We had the good fortune of connecting with Shamini Jain and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shamini, what role has risk played in your life or career?
To me “Risk” in terms of a career, is about whether you’re willing to follow your heart, and roll up your sleeves and get to work for what you believe in and what you want to bring to the world. For me, there was no other choice but to follow my heart with my work, as nothing else made sense to do. It has not always been the most chilled-out path, but I still love every minute of it. No career is without risk. If there is one thing that the changing climate, health and socio-political landscape has taught us, it’s that many so-called “conventional” careers are just as risky as non-conventional ones. Life is never predictable, so the more we honor that impermanence the better off we will all be. The successful career in this day and age will be marked by creativity, collaboration, and perseverance. The more we follow our creative impulses wholeheartedly, and bridge them with an social entrepreneurial mindset, the more we will be satisfied with our career choices and what they are bringing to the world.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I never knew that my career path would lead me to set up and run my own nonprofit dedicated to research, community building and education in healing. But my sheer dedication to the study of consciousness, spirituality and healing led me to create it. Through my own research I got to know many tenured professors at major universities who had the same interests as me. They were doing “closet research” on consciousness, energy healing and extraordinary spiritual experiences. But they lacked community. They were afraid to talk about their research to their colleagues for fear of being ridiculed. When we had our first think-tank meeting in consciousness and healing, the number one thing all the attendees said at the end was that we needed a collaborative organization – one that linked researchers, healers, health educators and even hospitals and universities together, so that we could really create impact with the groundbreaking discoveries that were quietly being made. I made a commitment to help lead that charge, and jumped in with both feet. Being a scientist and clinical psychologist, I had no actual experience in non-profit leadership when I started the organization, I have learned much. Like in any business or organization, diversifying your offerings and income streams is very important. I don’t think any nonprofit should rely on just philanthropy dollars from big donors to sustain operations. I’m learning how to create our “non-profit” into a true “social profit” – one that nurtures and empowers our community of healers so that they in turn support it through getting stellar education and connection in healing self-care and science.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had friends meeting me in So-Cal, I’d take them Encinitas. CA for a great surf session at Pipes. It’s the perfect wave and mellow enough even for the beginner, but absolutely beautiful with a long stretch of beach and totally family friendly. No wetsuit? No problem! There are plenty of places to rent one and a board as well, though I’d have an extra. From there I’d take them on the 101 where they can take their pick of tons of great local eateries with outside seating. We’d then head to the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens to enjoy the koi fish, the beautiful diversity of plants, the stellar view and then take some time to meditate, feeling the vibration of Paramahansa Yogananda, whose presence is very much felt in the Gardens. Yogananda was a leading light in bringing yoga to the west and while he passed in 1952, his influence is felt even now in Encinitas. It is said that this particular Self-Realization Center was one of his favorites. We’d catch the sunset in La Jolla atop Soledad Mountain, with 360-degree views of the city and the ocean, and be sure to stop at Bobboi Gelato by La Jolla Cove for the most bomb vegan pistachio gelato ever made! We might even catch a nice vegan snack at Trilogy Cafe in La Jolla and try our hand at some aerial yoga while there. Assuming COVID was not an issue, we’d then head to some of our favorite San Diego venues, like the Belly Up, Music Box , Brick by Brick, Full Circle Saloon, Humphrey’s or House of Blues to catch some of my friends’ local bands – while touring acts all come through those venues, the San Diego local music scene is thriving with so many excellent musicians of all different genres. Hungry again after the show? No problem! There are tons of late night taco shops to fill our bellies as only San Diego taco shops can do! With some energy back in us, perhaps a midnight stroll in Mission Bay or at WindandSea Beach would be in order as we gaze upon the water and stars, thankful for this beautiful part of Earth. We’d sleep at some point!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to send my Shoutout to my Ph.D. mentor and dear friend, Dr. Paul Mills. When I was a graduate student, Paul supported me to do the first and only clinical research study in energy healing at UC San Diego – which at the time especially, was no small feat. He knew I was dedicated to holistic healing research, even though most told me at the time it would be “career suicide” to study things like energy healing in an academic setting. Instead of trying to talk me out of it like most faculty, Paul mentored me to get my own grant from the National Institutes of Health for my study. He also went to bat for our study when other faculty were skeptical if such things could be researched and were questioning whether to allow the research to happen. This placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trial on energy healing for fatigued breast cancer survivors is now in the journal, “Cancer”, widely read by oncologists. It was my first lesson in perseverance as a spiritually oriented scientist. As a result of Paul’s mentoring and his example, I launched my own non-profit, Consciousness and Healing Initiative (www.chi.is), which is dedicated to the science and practice of healing.
Website: www.shaminijain.com ; www.chi.is
Other: TEDx on Healing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk7kzUt3-Lc&t=71s
Main headshot: Namuun Bat Photography.