RE-JUICING THE COMMON GROUND with Jamie B & Rowan D for NFA Council
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE – I have an active spiritual practice to align with spirit and support me to work for the highest good.
Welcome to our first Ground, re-juiced by Rowan, the form may change over time and with practice, as ever your feedback shapes this process. Our intention behind this project is to encourage reflection and dialogue. We are not experts we are but fellow travellers on the path. Spiritual practice is more than a treasured daily routine. It can be tough and lead us to dark places. But it also provides an anchor and a compass to guide us through stormy seas.
I can only make sense of my spiritual practice today, by first considering my background. Baptized and confirmed within the German Lutheran Tradition, my Christian education was scanty and uninspiring, and as a young adult I left the Church. After a move to England in the mid seventies I immersed myself in study, teaching and the academic life. Spiritual matters were not on my agenda. Involvement in the women’s movement made me painfully aware of the centuries-old damage inflicted by the ‘patriarchal mind-set’, with the church a prime perpetrator.
Two visits to Findhorn attending Foundation conferences and an unspecified yearning for something other than ”academic head-stuff’ made me restless. I left my career and moved up here permanently in the late 1980’s and I have been connected to the community ever since.
I have to admit that on arriving I had no idea what spiritual practice might entail. Meditations were obviously part of the daily rhythm, so I went with some trepidation. Having young children meant that regular attendance at Sanctuary was difficult, but the Park Library became a favourite place. I avidly read about various spiritual paths and methods of meditation. A three month stay in an Indian ashram confirmed that the devotional path to the Guru was not my way. Findhorn, with its lack of dogma and acceptance of many traditions felt like home. I read Eileen’s guidance daily, but I often had difficulties with the language, quite stern and seemingly patriarchal. Paradoxically, the spiritual writers that touched me deeply were oftentimes male and Catholic, Thomas Merton, William Johnston, John O’Donohue, Matthew Fox to name but a few. While caravan life was not always easy, overall me and the kids loved it and my caravan became the focal point for many youngsters in the community.
A move to Forres after 15 years began a dire and arid time for me. Though I can point to some distressing personal disappointments and even the onset of hormonal changes announcing menopause, the real horror was the complete and unexplained severance of any connection to Spirit. It was a time of withdrawal and it was tough. I was catapulted out of this dismal and stagnant place by the sudden death of my son, then 17 years old. Amidst extreme grief I simultaneously experienced moments of Grace and overwhelming Love beyond language and reason.
Today, my spiritual practice is fluid and varied. I pray often, and silently bless people, plants, animals and situations. I sit on my kitchen step for an hour in the morning before the business of the day, a practice treasured since caravan-days. I take Angel Cards and reflect in the evening how these qualities have informed my day. I write my journal and frequent letters to women friends and in the very act of writing insights and inspirations suggest themselves. I sense that engagement with Life is in itself a spiritual practice, while I realize that the ultimate direction of our spiritual path lies not in our hands.
Matthew Fox spoke about the ‘Four Paths to God’ from within his Catholic Tradition; the Via Positiva, the Via Negativa, the Via Creativa and the Via Contemplativa. I feel, I have travelled upon them all, and may the travelling continue!
- How have spiritual traditions and practices from your childhood informed your life?
- Are there specific events or turning-points in your life that led you to begin a spiritual journey?
- What form does your spiritual practice take today and how does it impact upon you when you let it slide?