An increasing number of people are interested in becoming and, in some cases, have started working as a psychedelic therapist, guide, facilitator, or practitioner. This document provides basic advice and a list of resources to help these individuals realize their full potential. Please note: the writer has his own biases, and you should question, examine, and come to your own conclusions about any and all perspectives provided below.

Staying close to the medicine is the most direct path to growing as a facilitator. This means communing with the medicine, supporting those who work as guides/therapists/tripsitters, volunteering at or contributing to retreat centers that offer the medicine with integrity, and connecting with individuals that do any of the above. The more you practice preparing, experiencing, and integrating your own psychedelic journeys, and support others to do the same, the more confident you will feel. To initiate others, you must take the steps to go through your own initiation. Each step you take will give you a more nuanced perspective. You must lead by example.

The less we interact with the medicine, the slower our progress will be. Each interaction with the medicine is a revolutionary act that aids us in dissolving the harmful effects of society’s conditioning on our psyche. If we are unwilling to face our shadows and fears, how can we help others to do so? Medicine work will make us realize our shortcomings. Are we willing to face them with honesty and courage? If not, are we at least willing to acknowledge the fact or will we pretend otherwise?

There are three things you can do to help someone. The first is to listen. The second is to listen. The third is to listen some more.
When we have faith, commit to sharing the medicine, serve others, and practice relinquishing attachments, life grants us opportunities to be involved in the work. The medicine illuminates the path, purifies intentions, opens our hearts, dispels doubts, activates gratitude, and shifts our focus into the present moment.

It’s important to develop and strengthen our spiritual practice, which helps us cultivate generosity, compassion, loving-kindness, and experiential wisdom. We practice being aware of and content with whatever arises rather than following the endless desire to become something other than what we are or to get something from the world. We learn how to care for ourselves and set strong boundaries.

Then, when we feel abundant and relaxed, and when we are happy with who we are, we are able to open, listen, and forget about ourselves while holding space for others. The more we seek for name, fame, attention, insights, or respect, the less effective we are as facilitators. The less we seek, the more we can be a clear open witness for ourselves and others. We are never done with the work, and must remain vigilant about mental impurities that can harm ourselves and others.

As Shantideva says, “All the suffering in this world arises from wanting only our self to be happy. All the happiness in this world arises from wanting others to be happy.” The path to being happy and inspiring others is to give generously and find ways to benefit others — to put aside our own desires and ideas and be a loving presence and witness.

The medicine path is not an easy one. Especially at the beginning, working with our own and others’ traumas can often be unpleasant, confusing, and painful. We may feel like escaping or hiding at times from the seemingly never-ending suffering. However, a willingness to explore all the intricacies and subtleties in our own psyche is necessary to be a successful practitioner. If we are not willing to face ourselves, we cannot support others to do so.

It’s best to get in the habit of being comfortable with cleaning up physical messes as a preliminary practice.
We must practice getting to the root of our suffering, understanding it, and transmuting it into love and light. Indeed, the more inner work we’ve done on ourselves, the more that people will be willing and able to surrender, heal, and grow in our presence. When we practice being fully honest with ourselves, we allow others to be fully honest with themselves.

There are countless distractions and temptations along the way, and these will increase as one successfully moves along the healing journey. Those who stay heart-centered, humble, and soft will be able to sustain themselves, even if they make mistakes. Repenting and asking for forgiveness cleanses the spirit. Those who fall into various traps (misuse of or obsession with money, sex, power, name/fame, etc.) may achieve worldly success, but will ultimately be unhappy. It has been said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.“

Those who practice the teachings of The Tao de Ching tend to be the most effective guides. Service-orientation, groundedness, humility, and patience are some of the qualities of the most sought-after practitioners. Not knowing is more powerful than knowing. The more we think we know, the less qualified we are to sit for others. The work requires us to drop our intellectual understanding and feel into things.

Reading written guides from other practitioners can be a starting point for recognizing the most important aspects of working with the medicine. Please keep in mind that no amount of reading will prepare us fully for what we may experience on our journeys as facilitators.

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