Online Zoom Forum: Engaged Spirituality: Spiritual Resources in a Time of Crisis.

Date: Wednesday 15 May 2024.
Time: 7pm-9pm (UK time).

Event Description:

Format: There will be five talks, each of 12 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of discussion among the speakers and the chair, followed by Q & A.



Phyllida Anam-Áire:

Phyllida Anam-Áire, a former Irish nun, as well as grandmother and therapist, who trained with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., has worked extensively with the sick and dying.

Also a songwriter, she has taught Celtic Gutha or Caoineadh, Irish songs or sounds of mourning/keening.

The author of A Celtic Book of Dying, Celtic Consciousness in Contemporary Living, Let Love Heal, and now in the process of writing two more books to be published in 2024.

Phyllida lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Susanne Olbrich:

Title: Connection as a Resource and Way of Life – Living the Interbeing that we are.

Description: In a crisis, we humans are wired to fight, flight or freeze. A stress response disconnects us from the bigger picture and from fellow beings with survival as the only purpose. I’m going to look at cultivating connection as an antidote and refuge, as the core of resilience and as a new way of being.

In my own practice, connection has several dimensions – connection with myself, with the world, and with the Ultimate. We will explore these dimensions and find practical ways of nourishing our capacity to be present in the face of difficulty.

At the foundation is the connection with ourselves. Embodied presence can be a refuge. In learning to embrace both joy and suffering we can cultivate the stability and compassion that’s so needed now. And when we are truly present in body, mind and heart our connecting with the world has a different quality. We are able to both give and receive. We can come together in sangha/community to support each other on the path of collective healing and awakening. We can be nourished by nature and the wonders of life. And we can offer our deep listening and inspired action where it’s needed.

In connecting with the ultimate dimension, we open ourselves to a larger perspective and tremendous source of energy. It’s easy to get discouraged and burnt out in the nitty-gritty of activism or even just living through this time. In finding our own ways of connecting with source and the web of life we can keep coming home, renewing ourselves and touching a bigger, sacred reality.

I’m looking forward to exploring these strands and our experiences together.

Bio: Susanne Olbrich is a pianist, music educator and mindfulness teacher. She discovered Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village in 1996 and wholeheartedly embraced mindfulness as her path. In 2016 she received the Lamp transmission as a ma teacher in this lineage.

Born and raised in Germany, Susanne moved to Scotland in 2001 to live in Findhorn. There, she co-founded Northern Lights Sangha which serves people from across the north of Scotland. Susanne loves sounds, silence and the aliveness of creative discovery. Her work explores mindfulness practice, nature immersion and creativity as pathways for growth, wellbeing and cultural change. She offers 1-to-1 and group work, retreats and workshops.

Susanne holds a Master's in Music from Oldenburg University (Germany). More recently, she completed the MSc in Mindfulness Studies with the University of Aberdeen, researching “Mindfulness and Musical Creativity”.

Chanan Tej:

Title: Finding Peace Amidst Turmoil: The Way of Zen, Mindfulness and Love of Nature.

Description: In her talk, Chanan will delve into the profound principles that can guide us towards inner peace in the midst of life's challenges. Drawing inspiration from the ancient wisdom of Zen philosophy, the transformative practice of mindfulness, and the healing power of connecting with nature, she will explore practical techniques and insights to cultivate a sense of tranquillity and harmony in our daily lives. Join her on this enlightening journey as she explores the path towards finding peace amidst the chaos and discover the transformative potential of embracing Zen, mindfulness, and our innate connection with the natural world.

Bio: Chanan Tej is a Buddhist psychotherapist, mindfulness teacher, and group facilitator, with over a decade of expertise in her field.

In addition to her psychotherapy qualifications, Chanan is a yoga teacher. Her dedication to expanding her skill set led her to undergo advanced Gong Master Training.

An ardent advocate for Buddhist Psychology, the transformative power of sacred sound, mindfulness, and yoga, Chanan approaches her work with passion and dedication. She recognizes the profound healing potential of these modalities and integrates them seamlessly into her therapeutic practice.

Beyond her professional endeavours, Chanan resides on a small farm, nestled amidst the beauty of nature. This serene and idyllic environment serves as an additional source of inspiration and tranquillity, augmenting her connection to the healing practices she embraces.


Title: Taking Shelter in the Divine.

Description: Experiencing confusion and loss of composure in the face of an inevitable crisis, Arjuna (the seeker) requests Krishna (the teacher) to instruct him, as a surrendered disciple.  

Throughout the Bhagavad Gita (song of God) Krishna clears Arjuna's doubts by arming him with the weapons of knowledge and detachment.

In Krishna's closing lesson He reminds Arjuna of his freedom to choose which path he takes in facing his crisis, demonstrating that the power lies within himself.

Bio: I joined the Hare Krishna movement in 1983 to pursue my spiritual journey where I trained as a monk in Worcestershire after which I served at the Watford temple until 1986.

Along with 2 other monks I then returned to Scotland to establish an ashram and temple.

Over the past few decades I’ve continued to practise and promote the message of Bhagavad Gita which directs one to devotional service to the supreme being (Krishna).

Judy Wilkinson:

Title: Spiritual Resources to Guide us Through a Clash of Cultures.

Description: Living in the sixth extinction what spiritual resources will guide us though a clash of cultures at a local level? I will explore how issues over a shared garden highlight the different needs, vision and beliefs of the inhabitants and what spiritual resources can help to achieve harmony. This story is relevant to finding a way for national and global scenarios as well.

Bio: I have an interest in waves and patterns, practice Tai Chi, follow Ursula le Guin’s version of Lao Tzu ‘Tao te Ching’, tend  a plot on an allotment site in Glasgow. My grandson Craig (Jan 2006 - Jan 2024) had a severe form of Chromosome 18 deletion, he showed the joy and wonder in the world around and the power of music. He and his family are a lasting inspiration and resource.

Claudia Goncalves:

Bio: Born in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Claudia Goncalves carries the profound wisdom and sacred healing traditions passed down to her by her grandmothers. With a deep reverence for the spiritual path, Claudia embarked on her shamanic journey at the age of 13 under the guidance of elder Dona Mercedes.

After moving to the UK in 1994, Claudia's personal transformational development took on a new dimension soon after her Rites of Passage of becoming a mother for two young children. In 2001, she received a powerful calling from her great-grandmother's spirit during a sweat lodge ceremony, urging her to step into her life's work. Guided by spirits and receiving teachings from both inner and external sources, Claudia dedicated herself fully to the shamanic path.

In October 2003, Claudia and her husband, Mark Halliday, co-founded The Edinburgh Shamanic Centre. Today, they offer a range of shamanic training programs, guided meditation training, Feather Stone Energy Healing work, and various ceremonies to serve the community.

Additionally, Claudia co-founded Youth Vision Charity in 2005 alongside Sara Beauregard. Youth Vision focuses on guiding young people aged 14 to 24 through the transformative process of transitioning from childhood to adulthood.

Claudia also provides support for couples experiencing relationship challenges, empowering each individual to reclaim their personal power, dissolve projections, and grow spiritually, allowing their love and light to flow freely.

Through her one-on-one sessions and group work, Claudia offers a range of healing modalities, including Shamanic Healing, Rites of Passage, Goddess Initiation, and Transformational Healing.

To maintain inner balance and strength, Claudia regularly practices yoga. During December, January, and February, she takes time off to replenish her energy in her homeland of Brazil and to learn from indigenous communities.


Engaged Spirituality


An archive recording will be made for the EICSP archive.

NB: There will be no refund if you cancel your booking.

Cost: By Donation:
Contact: Neill Walker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


There seems to be a new issue with Paypal and hopefully it will be resolved.

If you are having a difficulty paying by Paypal, then you can pay by bank transfer instead.

NB: you must also email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can send you the Zoom sign-in details.

Here are the bank transfer details:

Account Name: Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace
Bank Address: Edinburgh Royal Mile Branch
Account Number: 06131159
Sort Code: 802000

Some international transfers also ask for an IBAN number:

The IBAN number is as follows:

GB70 BOFS 8020 0006 1311 59

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