London Group Events 2011

8th Nov 2011

Edi Bilimoria: Life Reflects Music: Music Echoes Life

Beethoven declared: ‘music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life’. This talk will attempt to elucidate why and how it is that music and life both mirror their inexpressible contents. We shall touch upon the question of why Pythagoras’s statement about the ‘music of the spheres’ applies not just in the metaphysical sense but also physically. Then we shall deal with an attitude to study (in music and in life) that shows a pathway to personal transformation, before moving on to show the indomitable courage and immense diligence of some great virtuosos who let no obstacle or inner torture stand in the way of their life’s mission to serve humanity through their chosen art. The importance of humility allied to the urge to press ever onwards and upward will be explained with actual cases.

Edi Bilimoria is a Consultant Engineer by profession, a life-long musician and an ardent student of the esoteric philosophy. Edi worked for past two years as the Education Coordinator for The Theosophical Society in Australia developing study courses and study papers, lecturing throughout the country, organizing international conferences; as well as supervising the Campbell Theosophical Research Library, maintaining the National Media Library and the National Members Lending Library, and overseeing the development of the website. Major effort was devoted to research: to trace the developments and plot the ensuing trajectory of scientific, evidence-based research into hitherto undiscovered laws of nature from the extremely materialistic concepts of the late nineteenth century to the present age.

Towards the end of his tenure Edi was fortunate to liaise with and assist the Group Leader with the revival of the Sydney Branch of The Scientific and Medical Network. Back at home, Edi is delighted to have joined the Godalming Choral Society. Needless to say he spends many hours daily on his Steinway piano having regular lessons from a Russian virtuoso pianist who happens to be a close relative of the legendary Vladimir Horowitz. But most important of all, he is overjoyed to have re-united with the SMN in England.

11 October 2011

Gary Lachman: The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus

In antiquity, through the Renaissance, and up until the beginning of modern times, the name Hermes Trismegistus was one to conjure with, literally. Thought to be the source of all ancient wisdom and knowledge, founder of civilization, master of magic, the arts, and sciences, Hermes Trismegistus was believed to be a contemporary of Moses, the teacher of Plato, and for some his prestige equalled that of Jesus Christ. Yet in the early seventeenth century, this legendary figure lost all credibility, and the hermetic philosophy associated with his name became a laughing stock. Who was this remarkable individual, why did his mystic teachings lose their standing at the start of the modern age, and is there anything we, at the end of it, can learn from him? My talk will look at the remarkable history of this extraordinary character and explore the possibilities the teaching of Hermes Trismegistus may hold for us today.

Gary Lachman is the author of several books on the meeting ground between consciousness, culture, and the western esoteric tradition, including Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung’s Life and Teachings; Politics and the Occult: The Left, The Right, and the Radically Unseen; The Dedalus Book of Literary Suicides: Dead Letters; Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work; In Search of P.D. Ouspensky; Into the Interior: Discovering Swedenborg; and A Secret History of Consciousness. He is a frequent contributor to the Independent on Sunday, Fortean Times, and other journals in the UK and US. As Gary Valentine he was a founding member of the rock group Blondie and is the author of New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation, a memoir of his years as a musician. In 2006 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lachman lectures regularly in London and abroad on the history of the counterculture and the western inner tradition and broadcasts occasionally for Radio 3 and 4.

For further information look up

Gary Lachman

13th September 2011

Swati Chopra: Women Awakened: Insights into a contemporary feminine spirituality

For centuries, women have walked the inner path to spiritual realisation despite thorns placed in their way by patriarchy, discrimination and unequal opportunities. Their journeys have been characterised by courage and determination, ingenuity and creativity. Where they couldn’t get past the confines of gender roles, women found ways to lead spiritually rich lives under the skin of their worldly selves, amidst the babble of babies and bread, home and family. When they did manage to step outside spaces designated for them by patriarchy, and found fulfillment as wanderers and mystics, god-intoxicated wise madwomen, their insights and experiences remained largely anonymous, their heroism unsung.

This anonymity, born of a ‘second class spiritual citizenship’, persists till this day. At a time when women gurus are becoming far more visible than ever before, through new age media like television and the internet, there is nevertheless little understanding of a feminine spirituality. In this talk, Swati Chopra will explore the idea of feminine spirituality in the contemporary context, and what it actually means to be a spiritual seeker in today’s world. This is also the core concern of her new book, Women Awakened, in which she has delved in the subject through the lives of eight women mystics, gurus and seekers.

Swati Chopra is a New Delhi-based writer and editor. Women Awakened (HarperCollins India) is her third book, after a spiritual travelogue, Dharamsala Diaries (Penguin, 2007) and a modern introduction to Buddhism, <I?Buddhism: On the Path to Nirvana (Brijbasi, New Delhi; Mercury Books, London, 2005). Her writing, exploring spirituality and its relevance to modern lives, has appeared in several publications in India and abroad. She has recently joined Wisdom Tree Publications as their editor of books on spirituality and wellness. To learn more see

Swati Chopra

5th July 2011

Tim Read: Archetype, psyche and the mutative Self

How do we understand psychological archetypes and what is their relevance? What is the Self archetype / Atman ‘ psychological construct, fabric of universe or both? Is it useful to postulate a bio psycho socio archetypal model of psyche? Are there examples of high intensity archetypal images in clinical settings? Jung made optimal use of set and setting to negotiate his spiritual emergency ‘ when he felt almost overwhelmed by archetypal images. Is there a more digestible dose that we can use for psycho spiritual growth? The Czech psychiatrist ‘ Stanislav Grof has made 2 original contributions following Jung’s insights. As a pioneer of psychedelic research, he defined the archetype of the perinatal matrices which seem to straddle personal and transpersonal domains of psyche. He also designed a powerful natural method of inducing and integrating non ordinary states of consciousness (NOSC) namely holotropic breathwork. How can we work with archetypal energies to facilitate psycho spiritual growth and what does this indicate about the relationship between ego and self, the personal and the transpersonal?

Dr Tim Read is a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Royal London Hospital to the Crisis Intervention Service and the Emergency Psychiatric Liaison service. He has degrees in neuroscience and in medicine and is a Fellow of the Royal college of Psychiatrists. He has completed trainings in psychoanalytic psychotherapy (IGA) and the Grof transpersonal training and is a facilitator of holotropic breathwork. He has an abiding interest in Jung which has been nourished by the modern transpersonal movement and the insights derived from non ordinary states of consciousness (NOSC). His special interest is the possibility of psycho spiritual growth.

23rd June 2011

Conversation with Ravi Ravindra about ‘Science as a Spiritual Path?’

What makes any activity a spiritual path? Can science be one? Are there, or have there been, scientists for whom science is or was such a path? Does this depend on any particular developments in science? Are scientists like Stephen Hawking, who are aware of the latest developments in quantum mechanics more spiritually oriented than scientists like Swedenborg or Kepler or Pythagoras? Is there some sense in a comment of Einstein that ‘The present fashion of applying the axioms of physical science to human life is not only entirely a mistake but has also something reprehensible in it’? Schroedinger was even stronger: ‘Physics has nothing to do with religion. Physics takes its start from everyday experience, which it continues by more subtle means. It remains akin to it, does not transcend it generically, it cannot enter into another realm.’ He characterizes such attempts as ‘sinister.’ What do you think?

Ravi Ravindra: A native of India, he emigrated to Canada and is Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he served for many years as a professor in three Departments: Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and Physics. He was a Member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Simla, and Founding Director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge. He has been a member of the Board of Judges for the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He is an honorary member of the Scientific and Medical Network. Ravindra’s spiritual search has led him to the teachings of J. Krishnamurti, G. Gurdjieff, Yoga, Zen, and a deep immersion in the mystical teachings of the Indian and Christian traditions. He is the author of many books on religion, science, and spiritual disciplines, including:
The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism (formerly titled The Yoga of the Christ)
Science and the Sacred
Pilgrim Without Boundaries
The Spiritual Roots of Yoga
The Wisdom of PataΓ±jali’s Yoga Sutras

Ravindra is the Series Editor of an eight volume series dealing with The Inner Journey in the major spiritual traditions of the world. The series has been published by the Morning Light Press, Sandpoint, Idaho.

19th May 2011

Andrew Silverman: The Turin Shroud: Scientific evidence for authenticity and the physics (and metaphysics) behind the image

There is ample scientific, historical and forensic evidence pointing to a first century, Middle Eastern origin for the Turin Shroud. Even Prof Ramsey of the Radiocarbon Unit in Oxford which originally did the carbon dating suggests that the case is not yet closed: “There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed.” Prof Ramsey March 2008. Some of this evidence came from a paper by Raymond Rogers of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (http://www.metalog.org/files/shroud/C14.pdf). There is evidence that the shroud image may have been produced by an extremely brief and intense burst of radiant energy from the body of the dead man which it wrapped (see e.g.http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?uri=ao-47-9-1278)
It will be suggested that this can be scientifically explained. To do so we would need to consider the rational and scientific evidence which implies that consciousness is not an incidental product of a material universe. We are all aware of subjective perceptions that we continuously exercise free choice. What would be the implications for our view of the world if our subjective impressions are correct?

The idea of a mind-matter continuum will be discussed. A dynamic interface between thought, light and matter is postulated which implies that the mind-matter duality resolves on the side of mind as prime mover. Schrödinger presented evidence for the unitary nature of consciousness. It will be suggested that our corporeality is the result of our separation from this and that perhaps the image formation process on the Turin Shroud is an incidental result of the vector which unites consciousness. A vector perhaps described by the saying: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Seen in this context this would not be a religious platitude but a statement of mathematical fact that all consciousness is one though experienced through differing viewpoints and choices.

Dr Andrew Silverman is a medical doctor with a background in physiology and has been interested from an early age in the nature of what we are as human beings and what our potential is. He has always been fascinated to know how the image on the Turin Shroud could have formed being mindful of the fact that it can not be replicated even with 21st Century technology.
Last year he presented a paper on the Turin Shroud at a conference at the atomic physics research centre ENEA in Frascati, Italy and he has been invited to give two more presentations in May 2011 at a conference at the University of Gdansk. He works as a General Practitioner in South East England.

For further information on the subject, go to the website below.

www.lightoftheshroud.com

9th April 2011

Nicholas Hagger: The New Philosophy of Universalism: The Infinite and the Law of Order

Since Plato and Aristotle, philosophy has historically had metaphysical and scientific emphases and traditions. Recently philosophy has become fragmented, concerned with logic and language and increasingly irrelevant. Universalism, a new development in philosophy, seeks to bring philosophy back to considering the unity of the universe. It returns to the source of Western philosophy, the Presocratic Greeks’ view of the infinite, and seeks to bring together the metaphysical and scientific traditions.

Universalism incorporates an up-to-date scientific view of the universe. Its interpretation of the latest findings in cosmology and astrophysics, physics’ quantum vacuum, biocosmology, biology and geology, ecology and physiology reveals the workings of a bio-friendly infinite and a law of order. Nature has a self-organising system, and body, brain and multi-levelled consciousness are self-regulating. Reality appears to be a manifesting system of light.

A new metaphysics absorbs the essence of this view of the scientific disciplines. Reality can be approached rationally as a system and process of manifestation. This rational approach can explain how the universe came into being, and focus on the emergence of photons. Reality can also be approached intuitionally as inner experience of infinite Light. Universalism reconciles these two approaches and reunifies the divisions of philosophy and of compartmentalised knowledge. It has applications in disciplines other than philosophy, and calls for a new discipline in university curricula that would cover many disciplines and examine the reunified universe.

Nicholas Hagger is a philosopher, poet, man of letters and cultural historian. He studied Islamic and Oriental philosophy while lecturing at universities in Baghdad, Tripoli (Libya) and Japan (where he was a Professor), and is the author of more than 30 books. These include a substantial literary output (of nearly 1,500 poems, over 300 classical odes, two poetic epics, five verse plays, a thousand stories, two travelogues) and innovatory works in philosophy, history and literature.
His philosophical Universalism is in The Universe and the Light: A New View of the Universe and Reality (1993); The One and the Many: Universalism and the Vision of Unity (1999); and most importantly The New Philosophy of Universalism: The Infinite and the Law of Order (2009). His most recent works of political Universalism are The World Government: A Blueprint for a Universal World State (2010), work of political philosophy, and The Secret American Dream: The Creation of a New World Order with the Power to Abolish War, Poverty, and Disease (2011). His historical and religious Universalism can be found in The Fire and the Stones (1991), The Rise and Fall of Civilizations (2008) and The Light of Civilization (2006). He is currently completing a work of literary Universalism, A New Philosophy of Literature: The Fundamental Theme of World Literature: The Vision of the Infinite and the Universalist Literary Tradition. His website is

Nicholas Hagger

22nd March 2011

Peter Bowman: Erwin Schrödinger and the biological basis of consciousness

In June 2005 the Journal Science marked its 125th Anniversary by commissioning a survey on the top 125 questions in science. Top of the poll was ‘what is the universe made of?’ and second came ‘what is the biological basis of consciousness?’

Although Erwin Schrödinger’s main claim to fame is his contribution to the development of quantum mechanics for which he was awarded an Noble Prize he also had a long-standing interest in biology and in particular the question of the nature of consciousness. The combination of Schrödinger’s sharp intellect honed by his work mathematical physics with his deep appreciation of Vedantic Philosophy made him particularly well-qualified to tackle this issue. This talk follows the development of Schrödinger’s approach to the question of consciousness through his published works: Seek for the Road, What is Life, Nature and the Greeks and The Spirit of Science. It will be suggested that rather than providing answers to the question from the Science survey his findings have the effect of turning it upside down.

After completing his doctorate in chemistry form Oriel College Oxford Dr. Peter Bowmanspent a number of years teaching science at St. James Independent School at Twickenham a school which has established a reputation for its philosophic approach to education.
He is now Science Coordinator for the University Preparatory Certificate at the Language Centre of University College, London. He has a wide range of interests from atomic physics, through economics to the nature of Consciousness. He has been a member of the Scientific and Medical Network for a number of years and recently contributing a chapter on Transforming Economics to their most recent publication: A New Renaissance: transforming Science, Spirit and Society.

15 February 2011

Bernard Carr: The Riddle of Time and New Dimensions of Reality

There are several indications from physics itself that consciousness is a fundamental rather than incidental feature of the Universe. A final theory of physics should therefore take account of it. The key ingredient of such a theory must be a proper understanding of time, since this is intimately connected with consciousness. Although time plays a profound role in modern physics, in particular being associated with a fourth dimension, the relationship between physical time and psychological time is still not understood. It is proposed that a resolution of the linked problems of time and consciousness requires a higher-dimensional extension of general relativity which unifies matter and mind and involves a hierarchy of times. This leads to a new psychophysical paradigm in which consciousness interacts with the universe on a hierarchy of levels, each associated with a different specious present. The implications of this picture for anomalous and mystical states of consciousness and the nature of personal identity will be discussed.

Bernard Carr is Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary, University of London. His professional area of research is cosmology and includes such topics as the early universe, black holes, dark matter and the anthropic principle. He has recently edited a book entitled Universe or Multiverse?. He has a long-standing interest in the relationship between science and spirituality and also in psychical research, which he sees as forming a bridge between them. He aims to extend physics to incorporate consciousness and associated mental, psychical and spiritual phenomena. His approach is mainly theoretical but emphasizes the experiential as well as experimental aspects of nature. He is a former President of the Society for Psychical Research and currently Chairman of the Scientific and Medical Network.

11th January 2011

Keiron le Grice: The Archetypal Cosmos: Rediscovering the Gods in Myth, Science and Astrology

The modern world is passing through a period of critical change on many levels: cultural, political, ecological and spiritual. We are witnessing the decline and dissolution of the old order, the tumult and uncertainty of a new birth. Against this background, Keiron Le Grice argues that the developing insights of a new cosmology could provide a coherent framework of meaning to lead us beyond the growing fragmentation of culture, belief and personal identity.

In a compelling synthesis of the ideas of seminal thinkers from depth psychology and new paradigm science, Le Grice positions the new discipline of archetypal astrology at the centre of an emerging world view that reunifies psyche and cosmos, spirituality and science, mythology and metaphysics, enabling us to see mythic gods, heroes and themes in a fresh light.

Heralding a ‘rediscovery of the gods’ and the passage into a new spiritual era, The Archetypal Cosmos presents a new understanding of the role of myth and archetypal principles in our lives, one that could give a cosmic perspective and deeper meaning to our personal experience.

Keiron Le Grice is adjunct professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness programme at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco. He is the founding coeditor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology and the author of The Archetypal Cosmos: Rediscovering the Gods in Myth, Science and Astrology (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 2010), which synthesizes the insights of Jungian depth psychology and the new paradigm sciences to formulate a new archetypal cosmology, and examines the significance of archetypal astrology for mythology and contemporary spirituality. He holds degrees from the University of Leeds (B.A. honours, Philosophy and Psychology, 1994) and CIIS (M.A., Philosophy and Religion, 2005; Ph.D., Philosophy and Religion, 2009). Originally from Nottinghamshire, he currently divides his time between San Francisco and the U.K.

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