College Speaking Tour

The Peace Dialogue Series College Tour 

The peace dialogue series is a program of four highly interactive lectures on the theme of finding peace in these times of cultural fragmentation. Forrest Rivers, a speaker and author of the books: The Hippie Revival and Collected Writings & The Mountain Soul Diaries: Peaceful Words from the Smokies, has spent a significant portion of his adult life teaching to college students on various campuses across the country. Drawing upon his past engagement with community activism, his current meditation practice as well as his love of nature and formal experience teaching in the classroom; Forrest offers both students and faculty a timely message of peace that transcends all forms of religious, political and social partisanship.  In the end, he argues, the true celebration of diversity is what we all yearn for in common.

Lecture Names and Descriptions:

Climb a Mountain: Overcoming Adversity in Nature

The healing aspects of the natural world are just becoming known to the general population. Spending time in nature for even 30 minutes a day has been proven to reduce anxiety, ease symptoms in people with various forms of depression and improve one’s overall quality of life. However, lesser known, is the impact nature has in helping one overcome personal suffering and adversity. In “Climb a mountain,” Forrest shares through direct- personal experience, how hiking the southern Appalachian mountains has helped him and others transcend adversity in their own lives. In this highly engaging lecture, Forrest draws heavily from his own touching moments in the wild and his many interactions with Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers. In the end, Forrest implores his student audiences to leave drugs and alcohol behind and instead go into the glory of nature when confronted by life’s challenges.

For a short video description, click Climb a Mountain.

The Meditation Evolution: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

Meditation is an ancient (eastern) spiritual practice that emphasizes the attainment of self-knowledge and inner peace through mindful contemplation. Today, many westerners are just beginning to turn to the practice to cope with the problems of our contemporary fast-paced consumer-driven world. In “The Meditation Evolution”, Forrest Rivers draws from his own long-standing meditation practice to show students, through a highly interactive and motivational presentation, how meditation can improve one’s general state of well-being from each of the physical, emotional and spiritual standpoints. However, according to Forrest, one of the most profound benefits of meditation is the clarity that it brings in revealing our life’s true purpose. This existential search for meaning, after all, is among the greatest sources of anxiety for many young people. In the end, Forrest maintains, that meditation may well be the crucial link between our own personal and collective evolution as one human race.

For a short video description, click The Meditation Evolution.

Inner Peace in Chaotic Times

The times that we find ourselves in are marked by feelings of great anxiety, uncertainty and skepticism toward our collective future. Signs abound that we have entered into “chaotic times.” The Human-caused devastation of the natural world, the growing frequency of terrorist attacks and mass violent events, the deepening of global poverty and war are all indicators that our species have strayed too far in the direction of fear and separation. Indeed, it is becoming resoundingly clear to all those willing to adopt a bird’s eye view, that we have crossed the bridge into a world filled with chaos. Further widening this divide, is that in the eyes of the younger generation, our dominant institutions are steadily losing moral legitimacy and authority. Accordingly, many millennials are beginning to search for alternatives that better promote the values of peace. Drawing on the wisdom of eastern, western and indigenous traditions; Forrest demonstrates with hopeful enthusiasm and through heavy student engagement how humans are fully capable of building a more just and peaceful world for our children. However, Forrest maintains that in order to realize this noble end goal…. each of us must first find our own inner peace.

For a short video description, click Inner Peace in Chaotic Times.

The Revival of the Hippie Counterculture

The hippie culture is enjoying a revival or so argues Forrest Rivers, author of the book, “The Hippie Revival and Collected Writings”. The re-emergence of classic hippie values is felt today through a renewed emphasis on environmental sustainability and greater efforts to extend protection to Mother Earth. It is also seen in the younger generation’s growing interest in eastern and indigenous spiritual traditions (like Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen and Native American spirituality) that emphasize the attainment of peace through inner transformation. Other topics of interest that Forrest addresses in this lecture are: the persistent questioning of social institutions by young people, the re-emergence of a “back to the land” communal movement, and the role of the information revolution in spurring the hippie revival. For a short clip of this lecture, click HERE.

Above all, Forrest hopes to impart upon his audience an unwavering faith and optimism that peace is not only possible in this day and age but that it is our destiny as one people to complete what the original hippie generation started.

For a short video description, click The Revival of the Hippie Counterculture.

Photo:  johnmaclean.com