Born in Toronto, Canada, Jeff Brown did all the things he was supposed to do to become successful in the eyes of the world. He was on the Dean’s Honor List as an undergraduate. He won the Law and Medicine prize in law school. He apprenticed with top criminal lawyer Eddie Greenspan. It had been Jeff’s lifelong dream to practice criminal law and search for the truth in the courtroom.
But then, on the verge of opening a law practice, he heard a little voice inside telling him, ‘stop, just stop.’ With great difficulty, he honored this voice and began a heartfelt quest for the truth that lived within him. Although he didn’t realize it at the time, Jeff was actually questing for his innate image, the essential being that he came into this lifetime to embody. He was searching for his authentic face.
As part of his journey, Jeff surrendered to his confusion and explored many possible paths. He studied Bioenergetics and did session work with co-founder Alexander Lowen. He practiced as a body-centered psychotherapist. He completed an MA in Psychology at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco and co-founded the Open Heart Gang, a benevolent gang with a heartfelt intention. He started his own business and became a successful entrepreneur.
The most important thing Brown did, however, was the inner work. By going inside and connecting his spirituality with his emotional life, he learned essential lessons. By learning to surrender to the ‘School of Heart Knocks’ (the school of life), he found his authentic face and embraced the call to write Soulshaping. Although he resisted it at first, he soon realized that honoring the call was his best defense against sleeplessness. If he wrote, he slept. If he didn’t, he lay awake all night. This is in the nature of a calling.
Brown self-published the first edition of Soulshaping in December 2007. Titled Soulshaping: Adventures in Self-Creation, the book was sold on a street level by a homeless man in Toronto and met with a tremendous response. It was picked up by North Atlantic Books soon thereafter and a beautiful new edition, distributed by Random House, entered bookstores in August 2009. Now named Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation, this edition includes a new preface written by Brown that speaks to the grassroots energy that moved the book into the world so quickly, validating his own intuition about the book’s connective and heartfelt nature.
After writing a series of inspirations for ABC’S ‘Good Morning America’ in early 2010, and appearing on Fox News.com and dozens of radio shows, Brown wrote the viral blog ‘Apologies to the Divine Feminine (from a warrior in transition)’ that autumn, catapulting him to a greater degree of notoriety, particularly in social media. Soon thereafter, he released his first film, Karmageddon, an award winning spiritual documentary that highlights his journey with spiritual teacher Bhagavan Das. Also featuring profound interviews with Be Here Now author Ram Dass, yogis Seane Corn and David Life, and chanters Wah, Deva Premal and Miten; Karmageddon is a courageous, self-revealing, unforgettable film about spirituality, integrity, and emotional healing.
Jeff’s second book Ascending with Both Feet on the Ground was published in October, 2012. Strongly endorsed by Oprah ‘Soul Series’ Radio host Elizabeth Lesser and best-selling authors Oriah Mountain Dreamer and Katherine Woodward Thomas, Ascending is a collection of some of Jeff’s most popular spiritual graffiti–quotes, soul-bytes and aphorisms frequently shared in social media.
His third book Love It Forward was published on Valentine’s Day, 2014. In this subsequent book of spiritual graffiti, Jeff includes a number of his most popular and profound love and relationship quotes. Endorsed by best-selling authors Carolyn Myss, Andrew Harvey and CNN’S Father Edward Beck, this book also includes a series of inspirations that Jeff wrote for ‘Good Morning America.’ Also in 2014, Jeff formed his own publishing house Enrealment Press (www.enrealment.com) and signed a deal with New Leaf distribution. His fourth book- a higher consciousness love story called An Uncommon Bond—was published to rave reviews in May, 2015. An audio version—published by the Grammy-award winning Blackstone Audio—soon followed. Jeff’s fifth book, a quotes book aptly named Spiritual Graffiti, came out in December, 2015. His latest book, Grounded Spirituality, was published in March, 2019.
Why I started Soulshaping Institute. Words from Jeff …
Soulshaping Institute was born out of my frustration with traditional learning and in the firey furnace of my own sacred purpose. Throughout my mainstream education, I often wondered when my real education would begin. They taught me geography, when it was my inner geography that concerned me. They taught me Canadian history, but nothing about karmic lineage. They taught me foreign languages, but we spent no time on the language that mattered most- the language of the heart. By the time I graduated from traditional education, I had 2 degrees and no idea who I was. Whatever tools I had acquired seemed ill-equipped to deal with the fundamental questions of meaning and purpose. I was prepared to accumulate, but not to authenticate. They had sharpened my mind, but dulled my soul.
As I look back on my life, my real education happened from the inside out. While diligently attending the School of Heart Knocks (the school of life), I arrived at a clarified vision of path and purpose. It did not reveal itself in the head-tripping caverns of academia, nor through my egoic forays into career as identity. It rose into awareness through the gateway to my heart, a vision of possibility that was encoded in my cells from time immemorial, an unstoppable wave of purpose that was indistinguishable from my authentic self. Excavating it from the burial ground within demanded a multitude of stages, stages that existed entirely distinct from my university curriculum. In my private life, in my truth aches, in my difficult relationships, at workshops and in therapy, in those quiet moments when we inwardly decide how deep we will dig, this is where I learned what I most needed to know. The true core-iculum for my expansion lived in my own bones and in the heart of my real-life experiences. It was there that I found my direction.
When I was struggling to let go of the lawyering path, I found myself feeling deeply isolated. I was confused as to what direction to go but couldn’t find anyone to talk with who could relate to my struggle. Most people I knew had defined themselves through a survivalist lens- their identity was the job that paid the bills- and they didn’t understand how I could leave law to sit in my confusion. During that time, I longed for a community of like-spirited others to commune with and support my process. I longed for a place to go where I could be met in my confusion and in my longing for a remarkable life.
After I left law, I explored many pathways of possibility. I spent years befriending my confusion, living in the question, adventuring and surrendering, studying my inner world. Almost a decade later, I heard the call to write while on a healing vacation at Harbin Hot Springs in California. I had heard it before, but I hadn’t yet lived enough to honor it. I came back home to Toronto, and began to write Soulshaping. At first I resisted- the voices of not good enough and internalized shame blocked my expression- but I pushed on through. At some point, a dam broke inside me and a wave of expression came pouring through. I began writing on my wall, scribbling like a madman, a soulnami of sacred purpose that simply could not be stopped. It was entirely impractical and overwhelming, and yet it was the most beautiful experience of my life. I had found an encoded path inside me, a bottomless treasure chest of delight. When I could fully embody it, I entered a vast and heartfelt landscape, and felt a peace I have never known. I no longer wondered why I was here. I was here to find the words.
Toward the end of the writing, I kept getting a vision of a school that would support others in their efforts to find their own path and purpose. A place to focus inward, to ask the deeper questions, to bridge the emotional and the spiritual life in a sustainable way. I looked around at those I knew and saw so many unopened gifts, so many unrealized lessons, so much vitality buried below the weight of distraction. I wanted to co-create an environment that would invite it all to the surface. A place that honors an authentic way of being. A place that celebrates our inherent uniqueness. A place where self-revealing is supported and nurtured. A place that truly, madly, deeply believes that each of us has a meaningful role to play in this dance of sacred imagination. I knew that I couldn’t develop it yet- I had other creations that had to come first- but I saw it on the horizon, waiting for that just right moment to be actualized.
That moment is now. After many more adventures in self-creation, essential learnings, bakes in the cosmic kiln– the time to land this vision rose into view. I am ready, and I heartfully invite your participation as we co-create a way of being that is infused with the light of sacred purpose.