The present global crisis has produced a flood of commentaries both pessimistic and hopeful. Many ascribe our predicament to earlier worldviews which have failed us. Others advance new views – utopian or dystopic or uncertain. What is certain is that we are now being impelled to understand ourselves. This opportunity to understand ourselves in wiser and clearer ways reveals the contemplative dimension of politics, economics and society . Self-knowledge is the best outcome of any crisis. More than a point of view, opinion or prediction self-knowledge changes us. In this talk Laurence Freeman will probe the distinction between vision and visions. Vision changes us, visions may be delightful or appalling but keep us as observers, outsiders. Vision – our capacity for reality through a ‘pure heart’ – turns us into what we see.
Of Irish and English parentage, LAURENCE FREEMAN is a Monk and Teacher. He was educated by the Benedictines and studied English Literature at New College, Oxford University. Before entering monastic life, he worked with the United Nations in New York, in Banking and Journalism. He is Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) a global, inclusive contemplative community.
As Director of the centre, he now resides at Bonnevaux, the WCCM international home in France, and a centre for peace where meditation is practiced and taught as a way to personal and organisational transformation. A core community and a daily rhythm of meditation, work and study support its widening outreach to society at large and a deepening of the Christian relationship with other faith traditions. Strongly attended to the contemporary crisis, Bonnevaux draws on a rich tradition of contemplative wisdom which our times demand.
A writer, citizen of the world and international teacher, Fr Laurence is the author of many articles and books including: Light Within, The Selfless Self, Your Daily Practice, Jesus: The Teacher Within, First Sight: The Experience of Faith, Web of Silence, and his latest book Good Work: Meditation for Personal andOrganizational Transformation. He collaborated with the Dalai Lama on many dialogues and the ground breaking book The Good Heart.
In 2010, he launched Meditatio – the outreach programme of the World Community – which engages with the secular world in the fields of Education, Medicine, Leadership, Science, Business and Social Justice. He encourages the teaching of meditation to children and young people as a way of ‘contemplative revolution’ to help regain the spirit of wisdom tradition in the world today.
In 2013 Fr. Laurence inaugurated an MBA course on Meditation and Leadership, at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, Washington DC which has become the most popular of its electives.In the same year he initiated a programme on Health & Meditation: Healing from the Centre, at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland which has led to a Contemplative Healthcare initiative.
In addition to his work in the contemplative renewal of Christianity Fr Laurence conducts dialogues and peace initiatives such as the historic Way of Peace with the Dalai Lama. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2012 in recognition of his work for interfaith dialogue and the promotion of world peace.