Event on spiritual emergence / emergencies on Thursday May 10
One of the topics I'm most passionate about is changing western culture's attitudes to spiritual experiences, so people not so afraid of them and keen to pathologize them, but are able to be open and friendly to unusual experiences when they arise, to see them as a gift.
As more and more westerners meditate, take psychedelics and pursue other spiritual practices, more and more are reporting mystical-type experiences - according to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who say they've had at least one mystical experience has risen from 20% in 1960 to around 50% now. But some of those experiences will be quite disturbing and unsettling - moments of ecstasy, after all, are moments you go beyond your ordinary ego and feel a connection to something far greater than you. The ego isn't always into that.
That's why we, as a culture, need to learn how to navigate these experiences and welcome them as a gift. That's what the event on Thursday May 10 in London is all about. You can get tickets here.
We have four fantastic speakers -
Anthony Fidler, who I interviewed earlier this year - he has had occasional psychosis-like episodes over the last decade but has learned to use mindfulness and connection practices to deal with them calmly, openly and without medication.
Louisa Tomlinson, who is one of my oldest friends, a poet and shamanic healer, who will talk - for the first time in the UK - about the powerful spiritual awakening she experienced a decade ago (while I was living with her, by the by - she didn't feel she could tell me about it because she thought I'd be too rationalist/sceptic!).
Anna Beckman, who is a film-maker and therapist, who again will talk about her own personal experience of awakening for the first time.
And Dr Tim Read, a psychiatrist and one of the founders of the Psychiatry and Spirituality interest group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He'll tell us where the psychiatry profession is now in terms of being less hostile to spiritual experiences.
I'll also talk a bit about my own spiritual emergency after I took ayahuasca last year, and the importance of mindfulness and friendship in guiding you through these experiences safely.
If you're interested in the mind, consciousness, the soul, mystical experience, the nature of reality and - at a more basic level - the spiritual tools we need to flourish in life, then this event is for you.
The event is in St Mary Aldermary in central London, but obviously isn't a Christian event - it will be open to multiple perspectives, from materialist to shamanic to Buddhist to Jungian. And Christian too, if that's your thing!
I really hope you can make it. I've been organizing events for over a decade, and I feel this one is really important and will be fascinating.