My own path
I have been an inner explorer almost all my adult life. My recent practice has included twelve years with a Buddhist mindfulness tradition, (including leading many ‘days of mindfulness’ and retreats) and eight years attending Quaker meetings for worship. Within Quakerism I have found ‘Experiment with Light’ particularly valuable and inspiring.
I have also appreciated insights from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
I love the familiarity of the Anglican Christianity of my childhood. I interpret some current experiences as a mystical connection with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Over the last couple of years I have returned to the Anglican church as a member and found there a lot of love and devoted practice. This has helped me to open up to love (God) even more. Paul R Smith’s book ‘Integral Christianity’ has been a wise and inspiring guide to this development.
I worked for twelve years as a psychotherapist with both individuals and groups. My work involved energy, movement and visualisation as well as verbal expression and communication. I loved Arnie Mindell’s work and it continues to influence me.
I was involved in Rites of Passage and other men’s events and continue to ponder on the nature of masculine and feminine approaches to spiritual development.
I’ve had atheist and agnostic phases, and experienced sweat lodges and neo-pagan ritual.
I’ve often liked being an all-rounder rather than a specialist.
On the general theme of ‘guiding’ other people, I’ll add that I have been a manager in organisations, been a supervisor of other workers, supervised trainee therapists, directed many community drama productions, (guiding people into acting with more confidence and authenticity), led walking groups, and guided people into meditation, mindfulness, and writing creatively.
Of course experience does not necessarily equate to effectiveness… But I’ve mostly got positive feedback!
The Integral map helps me understand the connections between all these elements and to translate between the various specialist vocabularies they tend to use.
I had a period of 6 years of writing poetry intensively. These poems were shaped as a result of the often spiritual insights and journeys that I had experienced.
Current themes that seem to be particularly ‘live’ for me in my own practice include:
- working on how to allow more of the occasional experiences of overwhelming love for all people
- healing the woundedness that makes me habitually ‘close my heart and hold on’ rather than ‘open my heart and let go’
- developing in meditation my capacity to be aware of awareness itself, rather than the objects of awareness
- bringing more awareness of Christ (or the Buddha or other transcendent figure) into situations of suffering so that the burden of suffering rests less heavily on myself as an individual, and can more easily be transformed