Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Living with Greater Wisdom
Category:
Mind

More than 25 years ago, Wisdom 2.0 founder and author Soren Gordhamer came to Esalen as an Extended Student from Lubbock, Texas. He was introduced to Esalen by way of his father, a single parent who made annual treks to Big Sur as his one trip away from the family. Today Soren is the catalyst behind Wisdom 2.0, an annual event where 3,000 people from more than 20 countries and a variety of sectors and disciplines come together with a shared desire to live with greater wisdom and meaning using technology to create a more open and healthy culture. Past speakers have included the founders of Facebook, Twitter, and eBay, along with spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle. This summer, Esalen will also be the site of a Wisdom 2.0 retreat.

Soren spoke with us as he was preparing to host the annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference that just took place in San Francisco February 20-22, 2016.

eNews: How did the concept of Wisdom 2.0 come about?

Soren: People ask me why did you found it, and I say it found me. It was something that came into my consciousness. It felt like a really important, and needed, conversation. Very few of us are going to live in a monastery or a hut and separate ourselves from the world of digital devices. At the same time, it is so easy to be consumed by them.

It’s essential to a healthy society that we not only support advances in technology but also support internal technology like wisdom, mindfulness, and compassion. So how do we put aside our iPhone and listen to someone in full awareness? Wisdom 2.0 began with that inquiry.

eNews: You’re quoted as stating you founded Wisdom 2.0 to examine how we can live with technology without it swallowing us whole. What have you learned over the last eight years?

Soren: One thing I’ve learned is that it’s really hard (laughs). The data and information keeps increasing. I was also surprised to see how many people, from all walks of life, are drawn to exploring mindfulness and presence. From billionaire CEOs who seem to have it all to every day staff at any tech company who want to connect to their heart and purpose. That inquiry is so much bigger than what I thought initially, and it is growing and rising in all sections of society.

I’ve also learned how important community is, and how much we need other people. Social connection is pretty essential for most of us. No matter how many friends you may have on Facebook, there is a need to be seen and see others that technology doesn’t satisfy. It doesn’t mean technology isn’t cool, but there is a certain level of connection it doesn’t touch.

eNews: How has Wisdom 2.0 evolved as an organization since 2009?

Soren: What has emerged as a community is how do we create a society infused with wisdom and mindfulness. How does that look in healthcare or in politics? This year we have the CEO of health insurance company Aetna, Mark Bertolini, and Congressman Tim Ryan speaking about mindfulness in healthcare.

We are moving from how do we live consciously with our cell phone to what kind of culture can we create together? How do we look at healthcare or education or business and begin to infuse the quality of wisdom and presence? It feels like a much broader conversation that wants to emerge than the conversation that launched the conference eight years ago.

eNews: Tell us more about this year’s speakers. How did you go about curating the line-up?

Soren: It’s exciting to potentially launch a conversation on mindfulness in healthcare. As I mentioned earlier, we will have the CEO of Aetna, Congressman Ryan, and Jon Kabat-Zinn discussing bringing mindfulness into healthcare. For example, what is the quality of presence for doctors and nurses when they meet with patients, and how can they avoid being disconnected and instead see the person inside?

We have invited Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records, who I think is great. I’m also excited to sit down with Ryan Higa. He’s a young guy making silly videos with a purpose and has 15 million YouTube followers. We’re going to talk to him about understanding the younger generation and how he creates videos that speak to them. Understanding the younger generation is an important conversation to have. We’ll also have Eileen Fisher discussing how women lead differently than men. That feels like it will be a good conversation as well.

eNews: What would you like participants to take away from this year’s conference?

Soren: There is a tendency to have these grand goals in any event, but for me, if people walk out of the conference slightly more connected to themselves and their purpose in life, we did our job. If they go home to their families or back to their work, and they receive the people in their life with a little more presence, a little more spaciousness, that is huge to me.

The cool thing about gathering so many people together in one place from different parts of the world is you realize you are not alone. Many people share this path with us. That was one of the biggest insights when I first came to live at Esalen at the age 19. There was this sense of the bigger journey we all share.

Register for the Wisdom 2.0 Unplugged retreat happening at Esalen in July 2016.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Living with Greater Wisdom

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Mind

More than 25 years ago, Wisdom 2.0 founder and author Soren Gordhamer came to Esalen as an Extended Student from Lubbock, Texas. He was introduced to Esalen by way of his father, a single parent who made annual treks to Big Sur as his one trip away from the family. Today Soren is the catalyst behind Wisdom 2.0, an annual event where 3,000 people from more than 20 countries and a variety of sectors and disciplines come together with a shared desire to live with greater wisdom and meaning using technology to create a more open and healthy culture. Past speakers have included the founders of Facebook, Twitter, and eBay, along with spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle. This summer, Esalen will also be the site of a Wisdom 2.0 retreat.

Soren spoke with us as he was preparing to host the annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference that just took place in San Francisco February 20-22, 2016.

eNews: How did the concept of Wisdom 2.0 come about?

Soren: People ask me why did you found it, and I say it found me. It was something that came into my consciousness. It felt like a really important, and needed, conversation. Very few of us are going to live in a monastery or a hut and separate ourselves from the world of digital devices. At the same time, it is so easy to be consumed by them.

It’s essential to a healthy society that we not only support advances in technology but also support internal technology like wisdom, mindfulness, and compassion. So how do we put aside our iPhone and listen to someone in full awareness? Wisdom 2.0 began with that inquiry.

eNews: You’re quoted as stating you founded Wisdom 2.0 to examine how we can live with technology without it swallowing us whole. What have you learned over the last eight years?

Soren: One thing I’ve learned is that it’s really hard (laughs). The data and information keeps increasing. I was also surprised to see how many people, from all walks of life, are drawn to exploring mindfulness and presence. From billionaire CEOs who seem to have it all to every day staff at any tech company who want to connect to their heart and purpose. That inquiry is so much bigger than what I thought initially, and it is growing and rising in all sections of society.

I’ve also learned how important community is, and how much we need other people. Social connection is pretty essential for most of us. No matter how many friends you may have on Facebook, there is a need to be seen and see others that technology doesn’t satisfy. It doesn’t mean technology isn’t cool, but there is a certain level of connection it doesn’t touch.

eNews: How has Wisdom 2.0 evolved as an organization since 2009?

Soren: What has emerged as a community is how do we create a society infused with wisdom and mindfulness. How does that look in healthcare or in politics? This year we have the CEO of health insurance company Aetna, Mark Bertolini, and Congressman Tim Ryan speaking about mindfulness in healthcare.

We are moving from how do we live consciously with our cell phone to what kind of culture can we create together? How do we look at healthcare or education or business and begin to infuse the quality of wisdom and presence? It feels like a much broader conversation that wants to emerge than the conversation that launched the conference eight years ago.

eNews: Tell us more about this year’s speakers. How did you go about curating the line-up?

Soren: It’s exciting to potentially launch a conversation on mindfulness in healthcare. As I mentioned earlier, we will have the CEO of Aetna, Congressman Ryan, and Jon Kabat-Zinn discussing bringing mindfulness into healthcare. For example, what is the quality of presence for doctors and nurses when they meet with patients, and how can they avoid being disconnected and instead see the person inside?

We have invited Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records, who I think is great. I’m also excited to sit down with Ryan Higa. He’s a young guy making silly videos with a purpose and has 15 million YouTube followers. We’re going to talk to him about understanding the younger generation and how he creates videos that speak to them. Understanding the younger generation is an important conversation to have. We’ll also have Eileen Fisher discussing how women lead differently than men. That feels like it will be a good conversation as well.

eNews: What would you like participants to take away from this year’s conference?

Soren: There is a tendency to have these grand goals in any event, but for me, if people walk out of the conference slightly more connected to themselves and their purpose in life, we did our job. If they go home to their families or back to their work, and they receive the people in their life with a little more presence, a little more spaciousness, that is huge to me.

The cool thing about gathering so many people together in one place from different parts of the world is you realize you are not alone. Many people share this path with us. That was one of the biggest insights when I first came to live at Esalen at the age 19. There was this sense of the bigger journey we all share.

Register for the Wisdom 2.0 Unplugged retreat happening at Esalen in July 2016.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Living with Greater Wisdom
Category:
Mind

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About

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Living with Greater Wisdom

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