Salvation Within Paradox – Review of FutureNOW

Sara Zaltash shares her experience of Bristol’s pioneering spiritual ecology conference

Q&A2.FNWe met there on a grey Saturday drenched with autumn rains, perhaps 120 of the West Country’s bright-eyed devout; activists and herbalists, healers and meditators, growers and thinkers, each seeking the sound and vision offered by the pioneering pilgrims on the panel. As I looked around and locked eyes with a neighbour over here or smiled at a stranger over there, I knew that I had personally been called by the promise of a community coalescing around a certain truth: “that unless you have some roots in a spiritual practice that holds life sacred and encourages joyful communion with all your fellow beings, facing the enormous challenges ahead becomes nearly impossible.”

Discussion.FNEcology. Economy. Humanity. Spirit. Challenges indeed for a consciousness that is making leaps toward to collective realisation everyday. The Internet, of course, has gifted me the above quotation from Joanna Macy’s contribution to the community-defining collection of essays Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, edited by contemporary Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. At FutureNOW, I asked myself the same question as in present times: if all beings were truly to be given equal internet access, then why would some choose to become more enlightened than others? Perhaps because enlightenment is shrouded in mysticism, in mandala graphics and incense smoke, and social conditioning against such motifs is so strong that even a geezer like Russell Brand has to mind his patchoulis and quantum realities if he’s to get his meaning made. I confess that I am from another community too: I am an artist, an e’er-do-well and erstwhile academic. But that’s alright. Queuing up for morning tea I asked Will from Wiltshire, a university lecturer in environmental literature, whether he knew anyone else at this rock star convention of spiritual ecology leaders. “Not a soul,” he said, “But that’s alright. It’s important to be brave sometimes.”

SatishBrave words indeed flowed from the radical Church of England priest and BBC TV presenter Rev. Peter Owen Jones; from stand-up philosopher and acclaimed author Tim Freke; and from the ultimate guru of this movement, the environmental activist, magazine editor and spiritual guide, Satish Kumar. These men spoke in turn about the need for humanity to relinquish its delusion of dominion over the planet and about accepting the ultimate mystery of existence. Kumar spoke about the loving sacredness of the soil, of society, of sacrifice – the necessary sacrifices of the mother, of the planet and of ourselves. Inspirational speakers, Rev. Jones and Kumar both upheld the twin peaks of land and spirit in their humbly adlibbed sermons, calling for the acknowledgement of the essential present-ness of our future responsibility to “eco”, our home. Bursting with insight, Freke offered paradoxological thinking as a salvation from the impotence that may come from abiding the mystery of all-being.  A proponent of love as a political act, Freke claimed “You Are The One” in a perfect paradox of consciousness consciously recognising itself, of humanity living its own dream.

ChloeSoundEvolutionAs an artist-thinker, I enjoy a bit of practical guidance to usher in my cerebral shift. Noting that only in Western cultures does laughter need to be externally provoked, Bristol’s own laughing yogi, Joe Hoare, led us in several standing laughter practices. Full of her own bright chuckles, stellar spiritual vocalist and teacher Chloe Goodchild gathered us under the wings of her naked voice practice. Leading singing meditations throughout the day, Goodchild opened and closed the proceedings with her adaptation of Rumi’s well-loved verse: “Beyond ideas of right and wrong doing there is a field, I’ll meet you there.” Goodchild’s field is a singing field; in that field we met and she shared the seeds of various Eastern spiritual practices that combined with the voice carry our hidden gift for future generations.

Q&AResounding from that day like the oft-rung meditation bell are some provocative unanswered questions from the closing Q&A session: when does mysticism first appear in children? How can we revere the earth? Are species other than humans involved in the evolution of consciousness? Perhaps the answer, as Hoare offered, is that “when you know how to listen, everyone is your guru”. Rev. Jones spoke about the need to keep talking, to create space for conversations and community to bring about the changes we wish to be. For a novice pilgrim like me, practical guidance to walk in nature, to wash in the dew and to learn to bake my own bread were as comforting as the evolution of consciousness that is enacted by these actions towards personal, spiritual and environmental empowerment. The challenge of living a peaceful, respectful and unified future now is as real as our fields of land, of work and of energy. Let’s meet in that field, in the future, now.

For more information about the FutureNOW conference visit: www.futurenow.consciousfrontiers.com

Sara Zaltash is a British-Iranian live artist and performer. www.sarazaltash.com

Will Gethin gives the lowdown on Future NOW – BCFM Nature Show

WgfuturenowIn this interview on BCFM radio’s recent ‘Nature Show’, Steve Shepherd talked to Will Gethin – founder of Conscious Frontiers and co-organiser of the Future NOW spiritual ecology conference – about the event and the related themes and inspiration behind it.

Listen to the interview:

 

Peter Owen Jones speaks up for the Future on BBC Radio

speakers_POPeter Owen Jones gave a super inspiring interview this afternoon on BBC Radio Bristol / BBC Radio Somerset about the future of the world and this Saturday’s Future NOW conference in Bristol – at which he joins leading fellow eco-spiritual pioneers to explore ways to create a more sustainable future on our planet.

Listen to the interview on the online repeat show (from nine minutes, 15 seconds in). 

To secure your tickets for Future NOW on Saturday BOOK NOW on Eventbrite!

For the full lowdown on Future NOW visit www.futurenow.consciousfrontiers.com

 

 

 

 

Two days to go till Future NOW! Round up of the day’s keynote presentations

 

fn_speaker_webJust two days to go till Future NOW at the Trinity Centre, Bristol on Saturday – the excitement is building and bookings are coming in fast…time for a quick recap of the inspiring and soul-stirring presentations in store!

With a focus on exploring how we can sustain our fragile planet for future generations and offering  a spiritual response to our global ecological crisis, our line up of leading eco-spiritual speakers – Peter Owen Jones, Satish Kumar, Chloe Goodchild, Tim Freke and Joe Hoare – will each give presentations during the course of the day (10am-5pm), covering important aspects of the theme.  The lowdown on these is as follows:

speakers_POPeter Owen Jones – The New Humanity 

The trailblazing ‘Extreme Pilgrim’, TV presenter and champion of ethics – whose passion for creating a sustainable future was a major inspiration for this conference –  shares his vision for an evolved future humanity living in interconnected harmony with the Earth and with each other. He will also explore what our society’s new model of the sacred is becoming with the decline of Christianity.

“The future is being taken from us,” Peter explains. “It is in the process of being stolen by multinationals and governments who have surrendered their imagination and responsibility. Very few of us have a say in the creation of a future that we would like to bequeath, until we start this conversation and in doing so face the realities that all of us are in the process of creating, we will be held hostage to an increasingly toxic vision of progress and a denuded world.”

speakers_SKSatish Kumar – Sacred Nature

The celebrated ‘Earth Pilgrim’ and editor of the UK’s flagship eco-spiritual magazine, Resurgence & Ecologist, gives an impassioned talk impressing the importance of appreciating the sacredness of nature..

“The Modern materialistic world view considers nature to be there merely to serve human needs,” elucidates Satish, “the value of nature is judged only by how useful it may be to humans. But there is another world view, a holistic and ecological view which considers nature as a living and sacred reality. Humankind is an integral part of nature, what we do to nature, we do to ourselves. When nature is considered as a living and sacred reality we develop a profound sense of reverence for her. This is called Reverential Ecology, this view of life is embedded in the philosophy of Sacred Nature.”

speakers_CGChloe Goodchild – Sound Evolution: Transforming Our Lives through the Power of Sound

The sensational sacred voice and sound pioneer presents a soul stirring performance, inviting participants to transform their lives via the power of sound. Through a simple process of sound awareness and sound intelligence skills, Chloe shows how we can re-discover our authentic voices again, and restore our true capacity to communicate consciously and compassionately.

“In this time of global transformation, many of us who are living in relative safety may feel that we are powerless to respond to the prevailing chaos and shocking news that assails us from the media,” Chloe says. “It is therefore essential for us to remember that we are participating in a birthing process of a newly evolving world. As we prepare for a greater shift in humanity’s collective destiny we must courageously stay awake to the responsibility that is our shared song.”

speakers_TFTim Freke – Love is a Political Act

The hip modern mystic presents his revolutionary new talk, ‘Love is a Political Act’, and calls for an inner revolution, stressing that if we want to change society, we have to change ourselves.

“Love is the answer,” says Tim. “For millennia saints and sages, poets and pop stars have been telling us that harnessing the transformative power of love is the secret to creating the world we want to live in. Is this just well-meaning naiveté or could it actually be true? Love can be seen as simply fluffy and sweet, but it is also deep and strong. Love is not only a wonderful feeling of connection; it is a powerful force for social transformation. History has taught us that political change alone simply leads to the same problems with people waving a different coloured flag. What is needed is an evolution of our collective state of consciousness, so that we feel connected and act from love.  This is the only practical way forward and it starts with you and me … right now.”

speakers_JHJoe Hoare – Time to take Laughter Seriously

‘Laughing Yogi’ Joe Hoare, co-organiser of Future NOW and leading UK Laughter therapist/author, introduces Laughter as a powerful tool for creating a happier world, which can retrain the brain and generate mindfulness and inner calm.

“Seriously, laughter is more serious than seriousness,” says Joe. “For centuries we have been imprisoned by the seriousness trap which promotes seriousness as more valuable than lightness. Intuitively we know this isn’t true. Science now agrees. If we want a better future NOW, it’s time for lightness to be recognised and properly valued.”

Throughout the conference, participants are invited to explore how we can each make a difference and take urgent action to be the change in our daily lives, with interactive breakout sessions exploring and reflecting on the question, “What can I do differently?

“Future NOW will explore all that we need to sustain a future for all the myriad of life on this beautiful planet,” says Peter Owen Jones.

Future NOW is a call to become more mindful, more peaceful, more connected and more loving to ourselves, to each other and to the Earth.  It’s an invitation to join the New Consciousness Revolution – come join us if you can!

To book tickets for Future NOW visit Eventbrite.

For further information visit www.futurenow.consciousfrontiers.com

Three days to go till Future NOW – Bristol’s first spiritual ecology conference!

FutureNOWFBgraphicWith just three days to go till the Future NOW spiritual ecology conference at Bristol’s vibrant Trinity Centre on Saturday 8th November, there’s lots of excitement and anticipation building about this landmark event in a funky converted church. So what’s in store?

Featuring a compelling mix of ecological and wellbeing speakers – Peter Owen Jones, Satish Kumar, Chloe Goodchild, Tim Freke and Joe Hoare – Future NOW will be a day of Inspiring talks and powerful performances, infused with sound meditations, sacred chants, laughter, open heartedness, interactive discussion groups,  bright ideas, insights and flashes of inspiration. The event brings together an eclectic community of earth pilgrims, wellbeing aficionados, spiritual activists and curious change makers to collaboratively explore ways to tread more lightly and mindfully on the Earth so we can secure happy, healthy and sustainable lives for future generations.

Presentations by the keynote speakers will explore different themes related to preserving our planet’s future. And interactive discussion and breakout groups – including a round facilitated by the speakers – will provide an opportunity for conference participants to have a voice in shaping our collective future while exploring how we can each take urgent action to be the change in our daily lives.

Future NOW was inspired by the iconic book Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, edited by Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, which seeks a spiritual response to our current ecological crisis. With our planet approaching tipping point, we are faced with potentially devastating climate change and environmental meltdown caused by our unsustainable, materialistic way of life. Future NOW is a call to urgently consider our impact on the planet before it’s too late and to take an active role in preserving a world for our grandchildren to inherit that’s worth living in.

“Future NOW will explore all that we need to sustain a future for all the myriad of life on this beautiful planet,” says Peter Owen Jones.

50% of the proceeds from Future NOW will be donated to the benevolent charities/causes of the keynote speakers: The Resurgence Trust, The Life Cairn Project, The Naked Voice and The Alliance for Lucid Living.

Advance tickets for Future NOW cost £55 (£65 on the door). Concessions available on request.

 BOOK NOW TO RESERVE YOUR TICKETS ON EVENTBRITE!

 For further information about Future NOW visit www.futurenow.consciousfrontiers.com

 

 

 

 

Future NOW – a response to Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Bells of Mindfulness”

thich-nhat-hanh-3281This week the Ecologist ran a thought-provoking article by Thich Nhat Hanh, in which the Zen leader refers to “Bells of Mindfulness” calling out to us, trying to remind us to reduce our impact on the planet and avert environmental catastrophe. He also calls for a revolution in consciousness. Threads from this article – first published in Spiritual Ecology; The Cry of the Earth – will be explored at the Future NOW conference next Saturday.  Read the article

Latest Resurgence blog highlights Satish Kumar’s appearance at Future NOW

Satish-Kumar-c-Jack-Razzak-385x250“Satish Kumar will be a keynote speaker for an exciting conference taking place at the Trinity Centre in Bristol on Saturday 8th November called Future NOW, which aims to raise the debate about the future and explore urgent solutions and mindful steps for sustaining the Earth so we can secure sustainable future lives for our children and grandchildren on this planet.”

Check out the latest  Resurgence & Ecologist blog re Satish Kumar at Future NOW. READ MORE

NB: Guardian Online published an excellent article by Satish Kumar today entitled, “Why my 8000 mile walk to meet Martin Luther King was worth it”.  READ MORE

Joe Hoare – Laughter, a serious tool for a healthier world

speakers_JH

At Bristol’s Future NOW spiritual ecology conference on Saturday 8th November – leading Laughter Yoga therapist and author, Joe Hoare – introduces Laughter as a powerful tool for creating a happier and healthier Future, with his presentation, ‘It’s Time to Take Laughter Seriously’.

The celebrated ‘Laughing Yogi’ and author of Awakening the Laughing Buddha Within (co-authored with Barefoot Doctor) joins forces with Satish Kumar, Peter Owen Jones, Chloe Goodchild and Tim Freke for this uplifting and thought-provoking event in a funky converted church (the Trinity Centre), exploring what we urgently need to do now to sustain the Earth for future generations.

“Seriously, laughter is more serious than seriousness,” declares Joe. “For centuries we have been imprisoned by the seriousness trap which promotes seriousness as more valuable than lightness. Intuitively we know this isn’t true. Science now agrees. If we want a better future NOW, it’s time for lightness to be recognised and properly valued.”

awakening the laughing buddha within1A charismatic facilitator of courses, workshops, retreats and one-to-one sessions, Joe has dedicated himself to encouraging people to connect with their benign, creative individuality and to perform at their best. His regular appearances in the media have included BBC 2’s Don’t Die Young with Dr Alice Roberts, BBC 1’s Inside Out, BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans Show and the Sunday Times.

Joe has been facilitating health and wellbeing groups for over 30 years, and has trained extensively with internationally renowned ‘Grandfather of Laughter Yoga’ Dr Madan Kataria of India, founder of Laughter Clubs International. Joe founded the Bristol Laughter Club eleven years ago, the longest surviving Laughter Yoga club outside of India.

Joe’s mission with his Laughter Yoga training is to empower people, as he explains:

“I want to help people wake up, come alive, be the best they can be, and enjoy the ride. Because this enjoyment is contagious, it gives others permission to enjoy the ride too. It stimulates qualities like connection and kindness, and its ultimate effect is to enhance people’s experience of being alive, for the benefit of all. How great is that?”

A co-organiser of Future NOW, Joe – along with fellow keynote speakers – will also lead one of the conference’s breakout groups, encouraging participants to explore and reflect on the question, “What can I do differently?”

For further information about Future NOW visit: www.futurenow.consciousfrontiers.com

To book tickets, visit Eventbrite

For more information about Joe Hoare visit www.joehoare.co.uk