Mindful Microdosing: Reciprocity
Updated: Jan 9
Introducing the "Mindful Microdosing" series where I will be sharing insights and perspectives to support mindful relationship with the practice of microdosing especially as it relates to sacred plants with a history of indigenous ceremonial and therapeutic use.
As interest in the practice of microdosing grows, so do the challenges of educating and informing practitioners about the principles of mindful microdosing. This week's focus is on reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. In the case of psychedelic medicines, the practice of reciprocity extends to:
the relationship of the individual with the plant/substance and the practice
the means by which the individual acquires the plant/substance
Relationship with the plant
Those of us raised in western capitalist societies tend to approach medicines in a transactional manner, ie: I pay X for Y and I expect Z results. In this context, we often think of reciprocity solely in terms of monetary value and approach sacred practices through that same lens.
Often in my practice as a microdosing guide, I speak to frustrated individuals who claim "I am not getting results" or "I took 3 times the dose you suggested but still don't feel anything different", or "I am a big guy so I need an even bigger dose I think". While I empathize with the frustration of these clients, these frustrations are often the exact compass pointing to the opportunity for shifting their approach and perspective towards the practice of microdosing.
Microdosing in its core is an invitation to subtlety. In a fast-moving world filled with extreme polarities, microdosing is precisely the practice needed to bring us back into a state of balance; it is an invitation to slow down, pay attention, and notice the subtle yet profound ways our approach and attitude impacts the outcomes of our practice.
In the spirit of reciprocity, the key questions to answer in this case are:
"What am I willing to give up to develop a mindful relationship with the plant/substance?"
"Where am I being invited to shift my perspective to reap the benefits of this practice?"
"Does my approach and attitude recognize and respect the sacred roots of the practice?"
While in most cases microdosing practitioners experience noticeable changes and benefits, the factors impacting the extent and sustainability of these shifts are far more nuanced than dosage amounts and schedules; often involving distinct shifts in perspective, curiosity, and openness to consider delicate factors beyond the standard western reasoning and scientific verifications.
Sourcing of medicines
The means by which the plant/substance is acquired is also a critical consideration in Mindful Microdosing. While renewed research and interest in the benefits of psychedelic medicines is slowly shifting cultural and legal stigmas, the ramifications of decades of "war on drugs" policies continues to haunt communities of color. While a disproportionate share of those serving drug-related prison sentences are from communities of color, psychedelic medicines are now beng traded in various stock markets by predominantly white and privileged businessmen and investors. Mindful Microdosing must account for these disparities and consider the impact of individual deliberate steps towards balancing the scales of justice.
Indigenous communities have not only safeguarded sacred plants through centuries of prohibition in many forms, often at great risk to their liberties, but they have also been the wisdom keepers offering us the critical guidances for safe and effective navigation of these altered states.
Furthermore, while adherence to basic capitalist trade models is a requisite to provide safe and equitable access to sacred medicines within a capitalist society, utilizing sacred medicines solely for the purpose of profit is incongruent with a mindful and respectful approach towards sacred medicines and presents a lost opportunity in utilizing these trends as a means to balance the scales of social justice.
While profits are inevitable, how the medicine is cultivated and who profits is a critical consideration for mindful microdosing practitioners.
In the spirit of reciprocity, the critical questions to answer in this case are:
"Do I know how these plants/substances were cultivated?"
"Have I practiced due diligence in ensuring value alignment with the cultivators and distributors of these substances?"
"Is my purchase supporting shadow drug cartels, profit opportunists, or indigenous communities of color?"
In a capitalist system, we each have the power to utilize our financial resources to support mindful, ethical, and sustainable practices. This is especially important when working with sacred medicines with profound energetic nuances; the intention of cultivators is carried within these substances impacting the efficacy and potency of the benefits.
Mindful Microdosing requires a deep and deliberate review of all the factors seen and unseen to ensure energetic alignment. Due diligence, energetic integrity, and mindful decision-making are some of the less discussed but critical aspects of mindful microdosing.
Consider this an invitation to study your relationship with the practice from personal intention, approach and lifestyle, to the ways your purchasing decisions are supporting or hindering social justice causes. The decisions and choices we make in our practice and approach are all interconnected and directly correlated with the benefits of our practice.