In this episode, Joe interviews the Co-Founder and CEO of Beckley Retreats, Neil Markey.
Markey describes Beckley Retreats as comprehensive well-being programs, and talks about the importance of holistic wellness – that, while the retreats are centered around two group psilocybin experiences, the true benefits come from complementary factors: the four weeks of online prep and community building before the retreat, the six days in Jamaica surrounding the experiences, the six weeks of integration work after, and the depth of connections people find in the new community they may not have realized they needed so badly. He breaks down the details of the retreats and what they look for in facilitators, and tells a few success stories that really highlight how trauma, opposing ideas, and an infatuation with material objects and amassing wealth can all get in the way of real relationships and meaning.
Beckley Retreats is currently working on two new projects: an observational study with Heroic Hearts and Imperial College London on using psilocybin for-traumatic brain injury, and a study with Bennet Zelner and the University of Maryland to bring executives through a retreat to see how it affects leadership and decision-making: can they prove that these types of experiences lead to more heart-centered leaders?
We are currently running a giveaway where you can win a one-on-one meditation class with Neil and a custom Beckley Retreats tote, as well as many other prizes. Click here to enter!
“The problem, a lot of times with Western medicine, is if you can’t understand the mechanics of it, then we kind of discard it, or if you can’t isolate a single variable, then we discard it. It’s like: well, some things work in tandem. If you actually peel the physics back, it looks like everything’s connected to everything, so we’ve got to think about more comprehensive approaches. I think that you can learn a lot from looking at traditional practices and some of the Indigenous wisdom that’s out there; that there’s a method to how this work has been done for quite some time and we shouldn’t disregard it.”
“If we can help people in a clinic model, let’s do that. But [with a] clinic, again: when you take someone, you give them a mystical experience, and then they go right back home or right back to work and right back into life, are you creating enough space for there to be optimal change? I think we need to keep studying it and asking those questions.”
“[Amanda Feilding] never saw a rule that she didn’t want to break. She’s [this] lifelong badass that has just gone against the grain for her entire career. But it was never about money for her, it was all because she thought she could help people. It’s so inspiring. We need more of those stories; less stories about people that made a billion dollars or whatever and more material things, and [more of] these stories about folks that are just out there trying to help others. It fires me up.”
Psychedelics Today: Amanda Feilding – The Beckley Foundation: Changing Minds through Psychedelic Research
Brainyquote.com: H.G. Wells quote (Joe said it was Mark Twain)
Pubmed: The gut microbiome and mental health: advances in research and emerging priorities
Psychedelics Today: PT372 – The Heroic Hearts Project: Veterans and The Impact of Storytelling, featuring: Jesse Gould & Zach Riggle
Psychedelicspotlight.com: Imperial College and Heroic Hearts Launch Psychedelic Research Retreat For Veterans With Head Trauma
Psychedelics Today: PT399 – Vital Psychedelic Conversations, featuring: Bennet Zelner, Ph.D. & Giles Hayward
Maps.org: The Pollination Approach to Delivering Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Healthcare
Synthesisretreat.com: Expansion: Leadership Edition (original leadership study through Bennet Zelner)
Nbcews.com: Candidates who support psychedelics as medicine get a political action committee