#781: Experiential Design of Psychedelic Therapy: The Multiplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies & the Future of FDA-Approved MDMA

The Multiplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has been doing frontier research into the therapeutic uses of psychedelics for the past 33 years, and they’re currently in Phase 3 FDA trials for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). MAPS played a huge role in recent books like Michael Pollen’s “How to Change Your Mind“, and has been providing the scientific legitimacy for the therapeutic uses of psychedelics. It’s also helped to bring the psychedelic culture out from the underground to the point where the Consciousness Hacking community decided to name psychedelics as a main part of the Awakened Futures Summit, which explored the intersection between psychedelics, technology, and meditation.

liana-gilhoolyI had a chance to talk with MAPS Development Officer Liana Sananda Gillooly at the Awakened Futures Summit where we talked about the history of MAPS, the current FDA trial process to get MDMA FDA approved for the treatment of PTSD, the broader experiential design protocols that MAPS is developing in order to cultivate a proper set and setting for the therapeutic use of psychedelics, the leveraging of eastern and indigenous philosophies in the development of a broader cultural context for the therapeutic use of psychedelics, harm reduction suggestions of technologies and communities to provide peer-to-peer therapeutic assistance for the recreational use of psychedelics, the historical evolution of the psychedelic underground, the decriminalization of psychedelics in Denver, the broader war on drugs and her personal opinions of drug policy reform, and her personal passion of eventually using psychedelics to work as a “death doula” helping reduce the anxiety, grief, and trauma around the process of death and dying — but that she needs to help legalize the therapeutic use of psychedelics before she can do that.

Gillooly says that our culture is facing a crisis of consciousness, and that we need as many people as we can to explore alternative ways of knowing in order to help solve some of the deepest ecological, economic, political, and social justice crises that are facing our world today. She also talks about the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation that was created in order to manufacture and distribute MDMA once it receives final FDA approval. All of the profits from the sale of psychedelics will be funneled from the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation back into the MAPS non-profit in order to continue evangelizing the legalization of psychedelics, training psychedelic therapy practitioners, and funding continued research into the health benefits of psychedelic therapies. Gillooly says that they’re doing psychedelic therapy on the economic system itself, and that they’re poised to disrupt the existing economic business models of the pharmaceutical industry. They’re going to have a hard limit for the number of psychedelic treatments that are made available, and the sessions will be focused on cultivating the innate healing capacities of each individual in a holistic approach that isn’t designed to get them dependent upon drugs forever.

This conversation and my experiences at the Awakened Futures Summit convinced me that we really are on the cusp of a pretty revolutionary psychedelic renaissance that is pretty closely mirroring what’s happening with the renaissance of VR, AR, AI, immersive theater, and with embodied, experiential entertainment in general. There are many opportunities for how immersive technologies will be serving as a psychedelic primer, assessment tool, and psychedelic integration tool.

Adam Gazalley also talked at the summit about how Akili Interactive is also in the process of getting a video game FDA-approved for the use as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and how this is a new and emerging form of “experiential medicine.” It’s an open question for what design frameworks and philosophical foundations will be used to fully understand the principles of experiential medicine, but there is lots to learn from non-Western traditions of Eastern Philosophy and Indigenous Philosophies, especially in the culture that’s been cultivated around transformative psychedelic experiences.

So it’s an exciting time in the world of how the worlds of experiential design and psychedelic therapies will continue to intersect, and Gillooly does a great job of setting the broader context for why psychedelics are such a hot topic in our culture today.


This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye and welcome to the Voices of VR Podcast. So this last interview that I have from the Awaken Future Summit is with an employee of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. It's Liana Sananda-Gululi. And she works in development for Maps, and she was the psychedelic advisor for the Awaken Future Summit. And at the very beginning, she actually got up on stage during the opening talks, and she made this comment that really stuck with me and the rest of the other people there. She said, this conference sold out, and if it was just meditation and technology, would they have had as much of an enthusiastic crowd that were there? And I think the collective agreement was no, that there was a big part of the psychedelic underground that was present for this whole gathering. And there's something about psychedelics that are a super hot topic right now. Conscious Attacking, before they did this whole summit, they were talking about psychedelics and technology and the future of meditation, and they sold out like with 600 people for this talk. Looked at that demand and they were like, okay It's time to really bring forth and to put into this title the combination of psychedelics immersive technologies and meditation And it's that involvement of psychedelics that the reason while they're able to do that is for the past 33 years Maps has been doing all sorts of different research in order to legitimize the therapeutic use cases for psychedelics and their their whole mission is to try to create a safe and legal context for the use of psychedelics and So, uh, Liana Sananda Gululi, uh, somebody who was at this conference talking to all sorts of different people to try to get a sense of what's happening with the psychedelic underground and just listening to the various different concerns. She's like a drug policy wonk as well. And so she's got a lot of opinions as to what's been happening and to places like Denver and Oakland talking about the decriminalization of psychedelics. And it's another trend that's happening. And she told me about this whole process that they're going through of getting MDMA and eventually psilocybin as a part of an FDA approved drug. So within the next year or two, they're going to have a federally approved process to get a psychedelic drug to be able to treat PTSD. And that just the way that they're doing it, they have like this five year window to do whatever they want. So they've created this public benefit corporation that's going to essentially have all this money that is being generated from the production of psychedelic drugs being fed into the advancement and evangelism and training of creating what I presume to be an entire psychedelic revolution. this is something that you know in the 50s we started to have psychedelics come up with the first creations and then it went into the 60s and then it went into the underground and then there's always been like a variety of different psychedelics that have arisen and gone from the above board into the undergrounds but now we have this whole resurgence with Michael Pollan how to change your mind We've got podcasters like Timothy Ferris and Joe Rogan who talks about psychedelics all the time. It's just a part of like this counter-cultural movement of the psychedelic culture of people having these profound experiences with them. And there are also a lot of people in quite a lot of pain and there's been a lot of buzz about having these technologies that are out there that people could use and have an experience and potentially help to get in touch with the things that they need to do in order to turn their lives around. So my assessment is that we're on the cusp of an entire psychedelic revolution. And I wanted to sit down with somebody from MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, because they're really at the forefront of really helping push forward this psychedelic revolution, which is happening at the same time as this immersive technology revolution. And I think one of the things I'd take away from the Waking Future Summit is that there's so many different parallels and overlap between these different communities of the psychedelic underground, the immersive creators, whether that's immersive storytellers, virtual reality, immersive theater, any type of experiential entertainment, but also these technologies, as well as the meditative and contemplative practices that are coming from a variety of different Eastern spiritual traditions. So we'll be looking at all that and more on today's episode of Voices of VR Podcast. So this interview with Liana happened on Sunday, May 19th, 2019 at the Awaken Future Summit in San Francisco, California. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:04:39.649] Liana Sananda Gillooly: My name is Liana Sananda Giluli and I work for MAPS which stands for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and I work in development for MAPS and I also am here at the Consciousness Hacking Conference and I was fortunate enough to serve as what they called the psychedelic advisor to the conference, which was a really fun experience for me. And yeah, so where we are at with MAPS right now, MAPS is a non-profit organization that is exploring the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics. We are currently in phase three clinical trials, FDA trials, for MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. So yeah, there's a huge renaissance happening in the field of psychedelic science. There is new research opening up regularly all over the world and new interest happening. There is a large understanding that the mental health care system is broken and there's a huge uptick in depression, anxiety. We're in a crisis of consciousness, it appears, on our planet. And so the need for solutions and tools that can help us heal are very, very great right now. And so what it's being perceived by experts in the field of psychiatry and psychology and therapy, that there is enormous potential benefit in the skillful uses of psychedelics when combined with therapy.

[00:06:14.983] Kent Bye: Yeah, what's interesting about this conference is that it's looking at the cross-section between psychedelics, meditation, and technology, and that there seems to be a lot of therapeutic uses, but also from the people that are here, they've had a lot of experiences with psychedelics outside of that therapeutic context. It's more recreational, but also maybe within a spiritual context through, like, ayahuasca rituals or whatnot. but that just the way at looking at how technology diffuses there's an idea and then there's a small community to kind of prove it out and then it sort of crosses the chasm in the mainstream and then it is kind of ubiquitous but in order to get to those scientific studies you've had to in some ways leverage what's been happening in this psychedelic underground for a long time and to see in a very specific medical context, prove it out that it has therapeutic benefits, but it didn't come out of nowhere. I mean, this is sort of coming from a whole psychedelic underground that's been around for a while. So I'm just curious to hear your perspective of that dynamic of being here at this conference where you're kind of switching and blending context of talking about a very sensitive topic, but at the same time, the work that MAPS is doing is really legitimizing this in a larger scale.

[00:07:21.052] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Yeah, exactly. So the charter of MAPS is actually to create safe and legal context for the access of psychedelics. And so while we are focused on the clinical research, there's an understanding that there's a vast spectrum of context that psychedelics actually are currently legal and that we're hoping to support psychedelics becoming legal in. And so I'm glad you brought up recreational use and the history. There is a very, very rich history actually in the field of psychedelic research as well that dates back as early to the 50s. And MDMA wasn't made illegal until 1986. And so there was a lot of research that was done with the different uses of MDMA in therapeutic settings. So that's part of what we're drawing upon in seeking to open up this availability, this access point for these treatments. And yeah, I mean, it is definitely part of the legitimizing narrative that is allowing conferences like this to go ahead and put psychedelics right into the title. And, you know, no one can really balk at that or people aren't balking at that so much as they used to, largely because there is this verified use that's legitimized by the FDA. So it's interesting that, you know, it's actually easier to study psychedelics and cannabis in the United States currently and that at the rate that we're going, we'll have some sort of federally approved access to a psychedelic-assisted therapy, being MDMA therapy. And then psilocybin is just a couple years behind that, psilocybin-assisted therapy. So ahead of a federal program for cannabis. So it's a very interesting time that we're in right now. And I think what we're seeing now is that there's been a very large underground usage of psychedelics that the portal opened in the 60s. And then it went underground. People seemed to believe that it went away. But it never went away. And this movement has been activated and really well held, actually, in many ways throughout this time. And I think it's important to bring up the fact that despite this becoming accessible in a therapeutic medicalized context, that still the vast majority of people are going to be accessing these experiences in an underground, currently illegal and recreational setting. And so part of what I think the opportunity is at conferences like this is to help us to understand how can we use these tools to maximize potential benefit? How can we create the conditions for a positive transformational experience to happen if people are self-exploring with these medicines or tools. And so that's part of what we are exploring here. And so we're kind of mapping a framework of how to use these substances responsibly. And yeah, I think it is really important to create a dialogue with the public And also, I think for me, I've been really seeing it as a culture of responsible and skillful uses of psychedelics that go beyond the medical paradigm.

[00:10:32.361] Kent Bye: Yeah, one of the things that I've been really interested in is the whole experiential design and ritual components that I've started to see a lot of those components come into the virtual reality experiences. And Adam Ghazali was talking about experience-based medicine. So, seeing how having digital drugs that can be given through virtual reality experiences and games that are modulating consciousness in a holistic way, I think in some ways there's a challenge of having these psychedelic drugs that are coming from this full, robust, multimodal, full-embodied experiences and rituals, and then trying to put it into a very medical context, and to be able to isolate with a double-blind study to say that this is actually the psychedelic drugs that are able to have these effects. But that sounds like that's a lot of what MAPS has been doing, and so what have you been able to find in terms of like the efficacy of what some of these psychedelics could do in terms of the therapeutic applications.

[00:11:26.425] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Yeah, sure. Well, for the first thing I'll say to that is that psychedelics are the oldest form of technology, right? And many indigenous traditions see these as technologies and they learn how to use the technologies of plant medicines and also other what people might think of as non-psychedelic plant medicines like tobacco and how that can interface with, for example, an ayahuasca experience and how you can modulate that experience. And there's an art form and a science to it. And so there's a ton of information in the indigenous and spiritual tradition, traditional use of these substances. And so one thing that I think MAPS has done, and not so much in a stated way, but the way that the protocol has been designed, the therapeutic protocol has been designed, has been inspired by indigenous uses or traditional uses of psychedelics. So one of the core concepts is sitting behind the medicine and allowing the participant and supporting the participant to access their own inner healing intelligence. And so What that looks like is that these are not guides, and I actually tend not to use that word. I like to use the term facilitators instead of guides. You're talking about the human? Yeah, the human, sorry, the person who's mediating the psychedelic experience. And in our research, it's facilitators or therapists that are doing that. And so what they're doing is asking questions and helping people access their own inner healing intelligence. And so there is a lot of information that has been learned from elders and wisdom traditions and indigenous traditions that are being utilized. And then, but I don't think that totally answered.

[00:13:14.187] Kent Bye: That actually addressed a lot of the ritual sort of context that you're trying to create, recreate that context. And then, but you're also doing the studies as well. And so, yeah, what you were finding.

[00:13:21.955] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Right. Well, so, you know, there's a tension, there's a natural tension that will obviously emerge if you secularize the use of psychedelics and you put them into a medical context. And so this question of what is lost when you take concepts that are maybe gleaned from traditional uses and you design a training program that is going to be used in a rigorous scientific method, Western reductionary drug trial, there are things that are absolutely lost. And so I think that that is something to be extremely mindful of and considerate of is that context matters so much. And so there might be certain things that the context of medicalized setting doesn't quite allow for. And so there's this other question of what can we pull in to that medical setting, it's like the inverse is also true, whereas if we were just to have this hyperclinical way of doing it, if we just used traditional psychotherapeutic practices, and sure, some of that's in there as well, that we might be losing something as well. And so we've really looking at how can we blend this and make these experiences accessible to people. And so that's definitely a part of the challenge in all of this work right now. And I would say that the same is likely true if you're seeking to create ceremonial and sacred spaces using technology. That there can be things that you can take forward and implement into the design of your experience, but that there is likely certain things that will be lost. And maybe that's okay, too. Maybe this is all part of this. And then maybe there's something about that setting that will create a new kind of ceremony or a new kind of ritual that has even more relevance to the modern human than some of the ancient practices we're informing ourselves with.

[00:15:14.530] Kent Bye: I see something similar in the virtual reality community, which is the onboarding and offboarding going into a VR experience. In the early days of the film festivals, they would just have these booths and you would go into the VR experience and come out. But there was no limbo, transitional state to help you understand the world that you're about to go into and the world that you come out of. One thing that I've been seeing a lot of at places like Sundance and Tribeca is building up these entire sets and installations and art installations. you're able to get a little bit of a taste of the experience before you go into the experience. And so I can imagine that with a normal drug trial, you walk into an empty white room in a hospital or whatnot, and just like totally uninspired, not really beautiful or sacred in any capacity whatsoever. I imagine that the psychedelics on their own right, you could still have amazing like most profound experiences that some people have ever had in their lives still in that totally like white room context, but what type of experiential design do you have in terms of like the rooms and trying to bring in some elements of like maybe having some designers or architects or ways of helping onboard people into a psychedelic experience?

[00:16:19.739] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Yeah. So preparation, set and setting and integration are all the keys to this, right? And the hard work that goes into it. The drug is not the silver bullet. There's many elements that go into creating the container for somebody to experience transformation in. And so I'm really proud to report that our rooms are not sterile, whitewalled hospital rooms. There is a lot of consideration that's put into it. We require the spaces to have a comfortable place where the participant can lay down. We require soft blankets and things like that. We provide eye masks. There is a requirement to be mindful of lighting. For example, fluorescent harsh lighting is not pleasant. in these experiences. And so there's an effort to be mindful of lighting. There's actually a whole protocol and, like, room requirements that we have for people to go and have these experiences in those spaces. There's art. We require art. And even plants. I mean, in our studies, there's even a budget for flowers. inside those spaces. So that has been deeply considered. Because the environment does matter in these ways. And the other thing that I'll say is I'm in this community, this consciousness hacking community. I'm really into transformational technology. And one of the reasons is that I see that these technologies can support both the preparation and the integration of somebody who's gone through a transformational psychedelic experience. And so one of the ways that I've imagined VR might be really useful is giving somebody who has never had any psychedelic experiences a small visual taste. of what that environment might be like. And so I can imagine that, and I've heard of some people through the grapevine developing VR specifically for onboarding people to a psychedelic experience, and that's really exciting to me.

[00:18:11.470] Kent Bye: Yeah, I was just talking to Robin Arnott and as well as Topher and Swan talking about the Andromeda media and the experiences they have with Soundself and microdose VR as well as audio trip. But there was also an experience this year at Tribeca called Ayahuasca, which which is explicitly Ayahuasca imagining of actually starting into the forest with sort of a shaman elder and the whole planks in the Amazon forest. And you start to then go into a whole trip. So I do think that there's going to be ways to sort of give people a little bit of a taste. But I'm curious where else you see this intersection. Being here at the Awaken Futures Summit, sponsored by Consciousness Hacking, This cross-section of psychedelics and technology and the contemplative practices through meditation, how do you see all of these things coming together?

[00:19:02.850] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Wow, I mean, there's so much in this, right? Like for one, just part of the preparation that people can do before heading into their first experience can include learning some basic practices, breathwork practices, meditation practices, somatic healing practices, so that they can start to create an internal space that is repeatable within themselves and so that when they're then in a non-ordinary state of consciousness that they can rely on that space if things come up that are too much or something like that. So that's just like such an obvious one to me. And then in terms of integration as well, there's so much available in the realm of meditation and contemplative practices and the wisdom traditions that can help people make sense of their experience. We don't really have the vocabulary to describe the ineffable states that are achieved in these nonordinary states. And so I think that's one of the reasons why the psychedelic era of the 60s, the counterculture that emerged, there was a co-arisal of the emergence of Eastern and Vedic spiritual philosophy and traditions coming through into the counterculture of the 60s and co-arising with that. And when I think about that, one of the reasons that I see is that there's a lot in Buddhism and Zen and all these traditions that can help A person makes sense of their experience and we are sorely lacking in the Western mind frame. We are sorely lacking the vocabulary to help us understand those experiences. So I think that there's a lot of mutual benefit and support in those traditions that can help a person through those experiences. And then just in terms of technology. you know, just VR, for example, for preparation and integration. Maybe even there would be an appropriate time to have a nature VR. You know, one of the issues that I have currently is that we're not able to actually take people out into nature who are going through this clinical research. And in my experience, that's the best possible set, if we're talking about set and setting, it's the best possible setting that a person could experience these sacred substances with. And so, you know, I wonder if we could get high enough quality and maybe like Adam's like experience tank, Adam Ghazali's experience tank might be something in the future that could be used in lieu of walking somebody around a wooded environment who's in that experience. So there's all of that. But for me, where I really see the interface coming is all sorts of supportive technologies helping people to improve themselves. There are therapy on demand applications like Talkspace. There's meditation apps like Headspace. There's these applications and tools that are being developed in the tech space that can help a person continue their journey after access to information on how to live a holistic, integrated life, which includes health and wellness, nutrition. Maybe there's not even access to good and healthy, healthful foods. Or even like a knowledge base of the fact that that might be something that might benefit them in their integration process. And so there's a need for this culture to access those places. And then I also see a huge need for community. And I think that one of the things that we might see is these like, integration communities coming online. And so cohorts of people who have gone through transformational experiences that might be located in the same cities or from the same places, being able to connect in virtual spaces and support each other. Peer support, I think, is a huge part of integration. And so tools that can help facilitate and assist with that. Also just, you know, hold tech stacks to help therapists run their businesses, I think there's just so much available in the space. And then, you know, there's this concept of, you know, currently there's a digital data straw man that's capturing all of your data and then it's being digested and the algorithms that are pointed at you are controlling your brain or influencing or manipulating your mind to get you to click on things. And it's like the current dominating business model is the attention economy, right? Imagine if your data straw man was used to create a digital AI who was your ally in your journey of self-inquiry or recovery or healing. And imagine if, you know, we could build algorithms with different incentive structures that could help us improve and access our humanity or achieve certain personal goals that we might have. And so I think that Moving forward, looking years down the line, I really see a great opportunity there for technology to start really benefiting our humanity and our consciousness and being, instead of such a harmful influence on us as it is currently, but being a source of a true benefit and helping us achieve what we came here to do, which is to be whole and healed and integrated humans.

[00:24:31.858] Kent Bye: Yeah, I'm talking to East Forest, and he's got a whole new album that just come out, Music for Mushrooms, like a whole soundtrack, a five-hour soundtrack for a psychedelic practitioner. And the way he was describing it was kind of like this virtual audio reality of many different layers of nature. But there seems to be a strong music component, but he was also saying that that album released just like two days after Denver had made Psychedelic Mushrooms. Or maybe you could talk a bit about what happened in Denver recently.

[00:25:00.853] Liana Sananda Gillooly: So this is where, like, I have a background in drug policy reform. And I constantly come back to this place of wanting to emphasize that the science we're doing at MAPS is actually political science. And I want to emphasize that we are not separate from the egregious and racist war on drugs. And that it is critically important that as we're celebrating all the powerful and incredible benefits that these powerful sacred tools can help us with that we recognize that there's something called the war on drugs that is ravaging our country today, right now. And so I am deeply interested and a bit of a policy wonk on drug policy. And so I apologize if this might get a little in the weeds right now.

[00:25:47.093] Kent Bye: No, please do.

[00:25:49.649] Liana Sananda Gillooly: But yeah, Denver, from my perspective, and this is, I'm taking my maps hat off and talking from Liana right now, Denver is a powerful statement, a powerful PR statement of what the will of the public is in the United States and in the city of Denver right now. And it is to be absolutely celebrated that the people of Denver stood up and said, we do not want to be criminalized for something that grows from the ground and can help us and is not dangerous. There's never been a recorded death from an overdose of psilocybin. And so I think that's extraordinarily powerful and I absolutely want to emphasize that we absolutely must celebrate that. And I see this incredible potential for us in the psychedelic movement to utilize our immense power and opportunity to bring the most amount of benefit to the most amount of people. And so what I really want to see is the decriminalization of all drugs. And so what Denver did is they made it the lowest priority of law enforcement to basically bother anyone about personal possession of psilocybin. So that's great because then it's decriminalizing using drugs. But it's decriminalizing actually, if I'm going to, it's super technical, is a bit of a misnomer because it's actually just making it the lowest priority of law enforcement. decriminalize on a local level that state and a federal narrative and conversation.

[00:27:15.831] Kent Bye: There could be federal agents that could still arrest you then, right? Or not?

[00:27:19.597] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Technically, yes. Will they? Very unlikely, right? Because you've got to think about the political backlash and everything like that. So basically, the city of Denver has decided that their police force and resources are not going to be utilized on prosecuting people for possession of psilocybin. So there's a huge difference between decriminalizing drugs and creating access to them. Regulated access to drugs. I believe in regulating all drugs according to their harms, and I don't quite think we're ready yet as a society for that. We can get into that if you want. But I believe that a very powerful first step would be to decriminalize all drugs, as they did in Portugal 19 years ago, and recategorize the real issue of substance use disorder as a public health concern, not a criminal concern. It is absolutely true that in our country we're experiencing A huge, massive issue with the opioid epidemic. Which, by the way, is a regulated legal drug. Just saying. Which is part of why I don't believe we're quite ready. Because our system for drug regulation is clearly broken. If in 2018 there were 80 doses of opioids prescribed per resident of West Virginia, then whatever's regulating that clearly isn't working. And I think that I believe that the very first next progressive step to heal the war on drugs, which has clearly failed. There's more people using drugs, dying from drugs and jailed from drugs now than ever before. So this war on drugs approach is not working. And so I believe that we can decriminalize all drugs. And my preference is that instead of isolating single drugs or plant medicines and creating some sort of psychedelic exceptionalism that says, oh, these drugs are okay and fine, but the people who use these drugs over here should be still stigmatized and criminalized. I just think that we have this incredible opportunity to use our power for collective liberation and to really benefit the most amount of people in our cities and really provide benefit for the people who are getting arrested. There has only been 11 arrests from psilocybin in the city of Denver over the last three years, right? It's, I guess, slightly critical. I mean, I'm totally stoked on it. I think it's a powerful statement. And I want to see how much we can expand our power to bring benefit to the most amount of people. I'll stop there.

[00:29:37.296] Kent Bye: Yeah, no, I think, you know, as you're talking about that and the sort of history of the racial inequality and the war on drugs, and looking here at the Awaken Future Summit, I don't see a lot of people of color, I don't see a lot of diversity of underrepresented minorities. And so there seems to likely be some sort of connection there for people that people who are of color or underrepresented minorities, they could be larger targets for having access to these that Do you feel like that's part of the reason why there isn't as much of a diverse representation here? Or are there other issues in terms of outreach and really trying to expand the diversity of this community?

[00:30:14.769] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Thank you so much for this question. We just did a breakout on diversity. Mikey Siegel and I just led that here and I was so glad to have that conversation here. And one thing that I brought up there that I've learned through having so much of this conversation and dialogue is that we take for granted what an immense privilege it is to feel safe enough to consume a mind altering substance. There are people that live in communities not far from where we're sitting that have a huge amount of fear, that don't feel safe in their own neighborhoods or in their own homes, and don't feel safe letting go of control because their potential for arrest is dramatically higher than ours. And so that absolutely must be named and recognized that to feel safe enough to explore in this way is a privilege. and many people don't have that safety. And then just a little bit more on this community here. I think that there's a lot and I'll just say a little bit about what MAPS is exploring right now because it's true that in research, full stop period, in scientific research, in psychedelics, full stop period, in technology, full stop period, there's a lack of diversity. And so there was a focus group that was run last summer asking different communities all over the country about whether or not they'd be open to using MDMA therapy or psilocybin therapy. There's much gleaned from that. And I think one important thing to note is that, and there's somebody in our group just now who was running mental health services in Washington, D.C., and they said that 95% of the people seeking those services are white people. And it's because the culture of persons of color is that to talk about your problems in that way, there's a stigma that goes with that as well. It's not part of the culture of how people I'm grossly overgeneralizing right now, but just to have this conversation. Yeah, it's seen as like a thing that's really only for very crazy people or it's a thing that like very privileged people who just want to like who have the time and the resources to pay somebody else to listen to their problems. It's just not part of the culture. And so this idea that, you know, we're focused on trauma at MAPS currently with our research and we really seek to benefit the community to experience the highest amounts of trauma. And so then we look out across the world and we realize that those communities are not part of our studies. They're not part of the people who are reaching out and seeking these types of therapies. And so we're asking why. And so one of the things that we're doing is we're doing a training in August that's focused on all therapists of color. And so we've created a scholarship program. We're seeking to raise the funds to sponsor the therapists to come. We're doing outreach into people who are working within those communities that we're seeking to impact. We're also seeking feedback to ensure that our protocol is culturally competent for those communities as well. And so this is a very broad and deep and vast thing that we're grappling with here as a society right now. And it's absolutely showing up in these spaces. And so, you know, the solutions are not obvious. The solutions are go slow. Move at the speed of trust. You know, create inviting environments for people that might not look like us. And so, I'm really glad we just did the breakout here at Consciousness Hacking. We got some really good ideas flowing and are going to continue this conversation. about intersectionality and how we might really open those spaces and hear from the members of our community that have so much wisdom for us collectively to learn from. And so it's going to be a patient process. So yeah.

[00:34:01.437] Kent Bye: Well, with The Awakened Futures, they sold out of this conference here, so they have in the title, Psychedelics, Technology, and Meditation, and someone on stage said, if it was only just meditation and technology, they probably wouldn't have maybe had as much interest as there has been.

[00:34:16.223] Liana Sananda Gillooly: You said that, yeah. Yeah, totally.

[00:34:19.084] Kent Bye: So that was you, yeah. But I feel like, yeah, that's totally right in the sense that it's a hot topic, and I think people are really interested in it. And it feels like here that, in some ways, it's interesting for me, being a journalist, talking to people on the record, because there's still this underground, like, people that are working on stuff, but they're not ready to talk about it yet because of the underground nature of it. still a cultivation of therapists who are going from the underground to going above board, sort of developing this whole network in that, I don't know if that's part of what you're doing as part of the map's development, is to sort of help shepherd people from the underground into sort of more therapeutic context, or, like, I'm just curious to hear more of what you were looking at and sort of that dynamic that you saw unfolding here.

[00:35:03.503] Liana Sananda Gillooly: This is a very hot topic right now. There is a huge amount of psychedelically naive people who are truly suffering, who are reading Michael Pollan and listening to Tim Ferriss and are genuinely curious and absolutely, like, in a good way, seeking these types of healing resources. And so, yeah, that comes with a lot of pros and cons, right? And so there's certainly a work cut out for us. And then in terms of currently in order to participate in our research, you have to be a licensed therapist to then take our training program. There's a five-part training program. It's quite intensive. It's quite rigorous. And that is to ensure quality. That is to ensure, I mean, we're putting people's minds into the hands of therapists. And so we want to ensure that people are super skilled and qualified to be able to do that. And what's so interesting is some of the most skilled and qualified people on the planet are people that have been holding it down in the underground, right? And so there is an interest to create a pathway for those people that have been working in the underground who might not be credentialed or licensed to have an opportunity to participate above board. There are people working on defining what that might look like. And it is currently undefined. And so I'm reticent to say much more about it beyond that there's efforts underway to examine what that might look like and a desire to include those empowered people who truly are very skillful with facilitating these experiences. So, yeah.

[00:36:42.287] Kent Bye: Well, I was really impressed of just sort of watching you and seeing, you were talking to a lot of people, facilitating a lot of conversations. Is there any more that you can talk about in terms of what your goal and mission was of being here?

[00:36:52.249] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Yeah, so the thing that I'm really keep kind of rubbing up against and I kind of touched it on this a little bit is like, okay, great, now we have this huge swell of interest. And where are people getting their information from? And if people are like, I want to participate in the psychedelic culture. What is the psychedelic culture? And if you go and look around, you go to a psychedelic music festival and you're like, oh, I got to go there because that's what the culture is. And you look around, I'm asking ourselves as a culture, are we currently exemplifying the most responsible, skillful, best practices and safe uses of psychedelics in our culture? And I look around and I see a lot of people chasing peak experiences that aren't grounding or integrating. really am interested in creating a set of mimetics that can go along with the awareness of the potential benefit of these tools that helps people understand that this is not a silver bullet. That the healing comes from the hard work that is brought to it. And it is hard work. And I think that that often gets missed in our media reports, you know, that people are often reporting on our work. And I think that's important to highlight. That there are risks to utilizing these tools, and I think that also gets lost. And it's why we have such intensive screening. If you want to participate in one of the studies, there's intensive screening for that. And I've been curious in exploring, you know, what is the responsibility as the larger psychedelic community, which I think many people here at this conference would identify as being part of, to provide information not only in harm reduction, which, you know, MAPS has something called the Zendo Project. We provide peer support to people experiencing psychedelic emergencies in environments like Burning Man or other music festivals where there's a high amount of usage happening. And so this concept of harm reduction is really dominant and prevalent and risk reduction of how to manage people and educate the masses on how to hold space for people having these challenging experiences, knowing that often through the challenges and through the shadow work is where the most transformation and healing can come from. So it's how to transmute, and I really, I dropped the terminology bad trip, you know, I no longer use that. I think that there's no such thing as a bad trip, but there is such thing as a difficult or challenging experiencing. So, we've been doing a lot of good work framing around harm reduction. And I'm wondering what more we could do around educating around benefit maximization. Knowing that people are going to be accessing these things outside of controlled, mediated settings with certified, validated facilitators. So, everything from If you are seeking underground facilitation, like what to look for in the person that you're working with into how to set up your own preparation, setting integration, what that all looks like, I think that there's a huge need to provide clear education around that. And part of the challenge is that, you know, it's got to come from places of people that aren't going to be put into liability for discussing that. I've been working with a group of musicians, right, who have huge followings and are leaders and the purveyors and the creators of this thing we call psychedelic culture and getting some resistance around, well, if we're telling people how to responsibly use drugs, we're acknowledging that drug use is happening so that we can therefore be liable. Right? And so there's a big challenge around that. And there's even a risk in me sharing this, right? From the position I'm in right now. But I think it's incredibly important to be having this conversation and to be asking ourselves if the people here in this conference, if we're putting forward this culture of awakening and transformation, right? How are we doing that? How is it getting transmuted? What are we missing? Where are our blind spots? Right? And so that's been a lot of the dialogue I've been currently focused on here this weekend. Yeah.

[00:40:51.945] Kent Bye: Yeah, and add on top of that the Silicon Valley ethos of trying to get things to scale up really fast. And maybe it's better to take things a little slow, which I'm glad that Maps is leading that and having things go at a pace that maybe is a better integration that way. It feels like there's a lot of gates that are good to go through. So for you personally, or for Maps, what are some of the biggest either open questions you're trying to answer or open problems you're trying to solve?

[00:41:17.905] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Yeah. So I would love to just speak for a second on the structure of Maps. So Maps is a nonprofit. It's been around for 33 years. And we've now created a public benefit corporation because there's something called data exclusivity, which incentivizes drug developers to develop drugs that are off patent. And so MDMA and all the classic psychedelics are off patent. And so what that means is that nobody can use the research we've developed to justify receiving the opportunity or a license to manufacture and distribute MDMA for five years, right? And so we didn't even, the early stages of developing MDMA into a medicine, we never knew that, like Rick Doblin never knew that that was even a thing, and then a couple years ago it was brought to his attention that there could be this opportunity to actually distribute MDMA and be the manufacturer and the distributor of MDMA, being that we've cull together the data that would validate that opportunity.

[00:42:14.101] Kent Bye: So you'd be like an officially pharmaceutical drug that MAPS would be distributing. You'd become like a competitor pharmaceutically.

[00:42:20.164] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Totally. So what I've been saying is that we are like a nonprofit that has the rare opportunity to actually create a product. And in this case, it's MDMA and that we could even become a self-sustaining nonprofit through the sale of MDMA, which is kind of funny to say, right? So part of that recognition is that the sale of MDMA is a taxable event. And so we needed to create a corporation in order to do that activity. And so there was this like crisis and dilemma of like, how are we going to do that? And we decided to create a public benefit corporation that's wholly owned by the nonprofit. So there's no other investors or stakeholders or shareholders. And then all potential profits from the activities of the PBC get funneled back into the charter of the nonprofit, which is to expand the field of psychedelic medicine and research. And so doing this, we're also training therapists. That's our greatest need and bottleneck right now, is to adequately train therapists. And that's where the scaling, some would call the scaling problem, but we actually like that it's causing us to move at a slower rate and scale at a slower rate. But then we will have this five-year window to really establish the Pharmaco as, and I love this whole model of nonprofit drug development with a PBC Pharmaco is, It's a radically revolutionary way to develop drugs in the United States that completely challenges all the big pharma models. And the PBC allows us to put public benefit over profits, right? And the only incentive to prioritize profits would be to have shareholders that we would need to be fiduciary responsible to. But we don't even have that. But we're still defining what public benefit is, it allows us to kind of set the price of MDMA, that when competitors eventually come on board, they absolutely will, that we will have a very competitively priced MDMA. So it's allowing us to do all of these things and it feels like we're doing therapy on the systems right now, putting this new model forward and doing that in a good way. And so for us, that's really been the priority is to stick in as a nonprofit, right? And so all of our fundraising, like it's a very rare thing to do drug development in this way. It can, you know, numbers I've heard have ranged, but it can cost up to like half a billion dollars to develop a drug into a medicine through FDA. And we're doing MDMA for around $35 million, which has all been raised from primarily individuals that have had some sort of personal experience or a family member that's personally benefited from the use of these substances. So yeah.

[00:44:50.770] Kent Bye: That's really amazing. Just the fact that you're creating these economic models that have deeper implications, I'd say. I mean, the psychedelics are great. I imagine that there's transformative potentials there. But to transform the economic models and what's even possible, that, to me, is super exciting. Because we kind of need some new paradigms on how things work. And to kind of tie it into the public benefit, I've never heard of tying a public benefit corporation back into a nonprofit like that.

[00:45:17.203] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Yeah, it's pretty radical. And you know, the other way that this flips big pharma models on its head is that we're not saying to come use our drug on a daily basis. Our protocol is one to three times using MDMA in a therapeutic context. So this isn't like, this is with therapists inside a clinical setting. So it's never that you would take it at home. And so that very concept in itself, then the hope is that you won't ever need to use it again, right? That you've received this healing. And so part of the interdirected healing is that allowing people to access tools to then be able to manage new traumas as they come up in their lives. And I'd love to just share our results of our studies, which is that we found at the two month follow up after the protocol, which is three sessions with the drug-assisted therapy. There's two therapists that you work with in the room. And then there's 12 preparation and integration sessions over a period of about three and a half to five months, right? And so yeah, so it's this like period of treatment with only three times taking MDMA. So this is a terrible model for big pharma companies that want to sell you loads of drugs, right? Because we're not trying to do that. So it's 56% of people no longer qualified as having PTSD at the two-month follow-up. At the one-year follow-up, that number went up to 68% of people. And to see that kind of durability and that actually people are improving, this is when they're totally done talking with us, integrating with our therapists and everything. That is so remarkable and profound and demonstrates that people are able to access something within themselves, that they're able to continue to improve after the treatment happens. So that's really remarkable. Yeah.

[00:46:58.051] Kent Bye: And as you were talking, I thought of, in your bio, it said that you were some sort of death midwife, or help using psychedelics, I presume, to help people that are facing death. Or maybe you could talk a bit about what that means.

[00:47:09.362] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Yeah, so I guess that's the other sort of, when I think about my core missions in this world, I've definitely been focused on the war on drugs for the past decade and on creating. safe and legal ways to access psychedelics. And then the other kind of work that I think is super important in this world is reintegrating and creating, recontextualizing and making sacred again the rituals around death and dying in our society. I believe that there's a lot of unprocessed trauma or there's a lot of trauma from unprocessed grief in our society. And so I am very passionate about that. space. So what a death doula or what a death midwife is is a person that much like a birth midwife or doula holds space for this period of transition. And it is about allowing people to really embrace the fact that they're going through their dying experience. So often our society doesn't want to talk about that. And so I think it's partially bringing the conversation around death and dying into the room, embracing that, and then helping people and families walk through that space in a mindful and grounded way. And so there has been research done into utilizing psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA with end of life anxiety. And there's a lot of end of life anxiety in our society that is not really discussed or spoken about. And so I do believe that that's one of the most powerful applications for these medicines to come through. And so, you know, one of my running jokes is like, yeah, well, I would love to be a psychedelic death doula. I can't be that now because it's illegal, so I'm going to go do some work to then create the opportunity for myself, hopefully in my lifetime, I plan on it, to really do that work in a serious way. I've done trainings and I've sat just for a handful of people, mostly just that I'm personally connected with. The inspiration to do that came through I experienced a series of deaths when I was 22 years old, where I was very, very present for five deaths in one year, and I was introduced to the concept of death midwifery in that time, and we were able to have this person come in, allow us to have a home funeral, allow us to care for the body of our beloved who had departed, and really be fully present with the process of that instead of handing it off. to the undertaker or the funeral home or something like that. I mean, there's this whole industry around death and dying. I'm not going to go into the details. That's really grotesque and not OK. And so, yeah, really reclaiming that sacred rite of passage is deeply important to me personally.

[00:49:47.568] Kent Bye: Great. And finally, we're here at the Awakening Futures conference. We're looking at the intersection between psychedelics and technology and contemplative practices like meditation. So I'm wondering what you think the ultimate potential of all these intersections of psychedelics, technology, and meditation are and what they might be able to enable.

[00:50:09.138] Liana Sananda Gillooly: So from where I sit, I believe that we are in this crisis of consciousness on our planet. The very fate of our species is in peril, and the future is murky. We're looking into the glass ball, and it's very hard to tell how all of these things are going to go down. And I don't believe that we're going to be able to solve our environmental crisis, the ecocide that we're committing, the political polarity, the downgrading of humanity with our technologies until we resolve the underlying anxiety, grief, and trauma that is plaguing our consciousness right now. And so my prayer and my hope is that the blending of all the best skillful means, right, if we can go and cull together all the best tools that can help humans transform and awaken and become whole, healed and integrated beings, that the bringing together of those tools in these times to potentially assist us into our awakening is to me the best hope that we have. Einstein said you can't solve the problems within the same mindset that created them. And so we need to cultivate a new mindset. And so that's why I'm deeply passionate about this space and about psychedelics. And to me, it's like it's not just the psychedelics, right? It's all of the modalities that can support a human in their transformation coming together that I think is really the sweet spot for this. So, yeah.

[00:51:52.304] Kent Bye: Awesome. Great. Is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say to the immersive community?

[00:51:56.367] Liana Sananda Gillooly: Oh, my God. I think I spoke a lot. I'm feeling complete. Yeah. And I'm just grateful to be in this dialogue with you. So thank you very much for inviting me.

[00:52:05.837] Kent Bye: Awesome, great, well thank you so much. Yeah, thank you. So that was Liana Sananda-Gululi. She works in development for MAPS, which is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, and she was also the psychedelic advisor for the Awaken Futures Summit. So, I have a number of different takeaways about this interview, is that first of all, Well, there has been a lot of buzz recently about what the potential of psychedelics are. And Michael Pollan's book was in large part and thanks to a lot of the work that the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, MAPS, has been doing for the last 33 years. It's not like this has come completely out of nowhere. but there's this interesting interface between the underground and this psychedelic culture and people that have been using these different psychedelics either in recreational use or trying to create a more ceremonial set and setting and healing context, but that there's just so much transformative potential for these psychedelic drugs that MAPS has been proving out through a variety of these different studies. And that got picked up by Michael Pollan and went on his own psychedelic journeys and talking to different neuroscientists. And so psychedelics is also on the frontier of neuroscience research as well as with meditation and these immersive technologies. And so there's so many different intersections that are coming together at this gathering. And the thing that I was really interested in hearing a lot more about was how there's a very specific experiential design that MAPS is designing with their protocols to be able to give MDMA as a drug. in this therapeutic context it's not like they're just bringing people into this completely empty white room and they're giving them a psychedelic experience and thinking that it's going to be a good setting to be able to do that but they're trying to take as many of these different indigenous practices of taking consideration of having a nice place to sit down having some art having some flowers and just having an eye cover and you know, really trying to take into some sort of architecture and design component to make it feel like a nice space. Because if people are going to have a sacred experience, then they need to have somewhat of a set and setting to be able to do that. And so I think there's actually a lot of influence that maps is taking from these indigenous cultures and to be able to create a whole what I would call experiential design to be able to create this set and setting for psychedelic experiences. And so I think it's going to be very interesting to see where this ends up going, especially as we move away from just the more therapeutic context into the more recreational ceremonial uses. But we have what is on the cusp of what feels like this psychedelic revolution with Denver decriminalizing psychedelics and then Oakland following a little bit later from the recording of this podcast, but within the last couple of weeks or so, So we've got like two cities that have said that it's made low priority to be able to use resources to be able to enforce and criminalizing something that grows out of the ground. And Liana had lots of different perspectives and views on the general drug policy wonk perspective, which is essentially that there's a huge racist war on drugs. It's not working and this shouldn't be criminalized. It's not a criminal matter, especially when you look at the opioid crisis. I mean, if you were to like put everybody in jail that was on opioids right now, you'd have an over flooding of all the jails are out there. So clearly this is not just something that is a criminal issue. It's a public health issue. and to treat it as such rather than something that is a criminal issue. So the decriminalization means that this is an issue of addiction that not so much needs to be solved by throwing people in jail. That's not something that's going to necessarily solve the core crux of the symptoms of the problems. But what is promising is that it feels like the key other insight about these psychedelic drugs is that they're trying to create a completely different model where they're not trying to get people hooked onto a drug, taking it all the time, but that they're gonna limit it to like one to three different sessions where you take MDMA and that there's these follow-up integration sessions, but it's not designed for you to be dependent upon this drug forever, which has been the typical model for the pharmaceutical companies. And so because of that, they are trying to put the public benefit of the health of the community above and beyond the profit. And so creating a public benefit corporation, which has a mandate to be in service of the public rather than be in service of profit. any money that they do make over MDMA is going to be rewired into their maps nonprofit that's going to be serving to educate and evangelize and train up these different practitioners. And so I just see this as the recipe of something that is going to fuel this whole psychedelic renaissance that culturally we already start to see it. And I think just by Going to this event and seeing the excitement that's there It feels like something that's new and exciting that people have been on the underground for so long and that this is kind of an opportunity for people to start to come together and to start to talk about their experiences but you know a big part of this gathering from consciousness hacking was that it was a big part of a community building process where Wasn't just people standing up on stage and talking but this felt like a whole level of community organization that was happening there where there's these strong connections and the scheming and brainstorming and planning of being able to like have something big that was happening. So there's a lot of different people that were trying to figure out how to be involved. And one of the things that Liana was saying at the end there was that right now in order to be really a part of the psychedelic therapies within maps, you have to have training and be a trained therapist, but yet at the same time, there's so many people that are on the psychedelic underground that are working directly with people and in some ways may be the most authoritative in being able to actually facilitate these different types of processes. And so they're trying to find ways to have people who actually have a ton of experience to find pathways for them to be able to be participating within these processes above board. And that's still a huge open question. And that, you know, the big part of having the psychedelic underground there is that there's a lot of use that's happening out in the world. And I think a lot of the ways that Liana is thinking about this is that trying to give out as much information as possible to say, well, here's some best practices, even if you're not going to be taking this within the therapeutic context, which is really what MAPS would want to encourage because that's the way in which that's actually legal. But at this point, there's still a lot of people using it off label and recreational use. And what are the best practices to have both the set and setting and the context and the preparation and the integration, but also have the resources that are available, listing off a number of different technologies of having support available through these different apps. to be able to create these online virtual environments to be able to meet afterwards. And so it feels like that there's this whole movement of creating these different ad hoc communities to be able to support people as they go through these spiritual emergencies or these experiences, or if they have a bad trip, and to be able to have a lot of different resources that are available. Because Liana says that these are not completely safe things. There's a lot of risk that are involved, and so you actually need a lot of support. So they're trying to create as many different safe settings as they can. Obviously, they prefer it to be in a therapeutic context, but from a harm reduction perspective, they want to be able to also make available some other best practices and resources that are available for people if they're going to be doing things within the recreational space. And she really saw that there is a use for technology to be able to help to either prepare people to have psychedelic experience or to help within the integration process. And she said that there's a number of different companies that are out there that are looking at specifically creating virtual reality experiences that are being intended to be used within this context of psychedelic therapies, whether that's from Andromeda Media or Trip. I was also fascinated to hear a little bit more about her own personal passion around being a death doula and how much anxiety and grief and trauma that we have around death and dying and not having a lot of really sophisticated rituals and how psychedelics could help to transform our relationship to a lot of that grief that is around death and dying. And she says at the heart of it, there's this crisis of consciousness that we have right now. where there's so many different problems that we have on the planet and that, as Einstein said, you can't solve a problem within the same mindset and consciousness that created it, that we have to cultivate a new mindset and a new modality. And that she was pointing to what was happening in the 60s, which was this influx of all this different Eastern spirituality, Vedism and Buddhism and Zen practices. All of these practices have a certain amount of language to be able to describe and explain these different types of experiences. within just the reductive materialistic mindset, there isn't necessarily a lot of language or tradition for us to be able to draw upon to be able to understand these altered states of consciousness. You know, we kind of have to turn to either these Eastern philosophies and traditions or from indigenous practices that are looking at the sacred use of psychedelics for these different transformative experiences. But in some ways, there's asking us to have a bit of this ontological pluralism of being able to have many different ways of looking at the world, whether it's through science and to see the valid use cases of how effective that psychedelic therapies can have. But then from more of these indigenous philosophies or Eastern philosophies to have a little bit more of the language and philosophies to talk about these other models of these expanded forms of altered states of consciousness and how to deal with going in between these different realms and to deal with these various different spiritual emergencies and to be able to deal with the depth of the shadow that comes up. And so I think there's also a lot of work from Jung in the shadow and the depth psychological approaches and transpersonal psychology. There's a lot of traditions that are more on the fringes of Western philosophy but still come out of a lot of these altered states of consciousness and whether it's through breathwork or active imagination or whatever different altered states of consciousness you have, there's many different philosophies and approaches to be able to help make sense and understand of it. And in some ways, the challenge is to perhaps draw upon a lot of these different traditions and cultures to be able to find new insights that we can have to be able to address the big issues that we have in our world today. which, as Liana says, is this crisis of consciousness that we're dealing with, the fate and the future of our planet, with all the ecological crises that we have, and that there's this underlying anxiety, grief, and trauma that is plaguing our consciousness right now, and that we need all the tools that we can to be able to awaken ourselves and find new ways to be able to handle make sense and Find ways to heal ourselves and tap into our own and hate healing capacities to be able to fully show up and be able to contribute and to help bring about this larger change and to find ways to be more inclusive because you know, there was a clear lack of diversity within our this Awaken Futures Summit, and I think in part because of the larger geopolitical context of what's happening on the war on drugs, but also just being able to find ways to make bridges into these other communities and to get more and more people involved within this type of culture. Because, like Liana says, if you look at psychedelics and technology and meditation, each of these communities within their own rights have issues with diversity, and when you bring them all together, it's gonna get even more of a small cross-section of the plurality of many different perspectives that we really need to pull in lots of these different perspectives as well. So that was a big conversation that was happening throughout the conference as well. So I think the bottom line though, is that we have this psychedelic revolution that's coming and that there's a lot of parallels with what's happening with immersive technologies and to see how they can kind of learn from each other in different ways. And it's kind of exciting for me to see these different communities come together and to see kind of the synergy in these overlaps of these intersections, but also what they can learn from each other and how a lot of these topics coming together actually are connecting us to some of the deepest, most real issues in our world today. And actually provide a lot of antidotes to a lot of the pain and suffering that we're seeing right now. So that's all that I have for today. And I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And I hope you enjoyed these last 10 interviews and, you know, seven plus hours of conversations and takeaways about the Awaken Future Summit of this cross-section of psychedelics, meditation, and technologies. And if you've enjoyed this, then please do support me on this Patreon. This is a list to support a podcast, and I do rely upon donations in order to continue to bring you this type of independent journalism. I think that just showing up and going to these different conferences and having these types of conversations is a vital part of just trying to do what I can to help continue the conversation and bring to you many different perspectives of what I see are the different exciting new trends that are happening within technology, but also in these other movements like this psychedelic renaissance that we're on the cusp of. So if you've enjoyed this coverage and want to see more, then please do just spread the word and tell your friends about it. And also consider becoming a member of the Patreon. This is a listener supported podcast, and I do rely upon donations from people like yourself in order to continue to bring you this coverage. So you can become a member and donate today at patreon.com slash voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

More from this show