Books

The Head Trip

My guide to all the weird permutations of waking and sleeping consciousness – the UK’s Independent called it “exhilarating,” The New York Times’s Sandra Blakeslee called it “audacious, enchanting, and often hilarious." My Mom called it "long."

Best Canadian Essays 2011

Anthologized in here is a piece I wrote about the fashionable jungle psychedelic ayahuasca. Does nature have an interior aspect - as we do - and if so, what is the relationship between that "mind" and ours? Do you have to be on drugs to wonder about this?

Talks & Video

I enjoy giving talks and get decent responses on account of my extreme excitability. See ‘Calendar’ at top of page for past and upcoming talks.

How to Explore Consciousness

There are few activities more thrilling than the exploration of consciousness, particularly in the form of intelligent spiritual practice. A talk on some of the terrains of meditation experience and their attendant risks and benefits.

Living in Oneness – Panel Discussion

I hosted this animated panel at the 2013 Science and Nonduality conference in Holland. At least two of the participants - Lisa Cairns and Gary Weber - claim to have permanently transitioned to a state of spiritual oneness as described by mystics.

Spiritual Oneness: The Literary Genre

This talk from the 2013 Science and Nonduality conference is about how books on spiritual "oneness" seem to work their magic on readers, and how they might do so more often and more effectively.

Author Interviews

Nonduality Radio

Fun talk with Jerry Katz and Mandee Labelle at nonduality radio in Halifax. All about the Advaita nonduality scene.

Expanding Mind II – Exploring Meditation

Talk with Erik Davis and Maja D’Aoust. Gets right into big questions around the experience of meditation, the vastness of the territory, the multiplicity of practices, the relationship between insight and ethics, the mystery of human enlightenment and - to keep it modest - science and the nature of reality.

Expanding Mind I – Science, Consciousness, Reality

Fun talk with writer scholar Erik Davis, including riffs on hypnagogia, lucid dreaming, scientific vs spiritual knowledge, the role of science journalists in describing the nature of reality, how ocean may shape mind, psychedelics and more.

Radio

I’m one of the founding producers of CBC Radio’s The Current, and have done pieces for Ideas and Tapestry . Here are a few highlights.

At Home With Huston Smith

In 2007 I spent 3 months traveling around California talking to various thinkers about the mind. Neurobiologists, developmental psychologists, philosophers, mystics and Huston Smith, peerless perennialist.

The Real World of Dreams

Dreamy radio. Thirty minutes of craven lusty anguished interiority and writer Rodger Kamenetz' "authentic self."

Canada on the Couch

For fun here is one the many satiric pieces I wrote and voiced for The Current. I play a neurotic Canada being psychoanalyzed about my unfulfilling relationship with the US.

Websites

The Head Trip

Made this site when The Head Trip - came out. If you click on each wheel segment you can read a little blurb about each different state of consciousness. Also excerpts the entire introduction of the book, and has some other stuff too.

Urbantherapy

“Cities are plastic by nature. We mold them in our own images: they, in their turn, shape us by the resistance they offer when we try to impose our own personal form on them." -Jonathan Raban, Soft City. I spent 2 years building an impressionist encyclopaedia of cities. Read about it here.

Illustrations

The comic panel is to the scientific fig what subjective experience is to objective brain science: sloppy expressionist truant vs anal materialist authority. My book, The Head Trip was an attempt to bridge these two worlds.

The Author’s Hypnagogic Wakeup

Where exactly do these hypnagogic images come from, and is there any logic to their appearance? Are they a species of dream, and if so, do they appear suddenly, as fully developed dramas, or do they evolve more gradually, as part of some furtive and mysterious psychic progression? The dramatic tension is almost unbearable.

Mavromatis’ Four Stages of Hypnagogia

The mysterious psychologist Andreas Mavromatis – another obsessive classifier – spent a lot of time trying to work out the exact progression of hypnagogic experiences. Hypnagogia: the Everyman’s Psychedelic Trip.

Inventions

Wheel of Consciousness Animation

Around the Wheel each state of consciousness animated by changes in global brain activation, from the Hypnagogic state at sleep onset through to the mysterious depths of Pure Awareness

The Consciousness Mixing Board

A summary of much of what I learned while writing and researching The Head Trip. Via expectations, suggestion and possibly even intention, we can learn to remix consciousness. We live in special-effects studios of the mind

The Dream Director

Publishing a book is a bit like firing one of those emergency flares into the air. You never know who it’s going to attract. Most of the time nobody. You set the flare off in the Arctic tundra, get excited for some human contact, the light dims, cold sets in, and you die of exposure. But once in awhile someone comes by to take a look.... more