Jon Thorisson – Healing the Mind through Recreational Substances


In today’s episode, Alexandra and her guest, Jon Thorisson, take us on a critical conversation on two topics that many people evade or find uncomfortable: death and recreational drugs. Jon, who tried ayahuasca out of curiosity to later find out that he will have to confront the possibility of dying at an unexpected time, is giving this often perceived as a ‘dark’ topic’ a shed of the bright light of life, hope, and happy living. 

Alexandra met and became friends with Jon when he moved to Berlin from Iceland in search of reinventing himself and how to move on with his life after finding out he has lung cancer. He was 60+ and does not have good prospects of recovery during the time of his diagnosis. His tumor was removed and was introduced to psychedelics for his recovery. This led him to a healing path less taken. 

Jon’s willingness to go through healing the mind through substances was mind-blowing for Alexandra. And Jon, who openly speaks about it, takes that sharing about his healing journey as an opportunity to help people in similar situations. 

Recreational substances open people to new experiences and things. This is where the therapeutic benefit of healing through substances comes in—it massages us through revisiting old trauma and memories and looking at it from a different perspective. It rids people of the baggage that impedes the healing of both the body and mind. 

But before his diagnosis, Jon has tried ayahuasca out of curiosity. Introducing him to the experience and idea that demystifies death, he felt this made him ready and more accepting of the possibilities when the news of big C came. It opened a new world for him. He was calm because ayahuasca has taken away his fear of dying. 

Things like this happen and we try to give it meaning. To these two friends, the more important question lies in finding the excuse for not giving up and the springboard for a new determination. Yes, of course, we know we’re all dying. But we do come in egotistical intent when we want to die. So when we are faced with the scenario of dying younger than we intend to, then that’s when it scares us. 

Lessons from Jon’s extraordinary healing journey are extraordinary gems, too, because it confronts death by approaching life. It’s important not to feel that we are just victims of our circumstances. Letting go of the baggage, as well as possessions, are immensely freeing. And so we must go for the experience. 

Just stay open. Be curious. Embrace life. 

Links mention in the podcast     

Podcast Highlights 

  • It was this fortunate discovery—that dying is not the worst thing—that made me accept and ready for the possibilities of having cancer. I had the presence of mind to make my own decisions about how I want this to evolve. – Jon Thorisson 
  • People think that death is something that can be totally avoided. With the pandemic, we’ve become so risk-averse. When you’re not afraid of dying, it doesn’t mean you want to die, but it makes you more relaxed in your approach to life. – Jon Thorisson 
  • People who came up with healing methods came out of situations like Jon’s. People make choices and embrace death, and in embracing and accepting it, is where the healing journey actually starts. In moments when we feel helpless, we want to get help. But sometimes, that help is like somebody else taking over our mind and guiding us to something, while the crucial part really is our own mental aspect in it. – Alexandra Kreis 
  • When you’re not controlled by fear, you’ll see the opportunities. You approach life with an open heart and a positive mind. And that influences whatever situation you enter. – Jon Thorisson 
  • At the root of healing is letting go of old ways, of old tricks, and becoming more connected to our nature. – Alexandra Kreis 


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