About me

Hello, I’m Nicolas

About me

Hello, I’m Nicolas

The inner journey is a paradox. While it is deeply shaped by others, it is always a unique and personal discovery.

My background

My journey started while I was living in Asia, the source of many spiritual traditions. There, I studied meditation for over 10 years. I learned from meditation masters in Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan, and I have deepened my path through personal practice and exploration, in daily life and in intensive silent retreats.

The traditional teachings I encountered were deeply rooted in the wisdom of the natural world and the body. They helped me meet life more deeply and they transformed me.

I then worked at integrating these ancient practices and insights with the discoveries of modern psychology and neuroscience in which I was trained. Incorporating recent therapeutic tools, such as IFS model (Internal Family Systems), has allowed me to grow an approach to inner work that is open and rooted in modern and ancient sciences of the mind.

Today, I share what I have learned and help others develop their own path. Read more about my influences and my story.

At the heart of the greatest lives were restless and inquisitive women and men with a fire for discovery.

Portrait de Nicolas Escoffier dans la nature

At the heart of the greatest lives were restless and inquisitive women and men with a fire for discovery.

I started training formally in Meditation and early Buddhist psychology in 2010. I have been studying with close guidance from my teacher Vajiro Richard Chua, who has encouraged me to teach.

I have a committed contemplative practice, which is centered on practice in daily life and formal retreats, study of text and traditions and research. Personal retreats and engagement with Nature and land are at the core of my practice.

I am trained as a Level 2 Practitioner in Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy. I have specialized training in the spiritual and contemplative dimension of IFS including further training by Richard Schwartz and Robert Falconer. I also integrate into my work influences from neuroscience.

IFS is a new tool for inner change that brings healing through self-acceptance and self-compassion. An evidence-based modality for healing traumatic wounds,  IFS also opens new doors for deepening our inner journey especially through the many connections it offers with contemplative traditions and spirituality.

I have completed the Foundations meditation teacher training course under the Unified Mindfulness system.

Unified Mindfulness is a secular system of meditation with clear terminology and rigorous precision around concepts and procedures. It allows teaching in an accessible manner any form of meditation regardless of style or tradition. The U.M. system is used by leading institutions like Harvard and Carnegie Mellon University for their research on meditation. Learn more on personal guidance for meditation here.

I hold a PhD in Psychology from National University of Singapore, one of the top universities in Asia, and a master’s degree in Cognitive Science from Lyon II university in France. My research has focused on emotions, attention and the brain. I have investigated living spiritual practices, such as Chinese Shamanic and spirit medium practices (you can learn more about my work here).

My findings have been published in over 20 scientific publications, and have been featured by Scientific American. I have also been interviewed for an award-wining documentary on happiness.

Shaped by modernity and tradition

Modern and Traditional Psychology

My training in neuroscience and Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy  has helped me ground the guidance I offer in research. Moreover, these modern disciplines embody important human values such as curiosity, questioning, and openness.

Traditional Buddhist Psychology is another a rich source of inspiration. It offers maps to the inner life that are reliable guides, even for non-religious seekers. I also like the precision of its view of the mind, its respect for each individual’s experience, and its pragmatism. Together, traditional and modern psychology bring lucidity and potency to meditation and inner work.

Meditative traditions of South-East Asia

Local meditative traditions have been a natural influence while I was living in South-East Asia, especially the Buddhist concentration practices I learned under my teacher. He was a student of Amatha Gavesi, a meditation master from Sri Lanka, who became monk later in life. My approach to meditation was also influenced by the esoteric and rare practices of the region. In recent years, influences have included pure awareness teachings from Chan (Chinese Zen), and some Tibetan teachings. While my practice and teaching are non-religious, conversations with contemplatives of the Christian and Taoist traditions have also been crucial sources of inspiration.

These influences shape the guidance I offer so others can find their own path.

From struggle to flow

My story

From the neuroscience lab to the monastery

During a typical week I was buried in scientific articles and was running neuroscience experiments so I could write my Ph.D. thesis. On weekends I was waking up early and was heading to a temple to learn meditation.

It wasn’t easy. I was flooded in thoughts, tensing up under the onslaught, barely able to follow basic instructions like following the breath. I am deeply non-religious, but I remember praying in desperation for my mind to stop the noise. It didn’t work.

I do not know why, but I kept at it. My teacher saw my struggle and started giving me personalized advice. My meditation practice was transformed. I learned what worked and what didn’t work for me. Instead of following templates, I started to own my practice and adjusted it to focus on what worked for me.

Creativity and freedom entered my practice and things started to shift. The thoughts were still there, but I could connect with a sense flow and ease that led to deeper experiences. Gradually, I rediscovered meditation.

Nicolas practicing minfulness meditation in traditional cambodian house in kep

For over a decade, I trained in meditation under my teacher and practiced deeply during silent retreats in traditional monasteries.

Inner work reshapes life

As there was more ease in my meditation, I started noticing changes in my inner life.

I could hold my attention on my work without effort, even in the crowded office I was sharing with other students at the university.

In my martial art practice, Japanese swordsmanship, I became less rigid. I was more present, it was like practicing a whole new discipline.

My relationships were transformed. I started to see that behind many motives, there was suffering, or love, and sometimes both. This helped me look back at my past and allow forgiveness for myself and others.

Things had shifted at a deeper level. I would notice some old tensions and fears had vanished. Of course, many challenges remained, but there was a confidence that I could face them.

The changes were being deeply woven into my days. In quiet moments, an unknown joy would well up. There was a growing sense that behind everyday experiences and thoughts, there was a background and it was loving and quiet.

Meditation and inner work have helped me find deeper meaning and happiness in my daily life and have helped me better connect with others.

Nicolas Escoffier Photo Buste

Meditation and inner work have helped me find deeper meaning and happiness in my daily life and have helped me better connect with others.

What will your own journey be like?

Your journey might be very different, but the same discoveries, meaning and happiness are available for you.

A few more things about me

Nicolas Escoffier practicing meditation during iaido japanese sword martial art in singapore sekai dojo
  • I had my first transformative encounter with meditation when I was 14, in a music class.
  • I used to be in a band, we were playing electronic music and loved performing live.
  • I volunteer for the study and protection of the forest and our green environments.
  • I played the gong in a Gamelan group, a traditional Indonesian music ensemble.
  • I enjoy conversations with contemplatives of all traditions. My views of contemplative practice were deeply transformed after a dialogue with a Jesuit spiritual director.
  • For over 15 years I have been practicing japanese swordmanship (Iaido and Kenjutsu).
  • I love exploring and researching spiritual places, whether religious or secular. I have traveled to Taiwan, Thailand, Yunnan, India, Java, to see such places and the living spirituality there.
  • Walks in Nature, this is how I find balance when things get overwhelming.

Are you curious about what your own journey may be like ?

Schedule a free call to see if I am the right person to help you along your path.