Nicola Coombe writes: I was in Dublin on that extremely strange day after the UK’s Brexit vote, grateful to have a creative purpose leading an event to introduce our training to potential applicants. These events are attended by amazing people who are seriously seeking ‘something’. Some have words for it; some have eyes that shine with it; some bring tears for a desire that words don’t express; some come terrified that they either will or won’t find the elusive possibility within the experience.
A pandora’s box of questions healthily animates the circle. One of the big ones is something along the lines of: ‘On whose authority does ordination take place?’
On 23 July this month, at a public ceremony in London, our community will affirm the class of 2016 at their Ordination and Graduation, as they bring their two year contract to fulfillment. In so doing they cross the threshold to begin the new pilgrimage of anchoring their purpose – expressed in a vow unique to each person – into the full-time practice of Life.
This class crosses this courageous portal at a time when questions of authority, leadership, and the responsibility of power are truly in our face on the world stage. Who leads, who determines who leads, who ‘wins’, who picks up what those stepping out of leadership leave in their wake? It’s a deeply unsettled landscape locally and internationally. I don’t know anyone who is not affected by the speed and confusion of the politics here and abroad, and the trauma and shock of violence erupting and lives shattering.
So back to the question of authority and ordination. A radical shift evolved about ten years ago in OneSpirit: our ordinands step forward in silence and stand alone to receive their ordination. They then step back into the circle to have this experience blessed and affirmed by those present.
So what is the big deal? It is the shift is away from another person, an outer authority, being the conductor for the energy of ordination. And it is the shift towards the awakening of inner authority: the need to be able to receive ordination having forged its meaning in one’s own inner language, 100 per cent in choice, and in communion with one’s own alignment within Grace.
This is a seriously demanding requirement. Religion and much spirituality is steeped in hierarchies of power and permission, which have largely and devastatingly reflected the gross biases of the day, excluding many from having access to ‘the table’. So this apparently simple act of stepping forward on one’s own terms challenges our much-absorbed patterns of looking outwardly to have our place in the world affirmed, our love received, our safety given, and our work blessed and rewarded.
It requires an unsettling journey into the inner world of our identity, and our relationship to the past and the present, and the untangling of these complex strands. It invites – and takes as a given – that we are able to communicate with our own sovereign nature, and it requires that that inner connection is established.
On whose authority? On the natural, pre-ordained, ordinary, sacred, original, essential Authority of who we truly are. On the self-affirmed authority of the Divine Self, the Inner Teacher, the God Within, the Great Silence, the Source, the Call It What You Will – it is within, as it is above, below and between too.
We have chosen to be on this planet at this time. The presence of women, men and children who are in contact with and know how to act from their internal compass, aligned with a respect for life and interconnection, is a deeply valuable gift and calling.
May we hear the call.
May we anchor our inner connection.
May we help each other in this life-affirming work.
Set your phone for 11..58**. We’ll be there together.
** Starting this year, OneSpirit students, graduates and colleagues are invited to a daily attunement at 11.58. The invitation is to pause in whatever you are doing; to connect within; to bring your vow or purpose to mind; and to lean into the inner communion of all those in our graduate community, and beyond that into all those seen and unseen, who resonate with OneSpirit. Please join us.