Bridging Traditions: Psychedelics, Buddhism, & Ancestral Wisdom


Episode 208

Spring Washam

In this Psychedelic Podcast episode, Paul F. Austin meets meditation teacher and healer Spring Washam at the MAPS Psychedelic Science Conference to discuss Buddhism, psychedelics, and ancestral wisdom.

Paul and Spring delve deep into the synergies and incompatibilities across healing modalities. They ask whether indoor practices can ever rival nature’s transformative power. They reflect on innate desires toward rooting on land and the consequences of disconnection. They ask whether the spirit of Harriet Tubman and other ancestral heroes can heal society’s conflicts. And they explore the psychedelic divide between Southern traditions and Northern adaptations.

Join Paul and Spring for a fascinating perspective on mindfulness, plant medicine, and the evolution of society.

Spring Washam:

Considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness-based meditation to diverse communities; Spring Washam is a well-known teacher, healer, and visionary leader based in Oakland, California.

She is the author of A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage and Wisdom in Any Moment and The Spirit of Harriet Tubman: Awakening from the Underground.

Spring is one of the founding teachers at the East Bay Meditation Center, an organization that offers Buddhist teachings with attention to social action and multiculturalism. She is a member of the teachers’ council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, offering teachings on Buddhist philosophy, Insight meditation, and loving-kindness practices. Spring is also the founder of Lotus Vine Journeys, a one-of-a-kind organization that blends indigenous healing practices with Buddhist wisdom in transformative retreats in Central America.

She has practiced and studied Buddhist philosophy in both the Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism since 1999. Spring is also a shamanic practitioner, studying indigenous healing practices since 2008.

Spring’s workshops, interviews, and writing can be found in mainstream media worldwide.

Podcast Highlights

  • How Buddhist practitioners view psychedelics.
  • Spring’s early ayahuasca journeys and revelations.
  • Spring’s lessons from Buddhist lineages.
  • Jack Kornfield’s guidance and teachings.
  • Spring’s Lotus Vine Journeys ayahuasca retreats in Costa Rica.
  • How psychedelics and Buddhism reconnect us to nature.
  • Spring’s journey from California to Georgia to start a plant-medicine community.
  • Exploring the importance of healing human disconnection from the land.
  • Spring’s insights from her book, The Spirit of Harriet Tubman: Awakening from the Underground.
  • Spring’s presentation at the MAPS Conference on Buddhism & ayahuasca.
  • Reflecting on how to bridge modern spirituality with indigenous lineages.

This episode is brought to you by Magi Ancestral Supplements, makers of the world’s first beta-Carboline nootropics for cognitive health. Magi’s Stard Deep Meditation Aid (minidose) helps you get to stillness much faster. Their Haoma Revelation Aid (macrodose) is a unique psychoactive ideal for inner spiritual journeys.

Get a discount on any of Magi’s beta-Carboline nootropics. Visit and use coupon code TW10.


This episode is brought to you by Psyched Wellness. Their product, Calm, is an over-the-counter Amanita muscaria extract that may help to reduce stress, ease muscular tension and promote restorative sleep. Their team of leading scientists and wellness professionals has managed to successfully distill the restorative and healing elements from the Amanita muscaria mushroom.

To be one of the first to try this breakthrough product, go to and use the code THIRDWAVEPOD to get 15% off when ordering.


This episode is brought to you by Apollo Neuro, the first scientifically validated wearable that actively improves your body’s resilience to stress. Apollo engages with your sense of touch to deliver soothing vibrations that signal safety to the brain. Clinically proven to improve heart rate variability, it can actually enhance the outcomes of your other efforts like deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and plant medicine. Apollo was developed by a friend of Third Wave, Dr. David Rabin M.D Ph.D., a neuroscientist and board-certified psychiatrist who has been studying the impact of chronic stress in humans for nearly 15 years. Third Wave listeners get 15% off—just use this link.

Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.0 Paul F. Austin: Welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave. Today, I'm speaking with meditation teacher, healer and visionary leader, Spring Washam.

0:00:10.6 Spring Washam: If you think about the last few years, which have been very painful, but very growth oriented, just from the pandemic perspective where we all had to look at ourselves and deal with ourselves, the two most popular healing modalities have been meditation-focused practices, and then also the plant medicine. So these two together, consciously, is what excites me.

0:00:41.8 Paul F. Austin: Welcome to the Psychedelic podcast by Third Wave, audio mycelium connecting you to the luminaries and thought leaders of the psychedelic renaissance. We bring you illuminating conversations with scientists, therapists, entrepreneurs, coaches, doctors and shamanic practitioners, exploring how we can best use psychedelic medicine to accelerate personal healing, peak performance and collective transformation.

0:01:14.4 Advertisement: This episode is brought to you by Magi Ancestral Supplements, makers of Stard Deep Meditation aid. If you're like me, you might recognize the benefits of regular meditation practice, but find it hard sometimes to slow down and enter that place of real stillness. This is why I love Magi, who makes the world's first beta cabergoline-based supplement in support of deep meditation. What are beta-Carbolenes? They're a seriously overlooked class of compounds in the world of psychoactives that are overshadowed by their psychedelic cousins. beta-Carbolenes induce dream-like states ideal for awareness transformations. They're produced endogenously in the brain and they possess a wealth of cognitive health benefits ranging from anti-inflammation and stress relief to neuroprotection and even neurogenesis. Magi's team of chemists, pharmacologists and neuroscientists have crafted a line of nootropics derived from beta-Carbolenes using their patented plant extraction technology. Their Stard Deep Meditation Supplement is designed to help you reach a trance-like state of deep meditation, where an hour passes like nothing.

0:02:23.3 Advertisement: Take it 15 minutes before meditating to get into the zone with less distractions, fidgeting and effort. For a limited time, Magi Ancestral supplements is giving listeners of The Psychedelic Podcast a very special 10% discount on any order from their website. Visit That's, to view their full product line, and enter coupon code, TW10 at checkout. Magi Ancestral Supplements currently ships within the USA and Puerto Rico. Give them a try to take your meditation to the next level. One more time, That's, and the coupon code is TW10.

0:03:09.4 Advertisement: Today's episode of The Psychedelic Podcast is brought to you by Psyched Wellness. Psyched Wellness has this amazing product, it's called CALM, and it has been developed by wellness professionals, along with leading scientists, and is the very first over-the-counter Amanita muscaria extract that may help you reduce stress, ease muscular tension, and promote deeper more restorative sleep.

0:03:33.3 Advertisement: This natural supplement is lab-tested, it's been detoxified and it is fully safe for consumption. For the first time in modern history, scientists working with Psyched Wellness have successfully distilled the restorative and healing elements from the Amanita muscaria mushroom and placed them into a powerful extract that is now the first legal Amanita muscaria extract available for sale in the USA. If you would like to be one of the first to try this breakthrough product, then you can go to That's, and use code, THIRDWAVEPOD that's Third Wave pod, P-O-D, to get 15% off when ordering. Again, that is and use code, THIRDWAVEPOD to get 15% off your order.

0:04:35.7 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners. This is Paul F. Austin, founder and CEO at Third Wave, and welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast where we explore how the safe and responsible use of psychedelic substances can catalyze both individual and collective transformation. How do Buddhist practitioners view the use of psychedelics? How can psychedelic experiences benefit a mindfulness practice and vice versa? And how can psychedelics step in where mindfulness falls short? These are some of the questions that we will explore in the podcast today with Spring Washam. Spring is a well-known teacher, healer and visionary leader based in Oakland, California. We recorded this interview at the MAPS Conference Psychedelic Science 2023. Spring and I met at Wisdom 2.0, which is a conference that happens every year in the Bay Area. We sat next to each other at lunch, started to engage in conversation and I came to realize that she runs and facilitates incredible Ayahuasca retreats down in Costa Rica.

0:05:41.2 Paul F. Austin: And then we started talking about meditation and Dharma. And Spring has an incredibly important voice to bring to this conversation as an African American woman, as a Buddhist teacher, and as an Ayahuasca facilitator. So there's lots of angles that we'll explore in the conversation today. We talk about how Buddhist practitioners view psychedelics. We talk about Spring's early Ayahuasca journeys and revelations, her lessons from Jack Kornfield, her mentor, his guidance and teachings. We talk about Spring's Lotus Vine Journeys, which are her Ayahuasca retreats in Costa Rica, how psychedelics and Buddhism reconnect us to nature. And one of the most profound things we discussed were Spring's insights from her book, The Spirit of Harriet Tubman: Awakening from the Underground.

0:06:34.1 Paul F. Austin: Here's a quick bio on Spring, just so you have a little bit more context. Considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness-based meditation to diverse communities, Spring Washam is a well-known teacher, healer and visionary leader based in Oakland, California. She's the author of 'A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage, and Wisdom In Any Moment,' and 'The Spirit of Harriet Tubman: Awakening from the Underground.' Spring is one of the founding teachers at the East Bay Meditation Center, an organization that offers Buddhist teachings with attention to social action and multiculturalism. She's a member of the Teacher's Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, where she offers teachings on Buddhist philosophy, insight meditation, and loving kindness practice. She is also the founder of Lotus Vine Journeys, an organization that blends indigenous healing practices with Buddhist wisdom for transformative retreats in South America. Now, Spring has practiced and studied Buddhist philosophy in both the Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism since 1999.

0:07:34.3 Paul F. Austin: She's also a shamanic practitioner and has studied indigenous healing practices since 2008. Okay, before we dive in, I wanna take a moment to let you know about our new, free resource, Third Waves Community. This is a growing network designed to share trusted, research-based content around psychedelics that helps you to feel safe, supported, and empowered as you follow your path towards personal transformation. You can ask questions that you might be otherwise afraid to voice in public and connect with others on a similar journey. You can also join the conversation about each episode on The Psychedelic Podcast, learn about upcoming online and offline events, retreats, and other opportunities to connect with this broader community. Plus, you can explore our psychedelic guides, our official microdosing course, and an ever-growing library of articles and videos on all things psychedelics. No matter where you are in your journey, you're welcome to join us in Third Wave's Community. You can create your account for free at That's Alright, that's it for now. I hope you enjoy my conversation today with Spring Washam.

0:08:48.0 Paul F. Austin: Spring, welcome to the podcast.

0:08:48.1 Spring Washam: Thank you so much.

0:08:49.3 Paul F. Austin: We were just talking about how you're holding on the Buddhist fort here at the Psychedelic Science Conference.

0:08:56.2 Spring Washam: Yeah, it looks that way.

0:08:58.1 Paul F. Austin: Are there just not many other teachers and practitioners? Has it been pretty sparse on the Buddhist side of things?

0:09:04.1 Spring Washam: Well, there's so many people, but a lot of people are still... I don't wanna say "in the closet," that's not the right word. But a lot of teachers don't publicly come out...

0:09:14.7 Paul F. Austin: Acknowledge the...

0:09:15.5 Spring Washam: And acknowledge that they are working with the plant medicine and how to do it. And it's a movement. It's growing. It's definitely growing. But I think I'm sort of [chuckle] the spokesperson, and I think in the future, more people will be willing to talk about it without their religious community kind of getting upset or confused.

0:09:38.8 Paul F. Austin: Tell us what's going on there? Like, what's the relationship between Buddhism and psychedelics in terms of just how they view it or how Buddhists view it, how the practitioners view it? What's the perception of it? It's a pretty interesting history, isn't it?

0:09:56.2 Spring Washam: Well, I definitely cannot speak for all Buddhists in all the schools and the millions of Buddhists out there, but I can [chuckle] just kind of give you my take on the Insight western community and what's kind of happening in this world that we're in. And please know, I'm not speaking for everybody, but I can kind of speak to a few things. There's always been this connection between Zen and psychedelics, and I don't come from the Zen school, but I have so much respect and reverence for that tradition. But there's always been that... Zig Zag Zen was a book about psychedelics and Zen. And the founder of Spirit Rock, Jack Kornfield, wrote a chapter in that, has written a chapter in Entheogens for a New World, a very small book that circulated years ago. [chuckle] And so there's always been this connection between Zen and psychedelics, and then plant medicine. And I think very broader than that is just the idea that you could develop spiritual insight quicker using these incredible practices. It's like both are technologies, this like Zen practice or mindfulness-based meditation and concentration, mixed with this other technology of plant-based medicine or psychedelic, traditional maybe LSD or... That they go together when held, because as we know, set and setting and intention is everything, and what would happen if we explore that? So, I've been exploring that.

0:11:41.1 Paul F. Austin: You have, and for quite a long time, and in quite a very soulful, spiritual, depth-focused way, particularly with Ayahuasca.

0:11:52.2 Spring Washam: Yeah. Particularly with Ayahuasca. I started really working with it in 2007, just personally to treat my own trauma that I wasn't able to adjust fully in just deep meditation retreats. It's a beautiful container in silence and sitting and stillness and mindfulness and awareness, but there's parts that don't get addressed in that form. The teachings are different than the form. And so in that particular form, there was just parts that I wasn't attending to that were deeply still experiencing trauma. And so, yes, I started going to the jungle at that time, working with ayahuasca and particularly... And exploring this practice between the two. And I spent years going to the jungle and then coming in, doing Vipassana retreats, and then... But this is all very top secret at the time.

0:12:48.6 Paul F. Austin: You were not telling your community...

0:12:50.1 Spring Washam: Oh, no, not really.

0:12:51.2 Paul F. Austin: Of meditators that you're going... No?

0:12:53.2 Spring Washam: No, no. I think I just told my mentor, which at the time was Jack Kornfield, and a couple other people, like, "Hey, I just came from two months of the jungle, now I'm gonna sit a month retreat." Something's happening here and I'm blending them and I'm blending it down there and I'm blending it here. And yeah, I just started to see tremendous cutting through, just a lot of benefits to my spiritual practices and faith, and all the good things that you want to strengthen were being strengthened.

0:13:26.9 Paul F. Austin: What is it that Ayahuasca helped to clear or integrate that meditation, for you, wasn't necessarily supporting? Was it something somatic, was it something... What other pathways did it open up for you that meditation itself couldn't?

0:13:42.3 Spring Washam: Yeah, that's a great question. Well, first and foremost, I will say that no psychedelic, no plant medicine will ever liberate you. What I do think these technologies, if I could say that word, or these incredible gifts from Mother Earth or so many ways to describe these knowledge trees and ways of doing things, is that, what it did was it really just cleared the obstacles. I had to walk the path. I have to get up every day and live my life with integrity, with love, with compassion and awareness, and make choices, choices of freedom or choices of suffering. And what these plants and medicines, sacred medicines, entheogens helped me to do, was to just clear the tangles, the big monster ones that I eventually would've cleared, but God knows it would've taken a long time. [chuckle] Family, DNA, oh my God, abuse and trauma, and the things that we get stuck on, which a lot is our trauma. We get stuck on that, and we can't practice, or we get derailed or we get pulled into these other head spaces and patterns. And we can take a shortcut, not an easy cut, but a shortcut. So basically... And that's really important. Let me say it again, not an easy, [laughter] but a bit shorter...

0:15:15.5 Paul F. Austin: Ayahuasca isn't easy? No?

0:15:17.5 Spring Washam: No, no. People always want it to be kind of like smoking a...

0:15:20.4 Paul F. Austin: Iboga is not easy.

0:15:20.8 Spring Washam: Joint or something. It's like...

0:15:21.2 Paul F. Austin: Yeah, it's not like that.

0:15:21.7 Spring Washam: Not exactly, but neither is years of suffering.

0:15:28.6 Paul F. Austin: Right.

0:15:30.0 Spring Washam: Right. So when you look at that, so I think what the plants did was it just helped me open my heart faster. It helped me to see interconnectedness. It helped me to see innate wisdom. It helped me to understand things that before had been more intellectual. And then it helped me to move energies deeply, deeply out of my body, somatically; movement, energy, flow, all of these different things. So it really continues to be just such a great helper on this long, long journey that we are moving toward for freedom.

0:16:10.3 Paul F. Austin: Liberation.

0:16:11.1 Spring Washam: Yes, liberation.

0:16:15.5 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. There's a way that plant medicine psychedelics say like, they condense time.

0:16:18.9 Spring Washam: Absolutely.

0:16:20.7 Paul F. Austin: And so there's this kind of... It was a Gabor Maté phrase and it's, I would say, now becoming somewhat controversial phrase. But he would say it's like 10 years of therapy in one session. And there's a lot of nuance to that. And what that speaks to is, because of the potency of what plant medicines weave in, you really need a really structured container, really good support, prep and integration, great facilitators. That all makes a big difference, if the medicine is that potent, 'cause you're going, like you said, deep into subconscious and unconscious material that even with a deep meditative practice, may not have been available or aware of. And that can be challenging sometimes to confront all these aspects of self through psychedelics, and even a unique intelligence. 'Cause ayahuasca in itself, it's not just a thing we're consuming, right? It's a symbiosis that's occurring.

0:17:21.7 Spring Washam: Right. We're interacting with a doctor.

0:17:28.3 Paul F. Austin: Right.

0:17:29.0 Spring Washam: Spirit doctor.


0:17:29.3 Paul F. Austin: Right. What, for you, as a teacher at Spirit Rock and someone who is very, let's say, out of the closet when it comes to your active psychedelic use, what have been, I would say, some of the more beautiful or uplifting aspects of holding those two pillars as a teacher, as a facilitator, as a retreat leader, what do you love about weaving those two worlds together?

0:18:00.5 Spring Washam: Yeah, that's such a great question, because I think they really do compliment each other so well, they need each other. I felt like with the position of being a meditation teacher and sitting in the meditation seat, that we're teaching these practices of mindfulness. We're teaching all these different meditative tools, we're teaching ways of thinking that are aligned with Buddhadhamma. And I think what's so powerful is that to utilize the technology of the plant medicine world, to utilize the power, to harness it in the direction of goodness, that's what we are... Ultimately, the Buddhist philosophy is, do no harm, [chuckle] and liberate for the benefit of others. And then serve and help. You're helper spirit, you're bodhisattva, you care. And I think this is the idea of the medicine path, is it just moves you so much faster in that direction, and it makes sense when you're doing it. You have a path. When I spend years going early days to Iquitos, living outside the upper Amazon. You lived there, I lived at Temple of Light, I lived in Ayahuasca Center.

0:19:26.4 Paul F. Austin: Did you ever encounter Isongas?

0:19:28.6 Spring Washam: Isongas?

0:19:29.7 Paul F. Austin: Yeah.

0:19:30.4 Spring Washam: No, I don't remember that. I wish. I didn't encounter very many Buddhist sanghas.

0:19:34.7 Paul F. Austin: Oh, no, they're... No, no, no. Isongas are these insects that burrow in your skin and... Anyway, that's a bit of...

0:19:41.5 Spring Washam: That's a side note, but I am sure...

0:19:42.3 Paul F. Austin: The insects are a little intense in the Amazon.

0:19:45.4 Spring Washam: Yeah, the insects are intense [laughter] in the jungle. But I think that one of the important thing is, is if you just use the technology without a clear path, you get lost. You can get lost and you can even cause harm to yourself. It's kind of like you have this advanced tool, but I think it's why a lot of people are so scared of AI right now. It's this advanced technology and we're still kindergartners. How do we use this to liberate? How are we going to use it? And I think this is the question of the hour, is like, we're using these spiritual principles, we're using a 2,500-year-old lineage, and we're applying it to this with meditation.

0:20:31.2 Paul F. Austin: With meditation.

0:20:32.4 Spring Washam: And with teachings on Buddhadhamma and consciousness and awakening and a path. There's a clear path, step by side, there's a path of insight that's very old and people follow that path. Insight is... There's markers, are we getting... Understanding impermanence? Are we understanding suffering? Are we understanding egolessness? There's directly... We wanna see things in our practice. Like any doctor, we're getting better. "Is it a little bit better?" Sometimes you can tell, sometimes you can't. But I just think these go so well together. And without having a clear path, I worry that people using this like atheist or maybe... And I understand there's a lot of atheists that use psychedelics, but they might lose something unless they have some kind of faith, a deeper... Something to rely on, whether it's faith in the creator or something.

0:21:29.6 Paul F. Austin: Or like an opening to mystery or an opening to not knowing or an opening to...

0:21:36.3 Spring Washam: Yes. And awe and wonder. Yeah, there's a danger in kind of this opening to like a nihilistic...

0:21:41.6 Paul F. Austin: The rigidity of reductionism.

0:21:43.5 Spring Washam: Yes, and too science. And that's been a danger in the Buddhist philosophy is falling into this kind of empty nihilism, non-existence, nothing matters. So I think everything matters and we hold it in a wide way.

0:22:05.3 Paul F. Austin: And we hold it. What's your lineage?

0:22:06.9 Spring Washam: So I'm a mix like everything in California. [laughter] I started off with... My main teacher was Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock. We come out of the Ajahn Chah Thai Forest Tradition, mixed with a kind of Burmese...

0:22:22.7 Paul F. Austin: Thai Forest Tradition. Interesting.

0:22:23.7 Spring Washam: Thai Forest. His teacher was Ajahn Chah, a great Thai forest master...

0:22:28.3 Paul F. Austin: From Chiang Mai, or...

0:22:29.0 Spring Washam: From Chiang Mai. And who was a legend and had grown a huge following, had an awakening at a very young age and lived in the forest. So there's practice centers in Thailand, in the path of Ajahn Chah. And that also is mixed with a little bit of a teacher who is Mahasi Sayadaw, which was a Burmese kind of more flavor. And that is more of the concentration. So it's kind of like this Southeast Asian Thai forest, which is kind of more like Thich Nhat Hanh. It's like, live your mindfulness, very open way. We call it the... Wash the dishes mindfully. And then we have the other side, which is a more concentrated way; feel everything, focus. So it's sort of a hybrid of that. So I guess that's my first tradition. And then also I got very much into Mahayana and Vajrayana. I took refuge with great Tibetan masters and studied for many years. And the Karma Kagyu lineage and Gelug lineage, and so also have this whole like, kind of tantric side of my practice. I don't teach so much in there, I practice more, but I teach a lot out of sort of, you could say, Theravada school, open way insight way tradition here, more based in the US.

0:23:56.0 Paul F. Austin: What is Jack like as a teacher and as a mentor and supporter, and what's that relationship been like?

0:24:04.2 Spring Washam: Yeah. Well, I always feel... I met Jack over 25 years ago, I always feel like he saved me. He's been one of my fiercest protectors. He invited me here. They called him to talk at MAPS. He was gonna be in Spain. And then he goes, "Here you go, [laughter] here's your assignment. Speak about all of this. And you know what to say." But Jack's amazing. He's a blender of many things, many schools, of course, deep, deep dharma, but also psychology and shamanism and relational. And he's just like this library of wisdom that you just open the book at any chapter and you're like, "Okay, speak about this." His books he writes, and so much about the heart. So for me, Jack really taught me about more of the heart, the strong heart, the long heart, the steady heart that will not give up. He's like, " We do this forever, and then we do it forever. And then we... This is not a fad, this is not a self-help moment. This is something we commit to."

0:25:19.3 Paul F. Austin: It's eternity in some way.

0:25:21.4 Spring Washam: Yes. We commit to transforming our minds, to seeing and experimenting with the dharma as if it's still alive, it's still... You could still smell the bread in the kitchen. And to have a commitment to keep seeing if it's true, keep practicing, keep looking.

0:25:45.5 Paul F. Austin: And that courage to go inwards to explore, whether it's through meditation, even... I'm someone who's done psychedelics and plant medicine for 13 years, since 2010. I've had a few challenging experiences most of the time, when it wasn't a well held container or not totally safe, but the vast majority have been really beautiful. And I've meditated for around the same amount of time, 'cause when I started to work with LSD when I was 19, it opened me up to the potency of meditation. I read 'Wherever You Go, There You Are' by Jon...

0:26:24.9 Spring Washam: Jon Kabat-Zinn.

0:26:27.1 Paul F. Austin: Kabat-Zinn. And yet the idea of a 10-day of Apasana is way more intimidating than going and sitting in the jungle for three weeks with Ayahuasca.

0:26:37.6 Spring Washam: Oh, interesting.

0:26:38.5 Paul F. Austin: Just because of the... Even in Dieta, you can still... At least the Dieta that I recently went on, we could still play music, we could still read a little bit, we could still journal. It was only one meal a day. The food was really bland. It's probably six hours a day in meditation, but it's a little bit more flexible. And so that, I think, structured... Like you were saying, the fact that this has been around for 2,500 years, and what Jack was saying is, this isn't a fad. It is the courage of the heart to keep showing up to do the work now to face the dragons that we need to face, and to really grow and evolve as a Sangha or as a community. That sense of, it's not just about me, but we're all in this together, I think, is such an important part of both meditation and plant medicine.

0:27:24.1 Spring Washam: Yeah, and different flavors of teachers. Goenka has this 10-day really intense school. And it's like, no breaks, and they find you and...

0:27:35.4 Paul F. Austin: That's the one I'm talking about.

0:27:36.6 Spring Washam: Yeah, that's like a flavor.

0:27:37.9 Paul F. Austin: Yeah, that sounds like...

0:27:38.6 Spring Washam: If you go to Spirit Rock or another place, there's way more space...

0:27:40.7 Paul F. Austin: I should come to Spirit Rock.

0:27:43.4 Spring Washam: And there's walking meditation and there's a yoga class.

0:27:46.7 Paul F. Austin: Alright, this feels a lot better, Spring. Yeah.

0:27:49.1 Spring Washam: So it's important to know that teachers teach kind of the same Dharma, just different levels, different octaves. So Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, and there's other centers that just have like a softer more... Kind of a holistic approach. And those old school Goenka retreats are... There's something about it that is, you go beyond what you think you're capable of and you see something important there. And for some people, they go to many, and then other people, they might try a little bit of a different approach, but it's definitely an experiment. [chuckle]


0:28:29.9 Advertisement: Hey, everybody. I hope you are enjoying today's episode of The Psychedelic Podcast, which has been brought to you by our good friends and makers of the Apollo. The Apollo is a wearable that, well, you can put just about anywhere; on your wrist, on your ankle, on even on your shirt collar, and it will improve your body's resilience to stress, improve your focus, and even deepen your sleep. Developed by neuroscientists and physicians, the Apollo delivers gentle, soothing vibrations that recondition and recalibrate your nervous system over time. It's like a remote control for how we want to feel throughout the day; more energetic, less stressed, happier mood, calm and relaxed and sleepy at night, which is why Third Wave's founder, Paul Austin, has referred to the Apollo as "a microdose on your wrist." The Apollo wearable is the only technology with an issued patent to reduce unpleasant and undesired experiences associated with both psychedelic and traditional medicine-assisted therapies.

In studies, users of the Apollo have experienced up to 40% less stress, less feelings of anxiety, 19% more time spent in deep sleep, and up to 25% increases in focus and concentration. The Apollo wearable, unlike a whole new morning routine or a new meditation practice, although those things are great, is a simpler thing to do each day. You put it on your body like a wristwatch and vibe your way to very real world results and a whole new level of stress resilience in your daily life. And right now, Psychedelic Podcast listeners can save $50 on the Apollo wearable by visiting That's Now, back to the show.


0:30:22.5 Paul F. Austin: And as you've gotten deeper into this work, you've opened up these beautiful retreat experiences in Costa Rica called Lotus Vine Journeys. And you host them in this... You showed me the video [laughter] a few weeks ago, this incredible venue in the retreat center in the Osa Peninsula, which until you had shown me that video, I had never heard of. I knew about La Fortuna and I knew about Nosara and Tamarindo, Guanacaste, even Uvita, Dominica, the Dominica Valley, but never Osa. So, I'd love for you just to tell us a little bit about the magic of the Osa Peninsula and the magic of what you're creating with Lotus Vine Journeys, with those Ayahuasca retreats.

0:31:06.0 Spring Washam: Yeah. First of all, when we talk about Costa Rica, I always... I just smile. I just get so happy. And it's not because the physical beauty of the country is astounding. It is, the nature. But it's also the fact that it's such a peace-loving country. Care about the environment, they got rid of their military, they closed up the zoos, they let the animals go. They're creating more national parks and more re-forestation projects than anywhere in the world. And their aggressive Eco laws or their environmental protection laws are just some of the most progressive on the planet. They wanna save it, they know they're gifted with something. This is the most beautiful country in the world, one of them. Just so magical. So the Osa Peninsula is this part of Costa Rica, which is just such an environmentally diverse location. And it's so free of violence, [chuckle] it's been a wild place for years and years. And it's on the ocean, so you're surrounded... You have the mountains and you're surrounded by this incredible Pacific blue water that is just so clean, and all the animals. And we're in this amazing Eco lodge built by an incredible visionary who had this idea of bringing people to this land and healing them with love and yoga and food and clean water in the ocean.

0:32:48.1 Spring Washam: And I do believe that's where our medicine is. It's the old ways of coming back to the land and living on the land and close to the land, and in this beautiful reciprocity, honoring the land and then living sustainably from it. It's like, thank you, Mother Earth. I give to you, you give to me, and we share. We're sharing this experience. So, Lotus Vine is blessed to be able to host these 14-day retreats there, because I do believe the nature is the most powerful healing, working with the Ayahuasca, the vine, that we use at the retreats. But yeah, Lotus Vine Journey started off in 2015 as just somewhere for my Buddhist friends to come. It was all small. I didn't want a big thing. It was in Peru at that time. We were in the jungle in Peru and Tarapoto. And I was like, "I need to create something for my Buddhist community." It was just that, that they could explore this in practice. So our retreats, people don't have to be Buddhists, they'll learn about Buddhism and Buddhist psychology and thought, and they'll learn practices, and liberation from that perspective, along with the earth, along with the plant medicine, along with the indigenous Amazonian view of nature. But we're steeped in these two practices; the earth and the plant medicine worlds. And then, we have this Buddhist philosophy and the community of practitioners. So, it's really sweet. We have like Zen masters and Lamas, and... Oh, yeah.

0:34:29.4 Paul F. Austin: They come down to be in the retreat. Oh, wow.

0:34:32.4 Spring Washam: To be in the retreat, and just be like, "Okay, I heard about this. I want to try it. [laughter] And I want to do it in this context." And it's an honor to be able to hold great teachers and just let them meditate in this magical place and explore Ayahuasca, and then practice, and then just be together as we strengthen ourselves for this future that feels so uncertain and so tenuous and so volatile and so violent. It's like, oh my God, we've got to help sustain ourselves. So in some way, I feel like these Buddhist retreats give us faith. We renew our faith deeply that there's goodness here and that we can follow a lineage that cares about right action, that cares about compassion, that we are transforming ourselves in the path of this... There's a stream, and let's jump in that stream with all of these millions of beings who have practiced this way. So I'd like to help us strengthen that root, that... Something like our footprint. Our footprints are... We're following... And then we... Music and dance and yoga and community, so it's all of that. So that is a Lotus Vine Journeys, and it's just a unique blend, I can say, but a good blend, and I feel like something I'm gonna be talking a lot more about in the future.

0:36:06.7 Paul F. Austin: And somewhat of a rare blend. This is the first intensive... It's 14 days, right?

0:36:12.6 Spring Washam: It's 14 days, yeah.

0:36:13.9 Paul F. Austin: So two-week experience that I have heard of or know of, that combines deep Dharma teachings and practice and meditation with Ayahuasca. I've heard of a few others that do Vipassana with low-dose 5-MeO-DMT, which is quite interesting. But I think yours, my sense is, especially with your experience, your lineage, I even love tracing the lineage conversation 'cause it's like, Thai forest monk. And so now, it's becoming weaved in as we... 'cause I believe the same thing as you, that one of the greatest, let's say, utilities of psychedelics is how they reconnect us to nature, and the healing that we experience from that.

0:36:54.8 Spring Washam: Absolutely.

0:37:00.1 Paul F. Austin: It's like the... For many of us, it's actually our deepest wound is that disconnection.

0:37:03.1 Spring Washam: Absolutely.

0:37:03.8 Paul F. Austin: And so to be able to heal that again, in community, with plant medicine. We just hosted an intensive at Brave Earth, which I know you've been to as well. And it's in the jungle and it's beautiful gardens and just surrounded by trees. And if we did no medicine at all, that in itself...

0:37:19.9 Spring Washam: Just being there heals you.

0:37:20.8 Paul F. Austin: Oh, it's so healing.

0:37:21.0 Spring Washam: In silence, just being there in silence would be medicine.

0:37:22.0 Paul F. Austin: In silence, listening to the trees and the crickets and the monkeys and the sloths whistle to each other and the... It's beautiful. It's beautiful.

0:37:32.1 Spring Washam: And in a lot of ways too, it's like so much of the Buddhist tradition utilizes the earth, rather it's the... When Siddhartha was under the Bodhi Tree, his final moments, he calls on the earth to help him awaken as his witness, and the earth quakes. And even in Thailand, they would wear their bare feet out on alms round to walk all over. They didn't wear shoes. And also, they used to ordain the trees to keep the Thai government from cutting them. So many of these ancient forces that Jack would tell me about, that he practiced in, have been cut down. Yeah. So this way of living where we don't recognize the power of mother earth. And this is it. I do believe plant medicine is available to help us connect. 'Cause you only protect what you love. And if you don't love it, you'll feel bad, but you won't be an active participant in saving it.

0:38:33.1 Paul F. Austin: You won't be an active... Yeah. Right.

0:38:36.2 Spring Washam: You won't be. You'll mourn, but you won't have that intense connection, like you said. This is our wound right now, one of many, but a big one.

0:38:47.6 Paul F. Austin: And it's one of the greatest teachings of Ayahuasca or Huachuma. Or even, I had this experience with LSD, which is not a typical plant medicine, but there's this deep reverence and respect and love for mother nature. And I think there's an intelligence that, again, we're coming into relationship with, which has certain messages and communication for us about how we take care of all living things and all living beings.

0:39:15.5 Spring Washam: Yeah. Psilocybin too. People's most profound journeys with mushrooms are outside, sitting with trees and on the earth, and earthing. And it's interesting how these plants are arising at a time where we're in an ecological crisis, to help us. They are the medicine, we are the medicine. But we could go a long way on that conversation, 'cause I love it.

0:39:40.6 Paul F. Austin: I would say it's one of my frustrations. Even we're here at this MAPS Conference, The Psychedelic Science Conference, there's a lot of incredible progress, the medicalization, decriminalization. But one thing that I don't think gets enough attention is, for lack of a better... Well, and taking mushrooms in the woods in ceremony, or drinking ayahuasca in the jungle and the impact of nature and the environment, and how are we even creating... Like, what I think a lot about is, if I had to choose between doing mushrooms in the woods and mushrooms in a very sterile clinic, mushrooms in the woods are gonna be way, way healthier. And yet, our medical system is not necessarily set up for that. So that's something I'm often thinking about, is, how do we weave nature back in to not only work with psychedelics, but our healthcare system, our political system, our educational system?

0:40:28.1 Spring Washam: So true.

0:40:29.8 Paul F. Austin: It needs to really be... There needs to be like a reconvening and a healing with that reconvening.

0:40:38.5 Spring Washam: I mean, for me, it always seems obvious. And that would be why I would say, no, we're not doing this in labs. We're doing it on the river, in this maloca. You're gonna hear Shipibo icaros, these are the medicine people, and we're gonna lie down and we're gonna do it. This, to me, seemed obvious. But the western world, it's still learning. The north needs to learn from the south.

0:41:04.2 Paul F. Austin: It's like the adolescent phase still.

0:41:05.1 Spring Washam: Yeah. The north needs to learn from the South American brothers and sisters.

0:41:10.3 Paul F. Austin: Like de-domesticating and getting out of...

0:41:12.2 Spring Washam: Yeah, decolonizing.

0:41:13.5 Paul F. Austin: Decolonizing. Yeah.

0:41:14.7 Spring Washam: Remembering that we...

0:41:16.2 Paul F. Austin: De-industrializing, yeah.

0:41:17.8 Spring Washam: Absolutely, and the danger of when we don't, we don't go as deep and then we're not connected to the true wound here. We're not fixing. But I think it's just one step at a time.

0:41:32.5 Paul F. Austin: One step at a time.

0:41:33.4 Spring Washam: I think we're here with one "let's start in the lab," better than nothing.

0:41:36.7 Paul F. Austin: For sure.

0:41:37.2 Spring Washam: But of course, we know that it has to go way beyond that at some point out on. And that's like how I really connect to also the Tibetan lineage and the Buddhist lineages that are more shamanic; the Mahasiddhas that are lineage out in the caves and on the mountain peaks, and the sort of shape-shifters and Naropa. I mean, we're here with Naropa University, having a huge place. Well, Naropa was a mystic out in the woods and living wild, a wild yogin following his teacher, Tilopa, around. So I feel like it's sprinkling in there, that Buddhism is not a mental exercise, it's an awakening. And often, yogis sit on the earth. The earth is a place that brings you into radical presence. You meditate outside and you're really there. You're going... That's another accelerator. Something about the just realness [laughter] is different than meditating in a really cozy ashram or in a cozy house, on a couch.

0:42:51.5 Paul F. Austin: It's much more wild, much more exposed, much more...

0:42:52.5 Spring Washam: Sit on the ground and you're gonna feel different than when you're in a carpeted room.

0:42:57.4 Paul F. Austin: Precisely.

0:42:58.3 Spring Washam: The farther you get from the earth, the more somehow delusions, layers come in. So I'm with you with just the directness that people have to work up to that.

0:43:12.0 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. That's why microdosing is good.

0:43:13.3 Spring Washam: Yeah. They microdose in the office first, and then they're like, "Okay... " A lot of our work is healing the womb between the earth in us as humans walking on it, and to not disconnect. But it's a journey there. But I'm with you with that, brother, I'm like, we need to have a whole section of this, just be earthing.

0:43:35.2 Paul F. Austin: That's it.

0:43:35.9 Spring Washam: And some future venue, have... I don't know, be in the forest.

0:43:38.4 Paul F. Austin: Be in the forest. I don't know if you could fit 11,000 people...

0:43:41.7 Spring Washam: Yeah, in Denver. We could fit 11,000, and then there would be a lot of impact. And then everyone would be mad at that impact.

0:43:48.6 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. There's always, I guess, trade offs and considerations.

0:43:51.3 Spring Washam: All the technology that everyone's utilizing here. But let's see what happens.

0:43:57.7 Paul F. Austin: Let's see what happens. So we've heard about your story with plant medicine, 2007, a little bit about meditation as well and your lineage there. Where were you born? Where are you from, originally?

0:44:10.0 Spring Washam: Yeah. Originally born in Long Beach, California.

0:44:13.2 Paul F. Austin: Oh, fantastic.

0:44:13.5 Spring Washam: Yeah. And...

0:44:14.8 Paul F. Austin: So you've been in California your entire life?

0:44:17.3 Spring Washam: I've been in California my whole life. I've been always coming and going, but it always has been this base northern, primarily northern California from the majority of the time. But spent a lot of years in Los Angeles and in urban areas all around California, around LA County, for sure.

0:44:37.9 Paul F. Austin: And what has that... I guess, what has living in California... A lot of times when we talk about lineage, we talk about a relationship to the land. What has living in California meant to you, being born here, now living in San Francisco in NorCal, what is your relationship like with the places that you've been born or the places that you've lived?

0:44:55.4 Spring Washam: Yeah. That's so interesting that you say that 'cause I'm in the middle of... In just two weeks, I'm moving to Georgia to start a church.

0:45:02.8 Paul F. Austin: What?

0:45:02.8 Spring Washam: An Ayahuasca Buddhist church.

0:45:04.1 Paul F. Austin: You're moving to Georgia?

0:45:06.2 Spring Washam: Yes. I actually... I didn't tell you. Maybe I forgot.

0:45:10.0 Paul F. Austin: I don't think I know. This is news, this is news... I think it's news.

0:45:13.1 Spring Washam: Yes, news, hot flash, right? Off the... So I have been really feeling this land issue. I was just leading a retreat up in Mendocino, barefoot. I walk barefoot, and I was weeping for one foot which loves California, and California's for my haven, it's where... Wherever you go, nobody can discount that California has magic. The people, the energy, the consciousness, the thought. Has downsides too, as we know, but it has influenced every aspect of my life. The mountains, the rivers, the communities, the bay, just the bay surrounding Oakland. And yeah, that's been a big part of my life, is walking on this earth, this soil, and being a proud Californian. I guess that would be the word for it. And now moving to Georgia and starting something in Atlanta, and moving to start a community with a very dear friend of mine who's trained as a Tibetan Lama, Lama Rod Owens. And feeling that I'll have a foot in that, in that state, and I'll have to get used to that land. And like, wow, there's a lot, because you feel a lot in land, right? And the history in that land, and the battles in that land, and the songs in that land, and the mountains and the rivers there. And I'll have one foot there. So it's been really interesting thinking about land and identity and where we feel at home. So I am doing experiment and I'm going there primarily to bring plant medicine...

0:47:08.3 Paul F. Austin: To Georgia.

0:47:11.1 Spring Washam: Yeah. Via Denver. [laughter] I'll do retreats here, but I'm gonna start a church of plant medicine.

0:47:19.0 Paul F. Austin: In Atlanta.

0:47:19.7 Spring Washam: Uh-huh.

0:47:19.8 Paul F. Austin: Wow.

0:47:20.8 Spring Washam: It's always been a... It's been an evolution with my work with The Spirit of Harriet Tubman and the plants themselves, and just the need has arisen now. And you need accessibility. You need to not be in Costa Rica, you need to be closer to the people. Getting to Osa Peninsula is a journey.

0:47:41.1 Paul F. Austin: Oh my gosh, of all places, yeah.

0:47:41.2 Spring Washam: It's worth it. It's worth the price of admission, but it's only... Not everybody... They can't do that.

0:47:47.9 Paul F. Austin: You can't even fly... I realized you can't even fly direct from San Francisco to Costa Rica...

0:47:51.6 Spring Washam: No, you have to stop in Texas, or another, and then...

0:47:52.4 Paul F. Austin: You have to go through Houston or LA.

0:47:55.7 Spring Washam: Yeah. It's a journey.

0:48:00.7 Paul F. Austin: It's a journey.

0:48:00.8 Spring Washam: It's a journey. And so, you have to...

0:48:00.9 Paul F. Austin: And that's what's beautiful about Colorado now, with it being available and accessible, right? To do medicine here is...

0:48:05.9 Spring Washam: Community use and then... So, that's exciting.

0:48:11.6 Paul F. Austin: It's very exciting.

0:48:12.6 Spring Washam: And that gives people the opportunities to not have to go to South America if they can, but to come and work in... Just a couple hour flight in the US.

0:48:23.0 Paul F. Austin: Beautiful.

0:48:24.1 Spring Washam: Yeah.

0:48:24.8 Paul F. Austin: Congratulations on that. I can't wait.

0:48:25.8 Spring Washam: Well, check back with me in six months...

0:48:27.1 Paul F. Austin: I wanna check back with you on this.

0:48:28.5 Spring Washam: Or a year, and I'm like... [laughter]

0:48:31.9 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. I definitely want to check back with you.

0:48:32.4 Spring Washam: But I'll always be visiting California though, for sure. That's my home, as many places are, and so is Costa Rica.

0:48:40.6 Paul F. Austin: There's a writer who I've been reading, an author, his name is Stephen Jenkinson. He wrote a book called Die Wise, which is a lot. He used to work in the palliative care industry, had a documentary that was done on him called Griefwalker.

0:48:57.7 Spring Washam: Oh, yes. I watched that beautiful film. He's a lovely speaker too.

0:49:02.7 Paul F. Austin: Lovely speaker. He has another book that I'm reading through now called, I think, Come of Age, about the importance of elderhood. And then the reason I'm bringing him up is because when we're talking about land, what he communicates is that culture comes from land, that the rivers, and the mountains, and the music, and the listening and the energy, that culture really comes from land. And that for many of us as people, especially in America, we have been displaced from our land. We are sort of landless, homeless people. And that we rationalize that by saying like, "Home is where the heart is." But really, there's something very real about the home and where we bury our ancestors and the relationship we have with that.

0:49:47.5 Spring Washam: Absolutely.

0:49:48.9 Paul F. Austin: And the sort of touching back in. We're talking about de-industrializing, de-domesticating, decolonizing, the touching back into that real culture is, I think, something that we're missing. And that with psychedelics and these churches and different even land projects, you and I probably have heard... I hear like three stories a week now of people who want to start a land project in a community.

0:50:13.3 Spring Washam: Totally. It's a collective dream.

0:50:14.1 Paul F. Austin: So there's like this thing that's coming through, of like, "Oh, we really, really want to feel like we have a home, a land."

0:50:20.0 Spring Washam: We wanna feel rooted on land.

0:50:21.2 Paul F. Austin: Rooted.

0:50:22.2 Spring Washam: And we wanna grow our food and we wanna feel sovereign. We wanna feel that we're eating quality, that we're drinking the things and we're working together in a good way. That's a very... And the community comes after that, isn't it? It's like, get the land, ground on the land and the community comes in, and then we start our food production. And we wanna be sustainable and happy, in a different system. And it feels like the land, we can create our own world on land. You can take 100 acres or 500 acres, or even one, you can create your own... You can just create anything you want, your own thing, and you can do it with heart. And there's something about having land, it means something.

0:51:13.2 Paul F. Austin: It means something very deep. There's something very ancient and primal. We want to be in land, we want to be in nature. We want to have that relationship. There's something very sustaining, nourishing about that.

0:51:25.3 Spring Washam: Yeah. Something very real or grounded. I think it's this grounding, we live in... Whereas everything else feels so impermanent, you know? Renting is like here today, gone tomorrow, in and out. But with land, you're generationally...

0:51:41.2 Paul F. Austin: It's the quick fix, the convenience, yeah. Exactly.

0:51:41.3 Spring Washam: You're looking at passing something on to the future, you're leaving something. So I agree, everybody has this dream of farming and growing and living and celebrating. [chuckle] It's definitely the dream right now.

0:51:54.3 Paul F. Austin: More celebrating, yeah. More celebrating.

0:51:56.3 Spring Washam: I don't hear anything but that these days.

0:52:00.4 Paul F. Austin: Exactly, yeah. So you mentioned The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, and I'd love for you to talk a little bit about what The Spirit of Harriet Tubman has meant to you. What does that look like?

0:52:07.6 Spring Washam: Yeah. I mean, this is something that I was working on in 2020, that came out of the blue during the most intense racial reckoning that we've had since, I would say, the '60s.

0:52:21.1 Paul F. Austin: The race riots in Detroit, and LA and...

0:52:24.2 Spring Washam: Yeah, since Dr. King died. I would say that turmoil and emotion, just the raw emotional impact was different even than a couple years ago. In 2020 summer, May, whew, that portal in there when all these killings, George Floyd's killing. So I was like everybody else, I was in the fetal position. Everything, all my retreats... Our whole lives just in the wind, right? And we're just floating along on uncertainty. And so, Harriet Tubman just started coming to me in very powerful moments, some ceremonial moments, and then out of ceremony. And then kind of the stream of talking and helping me and rescuing me and guiding me. And this conversation with this great ancestor began to form. And I was so relieved. Obviously, if you're... Harriet Tubman's holding your hand, guiding you as a great conductor out of suffering, you're like, "Oh my God, it's Harriet."

0:53:30.6 Spring Washam: But this really led me into such a beautiful period of studying her life early on. I was asked by my publisher to write a book about her, and then Harriet wanted to write a book and share about her heart. So in some ways, I don't use the word "channeled," because I feel like channeling connotes, I'm gonna sit down and you're gonna ask me a question and I'm gonna say, "I am Harriet Tubman," like that. It's not really that. It's a deep conversation with this ancestor to help them share their message of hope, liberation and strength for this time that we are going through. Well, it's another big turning here, maybe even the Civil War, of just ideas of half the US against the other half. I don't...

0:54:22.7 Paul F. Austin: It's very divisive, it feels like.

0:54:23.5 Spring Washam: So painfully divisive around how we live our lives, how we relate to human rights. It's just a very, very difficult divide right now. And so I feel like Harriet is back as a great spirit to help people. And I think I'm helping to give voice through that, through this book that I published a couple of months ago, that came out, called The Spirit of Harriet Tubman.

0:54:45.8 Paul F. Austin: Oh.

0:54:46.6 Spring Washam: Yeah. It's only been a couple months that book came out.

0:54:50.8 Paul F. Austin: On Amazon or through...

0:54:52.5 Spring Washam: It's everywhere.

0:54:52.7 Paul F. Austin: Everywhere?

0:54:53.7 Spring Washam: Yeah. Hay House is my publisher.

0:54:55.5 Paul F. Austin: Oh, fantastic.

0:54:57.1 Spring Washam: Yeah. And The Spirit of Harriet Tubman: Awakening from the Underground, yeah, I could have talked all at MAPS about that, but we just happened...

0:55:05.1 Paul F. Austin: What did you learn from writing that?

0:55:07.3 Spring Washam: Oh my God, it was just so epic. It's hard to even put into words, in a short conversation. Just the spirit world is real, that they're on our side. I guess I'd say the bodhisattva path is so alive, it's so available and we need to understand how to work with the unseen world right now, in order to get through this turning. Because we're at kind of a dangerous curve in the road, right? It's like, where are we going? Left or right? Are we gonna replicate the old, destructive ways, it's all there, or are we really gonna make this turn? And it's precarious, it's not certain, right? It's like, wow, we're heading up to the crossroads. And I feel like ancestors of all types, the spirit worlds, are all great beings, they're all kind of coming right now to try to influence this in a positive direction, to not replicate the suffering you've gone through already. Turn the corner, see the truth. And I just think Harriet's conducting again on the underground, underground railroad is open. This whole movement is underground railroad, all these plant medicine journeys.

0:56:30.6 Paul F. Austin: Absolutely.

0:56:30.7 Spring Washam: That are happening in garages and basements, and therapists giving... Breaking laws. We've been breaking laws, consciously.

0:56:39.4 Paul F. Austin: Civil disobedience, yeah.

0:56:41.9 Spring Washam: We've been subverting them for the benefit that we know is available. We're subverting federal laws and state mandates and risking ourselves, our reputations and our own freedom on the behalf of the greater good that we know that this can be helpful. So, there's a... In some way, this movement has been. It's moving toward above the ground, but it's still a full operation on the underground. [laughter]

0:57:09.0 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. Let's not forget that.

0:57:11.5 Spring Washam: There's only a couple states out of what? 52...

0:57:13.0 Paul F. Austin: Let's not forget that. Yeah.

0:57:13.9 Spring Washam: That are... Say, sure, the other 50... Oh, there's movement happening all up and down.

0:57:19.0 Paul F. Austin: But we're not there yet necessarily...

0:57:22.5 Spring Washam: It's the mycelium is moving.

0:57:23.4 Paul F. Austin: It's growing. Yeah.

0:57:26.1 Spring Washam: It's growing. And I think at that level, before great change, as in Harriet Tubman's time, there was a backlash for years against slavery, and then it just grew and grew. And the underground railroad also was of... They subverted the law. They refused to participate. And I think that grew. That was a long time. And I think this is that too. And then one day, the system collapses that held up the old structure.

0:57:55.6 Paul F. Austin: And that's why I often anchor in a... There's a Buckminster Fuller quote.

0:58:00.3 Spring Washam: Yes.

0:58:00.7 Paul F. Austin: It basically said, "Don't... " And I'm paraphrasing, but, "Don't bother fixing the obsolete system, the old system. Don't try to fix that broken system, but really create a new system that makes the old one irrelevant, obsolete." Right? So really focus on, what is that new paradigm?

0:58:16.9 Spring Washam: Exactly. And we see this new paradigm, we see this all the time in technology when one app... We're updating our apps constantly. And then, "You have that one? That's old, that is six months outdated." It's like a totally different program that's better functioning, less bugs, less vulnerable, right? Something's vulnerable. So I think that... Yeah, but it's just hard because all of us feel this right now. And it's the anxiety in the old, we love it and we hate it, and we're confused by it. And it's, we're letting go of ourselves with it.

0:58:56.7 Paul F. Austin: It's a major point of transition, transformation that's occuring.

0:59:00.7 Spring Washam: Yeah, we're letting go of parts of ourselves, our languages, and there's... Half this country is refusing to change, to... And it's bigger than that, psychological, and there's a lot of pieces. [laughter] But we know we can't stop. We constantly evolve. God is change.

0:59:21.9 Paul F. Austin: And psychedelics. And I would even say... You mentioned meditation 2500 years, there's been a very clear container and a path towards insight and a lineage. It's like in times of uncertainty and stress and lack of clarity, what I often look to is the past, to help us understand how to navigate towards the future. 'Cause in many ways, history repeats itself. And the past, especially these ancient traditions, it's like the more we can weave those into who we're becoming, I think the more stability and safety and structure we offer ourselves as a human species.

0:59:54.8 Spring Washam: Absolutely. And if you think about the last few years which have been very painful but very growth-oriented, just from the pandemic perspective, where we all had to look at ourselves and deal with ourselves, the two most popular healing modalities have been meditation-focused practices, awareness-based, rather it's yoga, movement. I mean, mindfulness exploded during the pandemic 'cause people realized, "I'm alone with my head, I gotta get ahold of this," and then also the plant medicine. So these two together, consciously, is what excites me. Yeah.

1:00:38.2 Paul F. Austin: What did you speak at... Or I guess you haven't spoken yet 'cause we're recording this on Wednesday and you're speaking tomorrow, but what are you speaking about here at the MAPS conference? What's the topic? What's the...

1:00:48.9 Spring Washam: Well, the...

1:00:49.2 Paul F. Austin: The keynote that you're...

1:00:51.9 Spring Washam: The keynote...

1:00:51.8 Paul F. Austin: Or the panel as well.

1:00:51.9 Spring Washam: Is the acceleration of consciousness, Buddhism in Ayahuasca. That's one.

1:00:56.3 Paul F. Austin: Oh, fantastic.

1:00:56.6 Spring Washam: So I'm gonna tell my own story about how I got into this, where I see the potential of it being used is, we're talking about all these potentials; community use and clinic use and how to do this responsibly. So much of MAPS is such great information. This is another piece. For those who are on a spiritual path who wanna use this, how do we do it? And I think it's gonna get more clear, and what are the suggested ways? Not a lot of people are talking about this publicly. So I can only offer my perspective, but my hope is that I will garner a wider group of Buddhist support to help us as a bigger community of multiple lineages and languages and East and West, bridge this to create a bigger map of consciousness and a new lineage, and a new branch. Not a new lineage. It's utilizing the same lineage, but with a branch.

1:02:01.3 Paul F. Austin: It's almost like a marrying of lineages, in some way.

1:02:04.4 Spring Washam: Yeah. It's so many lineages, but as...

1:02:06.4 Paul F. Austin: Yeah, we can bring in together.

1:02:08.4 Spring Washam: But we know Santo Daime is a Catholic Christian-based...

1:02:12.5 Paul F. Austin: Syncretic church.

1:02:13.1 Spring Washam: Yes. And they have been wildly successful at their church.

1:02:16.8 Paul F. Austin: UDV as well.

1:02:17.8 Spring Washam: UDV is similar, so why not the Buddhist flavor?

1:02:21.4 Paul F. Austin: That's a great opening.

1:02:24.2 Spring Washam: Yeah, no, I have always been inspired.

1:02:25.6 Paul F. Austin: I haven't even thought about that.

1:02:26.6 Spring Washam: That was exactly why I started Lotus Vine. I thought, well, if UDV and Santo Daime can have it, why can't the Daime people? I was always so...

1:02:34.0 Paul F. Austin: That is fantastic.

1:02:34.5 Spring Washam: Inspired by it. [laughter]

1:02:35.6 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. 'Cause UDV and Santo Daime, I think, came out of the 1930s when the rubber tappers were in the Amazon and they had their own traditions and they... It's like, the Mestizo population started to work with Ayahuasca. And it's 90 years old, so to...

1:02:56.4 Spring Washam: Absolutely.

1:02:57.3 Paul F. Austin: And the traditions are interesting 'cause they're very different than the Shipibo.

1:03:02.1 Spring Washam: Right. Totally different.

1:03:03.3 Paul F. Austin: The Shipibo is actually much more... I'm just reflecting, kind of. The Shipibo feels much more aligned with the more sort of Buddhist...

1:03:09.8 Spring Washam: Exactly. 'Cause the stillness, the concentration. And then the Santo Daime, which unique is they just have the religion and the shrines and the songs and the hymns and the prayers. And then the Shipibo, they have that stillness, which is why I so many years collaborated with Shipibos and was deeply drawn to the Shipibo tradition, 'cause it just reminded me, this is practice time. I'm gonna sit and listen, be in practice. So there's so much to learn from these different flavors of the medicine. And as it grows, it's meeting this culture with all of its psychological problems. There's psychological streams now, we're using it to do therapy and all of the psychedelic-assisted therapy is kind of a new branch on the tree, right?

1:04:00.6 Paul F. Austin: Right.

1:04:00.7 Spring Washam: They don't do that in the jungle, take ayahuasca and do therapy. [laughter]

1:04:04.5 Paul F. Austin: No.

1:04:05.1 Spring Washam: But we do, right? So this is unique to our culture, to our people, to what our people need in North America, and also not just North America, but how people can utilize this medicine with psychological states and suffering, and through that paradigm. So many new things.

1:04:29.4 Paul F. Austin: So many new things. So many old things and so many new things.

1:04:32.0 Spring Washam: It's all old and it's all just packaged in a new way.

1:04:35.1 Paul F. Austin: Right. It's like the adaptation in modern time or the adaptation for 2023, or the... It's like reality in life, just generally life force, has a way of being like water, right? Where it can flow with things that need to flow.

1:04:49.9 Spring Washam: Exactly. It needs to flow. We have a mental health crisis of epic proportion, and psychedelic-assisted therapy is what is needed, therapies that assist people in getting better with their mind, their mental health. So I don't fight against change, 'cause it's the nature.

1:05:07.5 Paul F. Austin: Exactly. You've gotta surrender.

1:05:09.3 Spring Washam: Totally, it's happening.

1:05:11.0 Paul F. Austin: It's happening. Yeah. I was with a friend last night and he said, "You should approach life like it's a movie that you're just getting to watch and you're not trying to direct the movie necessarily but you're really trying to observe it and be with it and witness it and surrender to it." And that process of watching the experience unfold is where a lot of, I think, gratitude, beauty, bliss, awe, is called on or is felt. It's like, be there...

1:05:37.5 Spring Washam: Exactly.

1:05:37.8 Paul F. Austin: Just to witness the miracle of life as it's unfolding.

1:05:41.7 Spring Washam: And I know that I will always keep coming back also with indigeneity, with the prophecy, the Mayan prophecy of the eagle and the condor. We have a lot to learn from our condor brothers in the south; their ways, their ceremonies, how they use it to protect it. They came forward with these traditions. They've used these successfully for hundreds, if not thousands of years. So we all have so much to learn and it's about learning and being equal now, honoring the North, learning from the South, and the South becoming equal to the North, with their modalities. And I love that that's slowly happening more here. It's hard and people get really upset about that. And I just wanna also just mention that because that's just a constant flow we'll all navigate, is honoring where these plants came from and then the new versions of where things appear, like psilocybin use in different ways and then LSD and all... And MDMA is new. It's not an ancient, but it's a stream of the ancient. [laughter] It has its... Yeah. Anyway, I just wanna mention that because these topics always come up in conjunction with... As we create a Buddhist lineage, it's like, what are you doing with the indigenous perspectives? It's just, all we can do is just bow down, honor and tell the stories, where these things come from, and keep honoring, and with the sense of reciprocity.

1:07:28.6 Paul F. Austin: And keep weaving it.

1:07:29.8 Spring Washam: Keep weaving it, keep...

1:07:30.6 Paul F. Austin: The creation continues.

1:07:31.8 Spring Washam: Yeah. And we don't even know where this is going. And as we heal, as we embrace the south of ourselves, the condor spirit, we're healing ourselves, that part of ourselves.

1:07:42.8 Paul F. Austin: Right.

1:07:44.0 Spring Washam: Yeah. So both are true, simultaneously. We need each other now to grow.

1:07:48.3 Paul F. Austin: We need each other.

1:07:49.3 Spring Washam: Yeah.

1:07:50.0 Paul F. Austin: Spring, thank you for taking some time during this incredible conference, to join us for the podcast. Any final thoughts, teachings, words, before we close?

1:08:03.4 Spring Washam: No. Just so happy that we get to have these conversations, and may they be of benefit to all beings everywhere.

1:08:11.8 Paul F. Austin: Thank you.

1:08:12.4 Spring Washam: Thank you.


1:08:19.8 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners, Paul here. I hope you enjoyed our episode today with Spring. You can continue the conversation with us in Third Wave's Community at Tell us what you thought of this conversation. Let us know in Third Wave's Community. You can sign in and find The Psychedelic Podcast in the menu. Leave us a comment, and while you're at it, check out the rest of this community platform where you can find support, meaningful discussions, as well as education resources and providers across our global ecosystem. Sign up for free at


Related Podcasts