The heightened awareness of self and surroundings that microdosing offers can enable us to find the significance necessary to create and enact rituals for connection. By bringing us to moments of stillness and presence, rituals provide the space through which we can integrate our experiences in daily life, but also our experiences in the enhanced states produced by microdosing.
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing, the practice of taking small, sub-perceptual doses of psychedelic substances, is a trend that continues to grow and evolve, no longer limited to Silicon Valley productivity hackers, but broadly appealing to those who want to improve their wellbeing.
Although scientific research on microdosing is limited, the anecdotal benefits are plentiful and include improved focus, heightened creativity, relief from the symptoms of depression and anxiety, increased energy and emotional openness, reduced dependence on substances, and elevated spiritual awareness.
Despite the reported benefits being manifold, microdosing is no magic bullet or quick-fix remedy to your problems. In order to gain the full benefits of microdosing you have to consciously and intentionally work with your experiences and one way of doing that is to create meaningful rituals in your life.
What is a Ritual?
A ritual consists of a series of actions performed in a prescribed order, and commonly, people use the term ‘ritual’ interchangeably with ‘routine’. However, the crucial difference that separates them is that rituals are enacted consciously, necessitating intentionality, deliberateness, and mindful presence. Comparatively, our routines have become so habitualized that they are given little thought, inevitably becoming unconscious, automatic behaviours.
In his essay “Every Act as a Ceremony,” author Charles Eisenstein suggests that making space in your life for ritual can go about producing a fundamental shift in worldview, offering a “glimpse of a sacred destination” that holds within it the understanding that every act can be a ceremony and every word can be a prayer.
The importance of rituals rests in their meaning-making function that transcends the materiality of the ritual act. For an outside observer, rituals often seem obscure or irrational. However, rituals don’t need to serve a concrete aim, the most important thing is that they provide you, the ritual-performer, with vestiges of meaning.
Rituals can be thought of as potential tools to strengthen and support your microdosing practice as they help to facilitate a deeper connection with the here and now. Bringing awareness to the moment through ritual acts like ceremoniously lighting a candle or reverently whispering words of gratitude can leave you feeling more grounded, spiritually connected, and aligned with your values, creating inner clarity, and increased emotional stability.
Although they frequently go unnoticed, modern life offers an abundance of rituals. For example, making your coffee in the morning, what you do within the initial minutes of waking up, or even how you groom yourself can be a ritual. It can be helpful to think of every regular daily experience as an opportunity to create ritual.
Ritual as a Vehicle for Integration
One of the benefits of microdosing is that it can help us increase awareness of moments when we would normally switch to ‘autopilot’ and engage in habitualized tendencies lacking our conscious participation.
People choose to start microdosing for a diverse range of reasons, each having their own unique intentions and goals. Whatever your reasons for microdosing, it is important to carve out time to actively integrate what you are learning. Similar to the reasons that brought you to your microdosing practice, creating rituals in your life is a deeply personal process, and the ones that you choose to embody will ultimately be a reflection of your values.
In his well-known book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys, psychologist and psychedelic researcher James Fadiman lays out a protocol for dosing used today by a majority of microdosers. Beyond the dosing guidelines, Fadiman also suggests taking time to write reflectively every day (even if it is just a couple of lines).
Developing our reflective abilities will naturally assist our process of integration which consists of identifying threads of significance and the fabric they comprise all-together. The act of writing daily - a writing ritual - can put you in touch with your intentions and goals, how you feel, and what you are learning. In establishing a writing ritual, you will more easily be able to identify changes to your mood, emotional experience, and physical condition.
Microdosing calls attention to the things you need to embrace or change about your habits, behavior, and environment in order to get closer to your authentic self. Incorporating ceremony and ritual in your day-to-day life brings you into closer contact with the raw substance of reality, providing countless opportunities to cultivate a greater sense of meaning and purpose in your life.
Over time, the sheer practice of lighting a candle may gradually evolve into consecrating and caring for an altar place. The reverence placed into one ritual act ultimately has the potential to radiate outwardly and leak into every other part of our lives. Much like microdosing, our rituals can set the tone for each action and utterance to be fully aligned with who we want to be and the world in which we want to live.