BACKGROUND NOTES TO SPLASH –
SPIRIT LED APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE HOLISM:
A MONTH-LONG HOLISTIC PEER GROUP PROGRAMME
Holistic living involves the whole self and therefore includes the following parts of the person:
Relationships between people and groups (Social)
If there is a hierarchy in holistic learning, the process should be led by the higher self or the spiritual self. A helpful analogy is that the whole person can be likened to a carriage and driver pulled by a horse. The owner is inside the carriage, the driver is high at the front with the reins of the horse in his hands. The owner represents the higher self (spirit); the carriage (body); the driver (mind) and the horse (emotions). The direction should be set by the owner, (the spirit) and not by the driver (the mind). Each part then has a clear function in making the carriage move to its destination.
So the idea is to gather a group of people together and do a month-long journey together, making goals and logging results. As individuals this enables us to look at our current ways of living holistically and expand on them or identify areas where we are weaker and need to improve. We can especially look and share at the ways we already let our spiritual or higher self lead out lives. I use meditation as a spiritual practice and can only work as a creative person if I listen to my higher self and wait for ideas to emerge. Creative work is a spiritual practice for me. Other people may use Taize or devotional singing or walks in nature or gardening. There are many, many ways to access the spirit.
I have produced some sample help sheets to help keep us focused during the month-long period. They can be used to set aims for the future or for a log of what we actually do now. They can be immensely useful to some people yet the whole task of goal setting with sheets can be hugely alienating to other folk who prefer to do things more organically. You may have a better way to do things. If you have, please share it with others. There is a separate handout to provide background for using the sheets.
Within our bigger resource group we will form the smaller sharing/attunement sets of five people or so. Arrange to meet your group at least once a week to share how you are getting on. Experiment with attunement-style meeting and do a short meditation. Experiment with the attunement process to make decisions about how your group meets or how it can be most useful. Somebody in the group please note down everything you do if you make decisions this way. Use your learning set to find companions for holistic activity like physical exercise, walks, outings, games etc. When you share, talk about your feelings, your emotional world, rather than give a news report. The group can use the sharing/attunement time for firstly, a short meditation, then individual sharing, then business. Business could include sharing ideas or asking for feedback about your own practice. Your group may want to start timing sharings and feedback so everyone gets an equal amount of time. If you don’t do this then some individuals will inevitably end up taking up much more time than others.
And at the end of the month-long session we can share our knowledge with each other, with our community and eventually with an international community via a website . This is knowledge that should be available to everybody. We are in a pioneering spiritual community and, I think, we have some responsibility to share with everyone else the learning that we receive. The world is facing a crisis of direction. We probably believe (well I do at least) that the direction will come from individuals going within and finding answers there. But we have to cultivate that skill and it resides in a system where the body, mind, emotions and relationships need equal care and attention.
- A month-long project
- Meet your attunement/sharing group (learning set) once a week
- Use goal sheets and reference sheets as required
- Do a variety of holistic practices and check your own balance
- Find a regular service practice
- Log the outcomes the successes and failures
- Offer advice for the next group in feedback sheets at the end of the month
USING THE GOAL SETTING SHEETS
There are two sets of sheets. One for making a record of where you are up to in your holistic practice and the other for goal setting. Remember this method of goal setting is entirely optional. You may have a better way of looking at your own practice. Only goal set in this way if it is useful to you.
On the first, “Record” sheet there are columns for you to note down what you are already doing that works well and a second column to note down what is missing or needs changing in each of the five holistic areas of your life – physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual. The entries in the second column may provide the start point for your goal-setting sheet. That sheet has columns for the first place to start in any goal setting endeavour and a second column to list what might stop you doing anything towards this goal – to give you an idea of how to develop a strategy to deal with your normal blocks. For instance you may set yourself some physical exercise for early in the morning and then realize that you are not good at getting out of bed on cold mornings. Two strategies to deal with this might be: plan your exercise for later in the day or work with an “exercise buddy” to come round and get you up and out.
These sheets are just a start point to give you ideas. You may want to design your own goal sheets with more columns or bigger spaces for writing goals down. Also goal setting doesn’t suit everybody. Some people may find that goal-setting sheets are just too linear or too mental for them and doesn’t suit the way they work. We are all different; the plan is to find out strategies that we all can use for holistic living even though the style may be different from person to person.
One area that is very interesting to all of us in the Findhorn community is how do you connect with your spiritual or higher self and how do you use this part of you in your everyday life. (Or maybe that should read “how does it use you”). We’d love to swap notes about effective spiritual practice beyond meditation and Taize singing. And maybe even more interestingly: how do you make decisions in life using your spiritual self. Do you sit quietly and ‘attune’ to things. Do you have a method to let spirit guide you rather than mentally plan out the future? What is that method you use. (One of mine is when I go inside to make an important decision I wait for the slow, gentle understanding rather than a harsh “do this, do that and do-it-now” voice that I associate more with my mind rather than my spirit).
And here are some interesting facts about the attunement process that I learned from Eileen Caddy herself (one of the co-founders of our community) when I went to visit her once at Cornerstone, her home in The Park. I told her that I didn’t really understand how to use the attunement process with groups. Was it a decision-making process I asked her? “No” she replied, “you use it to inform decisions” (and she went on to explain that you make your decision by your preferred or usual method after you have attuned). She then told me that the exception to this was if everyone in the group got exactly the same answer or vision in their attunement. And that was the way you knew if the attunement process was really working and everyone was aligned. This seemed to indicate that attunements where people get lots of different answers and messages are just part of our learning process and indicate the process is not perfect (or more likely – that the people in the group are not perfect and are not in full alignment). She didn’t seem too bothered by this outcome and indicated that people were on a path and had to learn how to attune and align themselves.
Feel free to email me via firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested to find out more.