Preparing For a (life-changing) Psychedelic Experience

To prepare for a sacred mystical experience is to prepare for life.

Preparing for a Life-Changing Psychedelic Experience – Alexandre Porto

Feb 4 · 5 min read

preparing for a psychedelic trip
Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I have seen many people talk about how to prepare for a psychedelic trip, yet I do not think they know what it is like.

For example, one might say ‘you should eat well beforehand’ or ‘take your time and set good intentions’.

These are things that anyone would be wise to practice all the time.

See that preparing for a psychedelic trip only prepares one for life in general.

Preparing for Psychedelics is Preparing for Life

The only answer that would make sense to me is preparing by not trying to, so in other words do nothing.

To understand this you must go deeper.

It is a paradox, and one that has no real answer, for the very question itself is ill-formed.

To prepare for a psychedelic trip is to make preparations.

At the same time this very preparation prevents one from going on a psychedelic trip because it means that instead of being open and ready for whatever comes, you are already thinking about what might happen.

So the only correct answer is that:

You must not prepare for it

I think you must go on a psychedelic trip without having any expectations of what will happen and open to whatever comes.

I have seen that many people practice yoga and mediation, which are meant to be the preparation for a psychedelic trip.

But they do not understand that these are simply tools of practice. Exercises meant to make our spirits flexible and well trained.

Psychedelic experiences are, in a sense, like the human experience of death.

Death is very intriguing to humans because it is fundamentally relatable.

In fact, in the clinical environment scientists are putting to the test the long-held belief that psychedelics can help us face the reality of death.

how to have a psychedelic trip
Photo by Valentin Saluja on Unsplash

Although we don’t truly know what happens after death, we have a deep drive to try and understand it.

The psychedelic experience is similar.

We have a deep drive to understand it due to its fundamental nature as something that we simply cannot grasp in our everyday experience.

In order to prepare yourself for a psychedelic experience, you must take notice of your everyday life and try to reach new conclusions about it.

The more awareness you have throughout the day, the easier it will be for you to understand your psychedelic experiences.

Psychedelics are not magic. You won’t understand the psychedelic experience until you have a deep understanding of your everyday life.

That being said, psychedelics do help your brain to break its habitual patterns and see the world in a new light.

The more you are willing to let go of your preconceptions about reality, the easier it will be for you to understand what your psychedelic experience is trying to tell you.

Be aware of the psychedelic experience throughout its duration.

Know that it will end, and try to think about what you gained from this experience while you are still within it.


I like to treat it like a dream in the sense that if I try to record and remember the dream during it, the natural flow of the dream will be disrupted.

In the same way, one of the biggest challenges for an aspiring psychonaut is to let go of the impulse of sharing and remembering the psychedelic experience while it unfolds.

You will only get full advantage of the psychedelic experience when you are prepared to be present and to explore the mystical landscape in real-time without self-vigilance.

prepare for a psychedelic trip
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Harm Reduction: Practical Logistics

Another big challenge for beginners is to fully let go and let the change of consciousness happen completely.

In order to overcome this, one must be careful about the setting of the logistics for the trip.

The Psychedelic substance offers the psychonaut a great challenge without any risk. As long as the set and setting are appropriate.

I have a personal checklist that I go over before each of my own psychedelic experiences.

Prepare Yourself:

  • Only trip in a safe place where you are familiar with and feel completely comfortable in;
  • Clear your schedule and make sure you will not be interrupted during the voyage;
  • Trip only with people you trust and feel completely safe with;
  • Remember that after the substance is metabolized the effects will go away and ordinary consciousness will be re-established;
  • Do proper research and clear out misconceptions prior to the psychedelic experience;

The MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) is a reputable source of harm-reduction resources.

They recommend the following points for a challenging (challenging, not bad!) trip:

Four Principles of Psychedelic Harm Reduction

– Create a safe space

– Sitting, not guiding

– Talk through, not down

– Difficult is not the same as bad

Preparing yourself for a psychedelic trip is a lot like preparing for a normal life.

The great value of the mystical experience induced by entheogens is that they offer a relatively safe way to face big challenges.

In this sacred environment, we have the opportunity to learn about ourselves and to train our spirits for the biggest challenges of ordinary life.

If you can train yourself to navigate a challenging psychedelic landscape and take full advantage of the experience, there are very few things in real life that you will not be able to face in everyday life.

Have a good trip.

Relevant resources: