Entheogenic Elders: How the Psychedelic Renaissance and Conscious Activism can Transform our Stories of Personal Aging, Collective Well-being and Planetary Healing Arthur Mitchell (LIT Coaching, Tucson, AZ ) P1
TSC 2020 Conference questions include, "What can psychedelics tell us about consciousness and reality, and how can they best be used to treat mental and cognitive disorders?". Our consciousness affects our reality. It informs our thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Our perspective impacts our health and wellbeing. Our attitudes impact our self-concept and can prevent us from realizing the expanded potential, growth, and impact older age enables. The proximal and ultimate causes of depression, dementia, and Alzheimer's among older adults are not entirely determined by physical decline and genetics. The psychological and psychic toll of institutionalized and internalized messages of ageism, including unrealistic expectations of retirement and loss of purpose, are debilitating factors of mental and cognitive impairment among older adults. The current US cultural narrative about aging, which in some respects may be a collective mental disorder, claims, "old is bad, life peaks in middle age, and it's all downhill after that." This becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. As older adults, we learn to acknowledge our imperfection and acknowledge the inevitable physical difficulties and losses that flow from that imperfection. Yet, consciousness and intention about aging are crucial, not just for those of us going through it but also for those of us working with any aspect of our aging community. And all of us one day will go through it. What messages do you accept about aging? What negative feelings arise from age discrimination and the prospects of your own future? This talk highlights a different way of relating to the inevitability of our mortality and the older aging experience. Expanding consciousness is about transformation. Many experiential tools and methods can shift how we view ourselves as older and our place in nature. The speaker presents process and results of experimentation with entheogenic macrodosing and microdosing, emphasizing potential benefits and risks of entheogens for older adults. We are experiencing a dramatic and rapid transformation in consciousness, a potentially revolutionary moment in human history, a movement away from an unlimited industrial growth society towards a more life sustaining society that recognizes significance of human diversity in a living earth. Our biosphere is in crisis; our existence is uncertain. What does it mean to be an older adult, an elder, in modern times during a shift in human consciousness amidst ecosystems collapse and climate disruption? What can be done? What can we do? Society urgently needs older adults, with wisdom and experience, to rise in their own way, according to their abilities, as mystical or conscious activists, elders who have rewired their consciousness for service, and mentoring the young to heal our societal and planetary dysfunctions. Can we shift our consciousness and stand to enable a life sustaining future? The presenter draws from 40+ years of experience as a conservation biologist in 18 countries and from a recent struggle and consciousness shift toward meaning and opportunities of aging and mortality. These experiences are described in the presenter's recent book on conscious aging, "Grateful, Not Dead: Rewire, Not Retire. Re-fire Your Purpose."