April 11


Waking Up the Heart: Psychedelic Medicine and Spiritual Doorways 

By Tatyana Kholodkov

April 11, 2023

At the center of our suffering lie various forms of pain:

This leads to believing we are unlovable, grief and loss, difficulties with belonging, being hurt or harmed by others, and denying or neglecting ourselves. Life can seem meaningless, and efforts at making a change in the world can seem futile. We may close off from others and shut down what we do. Then we begin occupying a small orbit in a world colored by our anxiety, compulsions, trauma, and depression. Our emotions hijack our experience, and we become identified with what we believe.

Orange blossoms on a tree representing the blossoming of the spirit that occurs with Psychedelic Medicine in Durham, NC.

Suffering Creates a Me Against Them Mentality

The more we suffer, the more we can start to distance ourselves from the world. In our mind, things turn into “me” and “mine,” and the rest of the world becomes “them,”. This often comes with unfavorable appraisals. We may become more distrustful or have difficulties with intimacy. Even our own bodies may start to feel unsafe. Patterns of avoidance, procrastination, passing things up, and addictive behaviors can further complicate daily existence. We see ourselves as somehow broken and needing fixing. Maybe we feel that we are not meant for this world. 

You Begin to Forget Inherent Qualities Within Ourselves

All of this can start to compound itself. The ways in which our heart can then close off, surrounded by stone, can lead us to also forget inherent qualities within ourselves. It becomes harder to access compassion, generosity, truthfulness, and joy in the simple. And this, in turn, we may pathologize or label as a mere diagnosis of sorts. 

Our Estrangement From Nature

Bill Richards writes in his book Sacred Knowledge, “as our estrangement from the sacredness of nature, of ourselves and other people, and view our baseline human condition at this point in history as a “sickness” that may require a “medicine” for a cure.” 

Psychedelic Medicine: A Unique Perspective on Healing from Suffering

Psychedelic medicine, although a form of psychotherapy and medical treatment, has a very different stance toward the nature of suffering and our ability to heal. There isn’t anything that is broken, merely that we have forgotten to access other parts of ourselves beyond the suffering. The philosophical stance on psychedelics is that we can find our way to healing.

Our True Self

Sometimes that other part is referred to as our true self, higher awareness, or higher consciousness, our true self.

Wise Mind

In dialectical behavioral therapy, we may refer to this part as our “wise mind,” which can simultaneously be aware of our thoughts and feelings, while also looking out for what would be helpful for us down the line.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy may refer to it our Self as Context, the sense of ourselves as more than the sum of our parts. Internal Family Systems refer to the self-energy when we can feel our attributes of compassion, connection, confidence, courage, clarity, creativity, curiosity, and calm. 

Buddha Nature

In Buddhist Psychology, this is our Buddha nature, the capacity for each and every one of us to be a bodhisattva. In other spiritual traditions, it is the portion of the divine dwelling deep within. 

A green fern next to an orange flower representing the connection with nature that can occur through spiritual awakening in Durham, NC.

Psychedelic Therapy Centers Our Awareness of the Present

Psychedelic therapy allows us to enter similar states as practices of meditation, walking in nature, prayer, and ecstatic movement. It helps center our awareness on the present. However, the present isn’t merely viewed through the lens of what we have lived through or what we say about ourselves. Our view can become more expansive, and even our problems can have a different context than before.

Sensing Our Existence in Two Worlds

We may simultaneously sense our existence as if in two worlds: one that is here, at this moment, and one that is timeless. I often hear clients engaged in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy describe some shift in how they experience themselves. This can be freeing. Our sense of self can be felt both within the confines of our skin. As well as, extending far beyond into molecules and energy around us. 

Shifting How We View Ourselves Through Psychedelic Psychotherapy

When Project Yes PLLC clients embark on psychedelic psychotherapy, we discuss together how this work can shift how one may view themselves, others, and the world. This is part of the goal! If we can only get out of our own way, we can heal. In ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, clients describe post medicine that their life as they relate to it being temporarily paused, and instead what emerges is often hard to put into words. This ineffable and difficult-to-put-into-words quality of some psychedelic journeys is part of what are termed to be “mystical experiences.” 

Many Forms of Mystical Experiences Related to Psychedelics

Awakening to Profound Truths

There are many different forms of mystical experiences described in spiritual texts and psychedelic accounts alike. There can be more subtle, spiritual stirring or awakening to profound truths.

Passage Through Difficulties and Challenges

It is not uncommon to have a passage through difficulties and challenges, where sorrow and that which we have stuffed away can emerge and be purged. St. John of the Cross referred to this passage as “The Dark Night of the Soul.”

Connecting With a Sense of Interbeing

Yet another chapter of the journey is connecting with a sense of interbeing- that we are all non-separate – and being able to zoom out to examine our existence from a bird’s eye view.

Deepened Spiritual Awareness

There can be a deepened spiritual awareness, referenced in all world religions and named by poets. It is often from that more expansive place that our compassion awakens for ourselves and other beings. This compassion and sense of connection can inspire us to more fully and authentically live our life. 

Psychedelic Work Begins to Open the Heart to Healing and Forgiveness 

The process of psychedelic work, including ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, includes planning so you are able to make space in your life to have as deep of an experience as your inner healer guides you to have. This allows you to digest the experience in your ordinary, wakeful state. When the heart starts to crack open, this is the time when we may also begin work around forgiveness. We become kinder towards ourselves, shedding what we need to let go of, and bringing that Self quality into our daily being. 

A view of the sunrising over the clouds representing the spiritual awakening that comes with Psychedelic Psychotherapy in Durham, NC.

The Psychedelic State is Fleeting

As with any life experience or mental state, the psychedelic state is fleeting. The nature of the human mind is that we cannot forever live in that full awareness of the truth or bliss. When the medicine session or ceremony is over, it is time to return back to earth and walk steadily, one step at a time, along the curved path of life. We may still encounter washed-out trails, and heavy storms, and get lost and trip. But what we have experienced from psychedelic therapy when integrated, can become like a flashlight we take out of our hiking backpack, and illuminate the path directly ahead on this journey called life. 

Begin Your Journey to Spiritual Awakening with Psychedelic Psychotherapy in Durham, NC Today

If you have been struggling with your mental health and traditional treatments have not worked we can help. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is a proven alternative treatment that can address mental health issues that have proven treatment-resistant in the past. At Project YesDr. Kholodkov is trained extensively in the KAP Process and is here to help you on your journey to healing through Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and beyond. Follow the steps below to get started:

Other Psychedelic Services Offered by Project Yes

In addition to Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy, we offer Psychotherapy Services for AnxietyInsomniaIntegrative HealthOCD, and Trauma and PTSD as well as Yoga and Meditation Options. We look forward to guiding you on your journey toward optimal physical and mental well-being.

If you want to learn more about Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and our other services please check out our blog here!

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