Here you will find press releases, pics, videos and downloads you may use with permission in your online or printed media. In all cases, please link to John’s YouTube channel Spiritual Unfoldment ( and this website.

Press releases

November 4th 2021

A retired farmer from Bakewell who became a YouTube sensation over lockdown with his mindfulness videos receiving over 15 million views, has today, 4 November, received Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award.

John Butler had not known about YouTube until 2018, but has now produced over 200 videos, sharing tips, stories and meditation guidance from his home with the aim of reducing anxiety and helping people improve wellbeing. John’s videos gained huge worldwide audiences over the course of the pandemic, with over 198,000 subscribers to his channel ‘Spiritual Unfoldment’ drawn to his unique mental health coping strategies. John also hosts meditation retreats and has published eight books, offering further spiritual insight.

Congratulating John on his award from the Prime Minister, Sarah Dines, MP for Derbyshire Dales, said:

“John Butler truly deserves the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award. His YouTube videos have provided comfort, inspiration, and support to people during the pandemic, not only here in Derbyshire Dales but across the world. The pandemic has been a scary and uncertain time for many, and I know that John’s videos, guided meditation, and words of wisdom have helped people feel less alone and worried during this time.”

John said:

“That’s a surprise! Thank you. But let me first direct attention to my teachers – nature, common sense and meditation. Without them, I’d have no ‘Point of Light’ to share.”

John is the 1782nd person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements, including hundreds of volunteers who have been recognised for how they have served their communities through the Coronavirus pandemic.

‘Mr Nothing’ finds himself with 155,000 subscribers and over 12 million views for Spiritual Unfoldment on YouTube

At first sight, John Butler is not one to make much of an impression. Quiet, soft-spoken and usually alone, he became known – in the 1970’s – as one of the first organic farmers, and frequently appeared in the national press. Among lesser appearances, the BBC made a well-received documentary about his work – “Three Acres at Bicker Fen”.  Then, for many years, he disappeared from public view.

Having, throughout his life also practiced meditation, 4 years ago, at the age of 79, he was recommended to Conscious TV, a Youtube channel, focusing on those with experience of higher consciousness. Unwilling at first to face publicity, he was later persuaded to be interviewed. This has since becomes the most popular item on the channel.

Soon after his debut on Conscious TV, Phil Shankland found one of John’s books in a second-hand shop in Sheffield, was interested, came to see him, and then decided to move and live nearby. Encouraged by success on Conscious TV, they decided to make some videos themselves. This developed into the Youtube Spiritual Unfoldment Channel, which recently clocked up 155,000 subscribers and over 12 million views, besides their substantial followings on Facebook, Instagram and, most recently, Spotify.

How has this happened? Though brought up with Christianity and familiar with it, John follows no particular teaching but speaks entirely from his own experience, using examples from nature and simple common sense. Liking the name ‘Mr Nothing’, he suggests to his followers, ‘Feel your feet on the ground – listen and look’. Practiced with attention, this brings the mind to rest – in silence, which may then expand into stillness or peace, spaciousness, freedom and an abiding sense of spiritual presence. Traditional religious teaching that, ‘The Lord is with us’ begins to come into real life experience.

Besides farming and meditation, John has lived an extraordinarily interesting life, including much spiritual insight, emotional ups and downs, long periods in Peru, Africa and the USA besides several years in Russia, all of which have been part of the far from easy journey to where he is now. To record his adventures, he’s written no less than 10 books, starting with publication of ‘Wonders of Spiritual Unfoldment’ in September 2008. Details are available through his website.

For over 60 years, as he worked to develop and put his understanding into practice, John has communicated a consistent message. Now, that his work is better known, both in the UK and around the world, the BBC have made a further documentary, “Return to Bicker Fen”. He has also recently appeared on BBC Local Radio and in the local press.

Phil Shankland


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