A place to learn, to explore, to find the others.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we are quickly moving into the depths of winter. With the solstice just a few weeks away, daylight is dwindling and the dark nights expand with an insistent presence.
This December at Perspectiva, we’ll be hosting a series of events within the theme of darkness.
Darkness – or ‘shadow’ as it is understood in Jungian psychology – is widely recognised as a place to encounter our hidden selves, and where we confront aspects of our being that often lie dormant in our deep unconscious. While we might seek to avoid this at times, diving into the depths of our being is usually necessary for transformation and growth – just as winter is necessary for spring.
This may be true not just at an individual level, but also at a collective level: perhaps our civilisation is entering its own winter before a period of renewal and revitalisation can be possible. It is also interesting to note that at this time of year, many of us adorn our homes with festive twinkling lights, perhaps revealing a universal human instinct to bring illumination to obscurity.
With all this in mind, we invite you to join us for two events that will take us towards darkness as a means of experiencing greater insight. On Monday 4 December Lorna Walker will lead us through ‘Feeding your Demons’, and then the following week, Wednesday 13 December, Shanti Faiia will host a breathwork session.
Lama Tsultrim Allione’s “Feeding Your Demons” practice is a transformative and empowering imaginal meditation technique that blends Tibetan Buddhism with Western psychological insights. This method, rooted in the 11th century Chöd tradition and adapted for contemporary Western society by Lama Tsultrim, invites individuals to face and befriend their inner “demons”. The term “demons” is used here to symbolise inner challenges, fears, obstacles — the psychological and emotional patterns that hinder flourishing. The practice follows a structured process to identify and personify these inner demons, and then “feed” them what they need. The act of “feeding” our demons with understanding and compassion transforms the problematic aspects of ourselves – those that we might have once considered adversaries – into allies. By guiding us to embrace the shadows within us, this process offers up a path to psychological integration and an alchemical transformation of self.
A student of Lama Tsultrim Allione, Lorna Walker is a teacher, facilitator and writer and currently the Head of Creative Learning at CALM Training. With a background in education, social care and the third sector, Lorna has held various leadership and advisory positions across sectors, from principal teacher of a residential school, to Wellbeing and Harm Reduction Advisor for a national charity, to Learning Advisor for the BBC. She is also a wellbeing content creator for BBC Scotland Learning, Buddhify and Youth Mindfulness and has spoken on the topics of wellbeing, mindfulness and trauma internationally. As an experienced facilitator she has worked alongside groups across the third and public sector, within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the NHS, and with various corporate partners. She is a qualified teacher, with an MA in Literature and Post Graduate Degrees in Teaching and Studies in Mindfulness.
From the Hindu yogic traditions to Buddhism and Taoism, from Christian Mysticism to Sufism and indigenous Native American Cultures, traditions the world over revere the breath as a bridge between the physical and metaphysical realms. In recent years, thanks in large part to the work of Dr. Stanislav Grof, there has been a surge of interest (as well as research) exploring the breath as a powerful tool for wellbeing, personal insight, and spiritual communion.
In this experiential breathwork session you’ll be guided inwards through an active breath meditation technique, a pattern of breathing that will take you ‘down and through’ on a somatic journey. Breathwork practitioner Shanti Faiia, who will be leading the session, tells us more:
“You can liken bringing the breath into the body in this way to when a river swells from rain. As the fullness of the water moves downstream, it dislodges rocks, stones and mud along the banks of the river that would otherwise have stayed there. Similarly, the breath moves (and sometimes roars) through our bodies, loosening and dislodging the old stuck debris of emotion, patterns, doubts, and anything else that is ready to move out of our systems – bringing greater clarity and calm in its wake.”
Shanti Faiia is an Energy Healer, Reiki Master Teacher (RMT), a ThetaHealing instructor, Breathwork Healer, Qi Gong, Meditation and Yoga Teacher. She weaves these different practices and teachings into her classes, using them as doorways to the self. Previously, Shanti spent a decade as a corporate immigration lawyer in London, and New York. She was also a Committee member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she worked in Sri Lanka for the UN Development Program, and for the National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. She has worked in human rights and development in Switzerland, the UK, and Somaliland for various Non-Governmental Organisations, Non-Profits, and Interest Groups. She grew up in Indonesia, Haiti, Ethiopia, Nepal and the UK, and has lived in over 10 countries.
Confusion is often considered a bad thing. The literal meaning is something like “with (discomforting) togetherness” and conveys the idea of too many things mingling that we feel ought to be separate.
And while it’s true that generalised confusion can lead to a kind of learned helplessness, clarity about what we’re confused about can be very helpful. It’s the wellspring of the best inquiries and where deep learning begins.
Perspectiva founder and CEO, Jonathan Rowson, will host fortnightly sessions called ‘Leading from Confusion’ which will begin with Jonathan or a guest sharing what they are currently confused about and seeking to build a conversation with the community from there.
The Antidebate is an attempt to realise a better kind of civic discourse. While much public debate is characterised by point scoring and mudslinging, the antidebate seeks a spirit of inquiry that is both collaborative and competitive. It values humility and curiosity and sees disagreement and paradox as the fertile ground for new truths and ideas to emerge.
The touchstone of successful antidebating does not lie in being perceived to be more convincing than your opponent, but striving for an embodied experience of ‘being-in-truth’.
Each month Perspectiva hosts an online antidebate, where participants engage in a process to choose the topic of conversation and enter into exploratory dialogue.
In a world awash with ‘content’, often consumed within solo vacuums, what’s needed is simple, focused curation and a space to discuss with others what really matters about what we’ve just taken in.
Our Culture Club is a salon-style group in which we’ll choose a single, meaningful ‘cultural artifact’ – book, film, podcast, poetry, tv series, album, and beyond – for discussion each month. Gently facilitated, with enough room for unexpected pathways into the texts and back out again into the world, as well as a held space for intimate conversations about the full experience and meaning of what we’ve collectively read, listened to, and watched.