20th December 2007 – Mid Winter, Christmas Celebration
Christ Consciousness – resting in and wrestling with the mystery
‘Christ Consciousness – resting in and wrestling with the mystery’. This evening of celebration and gentle conviviality will encourage a sharing of insights from different spiritual paths on the embodying of love in the holy ground of the here and the now. How on earth do we discover the divine in the ordinary and the everydayness of the extraordinary? Deep down, is there a nondual dimension in the magic of Christmas? Is there a mystical realism waiting to be discovered at this darkest and yet lightest time of the year?.
Philip Roderick is a spiritual entrepreneur, a priest and percussionist, an educator and recovering hyperactivist! He is the founder-director of The Quiet Garden Movement, now on five continents and leader of Contemplative Fire: creating communities of Christ at the edge.
27th November 2007
Shantena Augusto Sabbadini: The Valley Spirit – an Introduction to the Tao Te Ching
‘The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao’: we shall spend an evening with the ‘old master’, engaging in the paradoxical task of speaking of that which cannot be spoken of, enjoying the subtlety, wisdom and poetry of this ancient masterpiece. The Tao Te Ching is not a religious text or a book of philosophy, but an invitation to an inner journey, a journey often described as a return: a return to the source, a return to the simplicity of
uncarved wood, a return to the
state of the newborn. We shall attempt to meet the challenge of this fluid wisdom that cannot let itself be frozen into a solid doctrine and goes beyond intellectual understanding.
A few themes:
The nameless Dao
s mothers way
The man of Dao
Small and great understanding
My words are easy
Shantena Augusto Sabbadini has worked as a theoretical physicist on the foundations of quantum physics and on the first identification of a black hole. In the 90
s he has been a lecturer and organizer with the Eranos Foundation, Ascona, Switzerland (Eranos is an international East-West research center founded in the 30s by Olga Froebe Kapteyn and Carl Gustav Jung) and he is presently associated director of the Pari Center for New Learning, Pari, Italy. He is co-author, with the Dutch sinologist Rudolf Ritsema, of an innovative translation of the I Ching (The Original I Ching Oracle, Watkins Publishing, London, 2005) and is presently involved in a translation of the Tao Te Ching along similar lines.
4th November 2007
Les Lancaster: Kabbalistic Psychology: Consciousness, Creation and the Sacred
Aligning human thought with the mind of God
>A one day workshop run by Prof Les Lancaster<<
Kabbalah is a path of mysticism that teaches of the sacred in action ‘ the principles through which the divine operates in the world and in the human mind. It presents an exploration of psychology that is rooted in a vision of the human mind’s resonance with the divine mind. For Kabbalah, the peak of human potential is reached through imitation of the creative essence of God. Just as the concealed divine thought emerges as the ‘Let there be’ of the biblical narrative, so the unconscious spark of human thought finds expression through the creative function of the psyche. Consciousness unites us with the transcendent source of being.
Les Lancaster has spent 35 years researching the links between kabbalistic teachings and contemporary psychology and neuroscience. Ideas expressed in Kabbalah are consistent with many aspects of the latest research into consciousness and the brain, as well as giving key insights into the process of individual transformation central to all forms of psychological therapy. Les’ fusion of traditional kabbalistic teachings and recent research into consciousness and transpersonal psychology gives a potent framework for exploring ways of expanding consciousness, refining our sense of purpose, and recognising our responsibilities to others and to the world as a whole.
Prof Les Lancaster is the UK’s first full Professor of Transpersonal Psychology, a position he holds at Liverpool John Moores University, where he co-directs the Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology Research Unit. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for Jewish Studies at Manchester University, and Emeritus Chair of the Transpersonal Psychology section of the British Psychological Society. He combines a research background in neuroscience with some 35 years of study and teaching of kabbalistic sources and other areas of mysticism.
23rd October 2007
John Clarke: Philosophy and the Spiritual Path
Modern philosophy from Descartes onwards has become increasingly detached from its ancient purpose of the teaching of wisdom, and over the past few centuries it has tended to take on the ethos and methods of the natural sciences. There are of course exceptions to this, for example the Existentialist tradition, but on the whole the ideal of ancient Greek philosophy as a way of life and a pathway to happiness, spiritual fulfilment and the perfection of the soul has been replaced by an emphasis on technical language and logical precision, and by a close association with the academic establishment with its reluctance to engage in questions about values and the inner life. In this talk I want to share some ideas I have been working on which attempt to take a different look at the modern philosophy to see if can serve similar goals to its ancient forbears, and make a contribution to the quest for a post-Christian spirituality.
John Clarke is an apostate pupil of A.J. Ayer, and has taught philosophy in several universities here and abroad. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the History of Ideas at Kingston University UK, and has published a number of books in this field, including Oriental Enlightenment: the Encounter between Asian and Western Thought. He is Chair of the SMN.
13th September 2007
Ranjan: The Missing Methodology: How to hypothesise in scientific research
Methodological development has been exclusively in respect of how to get a valid answer to the hypothesis under investigation. What attention has been given to the methodology for formulating that hypothesis? In the era of the
observer-effect in physics, it is a valid question. Is there a methodology to be developed for selecting the question? Is there any validity to the axiom that if you can formulate the question you already know the answer, or maybe another way of putting it is – the way in which you formulate the question determines the kind of answer you will get. In other words, when we use logic it keeps us within the box of our paradigm. A scientific breakthrough breaks out of that box! Does examining the history of science give us clues to the mechanism through which this happens? Seeking a methodology of question is the exploration of how we can systematise a method for transcending the box. Nothing more, nothing less.
Ranjan is an internationally published author who works in the area of health management and healing. He works regularly in Australia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka the UK and US. He has been a guest speaker at the Sri Lanka Medical Association (2000) and the Australia and New Zealand Society for Nuclear Medicine (2003). He is Director of Studies at The Academy, a centre of excellence for Holistic Health Studies in Colombo. To see his blog, click on the link below
7th August 2007
Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi: Kabbalah and Schools of the Soul
The Kabbalah is the mystical dimension that underlies Judaism, Christianity and the Occult traditions of the West. It is a body of esoteric knowledge that has been passed down the generations by schools of the soul. In this talk the structure, dynamics and methods of an esoteric school are laid out according to the principles of the Kabbalah. The modes of training, initiation and progress will be shown together with how a school operates. Warren will also examine the spiritual hierarchy that watches over the evolution of humanity as well as of the individual. Time allowing, we may also visit through a deep meditation, a school of the soul.
Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi is the Hebrew name of Warren Kenton, who was born into an English Sephardic family. Over forty years of study and visiting the ancient centres of Kabbalah in Europe, North Africa and Israel, he sees it as his task to translate the Judaic line of Kabbalah into a modern form for anyone who wishes to walk the Way of Kabbalah. As well as in Britain, Warren has taught groups and run courses in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Australia, Japan and Brazil as well as I Israel. His fourteen books on Kabbalah including a novel, have been translated into thirteen languages. He lives and works in London with his wife.
10th July 2007
Peter Fenwick: Stepping Stones to Transformation and Growth
In this talk, related to spiritual transformation and growth, Peter Fenwick will focus on the contribution of a number of modern authors including Wei Su Wei, Alan Forget, Imants Baruss, F. Merrell Wolfe, who have given very clear modern accounts of how the universe appears in the transcendent state, what one has to do to achieve this, and why it can`t be accessed using our ordinary everyday consciousness.
Dr.Peter Fenwick is a consultant neuropsychiatrist who has specialised in neuropsychiatric epilepsy unit at the Maudsley Hospital and the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. He has a longstanding interest in neuroscience, brain function and altered states of consciousness. He has researched brain function using Magneto-encephalography and is carrying out research programmes on near death and end of life experiences. Peter is also the President of theScientific and Medical Network.
12th June 2007
James O’Dea: Evidence of a World Transforming
The Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming is a special 80 page report, commissioned by the Institute of Noetic Sciences as an attempt to chart the transition believed to be underway from a rigid, mechanistic, and materialistic worldview to one that is built on a foundation of interconnectedness, cooperation, and the intersection of science and spirituality. The entire fabric of social meaning is now being challenged at the roots as science and non-dogmatic spirituality provide a distinctly different path forward for both individuals and societies. There are new templates for leadership and healing that move from the personal to the global, new insight into the nature of consciousness that turn dominant worldviews inside out, and emerging understandings about spiritual practice, attitudinal shift and creative thought processes which show having influence on health, neural pathways and even genes. Our challenge is to integrate the demanding deep work of authentic spirituality with these new insights so that we participate in sustained and irreversible transformation rather than flitting around with the latest and trendiest ideas to no effect. This evening James O’Dea will explore the choices we have to follow the path that will take us to an unimagined age of transformation at the macro level or alternative one that may be the greatest devastation humanity has ever experienced; this is the choice point or what has also been called the chaos point.
James O’Dea is the President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), an organisation based in Petaluma, USA which conducts and sponsors research into the potentials and powers of consciousness, including perceptions, beliefs, attention, intention, and intuition, and is committed to educating the general public about this research. The Institute is dedicated to scientific rigor, open-minded approaches, diversity of perspectives and multiple ways of knowing. James lived and worked in Turkey and Lebanon where he witnessed civil conflict and massacres, which influenced him deeply. Before joining IONS in 2003, he spent ten years as the director of the Washington DC office of Amnesty International, and five years as executive director of Seva a non-profit organization dedicated to international health & development issues in Latin America, Asia, and on American Indian reservations. James is also a member of Ervin Laszlo’s World Wisdom Council.
24 May 2007
La Grand: The Extraordinary Experiences of the Bereaved: Practical Uses and Implications
The Extraordinary Experiences (EEs) of the bereaved are common and important phenomena in which claimants are convinced they have received a sign or message from a deceased loved one or a divine being. These spontaneous experiences are replete with practical uses to assist mourners to accept the death of the loved one and establish a new relationship with the deceased, two critical tasks of mourning. Most importantly, they bring comfort and healing and lead mourners to begin the process of establishing new routines and reinvest in life. This presentation will highlight fourteen experiences reported by mourners, the messages received, and suggest several ways EEs can be used to facilitate the development of coping strategies for adapting to an environment without the physical presence of the loved one.
Dr. LaGrand, a pioneer in researching the Extraordinary Experiences of the bereaved, is the author of four books on the subject the most recent titled Love Lives On: Learning from the Extraordinary Encounters of the Bereaved. He is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York, one of the founders of Hospice of the St. Lawrence Valley, Inc., and was a member of the debriefing team for the TWA Flight 800 disaster. He has counseled the bereaved for more than 25 years.
19 April 2007
David Peat: Active Information: The Integration of Matter and Mind
In developing a new approach to quantum theory Bohm proposed that the new notion of an activity of information should be added to the categories of matter and energy. In essence an electron is a particle, or rather a process, that is guided by active information. But Bohm saw this in a much wider context of the presence of mind in the universe and the holistic activity of mind and body. In some ways Bohm’s ideas resonate with those of Wolfgang Pauli who saw mind has having been present from the origin of life and sought a ‘neutral language’ that would integrate matter and psyche. It also resonates with Carl Jung’s unus mundus and is notion of the psychoid level.
If time permits maybe we could also discuss ‘the new dualism’ that has arisen in which we tend to forget that we are incarnate beings and attribute all behaviour to the activity of the brain, and ignore the role of the body. Possibly the ingrained nature of this dualism could explain the barriers we encounter in the development of A.I. ‘ we just do not understand how we function and intelligent embodied beings negotiating our way on this planet.
Dr. David Peat obtained his PhD from Liverpool University and carried out research at Queen’s University, Canada and the National Research Council of Canada. He became a friend and colleague of David Bohm and they were working on a second book together at the time of Bohm’s death. Peat has organized circles with Native American Elders and Western scientists as well as between artists and scientists. In 1996 he moved to the medieval hilltop village of Pari where be opened the Pari Center for New Learning. The center’s website can be found at www.paricenter.com. Peat is the author of twenty books.
13 March 2007
Phillip Cole: Satan and the Meaning of Evil
Does the concept of evil agency have any meaningful application in a secular worldview, outside of its mythological, supernatural and religious uses? If we understand the evil agent as someone who pursues the suffering of others for its own sake, and for no other purpose, then, I argue, that although we may find such characters in mythology and fiction, such an idea has no explanatory value when we are trying to understand why human agents perform dreadful actions. ‘Because they are evil’ can never be an adequate explanation. To demonstrate this, I examine the figure of Satan as a case study. If any agency can be understood as purely, diabolically evil, then surely the Devil can. However, if we ask why Satan pursues his project of destruction, then ‘because he is evil’ tells us nothing about that project and his motivation. If not even Satan makes sense as an evil agent, then it seems doubtful that the idea can be applied to human agency. As a result, it seems as though the idea of evil agency makes little sense even in a religious framework. It is a mythological concept, which has work to do in a mythological world history, but if religious believers abandon this mythological world history, then they must struggle to make any sense of the idea of evil.
Dr. Phillip Cole is Reader in Applied Philosophy at Middlesex University. His book, The Myth of Evil, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2006. He has written on a range of issues in applied ethics, and his previous book, Philosophies of Exclusion: Liberal Political Theory and Immigration, was awarded the North American Society for Social Philosophy’s 2000 prize for the best book published that year.
20 February 2007
Bernard Carr: Psychical Research as a Bridge between Science and Mysticism
Psychical research helps to bridge the gulf between science and spirituality. It is allied with science because of its methodology and attempt to find a theoretical framework for the subject; it is allied with spirituality because psychical experience is a component of a more general transcendental experience. Nevertheless, being a bridge entails considerable discomfort. There is antipathy from the spiritual side because, although most spiritual paths involve the development of some form of psychic powers, these are usually regarded as a distraction rather than as an end in themselves. Also sufficiently advanced mystical states are assumed to be ineffable and therefore not amenable to scientific analysis. There is antipathy from the scientific side because science is primarily concerned with a 3rd person rather than 1st person account of the world. It therefore takes little account of experience, even though this is central to spirituality, and focuses on experiment instead. Although there are various ways in which psychical researchers may enhance their experience of psi, they mostly prefer to maintain a separation between themselves as experimenter and the psychic as the ‘guinea pig’ who is being probed. The most fundamental aspect of the bridge between science and spirituality is associated with the attempt to find a theoretical basis for the phenomena. Any scientific paradigm which can accommodate psi and spirituality must assign a central role to consciousness and there are already indications that this is fundamental rather than incidental feature of the universe.
Prof Bernard Carr is Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary – University of London and has held visiting Professorships at various Institutes in America and Japan. His professional area of research is cosmology and relativity – with particular interest in such topics as the early universe, dark matter and the anthropic principle. He has a long-standing interest in the nature of mind and physics and is particularly keen to extend the paradigm of physics to incorporate consciousness and associated mental phenomena. He is a has recently served as the President for the Society for Psychical research for four years, and is a Board member of the Scientific & Medical Network.
23rd January 2007
Peter Russell: The Art of Letting Go
There has been much talk over the years of the need for a shift in consciousness, but not so much on how this might be achieved. Most spiritual traditions agree that a fundamental part of this shift is a letting go-whether it be a letting go of attachments, judgments, illusions or ego. But how do we let go? It often seems so hard. That is because we usually approach letting go as something to do, rather than a releasing of something we are already doing. In this meeting, Peter Russell will explore the various ways we hold on (and why), the nature of letting go, and some ways in which the process can be facilitated. His recent work in this area has focused on opening to the wisdom of our essential self, which can become our own inner teacher, and he will lead people through some meditation exercises that they can use to draw upon their inner wisdom and so help the letting go..
Peter Russell is the author of various books including The Awakening Earth, Waking Up in Time and most recently, From Science to God. He holds degrees from Cambridge in theoretical physics, experimental psychology and computer science, and was one of the first people to introduce human potential seminars into the corporate field. He is currently making a film on the awakening of Buddha.