Meditating farmer, 84, who ‘hardly knew what the internet was’ becomes an unlikely YouTube star with viral videos of his soothing voice that fans say ‘cure panic attacks and anxiety’
- Bearded ex farmer John Butler first discovered meditation in his mid twenties
- He started filming his mindfulness sessions and sharing them on YouTube four years ago – and now has 125,000 fans of his soothing voice around the world
- Most popular video, on ‘commonsense meditation’ has had a million plus views
- Butler says he’s ‘just quietly glad to be able to share what I love’ with fans saying he’s helped them with lockdown anxiety and panic attacks
A retired farmer has become a YouTube star at the age of 84 after his soothing meditation sessions from the midst of the Derbyshire countryside gained legions of fans across the globe.
John Butler, who has practised meditation for most of his adult life, has posted almost 200 videos to his Spiritual Unfoldment channel on YouTube over the last four years – and amassed 125,000 followers – despite saying he ‘hardly knew what the internet was’ just a few years ago.
The bearded farmer regularly posts calming missives on mindfulness, spirituality and being peaceful, with fans praising his gentle voice.
His most popular post – a commonsense guide to meditation, has been watched more than a million times.
Countryside sermon: Bearded ex farmer John Butler, 84, first discovered meditation in his mid twenties and at the grand old age of 80 decided to share his thoughts on spirituality on YouTube, amassing 125,000 fans around the world
His most popular video, on ‘commonsense meditation’ has had a million plus views on YouTube, with fans saying his gentle voice and observations has helped curb their anxiety
One said listening to the videos posted by Butler had helped with anxiety while another said his voice is so gentle they wanted him to ‘read me bedtime stories.’
His voice has proved a huge hit with people who have autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), which means they find comfort and minor euphoria in gentle sounds and voices.
Butler’s rise to treble figure followers on YouTube came after he gave an interview about higher consciousness to spirituality television channel Conscious TV in 2017 and decided to start filming his own ideas on mediation.
During the videos, filmed by a friend, he also offers tips on farming and talks about navigating the Derbyshire terrain on his three-wheel bike.
Fame isn’t getting to his head though; Butler told the BBC that four years ago he’d ‘never heard of YouTube. Hardly knew what internet was’
The country dweller also offers tips on farming and talks about navigating the Derbyshire terrain on his three-wheel bike
Butler told the BBC that he’s unfazed by his newfound fame, telling the BBC: ‘I think if I was a younger man I would have been more excited about it. I’d never heard of YouTube. Hardly knew what internet was.’
His journey into meditation came after a trip to South America in his mid twenties; time spent in Peru helped Butler to appreciate stillness in his surroundings – something that decades on has become more recognisable as mindfulness.
HOW ASMR CAN BRING EUPHORIA JUST BY LISTENING TO A SOOTHING VOICE
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an enjoyable or relaxing sensation often accompanied by a ‘tingly’ feeling.
A large online community claims ASMR clips on YouTube provoke a response likened to a warm tingling on the skin in some viewers.
It is most commonly triggered by whispering, but can be brought about by an array of stimuli, including gentle touches, observing mundane tasks, and hearing crinkling/tapping sounds.
The sensation typically begins at the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine, helping people to relax, relieve stress or sleep.
He said that he was pleased his videos are helping to calm people, saying: ‘So many people have this problem with an agitated mind, a restless mind.
‘And because one instinctively seeks for some sort of balance, people look for rest or peace, don’t they? Most of my life I’ve felt really a bit of a misfit in this world and I’ve felt most people weren’t interested in me, but I’m just quietly glad to be able to share what I love.’
Trailblazer: Butler was one of the first UK farmers to embrace organic farming in the 1970s
It’s not the first time he’s hit the headlines though; as a younger farmer learning his craft in the 1970s, Butler was one of the first UK farmers to talk about organic farming, which has become commonplace in agricultural practices in the UK in recent decades.