What follows is a transcript for the podcast Upgrade Your Life: Tools Based in Both Science and Spiritual Tradition
Topics in the interview include:
- Origin Story of Educate Inspire Change
- How Kash Used Grief to Raise His Consciousness
- How Was Your Life Before Starting Your Facebook Page?
- The Role of Plant Medicine in Healing
- Plant Medicine for Entrepreneurs
- What is The Story Behind You Separating From the Muslim Religion?
- What is Your Upcoming Documentary All About?
- What are the Benefits of Ayahuasca?
- How Do You Choose the Plant Medicine that Works for You?
- What are Your Thoughts on the Synthetic Versions of Plant Medicines?
- Tips for Using Plant Medicine for the First Time
- What’s Next in Your Professional Journey?
- About Kash Khan
Origin Story of Educate Inspire Change
Dr. Heather Sandison: Welcome to Collective Insights. I'm your host today, Dr. Heather Sandison. I'm pleased to be joined today by Mr. Kash Khan, the creator of Educate Inspire Change, that now has an online following of over 3.5 million. This impressive following Mr. Khan, how did you get to this place?
Kash Khan: Yeah, lots of time, hard work and patience. Educate Inspire Change was born around eight years ago, so it didn't happen overnight. My original, when I first started Educate Inspire Change, there was no long-term intention or goal. I just created it, because I felt like I wanted to share something with the world, and then it ultimately grew arms and legs of its own, and then within a space of a year to two years, I realized that I had tapped into something, I'd unlocked my calling or my purpose, and I felt really passionate about the truth and uncovering the truth, and sharing these messages of truth with the world.
Then two years after starting the Facebook page, basically, that's all it was in the beginning was a Facebook page. I decided to leave my job and work full-time on Educate Inspire Change, and really focus all my energy into that and I haven't looked back since.
Dr. Heather Sandison: These three words, Educate Inspire Change, where did you come up with those? Part of me wanted to say Inspire Change, put the two of them together and I feel like those words, there's so much power in them. How did you choose those three?
Kash Khan: Yeah, good question. One of the things that have been coming up a lot for me lately is authenticity. I think to talk about what those words mean, I really have to go into my own personal journey a bit more deeper. Where I was, when I started the page was, I wasn't in a very good place. I was going through some personal problems, and I had a son who I wasn't able to see. The court system here in the UK are very old fashioned, and it can often take a lot of time, just to make little progress. Basically, I had a son who is around three to four years old that I hadn't seen for three years.
Obviously, this resulted in some depression for me. It wasn't until I first saw him, I really felt inspired to do something different with my life. Ultimately, when I saw him for the first time, I started to look at myself through his eyes. I thought to myself, "What do I want to be? Who am I? What am I doing with my life?" I eventually came home, opened my laptop, and I thought, "I want to write something down here. I want to share my feelings, in the hope that one day my son sees this, so he knows who his father is and he knows what his father stands for."
Because up until then, although I had a lot of thoughts and opinions and views about the world, politics, racism and poverty, I never really expressed them openly on a public forum or anything at all. They were very personal to me. But I thought, "My son isn't going to see me very often, so how can I express myself in a way where he's going to be proud of me, where he's going to look up to me and admire what I'm doing?" Literally, I just thought, "What can I teach my son?" I said, "I want him to realize education is vital." Also, I wanted him to be inspired and to inspire others, and I also wanted him to be the change.
Really, that's how these words were born just through me wanting to be a better father. These words came to me just naturally. I wrote them down, they sounded good when I said them. They looked good on paper, and I just decided to call this Facebook page, Educate Inspire Change. Then the tagline was born, educate yourself, inspire others, change the world. That's stuck ever since. That's really the inspiration behind the page, why it started and how I chose the names.
How Kash Used Grief to Raise His Consciousness
Dr. Heather Sandison: Your oldest son, are you in touch? Are you guys connected? He must be what-
Kash Khan: Yeah. This is something for ...
Dr. Heather Sandison: ... 14?
Kash Khan: I think he's 11 coming on 12, so he's getting old. But this is another thing maybe we could have spoken about, but it's okay. Because I still don't see him very much. He's still with his mother. I only see him maybe once every month, in supervised conditions, so it's not ideal. But one of the things that I was doing was I was being a victim. Even though I couldn't see him, it was very hard to not feel attached to him and to not be a victim and not feel angry or not feel sadness. When I went to Rythmia, there was a woman there who is, she was there to be actually a thought leader. Her purpose was, she was a grief counselor, to deal with grief. She said to me, "You not seeing your son is like grief. You get angry, you get upset." She said to me, "She lost a son through leukemia." He was a teenager when he died. She had a second son, who also has leukemia, but he's not dead yet. I'm talking to this woman, I'm thinking, "Wow." She's explaining to me how her losing her first son was a gift, and how she's using that as a gift to help others and how to deal with her second son. It was really obviously inspiring for her to talk to me.
But she said to me, the way she looks at life is, the higher you go, the more ... If you can raise your consciousness, if you can imagine the higher dimensions you go, the more you see the world on a bigger scale. You look at bigger timelines, you look at ... For example, if you see two people on the street fighting, you'll walk past and think idiots. But if you could see their childhood, if you could see their father's childhood, if you could see their entire timeline, you all of a sudden have a lot of love and empathy for them and you'll understand why they're behaving this way, and you won't look at them in that way anymore. She said to me, "You and your son, he technically isn't your son.
Biologically, yes, but on a soul level, he's millions of years old and you're millions of years old, and you've been around for millions of years, and he's having his soul journey, you're having your soul journey. You both chose this journey, by the way. Your soul's dead and this is what you're meant to do. The best thing you can do is just be the light, and eventually [inaudible 01:03:05] your paths will cross. If they don't cross, that's fine. That's not his purpose. It's not your purpose. Don't be angry. You don't own him. Just because he's your son biologically, doesn't necessarily mean you are connected." Do you know what I mean?
Having that raised consciousness opinion of the world, the higher you can go, the more of a bird's eye view you can see the world, the more empathetic, the more understanding and the more you're going to forgive and accept, because I wasn't able to accept not seeing him, because it was just so painful. I would often go and drive my car to his house and cry looking at the window, because I'm so angry and sad. But now that I can look at it from a higher place, I can see my journey and his journey, and just be grateful that we're alive and focus on the positives. There's less anger, less bitterness towards his mother, and I'm able to become more happier.
I'm able to use that pain that I felt earlier and share positive messages with other people, because other people may have lost children or they can't see their children. Rather than me be one of them, I'd rather use my experience to help them. It's just about ... This is what the medicine done for me, and I actually asked for that specifically, raise my consciousness, so I can be better. That's all I asked for and I feel like it really did that. In literal terms, it did that, because I was never able to ... That resentment that was in my heart, it was always there. I couldn't get rid of it, but now it's really gone.
Dr. Heather Sandison: It seems like that anger has been channeled into this very positive, productive work that you're doing with Educate Inspire Change.
Kash Khan: Yeah, big time. It's just about putting your energy into the right places. Even when I was doing yoga, and I remember, one of the first times the yoga instructor said something to me, she said, "How you do the small things is how you do the big things." Often now we procrastinate or be lazy or you can get lazy with your day to day stuff or whatever it might be. I thought and I realized in that moment are the small things I do, I don't pay attention to small things. I'll do the big things is fine, but the small things not really. Where do I put my energy on a day-to-day basis? Time to time, what am I watching?
What am I thinking about? What am I doing in my spare time, all that kind of stuff. For many years I had Educate Inspire Change is doing well. But in my spare time, I would do things that weren't very productive. I would waste a lot of time watching movies or going to nightclubs or bars, or doing things that weren't really helpful to me or the community or my family. That's a big thing to me. Just, I'm very conscious of where I put my energy now. That's all the negative energy I have, where do I put it? Often I would put it in a bar, in a drink or whatever, because you would feel like, "I want to get away, I want to de-stress." It's not a bad thing to do that sometimes.
Now I think very carefully, where do I put my energy? I just focus, whenever I'm feeling bad, instead of going away or running away, I'll maybe make a video on Educate Inspire Change or I'll write an article, it's much more therapeutic and much more helpful and much more productive. Yeah, definitely.
How Was Your Life Before Starting Your Facebook Page?
Dr. Heather Sandison: What was it that you were doing just before you started this page?
Kash Khan: What wasn't I doing? I was really a jack of all trades. I was in and out of sales jobs. I was always a good talker. I had a fear of public speaking, but I was fine talking one to one like this. I was in and out of sales jobs. For a while I was self employed. I would have my own marketing company. I was a DJ at a nightclub for a while. I sold artwork for a while. I was selling phones for a while. I was doing all sorts of jobs. I was finding my way through life. My childhood was about, how do you say eventful. My mother and father got divorced at a quite pivotal age in my life, when I was about was 18, 19.
I was just starting my university degree then. When they got divorced, I lost my way a little bit and I didn't end the degree. I just started working, because I found that I needed to become more self sufficient. From the age of 18, to the age of 30, I was just working, making money and my life was much more on that path. It wasn't until losing my son and going through this depression, that I really had to reevaluate my life, and what was I doing with myself, and that's what Educated Inspire Change was born. Ever since then, I found that through my passion ... I'm not an academic.
I'm not a scientist. I'm not an academic, but I have a high level of emotional intelligence. I think this is what's kept me successful, because I'm empathetic to other people's needs and wants are, and I kind of ... When I was shooting Educate Inspire Change, I realized how best to communicate these messages with people, and how to like, if somebody has a message to share, I was able to package it in such a way that I can make it go viral. I could really make it resonate with an audience on a big scale. This is where I found my skill would be and just trying to inspire others to hear my messages. That's what led me to Educate Inspire Change. That was part of my journey.
Dr. Heather Sandison: It sounds as if there was this catalyst in this experience with your son, that period of depression and this hard time that you went through, that really was what pushed you to do what you were passionate about. There are other catalysts that you've come across in the form of plant medicines, and certainly my patients, clinically when I see people who feel stuck in their life situation, whether it's a relationship or a job, or even a physical pain, when we can be stuck, oftentimes, a catalyst is very helpful to push us over the edge and towards healing. What has the role of plant medicine been like in your journey?
The Role of Plant Medicine in Healing
Kash Khan: It's been absolutely essential. I would almost argue there was a version of me before plant medicine, and there's now a version of me after plant medicine. It's really a defining moment in my life, was doing plant medicine and experiencing that for the first time. I did plant medicine for the first time, a little over two years ago, and it completely blew me away and it just changed my entire direction I suppose. It connected me to my soul in such a way where I had to reevaluate everything, and especially with Educate Inspire Change. For many years with Educate Inspire Change, I would often share content about what's happening around the world, world affairs, politics, health, the education system.
Often, I would talk about what's wrong with the system and what's wrong with the world. When I did plant medicine, I realized that, in line with what quantum physics says, "We're all energy." What you put out is what you get back. This is just science. I realized that when I'm putting out all this negative energy, all this fear, I'm contributing to that energy, and I didn't want to any longer contribute to that, so I thought, "I want to focus much more on solutions than I do on problems. I want to talk much more about how you can be the change you want to change, how you can be the change you want to see in the world.
How you can heal yourself through plant medicine, through yoga, through meditation, through nutrition, diet, exercise, all these different ways," because I realized that after six years of talking about war in Iraq, or war in Palestine or the American education system, I realized that people were feeling disempowered. People would say, "It's great that you're talking about all these things, but what can we do to change? Often, you could do nothing to change it, because it's very, very hard to change these systems. You can protest. You can create petitions. You can try to get new laws put in place, but these take very, very long time.
But what you can do straightaway is, you can heal yourself and you can fix yourself. What I find is, when you start to change your diet, become happier, healthier, the world around you automatically changes very quickly. If enough people can do this, I feel that then the world would shift at a much faster rate. We're almost seeing that just now due to this pandemic, and due to all these major events going on. People are for the first time on a collective scale, are really reassessing their life. They're looking at their job. They're looking at their health, their diet, their relationships, and they're really analyzing this.
I think this is why things are being fast forward so quickly. People are really looking at political systems. People are really looking at the health systems. They're really questioning vaccines, or what they're putting in their body and thinking about it. It's because we're all for the first time looking at ourselves inwards. We all have time to really sit at home, sit with our family and think about what are we doing with their life, and we're prioritizing things in a different way. This is what plant medicine woke up in me, was this newfound passion for healing and self healing.
Plant Medicines for Entrepreneurs
Dr. Heather Sandison: What role did plant medicines play for you particularly as an entrepreneur?
Kash Khan: Yes, so when I did Ayahuasca for the first time, it was much more about healing my own wounds, my own childhood trauma, and possibly even ancestral trauma. This was the first four journeys I did and it completely blew me away. It made me a kinder person. It made me a more empathetic person. My temper was completely gone. I was able to forgive much more easily and mend broken relationships. This was my first journey. But when I returned to do Ayahuasca for the second time, which is around three months after my first journey, I changed my intentions a little.
I focused my intentions much more on me finding my purpose, and me focusing on what my calling is. Also, believe it or not, I used to have a really big fear of communication, like public speaking. I had Educate Inspire Change for six years at this point, but I very rarely made a video or spoke publicly or did a Facebook Live, I would often let other people use my platform and share their voice. I would always hide behind the computer. Plant medicine gave me that confidence, and that renewed feeling of self love where I felt it doesn't matter what other people think, it only matters how I feel.
If my message is so important, then I'm going to speak and I'm going to speak with confidence and clarity. It doesn't matter if I speak too fast or my accent Scottish, people are just going to have to adapt, and hopefully I will learn with time because it's still obviously in the back of my mind, but it no longer matters. I focus much more now on the message, and I feel so passionate about my message, which overrides everything. Plant medicine gave me such profound experiences like this. I can focus in one night in particular, where my attention was, I was talking to the medicine.
This medicine as you may or may not know has a spirit. It's a consciousness, and so you feel like you're in direct communication with spirit. I'm asking this spirit to raise my consciousness so that I can better communicate my message with the world. This is my intention. I keep feeling like I'm transcending, I'm going higher. But every time I get to a certain stage, I need to purge. It says to me, "You're not ready yet. You need to get rid of something." I would have to puke in this bucket, and literally this happened over the course of two or three hours, maybe five or six times I was just continuously purging.
Then when I finally felt that I was ready to really transcend and get to this level of higher consciousness, I was asking to see God. I was asking just to understand life. When it looked up, I basically saw a giant head in space. It was me looking back at myself. It was really surreal. But I saw myself; it was a really surreal experience. But I was in awe of the head I was seeing, and it was such a powerful emotion, that the next thing I remember was I was being carried at the rim by four people, four helpers and a shaman. They were literally carrying me out of the temple and they were fanning with me [inaudible 00:19:15] spitting water on me, trying to get me to recover because whatever I was experiencing was so beautiful, my body must have been reacting in a really crazy way.
It was after that night, something unlocked in me. When I looked at myself in such a beautiful way, I thought, "How can I ever say no to this person? How can I ever not overcome any obstacle? How can I ever be too embarrassed or be too shy or be too fearful? I need to take risks in life and I need to really satisfy that potential," because I saw my higher self. The rest of my life needs to be, how can I stay connected to that higher self and how can I do him justice? That's what gave me that renewed sense of self belief and purpose with Educate Inspire Change. Within a matter of weeks, I created my podcast, within a matter of months, I started filming documentaries.
I started having cameras follow me everywhere. I started making videos for Educate Inspire Change, and really connecting with my audience in a much more personal level. Instead of sharing articles about wars or famine, I was now talking about plant medicine. I was talking about yoga and being the best version of yourself, and obviously overcoming fear, overcoming depression, overcoming obstacles, because I had a fair amount of obstacles in my life, stemming from childhood, having levels of abuse in my family that weren't healthy, and being born into a dogmatic family.
My family were strict Muslim as well, so having to overcome this dogma, having to encounter a lot of friction in my childhood. For example, when I was a young man, I wasn't allowed to have female relations. Can you imagine a young man, being raised in a western country and not allowed to have a girlfriend, the kind of issues that would bring up in life, and having to overcome them and having to deal with that friction, and then having to understand how to deal with female relationships? This is all stuff I've worked on doing plant medicine. I really feel honored and grateful to have found plant medicine, and I feel like Educate Inspire Change which is part of the journey, my entire life led me to where I am today.
An interesting thing that a shaman told me is he said, "You chose this path." He said, "Your soul is much older than you. You're just a human body having an experience. Your soul is much older and wiser than you, and you chose this journey. You chose to have this family. You chose to have these relationships, and you chose to go on this path and know where you are, you know, this is exactly ... You just have to accept that you chose it and let go of any resentment, let go of any thoughts about the past, any anger or bitterness and just focus on ... It's all love, it's all part of the journey, it's all part of the lesson." This is another profound lesson that the medicine just taught me is just to go with the flow, and just be like Bruce Lee said, "Be water," just go with it.
Whatever comes good or bad, if you can go with it, then you'll find that you'll enjoy life much more and hopefully learn from it, instead of spend time being angry or upset about things.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Educate Inspire Change, it's almost a command or certainly a direction or an invitation to those who follow you, to the 3.5 million followers that you have. So much of seeing that through, of educating, of inspiring others, of changing comes through using your voice. This story of you finding your voice, I'm sure is very inspiring to others to find their own voice, so that they might be able to do these things that you are suggesting will be so powerful. You also have this incredible Scottish accent, you're Muslim and born in the West. It's this microcosm ... Excuse me, yeah, please tell me.
Kash Khan: Yeah, I was a Muslim. I was Muslim, but then I chose to step away from that religion a few years ago.
What Is The Story Behind You Separating From The Muslim Religion?
Dr. Heather Sandison: Interesting. I want to hear that story as well. Your life story is almost this microcosm and the macrocosm, this intersection, this globalization that's happened across the world, where cultures are blending or reconciling at some level with each other. Would you be willing to share story of separating from the Muslim religion?
Kash Khan: Yeah, because it's not easy. I think it's important that people speak about this, because it's not something spoken about enough. It's one of those taboo topics if you like, because in the Muslim culture, there's a lot of fear. It centers around being judged not only by your family, but by your community and the greater community as well, because if ... It's called apostasy. For example, in Saudi Arabia, if you apostate, that's punishable by death. That's right now, the law by Islamic Sharia law, this is the punishment. You can imagine how much fear that puts into people.
It doesn't matter where you are in the world. Then you get all these fanatics and extremists around the world, and me having such a big platform as well and representing perhaps, because a lot of Muslim people will listen to me just because of my background, and because of my family and my heritage. There's a lot of fear around this, which shouldn't be there. I think it helps to take away this fear by simply talking about it. For me personally, in my early 20s, I encountered a lot of, how would you say?
Not so much aggression, but a lot of judgment from my own family, from my friends, and from the community for talking openly about my beliefs, and how I would always question my religion, and question things that didn't accept all people. For example, the religion of Islam, my mom was a great human and she's a Muslim, and she represents religion really well. But unfortunately, there's a lot of humans in the planet that maybe aren't and so kind and nice, and they will use religion in bad ways. It's one of those things, it's hard, I personally don't agree with any religion or dogma and much more enlightened aligned with spirituality and science.
I also feel as people become more spiritual and more scientific, the two are becoming almost like one now, because people are now understanding quantum physics and consciousness, and these things that we know nothing about. Even scientists will openly admit we know nothing about consciousness, we know nothing about really the power of meditation or yoga or whatever, but there's something there. Spirituality has always said, spirituality has always said, if we can meditate, if we can be still, if we can do yoga, and if we can put our body and our mind and our spirit in alignment, then we can achieve all this oneness. Science is almost coming in alignment with spirituality now.
That's another topic we can touch on that as well. I want to go back to your question on Islam. For me, I encountered a lot of, like I said judgment and I think the only way I could overcome that was, it took me a long time. Maybe five to 10 years later, when I'm 30 years old and I've created Educate Inspire Change, and I've got a family and I'm happy, only now are people coming round to thinking maybe, "He's onto something." But it takes me to almost be the change I want to see. In the beginning, there was judgment, and it was always going to be there, and I could never change it.
You're almost never going to change anyone's ingrained values that have been inbreed through generations and generations. If you leave a religion, you leave religion, and they're always going to put that black mark against you. But now what I've done is I'm no 37, I've got a beautiful family. I've got two beautiful children. I've got a healthy relationship. I've got a great business and I'm happy. Now, people are looking at me, even my own family who once judged me, they're now no thinking, "Hang on a second, maybe there's more than one route to God. Maybe there's more than one route to happiness.
Maybe he's onto something." It's a great honor to have been able to change people's minds just by loving my life, and by being the light. It's been really hard, because obviously, my mother and father have been the biggest pieces of my life that didn't accept me for many years. But now, they've accepted me with open arms. They accept my children, they accept my partner. They accept everything I do, and it's beautiful, but it's just taking time to get there. I think, this generation that I'm in ... I was born here in 1982. I feel there was only going to, this friction will last for a generation or two, and then it'll become easier.
I'm kind of paving the way for my children, for their children to have easier lives, because right now it's a very transitional period. Even in America, everyone's just first or second or third generation. We're all still very connected to our roots in Pakistan or India, or Saudi Arabia, wherever we're from. Often that can come along with these strict, dogmatic rules and laws. It's just a case of breaking them down. Only in America, black people have been sitting in buses in the front seat. Not that long ago, women couldn't vote. That's taken 50 to 100 years to break down those discriminatory habits.
The same is with Islam and Judaism and strict religions, there's still a lot of dogma around it, but I think it's up to people like me, and people my age and my generation just to break down those walls if you like, and just not be scared. It's a scary thing. But I think if we can just face our fears. That's the key.
What is Your Upcoming Documentary All About?
Dr. Heather Sandison: Change is challenging and uncomfortable. My understanding is that your mom has embraced what you do in a very profound way, and is going to be the subject of an upcoming documentary that you are creating. Would you tell us a little bit more about that?
Kash Khan: Sure. When I was doing Ayahuasca, I felt like I had this platform, Educate Inspire Change with so many followers and I thought, "What's the best way for me to communicate what I've learned with my followers?" I thought, all my life, I've always loved watching documentaries and films, and they've often planted seeds in my head of truth, and they've inspired me to go on and find out more things, read books, and whatever. I thought, "I'd love to film this journey. I'd love to document what I'm doing and share it with people, and talk from the heart and really be my authentic self."
I think what better way to showcase the power of Ayahuasca or plant medicine than showing them transformation right? That's the best way you can show it. I thought, "I need to create this documentary." Really the documentary is, it just started me calling a friend and saying, "Bring a camera and film." Then we learn as we went. Really, I had never made a film before in my life. I'd never done documentaries so I didn't really know what I was doing. But it's almost like I'm following the guidance of the plants. I'm always asking the plants to guide me. I'm always asking spirit to guide me.
I'm always just going to stay in touch with nature and my true self and following my intuition. What happened was I went to a retreat in Costa Rica called a Rythmia. I took the cameraman, and basically me and the cameraman did Ayahuasca together. We didn't get much filming done, because we were too busy being thrown around the room by Ayahuasca, and then having to integrate everything we learned. We didn't really appreciate what we had done. We needed to plan and prepare much more. I then returned a second time. This time, with the idea to really prepare a plan, make sure we're filming, make sure we're interviewing and doing everything we need to do to create a film.
There's a documentary called Awakening the Soul, which is a standalone documentary. That's almost, it's been a year in the making, and it's almost ready to be released. It's in its final stages. I'm really excited to be able to release that. Real deep dive into the origins of Ayahuasca, interviewing shamans, interviewing people who have been through the journey to an Ayahuasca, their own transformation, talking to doctors as well about the science behind Ayahuasca. I'm really excited to be able to share that because the goal of that documentary is to educate people, about plant medicine and to hopefully, take away some stigmas attached to it.
People often call plant medicine, drugs and they are very fearful of it. That's to try to take away that fear, to hopefully spread a bit more education on the topic and to hopefully relax people and let them know that, there are facilities and retreats available that are very comfortable. You don't always have to be in the jungle, driving about in the mud next to snakes. You can be in a nice mobile car, nice temple and a five star retreat as well, and do it in the safety, around doctors and medical qualified people. There's places where you can go that are safe. I'm just trying to let people know that.
Then I've got another documentary series, which is called Panthera, which is Spanish for Panther. That's much more personal to me. That's basically following me through my own journey, doing medicine and me every night talking about what I experienced and my own transformation. I went to four different retreats in 2019 and 2020. Three Ayahuasca retreats and one Iboga retreat. Each retreat wasn't planned. It was just me following my path, following my heart. I'll give you an example. One time when I'm doing Ayahuasca, the girl next to me who I had a good connection with, woke up and said to me, "You need to do Iboga."
I was like, "Why?" She was, "Ayahuasca told me to tell you." That registered in my mind, and then lo and behold, a month later, some guy from Costa Rica emails me out the blue, saying, "I run an Iboga retreat, and I've seen what you're doing at Rythmia. I'd love to invite you to do Iboga." I'm like, "This is just crazy. The universe is just working to make me do Iboga." I went to this retreat, had a really profound experience there. I documented it all. What we decided that instead of having one documentary, it's going to be a documentary series. We've got episode one, which is following me, and actually my girlfriend at the time through an Ayahuasca retreat.
Episode two, episode three will be following me through an Iboga retreat, and then so on and so forth. So far, we've filmed four episodes. The next episode that we're planning the film is going to be me taking my mom, which is a really big thing, because my mom is in her 60s. She's a strict devout Muslim, who prays five times a day. It's really powerful, because when I was doing Ayahuasca, I understood that the abuse I had experienced as a child stemmed from the abuse my parents had felt as children as well. For me to be able to heal my own mother and heal her in Ayahuasca, and to reconnect to her on that level, is a really beautiful thing for me.
I often get teary eyed just talking or thinking about it, because it's a really emotional thought visioning her on Ayahuasca and being able to bond with her on a level, because one of the issues I've had with my mother is a lack of connection between mother and son. There's been not much affection between us, and that stems from childhood and trauma and everything. I've really been craving this in the last, especially the last two, three years to really build this connection. I feel like plant medicine will be a great tool to help her overcome some of her childhood trauma, so that she can connect with her own children better.
It was really beautiful, something that she said the other day, because I've had a lot of ... I feel like anxiety, not anxiety but I'm more scared for her than she is, because I know what she's about to go through. But she keeps reminding me not to worry. She keeps telling me that she has this already really close connection to God, because she's a strict Muslim, she goes was, "I'm already in touch with spirit." She goes, "The only reason I'm going to do Ayahuasca is because I want to thank this planet for giving me back my son." I thought like, "Wow, so powerful and beautiful."
But she's totally not scared. She's got zero fear. She's got such ... When I think about it, her praying five times a day is her meditating five times a day. If you can imagine having that connection every day of your life, I maybe underestimate her in that point of view. She's probably more prepared to do Ayahuasca than I ever will be, because she's been praying every day for years. I'm really looking forward to just seeing her transformation, seeing her go there, and seeing her embrace this new experience and she also has beautiful grandchildren now.
One of my other things that I want to do is, I'm planning on moving to Costa Rica with my family, and I want to take my mom with me. I'm hoping that her doing this journey will just open her up to taking more risks and to hopefully moving out with me and my kids to Costa Rica. This is another thing with plant medicine; it puts you in touch with nature. I live in Glasgow, Scotland, which is a concrete jungle. There's a bar or a pub on every corner, people are drunk. There's always football, sports. There's lots of distraction and nightclubs. Scotland is a big drinking culture, and this is your daily social weekend, and everyone wants to invite you out for drinks.
In my head, I thought, "The best thing for me to do for my children and for my future is to change my environment, and put me somewhere much more in alignment with nature." I'd love to go out and just be at the beach every day and just sit next to a tree and relax with my children in the sun. This is one of the things that plant medicine made me feel, I needed to reconnect to nature, because we are nature essentially. That's another thing, there's a lot of science behind, reconnecting to nature and the benefits that this has on a mental and a physical level, just grounding, putting your feet in the grass or in the sand and being around animals, being around trees and sitting in silence in nature, can be very, very therapeutic.
It's cheaper than therapy as well. This is another thing that I'd like to get across to your listeners is, if you're struggling with anything and if you're maybe ... A lot of people find it hard to practice mindfulness. I'm one of them. I often find it hard to find motivation to take the time to meditate. I have kids screaming in the house all the time. There's always music or TV on, so it can be quite hard and a challenge to find time to relax. But it's not so hard to go out for a walk. It's not so hard to go and sit in a park, in a bench and be quiet for a while. That's a great way to really center yourself and a great way just to realign yourself and if you're maybe, especially during this time of the pandemic, there's a lot of pressures.
A lot of people are having things come to the surface that maybe previously they were distracting themselves with work, and now you're at home. Maybe you're in a relationship that's not very good. I would say to them to find time and be in nature. That's the best advice I could give.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Certainly. There were a bunch of incredible themes there. One of the things I picked up on was, this appreciation that the plants have given you, for your mom and your mom for you. The fact that your mom is going into a ceremony with this pretext of gratitude. She is grateful to have gotten her son back, and so she doesn't have any fear. That is such a lesson for so many other things that we might step into, so many other challenges we might face in our day-to-day life, that if we arrive at them with gratitude for the experience, gratitude for whatever has come before and will come after, that a lot of the fear disappears from that and we can go through it with more grace.
Another element of that was this, your mom's openness because of her connection. You made this connection between her praying five times a day as a Muslim, is her form of meditation. That plant medicine is like ... we started the conversation here, it's a catalyst that you don't necessarily need the plants to connect to that higher self, that truth with a capital T. But they are a tool to get there a little quicker. But this daily meditation practice is also a tool.
What are the Benefits of Ayahuasca?
Kash Khan: That's a very profound thing you just said because, I've seen people do Ayahuasca and they can almost rely on it, and they want to go back to do Ayahuasca. Every year, they'll go back for a top up because they feel like they're not in touch, and that's because they're not doing daily practices. Ayahuasca is a tool that unlocks things that are already in you. Essentially, you are the medicine not Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is just pointing you and giving you the tools to unlock your own medicine. Essentially all I did was drink a cup, and then come back home and go through what I went through and come back home.
All the changes that I felt made, I made them myself. This is why it's really important to understand first of all, intention and second of all, integration. What are your intentions in the medicine? Why are you doing it? Are you really ready for it? Are you really prepared for this? Are you giving it the respect it deserves? Having this clear focus mind and going in like you said, with gratitude, not with fear, with a real sense of purpose wanting to heal, you need to really want to heal for it to heal you. If you're going in with fear and you're really not confident, you're going to have a really hard time and it might not give you all the benefits.
I think like you said, going in with gratitude is a great one, just to be grateful to be there. Then coming out of it, is again showing the plant the most respect by integrating everything it's taught you. When you're coming back to your own day-to-day life, how are you know going to take these teachings and adapt them into your day-to-day life? Are you going to eat better? Are you going to be kinder to yourself? Are you going to slow down? Are you going to take more time for self care, meditate, yoga, all these kind of things. Because ultimately, those are the things that we need to do to heal.
This medicine will last for one or two nights and the rest of your life you're by yourself. I think that's a great method you're seeing and I think that's ... My mom's teaching me almost, because I forgot that she's so in aligned, because I'm just assuming that plant medicine, I'm up here and I want you to come and join me, but I'm forgetting she's already up there, because she'd been practicing meditation for years and years and years. I also believe, in a weird way, her prayers are probably what saved me, because there's nothing more pure than the prayer of a mother for her child.
Because there's nothing in there that's selfish, it's all just pure love. When a mother spends years and years paying for her son, and then that son miraculously finds plant medicine, I don't think that's by accident. Then for me to be able to repay that by being able to take car to do Ayahuasca, and be able to maybe heal some traumas that maybe she can do through meditation, because this is another thing I want to touch on is, just like in life, there's some medical conditions that maybe we can't heal through nutrition or diet. You might have a brain tumor, or you might be in a car accident and in that moment, you need a brain surgeon, or you need a qualified doctor.
There are also some things in our human body, in our human mind ... Like, for example, some people have a genetic code or maybe their parents have always been alcoholics or gamblers or wherever that may be, the children may be born addicted to drugs or alcohol, this happens quite common. In my mom's case for example, there was systematic abuse in her family. This stemmed from her parents and their parents, and it carried on to my childhood. What this medicine does, and it did for me was, it's almost like having a spiritual doctor look at you. There's even such a thing they call spiritual surgery.
During Ayahuasca, you can often experience these profound experiences, where you feel like there's beings on you or in your mouth or in your heart and your brain, and you feel like you're being worked on, you feel like you're being operated on. I felt like ... My mom needs it, there's some things in her that are just there, and she needs some real, a wake up call if you like or some experience. There's a tool like plant medicine, maybe she can't get it in day-to-day life. I feel like it's, for example, she's been divorced for nearly 15 years now. In those 15 years, she's never wanted to find love again, because her first experience was so bad, she never wanted to repeat it.
And that makes me this, I'm quite sad to see our women closed off to love. I also worry about her growing old and being alone, and not having someone to just be a companion. This is a tool that I think Ayahuasca can be great for, is just unlocking that self love, and hopefully taking away that past trauma, so that she can love again, and hopefully accept love as well. That's a great thing I want to share as well is that, because one of the things Ayahuasca doesn't discriminate. A lot of people assume you need to be an addict, or have suffered abuse or whatever.
But even women in a loveless marriage for 20 years, that can be a really, really sad, lonely place to be. People maybe, they're often the silent victims. They often go unheard, because you don't hear about them or see them on TV or written about in newspapers or whatever. People like my mom who was in a loveless marriage for so long and suffered some form of mental abuse during that marriage, these people need help just as much as a heroin addict or a victim of rape or whatever it might be. I think it's important that women out there who may be listening to this, understand that this medicine is for everybody.
It's not just for addicts or extreme abuse victims, it's for everyone. Even lonely hearts can be just as painful as any other form of pain.
How Do You Choose the Plant Medicine that Works for You?
Dr. Heather Sandison: Yeah, we all have traumas. Some are more traumatic than others, but healing from them and this ability to expand our compassion and love and gratitude. I find it really interesting that your mom is a grandmother; Ayahuasca is often referred to as the grandmother medicine. She's on this journey to use the grandmother medicine. Do you find that people are drawn to certain plant medicines, because there are more than we've discussed. You've talked about your experience with Ayahuasca and Iboga, and there are others psilocybins, San Pedro, even Ketamine, MDMA. Do you find that people are drawn to certain ones or in your experience, is there a time when one is appropriate and another isn't?
Kash Khan: Good question. Good question. Very good question. Because one of the things I've realized as people doing plant medicine for the first time, there's not a lot of knowledge going around. Often they'll just do whatever they've been told. Someone who's done Ayahuasca, and they'll do Ayahuasca because that's what their friend done. But maybe for them a different medicine would be more suitable, depending on the nature of what kind of healing they're after. For me personally, I felt called to Ayahuasca, because I had explored, I'd read a lot about DMT.
I listened to people like Terence McKenna, talking about DMT and Ayahuasca and it just really resonated deeply with me on a deep level. My intuition was leading me towards that medicine. But I think with hindsight, if I was to speak to people who I would want to understand what they're wanting to gain from the medicine, I would then advise them to explore all different medicines and learn about them all, and do the research before they make a decision, because Ibogaine or Iboga for example, is a very powerful medicine. It's often referred to as the father or the grandfather.
It's a much more masculine energy, and often people who have serious traumas or serious addictions or serious chronic illnesses or pains or whatever, would be better suited for Iboga. I think it's just important for people listening to really do the research, and I think follow your intuition. Learn about, there's maybe four or five really true teacher plants that you mentioned, most of them San Pedro, psilocybin, mushrooms, obviously and Ayahuasca, Iboga, San Pedro. Do your research on all of them, and really just feel what calls you the most. What are you looking for? What's your intentions?
That's the best advice I can really give. Just ask people from their own experiences. But the best thing you could do is do your own research, because often other people's experiences may not be the same as what you're going to experience. The best thing I would say is, read your own, research, watch videos by yourself, and try not to be shaped by other people's opinions, because I've heard people talk about Iboga and Ayahuasca, and it's completely different experiences they've had. Nothing can really prepare you for what you're going to experience, because it's all unique for everyone. Just do your own research, rely on your own intuition is my best advice.
What Are Your Thoughts on the Synthetic Versions of Plant Medicines?
Dr. Heather Sandison: Do you have an opinion about the synthetic version, so things like LSD, MDMA, Ketamine.
Kash Khan: I want to be careful how much I say because I'm not an expert on any of these by any means. But I can talk from my own personal experience. I did an interview, for example with a guy called Mike Zappy Zapolin, who's a really interesting guy. He's a filmmaker and an experienced psychonaut. He did a documentary called The Reality of Truth. I don't know if you've heard of this. Had some famous actresses in there, like Michelle Rodriguez and a few other people doing Ayahuasca and stuff. He's recently been working on a new documentary with Lamar Odom, who's a famous basketballer, who used to be one of the Kardashians, and this journey is around Ketamine therapy.
It really made me realize there are some medicines out there that have a very, very powerful purpose and very great healing properties, if done in the right way, in the right conditions, with the right support and Ketamine is one of them. This guy, Mike Zapolin even went as far as to say that he feels Ketamine might even have a consciousness of its own, because this is what separates plants from synthetic drugs. Is plants like Ayahuasca or Iboga, they have a spirit, they have a consciousness. We can learn from this and tap into that energy. Whereas maybe things like LSD might not have a spirit or a consciousness as such, but it still can serve a purpose.
I think I would just be much more hesitant, very careful around the synthetic drugs. I would only want to do them in controlled environments, with a lot of support around me and a lot of guidance, and people who would help me through the journey, whereas with Ayahuasca or Ibogaine, I would have a lot more trust and a lot more feeling that I could do that just in an Ayahuasca retreat for example. Whereas I wouldn't like to take LSD or Ketamine by myself or just in a retreat somewhere, I'd want to be in a really controlled, safe environment with medical staff and stuff like that.
But Ketamine, I think of all those synthetic drugs is the one that interests me the most, because I feel like from what I hear there's something special or unique about it, that separates it from the other ones. MDMA therapy, I've heard great things about this as well. Another friend of mine, Jason Silva, who you may have heard of, he talks about MDMA therapy, and how amazing this, how a setting with a therapist for an hour with MDMA can be really, really profound and so almost equivalent to having 100 therapy sessions in one. I would definitely urge your listeners to definitely think about these ... Don't judge the synthetic drugs too quickly, because they can be very, very beneficial.
Tips for Using Plant Medicine for the First Time
Dr. Heather Sandison: One of the things that is consistent whenever I talk to anyone with experience in plant medicines or hallucinogens, is this idea of set and setting. You have referred to that in terms of creating an intention, so working with a guide where you first create an intention, then you go on the journey. A lot of the value that you get from that journey happens when you integrate and decide how you're going to pull these bits of wisdom and education from that journey into real life, that day-to-day life. Do you have any tips for how to really lean into that part of it, the setup and then the integration?
Kash Khan: Yeah. It comes back to what you put in is what you get out. The more energy you can put into preparing yourself mentally, spiritually, physically, so diet is a big one. It's often just about ... I think people do Ayahuasca and they may be eating pizza in the day, and they'll have a good experience. But there's other people that will have a proper diet, and they will eat very healthy and clean for weeks before, and they have a great experience. There's no right or wrong. But for me, I would always side on the err of caution, and always put as much respect as I can into my plant medicine journey, so I will choose to do a diet on many forums. I'll limit, like I wouldn't watch horror movies, for example.
I would make sure, I'm nowhere near pornography or anything like that, or anything that has a negative energy. I'd like to prepare myself as much as possible before any plant medicine because the more respect you give; it will give you more respect in return. That's what I believe. In terms of set and setting, some people are in a fortunate position where they can choose where to go. Costa Rica is a place where I've been. Often people, I find just taking the journey of going there, preparing for it, and really devoting a whole week to a week of healing.
In the retreat, I go to Rythmia for example. It's not just Ayahuasca. You're doing yoga, every morning. You're eating clean every day. You're also being involved in classes, which are designed to prepare you for the Ayahuasca. You're engaging with people on that level, and you're really having time to meditate. You're having massages, or whatever it may be to put you in the best possible place to optimize your healing experience. Then even afterwards, you can still stick three or four days to integrate before you have to come home. That for me is the best way to have the optimal plant medicine experiences; it's to really take the time if you can, on both ends of your journey before and after.
It's not just a case of you do Ayahuasca one day, and that's it. You really take the time, give it the respect it deserves and invest in yourself. That's the best advice I would give to setting intention. In terms of integration, really, this is something retreats need to do more of, is to assess you in the integration process. Rather than just put you through the Ayahuasca journey and send you home, I think it's very important that you have a support system around you, that helps you to integrate what you've learned. Quite often people can do Ayahuasca, and then they might be returning home. They might be returning home to a hostile environment.
It might be having pressure in the work or it might be having an abusive partner or whatever that may be. Often in those times, you can be at your most sensitive. I've even heard people go the wrong way. They can often do Ayahuasca and then return home and then be worse off. They might feel more depressed or more anxious. This can be because they haven't taken time to protect their environment and protect their space and protect their spirit. I would just remind people to be, err with caution. There is a dark side to these medicines, and you need to do what you can to protect yourself, protect your energy, protect your spirit.
I would say people to err with caution, and do what you can to integrate yourself in the best way. That can often mean making sure when you return home, that you're in a good environment, that people understand what you've been through, and take the time to listen to you and just be careful. That's advice I would give. I hope that answers your question.
What’s Next in Your Professional Journey?
Dr. Heather Sandison: Yeah. The future of Educate Inspire Change, you alluded to the fact that it might be coming from Costa Rica, what else do you see in the future of your professional journey?
Kash Khan: Yeah, so again, I've been having a lot of deep insights on this in the last few months. Facebook and the online world is changing constantly, and we constantly have to evolve with it. It's becoming much more difficult for independent media organizations like mine to exist and to work and to grow. This almost happened at the same time as me doing plant medicine. But I've had to pivot and I've had to innovate and change my business model. Instead of relying on high levels of traffic, on videos going viral and making money from ad revenue, I'm having to really become much more engaged with my audience, which is great timing, because it's working well with me and my plant medicine journey, and obviously creating a podcast and doing documentaries.
Also on a personal level, I want to become more, how would you say? I feel I'm becoming slowly more qualified to talk to people on a level, where I feel like I trust what I'm saying is going to benefit them. Perhaps six months ago or a year ago, I would be very hesitant to give advice on how to do Ayahuasca. I would just direct them to somebody who's a specialist at a retreat, or I would direct them to a medical doctor or whatever it may be. But now, I feel I can talk with a bit more confidence around just through personal experience, around how to prepare for Ayahuasca, how to prepare for plant medicine, how to integrate, how to manage your own day-to-day life, daily practices, even how to grow your own business and how to function in a life that's going to have a lot of pressure, and also have a spiritual practice as well.
Because I've had to do the both for last two years, and I've encountered a lot of obstacles, but through personal experience, I think I can now share that. Moving forward, I would like to be more proactive and giving support and advice and support, whether it's life coaching or anything along those lines, or a plant medicine integrator offering support. When I go to Costa Rica, I'm going to be working closely with a retreat out there. One of my roles is just to be in service. I want to volunteer during ceremonies. I want to become accustomed with working with people, helping them to navigate through journeys, helping them to integrate better, being there to support them, and all that kind of stuff.
I also feel like during plant medicine journey, there's a role for therapists. One shaman I spoke to in January 2020 when I did Ayahuasca, this shaman, she's really special. She was almost like a therapist in her own right as well. She was really able to look at you, to focus on you and to understand why you're doing what you're doing, and look at your behaviors and make conclusions as to why are you behaving in this way, and then to give you some awareness and guidance as to what I think you should do, in your Ayahuasca ceremony. I'll give you an example if that's okay.
She noticed that during my Ayahuasca ceremonies, often I would let the music overwhelm me, and I would gallop and I would dance and it was like a move, which is great. It's a form of expression and it's a form of purging as well. Maybe I didn't feel free as a child, whatever. But she also said to me that, "You are distracting yourself." She then made me realize that this is what I've done ever since I was a child. As a child, whenever my mother and father were arguing, I would often get lost in my own world, play with my toys and do things to distract myself.
Then this, obviously as a child, manifested in different ways where I would just always distract my mind. I would never sit in silence. I would never sit and feel my fears or feel my feelings. I would never sit and cry, for example. I would always choose to distract myself rather than feel my feelings. I was doing this during Ayahuasca experiences. But I wouldn't be aware of this had this shaman not giving me that awareness. It's about having an added awareness. I would love my role to help people just become more aware of things during medicine, after medicine, and just to help them to get more awareness on the situation, why are they behaving the way they are? I see my role in this way.
Also, I've always been told, since I was young, for some reason, I don't know why that I've got very nice hands, and I've got artistic hands. Whenever I do Ayahuasca, I always move my hands really weirdly, almost like ... I don't know if you've experienced this, but the Ayahuasca is like the energy of a serpent moves through you. They call it the snake dance. You can often move with your hands through the air and waving and it's almost like it's not me, it's moving through me. I feel like there's something in my hands, whether it's Reiki, whether it's healing, whatever it might be, art or drawing or writing, I'm not sure yet, but I feel like there's something there that I'm being told to do, and so I'm trying to tap into this.
Moving forward, I want to just be more artistic, use my body more, dance more, use my hands more, be more in service, and really focus on myself. Instead of Educate Inspire Change being a brand, I'm almost joining, Educate Inspire Change with Kash Khan. It's almost like I'm merging the two together. I'm becoming more, stepping into my own power and having the confidence to do that, because obviously, I love my brand, Educate Inspire Change, but having the confidence of merging it with Kash Khan and feeling good about that.
That's pretty much the path, I'm on and be more involved with filmmaking, and obviously my podcast is just at the very early stages. I've only done 15 episodes so far. I realized it's a grind; you really have to work hard at podcasting. You have to be really consistent. I'm committing to myself to do an episode every week, and being in Costa Rica will be a perfect place to do that, because I'll be working at a retreat. There'll be fantastic people coming in and out of that retreat every week, where I can interview them and become more engaged and get more comfortable with talking, interviewing and all that kind of stuff, so just honing my skills, healing, communication, talking all that stuff.
That's really where I see myself going. Obviously I have a beautiful young family as well. Just becoming a more present father, a more present partner, and hopefully and being able to include them in my healing journey with me and seeing where that leads.
Dr. Heather Sandison: I'm so intrigued to see where things go next, what you do with your hands. Gosh, it's been an absolute pleasure having you today. You are educating, inspiring and changing the world. It's been wonderful to hear how you're doing it, the nuts and bolts of what you do every day to make it happen. Thank you so much for joining us.
Kash Khan: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure and been an honor. Thank you.
Dr. Heather Sandison: You have the most intriguing, most incredible story. Thank you for sharing it. Jacqueline, do you want to jump in? Is there anything that you feel would be really exceptional to cover that I should ask here?
Jacqueline: That was phenomenal. It was perfect. Thank you both.
Kash Khan: Awesome. Delighted.
Dr. Heather Sandison: It's such a good theory.
Kash Khan: [crosstalk 01:00:30] Yeah, I think there's just a lot of different things, elements there that people can resonate with. There's a whole Muslim thing, then there's overcoming trauma, whatever it might be and losing a son. It's lots of different elements that I think people can resonate with me on. I'm finding that a lot now when I'm doing my own podcast, is I'm talking, there's always someone that resonates with something I'm saying, so it's quite good.
Dr. Heather Sandison: I'm so curious.
Jacqueline: They're all very potent.
About Kash Khan
Dr. Heather Sandison: Where can people find out more about you?
Kash Khan: Obviously, on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, just Educate Inspire Change. But I also have for the documentary series it's Panthera.film. That's where we're going to be, people can register their email there and they can sign up to receive updates on whenever a new episode is coming out. Basically, the podcast Educate Inspire Change is on Spotify, SoundCloud, iTunes, everywhere and on YouTube. It's also on my Facebook page as well. It's recorded with both video and audio, so that people can watch it as well as listen to it as well. We're basically across all social media channels.