Thank you for your trust in us, said Richard. We come from a unique place in that, we have no need to gain and nothing to lose. With a wry smile and a laugh he says, we're not trying to build careers here. Besides, he adds with a twinkle in his eye, it's not our work we're sharing; it's the perennial tradition.
Cynthia speaks. The beliefs from the traditional systems of power are breaking down. There's a growing stream of understanding that we're rebuilding the original wineskins because the wine has gone sour. It's a an integral knowing. A combination of the wisdom of the heart and mind, forming something new in you.
In his barely audible baritone voice, James seems to whisper as if there's a secret we're sharing; we have stumbled sideways into a grace we didn't see coming. People are losing faith, and they're losing it in the church. This immersion is founded in the ancient, time-tested practices of the early Christian contemplative desert fathers and mothers found in all religions in all ages. Slowly, wanting his words to be deliberate and sink in, Finley says, this living experiential knowledge is not the sum of what you can say about it. It goes deeper. It is beyond. It will be words in the service of the unspeakable.
And so, day one at The Living School was underway. Our primary teachers, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley each offered 7-10 minutes of opening remarks. This was followed by an opening contemplative practice led by a 10-member group of Native American women, many doctors (PhDs) and community healers (re: social justice). We witnessed the wisdom of the native tradition from East, West, North, South, Ground, Heaven, and Heart, blessing it all with drums and the welcoming phrase, "Omateo" (similar in meaning to Namaste, God in me sees God in you). It was a beautiful native ritual of oneness and, feeling inspired, I went into the garden area and wrote the poem on display of the home page. It's unedited, so there may be errors, but you'll get the picture...
The next session covered the finer points of contemplative practice, meant to create a new rhythm of life for us to follow the next couple years (and beyond). It's a foundational learning based in ancient contemplative tradition, non-dual teachers, and daily practice, until all life becomes the path, teacher, and lived experience. Equality and belonging are core values of The Living School. "We exist within structures that perpetuate bias, such as racism, sexism, elitism, etc. that devalue minority populations." We are called to be more. Recognize. Be aware. Show up. Support one another in love.
The day ended meeting our small group team members; the ones who will most share in the intimate journey of transformational growth over the next two years. We did circle sharing work, which helped us come to know each other. To further our relationships, we booked a dinner for tomorrow night.
It was a long day. I returned tired and yet, thirsty for what will come. An evening glass of wine and a little JD on the guitar completed my night. Early tomorrow morning: walking meditation.