East Meets West: Consciousness in a Modern World

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East Meets West held its annual conference in Oakland California this month, an event that they tout isn’t quite a conference, or a summit or even a festival. In their words, “it’s a vibe and a wave length.”

“East Meets West is a set of principles that animates everyone & changes people’s lives while they are with us.” 

We breezed in and breezed out so sadly wasn’t able to say for much of it because of other obligations, but their heart is in the right place. Founded by Jeff Bausemer who kicked off East Meets West with an introduction to Phytopsychology, educating attendees about herbal medicine for mental health, the event is now in its fifth year.

east meets west

East Meets West

The East Meets West event is based around being and doing good, calm energy and living, music, and consciousness. Over the weekend, they held experiential workshops, panels, and talks with top thought and lifestyle leaders, industry founders, wellness professionals and coaches, mindfulness educators and cultural creatives.

From the arts, mindfulness, technology, design, wisdom traditions, neuroscience, physics and more, they have had speakers from the Tibet House, The Rubin Museum, CBS’s hit show Survivor, Parsley Health as well as yogis, nutritionists and alternative wellness practitioners.

Their focus is at the intersection of Eastern and Western thought and lifestyle and included discussions around ayurveda, modern yoga, branding in wellness, business development, natural medicine, diet, exercise, education, life coaching, politics, meditation, neuroscience, and beyond.

Since we didn’t stay for long, we aren’t able to give the event justice like we normally do when we do event coverage, however a few call outs that were interesting for me, included Yingzhao Liu, who spoke on Buddhist Alchemy: Transforming Everything Into Wisdom and Dr. James Daty, who is a professor of Neurosurgery and the founder of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford.

Where and how does masculinity fit into the age of feminism was addressed tackled by Tom Kubik and Ravi Mishra.

In light of recent events with Harvey Weinstein and the onslaught of women speaking up around the world, particularly in France over the past week, it was timely. Patriarchy has had a good run but it’s tired, they assert. How do we make men and women feel equal in the conversation about how to handle where our society needs to go at a global level?

east meets west

The rise of the divine feminine

An all female panel took on the social and societal aspects of wellness (Daisy Ozim, Magenta Ceiba and Taraneh) and Sachi Cocto focused on Ayurvedic Inner Wisdom.

Chaikuni Witan, who has been apprenticing with a Peruvian Shaman for five years, talked about Psychedelics, how they work and a nose dive into the Amazonian Plant Medicine known as Ayahuasca. We’ll be writing more about this topic in the future.

I missed a performance I was ever so curious about from Nkechi Njaka who in addition to a choreographer and meditation teacher, is a Neuroscientist, Art Director and Wellness expert. I found her fascinating – she is also a contributing writer for Black Girl in Om and the co-Founder of Sitting Matters. Nkechi, I so wish I could “sit” more. I hear you.

East Meets West

Nkechi Njaka, credit: Metiza

My buddy from Google, Gopi Kalayil was the closing keynote on Sunday, who I always enjoy hearing from — his work inspires me as does his commitment to leading yoga wherever he ventures.

They also had a yoga room throughout the weekend, where folks like Will Meecham led a session on Mindful Biology, Eli Cohen did a session on Tai Chi and Qi Gong, as did Eli Cohen and Jean Mazzei led Aromatherapy Flow and Yoga Nidra, among others. Workshops were varied as well and included Awakening Qi in Chinese Medicine (am a fan), Understanding Hips and Shoulders in Vinyasa Yoga (quirky and fun title) and Tibetan Medicine and healing with Jason Whitlow.

East Meets West was held at The Omni Commons on Shattuck Avenue in Oakland, California. Check out their website for more information on them, their speakers and world.

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