The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave
How To Convince Your Boss To Go On A Psychedelic Retreat
Michael Costuros, founder of Entrepreneurs Awakening, talks about why the ayahuasca ceremony is an integral part of his high-end business coaching. We hear about Michael’s extensive experience with plant medicines, and why he decided to combine the lessons of ayahuasca with his entrepreneurial flair to produce a groundbreaking business model.
Since 2011, Michael has been leading a business mastermind program aimed at tech entrepreneurs. Unlike most business coaching, however, this course includes a ten-day long trip to Peru, where participants take part in three traditional ayahuasca ceremonies. Over the course of the three-month long program, participants are treated to 1-on-1 coaching with Michael and given extensive integration after their ayahuasca experience.
What made Michael decide to use psychedelics in his high-end business coaching?
Born in the Bay Area to Hippie parents, Michael always had an interest in psychedelics. In 2008, with his tech startup facing a number of challenges, his wife convinced him to travel to Peru for an ayahuasca ceremony. Despite his initial reluctance, the ceremony revitalized his interest in his business. He returned to San Francisco “reinvigorated and free.”
Michael wanted to apply the benefits he’d found from his experience to other business owners. He knew he’d be able to help those entrepreneurs who wanted to improve themselves and grow their companies. He realized that, through the ayahuasca experience, he could help people remove all the ‘schmutz’ from their lives, allowing them to feel ‘more like themselves.’
Michael’s course doesn’t come cheap – starting at around $11,000. But for a three-month long business mastermind, this isn’t an unreasonable charge, especially considering it includes a ten-day long retreat in Peru. Michael states that he doesn’t make much money through this business, just about covering costs, and that he would make much more (and have more time to himself) offering a standard business mastermind.
Finally Michael mentions that he sees psychedelics as the future of personal and psychological healing and self-improvement. He thinks that the countries that remain with a prohibition-era mindset for the longest will miss out the most on the myriad of benefits they can offer.
0:00:29 Paul Austin: Hey listeners, and welcome back to The Third Wave Podcast. Wow, what a week this past week. It has been at least for me, personally, as well for Third Wave. Lots of things going on. I’m currently in Lisbon, Portugal, where yesterday I interviewed a neuroscientist who is a research director at an institute in Lisbon studying serotonin in animals, and he leads a team of 20 researchers for that and that was an excellent podcast. I had him over to the apartment that I’m staying in at. We did an in-person podcast, which I’m really starting to like and prefer even, and I think that was one of the best podcasts that we’ve done. However, this week, we have Michael Costuros and I did this podcast with him in person when I was in the Bay Area for Psychedelic Science.
0:01:13 PA: I’ll get into a few more details about Michael in a little bit here. Before I get into those details, I want to just do a recap of this week in psychedelics. This is a weekly thing that we do where I just get you up-to-date with the latest news in the psychedelic space, and sometimes in the larger drug policy and cannabis world. So, for this week in psychedelics, we have a few pieces of really important information. First of all, as I mentioned at the beginning, things have been crazy this past week. On Saturday, the New York Times published an article in the style section about the recent psychedelic conference. The headline online was “Molly at the Marriott: Inside America’s Premier Psychedelics Conference“. I prefer the title, “MDMA at the Marriott”. I think Molly has too many negative connotations and associations with it. So, although a cover title, I think it mischaracterizes what’s going on in the psychedelic space.
0:02:09 PA: There are a few other what I found to be mischaracterizations in the piece. However, this is how it goes, you take some, you give some when you’re working with journalists. The journalist who wrote that piece, I had a chance to get to know at the Psychedelic Science Conference. My impression of her is overall very positive, but that article, it sent some shock waves through the psychedelic space. It was an objective skeptic look at what’s going on currently in the psychedelic space, and it sent a lot of people reeling, and I don’t think a lot of people knew how to respond to it. Overall, I thought the piece was positive. It was on the front page of the Style section in the New York Times on Sunday.
0:02:49 PA: It was certainly positive for us, largely because we’re the first organization, I was the first individual mentioned in the piece, which just helps in terms of visibility. Obviously, as many of you have experienced, the farther you read down the piece, the more likely you are to exit the piece and so, the higher up you are, the better off you are. And so it was an honor and a privilege to be placed at that height, so to say, and I have had a lot of questions and correspondence since that point. So we’ll put up a link to that New York Times article so that you can see it.
0:03:21 PA: There is a Good Samaritan law in Canada that was just implemented, and now you can call 911 for an overdosing friend without being put up on drug charges. This is an extremely important step in fighting the opioid epidemic caused by fentanyl-contaminated heroin. Fantastic, that’s great, that’s necessary, that’s important. AsapSCIENCE, who has about six and a half million subscriptions on YouTube, mentioned microdosing in a new video. This new video is titled, “Your Brain on LSD and Acid”. And so far, it’s gotten 760,000 views on YouTube. And the question they ask is what happens to your brain and your body when you take acid? And in this video, they actually discuss the phenomena of microdosing. So check out that video if you want a little three and a half minute overview of what happens to your brain when you take these substances. I think it’s a cool little video and I think you guys will enjoy it.
0:04:18 PA: Last thing, there is the first ever cannabis drive-through that is now open. It is in Colorado, obviously, and it’s called Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru. It’s in Parachute, Colorado, and you can pull up there and you can buy your cannabis and you can drive off, nothing better for the American consumer than take away cannabis.
0:04:44 PA: Couple more things, this is kind of just a last note for this week in psychedelics. I’ve been asked to speak at The Next Web conference on microdosing psychedelics. So this is a business conference, this is a tech conference. Last year, in 2016, it was named the best business conference in Europe. When I was in Amsterdam at the end of March, I had the opportunity to spend time at the house of one of the co-founders, we had a party, private, and we had a dinner thing, and I spoke to microdosing up to a few people there and, through that relationship, I was just asked at the last minute to speak at the conference.
0:05:16 PA: So I’m trying to prepare, basically, a talk from scratch, which I imagine will go well. It will be, I think, the most important talk I’ve done so far, so if you are listening to this, send some good vibes. I think everything will go well, and I think what’s important about doing things like this, speaking at conferences that are outside the psychedelic space is you’re largely speaking to a psychedelic naive or just psychedelic, kind of curious audience. A lot of these people don’t necessarily have psychedelic experience. So, it’s important that we use platforms like this to continue to spread education and knowledge about the utility of these substances.
0:05:52 PA: So that’s it for this week in psychedelics. Check out the New York Times article, The Good Samaritan law in Canada, the video on AsapSCIENCE about LSD in your brain, your first ever cannabis drive-thru and The Next Web Conference, and that will be on Friday, May 19. We will stream it. I think there’s going to be a live stream, but I will double check on that. Maybe there won’t be, I don’t know. If there is, we’ll provide a link. If there isn’t, we’ll try to get a recording and provide that to you guys later on.
0:06:18 PA: Now, for this question. So, I also mentioned how we’re going to start to do a question section at the end of each podcast, so that’s coming up at the end of the podcast. So if you wanna hear and see if your question has been featured in our podcast this week, please be sure to stay tuned in to the end of the episode. On that same note, if you do have questions about psychedelics, or about Third Wave or about anything that we’re doing, and you’d like me to answer them on air, please send them in. You can submit them on Twitter, Facebook, email: [email protected]. And we’ll pick three questions for each week and we will respond to them. Last thing, and the most important thing, is the podcast itself. So this week, I interviewed Michael Costuros, who was the founder of Entrepreneurs Awakening, which is a business mastermind where Michael creates a space for ambitious individuals to go and have an ayahuasca experience as an initiation into a larger three-month process of coaching and development. And in this podcast, we’re gonna hear about why the ayahuasca ceremony is such an integral part of what Michael does with his high-end business coaching.
0:07:32 PA: We’re also going to talk about Michael’s extensive experience with plant medicines, why he decided to combine the lessons of ayahuasca with his entrepreneurial flare to produce a ground-breaking business model and various other things, like what does it mean to pick a good ayahuasquero. What is the downside if you don’t pick a good ayahuasquero and various other questions specific to the psychedelic experience. This is of a different one. Most of the interviews we’ve done so far, this podcast started by largely interviewing people in the psychedelic space, people who you see at conferences, people who you talk to at conferences, people who work for MAPS, or for DPA or who are scientists or have written books about psychedelics. A lot of our future guests are going to be people who you don’t really know from psychedelics, but maybe you will know them from other areas of life. So I’m not going to necessarily announce those guests on air right now, but we have a New York Times best seller who will be on the podcast in the next month or so, that is one highlight. We have a guy who wrote a book about a psychedelics that was very mainstream in the past couple of months who I’m hoping to get on. We have someone who runs a blog about nootropics who will be coming on.
0:08:45 PA: So, we’ll have lots of interesting interviews to share with you in the future from people who you haven’t necessarily heard from before. Last thing, last, this podcast is completely 100% supported by you, the listener. We run on a donation basis. I have no future plans to create advertisements or put advertisements on this podcast, and I’m really trying to do my best to step away from the advertising model. I think it’s distracting. I think it’s superficial, and I think it sells our attention for money. And I think with the economy that we currently live in, our attention is valuable and it should not be distracted on superficial largely useless things. There are obviously products and services that I believe in. At the same time I think the work that we’re doing with psychedelics is the most important work that we can do. So, if you can afford it, if you can manage, if you believe in what we’re doing, and if you want to see this podcast continue to increase in quality, go to our Patreon page, patreon.com/thethirdwave. Please make a small donation.
0:09:44 PA:www.patreon.com/thethirdwave We have updated the prizes on the page so they’re even more comprehensive than before. There are lots of options, and from this point forward, Patreon supporters will get exclusive access to various things. They’ll get exclusive access to content before it’s published on the main site. They’ll get exclusive sneak peaks into podcast interviews. They will also receive first tickets to workshops that we do and talks that I do. For example, I’m doing a talk on June 8, in New York City. Patreon supporters will get first access to purchase those tickets and those tickets will sell very fast as there are only 70 available. So, make a donation if you can, we would really appreciate it. It just helps us go a little bit faster. Our model is not based on consumerism, our model is based on healing and that requires, while we still live in this time and age, some level of financial support. So enjoy the podcast, and if you like it, leave a review on iTunes.
0:10:54 PA: We’re here, basically, in San Rafael, the home of Michael Costuros, who leads business masterminds with ayahuasca from Entrepreneurs Awakening. Michael, thanks for agreeing to do this podcast.
0:11:07 Michael Costuros: You’re so welcome, honored to be part of Third Wave. I love what you’re up to, I’m really impressed, great.
0:11:13 PA: Thank you, thank you, I appreciate that. Tell me a little bit about, what have you been up to with Entrepreneurs Awakening recently?
0:11:20 MC: Yeah, I think the simplest way to frame it is since 2011, I have been leading executive coaching mastermind programs primarily for tech entrepreneurs, not exclusively, that include a week in Peru to do ayahuasca, and over the years, that has grown both in impact and notoriety, led to this conversation happening today.
0:11:47 PA: And you just recently got back from an excursion in the Sacred Valley?
0:11:51 MC: Yeah. I’m in the middle of this year’s program, it’s a Machu Picchu ayahuasca mastermind program, a lot of words. It’s a three-month program, and we work with participants for a month before to prepare them for Peru and also to clarify what it is that they’re most struggling with, their deeper subconscious challenges that they feel are holding them back from being the most fully authentic, expressed version of themselves in business and otherwise. And then we spend 10 days together in Peru as the group and then do a month of integration as a group and individually. So we’re about 10 days since returning from Peru. And last week, we did the one-on-one type integration calls, and this Wednesday, we have our full all hands video conference, first time all the guys will see them, each other together, since leaving and leaving for an exciting week for me, and for them, too. So yeah, I am coming toward the end of the series program.
0:12:58 PA: And what got you into this in the first place? How did you end up in this situation where you’re taking entrepreneurs down to the Sacred Valley?
0:13:06 MC: Although in retrospect, it was a very natural progression for my life, I was shocked that it came together in this way. I never imagined, a year and a half or a year before doing this, maybe even yeah, a year before my first program, I never dreamed that I would be able to bring these two worlds together, the two worlds being my life-long interest and in ways apprenticeship with plant medicine. Plants. Psychedelic based plants done in a ceremonial and container usually in a tradition that is coming from an indigenous culture or a remix of those traditions. And my experience as a tech entrepreneur. 2004, I founded a tech startup in San Francisco and we did really well really fast and I got to experience what it was like to go from 0 to 60 employees, which is tiny, compared to most of my clients, but for me, it was a really big deal. And do the whole rocketship ride. And at the end of that journey, for myself, I was really burnt out. I’d been working as many hours a week as tech entrepreneurs do.
0:14:23 MC: And relaxed into being an executive coach to other founders of tech companies, supporting them through stages of development that I’d already gone through, and so I was doing that while figuring out what I wanted to do next as an entrepreneur. And with the spaciousness having come from leaving my company I re-engaged with a consistent plant medicine practice attending ceremonies. And so before long, it became pretty obvious that a lot of my clients, where they were struggling in their personal lives and professional leadership roles had to do with psychological baggage from their childhood. And well, there’s lots of coaching tricks that can get you through that and it works and it takes time. Or we can spend a week in Peru and get a year and a half worth of coaching done in one week. So it just became the most efficient and inspiring way to do deep transformation work for really busy entrepreneurs, who’s… Some of my clients have hundreds and hundreds of employees, so there’s a direct impact, when they change their whole ecosystem or their company changes. And eventually, the product and everything changes.
0:15:31 MC: So I think the first client, we had a private… We went down, just he and I to Peru. And that started from… I know he was going to Burning Man, which I can assume means he’s psychedelic friendly, if not a user. And so, in one of our coaching sessions, I’m like, “Hey, if I could do anything for you, it would be this.” And I talked about a week in Peru and the next day, he called me up and he’s like, “Let’s do it.” So that was my first client, and that was the first time my two worlds came together.
0:16:02 PA: Can you talk a little bit more about that back story specific to plant medicine? What brought you into yourself getting into plant medicines?
0:16:10 MC: I feel like I was born a trillionaire, in the sense that my mother and father grew up in the Bay Area, they went to college during the ’60s. My dad was in San Francisco State from ’64 to ’67 and he studied psychology and education.
0:16:29 MC: So I grew up in this kind of alternative neo-spiritual family culture that had great reverence for Native American spiritual tradition as well as ’60s psychedelic music. So my dad had black light posters when he was in college and photos of him being kind of like a hippie. So when I grew up and sort of came of age as a young teenager, I was just fascinated by ’60s psychedelic culture and psychedelics, what are those. And listening to Jimi Hendrix’s lyrics and I’m like, “What’s he talking about? This purple haze stuff.” So super familiar, intrigued, and it wasn’t a cultural leap from my family origin, and I also experienced nothing but empowerment and support from my mom and dad no matter what I was interested in. So it was just sort of a green light to follow my own spiritual inquiry, and that led to doing mushrooms and LSD in my opinion, way too young. It happened to work out for me, I don’t recommend that 15 year-olds do acid but…
0:17:30 PA: It happens. Like another…
0:17:31 MC: It happens more often then you might think.
0:17:33 PA: Yeah, another one of my really good friends, Brian, who is gonna come into the Bay Area today. He’s doing his PhD, finishing up at Ohio State. He’s from Portland, so he did LSD the first time when he was 15 as well. And it’s like at the same time, in the Amazon or some of these indigenous cultures, you have kids who are much younger who are doing this.
0:17:51 MC: Yeah, it’s the right age for an initiation. And I think it’s interesting that enough Westerners, given the fact that we have no cultural context for this, are drawn to that consciousness expansion that psychedelics bring, as a way of shifting out of being a child and how to let early adolescent into a young adult or a young adolescent. And if we were in a tribal culture, there would be a serious initiation that always involve the risking of their lives. And if they had the right psychedelics, often it was just a psychological death, not a physical death. And if you’re in Kenya, you have to go kill a lion. And I don’t know, the kids made it. They didn’t have psychedelics. In the Amazon, it would be both a physical manhood challenge as well as a psychological psychedelic challenge.
0:18:41 PA: Yeah, and you had… So you had these experiences with LSD and mushrooms. And then where does ayahuasca come in the picture for you?
0:18:47 MC: Yeah, so one of my best friends in high school was the kind of… I don’t even know where he got it ’cause his parents had no background or framework to it, but he became an ethnobotanist, eventually. And so, we were geeking out on the plant medicine and this is… I graduated in 1989, so no internet. We had to order paper zines from esoteric catalogues to learn about peyote, and how to grow… He was growing mushrooms in his closet in high school, which is not easy to do, even if you have internet.
0:19:19 PA: Sure.
0:19:21 MC: So anyway, when we graduated, we took the money we got from… From graduating from high school and I did a backpacking trip through Central America to go find real shamans and do an initiation ceremony. And at that time, there was no… Literally had black and white Xeroxed zines and we ended up in Oaxaca, Mexico, Huautla de Jimenez, if I’m pronouncing that correctly. And did find an elder, who was for some reason, willing to do a ceremony for us. We did a mushroom ceremony, which is their tradition there in [unclear speech] and it was incredibly, incredibly profound, both the second setting of having indigenous leadership and the whole night, his wife was singing songs, mass effect medicine songs, to be guided into the spirit realm with songs that were evolved in a culture to guide you into the spirit realm by people who interact and live in a spiritual, animistic spirit reality, which was incredibly different than anything I’d ever experience on my own. That was really, really profound.
0:20:29 MC: I would call it really my initiation in the sense that I was never the same after and I could not jive with Southern California culture. I went to high school in Southern California, on the beach in North County. And I went back after that trip and I’m like, “Fuck this place.” But I didn’t know where else to go and I had no mentor. That’s just the story, except that it was a clear danger point that if I wanna get back to extended sacred consciousness during a ceremony and a second setting like that, we’ll do it. And then my path went in all kinds of directions, but it wasn’t until 2008, while my company was at the peak of its challenges with the financial crisis and I was burned out, really tired, and my wife had convinced me that we should go to Peru to do ayahuasca. She wanted to do it for her own reasons and I’m pushing it off, “I can’t do that now. If I do that, I’m just gonna text my partners from Peru saying, ‘Fuck you, you can have the company… I quit. I don’t want to do this anymore.'”
0:21:36 PA: Fuck all this shit! Right?
0:21:38 MC: “I don’t know what, but I’m not gonna come back to a computer.” That was my concern, but she was committed to going and I’m like, I can’t let her go by herself, I’m like the macho I am. We went and once I met the people, I worked with Diego Palma, who’s very well-respected and one of the earliest pioneers in Peru for neoshamanic ayahuasca ceremonies, and spent a week with him doing his program, which is fairly similar to mine in a lot of ways. I realized I owe him for that kind of blueprint. And it was amazing and I fell in love with my company again, all the resentments, and just depleted back, a lot of the frustrations and fears were washed away. I just came back to San Francisco, excited and engaged, but not attached and free. And that distinction of like being in the company, but not of the company… It’s like, of the world, but not in the world… You know what I’m saying?
0:22:39 PA: I don’t… Yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about… Yeah.
0:22:45 MC: I might have it backwards… I’m sure you guys all know it better than I do… So yeah. It was remarkable and then I became really fascinated. How does that work? So I started studying and reading and at that time, I didn’t know anyone who’s done ayahuasca in San Francisco. Now, it’s everywhere. But at at the time, there were two or three people coming around a year from Peru, Peruvian ayahuasqueros, there were no westerners that I was aware of that were leading it. Since now I know some old guard back from the ’60s that were leading ceremonies, but those were really secret. But now… At the time, there was so little, so I had to study and reach out a lot to learn. And then ended up apprenticing with a Native American medicine man for a year, year and a half, with no psychedelics, just like red road Native American spiritual submission in a neoshamanic medicine way. And that was super powerful, so great to have that in a very deep shamanic discipline that was not relying on any kind of altered… In fact, we had to stay sober for a year. When you’re committed to a year-long apprenticeship with him, no intoxicants. It’s like a Buddhist Kai, no intoxicants for a year. That was the worst Burning Man of my life.
0:23:56 PA: What was the rationale behind that? What was the reasoning there?
0:24:00 MC: In the red road Native American tradition as, the teacher I respect very much, his name is Philip Scott, he’s a Sundance ancestor. And in that tradition, it’s about a direct relationship with the spirits. And you cultivate that in a sober state. Being intoxicated with plant medicine is very special and rare. In the Lakota Sioux tradition, they didn’t have psychedelics. They didn’t use psychedelics. Peyote came in much later, it came from Mexico, and didn’t even arrive in the United States until about the late 1800s. And then eventually trickled up to Lakota so it wasn’t part of their tradition. And they do use it now in a very strict tepee meeting setting, but it’s not anything like what we’re accustomed to Western, plant medicine ceremony.
0:24:49 MC: Yeah. So that discipline of knowing how to hold a ceremonial container, how to connect and become a channel for those nature spirits, someone who’s practicing shamanic medicine will rely on to heal their clients, was amazing. And it gave me the ability to discern really carefully and clearly, other medicine providers who, for example, had never done a sober practice, only done an intoxicated practice. That, I believe, really informed my choices when it came to selecting the ayahuasca that I’ve been working with for the last six years. Being able to hold my feet in two worlds. I’m an executive coach to more than 50 venture-funded founding team members of tech startups. In the average year, 90% of them have no idea about the medicine work for the Entrepreneurs Awakening program, less so with all the press that’s come out in the last six months. To be able to… I’m not dependent on plant medicines for my personal spiritual practice in this way.
0:25:51 MC: And I think that when I partner or collaborated with people who don’t have that as their foundation, I notice that their clients that I am best at serving have a hard time connecting, trusting, or relating to them, because they’re “too out there.” Not for me, but just for my constituents.
0:26:09 PA: When I think for most constituents, I think for most people, it seems like this… You keep referring to a neoshamanic tradition and I think there’s certain language that that’s encapsulated within that, kinda stems from this new age movement where we just had this soup basically of terms and ideologies and things, and I think…
0:26:29 MC: It’s a big ass soup right now.
0:26:30 PA: It’s a really big soup. And when you have a practice or a purpose that stems from that soup, it can be a bit off-putting for those who come from a more rigorous or scientific, or business-oriented background.
0:26:43 MC: Yeah. Most of my clients are not looking… They’re not on a spiritual quest. They’re interested in consciousness, but they’re most interested in being the best versions of themselves, and closing the gap between who in their hearts and minds they believe they can be, like operating at their full potential as a human being, and feeling the pain of the gap between how they’re operating day-to-day now and who they know themselves to be. And in conversation with me or friends, it’s always referral-based. My groups are filled through word of mouth referral. They come to trust that working with plant medicines in this way is very effective if not even the fastest way to remove those subconscious obstacles that are just preventing them from being themselves.
0:27:30 MC: The common language in this last week in Peru was like, “I’m changed. I feel like a changed man. I’m a better man or a better partner to my wife.” You’re not better. We just removed the schmutz and you’re just more yourself. You’re not different, you’re just more yourself. And yourself is a good thing. I believe that for all of us. I want us all to be more ourselves. Plant medicines for me is, simply put, it’s a process of coming home.
0:27:56 PA: It’s like a sense of getting in touch with that authentic self.
0:28:00 MC: Re-experiencing your true nature, both in this dualistic plane of, “I’m Michael and my true nature is being a bridge and being a blessing in people’s lives.” And then beyond that, true nature is not Michael. There’s no… Dualism is an illusion, you are my true nature.
0:28:20 PA: At least that’s another conversation that we could get into.
0:28:23 MC: Way more fun. And actually, that’s where my current passion is, is really…
0:28:28 PA: Mysticism or?
0:28:29 MC: No, kinda hardcore Jed McKenna non-dualism. And what it’s like to cultivate and dwell in a non-dual practice, like practice non-dual way of relating to the experience of being alive. And I most resonate with the way Jed McKenna describes that experience. His most recent book, Dreamstate, A Conspiracy Theory it was like… It’s a nuclear bomb in the spiritual arena, incredibly refreshing. He’s not the only one. There are lots of great non-dual teachers.
0:29:02 PA: So, one thing I wanna get back to which you mentioned a few minutes ago was this sense of detachment that you have after you had these ayahuasca experiences.
0:29:10 MC: Yeah, I played with that word a lot. Because detachment isn’t it. Detachment is too close to disassociated. One could argue that I was detached before, and that’s why I was suffering, or the suffering level due to my misperceptions of either a stimulus, my life, created a sense of disengagement and detachment to not have to feel the emotional discomfort or pain. Upon return, and this is true… I mean, I’m getting reports from the guys every day, we have a group text thread, and I’m like, “What’s it like today at work?” “I’m fully here. I am excited and passionate and I am not attached to any outcome.” So detached engagement might be a best frame that makes sense to average person. But I think if I really went deeper, it would be about engaged, non-attachment. Because you’re fully there, you just don’t need it to come out any one specific way.
0:30:02 PA: Well, yeah. You care, you care about the process, you care about this process of you could say improvement or engagement or just being with the tasks or whatever that you’re working on. But it’s like, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t attached your identity to the outcome, specifically.
0:30:16 MC: Yeah, that’s definitely shifted. I’d say another way to put it is the pleasure and success sensations come from the day-to-day journey and how you’re relating to the journey rather than whether in my case, with entrepreneurs that have a lot of investors funding their companies is like, “Will we be able to succeed in a way that our investors get their money back and I can buy a Tesla?” or whatever their ego goals are for… It’s more likely that, “I can take care of my family.”
0:30:46 PA: I would like a Tesla.
0:30:47 MC: I would like a Tesla too, man. That Model X blows me away. I just drove in one for the first time recently. I’m like, “You gotta be kidding. This is not even a car. It’s a totally different experience.”
0:31:00 PA: No. And what you’re speaking to is even what you’ve then tapped into with Entrepreneurs Awakening, it’s something that’s happening in a larger cultural narrative. We were just talking about the difference between Uber and Lyft. True or not…
0:31:11 MC: Uber has the reputation of taking more than they give from the ecosystem, from the economy. And I don’t know if that’s true, whereas Lyft has a different cultural value, and you could say the same thing about, there’s Google and Amazon. In the entrepreneur world, there’s Amazon culture and there’s Apple’s culture. There’s Amazon culture, Apple culture, and Google culture. And one is be the best at all costs and use people as a means to an end, speaking in black and white terms. There is, serve the employees, elevate them, and create the best experience of their lives and our business will succeed. I’m doing it the same way. So be careful of getting too black and white but it helps to make creative writing for us to talk.
0:31:55 PA: Well, and it does. And so the question that I had is, how does ayahuasca or even psychedelics, in general, how do they shift that narrative? And you were talking about earlier this ripple down effect. What have you experienced with the people that you’ve worked with, in terms of, is this plant medicine really catalyzing some sort of transformation that might change business for the better, or are we just fooling ourselves and thinking this idealist narrative of, “Oh, yeah, if we give famous people psychedelics, it’s gonna change society”?
0:32:25 MC: Yeah, I think it’s… It’s both idealistic and absolutely true. What I’m tracking is both the direct ripple effect of the changes that my clients experience in their companies which is the easiest place to see it, and in their personal relationships. So here’s what I believe to be true, based on my subjective experience working with entrepreneurs. What I’m tracking or looking at, that inspires and motivates me is, I’m really impact-driven because despite the controversial fact that my programs cost more than $11,000 to attend, which we can get to, I actually lose money every year on an annual basis, by doing this program. I would make much more money if I had just stuck around and did executive coaching. So I’m driven by impact and what I’m measuring is, in the short term, how do they lead different? How do they show up differently on their companies and in their personal relationships? In the long-term, what I’m seeing is, as people, when they start working with plant medicines, often it’s their first experience, certainly their first ceremonial experience of psychedelics, working with me. If not their first experience of psychedelics, period, like chuck people into the deep end, but they continue doing their work with psychedelics. And what you see is, the companies… Their moral compass changes. They become more people-focused.
0:33:54 MC: So a CEO of a company with 300 employees came back and he immediately took over HR, and reviewed all the HR policies for the company, and figured out ways to make it much more people-centric. And seeing working at his company as a personal journey for each individual and how you mentor them and what’s their growth path and being totally fine if that growth path leads them out of the company. Really, a much more people-focused company. I see a leader, I see that generically true, in greater or lesser degrees with everybody. People and personal relationships, and relationships to nature become the priority. It doesn’t mean they don’t intend to generate the same profits that they intended to. They’re just not willing to do that at the cost of humans and/or the environment in a direct way. And then what I’m tracking long-term, an internal bet I’m making with myself, is that we’re gonna see more innovative leaders like Elon Musks come out of my programs. They’re pretty young, they’re usually on their first or second company, and these are people that will probably do five to 10 companies in their lifetime.
0:35:10 PA: Mm-hmm.
0:35:11 MC: And each time they do, they’re generating more capital and more clout to raise money. So before long, they are able to do, globally impact, global impact companies, and they all want to. I’m really interested to see how, working with my program, and ayahuasca them, how it changes their moral compass…
0:35:33 PA: Mm-hmm.
0:35:33 MC: And ask them, making more hard-based decision, and what companies that has them, choose to create. And I’m definitely seeing people like go, “I’m done with this.” Last year we had a co-founder of an arms manufacturing company, and a co-founder of an alcoholic beverage company. Their target market were college students. He didn’t feel great about that anymore, it wasn’t exciting. And so within three months of the program last year, he had totally left that company to his partners and became the CEO of a new plant beverage protein drink that’s on the shelves of Whole Foods, taking his beverage-industry knowledge and applying it to organic, sustainable, healthy beverage. And the arms manufacturer gave notice and transitioned out and sold his shares, and is now starting a large non-profit project in Israel using art and music to bring together people of different religious backgrounds to collaborating on projects. It’s what he’s wanted to give back and figure out from that place what he would do next as an entrepreneur or on that petri dish. So yeah, I feel really good that he’s not putting his talent towards helping better guns or in the case of the other friend, better alcoholic beverages.
0:36:52 MC: So that’s just two examples I think time will tell, and we’re about five years into the experiment. One of the things I’m excited to do this year is really take time away from producing retreats and go back and interview everybody, and create essentially like an impact report for myself, and see… Just take stock on what’s been accomplished and where do I wanna go from here?
0:37:12 PA: Let’s get into that in a little bit kind of like what’s next, because what I wanna talk a little bit about, that we’ve had conversations is about is, these transformations, right? You mentioned these two individuals, one who had Four Loko and now has transitioned into organic sustainable beverage. The other, with the arms manufacturing. Something that you emphasize a lot is, you can have these experiences, right? And people have a lot of ayahuasca experiences…
0:37:34 MC: Yeah.
0:37:34 PA: There are hundreds, if not thousands, of shamans who travel globally to do underground circles. And obviously, there are a number…
0:37:42 MC: Agreed.
0:37:42 PA: In South America and Central America. However, the key to this transformative effect that you’re discussing, is creating the container that enables it to happen.
0:37:50 MC: Yeah. I geek out on designing a set and setting in context that gets the best result. I actually believe that the impact for any plant medicine is probably 80%, at least the depth of impact that I’m accustomed to, being able to get from most of my clients is directly linked to the preparation process. And even more important, the integration coaching and over the years I’ve refined the process that I’m really happy with. And it just makes such a difference. The people who have done a number of weekend ayahuasca ceremony, once they step into my process, they’re blown away by the difference in impact at having the front and back side, sandwiching their ayahuasca experience. So much so that I’ve just… This is actually a new thing, I’ve never talked about, that I’ve launched ’cause it’s somewhat controversial and the lawyer just greenlit it. But I’m now, with colleagues, offering prep and integration coaching to anybody who’s doing a weekend ayahuasca ceremony anywhere in the world, using our tried and true method for prep and integration.
0:38:55 MC: With, as a hope to create much more impact. So many of us can’t afford the time… I can’t afford the time and money to go to Peru to do my own retreats. I don’t. Can’t. I got a family and I gotta stay working. So I also depend on weekend retreats, in my own work, providing the best context possible for entrepreneurs to engage this medicine while at home, without being involved with a shaman or the retreat itself is the next wave of offering, so excited to get out there.
0:39:28 PA: What is that container? Not yours, specifically, but generally, what should people look out for if they wanna do an ayahuasca ceremony or even a psychedelic experience, if… What type of container, what type of…
0:39:40 MC: You mean, the prep and integration type container or how do they vet an ayahuasquero?
0:39:46 PA: More like, how do they vet an ayahuasquero. I feel like…
0:39:49 MC: We should a podcast just on that.
0:39:51 PA: Do you think that would be a topic in itself?
0:39:53 MC: It’s a rich topic, ’cause it’s on one hand, it’s super subjective. On the other hand, there’s fairly objective criteria. I actually can see us putting together a podcast based on the research I’ve already done for that vetting process and having two or three ayahuasqueros participate.
0:40:08 PA: That’d be great.
0:40:09 MC: And really have a rich dialogue about it. And then at the end of that, you can produce a white paper and publish it.
0:40:17 PA: Sure. Somebody just opened that loop. We’ll close it in a few months.
0:40:21 MC: I really want that out there. I’d like to joke with my clients, “You spend more time interviewing for virtual assistants than you do an ayahuasquero. You see people who are working with part… All well-meaning, of course, but are equally part-time ayahuasqueros that are self-anointed.” The analogy is like, if you’re gonna go to open heart surgery, would you wanna work with a part-time doctor that’s self-taught or do you want a board certified surgeon who’s done 10,000 surgeries? ’cause you can have either. There are plenty of great ayahuasqueros out there. You just need to know what you’re looking for. And I’d say 95% of people I meet who are new to this in the last couple of years don’t know what they’re looking for. They don’t know what they don’t know. And I think it’s our responsibility. You and I and others in the thought leadership positions here to help educate, in a non-orthodox kind of way, “Hey, here are all the flavors. Different strokes for different folks. But if you’re gonna evaluate Santo Daime, you should do it like this. If you’re gonna evaluate a traditionalist, you should do it like this. And a neo-shamanic hybrid ayahuasca ceremony, which are the most common, here are the pros and cons of that.”
0:41:30 PA: And why do you think that’s so important in terms of the experience itself?
0:41:33 MC: All of us are different, we are looking for, I think we have different aesthetics, we have different needs for… Requirements to feel safe and to drop our guard. And another great analogy is, what I see often is, a friend will say, “Oh I did this ayahuasca ceremony and it was fantastic.” And I’m like, “Oh great, how did you find it?” It’s like, “Oh my friend recommended it.” I’m like, “Awesome. And how many shamans does your friend drink with?” “Oh, just this one.” “And how many times?” “I think twice.” So far, awesome. Nothing wrong with that. It’s definitely ways to find a friend. But it’s also the equivalent of if you’ve never done yoga, and I went and did two Bikram yoga classes, and said, “Dude, Paul, you gotta do Bikram yoga, it’s the best in the fucking world, it’s gonna change your life, da da da”, you’re gonna go Bikram yoga and probably have a really profound awesome experience or not.
0:42:27 MC: But of all the yogas out there, is it really the right one for your body and where you are right now, and what you really need? And is that particular Bikram yoga teacher even the right Bikram yoga teacher? ‘Cause as strict as Bikram is, every teacher does it a bit different with a totally different vibe. So ayahuasca is the same. It’s as diverse as yoga in a lot of ways, and teaching of us, ayahuasqueros, facilitators of ayahuasca, are as different as each yoga teacher. And so I’d say trying different things and I don’t know of a good resource out there. There must be. I certainly don’t know all that’s out there, you probably know better than I, but I don’t know a good guide to how to hire and choose an ayahuasquero.
0:43:06 PA: And I’m not sure if there is one, to be honest. It seems like there’s a definite lack of quality information about ayahuasca in general.
0:43:13 MC: Super subjective information. I think ICEERS has the best objective description and education, anyone who’s like, “I wanna learn about ayahuasquero or ayahuasca and how to choose.” And like an absence of anything else, go to the ICEERS website and read what they write about ayahuasca, and is it right for you and how to choose. It’s really, really great, the most objective and informative source I’m aware of.
0:43:37 PA: And I think one other thing to add to that, this metaphor, this comparison with yoga, if you go to a yoga experience, and it’s not so good, you wasted 20 bucks, 25 bucks, it’s like, whatever. But if you go… And we were talking about this earlier, you pick an ayahuasca shaman or have a ceremony, and you spend a couple hundred dollars, but more importantly, you go through that experience, and it’s not quite what it could be, you also lose out on an opportunity to go through an amazing transformative effect. So the stakes are higher as well.
0:44:06 MC: They’re higher, and lot of people go to Peru on these retreats, and they’re less than awesome. And then the other thing is knowing what I know, when I, with friends that are new to this and have had one or two great experiences, and one difficult experience something, when I evaluate with them what went great about their experience I know that they… As great as it was, it’s like 35% of what’s possible, and they just have no frame of reference to even evaluate that. And that’s not to belittle what they had. I just want them to know that there’s so much more, and as you know, with plant medicine as a practice, it’s infinity, there’s always layers to the onion. There’s always more to discover about this cosmos and consciousness, and all of the psycho-emotional baggage that you’ve accumulated in your lifetime or multiple lifetimes, seems to be the case. Yeah, I’d love to talk a little bit about money in plant medicine, ’cause that’s such a controversial subject…
0:45:06 PA: Well let’s get into that because there is also, when people have these plant medicine experiences, right? There’s this sense that money is this… It kind of dehumanizes relationships or it can…
0:45:17 MC: It certainly can.
0:45:18 PA: People perceive it as being this disconnector, people perceive it as being very ugly, very evil. Money is the root of all evil, as we say. What’s been your experience? Because you do offer these high-end business masterminds and you integrate plant medicine into that. How do you get your head around this idea of charging, what… Is it? $12,000 or something for the mastermind?
0:45:41 MC: Yeah, I think it was 11,500.
0:45:43 PA: Yeah. Give us some context on that. I think that’s interesting.
0:45:45 MC: Yeah, there’s… Money is a hot topic, especially in spiritual arenas, in the West, always has been. I don’t know that people in India give a shit about it that way or anywhere else in the world, but here we’ve definitely got money in spirituality in some kind of dualistic battle that sort of mirrors the Christian devil/angel, good versus evil framework, which it makes me suspicious. It’s probably the wrong debate altogether. But talking to ayahuasqueros who, charging minimal amount and doing what they do, their goal is to, “I need to charge enough money to be able to do this work without struggle and maintain my practice living this lifestyle.”
0:46:28 MC: The ayahuasqueros I work with, it’s like they’re almost monastic in their dedication and commitment to it. And it requires this work handling all their life expenses. And I don’t know anybody who’s using any of the scaling way to accumulate wealth and savings, except for two people that I won’t mention. And there’s probably more of them, if I were in too, that… Anyway. So, what I’m happy about is that there are ayahuasca ceremonies for every budget, right? There are, I think there are great providers that work on sliding scale and looked like they wouldn’t even turn you away if you couldn’t afford anything.
0:47:06 MC: And I also talked to somebody recently that had a really deep healing from a long-term depression that was affecting her ability to earn a living, and when she did her ceremonies not too long ago, she was choosing between food and paying for the ayahuasca ceremony. And she did the ceremony instead and was really grateful for that choice, but she… Rather than feeling like a victim about that, she felt really empowered that she was so committed to her personal transformation, that she would rather eat Top Ramen for a week and not the normal organic fare in service of her own process, and felt like she got more out of it.
0:47:44 MC: And in a way, that mirrors the Dieta, the traditional approach to working with ayahuasca, which is a period of austerity, essentially. It’s how we would look at it, a period of saying no to comfort, luxury, indulgence, et cetera, and prep for meeting the medicine in a good way. And I don’t think there’s any shortage of great ceremonies available to people who are on any budget. I’m not actually familiar with the very many expensive ayahuasca-only programs, I’m sure they’re out there, I’m just hearing about more and more high-end ones, and frankly, if people have the money and they wanna spend it that way, if they’re gonna spend their money on something, I’d rather them spend it on a super expensive celebrity, whatever, ayahuasca ceremony in Costa Rica rather than… I don’t know, pick the way people spend money that you don’t like…
0:48:34 PA: Going shopping at Macy’s and something.
0:48:36 MC: Whatever… They’re gonna… They have the money, they’re gonna spend it. Nobody’s spending more than they can afford on a ayahuasca ceremony. Maybe somebody is but… So… And in my case… ‘Cause people tend to hear my price tag and not even look at what I’m doing and then like, “Those assholes charging 10 grand for ayahuasca,” it would be ridiculous, really ridiculous. In fact, the way it works for me and the way I frame it with my clients is they’re paying for a business mastermind program that includes ayahuasca, the ayahuasca is free. They’re paying for the business value of the relationships with the other men. The last two years it’s been men only, in the program, who are all in the position to advise and invest in their businesses. So everyone supports each other’s business.
0:49:23 MC: We’re creating a deep trust bond through the program and complementaries, business assets and skills, and they naturally support each other as brothers after. So, the value is in that relationship and the personal transformation from ayahuasca is, in my own world, in my mind, free. It’s just part of the program, the same way that… So, outside of the entrepreneurial bubble, people don’t typically know what a business mastermind is, but it’s essentially a exclusive business support group that tends to be anywhere from six to nine months, maybe a year long. And entrepreneurs…
0:50:05 MC: Many entrepreneurs join these programs to accelerate their network and resources, and also to learn faster from other business people in similar scenarios. And they typically… The cost on the low-end is around $8-12,000 for six to nine months of the program. And the ones I would like to join are around $32,000 and then I have friends that lead ones that are $120,000 a year, per person. The price is based on the value that the participants get out of the program, not based on what it costs to run the program or what they do during the program.
0:50:43 MC: So, I’m in that service industry, create business masterminds and on the scale, it’s a funny paradox because most of the people who come in are from the ayahuasca or plant medicine world, and they’re like, “Oh my God it’s outrageous.” And from the business mastermind world my friends are like, “You’re underpricing.” It’s like, “What are you doing? It’s too cheap. You don’t even charge for the trip to Peru?” And I’m like, “No, it’s included.” ‘Cause all these masterminds tend to have trips as well to like Necker Island to be with Richard Branson, and it’s like an extra 30 grand to do that. And those programs are great, it’s just different than what I’m called to do.
0:51:16 PA: Are you the only one that does things with plant medicine? Are there other programs that also do it?
0:51:21 MC: I haven’t done extensive research, but I haven’t heard of any other business mastermind that is doing plant medicine in Peru and particularly, doing plant medicine that is in a indigenous lineage. The ayahuasquero that I work with is a lineage holder, passed down from his teacher and his teacher and his teacher, and he operates in a very traditional way. And that’s increasingly rare. The amount of years it takes to apprentice to inherit any indigenous medicine tradition, whether it includes plant medicines or not is forever, in Western terms, typically 7-14 years. So, I can easily imagine a plant medicine weekend in San Diego with a neo-shamanic Western practitioner and that working great for a typical entrepreneur business mastermind, but not our programming based around that experience, rather than it’s just part of the experience… If any of that makes sense?
0:52:23 PA: It makes sense… Where do you see… Well we’re first start with you ’cause I’m curious about you, and then what kind of, we’ll zone out into this larger framework, but where do you see this going for you, Entrepreneurs Awakening? And you’ve talked about the prep work and the integration work, what do you think is, it’s gonna be going…
0:52:39 MC: In this moment, I feel like I’ve just closed a group, closed a circle. I’m actually feeling really complete with the Machu Picchu mastermind program, in a way that I’m not sure I’ll ever do another one. What I do know is I need to create spaciousness in my life to explore where my interests have spread and to get a little distance from the program, it takes a lot for me to run these, it’s like attention, nights and weekends for nine months of the year. It’s my second job, not my first job. So to get any perspective, I just need to stop doing it. So my intention for the next six months is to take a break, and just focus on my own personal practice and discover what I wanna do or… It’s not even so much want, it’s like more what is being called to be done, what is indicated that’s next, that’s also an alignment with who I am and what feeds me to do. And it’ll very likely be something quite similar, but I don’t know what it’s gonna be exactly. I certainly do love leading transformation retreats. If I can do that full-time and live in Peru, I probably would. I don’t think that’s in the cards right now, so…
0:53:53 PA: Well, so what are some of those challenges been for you… ‘Cause, to me, I’m sitting here across from you… What you’re doing sounds amazing. You’re leading these retreats. You do it once a year, once every six months. What’s kinda the… Not the downside, necessarily. But what are those things that people don’t think about that are actually… That’s challenging about that, or that’s difficult about that or it’s not all rosy?
0:54:14 MC: Well, yeah, leading, leading retreats that are very psychologically challenging, by design, destabilizing to people’s lives, in a foreign country, with an audience or a group, the type of participants I have that are… Have very high expectations and are quite demanding. It’s a big process. So, the interviewing and screening, and application process, hours and hours and hours, a couple of months. And then once you have the selected group, then it’s very… A lot of one-on-one to kind of get them all into the same place and then you introduce them to each other, and then there’s… It’s just a lot of high-touch, beautiful human relating. Which at the time I started this, I didn’t have any children, or it was… I had the bandwith to really go deep with this process and still have my “day job” as an executive coach. But in the intervening years, I’ve got a… I have a 4-year-old and my partner of 16 years and I have separated, and we’re working on our co-parenting dynamic and our new friendship, a new relationship, so there’s just a lot of transition and a lot of single dad, three days a week.
0:55:27 MC: And I love my life and it feels like there’s a… What these type of programs require at the level I’m committed to delivering is more than I can do in a part-time job, kinda way. Yeah, so it’s just, it’s a lot of touch, I haven’t figured out how to calculate it per hour, like how many hours per participant, per program, but I’m guessing it’s 280 over a year, constant… Yeah. So it’s awesome, it’s a lot. I just need to take a break right now and I can be a dad full time or have… Yeah, I don’t know, I’m ready for… To reassess. And also go out, go to the conferences, and talk to people and see what’s emerging. I mean once I have some senses of what’s next, certainly in my very narrow but very deep focus, my crystal ball was fairly accurate and I’m excited to see what’s emerging, what my interests are. Ayahuasca is essentially a gateway to this world and now that we’re about four or five years of the early adopters en masse going through that gateway, their interests are diverging, they’re seeing, “Oh, what’s 5-MeO-DMT gonna do for me? What’s San Pedro or peyote gonna do? What is the ritual or ceremonial use of psilocybin going to do for me?” They’re all different tools, they all offer different forms of healing and insight.
0:56:53 PA: So right now, it’s fairly easy, if you will, to fill an ayahuasca retreat in Costa Rica for somebody. But in three years, it’d be, “Ayahuasca, whatever, who’s doing 5-MeO and San Pedro?” So the interest is gonna shift and regulations are kinda coming in, people will be better informed, I hope, so, yeah, we’re definitely on the frontier of a third wave that has no signs of letting up. I don’t even think a legal crackdown would release [inaudible] at this point, now that the genie’s out of the bottle. And 10 years, 30 years from now, this is, it’s gonna be… I don’t know, what do you think? I think it’s probably gonna be the preferred method for psychological healing and transformation, globally…
0:57:39 PA: Yeah.
0:57:39 MC: And the countries that make it illegal will just miss out on a massive economic market. The amount of money people spend to go to Peru or Costa Rica to do this just because it’s illegal, if it were legal it would be like Sedona, where everyone would be going to do this and Arizona’s running out on it… Get… Losing all that tax income.
0:57:57 PA: Yeah.
0:57:57 MC: Oh, my God.
0:57:58 PA: Well, this is like what’s going on with cannabis.
0:58:00 MC: Yeah.
0:58:00 PA: Obviously, right now and I think…
0:58:01 MC: We’ll see the same with psychedelics.
0:58:03 PA: I think there will be some aspect. My hope though, that with psychedelics is… Because of their very nature, when you go through a psychedelic experience, it tends to be fairly anarchist.
0:58:11 MC: Yeah.
0:58:12 PA: Or it tends to be fairly egalitarian. Obviously, hierarchy is natural to humans but after we go through a psychedelic experience, we’re more cognizant or aware of the hierarchy.
0:58:22 MC: Yeah, and the limitations that it brings.
0:58:23 PA: Yeah. So I’m hopeful that it will remain kind of localized in a way, that people will be able to go through these experiences whether that’s ayahuasca or mushrooms or 5-MeO-DMT. And they’ll be able to do it in various communities.
0:58:39 MC: Yeah.
0:58:39 PA: And that the money, the economic activity that’s generated from that will go towards, for example, repairing a lot of the colonialism and indigenous harm that we’ve, as white men…
0:58:49 MC: Yeah.
0:58:50 PA: You know, we’ve inflicted upon people.
0:58:52 MC: And that’s a hot debate, how much of this high medicine economy is actually getting back to the cultures that it came from. And should it, you know, fourth, third generation Western high medicine medicine provider who has no relationship to any specific indigenous culture, do they owe an Ayahuasca tax to the greater Amazon basin, I don’t know, like who owns plant medicine?
0:59:19 PA: Yeah.
0:59:19 MC: And it’s kind of what’s neat about psilocybin in a way, is that it’s… Although it’s a deep tradition in the Mazatec tribe it’s kind of considered… It’s not really linked to an indigenous culture.
0:59:31 PA: It’s a mushroom that grows everywhere, right?
0:59:33 MC: Yeah. And then also the synthetics which are getting better, is something also I’ve seen with the chemists that are following the tradition of Sasha Sholgan, who have been influenced by ayahuasca in a way that Sasha never was, are more interested in designing chemical compounds that have the empathogenic of hard opening qualities of San Pedro with the deep psychological opening Pandora’s box of ayahuasca, and a softening of the edge that MDMA has, and they are designing chemicals that do that. Actually, very likely. More likely than not, that within a couple of years we will have a few pharmacological chemical substances that are more effective in just psychological personal transformation or treating PTSD, or deep traumas than any of the individual plant medicines out there. And it’ll be just a different way of working. It won’t replace ritual ceremony vision quests and indigenous cultural style. It’ll be the Western approach. They make colonies on Mars, God knows why they wanna do that, but they’re not gonna be bringing ayahuasca up there, they’ll be bringing “pharma-huasca”.
1:00:42 PA: Sure, sure… And well, on this… And I think speaks to what’s going on, it’s like there’s this aspect of customization.
1:00:47 MC: Yeah.
1:00:48 PA: Of where if you have an individual who has X, Y, and Z needs they can find contacts or a container with a specific substance that will catalyze the transformation they want right?
1:01:00 MC: And for better or for worse, I subjectively think it’s for the worse, I mean it’s just what our culture does.
1:01:05 PA: Sure.
1:01:05 MC: And we’re so beyond this like refining like, “Oh, it’s better if it’s 15% different”, we’re just a culture of connoisseur specialists. It’s like look at wine. Look at beer in the last 30 years. It’s like everything, it’s like “No, I like it when it’s 13.2% and it comes from this and that plant and this plant. And that gives me the right high and taste.” And like, okay, “In the Amazon is a little bit more one-size-fits-all.”
1:01:28 PA: Sure. Drink the medicine right? Yeah.
1:01:33 MC: And that’s it. But that’s what we do, that’s what western culture does. We discern and innovate and create something new and it’s often disruptive to what came before, and we’re all on this ride toward…
1:01:43 PA: Somewhere, probably death… I would imagine death.
1:01:46 MC: It’s hard to objectively see any evidence that we’re headed for anything other than extinction.
1:01:51 PA: True.
1:01:52 MC: Or a big reset. And you know, what Earth does.
1:01:56 PA: Yeah, were part of a larger organism, right?
1:02:00 MC: Yeah.
1:02:00 PA: We don’t have as much control as we think we do.
1:02:02 MC: Yeah. Cool, anything else?
1:02:04 PA: Do you wanna add anything final in terms of what we’ve spoken about with the business masterminds that you’re doing with ayahuasca you know, if people wanna find out more information, I think that’s a good place to start.
1:02:17 MC: Yeah, I would love, if you’re interested in anything I’m up to or these topics that we discussed, I intend to start doing a podcast of interviews. I think it will be very interesting and informative, and as I release some more programmes and services that expand beyond just the Aya program in Peru it will all be on entrepreneursawakening.com, and I’d love to support anybody who’s wanting to do a deeper transformational process with any plant medicine but particularly ayahuasca in the form of doing a coaching crafted integration package for them. Have some of the best people in the world on my team, in my opinion, and very empathic, it is just so critical you get that kind of support.
1:03:00 PA: Great, yeah, I think that’ll wrap it up. So thanks again for doing this. We have this beautiful view of the bay, and I mean this is gorgeous.
1:03:09 MC: My tree house.
1:03:10 PA: That’s right yeah, this is beautiful so… Yeah, we’ll wrap it up there and thanks again for doing this.
1:03:16 MC: Thank you, Paul.
1:03:34 PA: Welcome back to the podcast. This is the end of the podcast where we’re starting a new section, where we will answer three questions that you guys have about psychedelics so question one comes from Heather.
1:03:46 PA: How would you recommend getting proper and accurate dose sizes from a 250 microgram tab?
1:03:52 PA: So Heather is asking this about this within the context of micro dosing. If you have a tab how do you accurately measure out a micro-dose so you don’t take too much? That’s a really good question. We have an article on our website about volumetric micro dosing for LSD that is definitely the best way to dose the LSD tabs. You should see our guide in the show links, the basics of it is as follows: You take the LSD on blotter paper, and you submerge it in distilled water. You wait 24 hours and keep it in an opaque container, something that’s brown or blue or whatever, where light can’t really get in. You use distilled water, don’t use alcohol, don’t use mineral water, use distilled water, it’s simple, it’s easy. Use distilled water.
1:04:34 PA: You put in the container, you submerge the LSD in it, you put the container top back on, you store it somewhere in like a drawer or something, and then you wait 24 hours, and based on the amount that’s on the tab, based on the amount of water you put in, and based on the size of the drop, you will have an approximate amount for micro dosing LSD.
1:04:52 PA: Zac Latif asks: “What schedule do you find best for micro dosing?”
1:04:56 PA: Every fourth day at 20 micrograms works best for me. How would every other day work, or would tolerance be too high? I think the first thing to emphasize is, it depends on the individual. So, trial and error is typically the best way to create a customized protocol for yourself, that works for what you want it to. However, I still like to stick with Jim’s protocol that you should really do no more than two times per week. I had another friend who just asked me this earlier today, and I told her, “Look, yes. Microdosing is great, it’s making you feel better, it’s giving you more energy, it’s helping you be more creative. All of these things are fantastic. However, what’s going on is a process of healing. What’s going on is a process of creating new neural pathways. And, although it is appetizing, although it seems like it would be great to do it more often, you need to give your brain, and your body, and kind of your space, time. Just be patient with it. You don’t need to do it more than two times per week. Two times per week should be more than enough, and give it time.”
1:05:56 PA: There is short-term tolerance, people are doing it. You could do it as much as three days per week, one day off, one day on, one day off, one day on. We recommend sticking to two days per week. It seems to provide a little bit more balance in people’s lives, so they don’t go too manic, or they don’t struggle with insomnia or start having anxiety. These substances are strong still, especially with LSD. They’re dopaminergic, meaning they will increase energy level, so you wanna make sure that you can manage it well.
1:06:21 PA: Diane Selton asks, “Have there been any hard-grounded studies on microdosing LSD yet?” So, let’s define hard-grounded first. There have been no double-blind placebo-controlled studies, so Beckley Foundation just rolled out a crowdfunding campaign through Fundamental, where they’re trying to raise money for microdosing LSD, for creativity and problem solving. There are also a few other programs going on at Imperial College for microdosing, which the results haven’t been released for yet. I know there are… I won’t name names now, but there are a few other institutions in the United States that are potentially looking at carrying out studies as well. So, there have been no double-blind placebo control.
1:07:00 PA: However, Jim Fadiman has released studies of a survey-based microdosing research recently, but that is more statistical, and it basically compares an experimental group, who is self-reporting their experiences of microdosing, to a control group, who is just self-reporting generally. And what that research showed is that microdosing likely is effective for depression. But basically for everything else, we really don’t know. There needs to be more research done to come to certain conclusions about the efficacy of microdosing. So, those are the three questions for this week. If you have a question that you wanna ask me that I will answer, please go on Facebook, write us an email, on Twitter. We are answering your questions and I can’t wait to hear them. Have a great rest of your week, and thanks again for tuning in.
This Week in Psychedelics
The Third Wave has been mentioned in a New York Times article
New Good Samaritan Law in Canada – now you can call 911 for an overdosing friend without being put up on drug charges
ASAP Science (6.5 million subs on Youtube) mention microdosing in their new video called “Your Brain on LSD”
The first ever Cannabis drive-thru has just opened in Colorado
Our founder Paul will be talking at the NextWeb conference in Amsterdam – keep an eye out for updates!