Make It Real: Create a Daily Practice
(a video version of this article appears below)
The single most important thing you can do for your integration process is to cultivate a regular spiritual practice. This can include:
- Seated meditation
- Embodied awareness practices like yoga, tai chi, qigong, dance, martial arts
- Spiritual exploration and study (books, podcasts, videos)
- Voice and breath practices like pranayama, mantras, kirtan, sacred music
- Consciously receiving the beauty of the natural world
- Simply sitting quietly and listening to what arises within
It’s a good idea to draw on several different elements, both to expand your awareness and to avoid boredom. Rather than promising to meditate daily, you might go for meditation four days a week, two days of study, a day of movement—or whatever speaks to you on a particular day.
If you don’t have an established practice or path—or even if you do—take some time to explore what’s out there. Keep a running list of articles, books, and teachers you find inspiring, and dip into it to investigate more deeply. We live in an extraordinary time where profound teachings are available with a few clicks.
Some names to get you started in your search (I’ve included a few links; you can search for websites, books, programs, YouTube channels):
Non-dual Spirituality: Adyashanti, Matt Kahn, Eckhart Tolle
Personal Growth: Deepak Chopra, Martha Beck, Brene Brown, Caroline Myss, Michael Brown
Read or listen a bit as part of your daily practice, and contemplate: Does this ring true for me? How does this resonate? What more do I want to know? Journal your process, if you like. If after a few days you feel a teacher isn’t making sense for you, find another. When you land on something that feels coherent and right, move into studying and practicing more deeply.
Setting Up Your Practice
Determine how long you’re giving to your daily practice, and make a commitment to yourself. Thirty minutes for yourself daily should be doable for just about everyone. Forty or sixty minutes for yourself is even better, although it might be wise in the beginning to keep your sessions shorter. A session in the morning and another one the evening can be truly transformative. (It can be surprising how much time we actually have when we start to investigate.) If you really feel you can’t devote that much time, go for 20 minutes, or 15, or even five. Something is better than nothing.
Rather than expect to meditate that long every day, I suggest a mix of practices. Write down right now different things you can do, based on the ideas above and your own intuition. Draw on this list when you’re wondering what to do.
Decide a rough time of day you can dedicate to your practice (mornings are good, before the day slips away). Use a meditation timer app to keep on track, so you don’t have to keep checking the clock. Also choose a place (or a few places) to serve as base for your work: your meditation cushion, in front of your altar, at your desk, in the garden.
The power of ayahuasca integration is such that changes continue to happen weeks, months, even years after a retreat. Your daily practice gives the energy of the medicine space to trickle into. Spontaneous deep work begins to reveal itself over time. Daily practice creates a container within which the transformative potential triggered by ayahuasca can arise. Your commitment fuels the fires of transformation.