The Consciousness Explorers Podcast (CEP) is an experiential sandbox for mind and body hosted by Tasha Schumann and Jeff Warren. Each episode is a real-time adventure, where a different guide takes us through a short meditation or personal growth practice: from meditation to movement, art to dreaming, voice to breath, therapy to hypnosis, the possibilities are endless. Afterwards, we attempt to reassemble ourselves into coherent human beings, so we can discuss what the heck just happened and what impact it can have on our daily lives!
Unconscious Bias with Rima Dib
Today we’re joined by Rima Dib, a good friend of Tasha and Jeff’s who also happens to be an expert in unconscious bias and anti-oppression education. Rima teaches workshops about difference – race, age, gender, sexual preference, ability – to people around the planet. She makes it fun. Is this possible? Yes, it turns out. We laughed our asses off. In Rima’s words, “If it gets too heavy, we’re gonna want to put it down. By keeping it light, we can carry it longer.”
Fun doesn’t necessarily mean comfortable. Her acting and word association practices are very revealing. We go with our first flash or gesture, before we have time to edit our responses for popular consumption. Gulp. Thus Jeff squirms in his seat as various juvenile biases are uncovered. Fortunately, we also learn how our unconscious biases are NOT the same as our chosen values. So there's a lot of healthy normalization here. For Rima, everyone has biases; healing and change begin by bringing them into our awareness.
Our conversation is very lively! We explore everything from “cancel culture” to Mr Clean to educating your kids about bias and dealing with racist babies. This is good medicine my friends. Thank you Rima, we love you.
The first practice of identifying our embodied biases begins at 10:50 and ends at 19:25. The second practice, where we visit “the attic of our imaginations,” begins at 32:53 and ends at 37:56.
• Rima Dib’s "Harmony at Work" website: https://harmonyatwork.ca/team/rima/
• The Harvard Implicit Bias Test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
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Spontaneous Thinking with Shinzen Young
Meet Shinzen Young, a long-time instructor of mindfulness, author of The Science of Enlightenment, and now co-director of the “Science Enhanced Mindful Awareness” or “SEMA” Lab at the University of Arizona. Shinzen is Jeff’s OG meditation teacher. He is both a scholar of comparative mysticism, and a highly creative designer of strange and beautiful (and practical) meditation techniques.
In this episode, instead of trying to banish thoughts, we drop into a "global unfixated state," and allow creative images and words and associations to spontaneously unfold. Both Shinzen’s exposition and his guided practice are quite precise – so much so that Tasha kind of bristles against them, which makes for a lively discussion afterwards. But if you’re patient, and able to trust what Shinzen is pointing to, it can lead to genuine insight. Thinking can shift from something rigid and constrained, to something more free-flowing and intuitive and even wise.
This matters. For Shinzen, the best of humanity comes through via our creativity and intuition. In his words, we can train ourselves to “let nature take over.” Shinzen himself demonstrates this at the end, when he comes apart during an emotional discussion of Japanese Noh theater. Much good stuff on the “deep mind,” subconscious processing, and the better angels of our nature.
So: here we go … like “seaweed in a tide poodle”!
Shinzen’s website: https://www.shinzen.org/His YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/expandcontractHis original “Science of Enlightenment” audio series from the 90s. In Jeff’s opinion, this series – NOT his more recent book of the same title – is one of the smartest things ever created on the subject of meditation.Shinzen’s “Unified Mindfulness” training program: https://unifiedmindfulness.com/His “Science Enhanced Mindful Awareness” Sema Lab at the University of Arizona: https://semalab.arizona.edu/Support the show
Tarot and the Imagination with Tatianna Morales
Today we hang out with the incomparable Tatianna Morales – aka @tatiannatarot – a Brooklyn-born spiritualist, priestess, and Tarot diviner! Together, we plunge into the imagination, learning how the age-old tradition of reading Tarot cards can give us insight into our personalities and our life situations.
It turns out we’re meeting Tatianna at the very moment her own relationship to Tarot is changing. And not only hers: there’s a revolution happening out in the culture – artists and enthusiasts are creating their own tarot decks, imagining new archetypes to better reflect the realities of 21st century life. As we discuss, this is one way that culture and consciousness change and evolve.
So how do we give listeners their own personal Tarot reading? Tatianna starts by asking listeners to think of a question or theme they want to explore. Then all of us – Jeff and Tasha too – choose a number between one and three. Tatianna pulls a card for each number and does a reading for each. Listen closely to the reading for the number you choose! All the readings are fascinating, as examples of how Tarot works and the kinds of dynamics they help us explore.
Much goodness here and a wonderful animated discussion afterwards. Enjoy!
Practice begins at 8:52 with Tatianna’s readings from 10:30-19:36; Jeff and Tasha get a personal reading from 20:17 – 32:38, and finally our general discussion begins at 32:38.
- Tatianna’s website: https://www.tatiannatarot.com
- Tatianna’s instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tatiannatarot/
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Effortless Meditation with Peter Russell
Today’s episode: Peter Russell. Peter started out as a theoretical physicist, a student of Stephen Hawking’s, until sometime in the early 70s he made his way to India and had his brain blown open. He became one of the West’s early proponents of meditation, and in the 80s wrote several seminal books on consciousness and technology. He’s had a big influence on the culture of meditation in general and on Jeff in particular – Jeff tells the story of meeting Peter in San Francisco back in 2008 and afterwards getting “let go” tattooed on his forearm.
Appropriate then, that Peter’s new book is called Letting Go of Nothing. What does “letting go” actually mean, and why do so many meditation teachers go on about it? We explore this in real-time, as Peter guides us in a wonderfully simple and accessible “effortless meditation” practice. Afterwards, very relaxed, we lazily discuss whether all this effortlessness is really just cheating and won’t actually get us anywhere. “Thinking you need to get somewhere is exactly the problem!” says Peter, or something like that. And on we go, a deep dive into the ordinary perfection that is already right here. This is good medicine.
Peter’s 12 minute effortless meditation practice begins at 7:55 and ends at 19:58.
Apologies for the rustles and muffles – sound improves after the first ten minutes.
Peter’s WebsitePeter's Book: Letting Go of Nothing Peter's Youtube ChannelSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/explorerspod)
The Feldenkrais Method with Donna Ray
Meet psychotherapist and Feldenkrais teacher Donna Ray. In this episode, she makes us move! Ok, more like she makes us sit in chairs and roll our eyes and turn our heads a bit and suddenly everything feels better. Welcome to the subtle art of micro-movement. Donna shows us how small physical adjustments in the way we hold ourselves can change both our experience and our body’s overall functioning. She’s a true adept – Donna has been teaching this method for over 40 years, ever since Moshe Feldenkrais first brought his system to North America.
Like much of what we explore at CEP, the radical nature of Feldenkrais is hard to capture in words. Not a problem – your body doesn’t need words, it learns for itself by doing, and, in the doing, awareness expands. This is about repatterning the nervous system so that all parts can function in a more vital and free and integrated way. Ultimately it’s an exploration of pleasure as the basis for how to live inside our bodies. Thus we end our conversation with a few PG remarks on Tantric sex, and call it a day.
Donna’s 16 minute Feldenkrais practice begins at 9:02 and ends at 25:20.
Donna’s website: http://donnaray.comThe main resource for Feldenkrais: https://feldenkrais.com/
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/explorerspod)
Addiction & Self-Compassion with Valerie Mason-John
Today we’re joined by the UK-based Valerie Mason-John, also known as Vimalasara, a leader in the field of mindfulness for addiction and trauma.
This episode is about the ways we get disconnected from our bodies and our lives, and the role self-compassion can play in bringing us home. We explore this in the context of our addictions – even addictions we don’t realize are addictions, like, in Vimalasara’s words, “stinking thinking” and technology. And we explore it in the context of contemporary challenges like coronavirus, and the institutional racism and violence directed to Black bodies.
For Vimalasara, the medicine is self-compassion – delivered with fierceness and strength. She guides us into a 16-minute meditation she calls the “five basic needs of the heart.” And then at the end of our time together, she guides a sobering inquiry into what she calls the “five questions of the shaman.” One of them – “when did you stop dancing?” – kind of drops a bomb into your brain!
To go straight to the “five basic needs of the heart” practice, it begins at 3:35 and ends at 19:33.
• Valerie’s website, where you can also find all our resources on recovery and addiction https://www.valeriemason-john.com
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/explorerspod)
So deep and heartfelt
There are no easy words to describe the tears i allow when i listen to these teachings. Like an amplified meditation app that speaks more than worlds to my aching heart.
I found Jeff via 10% Happier. I was so happy to find somebody really funny. Then I followed him over here with Tasha-who seems super cool.
I don’t think we can be friends if you don’t at least try and put your hand up like a ballon. That’s all I’m saying-except thank you. Please make more.
Consciousness Explorers Podcast
Each episode really IS an adventure! Of the many podcasts I listen to, this is turning out to be one of my favorites. So helpful and relevant…thank you!