The Intersection of Wisdom & Technology

Charlie Hartwell
Mar 5, 2018 · 3 min read
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Wisdom 2.0 has been a leading force in coalescing the mind-training field. As the vision of Soren Gordhamer, Wisdom 2.0 has become a community that facilitates discussions focused on exploring the intersectionality of wisdom traditions and the world of technology. Started as an annual event in San Francisco several years ago, the conference has expanded into several events in New York, Singapore, Hawaii, and other venues such as community meet-ups. The intention is to bring together wisdom teachers, business leaders, spiritual seekers, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and others, who are interested in incorporating wisdom traditions with technology movements.

Having recently attended my sixth Wisdom 2.0, I was reminded by thousands of people from more than 30 countries how transformative the mind-traing field has become. I have thoroughly enjoyed attending the conferences. At the same time over the years, I have observed a lack of diversity in both participants and speakers as well as a focus on mindful meditation at the expense of mindful action. In addition, many participants have commented on a a club-like atmosphere developing, as happens with many annual conferences.

However, the energy of this year’s conference shifted, both in increasing the diversity of speakers and audience participants and also in the encouragement of taking action. I witnessed an emerging shift with a powerful force of strong female leaders, a diverse group of speakers, and a focus on action. The feminine experience had a stronger presence.

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Photo via Wisdom 2.0

A highlight of the conference for me was hearing Tarana Burke, Founder of the #MeToo Movement, tell the story of how her work, which started in 2005, was ignited and launched into a global movement this past year. I heard her concern that once this happened she’d be forgotten because so many black women, who have done remarkable things, have seen their work erased in our culture.

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Photo via Wisdom 2.0

Roshi Joan Halifax and Sharon Salzberg were interviewed by Karen May of Google. When asked what was present to her at this moment, Roshi Joan commented on the courage of the Parkland students.

I was inspired by Ivy Ross of Google. She spoke about how she leads a large team by consciously using both her feminine and masculine qualities in encouraging and empowering others.

I heard my partner Bo Shao, Founder of the Evolve Foundation and a Bridge Builders Collaborative Partner, talk deeply from the heart about his life story, which inspired the launching of a $100 M fund to support entrepreneurs in the consciousness and spirituality space.

There was much more diversity in the people passing by in the hallways. I had more conversations about deeper levels of conscious awareness, and less discussions about mindfulness itself. There were more entrepreneurs focused on deeper levels of consciousness that approached me.

It was heartwarming to see the shift of energy and consciousness, and I applaud Soren and his team for facilitating a dialogue that has encouraged wisdom practices to evolve into mindful activism. My sense is there is still more work to be done to increase diversity, to facilitate group action, and to improve access to other communities.

Mindfulness isn’t just about meditation, being in the moment, and practicing non-judgement. It’s about showing up as a human being, knowing your purpose, and taking action to improve not only your own condition, but also supporting others in improving theirs. It’s about speaking truth to power: honestly, forcefully, and with empathy and compassion.

Learn more about Charlie at ShiftIt Institute and check out Bridge Builders Collaborative partners and portfolio. Follow Charlie on LinkedIn and Twitter @ShiftIt_Inst.

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