In this episode of Vital Psychedelic Conversations, David interviews Omar Thomas: Founder of Jamaica’s Diaspora Psychedelic Society, CEO of Jamaican Organics, Psychedelics Today Advisory Board member, organic farmer, and certified death doula.
Thomas discusses how we define home, the importance of having open dialogue with our children about psychedelics, how the psychedelic experience relates to permaculture, our cultural absence of a rite of passage, the joy in psychedelics, and the value in allowing change to become a natural evolution we experience once we take the mindful seat of the observer.
Thomas breaks down all the ways in which Jamaica is shaping its framework as a psychedelic-informed health & wellness destination and the country’s cultural roadblocks that could potentially impede its development. And he talks a lot about his work as a death doula: the importance of taking a more sacred and preparatory approach to death, how helping someone through the transition is the ultimate holding of space, and how each psychedelic trip can be a practice session for death.
A theme that is consistent throughout this conversation is self-directed growth via The Warrior’s Way – an exercise in discovery, surrender, and developing daily practices toward change. Thomas posits that it’s when we hold space and shed the many layers of our identity that we can begin to foster real change – by “staying on” and becoming an observer rather than directly trying to change things, change will happen naturally.
“The things you need for a psychedelic trip are the same things you need for life. You need courage when you’re afraid and you need to prepare yourself for the things you’re going to undertake, and to do them seriously and with appreciation for the moment.”
“The idea of holding space is so much about us not being in the way of hearing what others have to say, and allowing them to come to realizations that they would come to naturally if they would but take the time to sit for a while and contemplate the idea without distraction.”
“I found that Jamaica itself is healing. The island is healing. And I don’t want to get too esoteric about it, but there’s something about even just being outside for me in the early morning hours before the sun rises in a climate that can allow me to do so comfortably, and to be able to start to appreciate still connection, just on its own – I’m finding that this place seems to be tuned to some sort of frequency. It just makes it easier to slip into a feeling of wholeness, or at least of wanting to be.”
“We have our lifetimes only to begin to affect the change in the things that move us. If we are upset about the climate, let’s use the life we have. Let’s use the life we have to connect so that when death comes, we have lived a life worth living, that’s so satisfying that it’s okay to let go. For me, the psychedelic trip and journey is about letting go in a micro sort of way. Each trip is a practice session.”
“I’ve seen people laugh and chuckle now at the idea of not being, because during the trip, they learned that there’s no way to not be, because matter cannot be created or destroyed. …We’re afraid of smoke and mirrors and shadowboxing – things that we don’t need to fear.”
About Omar Thomas
Omar Thomas is the founding advisor of Diaspora Psychedelic Society (DPS) and a member of the Jamaican Diaspora Task Force on Behavioral Health. His Afro-Caribbean upbringing led him to seek out non-traditional answers to his own PTSD and trauma issues in the early 90s. His search eventually took him to Mexico where he underwent 30 days of fasting, isolation, and intensive sacred mushroom work under curandero guidance. He’s lived as a permanent resident of Mexico for a number of years developing a deeper connection to the medicine in the context of community. He brings his years of experience in Mexico to bear in guiding the vision for DPS.
Through Diaspora Psychedelic Society, Omar collaborates with a number of organizations to promote more equitable access, Jamaican inclusion, and innovative approaches to psilocybin-supported therapies. In addition to overseeing day-to-day DPS activities, he is the CEO of Jamaican Organics, and sits on the strategic advisory board of Psychedelics Today.
Omar now resides on his ancestral island home in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.
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