August 2017

Report on Robin Schmidt in Toronto and Thornhill

When we first heard the news of Robin Schmidt’s tour, we wondered how it would work to promote an event with someone people had never heard of in the middle of August, when we didn’t even know if he spoke English, or needed a translator.

As it turned out, we needn’t have worried. All went swimmingly. The first bright spot on the horizon was the downtown event, for young people, selling out ahead of time, which prompted the organizers to seek a bigger venue, and get in touch with those on the waiting list.

Skin in the Game

Of course folks who sign up for free tickets don’t have a lot of skin in the game, and so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that some of those who registered didn’t show up on the day of the talk.

Twenty-two people did show up however, and they were mostly in the targeted, 18 to 40, demographic, and included some new faces. With this group, Robin engaged in a more conversational format rather than a lecture, which seemed to go over well.

The theme of the evening was “Staying Connected to Your Life Path”. Robin touched on topics such as living in a world of vast possibilities, and how that makes it hard to commit to anything. He referenced French postmodern philosophers and asked his listeners to consider the play of relationships around the theme of hospitality, with its elements of uncertainty and vulnerability.

No such thing as "the anthroposophical path"

Robin also gave some background on anthroposophical meditation, while maintaining that there is no such thing as “the Anthroposophical path”, rather that each person blazes their own trail. Help and advice, however, can be sought from those who have gone before.

The following night, on Thursday at the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto (in Thornhill), the main room was mostly filled with some 50-60 people who came out to hear Robin’s talk on “Being Human in a Digital World”.

Robin outlined the historical progression from living in a world of nature, to living in the man-made urban environment, to living in what has more and more become a world populated with the products of human consciousness. Meanwhile modern and postmodern thought has been challenging human souls to come to terms with recurrent themes of infinity, eternity and autonomy.

And while digital life and culture is epitomized by the “UNDO” button, and enables an eternal adolescence of non-commitment, real life challenges human beings to make their mark on the world. Meditation was also touched on again, in particular the theme of no one right way to go about it. Robin’s talk sparked some lively questions from participants and many people lingered to chat even after the formal evening was over.

What IS meditation anyway?

Thursday’s talk was followed on Saturday by a day-long seminar on meditation, which was also well attended. Some 40 or more people took part in this event at the RSCT. One of the participants, Christine Tansley said that although she had been around anthroposophy for ages, and had even read Robin’s book, “I didn’t know, before this workshop, what meditation is.”.

There was also a session with Robin Schmidt on Sunday morning at Hesperus for class members of the School for Spiritual Science. Overall, the reception of Robin Schmidt’s events downtown and in Thornhill was so encouraging that there has been talk of bringing him back again next year.