What is Immersioneer?

 

Immersioneer is an organization dedicated to restoring human connection and deepening human dialogue.  

 

Why was Immersioneer created?

 

Immersioneer was created to foster deeper dialogue around human identity and mental health.

 

In an age of technological isolation, social media narcissism, and rising depression rates, it has become increasingly clear that we are struggling to find ourselves as a culture.  As a result, we are finding it increasingly difficult to relate to one another in our modern times.

 

With this in mind, Immersioneer seeks to address this challenge in two ways.  First, we seek to supercharge introspection within the individual to assist in the process of self discovery.  And second, we create experiences where a shared exploration of human identity, relationship, and purpose can take place.  

 

To accomplish this, Immersioneer distributes a wide array of individuals on the path of introspection and self-discovery while also offering experiences to deepen human dialogue.

 

Restore imediacy


 

Where’d you get the idea?  And how’d it get going?

 

The idea for Immersioneer grew out of five years of private exploration into the work of humanity’s great psychologists, philosophers, spiritual teachers, psychonauts, and contemplative traditions.

 

After embarking on this inward journey and realizing the profound effects it had on my own life and sense of identity, I felt strongly that it could do the same for others.  As I began sharing my experiences with close friends, I was encouraged to see that almost everyone I spoke with shared this same curiosity and desire to explore inwardly. The challenge was that most of them didn’t know where to start.  So, I began sending friends books from my favorite thinkers, teachers, and traditions, and then serving as a sounding board during their explorations. Eventually, this informal coaching evolved to privately counseling individuals on their paths of self-discovery and awakening.  

 

Through my private practice, I began to see that the real challenge of this work was that people didn’t know how to talk about inner space.  In essence, everyone had the curiosity but we didn’t know how to effectively converse about this dimension of experience. Seeing this, I recognized that the real value I could provide to others was in streamlining language and facilitating dialogue.

 

Immersioneer ultimately grew out of this desire to refine this language through dialogue, with the goal becoming “fluent” together.

 

Why the focus on dialogue?  Doesn’t this kind of inner work need to be done solo?

 

While it’s certainly true that much of this work must be done alone, very few of us were born to be monks.  As I came to understand time and again in my own exploration, humans are social creatures that thrive when we’re engaging, sharing, and exploring together.  

 

However, it can be a challenge to find spaces to collaboratively explore the “bigger” questions of life in modern American society. Our culture tends to relegate spiritual questions to the religious domain, excluding people who don’t identify with traditional religions from accessing community around this seeking of inner truth.

 

This is where Immersioneer comes in - we seek to assist individuals in their private explorations while also offering public forums where we can deepen our awareness through dialogue.  

 

You gotta have both.

 

Why now? And why the focus on identity?

 

Whether it’s identity politics, the narcissism of social media, or the growing debates around gender, sexual, racial, or national identity—identity is arguably the central theme of our time.

 

Seeing that so many of our deepest divisions revolve around matters of identity, it seems clear that the best way to tackle these obstacles is through an open exploration of human identity itself.

 

Immersioneer seeks to jumpstart this exploration through experiences that allow participants to explore identity in a non-judgmental, pro-social context.  

 

What more is there to say about identity?

 

Quite a bit actually!

 

Every human being has levels.  You can easily see this within yourself - there is the outer image we present to the world and then the inner person that we truly feel we are.  Our culture’s obsession with authenticity grows from the recognition that we often don’t show up in our lives as we truly are. And we have a natural impulse to express ourselves more fully.  

 

Through our dialogues, we explore the various forces within the mind which create and fuel this inner/outer dissonance.

 

While there are many forces at play within us, our exploration of identity tends to center on the ego. Simply put, the ego is the story in the head about who we are.  It’s the narrated


 

All this talk of “self” seems pretty self-absorbed?  Isn’t the world too full of that already?

 

That’s a great point and a central idea that we explore at Immersioneer.

 

What qualifies as “self-expression” and “self-exploration” in our social media age is a very superficial, anemic expression of the inner drive to understand and honor the true self (which is why we all have a visceral reaction to it!).   At Immersioneer, we explore the impulses that create these narcissistic tendencies and probe into the nature of authentic self-expression.

 

Talking about ego and identity sounds interesting, but doesn’t it get a bit stuffy?  Even a bit old?

 

As we see it, having a foundational understanding of human identity is the best starting point from which to explore the larger territory of human experience.  Like a trailhead on a mountain, we think it’s the best “way in” to the rest of the terrain.

 

How does talking about the ego open up communication and facilitate connection?

 

Building off a shared understanding of ego opens communication because it teaches us that, on a deeper level, there isn’t really any “self” to protect.  

 

Science now confirms what the Buddhists and other ancient traditions have known for millennia—that our sense of a separate “self” is the mind’s greatest illusion.  While this is hard for the mind to accept, meaningful introspection and exploration proves it to be undeniably true.

 

In light of this, all our self-protective tendencies and self-censorship begins to look quite silly! As each of us steps into this awareness, we come to see that the barriers to connection and communication ultimately reside within us.  

 

And as we learn to push beyond these false mental limits, life begins to open up so we can truly let loose and have more fun. In other words, the inevitable byproduct of the work we do is that we learn to stop taking our “selves” so seriously!  



 

there is a hunger for immediacy and for belonging.  And amidst all the superficial squabbles and anonymous attacks, there is also a readiness for direct engagement and non-judgmental discourse.


 

How exactly Immersioneer create a different kind of dialogue?  And why do we need one?

 

We live in age where we are thrashing with big questions around human identity but we’re struggling with how to speak about it.

 

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are a lot of impediments to true communication these days.  This is where all the frustration with “political correctness” and “identity politics” comes from.  We’re stuck on our superficial differences and we’re also scared to speak our minds for fear of offending others.  

 

In such a touchy environment, we tend to stick to safe topics and easy conversations.  While this keeps the peace temporarily, it doesn’t actually overcome the divide. It just kicks the can down the road.  To actually address this divide, we need a new kind of environment and conversation where we can speak openly and safely.  

 

At Immersioneer, we believe that  deeper discussions about identity and the nature of the mind are the best way to open up these conversations.  Because as we all begin to talk about the way our minds and identities truly work, we begin to see that we’re all up against the same fundamental challenge. And this is where compassion grows.  

 

Ok.  But what do you ac

In the context of these conversations, we draw on a wide array of modalities, disciplines, tools, and traditions to grease the wheels of these difficult conversations.

 

With that in mind, the dialogue we create at Immersioneer is all about “finding a way in”.  While the Crash Course draws on leading insights and paradigms for communication.

While we encourage exploration of these modalities within the individual and seek o practice them within our dialogues, we also enlist certified practitioners, psychologists, therapists, and other professionals to supercharge our explorations.  

 

Immersioneer dialogues revolve around a shared understanding of the human ego.  We believe that a greater understanding of this psychological structure holds the key for greater self-care and prepares the ground for deeper human connection and dialogue.

 

By probing into the underlying structure of human identity, we believe that as we all become more collectively aware of the true structure of human identity it will help us all grow together in emotional intelligence, psychological awareness, and in our sense of connectedness to one another.

 

At Immersioneer, we believe the hardest conversation to have is the most important for our development—both individual and collectively.  And the hardest conversation to have these days are the ones around how we see ourselves and the impediments we feel to connection with one another.

 

STREAMLINE SOLO EXPLORATION:  Acknowledging the flood of information and noise in the self-help space, Immersioneer seeks to synthesize signals from the noise that will be most actionable in modern life.  To accomplish this, we work through a wide array of resources, insights, and tools to deepen inwardly independently.

 

RESTORE IMMEDIACY:  Especially with the modern isolation wrought by technology and screentime, restoring immediacy and intimacy to our experience.

 

SAFE SPACES:  Through our podcast, events, workshops, and retreats, we seek to create spaces and places where non-judgmental discourse and private self-exploration can expand and a deeper dialogue with one another can take place.  


 

Still sounds a bit fluffy.  How do you actually open up this deeper level of self-expression and exploration?    (consolidate with above…)

 

It comes down to three things:  

 

Streamline Inner Language:  As I learned the hard way from reading countless teachers, thinkers, psychologists, and scientists, the way humanity’s most influential thinkers and leaders speak about our inner world varies wildly.  For example, what Sigmund Freud called the “Ego” is something a bit different than what modern spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle mean.

 

If our goal is to restore connection and create meaningful dialogue, then getting everyone speaking the same language is essential.  

 

Facilitate Dialogue:  With language sharpened and inner exploration opened, our ability to engage with others increases.  Here Immersioneer acts as a non-judgmental forum where a shared exploration can take place.  

 

You mention “inner language” a lot.  What’s language got to do with it?

 

Early on in my own explorations, I came to see that simply copy-pasting the great insights of psychology, spirituality, and philosophy wasn’t that useful to people.  Some modern-day translation and dot-connecting was needed since the world’s various teachers and traditions have spoken of our inner world in different ways.

 

Seeing this, I came to see that it was necessary to develop a consistent language and way of speaking about inner space.  This allows us to have a shared set of psychological waypoints to explore inwardly and a decent language through which to converse about these explorations outwardly.   

 

As it regards the larger work of Immersioneer, this language is what we are always seeking to refine and improve in our dialogues.  As more minds come to the table, our language sharpens, our lexicon expands, and we get better at communicating about the dimensions of human experience that are hardest to talk about.

 

Do I need Immersioneer to do this kind of work?

 

Of course not.

 

If you are finding that you are making progress on your own, by all means keep going.  But, if you find that you’re getting stuck, Immersioneer could be of use to you either as a resource for your ongoing exploration or as a place to connect with other individuals exploring this terrain.   

 

My story (PUT ON clanceyhilkene.com instead of immerisoneer?

 

Around the age of thirty, my life got flipped upside down.  The end of a significant relationship, a career dead-end, and a transformative experience with psychedelics conspired together to completely re-arrange my sense of self.  To retain my sanity, I began a wide-ranging exploration into psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. In the end, my search for private sanity ended up teaching me profound lessons about the roots of human suffering, the structure of human identity, and the many pitfalls of this invisible terrain.

 

Armed with a deeper understanding of the ego and the mind, I began mentoring others on their own inward explorations.  Through these early shared explorations, I discovered that while nearly everyone I spoke with had a deep curiosity about this inner dimension, we struggled to find a consistent language through which to converse about it.

 

As I learned first hand, the challenge of exploring inwardly comes down to getting clear on language and creating non-judgmental forums where free-thinking dialogue can take place.

 

This also led me to begin writing my first book—While We’re Here.  Through it, I seek to synthesize the key insights and lessons from my private explorations of the world’s great introspective traditions, spiritual teachers, and psychologists.  

 

What’s the difference between Immersioneer Open Session (IOS) and The Consciousness Crash Course?

 

Open Session is our donation-based community dialogue. It’s purpose is to get people out of their social media feeds and back into dialogue.  The Crash Course is Immersioneer’s foundational workshop which seeks to While Open Session is intended to bring people together and kickstart a conversation, The Crash Course seeks to take participants deep into the nature of the mind, ego, and identity.  Sessions weave between short lessons, thought experiments, group dialogue, guided meditation, and partner work.

 

To learn more about the Consciousness Crash Course and hear what others are saying about it, check out the course page.  

 

Yeah.  The world seems nuts.  What’s the solution?

 

Humans are the solution.  And specifically humans who have cultivated deep levels of empathy, emotional intelligence, and awareness.

 

I see the growing mental health crisis as proof that modern human society is not currently meeting our deepest needs.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t find ourself in our current situation

 

And I believe the backlash to the falseness of our social media culture as l tired of the superficiality of our modern age and eager for a more substantial dialogue about deeper dimensions of human experience.  

 

Our collective is rooted in three key values:  

 

Through our work, we seek to explore the roots of this disconnection and to overcome it through a deeper kind of dialogue.  But rather than just talking at each other, we seeks to facilitate a different kind of dialogue rooted in fundamental truths of human identity, the mind, and psychology.  

 

Rooted in a common understanding of how the mind works, how our sense of self is created, and what unites us underneath the minds’ noise, we have a shared foundation from which to explore more freely, engage more directly, and generally just have more fun with each other.  

 

This all sounds nice enough.  How does Immersioneer come to life? How do I participate?   (merge with this is making some sense…)

 

Immersioneer hosts workshops, events, and experiences that bring people together to deepen in self-awareness through open-minded dialogue.  In practice, this means that Immersioneer acts laboratory to experiment and exchange ideas with others to streamline each individual’s introspection while also creating spaces and places where a deeper dialogue with others can unfold.

 

Ultimately, we believe this combination of supercharged introspection and facilitated dialogue helps us to see our selves in a new light, quiet self criticism, and invite more meaningful relationships with one another.  

 

What is your role at Immersioneer?  And beyond it?

 

Within the context of Immersioneer, I see my role as primarily that of a guide and facilitator.  

 

As a guide, I counsel others who are taking the inward plunge—doing my best to demystify the deep dive.  On the dialogue side of things, I lead the Consciousness Crash Course and help facilitate conversation amongst the collective—whether online, on the podcast, or at open sessions.

 

Since the nature of our dialogues often venture into areas where I have no expertise, I frequently enlist other experts to enhance our explorations.  At any event, I may pull in psychologists, sex therapists, scientists, spiritual teachers, or practitioners of other modalities to round out our dialogue.  And, since many of these individuals are often part of the collective already, it’s made all the easier!

 

Beyond this, I also act as a curator.  Shared experience and restoring immediacy are central to Immersioneer’s mission, and so I’m always collaborating with musicians, artists, and other creators to participate in our experiences and events.

 

Outside of Immersioneer, I am a writer, philosopher, and counselor to clients seeking support during times of transition and transformation.  


 

Help me understand the big picture.  How does Immersioneer fit into the wild world we’re living in?

 

Albert Einstein once said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  We agree. New perspectives are where the breakthroughs come from and to face the global challenges of our modern era, we ultimately need to learn to see beyond the usual boundaries.  

 

As we see it, there’s no way to move to a new level of thinking unless we understand the nature of the mind and identity.  This would be like trying to upgrade the operating system of a computer but refusing to update the underlying code.


 

How do I know if Immersioneer makes sense for me?

 

Immersioneer is of greatest value to those who have started doing some “digging”.

 

If you’ve experimented with meditation, read up on mindfulness, or simply have a fascination with the mind and identity, then you’d probably find Immersioneer to be a refreshing new avenue to deepen your exploration.  

 

Likewise, if you’re someone who wants to grow in emotional intelligence and become a better communicator, such things naturally grow out of doing this kind of work.  Simply put, the better you know your self the better you can communicate with others.

 

People who participate in our sessions often report that their relationships with significant others improve.  

 

Is Immersioneer a philosophy?

 

At the end of the day, Immersioneer is a laboratory for deepening human dialogue, and expanding self-awareness.  We’re a bunch of connection junkies who love to explore all the different ways we can learn from one another and see the world in new ways—believing that new perspectives set us free and help us grow.   

 

Ok, this is making some sense.    Where do I start?

 

Let your curiosity guide you.

 

If you’d like to just get a sense for the kind of conversations Immersioneer is all about, check out the podcast.

 

If you’re interested in participating in a group session, then consider signing up for the next Crash Course.  

 

If a social-vibe is more your speed, then sign up for our social events email group.  We try to host a new event every season.

 

If you’re not in the LA area, but interested in joining the conversation, then you might want to reach out for placement in our digital commons.  

I dig what you all are doing and want to support the work.  Can I join the team?

 

Thanks for your interest!  

 

At present, Immersioneer is fully supported by volunteers.  While we hope to build out a proper staff as our work expands, at this stage volunteering, exploring membership, and donating are the best ways to support the cause.