Meditation teacher gathers Consciousness Explorers Club in ‘collective wonderment’

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Blessing Bicycles

Amsterdam, where Religion News Blog is published, is considered the world’s most bicycle-friendly city. But I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone go as far as to bless bikes.

Yet that’s exactly what John Pentland, a pastor in Calgary, Canada, will be doing this Sunday in honor of Earth Day.

The blessing is a way of remembering the blessings of life and the joy of riding, he tells the Calgary Herald:

I have to admit it does seem weird, but it is not just about the metal bicycle. It is more about honouring our bodies and the body of the earth. It is about the gift of wheels. It is about remembering people who have died cycling this past year. It is about being active. It is about creating a safe city for all. It is about community and the solidarity of fellow riders.

Meditation teacher gathers Consciousness Explorers Club in ‘collective wonderment’

Staying in Canada, Maclean’s magazine has an interesting article about a meditation teacher by name of Jeff Warrren.

Yes, we also did a double-take, but it’s not a mix-up with Warren Jeffs, the polygamous cult leader who is using his life sentence to sharpen his creative writing skills by issuing idiotic prophecies he claims are dictated by the Mormon version of Jesus Christ.

Warren, we learn, is Toronto-born journalist, a meditation instructor, and author of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness.

The latter is filled with the kind of stuff that reminds us that skeptic James Randi asserts ‘New Age’ rhymes with ‘sewage.’

Anyway, a year-and-a-half ago Warren started the Consciousness Explorers Club — “an attempt to rescue spiritual and meditation practice from dour fundamentalists of all persuasions.”

According to Maclean’s

At school, he was, in his words, “a disregulated partier,” and it was only after he developed ADD in the wake of a massive brain injury—high on psilocybin mushrooms in his final year, he fell 30 feet out of a tree—that he became fascinated by what he calls “all these flavours of consciousness that people aren’t really aware of.”

The magazine says that Warren, who is “staunchly anti-guru,” see meditation as “the key to understanding how thoughts, emotions and sensations truly function and a method to improve how they function.”

Warren now plans to move the Consciousness Explorers Club out of his living room and turn it into what he calls a “21st-century community centre,” where meditation enhances and encourages social justice, activism and creative innovation. […] “The whole point of this is first you work on yourself,” he says. “But you do it so you can be more efficient at helping others.”

Jeff has been studying meditation with the Buddhist teacher Shinzen Young since 2008. Maclean’s says Young has created a “system of 13 meditation techniques that synthesize several contemplative techniques (mostly Buddhist), while largely stripping them of their religious content.”

Warren now teaches those techniques himself several times a week, in workshops that typically last seven weeks, and which cost almost $400. […]

The novelist Barbara Gowdy started meditating with Warren in the hope of reducing the debilitating back pain from which she suffers. To a skeptic like her, his jargon-free approach was irresistible. “He reminds me of a young Ram Dass,” Gowdy says, referring to the renowned American guru. “He could be a cult leader if he wanted. But he’s too kind and open. He genuinely wants to help.”

Last year Warren spent a month on a solitary meditation retreat, under the supervision of self-proclaimed ‘fully enlightened being’ Daniel Ingram, author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book.

He chronicled his experience in the New York Times, and if you ask me I’d say he didn’t exactly have a good time.

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014