Whether you're new to microdosing or have been practicing for a while, you have likely wondered whether there is a "right way" to microdose and what you can do to deepen the benefits of your practice.
Around the internet, much of the conversation around psychedelic microdosing is unfortunately dominated by self-proclaimed Silicon Valley "performance hacking" coaches who often promote a rather passive and extractive approach to psychedelic medicines by solely focusing on the benefits, dosage, and protocols. While a basic understanding of these fundamentals is necessary, this approach is limited in the scope of the benefits it can deliver as it lacks the potent container of commitment, introspection, and transformation offered by a mindfully crafted daily microdosing ritual.
Here we explore the importance of having a personal ritual for microdosing, and how you can begin designing yours.
Why You Need A Microdosing Ritual
Microdosing first and foremost is an invitation; an invitation to subtlety, presence, embodiment, mindfulness, and patience. When we approach the practice in a passive "taking a pill" manner, we are completely missing this invitation and the opportunity to, attune, observe, explore, and learn from the many underlying layers of the experience.
The approach to healthcare in the west is such that we have been systematically conditioned (not necessarily with mal intent) to be detached from our right and responsibility to be active participants in our health and well-being. And when a magical pill shows up in our consciousness with so much hype, we are eager to be next in line to "try it" and hope that it will resolve our depression, anxiety, and ADHD to name a few. This rarely if ever happens through this approach.
Microdosing is not a magic pill that will solve complex chronic emotional, mental, and cognitive challenges overnight but rather an opening and invitation to create a container and practice to deliver us insights, and a potential boost to our brain's capacity to recognize and disrupt behavioral and thought patterns that perpetuate and fuel our struggles. Change does not happen in a vacuum or overnight. Lasting change takes commitment, courage, perspective, and patience. This is why the consistent container of a daily ritual is absolutely essential for lasting results.
Furthermore, a mindful microdosing approach invites us to acknowledge that often we are working with substances held sacred by indigenous communities and ancient traditions. It is important that we are mindful and aware to not repeat colonial patterns of extraction and disrespect for indigenous traditions. The most simple way to bring awareness and mindfulness to this practice is by crafting a ritual that invites the practitioner into a state of presence and reverence.
Crafting Your Ritual
If you've never designed a mindful ritual before, it might feel intimidating and confusing to get started. You might be wondering where to start and what to include. The key to a well-crafted ritual is for it to feel resonant and authentic to you. Your ritual must also inspire and excite you so you continue to return to it day after day. Every day that you return to your practice, is a deposit that strengthens, deepens, and enhances the gifts of your microdosing practice.
1) Less Is More
"Less is more" is the very slogan of the microdosing philosophy. Microdosing rituals don't need to be elaborate and complex, less is indeed more. A simple prayer, incense or candle lit, a few deep mindful breaths. Simple does it!
2) Consistency Is Critical
The purpose of a microdosing ritual is to come back to our bodies, intention, connection, and presence. Change happens in small yet consistent increments. It is therefore important to create a consistent container across time, practices, and location (when possible).
Choose influences authentic to you, your intention, your history, and your background. Whether you are selecting a natural element from your surroundings for the alter or choosing a familiar prayer, when we work with what is familiar, comfortable, and authentic, we are far more likely to commit to and fully embody the ritual.
4) Grounding & Embodiment
Our bodies carry so much wisdom but most of us are disconnected from the wealth of insights and messages our bodies communicate throughout the day. By incorporating grounding and embodiment practices like grounding meditation, dance, breath, and time in nature we are attuning ourselves to receive precious insights that lie beyond the conscious mind.
5) Intention Setting
It goes without saying that having a clear intention for your microdosing practice is an important part of the ritual. Pausing for a moment, bringing our intention into awareness, and opening up our conscious and subconscious minds to receive insights is a core aspect of the mindful microdosing practice.
6) Making An Offering
Many ancient spiritual traditions involve making offerings to the spirit as a part of prayers. In the context of this type of practice, this exchange is best represented by an integrative behavioral change in the direction of fulfilling our intention for the practice. This creates an accountability structure that has been shown to be of deep importance for supporting lasting positive change in the lives of the individual and the collective.
7) Introspection & Journaling
As we engage with the microdosing practice, many insights begin to surface, however, without an appropriate and consistent container to bring these insights into conscious awareness, it is far more likely that they will go unrecognized and unintegrated. A persistent introspective practice like meditation followed by journaling provides the opportunity to allow enough space and time for our deeper insights to surface, be acknowledged, and integrated into our lives.
A mindfully crafted ritual is the ideal container to plant the seed of change and tend to them as they grow to support our well-being. As we begin the practice, one important point to keep in mind is that regardless of what microdosing protocol you choose, the integration days and weeks where you do not take a dose are just as important as the dosing days if not more. In other words, these days are not days off from the practice but a critical feature of the practice. It is therefore important to continue the daily ritual on non-dosing days to continue to remain mindful and aware of the subtle shifts and insights that emerge on integration days.
Plan For Failure
Let's address the elephant in the room! "This is all great but I have a really hard time starting and sticking to a new daily habit." is something I hear my clients say every week! While crafting a ritual can be a joyful experience, implementation of a daily practice often presents significant challenges for most of us. Here is the thing, EVERYONE FAILS! Building new habits are extremely difficult and require planning, commitment, and persistence.
How do we address this challenge? Plan for failure!
How are you likely to fail?
What is likely going to get in the way of your practice?
What excuses are you likely to make to get out of the practice?
Answer these questions honestly and then make a plan for how you will respond in each of these situations to reaffirm your commitment to your practice. When facing failure, get curious about thy "why", adjust your plan as needed, and try again.
This is one of the most important points of a microdosing practice: To identify patterns of thoughts and behavior than get in the way of your health, well-being, and success, and work to rewrite these patterns.
One last thing to keep in mind is that if you are struggling with mental health, committing to a consistent daily ritual can be very challenging and is likely to surface difficult emotions. It is strongly recommended that you work with an experienced professional to receive comprehensive care and support on your healing journey with microdosing.