1. Ken Robinson believes that everyone is born with extraordinary capability. So what happens to all that talent as we bump through life, getting by, but never realizing our true potential?

    For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail - it’s just the opposite - we aim too low and succeed.

    We need to find that magic spot where our natural talent meets our personal passion. This means we need to know ourselves better. Whilst we content ourselves with doing what we’re competent at, but don’t truly love, we’ll never excel. And, according to Ken, finding purpose in our work is essentially to knowing who we really are.

    Get ready to unleash your inner fervor as Ken takes to our pulpit to inspire you to follow your passion.

    Sir Ken Robinson is a leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources, working with governments and the world’s leading cultural organizations. Born in Liverpool, he was Director of The Arts Project (1985-89), and is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Warwick. He was knighted in 2003 for his contribution to education and the arts. Recent publications include Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative (2001) and The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (2009).

    This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall on Sunday 13 March 2011

    # vimeo.com/21195297 Uploaded 112K Plays 20 Comments
  2. From Confucius to Oprah, people have preached compassion for centuries. But how often is it actually put into practice?

    We may know that we should “treat others the way we wish to be treated”, but the reality – particular in the face of a perceived injustice – just isn’t that easy. Compassion is hardwired into our brains, yet is constantly pushed back by our more primitive instincts for selfishness and survival.

    Provocative religious thinker, Karen Armstrong, knows this. Yet she will take to our pulpit to offer an impassioned call to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. Drawing on material ranging from the spiritual character of the world religions to the findings of contemporary neuroscience, she’ll outline concrete ways of enhancing our compassion and putting it into action in our everyday lives.

    Karen Armstrong is a British author and commentator who is the author of twelve books on comparative religion. A former nun, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical faith. Armstrong first rose to prominence in 1993 with her book, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, an international best seller that is now required reading in many theology courses. She won the TED Prize in 2008 which helped to launch her Charter for Compassion, a document around which religious leaders can work together for people. Her new book, ’12 Steps to A Compassionate Life’ was published in 2011

    This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London on Sunday 20 November 2011

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  3. You can tell a lot about someone you don’t know from the contents of their wallet. There's also a lot that you can’t tell.

    Filmmaker, artist and writer Miranda July delivers a unique sermon that challenges our attitudes to strangers and asks us to be more adventurous and generous with how we interact with each other.

    Miranda July's videos, performances, and web-based projects have been presented at sites such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and in two Whitney Biennials. July wrote, directed and starred in her first feature-length film, Me and You and Everyone We Know(2005), which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and four prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Camera d’Or.

    Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Harper’s, and The New Yorker; her collection of stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You (Scribner, 2007), won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and has been published in twenty countries. July created the participatory website, learningtoloveyoumore, with artist Harrell Fletcher and a companion book was published in 2007 (Prestel); the work is now in collection of The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

    This event was part of The School of Life's secular sermon series and took place at Conway Hall London on Sunday 23 October.

    # vimeo.com/31283902 Uploaded 17.6K Plays 0 Comments
  4. Is mindfulness the answer to all our prayers? The benefits are compelling: it’s free, you can do it anytime, anywhere, and it’s been scientifically proven to work. It is recognised by those in and out of the health profession as a useful tool for generally improving our mental wellbeing, as well as dealing with more serious issues such as depression or anxiety disorders.

    Professor Mark Williams, a leading authority on mindfulness, takes to our pulpit to explore the science behind it and look at its practical application in everyday life. He takes us through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation, and looks at how such practices can help us to live lives of greater presence, productive and peace.

    Mark Williams is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Wellcome Principal Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. He is author of the bestselling books: 'Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World' (Piatkus, 2011; co-authored with Danny Penman) and 'The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness' (Guilford, 2007; co-authored with John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn).

    This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall on Sunday 5 June 2011.

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