident and ruptured my spleen, and had a near death experience. And so coming back from that really jarred me, I really didn’t understand what happened, and trying to go back to school was really difficult ’cause I felt like in that experience of dying, I felt like I was going home, I made peace with it, and it was a really beautiful and blissful thing. And then I wake up and I’m just like, “I just went somewhere, something just happened. I don’t understand why I’m still here, I don’t know why the doctor saved me, da da da da.” So that left me on a journey I guess, I fell into a really deep depression afterwards. I had a super big high, I’m like, “I’m so grateful to be alive, this is amazing.” And then, I don’t know, it became bitter sweet where I was just maybe feeling too much around me, just being like an empath in some sense. And then just, I don’t know, when you have a big experience like that, I started seeing the world in a really, really different way.
0:17:29 KB: And just trying to hold that space and just be a teenager, was just really difficult. So I hit, what I guess I would call some cosmic rock bottom where I just fell into this deep existential crisis of, “What is life?” And I just became just really interested in what is consciousness and death. And so a friend of mine, we went into the woods and we ate some mushrooms, and I didn’t know anything about it, and that was more in a time when I was depressed and I just wanted to escape ’cause I had all these deep thoughts, and stuff in my mind that I was just trying to process. And during that experience, I relived a lot of stuff from my near death experience, and I had a full-blown mystical experience. And I always say, “I met this beings.” And it just reminded me so much of dying, and it was really interesting ’cause I was like, “Man, I feel like I’ve been here before.”
0:18:25 KB: And these things are like, “Yeah, thousands of times.” And I was like, “Oh my God. Is this like what death is? Is this where people go when they die?” And it was really a trickster archetype. Where like, “Yeah, more or less so.” They never give me a straight answer. But coming back from that, it cleared me of a lot of my depression, made me realign with my life’s purpose, I enrolled in school, I decided I wanted to study consciousness and psychology, and I started just digging into a lot of the material. I picked up Rick Strassman’s book and as I was reading that, I was like, “This makes sense.” I might have had an endogenous release of DMT when I was dying in the emergency room. And this mushroom experience was so similar to dying, and then I started getting into like, “Oh man, the compound of Psilocybin is really similar to DMT.” It’s almost like this oral active dose of DMT. And okay, so if I had an active dose of DMT and I had this endogenous release a DMT when I was dying, like there’s something so interesting there to explore. And so, that just got me on a path on wanting to study transpersonal psychology and just consciousness in general, and then, I came across breathwork in college. And just pretty much been really interested in this stuff since.
0:19:45 JM: Cool. So, me, I was a late bloomer. I got into some philosophy classes in my undergrad, and one of the first assigned readings was a book called Holographic Universe, and there was a couple of paragraphs in there about Stan Grof’s work and how it might support this guy’s main thesis, and the story was something like this addict he was treating with LSD back in Prague, I believe, was exhibiting symptoms mid-session, or a syndrome, I don’t really know the words. But she looked like the girl from Exorcist, and was doing some kind of spooky ESP things that were really freaking him out. And long story short, he followed his protocol, came out with a great outcome. The lady no longer was addicted to opiates or alcohol, whatever the case was. And I was fascinated, so I thought it was bullshit, thought I was fascinated too, so I went and got all the books I could from the library and began reading all sorts of Grof books in 2001, and it took me about two years to go to a holotropic breathwork workshop.
0:20:50 JM: I wasn’t really doing drugs in college, I was definitely drinking way too much. And at that point, I can’t really say I was smoking too much weed, but it did come up once in a while. So, yeah, jumped into the deep end with holotropic breathwork and just loved it, kept going back. I really loved the community aspect of it. The same way people get hooked on the community aspect of Ayahuasca. I believe I was really hooked on that kind of authentic connection with people after a really shared intense experience. It was really nice. Conveniently, it was just a few hours away. I didn’t have to fly to Peru to do it, and my teachers made it affordable for me. I was worked through college, I had plenty of money to spend on breathwork if I chose to go once a quarter, two, three times a year or something. It was very affordable. So, I kept going and just kinda stuck with it because it was great, and I probably started facilitating breathwork in 2007 maybe, here and there, maybe a bold move, maybe not, but it was cool. I did some great work with people and really found it promising.
0:21:54 JM: Handful of years later, I jumped into the deep end with psychedelics with Ayahuasca in a group in the northeast that flew shamans up from Peru. They actually flew with these little sketchy bottles, like Poland Spring water jugs full of Ayahuasca, which I thought was outrageous. But they did it, and it was really cool. I, through all my breathwork experience, think I was pretty well-prepared. And in fact, I was. If I had not had my breathwork experience, I would have probably lost my mind. Came up fine on the other side, but it would have been far more of a hell ride than it already was. And from there, I’ve done some explorational mushrooms, LSD, and MDMA, and it turns out I have a strong affinity for drugs. Go figure. [laughter]
0:22:37 PA: As do I.
0:22:39 JM: Yeah. And here we are on this podcast.
0:22:41 PA: Talking about drugs. Can you imagine?
0:22:43 JM: Yeah, thank goodness. Now I’m living in the Rockies of Colorado, Breckenridge, doing breathwork workshops here, and there’s plenty of weed, if people wanna come smoke it, and give my town some tax dollars.
0:22:54 PA: It’s legal there. When I was in Breckenridge, I bought weed at… There was a place.
0:23:00 JM: The Green Dragon or Organics.
0:23:00 PA: Green Dragon, that’s what it was.
0:23:02 JM: They’re a huge chain, but I like their layout of their stores quite a bit.
0:23:05 PA: Yeah. I just looked it up on Google, and that was the one that was ranked higher, so I went to them.
0:23:10 JM: Yeah, sound decision.
0:23:12 PA: Yeah. Yeah, it’s cheap. It’s like 12… No. How much was it? 25 bucks for an eighth. I was like, “Whoa!”
0:23:18 JM: Yeah, that’s about right.
0:23:19 PA: And then I bought some edibles, and I went back to my… I was snowboarding with a friend and his girlfriend. And I was a little arrogant about it. [laughter] I ended up eating two edibles and smoking an entire thing in my vaporizer, and I was like… Because I didn’t think the edibles were that strong. I was wrong. I was very wrong.
0:23:39 JM: Do you remember the dosage on each one?
0:23:41 PA: It was 10 milligrams, I believe.
0:23:43 JM: Oh, 10 each, so you did 20?
0:23:44 PA: I did 20, and then I smoked my vape as well.
0:23:47 JM: Yeah, God. I have a friend that loves 50, but I think that’s bold. Wow.
0:23:52 PA: That would put me to sleep. I would be knocked out, yeah. And so, we ate those, then I went out to dinner. I just remember when I get really stoned, like super stoned, I get… I think about death a lot. Like paranoia about death, and what it means to live. And when you’re out to dinner with friends, that’s just not a good situation to be in.
0:24:15 JM: No.
0:24:17 KB: But I heard that in ancient India. I was at a conference in Bucharest last summer, and there’s this guy, Richard Grossman, who does work with Ayahuasca. And he was talking about how in India, ancient India, when they use cannabis, it was like a sacrament. They didn’t just take tokes or puffs, they would consume massive amounts of cannabis just once in a while and go into these deep meditations. And I bet it was to unlock these deep states of… Or these deep altered states of consciousness to contemplate things like death in a way that was controllable.
0:24:55 JM: Sounds similar to Ayahuasca, right?
0:24:57 PA: Or psychedelics even in general, this high, high dose experience really helps you to transcend your ego and go beyond the ego, I think.
0:25:06 JM: Yeah. With cannabis, I always say to some friends like, “Yo, you wanna get anxious tonight?” Because [laughter] that happens to me. So much stuff starts coming up, and then I start contemplating life and death and then I really just have to sit in meditation when that happens, I just have to just sit, do some yoga and meditate.
0:25:25 PA: And is that like you smoke a joint with friends or you take a few puffs off a vaporizer and that happens or is it like you get stoned off your ass and you have to go into that?
0:25:35 JM: Sometimes it’s only the smallest little hit that could happen. I’m super sensitive and it just depends on my setting. If I’m out with friends, and it’s a social thing, it’s little bit more controllable. If I’m doing it by myself, like say at night and I just wanna read and do whatever, that’s a typically comes up a little bit more. It’s almost like I have this intention to meditate with it.
0:25:58 PA: I’d say that’s a good intention to have though.
0:26:00 JM: Yeah.
0:26:00 PA: It’s better than eating pizza and watching another episode of Frasier which is what I do. Which I like what? Yeah, I know, you guys are thinking, “Frasier?” That won a lot of Grammys. Have you guys watched Frasier?
0:26:14 JM: Not in a while, when I was a kid.
0:26:16 PA: Oh yeah, it’s a great sitcom.
0:26:17 JM: There was actually references in Frasier to holotropic breathwork and Stan Grof.
0:26:22 PA: There are, yes! And I was watching season two, and when that happened, I was like, “I’m hooked.” Frasier was in a coffee shop, the coffee shop that all the scenes are in, and he’s sitting in the corner window sill, reading, Stan Grof’s most holotropic… I think it was Holographic Breathwork, was the name of the book. And I’m like, “I’m in, I’m watching Frasier, I’m committed.” So I’m into season four now.
0:26:47 KB: I’m gonna have to look out for that episode, that’s really interesting.
0:26:50 PA: I think it’s in season two. Unfortunately, what’s his name? What’s Frasier’s brother’s name?
0:26:56 JM: Niles.
0:26:57 PA: Niles. Unfortunately, Niles…
0:26:58 JM: I hate I know that, by the way.
0:27:00 PA: Unfortunately Niles, he’s now divorced from Maris, and so, the tide is turning. Frasier… Where am I? I don’t know, anyway, for listeners at home, we’ll move past this because it’s probably not too interesting, but go check out Frasier. It’s a great show. It’s hilarious, and it’s really like highbrow sophisticated pretentious humor, which of course I’m a huge fan of. So let’s dig into holotropic breathwork a little bit more because obviously that’s what connected both of you. Obviously, that’s what you both got into. Obviously, holotropic breathwork is very psychedelic. In fact, it was invented by Stanislav Grof to work in an altered state of consciousness that somewhat mimicked what he was working with when he was using LSD in the Czech Republic. And so, can you tell us a little bit more about holotropic breathwork, and just the basics of it?
0:27:53 JM: Right. So just a quick clarifying point. We were trained by people who worked closely with Stan to do holotropic breathwork. We did not go through the official program. We were trained by these two. Stan gave them the rubber stamp to spin-off another training organization, because the existing one doesn’t really train enough people due to expense and geographical limitation and stuff like that. So we’re calling it transpersonal breathwork, and our mentors call it dream shadow transpersonal breathwork. So now that that’s out of the way. The method is [chuckle] just…
0:28:26 PA: Trademark…
0:28:27 JM: Intense breathing. Yeah, trade, TM. We don’t wanna get in trouble. The method is intense breathing, loud evocative music, group process, artistic expression in some body work and then like an integration at the end which kind of ties into the group process part. So it looks like you show up to a place and there will be people there, you shake their hands or whatever, and you get a little talk on how to do it. What are the mechanics? And the mechanics are simply… It’s a simple, very simple technique. You move a lot of air. You lay down in kind of like corps pose or Shavasana yoga. Just on your back, palms up maybe, that’s a suggestion, not a mandate. And you just move as much air as you can, try to get it into the residual capacity of your lungs a little bit. Don’t just make it like a quick pant. So more like a… Than a… That kind of thing.
0:29:20 PA: Are you starting to…
0:29:21 JM: So…
0:29:22 PA: Are you starting to enter an altered state consciousness?
0:29:25 JM: Yeah, I’m seeing a lot DMTLs right now.
0:29:25 PA: That’s amazing!
0:29:27 JM: Right. It takes a little bit longer, but usually after 10-20 minutes, I’d say something happens and then you go into that state and you wanna stay there and just ride it out, see what happens, encounter what comes up, be with what comes up and really just push through all that kind of stuff, and see… We find it initiates experiences that are very similar to psychedelic therapy. So a lot of the story around psychedelic therapy is almost identical to holotropic breathwork. Kyle, anything I missed that you might wanna fill in?
0:30:00 KB: No, I mean the mechanics of it. Yeah, pretty straightforward. And I think you covered all of it. Yeah, and breathwork also has an interesting history, because it’s not anything new people have been doing, and utilizing their breath forever in different cultures. And the way it came about through Stan’s work, was this guy, Leonard Orr, in Western society, this guy, Leonard Orr, was breathing in a hot tub and he felt like he was reliving his birth and so he developed this technique called re-birthing breathwork and then there was another guy, Wilhelm Reich, who was a psychoanalysis and worked with Freud for a little bit, and he would work with breath in the body. So there was already kind of like a foundation on using the breath in say the psychology realm. And then, when Stan ended up at Esalen, him and his wife, Christina, developed it. And, you know, Esalen was a weird little hot spot out in Big Sur, California, where there’s all these meditations going on, Fritz Perls with Gestalt was over there. Different shamans and healers were coming through, so there was a lot of activity going on and I’m sure people were experimenting with breath over there. And then, so it kind of developed at Esalen with his wife, Christina. And so it’s…
0:31:13 PA: And do you know how? Do you know like how he developed it? How did he discover that breathing that…
0:31:20 JM: Esalen… So, he was seeing all these other people doing yoga, Shamanism, etcetera, and breathing was part of it and being trained as a Freudian analyst, he was exposed to some Wilhelm Reich with the breath technique. So he had kind of a preconceived notion that something was going on with breath, and in some of his LSD psychotherapy sessions, he would see that rapid breathing come up. So, he had a hunch. And Esalen was a really experimental place. So, I think he just experimented here and there, and there are plenty of people coming over to hear about his work with LSD, because it was shortly after the ’60s and criminalization, I guess, of LSD and all that kind of stuff. So, he was an expert and a doctor, a psychiatrist. So, kind of a automatic authority on the subject. So, people were there, people wanted to experiment, and he had plenty of hippies spending a month or two or three at this place, Esalen. And, yeah, really just out of experimentation.
0:32:15 JM: The format now is very different from what they started with. Right now, it’s in pairs. So, you do a sitter/breather pair. Before, it was kind of more in a circle, heads in the middle. And you would breathe rapidly until someone “popped” until something happened, and then everybody would focus on that individual. And now it’s sitter/breather pair. You’re paying very close attention to your assigned person when they are breathing and vice versa. And, yeah, that’s actually an interesting part. People don’t really talk about sitting much but when you’re sitting and taking care of that person, it’s really amazing because it can be almost equally as psychedelic as the breathwork session because it’s not too often you get hours to pay attention to somebody like that and think caring thoughts or whatever you’re gonna think about that. And similar to a psychedelic session, they could be experiencing all of the cosmos at once, and you get to witness them from the outside, and maybe your heart’s melting the whole time or something. So, it’s pretty fascinating and really, really neat that way.
0:33:16 KB: Yeah, sitting is a really interesting experience. I’ve definitely had a lot of emotion pour through me sitting, watching people go through their own experience. And as I remember, Stan came up with that, the sitting aspect. I think he hurt his back.
0:33:29 JM: Absolutely, yeah.
0:33:30 KB: Maybe he got into an accident and he couldn’t bend over to do body work and stuff like that. So, it was an experiment of he couldn’t do this so he just had other people sit for their partners and pair up, and that’s how that came about. And I think it’s a really great process to be able to sit there and observe folks. And some of the body work comes out of Stan’s work with LSD. So, whenever we talk about this, people don’t know what body work is. And when you are doing breathwork, or even if you’re in a psychedelic state, there could be some body tension. And the theory is that our bodies hold a lot of memory, a lot of stress, and when you enter into these non-ordinary states, this inner radar inside of us is picking up all this different stuff and it’s stored in our body.
0:34:16 KB: So, when Stan was doing some of the LSD research in Czechoslovakia at the time, when people were coming down, they’d talk about, “Oh, I got a little cramp in my neck or I feel this. Do you think you could apply some pressure on it?” And so, I think he was taking some of those experiences that he had during his clinical days doing LSD research in psychedelic research, and then watching people experiment breath entering into these non-ordinary states and realized that it was very, very similar, the types of experiences that would come up. People might talk about reliving their birth trauma or birth experiences, talking about maybe regressing into past lives, feeling one with the universe, becoming an animal. There’s different types of experiences that could come up. And I think Stan was seeing this and he was like, “Wow, this is really familiar of what I was experiencing doing some of this clinical work.”
0:35:13 PA: And for you guys, you know, comparing the two experiences, what are the similarities, what are the differences between psychedelics and breathwork?
0:35:22 JM: The major difference, I think, predictability. You’re predictably gonna get super high if you take a big dose. Breathwork, maybe, maybe not. Most of the time something’s gonna happen, either subtle or very obvious. The other part being breathwork appears to do more body stuff or allows you to process more body material than psychedelics do. So, say you’ve been doing LS… Or, I don’t know, psychedelic psychotherapy for a handful of years or did a bunch of Ayahuasca, and then you went and did a couple of breathwork sessions, I would expect to see some pretty interesting body stuff come up for you, like a shoulder injury or a broken leg trauma from forever ago or something along those lines. That’s kind of the way I model it. Being exposed for such a long time, I think it’s actually that simple but maybe I’m wrongly. Kyle, what do you think?
0:36:13 KB: Well, I would also say too breathwork is work. You really have to breathe and really focus on that versus taking a substance, you ingest it, and depending on what your belief system is, sometimes these substances have spirit, and the spirit is guiding you. To do breathwork, you really gotta put in the work. There are times when it’s so difficult. You’re sitting there listening to the music and breathing and rolling around on the ground and moving a large volume of air and energy. I mean, it can get pretty tiring versus taking a substance and maybe laying back and just letting it guide you.
0:36:50 KB: So that’s a difference. But I’ve had really similar experiences as a psychedelic experience. I remember the first time I signed up and I thought. “This isn’t… Like breathing is not gonna do anything.” And I went down to this retreat and everybody’s like, “Oh, have you done this before?” They’re talking about their experiences and I’m like, “Man, these people are whack.” I just don’t buy into it. And coming from this background where I had this near-death experience and I had this really far out psychedelic experience, “I’m like there’s no way breathing is gonna do anything like that.”
0:37:23 KB: And it was literally everything wrapped up in one ball in my first session. And it was like I relived all this… I re-lived that accident and I re-lived some of these psychedelic experiences and the visuals were there, I felt like I left my body. But on the flip side, as Joe was saying, it’s very somatic. It was very body-oriented, it was like I was able to process some of that trauma I was holding on to. So I was rolling around on the ground, I was kind of shaking. And what really caught my attention was my first session I felt like I was being born, and I felt like I had, I couldn’t breath, I sat up and I started choking, and I was just like gasping for air. I feel like something was wrapped around my neck. And I went back to my mom later on after the session a few days after it wrapped up and asked her about my birth and I told her about that.
0:38:12 KB: And she was like, “That’s really weird. ‘Cause you almost died coming out, you had the umbilical cord wrapped all around your neck.” And so yeah, for me it was a great way to process some of the stuff I’m holding in my body that I couldn’t get with say, like a psychedelic. Psychedelics really took me out of my mind and out of my body. And then the breath work almost felt like a nice integration. I was like,”Okay, I get to process this stuff now and really re-experience it in another way.”
0:38:36 PA: And I wanna get into that point where you mentioned the umbilical cord and how you relived that and processed that. In one of Groth’s book, I think it’s, “LSD doorway to the Numinous.” He tells a story about something similar happening. I don’t believe it was an umbilical cord, but it was something of the sort in birth or even past lives that a woman re-lived through at least LSD psychotherapy. And of course within that context he was talking about these BPM matrices. I believe it’s BPM one, BPM two, BPM three, BPM four. Can you guys explain what those are a little bit? Do you know off the top of your head like a basic rough definition?
0:39:16 KB: Sure.
0:39:17 PA: Do we ever. I’ll let you go Carl.
0:39:19 KB: Yeah, so Stan came up with this idea, the basic perinatal birth matrices and this came from his clinical observations doing LSD research and comparing some of these processes that would come up to the process of birth. So the first one is BPM one, and that it’s related to, they say it’s a good womb bad womb experience. So it’s when the fetus is just hanging in the womb. And so a good womb experience could produce say, these feelings of oceanic bliss. You feel like you might be floating in the ocean. People might have say visions of swimming with dolphins. A bad womb experience might be that the mother is constantly under stress and the person feels like they’re just swimming in this toxic stew, they feel like they’re being poisoned. And in one of Stan’s books he describes it as somebody reliving their LSD experience. They felt like they, they were in the womb, and they felt like they were just being poisoned and all this stuff was just flowing through their body and just felt like a very toxic environment. So in that first stage, it could be really good and blissful, or it could kinda be almost suffocating like you’re in this just toxic soup.
0:40:33 KB: And then the second stage BPM two is when, supposedly when the cervix starts to contract but, no the uterine wall starts to contract, but the cervix doesn’t open. And so that’s almost like a no-escape, it’s a hell. The walls are closing in, it’s almost like you’re kinda being eaten alive, suffocated, and it can cause a lot of anxiety. And I believe it’s one of the most stressful type of experiences to relive just because that image of having no place to go and just having things just push against you is gonna just bring up a lot. I always kind of think of it as a claustrophobic feeling of the walls are just smushing you, and almost kind of a psychotic, like this process is never gonna end. Do you wanna hit the other two, Joe?
0:41:25 JM: Right. So yeah, before I start, it’s kind of outline or the initial archetypes you’re exposed to as a human. And they kinda set the stage for the rest of the experiences for the rest of your life. And they can… We’re just kinda giving a really light overview. So there’s positive and negative different aspects to this stuff, depending on how it plays out. So yeah, three would be like the cervix begins to open, and there he is finally, a possible exit. So it’s kind of like…
0:41:55 KB: Popped out.
0:41:55 JM: This is a really long shot, opportunity like, “Oh I might actually leave this thing. I might actually escape and I might actually conquer this epic battle or something like that. So that’s probably a good way to look at that one, hero’s journey kind of thing. I guess it shifts from perfect to hell to, “Oh man, I might be able to escape this thing.” And then, it shifts into the fourth where you kind of died being this aquatic creature, all your needs are taken care of automatically, to you’re a stand alone, semi-aquatic mammal that breaths air and eats food. And you hadn’t really eaten food or breathed air before that point. So it’s kind of a death, rebirth cycle that you experienced as soon as you’re born. So that lays quite the substantial framework through which to experience the rest of your life.
0:42:50 JM: We now know it’s really important for children to have mother-child connection right away after birth. Otherwise, there can be all sorts of symptoms like anxiety, depression, self-esteem whatever. I don’t really know if self-esteem is a real thing they diagnosed but it’s probably tied to some other stuff. So a good womb, good birth experience lays the groundwork for a good life, and a healthy psychological attitude. Without it you might have all sorts of syndromes that could predisposed to you to detrimental stuff like eating, getting really into eating blood or hair, or maybe that’s a mineral thing, but… Where am I going with this Kyle?
0:43:32 KB: It sounds like you’re turning into a vampire, that’s what it sounds like you needing blood.
0:43:35 JM: Right. Right, right, right. Like for instance, if you had a bad scenario somewhere like say it was kind of like a really messy birth and you’re born with feces in your mouth or something that lays some really complicated psychological ground work for the rest of your life and perhaps, when you become sexually mature, you’re gonna start seeking that on Craigslist or something.
0:43:58 PA: Like literally you’re talking top girl style right now or…
0:44:02 JM: Yeah, people pay for that kind of thing and it’s aberrant. It’s…
0:44:05 PA: That’s top girl. Two girls one cup.
0:44:06 JM: It’s abnormal…
0:44:07 PA: Two girls one cup.
0:44:08 JM: Exactly.
0:44:09 PA: That’s what it. [chuckle]
0:44:09 JM: Yeah.
0:44:10 PA: We will not provide a link to that, okay, we will not provide a link to that.
0:44:13 KB: No, please don’t…
0:44:13 JM: But that’s what you’re just talking about.
0:44:16 JM: It will bring down my page rank man.
0:44:17 KB: But, yeah. Stan has some really great examples in his books of people going through these processes, in particular of what you’re talking about with sexual identity and what not. He’s got a really great example of somebody that he served where… Yeah, they had some wild sexual fantasies and then… The story’s kind of bizarre where he liked… The guy liked to be chained up and he was going to some guys house, he liked to be tied up and all this wacky stuff but then it came through one of the sessions where it was related to a birth experience. So, yeah, just to give a basic overview again the BPM I is the primal union with the mother, BPM II is cosmic engulfment, no escape and then the BPM III is the birth, rebirth struggle and then BPM IV is the death and rebirth experience. And for myself, I can give you an example of what comes up for me. And so, during these podcasts is sometimes, it’s really typical, ’cause I have a really sometimes a really hard time with speaking and getting my voice out there and I don’t know why.
0:45:25 KB: It’s just one of those problems I constantly work on. And so I always kinda think of that with this umbilical cord thing, like this feeling of being constricted and strangled and there’s just always this tension around my neck. It’s like I know what I’m trying to say, but I stumble over words. It’s like the head and throat just doesn’t line up. Sometimes I can say everything perfectly in my head but it’s probably why I’m a lot better at writing than I am at speaking at points, but this is also kinda part of my medicine as well as talking more and moving through that anxiety. So I don’t know, that’s just one example on how I relate my experience to what I experienced during breathwork. It’s like I have a lot of… I guess, say wounds and issues revolving around this neck area and it’s like, Okay, well during my birth, I had this umbilical cord wrapped all around it and almost… Well, my mom told me, I almost died, and it was over the summer, my dad even brought it up and he thought I was gonna have some sort of mental retardation and that was what the doctor said. He was like, “What.” Totally turned out opposite of that [chuckle]
0:46:27 PA: I would say, which didn’t happen. Right, it didn’t happen.
0:46:30 KB: Yeah.
0:46:30 PA: Okay. My follow up question of this is how much do you buy into this? Do you buy the theory in all of its legitimacy? Do you think there are things that you disagree with? From my perspective, I’ve read about the BPM matrices. I think they’re interesting, but a part of me still thinks that explaining a lot of we could say deviant behavior or explaining issues in, as adults and putting blaming, not blaming necessarily, but explaining them by circumstances that are clearly outside anyone’s control, what happens at birth? It seems like a tenuous connection to some degree.
0:47:09 KB: I buy it pretty hook, line and sinker, for the most part. So where I might differentiate a little bit is, yes, there’s other stuff that influences behavior like your childhood or Grof kind of brings in past life or trans-personal stuff possibly informing your psychology too, which is equally as theoretical and out there. How do you prove this stuff? This is why it’s in the same category as Freud, right? It’s not hard science, it’s theory that maybe we’ll approach later. [chuckle] When we get the opportunity.
0:47:43 PA: Is that even something that’s measurable by science? And I’m not saying that’s bad or good, but there are some things that are, I wanna say, inexplainable. There are some things that are mysterious, there are some things that… It would be difficult to prove Transpersonal Psychology with the type of science that we have available today, yet it is a legitimate way to describe a lot of issues and trauma that arise in the world.
0:48:08 JM: Yeah. It’s a nice set of tools to describe stuff. So maybe for instance, maybe if we perfected birth for 2000 people in Finland or Sweden, and then we went and looked at what we do in America, and just take a random sample of a 1000, 2000 children and check in on them five, 10, 15, 20 years later, you might have some interesting insights. It’s a really long project but proving theories is often really hard work, especially when they’re like depth psychology on the level of Freud, Jung and whatever. People always say, “Oh, we disproved Jung again.” Or “Disproved Freud again.” It’s like, well these are early attempts at a holistic view of the mind. There’s still some validity there but they’re immature theories. I hope that people out there, take this stuff on, and develop the theory further ’cause just as a theory, it’s kind of like a, it’s not even a truth, it’s like a provisional framework of maybe possible future scientific fact. Maybe possible.
0:49:11 JM: So for us in breathwork, we find it helpful when dealing with people to maybe inform us how to do bodywork or we can talk to people later and say, “Hey maybe your experience was related to X, Y, Z, maybe go ask some questions.” And it can help them integrate their really strange and kinda troubling experience and when they get those answers they can come out better on the other side. So that…
0:49:39 JM: Based on my experience of working with it, in breathwork, that’s what kind of informs my… For lack of a better word, faith in those theories.
0:49:46 KB: Yeah, and I kinda see it just as a simple little map. Like, there’s a person that came to our workshop and they were so hooked on this birth matrix stuff, and really thought that the root of their problem was gonna be in their birth experience and every time they went into a session, like, that was their intention, it was to relive their birth. And for some people, you don’t need to do that. I think if an experience comes up, say, if you’re having a psychedelic experience or your breathwork experience, you know, like, “Wow, I just had this really strange experience where I felt like I was in the womb and I don’t know how to make sense of it,” I think the birth matrices is just… It’s a nice framework, a map to just navigate if that stuff comes up for you. I definitely don’t think of it as dogma where birth is so crucial and your psychopathology is rooted in your birth experience. I think it’s just a nice little map in case something does come up, it’s just a different way to work with the energy.
0:50:45 JM: Yeah, we’re like, “You’re never gonna be happy if you had a shitty birth.” That’s not the thing. [chuckle] It’s like just another tool and kind of a rough sketch of where we think the territory is now.
0:50:55 PA: Cool. So I think that gives a significant overview of holotropic breathwork. It’s something I’ve always been interested in, but have never done myself. Hint, hint. So maybe in the future, we could try that. But what I kinda wanna wrap up with is, if you guys could just tell us a little bit about the podcast, the Psychedelics Today podcast, let’s go a little bit more into that. Basically, what’s your focus in putting on that podcast? What type of content are you trying to curate? What type of interviews are you trying to do? And where do you see it going in the next year to 18 months to two years?
0:51:33 KB: Great question. So yeah, Joe and I kinda had this idea to start creating resources for people that are interested in getting involved in the field, our idea to try and get some content, host interviews where we could potentially have a great resource for students that might be doing research. Some of our conversations don’t always end up like that and sometimes they’re casual, but I think our goal is to curate just a nice resource for people that are interested in getting involved in the psychedelic field. And we just put on an integration course so we’ve been working with that as well, maybe working with some folks that are interested in learning more about integration and Joe and I had definitely talked about trying to run some more workshops and really focus on doing breathwork and incorporating that and… Yeah, I don’t know, what do you think, Joe?
0:52:30 JM: Yeah, trying to give useful information to people who are or want to be involved in the field and bringing breathwork into the conversation, that’s kind of the long and short, those three things and where we wanna go in the future, develop more classes, put on more workshops, partner with folks in the field hopefully like you, Paul and others, maybe Ed Ali from psychedelic know what to do, maybe bigger workshops a week, two week long, maybe breathwork in Jamaica with some mushrooms or something like that. It sounds pretty cool.
0:53:02 PA: That would be cool. Very cool.
0:53:05 JM: So food for… Brain food of the gods for thought.
0:53:08 PA: Terence McKenna.
0:53:09 JM: Yeah. So that’s kinda the plan, man. I’m trying to figure out how do you create an exit strategy from working full-time in software and do this more because I love doing breathwork, I love talking to people in the psychedelic world, and realistically, we’re doing stuff, all of us in this field that can and will save a lot of lives. People committing suicide from PTSD or whatever. I have veteran friends that lose their comrades all the time, just suicide. And it’s really fucked up. And it’s something that we can address by continuing to push this field of psychedelics further and further. And by the time, 2021 the proposed MDMA legalization day rolls around, we’re all gonna be pretty well-established in this field and can help steer it where it needs to go as kind of the people who have been very actively involved in the field for a while. So it’s kind of the hope. And doctors are doing great work, MAPS and Drug Policy Alliance and Heffter are all doing great research but there’s always these new interesting angles that we could approach this stuff with and there’s probably room for more non-profits to do research with and very interesting research projects that maybe aren’t legal here in North America, maybe we have to go somewhere else to do the research.
0:54:24 PA: And so, that… My follow-up question to that is how do you think the psychedelic movement will develop between now and this potential medicalization date of 2021?
0:54:35 JM: So we’re gonna have the mainstream which is gonna be… I don’t know who it’s gonna be populated by. So there’s this whole festival culture of young millennials doing a lot of drugs that, wherever, Coachella, whatever, Electric Forest and they’re going to grow up and go, “Okay, maybe I wanna get some money and party part-time and oh look, this is therapeutic and I can help my friends.” I think it’s gonna get a lot more DIY. I hope that veterans maybe can get some training on how to facilitate MDMA sessions for people they served with, people they care about, and it can be like a peer model. I know that’s not the model MAPS is pushing for, but I hope that there can be some sort of responsible training program that teaches people how to do this well. And so, there will be this kind of like highly inertial, inertia-heavy mainstream and all sorts of cool branches spinning out. I think there’s gonna be a lot of cool stuff. I’m really excited and really hopeful for this field in particular. The rest of the world, maybe not so much, but in crisis, there is opportunity and there’s a lot of cool stuff coming. Kyle, what do you think?
0:55:42 KB: Yeah, it’s a big question coming from being in grad school and thinking about the therapeutic uses. I really think about what MAPS is doing is really awesome and their vision to kinda have these… Not spas, but these clinics where people can go to have an experience and do therapy. My only concern with that is, if these things do become legal, I always get worried about access. And are we just using it for like, will people only have access for it for a medical reason versus maybe self exploration and people that could really benefit. I really find these tools helpful for, with the John Hopkins and NYU studies with transitioning to dying with myself having the experience and then having a really powerful experience with psilocybin and seeing the similarities there. Just it makes me so fascinated in hospice care, I think it’d be really awesome to see some like psychedelic hospice places pop up and help people transition into the death ’cause I think that is a really important topic too, because our culture fears it so much and we don’t prepare for it. And there’s, I don’t know who has this quote or finishes the general thing, it’s like, how we prepare for death is how we live our lives. And it’s like how we live our lives is how we prepare for death. And we don’t know when that’s gonna happen.
0:57:06 KB: And I think these tools, since we don’t have rites of passages anymore, to alter our consciousness, we’re going out and doing it on our own, but we’re not having the integration. And I think some of these substances and tools can be, just really profound in shifting the way that we look at death and dying. And I think, for the culture to progress and humans to evolve a little bit more like we have to look at death and really understand how to live in the moment and how to live today instead of constantly like, I don’t know, doing crazy things.
0:57:39 PA: Well, I think, this fear of death that you’re talking about dictates so much of our society, it dictates so much of what we do, especially the taboo that we have around death in our Western culture, because of all this attachment that we have to materialism and this attachment that we have to things and this attachment that we have to objects that ultimately will go away. And I think psychedelics help us to see through that, psychedelics help us to see beyond that. And obviously, this assertion now is backed by hard, rigorous science which…
0:58:15 KB: Yeah, that’s another part too, with the science and then the blend with spirituality. Like, I’d really hope to see the spiritual component not get lost. And the ceremony with shamanic use. I think that’s really important. So I don’t know it’s gonna be interesting to see how it evolves over the next few years. I think the Ayahuasca and the Ibogaine stuff are kind of blending that ritual and ceremony into science, the MDMA and I guess the psilocybin is a little bit more science and rigorous but I think they’re, not to push like religious beliefs onto people or spiritual beliefs, but I think it’s important to have like, use some of those, those elements of ceremony in some of these experiences. Whether that’s just like simple intention.
0:58:58 PA: Yeah, absolutely. And I’ve been speaking about this lately with a few friends in terms of this difference between Ayahuasca and mushrooms, I assume what will happen in the next few years is mushrooms will become increasingly more popular than Ayahuasca, and especially a certain business models began to develop.
0:59:15 KB: I hope so.
0:59:16 PA: Because Ayahuasca, I almost see a lot of Ayahuasca be in a backlash to kind of Western culture, like people’s attraction to it in a way many people like… I wouldn’t say an over-compensation, necessarily, but it’s so different from everything that they’ve experienced. And that maybe plays part of a role in its effectiveness. However, there are a lot of people who wouldn’t feel comfortable going to the Amazon for like a shamanistic ceremony immediately. It’s too far outside their kind of normal realm of understanding. And maybe they don’t want to puke and vomit all over the place, and they’ve heard really, ’cause generally what I’ve heard is, and this isn’t 100% absolute, but generally I’ve heard Ayahuasca experiences are like really difficult, very difficult. And I think it’s different with psilocybin with mushrooms, is you can definitely have difficult experiences on mushrooms, but it also had some of the most blissful experiences of our life. And I mean, in fact, John Hopkins with the research that they’ve done, it’s like, I believe the number is between 60 and 70% of people said that it was the most spiritually meaningful experience of their life when they did magic mushrooms, it was able to initiate this peak mystical experience.
1:00:29 PA: And getting back to this idea of shamanism versus a Western thing. I think, we can co adopt certain aspects of shamanism, but portray them in a light that people are more comfortable with, in order to help facilitate healing experiences for them that seem familiar, even if they are, they come from a slightly different context and then use a slightly different substance.
1:00:51 KB: Yeah, It’s as simple as healing doesn’t necessitate lots of vomit and diarrhea.
1:00:57 PA: Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And I wanna clarify that I think, what has happened with the Ayahuasca movement, for the most part, it’s wonderful. It’s brought a lot of people healing and understanding. At the same time, if you can go through that same healing process, without the purging, and if you can go through that same healing process in a way that’s more just comfortable for you, I think that’s a good thing. I think it makes it more accessible for people, which means more healing ultimately happen.
1:01:23 JM: Yeah, and I also come back to the shamanism part, just also like the stories like I think, we have a tendency to take things and then pull it out of context. I’m really interested in keeping some of these stories and folklores alive, that some of these substances do come from people that know a little bit more about it and sense of maybe the psychic realm. And I think that’s important too, is to kind of honor that like where these substances come from, and also not over harvest and do stuff like that, and it all to be really interesting. I did this course with Kathleen Harrison, and she was talking about, when she studied with the Mazatec shamans, they would eat them in pairs. So you’d be taken in the masculine and feminine. Like that would be a really interesting research project instead of like weighing how many grams you’re doing. It’s like, what’s the difference between taking one big mushroom that might weigh like two grams versus taking two of them? In that tradition, it’s like you have this masculine and feminine energy singing to you and they harmonize. And I don’t know, I think stuff like that, it’s just really interesting to keep alive.
1:02:26 PA: And that might not be something that can be explained by science either just because of the separate subjective nature of it. I think isolating those variables will be difficult but having even qualitative reports about it from various individuals. Would be interesting in itself. So I think that’s a good place to wrap up. We’ve been going about an hour and 10 minutes now, maybe a little bit under where can all these listeners find you?
1:02:52 JM: On psychedelicstoday.com, We’re on Twitter. As you search for Psychedelic is like psydelictoday, the shortening ’cause It’s Twitter. We’re on Instagram, is too its psychedelicstoday and on Facebook. So you can check us out there and Paul has a website at settingsunwellness.com, and I’m at breathwork.com. Find us both on Facebook too.
1:03:14 PA: Okay.
1:03:15 JM: Thanks for having us. Well it’s Super fun.
1:03:17 JM: Yeah it’s always.
1:03:18 KB: Great conversation.
1:03:18 PA: It is, it’s fun to do this with you guys. We should maybe do like a special edition, psychedelic Science podcast or something like that. We should…
1:03:26 JM: Oh boy.
1:03:27 PA: I’ll talk to Ed about it I don’t know. And the Psymposia guys, ’cause they’re taking over psychedelic all alone now, and we’ll see if we can coordinate or organize something of that nature. It’s gonna be lot of fun, regardless. I’m excited for the conference.
1:03:42 KB: Like wise.
1:03:42 JM: Same here. Same here, looking forward to meeting you there.
1:03:43 PA: For sure. Well, thanks again, guys, and we’ll wrap up now, so listeners, thanks so much for tuning in and go ahead and leave us a review. Leave a review. I would appreciate that. Joe would appreciate that Kyle would appreciate that.
1:04:00 KB: Yes.
1:04:00 PA: So please leave a review. And guys, thanks again for coming on.
1:04:04 PA: Hey y’all, we’re gonna do a new segment for the psychedelic podcast at the end of each show. We’re going to go ahead and do a This Week in psychedelics. So this is the first one, it’s called, “This Week In psychedelic”. And basically, I’m just going to give a brief five to 10 minute overview of things going on in the psychedelic space research that has come out articles that have been published announcements, things that are just going on that I think you should know about that I think you would be interested and that I think you want to know more about. So let’s get right into it and waste no more time I think, the first thing for This Week in Psychedelics is specific to Third Wave, and what’s going on with micro-dosing is we have some events coming up, we have an event on March 26, in Amsterdam for micro-dosing, we have an event on April 8, in Copenhagen a micro-dosing seminar and we have an event in Berlin on April 9 for a micro-dosing seminar. And so what I’d like to do is go ahead and just… We’ll provide the link to that in our show page that you can get access to it.
1:05:12 PA: The second thing, second announcement for This Week in Psychedelics is the Blue Dot Tour, from Psymposia and I’m just gonna read what that is, so that you guys have an idea of it. It’s going to be basically a two month open Mic psychedelic stories road trip across the continent, starting on the way to the Psymposia stage psychedelic science 2017 in Oakland.
1:05:35 PA: Basically, the goal of it is to hit blue cities in red states that serve as such pressure cookers of activism education and art. But also blue cities and blue states, red talents and red states purple villages in green states and anywhere we can find a host from Mexico to Canada, they’ll also be screening Robert Barnhart’s excellent film, A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin. It’s gonna be hosted by Lex Pelger who is one of the dudes at Psymposia and I encourage you guys to go and check that out. So it’s the Blue Dot Tour. It might be coming to a city near you. The next thing is there’s this cool site called Chacruna, chacruna.net. They have published a number of articles over the past week that I just wanna say a couple of things about these articles include its Is Psychiatry Ready for the Psychedelic Healing Paradigm. What I Learned Treating 400+ Patients with Ibogaine and Ayahuasca. And Deep Ayahuasca Healing and the Truth of Who You Are. I would highly recommend going to check out those articles. What is Chacruna? Chacruna is a collective of intellectuals and creatives that love to re-define common knowledge about psychedelic plant medicines.
1:06:52 PA: Their contributors include leading anthropologists psychologists journalists neuroscientists philosophers therapists and potentially any wordsmiths with deep or new knowledge about psychedelic plant medicines. If you wanna get involved with Chacruna, you can submit an article for publication by sending an email to [email protected] with your CV or a sample of your writing and they’ll send you a publishing guide. So that is chacruna. I would highly recommend going to check out those articles on their site. They’re excellent, well written and done in a way that is in line with our principles at Third Wave as well.
1:07:30 PA: Final announcement for This Week in Psychedelics is there is a psychedelic survey that has been organized by the team at Imperial College and Robin Carhart-Harris. Let me get details on that for you guys. Basically, the psychedelic survey is to inspire collaboration for better research. It’s an initiative set up by researchers at Imperial College London, in collaboration with a team of web designers. The survey is open to anyone who plans to take a psychedelic in the upcoming month no matter how or where they’re wanting to hear about your experience, because your feedback will play an important role in improving the understanding of psychedelics and participation is fairly easy. Basically, if you plan to take a psychedelic in the next two months. You can sign up for the cohort study, below We’ll provide the link on the podcast page just your first name, your email, the date of your planned psychedelic experience.
1:08:23 PA: The study is developed again by Imperial College, London. They’re basically going to send you a link to a survey at five times before and after your experience. None will take longer than 40 minutes and one only takes five minutes and you can do it at your own time, and pace. All the data is anonymous and all of it will be stored securely and encrypted.
1:08:45 PA: So those are the announcements; Micro-dosing events Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, the Blue Dot Tour Chacruna articles, and the psychedelic survey organized by the team at Imperial College. Go ahead and check those things out, guys have another excellent week we’ll be back with the Psychedelia podcast next Sunday. Have a great one.