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 Dharma teacher.

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:

Description: Engaged spirituality, for me, is about actively shaping a world reflective of our deepest values, acknowledging spirituality's embeddedness in our existence.

My journey, rooted in engaged spirituality, spans roles at the Planetary Healing Centre, the Edinburgh Shamanic Centre, and Youth Vision Scotland.

At the Planetary Healing Centre, we foster holistic wellness, witnessing transformative impacts in people over our 21-year journey.

At the Shamanic Centre, we tap into ancient wisdom for healing, connection and spirituality.

With Youth Vision Scotland, I mentor young minds, nurturing resilience and purpose.

Additionally, I collaborate with Indigenous communities in Brazil, honouring traditions and addressing pressing issues.

Guided by interconnectedness and a commitment to healing ourselves and our Earth Mother, I strive for a world where all thrive.

In times of crisis, engaged spirituality offers hope and resilience, inspiring transformative action.

Let's heed its call, embracing interconnectedness, embodying our values, and bravely engaging in healing work and spirituality.

Bio: Claudia Goncalves, Co-founder of 3 wellbeing organisations in Edinburgh.

An accomplished innovator in health, wellbeing and spirituality, Claudia’s ventures includes various wellbeing projects she has started and continues to offer the community in Scotland for over21 years.

She also runs a project supporting indigenous people in her homeland Brazil and she started and continues to offer this project for the past 8 years.

As well as a portfolio that focuses on community health and wellbeing, Claudia has a keen eye and gift for innovation, a kind of innovation that has it all: social and environmental responsibilities as well as spirituality embedded in it.

She co-founded The Edinburgh Shamanic Centre, the Planetary Healing Charity, Youth Vision Charity and the Edinburgh Holistic Shop.

The Planetary Healing Centre has over 20 volunteers and over 10 facilitators offering services for the community on a donation basis.

Claudia has also penned the book “Shamanism as Medicine” and her book provides a sort of initiation into the world of Shamanism.

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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