Review: Wisdom 2.0 Conference 2024

Review: Wisdom 2.0 Conference 2024

Review: Wisdom 2.0 Conference 2024 1920 1080 Neil Seligman

This April, as I arrived at Yerba Buena Gardens smelling the sweet San Franciscan air with its hint of ocean, honeysuckle and freshly cut grass, I was musing on the fact that this was my tenth Wisdom 2.0 conference (I missed a year in 2020, whilst speaking at the Mindful Living Show in London just as covid arrived). The conference has changed a great deal since my first visit in 2014 and as I reflect, so have I.

We used to be at the Marriott across the street, underground in the cavernous ballroom with a Main Stage that held three or four thousand people at its peak. There were multiple breakout spaces: an inspiration village, rooms for dance and movement, yoga areas, meditation studios, smaller but still huge bonus stages for deep dives with the likes of Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, Sharon Salzburg and many more. I miss the diversity of breakout spaces and the feel of a buzzy hive of conscious networkers that the larger in-person gatherings allowed.

This year’s post-covid conference, like last, was at the Blue Shield Theatre, holding about 800 people. It forms part of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and is a smaller more beautiful space where the Smuin ballet and other local dance and theatre companies make their home. Imagine a traditional theatre with raked stage and comfortable tiered seating making for a great view for all and a more intimate feel.

As Soren Gordhamer, visionary and founder of the conference, took the stage this year, he folded in themes of war, digital distraction, and ai threats with the importance of mindfulness, conscious choosing, and the power to rise to this moment in history. The mood was more positive in 2014, the world seemed a little less complicated, the potentials were glimmering. He seemed a little more world weary, a little less hopeful.

Thirteen years into my journey as Founder of The Conscious Professional, I continue to be as committed to human flourishing and supporting professionals to live deeply aligned with their values and purpose and yet somehow, I also find myself considering whether this will be my last Wisdom 2.0?

Is it possible to outgrow a conference, I wonder?

Either way, I am delighted to share my reflections on some of the brilliant talks that graced the stage of this year’s enlightening event.

 

James Nestor: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Breath

In a world where the breath is often taken for granted, James Nestor, author of worldwide bestseller Breath and journalist, reminded us of its profound significance as a gateway to health and vitality. Drawing upon diverse research which took us through the human skull record, the straight teeth of the animal/fish kingdoms and into the industrialisation of food, Nestor explored the science behind modern breath restrictions and the transformative effects of conscious breathing on body, mind, and spirit. By harnessing the power of breath awareness, through mouth-taping, and reclaiming our natural breathing patterns (think: Deep / Slow / Nasal) we can unlock untapped reservoirs of energy, clarity, and resilience. Great talk.

Dr. Deepak Chopra: Are We Living In A Virtual Reality?

Deepak, now on his 94th book(!) gave a profound talk addressing the nature of reality. Mind boggling doesn’t quite cover it, perhaps Soul boggling is closer? He posed, and answered, two of the biggest questions faced by science today: What is the Universe made of? (Nothing), and What is the biological basis of consciousness? (It’s not biological). He reminded us that the Universe is mostly dark matter which we cannot see, that there are 2 trillion galaxies in the tiny bit we can observe and that there are 60 billion planets in their habitable zone in our own galaxy. He concluded by wondering whether life is a lucid dream in a vivid now where once in a while we wake up enough to know we are dreaming… The vibe in the theatre was a very spacious [    wow    ].

Aza Ruskin: Translating Animal Languages

Did you know that Whales have unique names as well as clan names denoting their deeper affiliations?

Perhaps one of the most uplifting talks this year was delivered by Aza Ruskin (you may remember him as co-presenter of The AI Dilemma). Co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology with Tristan Harris, Aza spoke eloquently about the promise of discovering ancient cultures as we begin to tap into the language of the most ancient beings known to inhabit planet Earth, Whales.

That’s right – AI will soon be able to translate whale song as we have previously thought of it – into whale words and sentences and requests and greetings. We may well be on the precipice of an extraordinary discovery that will change everything about how we understand our place on this fragile planet. I expect an inspirational and humbling experience awaits.

Eve Ensler: Embodying Radical Compassion

Eve Ensler (V), celebrated playwright (The Vagina Monologues) and activist, delivered a stirring keynote on the transformative power of radical compassion. Drawing upon her own journey of healing and social activism, Ensler urged us to embrace the energy of apology as a force for social change. V described how, after a childhood of abuse at the hands of her father, she wrote his apology to her from him. This powerful act of radical empathy released her from his victimhood and allowed her to move forward in her own trajectory of life.

Her example showed as that by bearing witness to the suffering of others and extending compassion without judgment, we can dismantle systems of oppression and foster a more just and equitable world. Ensler’s impassioned statement that: apology is a pathway to another world served as a call to action for all of us committed to creating a more compassionate society.

Dr. Richard Schwarz: The Healing Power of Inner Work

Dr. Richard Schwarz, a leading expert in psychotherapy and the creator of Internal Family Systems, illuminated the profound healing potential of exploring our inner landscapes. By shining the light of awareness on our innermost depths, we can integrate fragmented aspects (parts) of ourselves and embark on a journey of wholeness and self-realization  – as Schwarz expertly demonstrated live on Soren during his talk.

And on the Friday evening with the conference coming to an end, as Soren retook the stage full of thanks for the volunteers, the wonderful host Michelle Gail, and the speakers, I found myself reflecting on these words from his opening address:

We are seaworthy vessels, and we were built for storms.

Perhaps I will be back.


By Neil Seligman, The Conscious Professional

 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you achieve your Personal and Professional Conscious Goals:

1. Learn To Meditate With Me In Just 10 Days!

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See if a Coaching Partnership or Appointment for Energy Healing is right for you. Book a 15-minute discovery call with me here.

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Mindfulness Expert and Conscious Life Coach, Neil Seligman is dedicated to delivering inspiring learning experiences and catalysing conscious creativity in all aspects of life and business.

 

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