Day Session: 3-6 pm
Break: 6-7 pm Wraps, drinks and snacks available in the Mushroom Cafe.
Evening Session: Presentation and panel discussion with Alex Grey and Allyson Grey.
“The Ancient of Days” by William Blake
Touching the Void: the Perennial Philosophy of Aldous Huxley, Huston Smith, Joseph Campbell, and Stanislav Grof
All three of these renowned authors were students of swamis of the Ramakrishna Order, and all three came to believe in Vedanta’s postulate of a sanatana dharma, an “eternal religion.” implicit in both the natural world and the human spirit. Huxley termed this dharma the “perennial philosophy” and his book of that title, published in 1945, greatly influenced both Huston Smith, the famous scholar of religion, and Joseph Campbell, the authority on mythology – along with Ken Wilber, Stanislav Grof, and a host of transpersonal psychologists. Huxley had argued, in agreement with Vedanta, that ultimate knowledge of reality, including an understanding of who we essentially are, must include an experiential, “noetic” aspect, similar to what mystics or all religions have reported. Huxley termed this experiential aspect the “unitive knowledge.”
Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist Sacred Sites.
But what exactly is the unitive knowledge? How can we cultivate it? And what is the perennial philosophy? What does it say about our true nature and our connection to the natural world? What is the relationship of the perennial philosophy to religion and spirituality in general? Does it oppose religion or support it? What does it tell us about the nature of our psyche and how might psychology be informed by it? How does world mythology provide insight into the perennial philosophy (and vice versa)? This workshop gives answers to all these questions, drawn directly from the work of the authors in question.
The workshop’s structure is such that we explore the perennial philosophy in both its intellectual and experiential dimensions. Using meditation techniques borrowed from both Hinduism (from which Vedanta emerged) and Buddhism, we explore our oneness with all reality. The goal is to provide a noetic foundation for the concepts investigated, while enjoying a chance to compare experiences with each other and discuss possibilities.
Dana with Huston Smith
Stan Grof & Dana
Dana Sawyer is Professor of religion and philosophy at the Maine College of Art and an adjunct professor of Asian Religions at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. He is the author of a critically acclaimed biography of Aldous Huxley (Crossroad, 2002) and the authorized biography of Huston Smith (Fons Vitae, 2014). He is also known for his lively and humorous presentations at such venues as Esalen and Kripalu, and has written numerous articles for such magazines as Yoga Journal, Tricycle, and Parabola.