The HighExistence Podcast

Sometimes I don't really like the word enlightenment because it suggests something final. It suggests an end point, and I don't think there is an end point. You can think in terms of a landscape of expansive experience which different traditions or different individuals view in different ways. They may just be sitting or standing on different parts of the landscape so they obviously interpret it in slightly different ways.

— Excerpt from Steve Taylor Interview

Steve Taylor is a British psychology lecturer at the university of Leeds.

He is also the author of several best-selling books including The FallWaking From SleepBack to SanityThe Leap, and his most recent book Spiritual Science: Why We Need Spirituality to Make Sense of the World.

Eckhart Tolle described Taylor’s book The Leap as containing “a great deal of precious wisdom, expressed in the straightforward, clear, and down-to-earth language that Steve Taylor is so good at.”

Taylor’s primary interest of study is in the field of transpersonal psychology, where he explores the science of higher states of consciousness, wakefulness, and the claims many of us are familiar with in popular spirituality.

In my talk with Steve, we discuss...

  • The problems of the materialistic worldview
  • The best way think about enlightenment
  • How we can define consciousness
  • The three ways we can achieve awakening experiences
  • The unlikely benefits of extreme emotional turmoil
  • The uses and dangers of psychedelics
  • Why telepathy is scientifically possible
  • And a lot more...

I really loved my conversation with Steve. He is a very calm, grounded presence but is also able to clearly put forth very important, profound ideas on how we can live a more enriched spiritual existence.

It's a tendency in some spiritual traditions, also in some forms of Buddhism, to denigrate the natural world and the material world, almost as if we're trying to transcend it. In a similar way, some spiritual traditions tend to denigrate the body as well, almost as if the spirit is trying to transcend the body, and the spirit and the body are two different things. So it's important not to fall into that kind of dualistic attitude, I think. You've gotta see the natural world as spiritual—it's full of spirit, it's sacred, and it's alive.

— Excerpt from Steve Taylor Interview

Direct download: SteveTaylorPodcast.mp3
Category:HighExistence -- posted at: 3:23pm EDT

Paul Austin (@PaulAustin3W) is the founder of The Third Wave, a website designed to improve psychedelic literacy so these powerful tools with great potential can be used in a safe, structured, and responsible way. Paul is also co-founder of Synthesis, the world’s first legal psilocybin truffle retreat in Amsterdam.

This interview was conducted fresh after Paul returned from Burning Man, so he is in a state of new beginnings and processing what I gathered was an extraordinary journey. In the episode we discuss Paul’s path from socially awkward teen to charismatic speaker and entrepreneur, the uses of microdosing, his thoughts on leadership, his current passion projects, favorite books, and much more.

This podcast is brought to you by Synthesis, the world's first safe, professional, legal psilocybin retreat. Paul Austin and HighExistence's own Martijn Schirp co-founded this revolutionary psychological program. The retreat is based in Amsterdam and is primarily focused for healthy individuals to get a mystical experience or a breakthrough in a personal or professional problem. If you would like to experience psychedelics with expert supervision and carefully designed integration procedures, check out Synthesis and tell them you came from HighExistence.


  • Connect with Paul Austin: | Twitter | TheThirdWave | Synthesis

Other People Mentioned as Influences

Direct download: paulfinalpodcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:02pm EDT

I’d like to use me as living proof that nobody was worse than me that I’ve ever met, and nobody was darker or closer to death or more sad. And to have this thing happen... if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone. So just give it a chance and give yourself a chance.

— Gerry Powell, The HighExistence Podcast

Gerry Powell, according to his website, “was the personification of the American businessman: rich, powerful, and unhappy.” In fact Gerry was one of the most miserable people on the planet. Even though he sold his cosmetic surgery company for $94 million dollars, had 5 houses, 20+ cars, and 2 planes, he was suicidal and addicted to drugs and sex.

But if you met him now, you would not see an unhappy man. Instead, you’d see a beaming, glowing, radiant, compassionate guy who is truly addicted to living a tranquil life and seeing others thrive and grow.

So what happened?

Gerry took Plant Medicine:

I realized something was very wrong because the more I acquired the more I suffered. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and travelled the world on my journey to heal myself through every self-help and healing modality I could find. A friend introduced me to Plant Medicine and in one night I had an experience that transformed my existence and liberated me from a lifetime of suffering. That was 2 years ago and my life continues to unfold in an extraordinary way.

When Gerry was experiencing his transformation through Plant Medicine, he received instructions in a vision to start a new company:

As a result of my experience I decided to open a center in Costa Rica that would offer all of the modalities that had the greatest impact on my life, enabling me to share them with as many people as possible at a price they could afford. I modeled it after the Club Med philosophy of an all-inclusive resort experience offering modalities, accommodations, organic meals, and first class amenities.

The center that Gerry opened in Costa Rica is called Rythmia. The HighExistence team went here to interview Gerry and experience the Plant Medicine ceremonies firsthand.

Gerry is an amazing, charismatic, hilarious speaker. This is one of our most entertaining podcasts to date. In our interview, we cover such topics as:

  • Gerry’s transformation after drinking Plant Medicine
  • The reason Gerry created Rythmia
  • The HighExistence team’s experience at Rythmia
  • How you can introduce a close one to Plant Medicine
  • Gerry’s vision for the future of Rythmia
  • And much more.

If you are interested in plant medicine …

Visit Rythmia

If you were inspired by the podcast and want to visit Rythmia, you can book your place on their website here

Direct download: Gerry-rythmia_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05am EDT

Plant medicines such as Ayahuasca are big news. More and more shamans are popping up offering their services to create inner-change and healing for those who are willing to drink from the magic cup.

But are there any real shamans left? Are the true masters of plant medicine anywhere to be found? And what negative consequences are coming from trying to heal the world at large with psychedelics? 

To truly consider these questions with an open mind is too painful for those who blindly follow, and likely too unorthodox for those who blindly reject. But for those somewhere in the middle, this podcast is for you.

Jonathon Weisberger was born in California but raised from a very young age in Ecuador. For over 15 years, he has been leading avid adventurers into remote regions of Ecuador, Peru, and Costa Rica to rediscover Nature's beauty and intelligence.

For over 10 years (1990-2000), Jonathon lived and collaborated with 5 distinct indigenous tribes in the Upper Amazon, including the Secoya tribe where he learned to cook the sacred plant medicine Yagé. This plant shares many similarities to Ayahuasca.

In the following mind-bending episode, we ask Jonathon how we deal with life if we're feeling lost, how we can learn to experience the world in an animistic way, and what "real" shamanism is all about.

This discussion is electric. You may feel overwhelmed by the speed at which Jonathon is able to connect raw knowledge with his poetic perspective on life, but it's one hell of a ride.

“Shamanism explores an area that contemporary Western science knows little about- the mind.”
― Jonathon Weisberger

A shaman is someone who can choose the moment of their own death. The shamans are few. People who practice shamanic practices are many.

― Jonathon Weisberger

Jonathon challenges the conventional wisdom on ayahuasca drinking and the new culture that surrounds it as well as how phenomenological truths hold a sacred space in our world of objects and scientific facts.

“If science is defined or understood as a mode of seeking knowledge, a means of interpreting nature in a way that can be demonstrated to others, then the plant-medicine traditions of the Amazon as they have been practiced constitute an authentic scientific discipline.”
― Jonathon Miller Weisberger

Jonathon also talks about his time spent with the Secoya Tribe, explaining their philosophy and warrior way of life. Yagé is for more than just healing, it can make you stronger.

“Among the Secoya, clear guidelines regulate preparation of the medicine. They are adamant about this preparation method and insist that the guidelines be followed. I've already discussed some fundamentals of harvesting the plants. When respected, all the elements and subtle factors combine to make a potent and efficacious medicine, necessary for a positive and healing ceremony.”
― Jonathon Miller Weisberger

We also explore in the discussion with Jonathon:

  • The role of a "bad trip" when drinking plant medicine
  • What a "dieta" is and how following one may benefit us
  • The amazing character traits of Jonathon's Secoya mentor
  • How we can improve our spiritual position
  • What it means to "sin" and alternatively live a sin-free life

Recommended Products:

Apotheosis: The Ultimate Spiritual Retreat

Jonathon helped facilitate the Yagé ceremony at our first ever HighExistence retreat. To come to one of our upcoming retreats, apply here

Jonathon's Projects:

Direct download: Jonathon_Weisberger_Master_of_Plants.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20pm EDT

Can psychedelics cure Autism? It's a question researchers are only beginning to ask, but Andrea Domenichini has already run the experiments – on himself.

Over the past few years, he's taken MDMA and LSD to help connect the parts of his brain that allow most people to understand others, feel their emotions, and make lasting connections.

But before we get to that, what even is Autism Spectrum Disorder? Probably not what you think it is. Most people on the Autism spectrum aren't Rain Man or maths geniuses. They're people whose brains function differently, but in myriad different ways. It's called a spectrum for a reason, and that spectrum involves dozens of symptoms (each highly variable) which are then bundled together under the 'Autism' label.

Dre shares his personal journey from alienation to deep human connection, beginning at a point in his life where jobs and relationships just weren't working out. He stopped, took stock, and asked himself the question that most of us are too scared to ask: Am I the problem?

For me, Autism was being a featureless white room, without windows or doors. MDMA opened a door in that room. Suddenly I could see outside to where "real people" lived. LSD allowed me to leave that room.

These experiences were revelatory: until MDMA, he'd never felt music before. Until LSD, he'd never felt a true sense of peace in himself.

Using his biomedical background, Dre explains how these substances can do such incredible things, what they meant for his own development, and why it's essential that more research is done to help people with Autism.

But do people with Autism even want to be 'cured'?  And is 'cured' the right word to use?

For many people, there's immediate resistance: Autism is a part of their identity and sense of self. And Autism is simply a different way of thinking, not some kind of disease.

For Dre, he wanted to change – he wanted to understand other people and to be able to grow as a person and pursue his dreams in a world that simply isn't set up to accommodate or understand Autistic people. With such potent psychedelic tools available to make that change, at the very least, more Autistic people should be made aware of the possibility of change, if they want to experience it for themselves.

More From Dre:


Take the ultimate life experiment, our 30 Challenges to Enlightenment Course, a complete spiritual path to help you overcome the limitations of your mind and to embody the highest philosophical realizations.

Use the code ‘WISDOM’ at checkout to get a huge 25% off the course, available only to podcast subscribers at

Direct download: HE_Autism_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am EDT

Talking to Daniel Schmachtenberger is like having an audience with a prophet. His vast knowledge extends across health, economics, technology, strategy and philosophy. More importantly, he’s a brilliant communicator dedicated to bringing those often disparate fields into dialogue, in order to make powerful, genuine change for the betterment of our individual and collective lives.

Last time I met Daniel, we spoke about the collective future of humanity in the face of imminent ecological and economic disaster. This time, we bring the focus back to you and me: the individual life and how we can become the best, most fulfilled and conscious versions of ourselves.

This is a conversation about unlocking our individual potential through empowered responsibility. What steps can and should we make to create the foundations for a truly high existence? Crucially, the aim here is not to feel responsibility as a burden to be shouldered, but as the wellspring of personal power and agency.


Take the ultimate life experiment, our 30 Challenges to Enlightenment Course, a complete spiritual path to help you overcome the limitations of your mind and to embody the highest philosophical realizations.

Use the code ‘WISDOM’ at checkout to get a huge 25% off the course, available only to podcast subscribers at

Direct download: Daniel_Schmachtenberger_Interview_2_Bounce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Geoff Thompson is a charismatic enigma. A nightclub doorman and martial artist turned award-winning playwright, author, and spiritual teacher – he defies easy description and confounds all expectations.

Geoff grew up with few prospects, under the shadow of his own fears. Inside, he yearned to be a writer, but with no obvious mentors or opportunities in sight, he slid repeatedly into depression and began to reconcile himself to working factory jobs and capitulating in the face of all conflict.

But then Geoff did something incredible: he made fear his mentor.

He constructed a Fear Pyramid. Taking pen to paper, he listed in ascending order of magnitude everything that scared him, from spiders right up to physical violence. And then he began to systematically confront them, one after another.

In this incredible interview, he shares his story and the simple yet life-changing tools which you can employ to discover your hidden strengths and discover the life that's waiting for you.


Take the ultimate life experiment, our 30 Challenges to Enlightenment Course, a complete spiritual path to help you overcome the limitations of your mind and to embody the highest philosophical realizations.

Use the code ‘WISDOM’ at checkout to get a huge 25% off the course, available only to podcast subscribers at

Direct download: HE_Geoff_Thompson_Interview_Bounce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01am EDT