I’ve known about Wisdom 2.0 for awhile now but never managed to secure a ticket in time to attend, at least not formally so since I’ve been to a few sub-events and parties here and there. As I scanned the sessions, I realized I knew half a dozen speakers on the main stage, which would serve as a place for discussions over three days at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.
Facebook tells me that I share 30 mutual friends with its founder Soren Gordhamer, although somehow given where I’ve been spending more of my time lately, I’m surprised it’s not more. I couldn’t align with his vision more. His vision is centered around how we use technology and making sure consciousness is at the core. Essentially Wisdom 2.0 addresses the great challenge of our age: to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.
I’ve been starting to see more and more technologies crop up that aren’t necessarily healthy for us physically or emotionally. CES over the last two years was flooded with connected devices across a myriad of areas, with wellness taking a lead. The problem is that while technology gives us the ability to connect with others around the world in a way that never would have been imagined twenty or so years ago and allows people with serious conditions to monitor their heart rates, pulse and more, over use can bring on a host of other problems. Be sure to read my article on EMFs are Real for the negative impact of too much wifi, smart meters, cell phones and more.
The premise behind the conference is that Awareness, Engagement and Wisdom are core to happiness. With consciousness the integral piece to the event, I wasn’t surprised to see a group of Tibetan monks in the room they referred to as The Village, which is where they had Q&A sessions with speakers and tables were sprung up with useful products and services — everything from jewelry, bowls and artwork to books, coaching services and a “green” dentist.
The monks worked on creating a Mandala throughout the course of the conference. For those who don’t know, the Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religious that represent the universe. In common use, the mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart of geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the universe.
Here, you can see that they’re making the mandala from sand mandala which is made from millions of grains of powdered, colored marble. Powdered sand, flowers, herbs, grains, colored stones, and semiprecious and precious stones can also be used in the construction of sand mandalas. It was a marvel to watch…..
I also learned discovered groups with a different approach to meditation and yoga. The guru behind Inner Yoga, Dina Amsterdam educated me on the alignment component of yoga. The InnerYoga cliff notes? Open to what is, Invite ease and relaxation amidst what is and Align w/ your highest intention amidst what it. Dina integrates elements of Buddhist psychology and meditation into her vision of yoga and tells me as we were walking back to the hotel after dinner one night, that breathing is the most critical piece of it. The best yoga instructors I’ve had tell me that too, although it’s astonishing how often our heads get in the way, at least mine does, where rather than focus on how I’m breathing, I focus on how to get the pose “just right.”
The latter always gets in the way because frankly, I never do the pose “just right” and am in pain more often than not when I try to replicate what I see in the front of the room. When your breathing is off and not fluid, everything is off. Yoga isn’t a sport that you get “good at,” it’s a mindfulness practice that helps you better connect with yourself and the world around you.
The MeditationInSF.org folks takes a different approach to meditation. From their vantage point, wisdom enters into your mind through self-reflection and subtraction and they conduct courses on their method, which is a simple, step-by-step process takes you through seven levels if you go through the entire program.
The Whole Life team is working on unveiling a very compelling platform this year, where you can find the breakthrough ideas and thought leaders whose independent perspectives disrupt the old mindset of conventional wisdom, create your own channel and share your media with curious minds who are ready for change and discover new content and emerging creators who can help enhance your world view. Their Wholelife TV network will allow you to tune into the best of today’s conscious programming, curated, reviewed, and delivered how you like it, when you want it.
From therapists, educators, doctors, scientists & yogi’s to entrepreneurs, coaches, technologists and authors, they were all there. Rather than the hard to say and hard to spell start-up names you find launching from Silicon Valley, they had company names like Live a Moment, Resilience Coaching, Evolutionary Collective, Thrive Market, Inspire Possibility, Wisdom To Work and Calm. I was thrilled to see the Emerging Women Conference organizers there which I hope to participate in this year, an editor with Experience Life, a magazine focused on health and fitness, Wellness for Doctors, Mission Be and Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.
I spent time at the Spirit Rock booth, the organization Jack Kornfield co-founded in Woodacre California. Dubbed as an insight meditation center, they are dedicated to the teachings of the Buddha as presented in the Vipassana tradition. They have a book that is exploding with a variety of different silent meditation retreats, as well as classes, trainings, and Dharma study opportunities.
Photo credit: Spirit Rock from seekingheartwood.com.
Jack Kornfield was at Wisdom 2.0 as both a speaker and moderator for a number of sessions including one with Trudy Goodman on Metta Love Body Meditation on the first day. Trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma, he has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West.
On the main stage, speakers such as Kit Crawford, Justin Musk, John Donahue, Emily Lane, Eileen Fisher (she’s fabulous if you’re not familiar with her work), and people you might not expect at all – Prince Ea and Leila Janah. A great talk came from high performance psychologist Pete Carroll and Byron Katie. And, one of the most inspiring talks was from Dan Nevins who shared his story of service on and off of the battlefield, as well as the lessons he has learned in a decade post injury as a bilateral amputee living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). His story of how yoga profoundly changed his life continues to be his source of inspiration to lead fellow wounded warriors around the country to yoga, mindfulness and meditation. There were tons of teary eyes in the room as Dan spoke – he noted on more than one occasion, “inviting a wounded warrior in could save his life.” In addition to teaching Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga, he spends his life now inspiring warriors, leaders and people of all walks of life to create positive choice-changes for themselves and the world.
IndieGoGo’s co-founder Danae Ringelmann shared a number of inspiring campaigns, all aimed at making the world a better place.
A thought provoking and inspiring fireside chat on medicine, healthcare and consciousness took place in The Village between scientist, writer and meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn, AETNA Insurance’s CEO Mark Bertolini and US Congressman from Ohio Tim Ryan. Everyone wanted to hear Mark speak and was inspired after the session, a hopeful sign since so many feel that the way our medical insurance packages are structured in the states serve to defeat not help.
In addition to The Village and the main room, there were breakout sessions on a number of topics, from mindful technology to dating in the modern world. Speakers included Tyler Norris, Konda Mason, Eric Kaufmann, Kimberly Arnold, Zoe Gerlach, Bodhi Aldrige and a host of others. Then, there was Camp Grounded, a meditation area where cushions, carpets and pillows were thrown in the middle of the room, a sanctuary for those who wanted to get away from all the sessions and talks and simple just BE.
The Wisdom 2.0 Lucid Lounge….
No shortage of books by mindfulness authors and speakers from around the world….
The monk’s closing ceremony….
Bottom line, if you want to tap into the power of consciousness at work and at home and how it can transform whatever you do, Wisdom 2.0 is a great entry into that world. The networking is great (and global) and the speakers are riveting and passionate to keep you on the edge of your seats. They’re also having an event called Wisdom 2.0: The Intersect from October 20-23, 2016 at Fairmont Orchid in Waimea, Hawaii. More information on their flagship event which is held every February in San Francisco and other events they do can be found on their website at www.wisdom2summit.com.