Consciousness Café promotes awareness of the extensive body of knowledge available for those seeking a deeper understanding and acts as a community organizer linking groups and individuals to organizations exploring human potential and spiritual growth.
Consciousness Cafe got its start as a Meetup group in Charlotte, NC. There were several folks looking to meet and explore aspects of consciousness, and its potential to affect expanding awareness, healing, and living a more holistic life.
Mark Brooks, organizer, and Jim Fisher collaborated on creating a group on Greensboro, NC, Jim’s home.
They partnered on garnering interesting speakers and built their respective groups to over 1200 members between the two groups.
In time, Jose Hernandez joined the collaboration creating an international and coast to coast partnership.
Recognizing the need for the types of information and connection, plans were made to expand the reach by developing an online presence and structure to enable more groups to take advantage of speakers, information, and support to create or expand their own groups.
Leslie Rice and Daniel Endy joined the team rounding out the skill sets needed to advance the vision.
We are all seekers though we come from very different perspectives which we hope will aid the richness and diversity of the content. Thank you for joining us on your journey.
Meet the Team
Jim Fisher has been studying esoteric subjects for 18 years and has sought personal experiences as a means of validating his understanding of the breadth of reality. What began as an interest in near-death experiences expanded to include other spiritually transformative subjects.
Jim has attended four residential programs at the Monroe Institute, listened to numerous speakers and participated in workshops at the Rhine Center, spent 2 weeks at an ayahuasca retreat in Peru, and has engaged in multiple holotropic breathwork sessions. He has served as the Treasurer of the International Association for Near-death Studies (IANDS) and currently serves on the IANDS finance and ethics committees.
A chance encounter with a prince from Togo, Africa (was it really chance?) has evolved into a joint effort to create a pineapple farming operation in Togo. During his first trip to that country Jim had an opportunity to see how societal belief in voodoo could be used to benefit the health condition of an individual.
After learning about a Consciousness Café meetup group in Charlotte, NC headed by Mark Brooks, Jim formed a similar meetup group in Greensboro, NC. As of this writing there are over 1,200 members of the two groups. Mark and Jim recognized the latent interest in the subjects we presented and decided to encourage others to create groups to foster an awareness of our spiritual nature.
Mark Hunter Brooks, author of the book Christianity from a Spiritual Perspective, has had numerous spiritual experiences since 2003 that have profoundly changed his worldview. He writes and speaks about the mechanics of the non-physical world to help demystify what has traditionally been a taboo topic.
Leslie studied for five years with Dr. Kim Duckett in her mystery school: The Wheel of the Year, A Spiritual Psychology for Women. Developing a broad understanding of Goddess culture and its shamanic traditions, Leslie studied with other gifted teachers, expanding her knowledge and techniques. Over the years, she has developed an approach that centers on the idea that we can heal ourselves through community relationships, support from the spirit realm, and in partnership with traditional medicine. We can be shamans to ourselves.
Leslie is an ordained minister in the Ho’omana tradition, Reiki Master, and shamanic practitioner. Leslie attended a two-week residential program through Foundation for Shamanic Studies and is in the third year of the Advanced Shamanism program. Leslie creates experiential rituals for private groups and is working on her third guided mediation CD. She is an active contributor to Consciousness Café, developing the website and creating content.
Jose was an electrical engineer for most of his life with no background in art. After a near-death experience in January 2000, and a long, difficult physical recovery, his life path changed dramatically.
In 2004 Jose began creating art originally as a meditative tool. Every piece has a focal point that engages the sense of sight and draws the viewer into a “fourth-dimensional” journey through the layers of the painting. Some pieces have literally hundreds of layers and, though you are looking at a two-dimensional painting, the work is created in a three-dimensional digital plane. Jose strongly believes the art retains the essence of the time and space required to travel that journey.
See some of Jose’s amazing work.
Daniel has had a lifelong interest in spirituality. In 2010, after over 35 years of study Daniel had a personal spiritual awakening. He asks, “What do you do when you finally understand the spiritual nature of reality? You share it to help others live happy and fulfilling lives!” So Daniel began teaching monthly classes sharing his unique synthesis of spiritual concepts. Since then Daniel has led over 120 in-person classes, workshops, and seminars helping many people. Besides his spiritual studies, Daniel has studied psychology and offers a full range of personal services including Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Past Life Regression.
Daniel was brought up Catholic and early on he came to feel that the religious dogma didn’t make rational sense and he chose to became what he calls a “spiritual independent.” Daniel also has had a lifelong interest in science and has a degree in Computer Engineering. Daniel believes science and spirituality are totally consistent. As Einstein said, “Science without religion [spirituality] is lame, and religion without science is blind.” Daniel believes the world is on the verge of the next great renaissance and both science and spirituality will grow tremendously in the next 30 years.
Growing up, Hilary did not consider herself a religious or spiritual person and had adopted a mechanistic view of the world until…she experienced a profound event. Leaving her shaken and confused, Hilary began her spiritual journey to understand her experience and the broader implications.
Taking an eclectic approach and being an avid reader, Hilary has explored a myriad of topics and has come to respect and honor the many points of view, concepts, and teachings that make up the rich tapestry of spiritual understanding.
Hilary is especially interested in the spiritual aspects of childhood trauma and especially how events shape choices and relationships as adults. Working with what Carl Jung termed the shadow-self, Hilary is called to make a welcoming and accepting environment for those struggling with a dark night of the soul, the shadow-self.
Her path connected her to Consciousness-Café where she is leading an effort to make connections and help ease the pain of being a spiritual being in a physical body.
Shaun JaRell Martin, MA is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Wilmington University, where he obtained his Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts and Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science, respectively. Shaun also obtained his Master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology and Consciousness Studies from The Graduate Institute of Bethany, Connecticut.
Shaun has had a vast series of spiritually transformative experiences primarily throughout his 20s that have given him a profound and unique perception of the world. For over the last 10 years Shaun has been a singer-songwriter and recording engineer as a way of documenting his robust personal spiritual experience in his music.
Shaun is well-versed in a variety of spiritual traditions and perspectives that have complimented his testimony of direct experience.
While completing the requirements for his MA, Shaun researched the efficacy of a unique subset of meditative hip-hop/pop music that acts as a tool for exploring consciousness, accessing deeper modalities of emotional regulation, and perceptual expansion. Shamanistic in nature, the beats provide a modern interpretation of an ancient practice.
Shaun is also the editor for his best friend’s brand called Cooler Than Average, which provides a platform for people to tell their stories of adversity and triumph. Acting as a catalyst for powerful shifts in consciousness, Cooler Than Average supports those who have overcome and help others shift too.
Shaun believes that creating safe spaces and platforms for people to explore their consciousness and our human condition without judgment or fear of ridicule is key to enhancing ourselves and our ability to contribute true value to others and the world at large.
A few years ago, at the height of what was materially, the most successful period of his career, Neeraj hit a spiritual low. To the outside world, his life was an example of the American Dream, an immigrant with a handful of ideas, starting his business and gaining significant market share of a new service. On the inside, he felt bankrupt, filled with dissatisfaction, almost to the point of depression. He did not completely understand why he felt that way, but he knew he had the answers within.
The thirst to know the reason for his unhappiness, combined with his entrepreneurial nature led him to confront the dichotomy. Little did he know at the time, it was the beginning of a wonderful journey – an inner exploration that continues to encourage him to study the Self.
During this time, he has spent numerous hours learning about the various religions and esoteric philosophies and practices like Yoga, Meditation, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, and Buddhism. He also loves to read non-traditional, albeit scientific theories that prove the existence of a creative energy, one that inspires and drives the human evolution.
An Engineer by trade, Neeraj helps create IT solutions, collaborating with partners and clients, using cutting edge software tools and technologies. His inquiring disposition fuels his passion for advancement in the technological world, as well as for his own inner growth. He loves to walk outside and to commune with nature.
When inspiration strikes and his spirit is moved, he pens articles, short stories, and poems. These can be found at neerajvir.com.