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Can Plant Medicine and Meditation be Catalysts for Personal Growth?

Jonathan Glazer, co-founder of #ThankYouPlantMedicine.

It has been a long path of growth and self-discovery for Jonathan Glazer, co-organizer of the #ThankYouPlantMedicine movement.

Here, in his own words, Jonathan explains how plant medicines helped transform his life and prompted the launch of this global movement aimed at destigmatizing entheogenic plants and psychedelics.

When I began a one-on-one meditation practice with a Tibetan meditation teacher, my life took an unexpected twist.

After seven years of committed meditation practice on my own, I began studying with this teacher that took me to deeper levels, and led me to explore inner dimensions in my being I had not known existed.

But there was a problem. As I advanced in my practice, I realized that these experiences were not shared by others in my life, and I could not meaningfully communicate what I’d learned with the people closest to me.

I couldn’t properly discuss releasing past traumas and working through emotional and mental blockages with my meditation. My friends and family did not share these experiences, therefore I began to feel somewhat isolated.

But there was one specific group of people I could freely share my experiences with. A group of individuals that could resonate with what I was processing: friends that had experienced entheogenic plant medicine.

At that stage, I felt a stigma about psychedelics – and was afraid that trying them would damage my brain and interfere with my meditation practice.

As I matured with my practice, I started teaching to a selected group of students. A good friend, who retired fairly young, felt that he wasn’t advancing quickly enough in our class.

After six months, I suggested as an option we find other opportunities for him. Ayahuasca came up as an avenue to experience inner dimensions. This is how I first experienced ayahuasca at the age of 37.

Two years later, in March 2018, a friend invited me to another ayahuasca ceremony and the encounter helped me understand how to approach critical issues within my professional organization. My longstanding fear of working with large groups went away, and I inherently understood that collaboration is the key for growth and success. It was then I discovered the immense power of entheogenic plants.

I went on to participate in other ayahuasca ceremonies and felt healed in multiples ways via those teachings, and transformations.

In these moments of exposure, I embraced two two incredible, yet unexpected experiences. Music had always been an important part of my life. I grew up playing piano and later in life, learned to play the guitar, harmonica, and flute, however, I could never sing in tune and couldn’t produce complex rhythms. I couldn’t play music in multiple, interesting layers. I believed my music was flat and boring.

After an ayahuasca ceremony in May 2018, I could suddenly play and sing in any tone, on any scale, and developed a new rhythmic sense. It was amazing, as if an auditory blockage was released.

Another remarkable aspect of the experience related to language. As a child, I spent three years in Brazil. At the age of 10, I came back to my native country, Israel, and repressed the Portuguese I learned to fit in within the Israeli social context. This caused me to lose my ability to comprehend and speak Portuguese.

After a ceremony in August 2018, I suddenly understood two hour-long scientific talks in Portuguese. It couldn’t be explained, yet somehow, that comprehension part of the language skill came back to me. I still can’t speak it, but I can understand it.

Through my meditation experience, I became familiar with altered states of consciousness – spaces in my mind that are different from the day-to-day consciousness. By regulating my thoughts and emotions on a daily basis and letting go of stress, anxiety, and fear, I learned to heal myself physically and emotionally.  Through psilocybin, ayahuasca and other psychedelic offerings, I learned that our brain can be driven in different ways. I realized that there are altered states in which capacity for thought, access to memory, and comprehension are greatly enhanced – states where problem solving and creativity are quickly improved. These are sacred states in which rapid change can occur, but you can also feel safe, welcome, and comfortable experiencing these beneficial changes.


I discovered completely new behaviors and abilities I didn’t know existed. Through those and other related experiences, I can more clearly understand and embrace my passion and purpose in life. My sensitivity to myself, others, and nature has become more pronounced.

Now, I believe that traditional entheogenic plant practices and eastern meditative practices go hand in hand. There are many similar concepts, such as the belief in an underlying energy that permeates our reality, in Amazonian traditions the word, “mariri,” has some similarity to the Hindu word, “prana,” and Chinese,  “chi” or “qui.” There are parallel concepts of applying plants for healing, the importance of proper breathing, and a view that nature is intelligent, to name a few.

I hope that these traditional healing medicines can eventually be accepted in Western societies, and that greater resources are allocated towards studying and researching psychedelics and entheogenic plants. I believe that through sharing our stories, many investigation opportunities will surface.

I also hope that people suffering from mental and physical ailments can have the choice, safety, and ease of access to plant medicines and psychedelic-assisted therapies. I’m hopeful to see conservation efforts increased to protect these healing traditions.

My immersion in the world of psychedelics and entheogenic plants led me to studying the connection between meditation, spiritual practices, neuroscience, psychology, plant medicines, and music.

In early 2018, I finished my Psychology degree in Costa Rica, and I was looking to learn more about entheogenic plants and psychedelics. It led me to the World Ayahuasca Conference in Girona in June of 2019, and to the Horizons Conference in New York in October 2019.

It was during the World Ayahuasca Conference where over 1,500 people from 42 nations came together that my friend, Dave Grillot, had a brilliant idea. We joined forces to make it happen.


Jonathan with David Grillot.

The idea was to create a global #ShareYourStory movement to empower people to speak openly about their healing experiences through psychedelic plant medicines – free from stigma, and without fear of being judged by society.

We knew there were so many people across the world who were grateful to plant medicines and psychedelics for not only healing their ills, but more importantly, for saving their lives. This inspired us to create the #ThankYouPlantMedicine movement in which these people can join together and express their gratitude for these natural, traditional medicines.

This is not a new idea: there are others in the psychedelic community that have made efforts to create such a movement. We’re grateful for their inspiration and the progress they made, but what is new about #ThankYouPlantMedicine is the attempt to do it on a global scale.

From the beginning, important and credible organizations such as Chacruna Institute and ICEERS – plus notable  individuals like Dennis McKenna – supported our initiative and were instrumental in opening doors to other organizations and people that have only helped us progress.

This was back in June 2019: one idea developed by two men living fifteen minutes apart in Costa Rica. Now, it has bridged us upon our global path. Just over seven months later, the #ThankYouPlantMedicine is spreading rapidly across the world, with almost 550 volunteers in 55 countries and over 50 partner organizations.

With an average of 150 people joining our Facebook group every day, we are constantly reading inspirational stories of people who have completely transformed their lives through the use of plant medicines such as iboga, ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, cannabis, huachuma, Peyote, LSD, MDMA, Ketamine and more.

We say, “thank you plant medicine.” To those of you reading this we’d like to ask you to join our movement by finding us on Facebook, or visiting www.thankyouplantmedicine.com.”

* Want to join the #ThankYouPlantMedicine movement on Facebook? Come join our community by clicking here

* Would you like to help spread our message and support the #ThankYouPlantMedicine movement as a volunteer? Please click here for more details. 

 

* DISCLAIMER & IMPORTANT SAFETY MESSAGE

The #TYPM movement does not encourage any illegal use or abuse of plant medicines and psychedelics, whether cultivated in nature or lab synthesized.

Psychedelics and plant medicines, even within the confines of applicable laws, are not appropriate or beneficial for everyone. They are not magical cures; they are tools that, when used properly – with respect, clear intentions, guidance, and a safe, supportive environment – can catalyze personal growth and healing.

 To minimize harm and increase therapeutic potential, it is imperative that one performs sufficient research, adequately prepares, and integrates their own experience.

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