There are few activities more thrilling than exploring consciousness, particularly in the form of intelligent spiritual practice. In this talk, Jeff Warren – founder of The Consciousness Explorers Club and author of The Head Trip – introduces us to the terrain and describes some of the attendant risks and benefits. What begins as an exploration can become a transformation. The question then is how to talk – or not talk – about your experience, in a secular world often suspicious of spirituality.
This primer is about the broadest possible classes of meditation and spiritual experience. It’s a work-in-progress. Every time I come back, I find myself cutting more details, for they seem like technique-specific effects, and not the human universals I once imagined. So it goes. In a couple years there may be nothing here at all.
I hosted this panel at the 2013 Science and Nonduality conference in Holland. At least two of of the participants – Lisa Cairns and Gary Weber – claimed to be in a permanent state of nondual consciousness. For those who don’t speak the lingo, they are what some Buddhist might call “enlightened” – i.e., their sense of being a separate self has collapsed, and they now apparently reside in a state of open unfixed “oneness” – whatever you take that to mean. Actually, what the hell that actually means is the subject of this panel.
The benefits of mindfulness meditation have very quickly become one of the good-news mental health stories of our time. But meditation also has a shadowy seam. Is there a link between some forms of mental illness and the freedom promised at the heart of meditation? My column on the infamous “Dark Night of the Soul”