Nicola Coombe writes: I’ve been chatting with two friends, a few days before the end of 2016. One feeling her sanity fleeing in the midst of children, guilty festive food consumption, and endless pot scrubbing. The other similarly grappling, but in the face of the alone-ness of living solo, and the masking of this when with friends at this ‘happy’ time.
I prayed my own version of this yesterday here on holiday in Cape Town, in a house full of the people I long to be with when I’m in London, and yet imagining that being alone anywhere else than where I was would bring me peace! Such is the restless, split mind.
And such is the place where inner work begins. I lay on my bed holding the dreadful feelings of this state; quietening the thoughts; loosening my fixation on orienting my needs being met by others; dropping into the Great Resource inside; softening and softening into being held by and in That. Willing to be with it – all of it, grimy and possibly beauty-full too.
However we each take this journey into our ‘Within’, for me it can bring an opening, even if it shows up for a glimpse, and even if sometimes it’s more about faith than experience. Even split seconds of miracles or non-dual mind bring in enough grace to make me bearable to myself in those moments (and no doubt more bearable to others!).
A couple of weeks ago I was wondering what was happening in our restless organisation. My laptop had crashed; and I felt just like it. As it slowly re-booted I saw my application to the post of focaliser on my desk top, written two years ago. Just like my own restless struggles living in my closest relationships, I saw that I had written of our organisation being like this too. Diamond-making includes profound pressure. (See extract at end)
Our organisation exists to bring in the new. But the new births out of the old. So we are a body infused with both the hunger of vision, and the inheritance of our bones. Like most families, organisations are systems that fluctuate through times of stumbling forward and times of splintering distress, usually at the same time.
OneSpirit is hungry to know itself more deeply, and to bring into awareness the unhealed patterns that are also part of its story. Let’s do this work, each of us. Let’s move towards an adulthood that doesn’t idealise what it means to work within our organisation, nor idealise what it means to be a minister or a human being. These are shallow versions of our shared and our individual purposes.
But the deeper versions require serious compassion and courage. Let’s do it, together and individually. We’re in a period of time – in many systems and definitely in our organisation – where we could manifest even stronger splitting and separation. Or we can pray to stay on the edge of our learning and humility and seek a path together, bearing the tensions of our differences, rather than letting them tear us into parts. It’s the work of our times.
I’ll lean into it with you at 11.58 every day, and in all the other ways that I and we can.
I share this Zen prayer, recently given by a minister to our first year class, and bringing me a repeating clarion call. And I join you, within the natural grace of our ordained beings, in the transformation that this new year is calling us into.
May I respectfully remind you
That life and death are of supreme importance and
Time it passes quickly and opportunity is lost.
Awaken, awaken, wake up!
Do not squander your life.
Extract from my letter of application to trustees, for the role of focaliser, Jan 2015.
OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation arises as part of a wave that is ancient, and also of this particular time. The ancient resonance is with all of the expressions through human history where the practices of attunement to the Divine within have been the path: available to all, freely given, and with the message of dignity and sacredness being the birthright of all beings. From this place the curriculum of the Foundation emerges from and leans towards a gnostic world of inquiry and lived experience – the principles of life emerging from a living spiritual reality – within and between us and all the life, visible and subtle, that is part of our cosmos too.
And in present time the Foundation also arises as part of a major shift in the tide of human consciousness, driven by both the awfulness and the awe-fullness of our human potential, seeking to support the inner awakening to our Sacred nature and the possibilities for transformation that this invites. We are part of a tide seeking to build concepts of unity and peace within and beyond frameworks of the deepest divisions and conflicts that include gender, race, sexual choice, our relationship to the earth, nationality, aging, childhood and so on. The work we are called to in our organisation has to grow clearer in its individuation, whilst joining with all who are listening to the whispers of the same Spirit of our Time.
And so despite our having achieved the brave age of 18, and acknowledging the many shoulders on which we stand to have got to this point, it is also true that we are still preparing the soil for a work that needs strong foundations for its long life to come. One Spirit is a space, or a process, of radical transformation – spiritually, socially, and psychologically. Its nature is ultimately Love. And Love is deeply multifaceted, including – at least – both that which we call dark and light. And in revealing Love it will and does require engagement with our shadow – both our dark and our light shadow. Individually and collectively.