On The Importance Of ‘Tripping’ With The Right Partner

The 1 thing you should know when considering a shared psychedelic experience

If you’re new to psychedelics — if you’ve never taken any drugs, or have little practice — then the idea of a shared psychedelic experience is probably a thought you’ve been knocking around for a while. Doing it with a partner is a good idea; in fact, it’s most likely the best and safest way to introduce yourself to the entheogenic experience. Why? A few reasons: if you’re unattended there is a chance that you could do something stupid, like, fatally stupid; or you could have a bad reaction, and if you’re alone it’s either a horrible experience or a very embarrassing phone call; but most importantly, the experience is likely to be more enriching, profound, and life-changing if you do it with another person — the right person.

But who is the right person? We’ll get to that. Before that we need to look at why the right person is so important. Firstly, if all you are interested in is getting smashed, high, intoxicated or looking like an idiot for a few hours, it isn’t. But if we’re to look at this properly, we need to pose a different question: What are the dangers of not tripping with the right person? Of that, there are many. Firstly, when you take psychedelics you’re essentially stripping yourself naked; you are giving into the moment; you are, it could be, momentarily becoming a different person. If you do this with a person who is inexperienced, who may panic when something feels wrong, strange or uncomfortable (which, let’s be honest, is very likely), this could give birth to worry, anxiety and frustration, which are the opposite of what you want during the Psychedelic experience.

(If these emotions are coming internally — that is, they are not caused from external factors such as other people, bad music or the wrong setting  —  and are directly from the drug itself, this could in fact be a very important part of the experience. If the drug in question is Ibogaine, Ayahuasca, or to a lesser extent, MDMA, it’s very likely that such emotions will arise — hence the need for the right environment and guide.)

Secondly, if the person you’re considering tripping with is argumentative or someone you don’t really get along with, your experience could be the most hurtful and unenjoyable nightmare you’ll ever have — because should a quarrel happen (again, because you’re almost a different person when on psychedelics, the chances of it happening are considerably increased) or worse, a fight, the consequences can only be imagined; furthermore, if you do it with someone who is unreliable, untrustworthy or reckless, not only is it risky if you consider the reasons above, it’s also unlikely you’ll have the positive, rich, life-changing experience you could have. These answers have not even taken in to account the drug itself; if the person you’re sharing the experience with is the very person from which you got the drug in question — or are instructed on the dosage by — then choosing the right person becomes all the more important.

So, the right person: what do they look like? how old are they? what is your relationship to them? where are they from? what is their experience?…. There are, indeed, countless ways you can look at his; it seems there are endless things to consider. But it doesn’t have to be that complex. In fact, it’s as simple as assessing the person by asking three questions:

Is this someone you trust?
Is this someone you love?
Do they have no agenda, no bias

If the answer is Yes to the first two, it’s probably safe to go ahead. But the best, truest and safest, and the biggest guarantee of a positive, nourishing and enlightening experience, is when you can answer Yes to all three.

Trust means you don’t have to worry about arguments, manipulation or being taken advantage of. The importance of Love is pretty self-explanatory — it makes you feel better, safer and more comfortable, and your experience will reflect that. If you can find these two in a person its very likely you’ll also find the third — though not always.

Why is it important the person has no agenda? Humans, by their very nature, are controlling beings; we like to “do things our way,” be in control, and have people think — and act — the way we do. Even if we don’t admit it, it’s the way we’re wired. It’s not always a bad thing, but for sharing a Psychedelic experience, it’s damaging. The reason is that to transcend — to reach the deeply meditative or psychedelic state — you must let go of your ego, your beliefs and your assumptions; to have an out-of-body, deep, awakening experience, you need to let go of thought, of rationality, of the analysing-mind; if you are to truly and fully benefit from the psychedelic experience, you have to stop clinging to yourself and your ideologies. Expectations, then, are like roadblocks: you must remove them if you are to move forward.

Science has shown that when we’re in a transcendental state — in creative flow, the meditative state, tripping on psychedelics, or even asleep — the prefrontal cortex — part of the brain responsible for critical thinking, planning and striving — is offline. What’s happening is a shift of energy in the brain; the prefrontal cortex is essentially ’starved’ of energy and as a result, critical thinking ability disappears; not that it disappears, but that it doesn’t enter our thoughts.

Even in a non-shared affair, having expectations — that you’ll be immediately enlightened; that you’ll be able to control the experience, that it will last forever, that it will tell you the answer to all your problems, solve all your problems, or that psychedelics are the answer to all your problems, or whatever else — can really degrade the experience, suppress the benefits, and leave you feeling unsatisfied, unenlightened, and in some cases, craving something more. Hence, addiction.

The most impeding thing, though, is when the person you’re sharing the experience with has expectations of you: when they have a desire for you to behave a certain way, or to say “this” or see “that;” basically, when they some sort of agenda, obvious or not. In no way is this going to help; it will most likely harm.

Clearly, finding the right person to trip with is a no-brainer, and if you’re trying psychedelics for the first time it’s something you need to seriously consider. It doesn’t have to be hard however, just remember it should be someone you trust, someone you love, and someone with no agenda. Tick these boxes and you’ll be alright.

Terence Hoffman
In the first half of his life, Terence graduated with a PhD from Harvard, worked in clinical psychology, traveled the world to explore culture, tried every psychedelic in the book, wrote scientific papers, lectured, and ran an ashram--just to name a few things. Today, he works primarily from his Ashram, where he teaches Kundalini Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, and educates people on psychedelics. His favourite breakfast is coffee, and he regularly goes days without eating anything.

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