"The School of Philosophy" is a developing project that describes my childhood growing up in an alternative religious organisation that centered on Hindu teachings and various philosophies. The school still exists around the world for example in New York where it is known as The School of Practical Philosophy.




Sadeghi + Custins

1-3 April, 2016



Sadeghi + Custins

25 June, 2016






"Calligraphy", 2015

From preschool age, I was taght to write calligraphy with an ink pen and easels. 
This was taught in a class room setting, and included learning both written and spoken Sanskrit.



"Consciousness", 2015

The concept of Universal Mind could simplistically be illustrated with a glass of water.

See how there is water in this glass. Consider how our bodies are 90% water. Picture the moisture in the air, the ground, the seas. Now imagine consciousness as being all around us, in us, everywhere. It is life itself. 



"The Garden, No.1", 2016

The properties owned by the School and those around the world, are often old English style with formal gardens.

One justification was that old architecture often observed the proportions of the Golden Section.

This was a spirituality that demanded classical aesthetics.




"True Nature", 2015

Gender as difference was constantly reinforced. Male and female served different and specific roles.

This forced any alternative world view undercover. From an early age I could quickly recognise that all was not as it seemed. People were leading double lives. This was not a residential, communal life. Members lived normal suburban lives, but would attend meetings, weekends, and retreats. 




"Good Men", 2016

We were constantly being taught to "be good men". And more specifically, "gentlemen".

I think this resembled some kind of romantic ideal. The dress code was suit and tie from pre-school age.

My grandmother would bring boy's suits from England for me to wear.

The moral code of Gentlemanliness reinforced gender stereotypes, but also brought with it a cycle of guilt.

"Am I good enough?" One of my strongest reasons for rejecting formalised religion is that I can so easily spot the cheap psychology. 



"Pausing, No.1", 2015

Pausing was the act of stopping between major tasks: closing your eyes, clearing your mind, remaining staitionary while standing or sitting on a chair, for between 15-30-60 seconds depending on the devoutness of the tutor; or who was watching; or urgency. A mantra was repeated. This could be performed anywhere. It was generally tedious, though effective at clearing one's mind of circling thoughts.



"Checking", 2015

Meditation was introduced as a teenager, and was supposed to be practiced for 20-40 minutes, dawn and dusk every day eventually. Periodic one on one "Checks" were conducted with a senior lecturer where you would meditate and then talk about your meditation and often related life matters. I disliked the hierachy and often thought that we should be swapping places.



"Meditation No. 1 & 2", 2015

Physical posture was very important to life. An Ayurvedic lifestyle was promoted within the organisation.

The spine being the main energy pathway for the body meant it was very important for spiritual health.

This belief did not include comfortable chairs. Only the tutor got that.



"Meeting", 2015

My early life was one of meetings. Endless group meetings. How many hours did I spend looking at the backs of heads.

Most meetings were split by gender.



"Circling Thoughts", 2015

This circle is your mind. These dots are circling, random thoughts.

To evolve both practically and spiritually, we must learn to eliminate the circling thoughts, and focus on one.

And then, after that, eventually nothing... just be.

"What is Correct", 2015

The female dress code was Victorian-Amish-British pre-war, post war.

Long dresses were compulsory. Modesty required. Broaches were big.

Hair buns. Muted colors. Thatcher power dressing was acceptable, but working women were generally frowned upon.