Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Balancing the Brain 2021: Neuroscience meets Ancient Wisdom

Balancing the Brain 2021: Neuroscience meets Ancient Wisdom

Iain McGilchrist
Key Info: 
  • Explore what it means to be a human being in a world that is purposeful and alive
  • Satish brings insights into Eastern wisdom literature and Iain brings insights into the workings of the brain
  • Approach ways to resolve what appear to be irresoluble conflicts

With Dr Iain McGilchrist, Satish Kumar and June Mitchell

£ 825.00
The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon and includes four nights accommodation in a private room with shared bathroom and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.
If you would like to take this course as a non-residential participant, please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 1803 847237.

Balancing The Brain is a unique opportunity to bring together insights from brain science and the wisdom traditions of East and West, in order to make sense of what seems to be the paradoxical nature of reality; and to show how a reductionist account of the world, of ourselves, and of the cosmos at large needs to be replaced by something far more sophisticated and far richer – indeed urgently, if we are to survive.

Satish Kumar and Iain McGilchrist will explore what it means to be a human being in a world that is not mechanical and meaningless, but purposeful and alive. They will each bring together their common philosophical interests, Satish’s insights into Eastern wisdom literature and Iain’s insights into the workings of the brain, to explore with you the foundations of experience.  Together, they will investigate the relationship between science, reason, intuition and imagination; the different contributions to each of these made by the two brain hemispheres; and how they need to work together, not against one another.  From this starting point they will go on to approach ways to resolve what appear to be irresoluble conflicts in the various accounts of reality we are offered – what to trust, and what not to trust, and why. 

They intend to examine what we can say about the nature of time, space, flow, matter, consciousness, value and the sacred.  And they will indicate ways in which this knowledge has a direct impact on the problems we face in contemporary society.

*The Booking Deadline gives us an accurate idea of course participant numbers at approximately 6 weeks before the course is due to run, at which point we confirm the course, add additional time for people to book on or cancel the course. We encourage people to register early for courses as places are limited.

With Dr Iain McGilchrist, Satish Kumar and June Mitchell
Iain McGilchrist

Dr Iain McGilchrist

Dr Iain McGilchrist is the author of a number of books, but is best-known for The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (Yale 2009), and is currently finishing work on a book of epistemology and ontology for Penguin Random House.

He is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, a Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and former Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London. 

He has been a Research Fellow in neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore and a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Stellenbosch.  He has published original articles and research papers in a wide range of publications on topics in literature, philosophy, medicine and psychiatry. He lives on the Isle of Skye, and has 2 daughters and a son.

Satish Kumar

Satish Kumar

Satish is a former monk and long-term peace and environment activist. He has been quietly setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality.

In 1973 Satish settled in the United Kingdom taking up the post of editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he has held ever since, making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine. During this time, he has been the guiding spirit behind a number of now internationally respected ecological and educational ventures including Schumacher College. Satish has authored numerous books including No Destination: Autobiography of a Pilgrim, Soul, Soil, Society: a new trinity for our time and most recently Elegant Simplicity: The Art Of Living Well.

June Mitchell

Life-long partner of Satish, June Mitchell leads Qigong bamboo exercises.

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.


Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

NB: Please do not pay your deposit for the course yet. Any applications received where a deposit has been paid will be rejected and the deposit refunded.

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.