Vail Symposium series focuses on the philosophy behind consciousness, Sept. 23-24 | VailDaily.com

Vail Symposium series focuses on the philosophy behind consciousness, Sept. 23-24

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Ralph White is a pioneer of the consciousness movement. White will speak at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards on Friday, Sept. 23, and lead a workshop the next day at the college.

EDWARDS — Contemporary holistic centers are emerging all over the world to accommodate those seeking a more spiritual journey or those searching for deeper insight into the nature of the world. Speaker Ralph White has combined his experiences in South America and Eastern Tibet and his leadership in two of the eastern United States' prominent centers for holistic learning to seek the secrets of life.

"The nature of consciousness is the great issue of both philosophy and science," White said. "It remains the profound mystery at the heart of the human experience. We live in a time when there is an enormous and growing interest in the nature of consciousness and spirituality."

White will speak at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards today at 6:30 p.m. He will follow up his lecture with a workshop detailing what he calls "The Lost Spiritual History of the West" on Saturday at 9:30 a.m., also at Colorado Mountain College.

The programs will be the final events in the Vail Symposium's seasonal consciousness series, a set of programs curated by local resident Gary Gilman and centered on varying matters of consciousness.

“Are we just machines of flesh with consciousness being some kind of byproduct of the brain, or does consciousness exist independently of the brain?” Ralph WhiteConsciousness movement pioneer

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"Are we just machines of flesh with consciousness being some kind of byproduct of the brain, or does consciousness exist independently of the brain?" White asked. "The world's mystical and esoteric traditions, to which we have unprecedented access, would answer with a resounding affirmation of the primacy of consciousness over matter."

Pioneer of Consciousness

From childhood on the Irish sea of Wales through adolescence in the gritty world of industrial Northern England to participation on both sides of the Atlantic in the counterculture and birth of the holistic movement, White's life has been a quest to find the secrets of life and share them.

A pioneer of the consciousness movement, White has directed a 21-year conference series known as Esoteric Quests on rediscovering the lost spiritual history of the West. He taught the first accredited course in holistic learning at New York University, and he is the author of an acclaimed new memoir "The Jeweled Highway: On the Quest for a Life of Meaning."

"We are soul and spirit beings whose objective in life is the expansion of compassion, wisdom, empathy, meaning, service and the development of higher consciousness itself," White said. "This holistic worldview is emerging with tremendous strength as we seek a path beyond materialistic science or a society guided by little more than consumerism."

White will follow his lecture with a workshop titled "Journey into the Lost Spiritual History of the West."

"My workshop will address the lost spiritual history of the West and how it is being rediscovered to complement the widespread interest in Buddhism, yoga and shamanism among people today on an inner quest," White said. "So the workshop places my own quest in a larger, more historical context where it appears as a classic search for truth and wisdom with a long and noble tradition in our own Western culture as well as in the East."

If you go …

What: “On the Quest for a Life of Meaning,” with Ralph White.

When: Friday, Sept. 23; 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 to 8:30 p.m. program with Q-and-A.

Where: Colorado Mountain College, 150 Miller Ranch Road, Edwards.

Cost: $25 general admission online, $35 at the door, $10 students and teachers.

What: “Journey into the Lost Spiritual History of the West,” with Ralph White.

When: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.

Where: Colorado Mountain College, 150 Miller Ranch Road, Edwards.

Cost: $40; advanced reservations required.

More information: Visit http://www.vailsymposium.org to register for the lecture and/or the workshop.