Each year, the annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference brings together thought leaders, teachers and practitioners in the areas of mindfulness, technology, spirituality, education, creativity and sustainable business to have an open dialogue about how to connect, communicate and work in a more collaborative and humanitarian way.
Accelerate Consciousness at Wisdom 2.0
Once again, we were a thrilled to be a media partner of Wisdom 2.0 again, because their vision is so aligned with ours. While there are amazing spiritual events around the world that largely draw those already in a mindful practice, yogis, teachers and leaders, there are very few events that bring together both spiritual and business leaders (with so much heart and purpose) all under one roof.
First, a few call outs to some of my favorite Wisdom 2.0 speakers and sessions: Dan Siegel addressed Neurobiology of Relationships and Community, Jack Kornfield took on the Power of Connection and Kindness in the Digital Age with Trudy Goodman, and Richard Strozzi-Heckler showed attendees how they can transform their lives through embodiment (we’re keen to try out some of their work later this Spring).
It wasn’t just spiritual and psychology leaders who hit the Wisdom 2.0 main stage.
Founder of the #MeToo Movement Tarana Burke did a fireside chat with Wisdom 2.0 founder Soren Gordhamer.
To say her presence was moving is an understatement — I applaud Tarana’s courage, resilience and commitment to moving this from a dialogue to a global shift in thinking.
Then of course, a few of my favorite spiritual peeps allowed me to be present with my thoughts and challenges, such as the ever so powerful Jon Kabat-Zinn, renowned for his work with mindfulness and medicine, the Soul of Money’s Lynne Twist, who was on our TEDxBerkeley stage last year (LOVE her work, her thinking and her book) and the quiet presence of Roshi Joan Halifax made us just that: PRESENT.
Halifax says, “Standing at the edge is often where we find ourselves and bravely but serenely, we explored how to find freedom where fear and courage meet.”
Goldie Hawn showed up to alert us to her work with educational programs and how they are changing the way we think about learning (think brain breaks and meditation).
I met Qigong master Mingtong Gu for the first time six or so years ago at the SAND Conference, so was thrilled to see him lead sessions at Wisdom 2.0 both on the main stage and in what they refer to as the Practice Room. Be sure to read my write-up on an amazing Qigong workshop he led with Debra Chamberlin-Taylor at Spirit Rock this Spring.
Amy Blankson addressed the future of happiness and how to live mindfully in the digital era and Michelle Scheidt was bold enough to take on spirituality and religion, especially amidst so many technologist and entrepreneurs.
Elle Luna and Susie Herrick took us on a journey to harness the feminine voice and power, which has been exploding lately and not just because of the #MeToo Movement. It’s the divine feminine “time” so to speak and Goddess energy is beautifully evolving and transforming how we look at family, social and business life. The time is now.
I didn’t see all of Sharon Salzberg — although I’m new to her work, I loved her energy and am eager to follow up and feature Sharon in our Spiritual Voices section, so keep your eyes peeled.
The ever so renowned Byron Katie was a blessing at the event. Not only did she speak on the main stage but she did a two hour break-out session with someone who was working out an issue in her life. She so tactfully but directly brings up exercises for the audience to do in order to turn your suffering inwards rather than externally so you can get to the real suffering and diffuse it.
She asked us to go into complete stillness and ask ourselves, what and who would you be without thought? Once you remove your needs and thoughts from the equation, then what are you?
You see, when we honor and respect the other persons life and needs and see how you feel without your needs infused, a deeper understanding emerges. In other words, when you remove the need for the other person to act and turn it around, you suddenly take responsibility for your own needs and realize you can give yourself what you need and YOU can love and hug yourself and YOU can heal yourself. We all have what we need inside ourselves.
When we turn it around and take responsibility for our needs, then we can give what we are wanting to receive rather than continuing the suffering while you keep expecting something you may never get. For example, if you want a hug (and keep expecting one from your mother or partner) then rather long for it or make the other person wrong while you remain in pain, stand up and give it instead.
Would you rather suffer or get the hug?
When we take the time to realize the pain someone else is experiencing is the same pain we are experiencing, the opposite of fear and anger emerges.
In smaller break out sessions, we also explored death as simply a belief, which can be tough because it often goes against our identity and comes head to head with our deepest fears.
But let’s remember that fear can also just be a pattern and something we can nip in the bud by choosing love and trust instead.
“Fear is fear until it isn’t! — Byron Katie
Sadly, I missed both the Q&A and the main talk by Jon Kabat-Zinn who has been a main speaker at Wisdom 2.0 for years.
I’m a huge fan of what he’s done to shift consciousness around medicine. As creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, he has been weaving meditation and mindfulness into healthcare.
He was a student of some of the Buddhist greats you will be aware of, such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Zen Master Seung Sahn. John is also a founding member of the Cambridge Zen Center in Cambridge Massachusetts.
Additionally, there were several panel discussions like the compelling all women one with Radha Agrawal, Konda Mason and Heather Gallagher.
As always, the folks at Wisdom 2.0 set up a Yoga Room where you could participate in various forms of yoga throughout the day, from Heart Flow Yoga and Hatha Flow to Vinyasa and yoga for spine relief by Sean Haleen.
They also have a big lounge area every year where you can hang, sit and meditate, drink tea and coffee or spend time with some of their exhibitors, partners and sponsors.
Strozzi Institute had a big space this year (think embodiment) and I met with some organizations I respect like Spirit Rock in northern California, California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), Pachamana Alliance who bridges the indigenous and modern worlds, the Center for Mindfulness, and Fetzer Institute.
These two filled me in on the Ever Forward Club in Oakland. They’re offering academic support for kids, team building, service to community, parent focus groups, goal setting workshops, mentorship, school emotional learning and more which has yielded a 100% graduation rate of Seniors from High School – bravo guys! Way to go. Join their movement and the #100kMasks Challenge.
Creativity & Fun Meets Consciousness
See our write-up on a couple of courses we took at Spirit Rock and be sure to check out the courses at CIIS — here, you can actually take academic programs and get diplomas or certifications in a variety of healing, spiritual, philosophical, psychological and sociological tracks.
Their holistic approach to education consists of four schools and 25 degree programs that combine academic rigor, consciousness, and spirituality to foster personal and professional growth.
The entire Wisdom 2.0 team at the end of the conference on the main stage. Soren Gordhamer to the left.
See our Video recap of this year’s Wisdom 2.0 event.