Sheldrake credits his father with encouraging him to follow his interest in animals, plants  and gardens. I bought into that package deal of science equals atheism. I was the only boy at my high Anglican boarding school who refused to get confirmed. It does not explain how [differentiation is] established to start with. After nine years of intensive study, it became clear to me that biochemistry would not solve the problem of why things have the basic shape they do. It interested some of my colleagues at Clare College — philosophers, linguists, and classicists were quite open-minded.
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For example, EMDR is widely used in the treatment of trauma. So what can be said about their efficacy and what, if anything, do they have to do with subtle energies, morphic resonance, quantum phenomena or even the soul? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon dialogues, Mark Vernon asks Rupert Sheldrake how his theory of morphogenetic fields might relate to various types of therapy and healing.
It turns out that there is good evidence that a variety of such therapies work, but how they work is not understood. So arguably it is better to avoid pseudo-scientific explanations and let the treatments, and their efficacy, speak for themselves.
But maybe this is a necessary stage. Eco-confessions could help us to become more aware of our lives and the world around us. They might even be a crucial step towards the freedom required for us to re-envision the world and cosmos as enchanted if we can be less preoccupied with guilt and more open to renewed vitality and wonder. But might we be passing through a stage in the evolution of human awareness?
In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss a recent conference that addressed this question. Barfield argued the task is not just to recover old ways of perceiving nature and the divine but requires a radical transformation of ourselves that can be troubling and even tragic. Rupert and Mark ask about the role of service and discerning the imagination in this process and how we might learn to relate afresh to consciousnesses and intelligences in the world around us.
All the talks from the conference are available online at www. We offer three cheers of praise. Christians envisage God as triune. In this new episode of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon ask why three is associated with completion, creativity, dynamism and divinity.
Their discussion ranges over the patterns of three that are revealed in nature; the relationship between being, consciousness and bliss; the links between a third position and transformation in psychotherapy. But as Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss in this new episode of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, the scientific study of our encounter with other worlds is changing.
New research is turning back to an older idea that our ancestors developed the ability to enter altered states. It also takes us back to reflections made by Darwin that qualities like beauty are active right across the animal kingdom. Mark is particularly interested in this question as his new book, A Secret History of Christianity, adopts a different worldview to show how spirit and soul drive life.
The conversation ranges over fascinating questions from the nature of information and emergence to what, given the current sense of crisis, we hope for the future.
The real question, at the forefront of research, is how these experiences can best be understood? They draw on the proposals aired at a recent seminar attended by the leading theorists, including Rupert himself. They explore the ideas of practising physicists and biologists working the area, and move onto questions from the nature of time and consciousness to the philosophy of A. Social crises are around us, too.
But do these realities stem from a deeper spiritual crisis? They discuss how this loss shows itself in difficulties ranging from mental health to social cohesion. They explore how a spiritual crisis distorts the sense of being human, but how it also offers a prime opportunity to recover and regain an energising sense of what it means to be alive. Surprisingly, perhaps, the earliest days of Christianity in the British Isles have something vital to teach us.
It makes several arresting claims. For example, the early missionaries, before the Synod of Whitby, engaged in a deep dialogue with the indigenous druids and pagans of these islands to forge a new engagement with the natural world under its Creator-God. They realised that in dark caves, icy waters, mountaintops and sacred groves, the divine could be found and that a lost paradise was scarcely a touch away.
So what has this Celtic vision of life in all its fullness got to teach us today? Could Christianity regain the sense that nature shares the yearning for God? Might this ancient vision become a crucial resource for a time facing environmental degradation and possible collapse?
So what other worlds, intelligences and entities are being encountered and sought in such experiences? They ask why they are of such interest now. They explore the effects they have and how these relate to other altered states of consciousness, from dreams and divine encounters to inspired visions. They ask how these experiences can be transformative, and whether they can be accessed in other ways.
What dangers might be encountered, both psychological and spiritual, and what can be learnt from ancient mystery traditions and the ecstatic journeys charted by writers from Plato to Dante? In a supposedly secular Europe, the spiritual practice is booming too.
In this latest Sheldrake-Vernon dialogue, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss the revelatory experiences that people have when engaging with shrines and megaliths, temples and springs in this way.
They talk about the evolutionary origins of pilgrimage and its roots in the living consciousness of places. They ask what it feels like to embrace these ancient pathways today and how anyone can very simply, very powerfully make pilgrimage an astonishingly expansive part of life. They explore the terminology developed by Rudolf Steiner and ask how it relates to notions such as the dream body. The conversation ranges over the unconscious in psychotherapy, speculations in science about panpsychism, and phenomena such as angels.
In this Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogue, following a suggestion of a regular listener, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon ask what sense can, today, be made of hell. Is it primarily a psychological state, in which people are locked up by distress? Is it a region of reality that some people, many people, or perhaps all people are at risk of travelling too?
Does experience now shape the experience of the hereafter? How does the hell of the Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions relate to the hell realms charted in Eastern philosophies?
And what does it have to do with purgatory, and with paradise? Spiritual practices that were originally confined to relatively isolated traditions are being used and investigated by numerous individuals and an increasing number of scientists.
In this latest Sheldrake-Vernon dialogue, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon ask what this mass undertaking, from meditation to pilgrimage, might mean for the evolution of spiritual sight. But what impact do they have upon our awareness? How does it relate to psi and animism? Is prayer a kind of magic? In the latest Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogue, the series of conversations previously entitled Science Set Free, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon explore how people have engaged with the spirited economy of the natural world.
They ask how the modern period has changed the discussion of morality, why the cultivation of virtues can be considered a spiritual practice, and how nurturing personal qualities and characteristics is integral to awakening and liberation. The clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, the historian Yuval Noah Harari and the comedian Russell Brand are three prominent examples.
They command podcast downloads that run into six figures, their books are at the top of amazon rankings, they stir up controversy.
In this Science Set Free podcast, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon ask what their appeal means, what can be made of their various messages, and what this might mean for non-materialist worldviews.
The book of Joshua says God ordered that everything with breath should be destroyed in the land of Canaan. The writer of Genesis affirms that God said creation was good, very good.
But the Pentateuch also insists on an eye for and eye, and that parental sins will be visited on their children for several generations. In this episode, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon explore the modern meaning of the collection of books Christians call the Old Testament.
It includes words of great beauty, on the one hand and on the other, words apparently sanctifying acts of great violence. Can the Old Testament be understood as an account of the evolution of consciousness, or perhaps as a kind of collective unconscious of the Judeo-Christian west?
Is it as simple as picking some parts out and dismissing others? What might be made of this seminal collection of texts by those interested in spiritual progress? Many are open to more than one religious or wisdom tradition. They want to draw on, say, Christian as well as Buddhist practices. Or they seek to speak of vedantic insights as well as theistic ones. Indeed, they may well intuit that the one will illuminate and ignite the other.
In this episode, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon draw on their experience and reading to explore a variety of religious practices and philosophies. There are pitfalls to avoid. There are questions to ask, not least when religions claim to have exclusive access to truth. But ultimately, there is much in this mix that is enriching and should be embraced. Moreover, scientists have built up a substantial body of research that explores their many and various tangible effects.
In this episode, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, discuss the widespread interest in practices from mediation to pilgrimage, which Rupert investigates in his new book, Science and Spiritual Practice. They ask what the science shows, how such practices can be understood, and where the engagement with spiritual experiences outside of the context of metaphysical convictions might lead.
Four out of five Brits believe in the power of prayer, according to some research. Half of Americans pray every day, and nine out of ten have prayed for healing. It seems an entirely natural thing for humans to do. So what are we doing when we pray? In this episode, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon explore the ways in which we pray - invocations, petitions, praise, thanksgivings. They explore how meditation fits in with prayer as part of the training in knowing what to ask for, and how prayer can be part of the slow process of aligning oneself with realities outside oneself.
Prayer is not going away. It may be a kind of skill. Learning how to pray could be immensely valuable. So what is angel belief a belief in?
In this episode, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon explore the modern sense of angelic presences by setting it alongside insights from medieval and ancient accounts of angel domains, which were extensively developed in both Christian and Islamic spiritual traditions. They ask about the ways in which angels might inhabit the physical cosmos and whether angels can be linked to modern insights about the human mind.
Angels turn out to be a fascinating subject for conversation. They inspire all sorts of questions from the nature of matter to the truth of intuition. Did people in the past experience such participation differently? Do mystics enjoy a type of participation that eludes most people? In this episode, Rupert and Mark discuss the notion of "original participation", a phrase coined by The Inkling Owen Barfield, though also known as participation mystique and the "porous self".
For example, EMDR is widely used in the treatment of trauma. So what can be said about their efficacy and what, if anything, do they have to do with subtle energies, morphic resonance, quantum phenomena or even the soul? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon dialogues, Mark Vernon asks Rupert Sheldrake how his theory of morphogenetic fields might relate to various types of therapy and healing. It turns out that there is good evidence that a variety of such therapies work, but how they work is not understood. So arguably it is better to avoid pseudo-scientific explanations and let the treatments, and their efficacy, speak for themselves. But maybe this is a necessary stage.
Science Set Free