About Joseph P. Kauffman
How much should I share in a public bio? It’s a bit of a predicament. I could just give you the sanitized version, like one would put on a resume, and you would feel its lack of sincerity. Yet, I am hesitant to share very personal things to a bunch of strangers (no offense). Knowing exactly what to share is also a bit tricky when I don’t know the audience I am sharing to. So I’ll do my best to share what might provide helpful context for knowing a bit about who I am, what I am doing, and what my reason is for making this site.
I was born in 1996 in Laguna Beach, California, and was a sensitive, creative, and inquisitive child. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed writing and making books, a form of expression that comes very natural to me. I have always felt a strong sense of empathy for other living beings, and would protect ants, bugs, and small animals whenever more destructive children would try to use them as victims for their unusual experiments. I was always curious to understand why—why people acted the way they did, why certain social rules existed, why I wasn’t allowed to do what others were. I was very stubborn in my ways and seemed to have a strong sense of what was fair or unjust.
I moved to Federal Way, Washington when I was 9, and at that age, I was very concerned with fitting in and being socially accepted. I stopped putting effort into my education, because I got the sense that it wasn’t “cool” to be smart. All of the popular kids were the class clowns, the rebels, and those that defied authority. Wanting to be accepted, I followed their influence.
At the young age of 12, I began experimenting with different substances due to some older influences, and for the next few years my only concerns were skateboarding, girls, and partying. I struggled in school, finding it hard to pay attention, and having very little interest in what was being taught. The same theme of social acceptance was underlying many of my actions, but I was not aware of it then.
One summer night, when I was 16 years old, two friends of mine asked if I wanted to try psilocybin mushrooms. Having always been curious about them, I readily agreed. The experience I had was exciting and entertaining, and I gained some curious insights into reality. Long after the peak of the experience, my friends and I laid down on a trampoline, and gazed upward observing the stars.
As I stared into the night sky, something incredible happened. Spontaneously, my vision was flooded by an all-encompassing white/purple light, and I was overcome by powerful feelings of euphoria, joy, and the purest sensation of love and unity that I had ever experienced. I felt the presence of beings in this light that I had never met, yet had so much love for. As I experienced this total love, I felt that it was present in everyone and everything, that all beings had this universal love as their source, that it was the place we all emerge from, and the home we all long to return to. Suddenly, I felt myself rising out of my body and levitating toward the core of this light. The thought appeared, “I am dying!” only I knew I wasn’t really dying, I was just going home to this light. I actually felt a great sense of relief and excitement at the thought of returning. I rose higher and higher, coming into closer and closer contact with this great mystery, and just before I was going to be fully absorbed into the light, a voice spoke “you cannot die yet, it is not your time.” Immediately, I dropped back down into my body, and my entire perspective on life had been transformed.
I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about what life is, who I am, and what the purpose of all this was. It seemed like no one I knew had the answers to these questions, nor any care to ask them. I wasn’t taught about this from my parents, or from school, and none of my friends had any interest in this either. It seemed to me that our whole society was ignorant of the truth of life, and being raised in this society, I too was completely ignorant. I had the sense that there were some people that must be aware of this mass cultural ignorance, and were likely taking advantage of it for power and control. I realized that my attempt to fit in and be cool was causing me to ignore information and knowledge about life. I was making myself stupid just to fit in, and I realized how foolish this was. I connected to an innate source of intelligence within myself, and remember feeling this as a natural source of intelligence that exists within all of us, but most just suppress it or ignore it like I previously had.
All of these insights and realizations seemed to occur at once, as if a light switch had turned on, as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes. It was that experience that completely changed my life, and put me on this path I am now on. Integrating this experience was a challenge. I was filled with enthusiasm and wonder, and I wanted to share it with as many people as I could. I quickly discovered that everyone I spoke with had no interest in hearing what I had to say, and some even completely rejected it. Having no one to relate to about this experience, and no guidance of what to do, I began writing. I decided to write a book that would inform whoever was interested about the many things I was discovering—things about the environmental crisis we are in, why we are ignorant of it, the systematic manipulation of media, the special interests of profit-hungry corporations, the structure of central banks and our current financial system, the true nature of human beings, and ways that we can personally and collectively contribute to global change toward a more harmonious existence. All of this came together to form my first book “Conscious Collective: An Aim for Awareness.”
Writing a book can be a long and engaging process, and I was eager to share what I was learning, so I decided to create Conscious Collective, a social media account that has since evolved to be an organization focused on serving the collective awakening process through information, public workshops, private healing sessions, and transformational retreats.
In search of more knowledge, I bought a book on Buddhism “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, which had a very deep impact on me, and helped to confirm that what I had experienced was a phenomenon shared by many, and that there were others who were dedicated to learning and sharing this universal truth. This began a deep exploration (and sometimes a bit of an obsession) into eastern wisdom traditions, reading hundreds of books on Buddhist, Taoist, & Hindu philosophy, as well as books on quantum physics, consciousness, shamanism, and really anything that offered deeper insight into the nature of reality.
I grew more curious of what these ancient traditions shared, and I began attending local workshops, lectures, and classes on yoga, meditation, pranayama, martial arts, and other forms of healing. Eventually, I decided to travel to different countries to experience their cultures and the wisdom of their traditions.
This brought me to:
Peru, where I stayed with Paititi Institute at their remote center in the Andes Mountains, studying Permaculture and Amazonian/Andean shamanic traditions.
Guatemala, where I studied Mayan wisdom teachings, as well as occult mysticism and meditation at Las Piramides Del Ka.
The Amazon Rainforest, where I sat in several Ayahuasca ceremonies with Shipibo Maestros at The Temple of the Way of Light.
India, where I attended a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at Rishikesh Yogpeeth, as well as another 300 Hour Teacher Training at Himalayan Yogashram.
Nepal, where I hiked in the Himalayas and attended a Buddhist meditation retreat at Kopan Monastery.
China, where I stayed at Wudang Taoist Wellness Academy in the Wudang Mountains practicing Tai Chi and Martial Arts.
During my travels, I had the honor of interviewing several spiritual teachers, philosophers, and scientists, and combined the interviews into the documentary film, “All Is Self.”
I also had the joy of training in the ancient healing technique of breathwork therapy, with Michael Brian Baker of The Breath Center, and am certified as a Breathwork Facilitator. I have found this art to be incredibly effective at healing and transforming emotional/psychological (and sometimes even physical) suffering.
I have written a total of 7 books, all focused on personal and collective healing and awakening (click here for free books). Throughout my travels, one thing has become very clear. Society is the way it is, because we are the way that we are. Because we have been conditioned by this culture with its violence, its prejudice, its greed and insensitivity—we too carry these qualities within us. If we wish to heal society, we must heal ourselves. When we are able to accept this cultural conditioning, to recognize it, and to heal from it by awakening to our true nature, we undergo a radical transformation. It is this inner transformation that will lead to a collective transformation.
This transformation of the psyche needs to occur for there to be any real change in society, as the current ways our society functions are all rooted in our cultural narratives, beliefs and behaviors. Until we realize our interconnectedness, and see beyond the limited and ignorant views of separation, we will never act sincerely with love, openness, and a willingness to be of benefit to the whole of nature.
But, once we have transformed our psyche, the question remains, how are we to live? How do we live with a completely different worldview in a culture still dominated by the old paradigm? Can we live as pioneers of a new way of thinking and being? Can we walk with integrity and honor the truth that we know, even if our culture does not readily accept it?
There is great need for a fundamental change in society, one that must first begin within the mind, but must also address the structures of our society, how we live together, and how we live on the land in a natural and healthy way. This has inspired me to seek ways to really live harmoniously on the land, to find ways to apply the understanding of our interconnectedness. This has lead me to where I currently reside, as an intern of the Bullock Brothers on their permaculture homestead on Orcas Island, Washington.
I am here to learn how to live on the earth in an intelligent way, learning how nature functions, and how to work with Mother Earth so that we can benefit from, and give back, the abundance that she so graciously offers.
I live here, working as a member of the community, helping to grow our food, design systems, maintain and learn about what has already been established, studying the many facets that go into sustainable living, and am simultaneously managing Conscious Collective, posting YouTube videos and Blogs, posting daily to Instagram and Facebook, facilitating breathwork sessions via Skype, and leading ocassional workshops.
I would like to one day open an institute and retreat center that can help others heal from their suffering, awaken to their true nature, and learn how to live on the land in a responsible way. If you’d like to support this goal, you can read more here.
I am grateful for all that I am learning, and for my ability to share what I am learning with so many. I hope that I am able to benefit you with what I share, and if you are interested in working with me personally, please feel free to reach out.
If you’d like to support me in the work that I do, you can learn more about how to do so here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
May you awaken to the truth of our interconnectedness, and may this truth inspire you to live for the benefit of all beings.
Namaste (The Divine in me recognizes and honors The Divine in you)