Advaita Interviews

Advaita Interviews: Richard Barrett
Advaita Interviews: Philip Jacobs
Rupert Spira
Advaita Interviews: Chika Robertson
Advaita Interviews: Peter Fenwick
Advaita Interviews: Chloe Goodchild
Advaita Interviews: John Osborne Hughes
Advaita Interviews: Maya Fiennes

An Interview with Richard Barrett

In this interview, Margaret O’Keeffe explores Richard’s perspectives on how values impact identity from an individual and transpersonal perspective. Richard is an author, presenter, coach, and internationally recognised thought leader on the evolution of human values in business and society. He is the President of the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values®, the Founder of the Barrett Values Centre®, a Fellow of the World Business Academy and Former Values Coordinator at the World Bank. Richard is also a Founding Member of the V20 (Values) Task Force of the G20. The Barrett Model for measuring cultural values has been used in over 90 countries and with thousands of organizations. It leverages ancient eastern philosophy and extends Abraham Maslow’s concept of self-actualization to depict the needs underlying all human motivation and behaviour. These range from basic survival at one end, to service and concern for future generations at the other. The Barrett Academy is an international think-tank which seeks to provide evidence-based practical advice on the evolution of human consciousness. 

Richard Barrett was interviewed by Margaret O’Keeffe, trustee of The Study Society and co-founder of the coaching consultancy Curious Leaders.

Advaita interviews: Richard Barrett: levels of consciousness

‘This slender book is a rare gift: a distilled compilation of the most profound insights that the ever-brilliant Richard Barrett has accumulated over decades of path-breaking work. If every individual and organisation used Richard’s frameworks to guide their actions, our world would be a blessed place’

– Raj Sisodia, FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business, Babson College, Co-founder & Chairman Emeritus, Conscious Capitalism Inc., USA.

For more information about Richard please visit:

An Interview with Philip Jacobs

Philip Jacobs is a known as a textile designer with a large international following yet enjoys many other passions as a landscape painter, author, collector, whirling dervish and fossil hunter.

Philip’s designs have covered furnishings at the White House, handbags and skateboards for the Coach fashion house, and been worn by multiple celebrities from actress/singer Jennifer Lopez to mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor. His current collections can be found under two main brands: Philip Jacobs Fabric and Snow Leopard Designs.

Philip is a world authority on the 19th century floral printed fabrics of France and England and often advises dealers on their collections. He has collected and studied oriental art and antiques since the age of 11. Philip specializes in Tibetan Buddhist art and the Japanese woodblock prints and paintings of the 19th century Ukiyo-e school. He studies in particular, the paintings of the landscape artist: Ando Hiroshige and his pupil: Shigenobu.

His patterns are inspired by his deep love of nature and the natural world. Philip has hunted for dinosaur and marine reptile fossils on the Jurassic coast of Dorset for over 35 years excavating hundreds of bones including partial skeletons of ichthyosaurs and pliosaurs. Most of these have been gifted to The Etches Collection Museum at Kimmeridge.

Philip was 14 years old when he became a pupil of Dr. Francis Roles, founder of the Study Society at Colet House in London. After the death of Dr Roles in 1982, Philip became dedicated to understanding and developing what he had been taught. This led to an unfolding journey of discovery for the past 40 years.

In 1989 Philip was asked to be a Sheikh in the Mevlevi order of dervishes at the Study Society by the then Sheikh Vilhelm Koren with the approval of Sheikh Resuhi Baykara of Istanbul. Philip declined the offer, as he wanted to be an ordinary turner in the mukabele ceremony. Twenty years later, in 2009 he was again offered the role and finally accepted.

Philip has written two books: Being which is an introduction to Advaita, the philosophy of non-duality and, One Self, Life as a Means of Transformation.

He is the current Sheikh for the whirling dervish community at Colet House. Mevlevi Turning has been taught at Colet House since 1963 as part of an authentic lineage that originated with the poet and mystic Rumi in the 13th century.

The whole of the Mevlevi teaching is expressed within the symbolism of a ceremony known as the Mukabele. It is a ceremony which represents the soul’s journey towards union with God.

Guest mukabeles for the general public will resume once a month at Colet House when we can ensure that health and safety measures are in place for our dervish community and guests. In the meantime, here is a short film of Philip Jacobs speaking about the mukabele.

Philip Jacobs was interviewed by Margaret O’Keeffe, trustee of The Study Society and co-founder of the coaching consultancy Curious Leaders.

Philip Jacobs: Mevlevi Turning

An Interview with Rupert Spira

From an early age Rupert Spira was deeply interested in the nature of reality. At the age of seventeen he learnt to meditate, and began studying and practicing the teachings of the classical Advaita Vedanta tradition under the guidance of Dr. Francis Roles and Shantananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of the north of India, which he continued for the next twenty years. During this time he immersed himself in the teachings of P.D.Ouspensky, Krishnamurti, Rumi, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta and Robert Adams, until he met his teacher, Francis Lucille, in 1997. Francis introduced Rupert to the Direct Path teachings of Atmanada Krishnamenon; Jean Klein and the tantric tradition of Kashmir Shaivism; and, more importantly, directly indicated to him the true nature of experience.

In his meetings, Rupert explores the perennial, non-dual understanding that lies at the heart of all the great religious and spiritual traditions, such as Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mystical Christianity, Sufism, Zen etc., and which is also the direct, ever-present reality of our own experience. This is a contemporary, experiential approach involving silent meditation, guided meditation and conversation, and requires no affiliation to any particular religious or spiritual tradition. All that is required is an interest in the essential nature of experience, and in the longing for love, peace and happiness around which most of our lives revolve.

Rupert is author of: The Transparency of Things – Contemplating the Nature of Experience (2008); Presence, in two volumes – The Art of Peace and Happiness and The Intimacy of All Experience (2012); The Light of Pure Knowing – Thirty meditations on the Essence of Non-Duality (2014); The Ashes of Love (2016); Transparent Body, Luminous World – The Tantric Yoga of Sensation and Perception (2017); The Nature of Consciousness – Essays on the Unity of Mind and Matter (2017); and The Essence of Meditation Vol.I – Being Aware of Being Aware (2017)

Rupert Spira was interviewed by Margaret O’Keeffe, trustee of The Study Society
and co-founder of the coaching consultancy Curious Leaders.

Rupert Spira Advaita tradition The Study Society

“What is most important, is to know what our essential identity is, whatever personality we may assume. However we may act and relate in the world always depends upon our understanding of ourself. It is why the words ‘know thyself’ were carved above the entrance of the temple of Apollo at Delphi. To know oneself as one essentially is, this emphasis on self-knowledge, is really the foundation of all the great religious and spiritual, and philosophic traditions. Everything we do, everything we say, all our actions and relationships depend upon, and in some ways express our understanding of ourself and our relationship to the world. Who are we essentially? That question must be the most important question to ask and find the answer to in our own experience.”

For more information about Rupert please visit

An Interview with Dr. Chika Robertson

Dr. Chika Robertson PhD, MMus, BA, HonARAM is CEO of the Music Mind Spirit Trust, a professor of violin at the Royal Academy of Music/Junior Academy (London) and an international Diploma Examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). She is much in demand as a well-being educator, festival adjudicator, workshop presenter and conference speaker. Chika has recorded in Hollywood film studios and performed for eminent conductors (incl. Rattle & Marriner) and composers (incl. Adams, Henze, Knussen, Lutoslawski, Pärt, Tavener & Tippett) as soloist and chamber musician with world-class ensembles including the London Sinfonietta and Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. She has premiered many seminal works and performed in diverse styles with artists such as Peter Donohoe, Shirley Bassey, Ella Fitzgerald and, more recently, The Falloons.

Chika is passionate about forging new career paths via the Trust’s Young Artist Musical Ambassadors (YAMA) and SongTrees programmes which integrate innovative interdisciplinary methods of scientific and musical research for the benefit of health, wellbeing and recovery within families and the general public. The Music Mind Spirit Trust (MMST) continues to advance the awareness and use of the pioneering X-System. This is the brainchild of Chika’s husband, the late Professor Paul Robertson, and Professor Nigel Osborne. It predicts the emotional and physical effects of music and has been successfully used to provide pre-and post-operative anxiety relief, self-medication of analgesia, trauma reduction and everyday support for people afflicted by Alzheimer’s. Gifted young musicians from the Royal Academy of Music are currently learning to work with the X-System to design bespoke programmes of personalised live and recorded music to enhance well-being in care homes and community settings.

Dr. Chika Robertson was interviewed by Margaret O’Keeffe, trustee of The Study Society and co-founder of the coaching consultancy Curious Leaders.

Connection Through Music

Dr. Chika Robertson co-presents the weekly on-line Connection through Music global concert series with Professor Nigel Osborne, Dr. Angela Kennedy and Dr. Paras Patel. These free concerts started during lockdown to enable people from across the world to connect through a unique virtual platform of culturally diverse musical events. This video clip features Chika and The Falloons playing their song ‘The Man Who Walked Away’.

The free Connection Through Music concerts take place every Thursday evening at 7pm via zoom or facebook. Sign up here:

Dr Chika Robertson : Living through music

“Your voice has the power to integrate your highest aspirations with your grounded purpose on earth”

Dr. Chika Robertson’s latest news, events and programmes can be found at:

An Interview with Chloë Goodchild

Chloë Goodchild is a Singing Philosopher, Vocalist, Teacher, Author and Founder of The Naked Voice. Her naked voice teachings focus on three sound keys – sound awareness, sound intelligence and sound wisdom – leading to an understanding of your ‘naked’ voice as a catalyst for authentic expression, creative action, and compassionate service.

Chloë is well known for directing singing fields at global events to raise the awareness of Love’s unconditional presence which dissolves separateness and fear. She has sung for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in UK and Northern Ireland. She has toured internationally with Rumi poet, Coleman Barks; recorded and performed with Hollywood film composer Angelo Badalamenti, Sir John Tavener, film director Jane Campion, Discovery Channel; the BBC, and leading musicians across the world.

Chloë is an author for Sounds True Audiobooks, and a regular faculty teacher for The Shift Network. Her Podcast series the VOCE Dialogues shares courageous conversations with leading edge thinkers, artists and activists, on the transforming power of compassion.

Chloë’s new ‘Spoken Song’ Online music-with-poetry series, opened with Deep Listening in 2019. This is Chloë’s first album with the acclaimed jazz pianist Rebecca Nash who also happens to be her daughter.

Chloë Goodchild was interviewed by Margaret O’Keeffe, trustee of The Study Society and co-founder of the coaching consultancy Curious Leaders.

Seven Chakra Mantra Practise
By Chloë Goodchild

“This mantra is profoundly calming and grounding. Its aim is to strengthen your self-awareness through sound awareness, awakening the octave of consciousness from the root to the crown”

Chloe Goodchild interview The study society

“Your voice has the power to integrate your highest aspirations with your grounded purpose on earth”

You can find Chloë’s latest news here:

An Interview with Dr. Peter Fenwick

Dr Peter Fenwick is a highly regarded neuropsychiatrist, neurophysiologist, author and speaker renowned for his studies of epilepsy and end-of-life phenomena. His career has been devoted to scientific research in the areas of magneto encephalography, epilepsy, sleep, meditation, altered states of consciousness, neurophysiology, near death and approaching death experiences.

Peter is a former Co-Head and now Emeritus Consultant to the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology at St Thomas Hospital in London. He is also Emeritus Senior Lecturer of psychiatry and Emeritus Consultant of neurophysiology at multiple universities, hospitals and institutions around the world. Over the past 15 years he has been giving medical expert evidence arising from disorders of the nervous system in both civil and criminal cases. He has special expertise relevant to the law in the area of automatism and has given evidence in a number of high profile sleep walking cases, appearing on a number of occasions, before the Lord Chief Justice in the Court of Appeal in the U.K.

Dr. Fenwick has published over 220 research papers in peer reviewed scientific journals, the majority in high impact journals such as the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He has co-authored scientific books and books on death and end-of-life experiences, dreaming and epilepsy. Peter is a long-term member and former chair of The Study Society.

Dr. Fenwick was interviewed by Margaret O’Keeffe, trustee of The Study Society
and co-founder of the coaching consultancy Curious Leaders.

Part 2 of the Interview with Dr. Fenwick explores the necessary role of ego, the manifestation of identity as a meaningful form of unique expression, and how traditional and new approaches to non-duality can help us access more joy.

Dr Peter Fenwick - The Study Society

An Interview with John Osborne Hughes

Originally trained as an actor and stage director, John Osborne Hughes is a film director, writer, teacher and founder of Awakened State Productions. John’s unique form of teaching draws from a deep, experiential knowledge of the system of Stanislavski, blended with in-depth study of the laws of Psychology, Human Zoology, Mythology and Philosophy. He describes Advaita Vedanta wisdom teaching as the master key that helps actors develop stage presence and charisma.

John is the creator of The Spiritual Psychology of Acting. This approach to acting is considered by many to be the cutting edge of actor training available in the world today. He has trained some of the U.K.s brightest actors who have gone on to work in Hollywood, International feature films, the Royal National Theatre. Television, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

John was interviewed by Margaret O’Keeffe, trustee of The Study Society
and co-founder of the coaching consultancy Curious Leaders.

“Whilst the Spiritual Psychology of Acting is a complete body of knowledge of the art and craft of great acting, gaining and understanding of the psychological processes and mechanics of a character is not just useful for actors, but also serves as an extremely valuable tool in understanding ourselves.”
– John Osborne Hughes

You can find John’s latest news on his website

An Interview with Maya Fiennes

Maya Fiennes is an internationally renowned musician, composer, yoga teacher and acclaimed author of Yoga for Real Life, a best seller translated into several languages.

A pioneer of the New – new thinking, new feeling and new ways of sharing, she loves helping people to create the life they want to live. Born in Macedonia, Maya lives between London and Los Angeles. She travels the globe facilitating retreats, live performances and teacher training events. Her style of yoga and meditation is unique – a blend of Kundalini Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

Maya was interviewed by Margaret O’Keeffe, trustee of The Study Society
and co-founder of coaching consultancy Curious Leaders.

Classes with Maya

Maya is returning to The Study Society to teach her fabulous 10 day Kundalini Yoga class in person at Colet House, the charity’s home in London in 2021

Please contact our office to register your interest in advance:

In the meantime, you can explore her regular on-line classes here:

Maya is the creator of Kundadance, a 60 minute high-intensity creative movement class accompanied by music she composed to actively align body, mind and spirit. Here she is in Mexico City helping over 6000 people journey through the chakras.

Kundalini yoga the study society

You can find Maya’s latest news on Instagram @mayafiennes and on her website: