“To talk with Jeff Warren is to be exhilarated. His intelligence and openness are such that you yourself feel a hundred times more intelligent and open. He performs a kind of compassionate magic. He gives me hope.” – Barbara Gowdy, author of The White Bone
Jeff Warren is an award-winning writer, meditation instructor and all-purpose enthusiast. His primary subject is the mind – the neurobiological mind, the meditative mind, the technological mind, the animal mind. He even has a philosophical position: “radically fun empiricist,” not unlike William James, except with more jokes and fewer smart parts. He writes a regular column for Psychology Tomorrow about the shifting experience of consciousness, called “Inscapes“.
Jeff is the author of The Head Trip (Random House 2007), an acclaimed travel guide through sleeping, dreaming and waking consciousness that critics called “exhilarating,” “audacious,” “hilarious,” and “long.” He won Gold and Silver medals at the 2012 Canadian National Magazine Awards for his feature “Whale Rising,” and another Gold medal in 2011 for his piece on the fashionable jungle brew ayahuasca,”The Tourists of Consciousness.” In 2010, Jeff was awarded the Webster McConnell Canadian Journalism Fellowship at the University of Toronto’s Massey College.
Jeff has written for The New York Times, The New Scientist, Discover, Reader’s Digest, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, The National Post and The Globe and Mail. He is a founding producer of CBC Radio’s The Current, has written and produced a bunch of shows for CBC’s Ideas, and has done a few random TV gigs as well. He has confused I mean enthralled audiences around the world with his quasi-psychedelic talks about the mind, though most of the time you can find him at home on his porch, watching kids deal drugs in the park.
Far more important that any of that, however, is Jeff’s role as President of The Consciousness Explorers Club, a high-middle-low octane meditation adventure group he founded in Toronto’s Kensington Market. He wears a pith helmet during all meditation sits, in all classes, and advises his students to do the same.
For the past 10 years Jeff has been working on a book about about the experience of advanced meditation and the outer frontiers of human exploration. Tentatively entitled Unfixed, the idea is to present a lucid bullshit-free account of how spiritual practise is a radical and thrilling inquiry into the nature of self and reality. Check out Jeff’s recent column on science and enlightenment for more on this theme.
What else? Jeff once wrote a user’s manual for a strange mechanical device called the “Dream Director“ that promises to remix the dreaming mind. He co-facilitates a workshop on Contemplative Environmental Studies at the Lama Foundation in New Mexico. And he wrote this entire bio in the first-person.
“Jeff has a unique blend of high rationalism and broad empathy. His reporting from the frontiers – of brain science, of our relationship to other species, of the ability of humans to grow – is brave and curious. He’s a writer and intellectual adventurer, not a specialist in any particular field; his gifts as a communicator help us see the “big picture” and bridge culture to science.
- Marni Jackson, Chair of Literary Journalism at Banff Center, author of Pain: The Fifth Vital Sign.