First published on 23 Jul 2013. Updated on 13 Aug 2013.
How many mornings have you woken up with a tinge of regret and more than a slight ache in your head?
While it’s easy to scoff at events promoting mediation, building consciousness and connecting with like-minded people, Conscious Club
offers something different to the regular weekend out on the piss.
Mixing films, inspirational videos, a keynote speaker and socialising over vegetarian food, Sydney-siders and meditation enthusiasts Gary Gorrow and Tim Brown have tapped into a formula that works well and it’s gaining momentum quickly.
Within two years, Conscious Club has spread to Canberra and now Melbourne, run by recently relocated former-Bondi local Lee Te Hira, a meditation teacher trained under Gorrow.
“People are starting to become more aware and conscious of what they’re doing,” says Ti Hira. “They’re doing yoga, or meditating and watching what they eat and that flows through to, what am I going to do for entertainment and nourishment of the mind?
“[At Conscious Club] they’re nourishing themselves with talks from experts in their field, they’re listening to beautiful music and they’re connecting with all these other people who are doing the same stuff.”
It sounds a little hippy, a little Bondi hipster, and definitely new age, but it’s tapping into a growing market of healthy-minded, TedX-attending conscious eaters who are after more than a hangovers to show for their month.
Speakers at Sydney events have included former Cosmopolitan editor and author of I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson and Dr Joseph Dispenza, of What the Bleep Do We Know!? fame, while the guest at the maiden Melbourne voyage in July was musician Ben Lee.
Lentil as Anything provided a much needed vegie soup on this winter night, before people filed into the Astor Theatre for inspirational videos and a performance by Ben Lee, complete with a personal talk where he opened up about his own dabblings in meditation, South American psychedelics and his path to greater consciousness.
Despite mic dropouts and a bit of a shaky start, these guys are cool and calm, most likely helped by a 20-minute meditation session after the performance, but Ti Hira is adamant the meditation aspect shouldn’t put you off and it isn’t a Nimbin-inspired hippy gathering.
“This doesn’t have to be heavy,” he says. “This isn’t about being really strict with your diet, or meditating every day, it’s just about doing stuff for yourself that you feel is good and that you like. Conscious Club is an extension of that.”
So what’s the aim? At the moment, Conscious Club is working on building up their community and creating awareness, throwing things out there like the 'Do Good Challenge'. In the latter – in what is a very Oprah-esque moment – everybody is asked to reach under their seats and look for an envelope. The lucky audience member finds $300 to be used within 10 days, on someone other than his or her self. They’re then asked to come back to Conscious Club and tell their story about giving back.
The first event in Melbourne attracted over 350 people and the next event for September will no doubt bring in a big crowd. While each Conscious Club event follows more or less the same formula, each one is filled with local artists, local experts and local food.