Dr David Rousseau: ‘The Dimensions of Spirituality’
Wednesday, 5th June, 7 pm
There is much confusion about what spirituality is, the forms it can take, and its role in social and personal life. This confusion arises in part because different academic disciplines are generally only studying particular aspects of spirituality, with each discipline emphasizing their own perspective. In this presentation David Rousseau will show that by looking across the disciplines we can see that these aspects represent dimensions of spirituality that work together in a systematic way, so that this apparent diversity in fact reflects a deep unity. When viewed in this way, it is possible to see that spirituality is rooted in deep intuitions about the nature of persons and the world, and about the meaning, value and purpose of life. Academics typically dismiss these ‘spiritual intuitions’ as neurological illusions or cultural conditioning, but David will show that there is evidence for their grounding in the nature of Reality.
Dr David Rousseau is Director of the Centre for Systems Philosophy, and is doing research into the unity of knowledge, the modelling of worldviews, and the ultimate foundations of spiritual intuitions. He has a background in Engineering, Mind-Body Philosophy and Religious Studies, and chairs the Research Activities Committee of the Society for Psychical Research.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
Open Sunday Meeting
The Reverend Lizzie Hopthrow: ‘Walking the Labyrinth’
Sunday, 23rd June, 11 am to 4 pm,
followed at 5 pm by a short Piano Recital by Alison Gordon.
A labyrinth is a single path that winds to a central point and out again. Walking it often induces spiritual or emotional calm and can be enlightening. At least 4,500 years old, the labyrinth is a timeless mystical and spiritual tool that is enjoying a world-wide resurgence today. The day will include times to reflect and opportunities to walk two different labyrinths.
At 5 pm after tea, Alison Gordon will be playing piano works by Bach, Beethoven, Ravel and Chopin.
Open to all - members, guests and visitors welcome. Please bring food to share for lunch and tea. Admission to this event is free, but donations will be welcome.
Reverend Lizzie Hopthrow is an Anglican ordained priest and was chaplain to Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury for 10 years. Her Book, Pilgrim‘s Journey through the Labyrinth, A Guide to Using Labyrinths in Spiritual Care was the result of her experience in leading the project to build the first permanent labyrinth in a UK hospice. Lizzie’s labyrinth work has been featured in the Financial Times Colour Supplement and published by The Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy, and the Iona Community. She is passionate about the potential of the labyrinth to bring inner healing. Since leaving the hospice Lizzie works as a freelance Retreat Director and continues to teach and give labyrinth workshops at conferences and in hospices and in her own retreat garden, The Quiet View, where she also leads Quiet Days.
Brother Martin of Shantivanam
Silence: Giving Birth to Fullness
Wednesday, 3rd July, 7 pm
To speak about silence is a contradiction. The moment we speak about silence, silence will disappear. Silence is not an object. It is not something we can acquire and possess. Silence is. It is like the sun radiating its light. We can only enter into its presence and allow it to transform our lives. So I do not wish to say anything about silence but only propose how we can enter into silence and allow it to transform our lives and to manifest in our lives.
Brother Martin was a close friend and disciple of Father Bede Griffiths, who, in 1968, arrived at the Saccidananda Ashram at Shantivanam in Tamil Nadu, where the Benedictine rule of life was practised in an ashram setting. Under his guidance it became a world famous centre, where it was possible to combine unique eastern insights and Christian wisdom. This has generated a spirituality that has a powerful and universal appeal. Bede's books, The Golden String, Return to the Centre and Marriage of East and West have become spiritual classics of our time. 20 years ago Father Bede spoke to a packed top studio at Colet House and we have been delighted to welcome Brother Martin several times since then. His accessible teaching enables an understanding of ‘the search for truth at the heart of all religions’ at a time when it potentially holds the greatest relevance.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
The Study Society with
The Contemplative Consciousness Network
Dr B. Alan Wallace
Tuesday, 16th July, 7 pm
In dialogue with Dr Peter Fenwick on ‘The Ultimate Nature of Reality’
Science is now telling us that the Universe is one interconnected whole. There are questions about whether our Universe is just the latest in a cyclical sequence in time or one bubble in a spatial multiverse. Experientially, the universe we live in is but a small fraction of the reality we may experience. There are many systems for clearing the mind and leading us to experience this ultimate reality. In this dialogue, Alan Wallace and Peter Fenwick look at these perennial questions from the Buddhist, scientific and Vedanta perspectives.
Thursday, 18th July, 7 pm
Dr B. Alan Wallace:
‘Discovering Spiritual Health and Well Being’
Since the mid-twentieth century, clinical psychology has focused its attention primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, while defining mental health and well-being largely as the simple absence of mental disease. Over the past ten years, a new trend in ‘Positive Psychology’ has sought to shift this emphasis to more dynamic elements of mental health and well-being, for example through the cultivation of learned optimism. Buddhism, too, is known for its detailed analysis of mental imbalances and their resultant miseries, but it has also focused on the cultivation of wholesome desires, refined attention, mindfulness, and benevolent emotions that are indispensable to spiritual health and well-being. In this lecture, four types of mental balance will be discussed, which together lead to a sense of well-being that arises from a mind settled in its own luminous equilibrium.
Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. With his unique background, Alan brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world.
Dr Peter Fenwick is Emeritus Consultant Neuropsychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital, and Emeritus Consultant Clinical Neurophysiologist at St Thomas’ Hospital and Broadmoor Hospital. Dr Fenwick is President of the Horizon Research Foundation, an organisation that supports research into end-of-life experiences and President of The Scientific and Medical Network, an organisation that explores science beyond materialism. He is also Chairman of the Study Society. Research interests include brain function in relation to normal and abnormal states of consciousness. Lectures widely on brain disorders throughout the world, and has written numerous papers including some on EEG changes in mantra meditation, and metabolic changes during TM. Books: The Truth in the Light (1995). Living With Epilepsy (1996); The Hidden Door Reincarnation (1997); Past Lives (1999); The Art of Dying (2008).
We recommend you purchase your tickets in advance from the Contemplative Consciousness Network Events website. Tickets cost £15 for each event, or £25 for both events. Low income concessionary prices are £8 for each event, or £10 for both events.
The Life of the Virgin Mary
A monumental song cycle with poems by Rainer Maria Rilke and music by the 20th century master Paul Hindemith.
(To be sung in English)
Sunday, 21st July, 3 pm
Der-Shin Hwang, soprano
James D'Angelo, piano
A preview performance prior to their engagement at the Three Choirs Festival.
Retiring Collection. All proceeds to the Study Society Appeal.
Macbeth - A Journey into Darkness
Experience the powerful emotional currents of some of the greatest poetry ever written
Sunday afternoons from Sunday, 29th September, to Sunday 20th October
5 pm to 7:15 pm,
- Immerse yourself in four consecutive weekly workshops exploring the hidden depths of one of Shakespeare's tragic masterpieces
- Discover new layers of meaning within the play and by reflection within yourself
- Understand the science in Shakespeare's art
- Enjoy the dynamic interaction with others in reading and reflecting on the text in a friendly and supportive group setting
- Watch interpretations of specific scenes on film
Four Sunday sessions led by Philip Marvin who has been taking Shakespeare groups for over 20 years. Particular emphasis will be given to the practical wisdom hidden within the play – and its potential for opening up, for anyone, the truth within themselves...
‘Fair is foul and foul is fair’
Spiritual Shakespeare Series
ENTRANCE FREE — suggested weekly donation £5 (£2 concession)
or £20 (£10 concession) for the 4 weeks.
To avoid disappointment, please book in advance, preferably by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone: 020 8741 6568
Open Sunday Meeting
Living Prayer in Buddhism
Sunday, 20th October, 11 am
We are delighted to welcome Sir Richard Temple, from the Temple Gallery in Holland Park who will introduce a new film, Living Prayer in Buddhism.
Living Prayer is a project of the Axis Mundi Foundation who commissioned Jean-Claude Lubtchansky to make the series that begins with Christianity, continued with Buddhism and which will be followed by Hinduism and perhaps other traditions. The project is not commercial. Its intention is to witness the disciplines of contemplative life as practised within traditional religions around the world today.
Living Prayer in Buddhism, the second in the series, develops the idea that the life of prayer, is an essentially human activity resonating with the harmony of nature and the cosmos. The film intertwines the grandeur of the Himalayas or the forests of South Asia with man’s vision of the sacred in architecture, ritual, philosophy and monastic life. The film begins with sweeping views of clouds and high mountains and the harsh beauty of monasteries and stupas sited on the roof of the world. Through ancient sacred images or thangkas we encounter the great deities and sages of Buddhist tradition: Milarepa, Tara and incarnations of the Lord Buddha himself. The ‘Three Jewels’, Buddha (the Teacher), Dharma (the Law), Sangha (the Community), the ideals at the heart of Buddhism, are a recurring theme throughout the film.
A number of distinguished Rinpoches and Lamas are interviewed and through their insights we approach questions deep in the soul of all human beings: how to live and how to confront suffering and death. Through the film we glimpse the daily life and practice that brings human beings nearer these ideals: prostrations, mindful walking, meditation. Here we see how the disciplines of communal work, ritual and meditation are manifested in the joy and good will of large communities of monks and nuns. And the tempo of the film corresponds to these energies. The camera and the narrator’s commentary, intelligently based on traditional texts, are always quiet and deeply respectful, the montage corresponding to the silence and stillness of meditation, the light of inner awakening.
The films Living Prayer in Christianity and Living Prayer in Buddhism are part of a series that will consist of related studies in Hinduism, Daoism and perhaps other traditions, all of which are at various stages of progress. The films are privately made, and are not yet on sale or release, so we are very privileged to have this private screening.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome.