2017 Conference Speakers & Workshops

Mirabai Starr

Mona Haydar

fletcher_harperFletcher Harper

Chris Grosso

dana1sqDana Sawyer


Todd Glacy

Dana Sawyer | “Exploring the Mystic Heart of All Religion and Spirituality”

Dana Sawyer is a professor of Religion and Philosophy at the Maine College of Art. Prior to this, he taught for more than 20 years in the graduate program of the Bangor Theological Seminary. He is the author of two critically acclaimed spiritual biographies—Aldous Huxley, A Biography (2002) danaswamiand Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper (2014)—and has written on a wide range of topics related to consciousness expansion, Tibetan Buddhism, Hindu mysticism, and alternative philosophies.

Besides teaching at the academic level, Dana is a popular speaker on the lecture circuit, having taught workshops at the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Institute, and other centers of psychological, spiritual and philosophical inquiry. He also writes regularly for Tricycle, the Buddhist Review.



Workshop 5
with Dana

What is mystical experience? How do such experiences relate to formal religion, either enhancing or challenging it? Does religion have value beyond what is commonly termed “spirituality?”

While the religions of the world often give very different views of reality and our relationship to it, the mystics inside and outside the various religions offer insights suggesting a “transcendent unity” that may be at the core of all spirituality.

In this interactive workshop, Dana Sawyer discusses several theories regarding the relationship between religion, spirituality and mystical experience. Join in on a lively discussion and explore the writings of such mystics as Rumi, Theresa of Avila, Meister Eckhardt, the Buddha and Shankara, along with the theories of Aldous Huxley, Huston Smith, Ken Wilber, Stanislav Grof, Deepak Chopra and others.