Creativity, Cosmology, and Communion: A Buddhist View on the Sacred Significance of Psychedelics

Austin Hill Shaw


Abstract: Based on the presenter’s 10 years of experience as a practicing Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhist (the first four years free of psychedelic experiences and the last six fraught with them) as well as his experience as an architectural designer, teacher, and healer, this talk will explore the powerful nexus of creativity, cosmology, and psychedelic communion. In order to do so, the presenter will begin by unpacking the nature of creativity, then explore the two prevailing cosmological views of the universe, the traditional and the scientific. Ultimately, the goal of the talk will be to construct a powerful, life-enriching triad between (1) creative pursuits and vocation; (2) sacred outlook and daily spiritual/religious practices; and (3) occasional intentional psychedelic journeying for clearing, clarity, and resetting, a triad imbued with fulfillment, meaning, and full-person wellbeing.

Austin Hill Shaw is a Vajrayana Buddhist, architectural designer, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, and a mapmaker of creativity and the creative process. Austin is interested in exploring the peculiar ability of psychedelics to root out both the karmic challenges and opportunities of the individual who ingests them, and their powerful way of delivering messages that, when seen in the appropriate light, allow an individual to move forward in life with a deeper sense of meaning, purpose, and creative expression. Inspired by both his practices as meditator and his journeys as a psychonaut, he is the author of the Awakening Creativity series including Between the Bridge and the Water: Death, Rebirth, and Creative Awakening and The Shoreline of Wonder: On Being Creative. He resides in Berkeley, California with his wife Epiphany and their daughters, Sierra Lucia and Lorenza Delmar ().


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