I have had a daily meditation practice since 1984 when I returned to Canada from living abroad. I took the training for TM, learning that the benefits of meditation accrue after regular and extended practice.
Being an Eldest Daughter, I had the quality of dedication deeply ingrained in my psyche. So, I set out to discover the difference meditation could make in myself by devoting a minimum of 20 minutes per day every day.
I lived too far away from the TM centre to journey in to join others in group meditation and I did not have local or family support for this practice. However, that did not deter me from engaging in my “experiment”. At the end of year, I noticed that had been able to build meditation into my morning cycle. I wasn’t sure I was doing it “right” – but it seemed to give me both clarity and strength. I realized mediation was becoming part of who I am.
This practice of meditation became better informed by readings and the occasional retreat. And it probably prepared me to “wake up” in 1990. Then, at a 4-day retreat, I had a satori experience (using a process designed by Ramana Maharshi) that affirmed for me the fundamental nature of consciousness and my interconnection with all Being. This opened the door of seeking more regular experiences of practising with others. Gradually my meditation shifted from an individual awareness of Divine Source to a collective awareness of Divine Source (and Re-Source).
As I became progressively in-formed by the Integral and Spiral Dynamic communities of practice, my meditation practice heightened, cleared, deepened and widened (as Sean Esborn-Hargens of MetaIntegral might frame it). I looked forward to our periodic gatherings where I could study with spiritual seekers and adepts like Ken Wilber, Roger Walsh, Terry Patten, Cindy Wigglesworth, Craig Hamilton, Diane Musho Hamilton and Bill Harris.
But I also accessed spiritual technologies like brain entrainment recordings from Holosync, Learning Strategies, iAwake and Spiritual Technologies. Most of these technologies derived from decades or centuries or millennia of collective practices learned in monasteries, ashrams and spiritual communities. So, it was ironic that all these technologies that rested on deep learning in collectives, sanghas and gatherings specifically designed to develop my heart, brain, body and soul, could be utilized by me on my own.
In February 2018, I moved to Findhorn Foundation (FF) Ecovillage, Spiritual Centre and Learning Community. For the first time in my (meditative) life I have the opportunity to meditate every day together with others in community. In FF a spiritual field has emerged out of 56 years of devotion to meditation that is not only a sitting practice, but one that connects deeply with Nature and the subtle realms. The history of collective intelligence here has manifested in revelations (recorded by co-founder, Eileen Caddy), in manifestations (literally built into the fabric of FF by Peter Caddy) and grown in relationships with the devas of plants, animals and the unseen realms (by Dorothy MacLean).
So, the community in FF is not only people who live, study and visit here, but the whole environment that has emerged as a living organism – much like what I call a human hive. And as a community with such a profoundly shared history, the collective intelligence is a palpable sense that connects earth, sky, sea, built environment and all the individuals and groups that co-exist in this place.
As I reflect on my own experience of meditating on my own over the last four decades, I am deeply grateful that every morning I can join the Taizé singing meditations, followed by a visit to Sanctuary where I join the community at 8:35 am for 20 minutes of collective togetherness with God. This practice is lead by many people from many lineages. It may open with a poem, an injunction, 3 gongs or a digeridoo. It may close with a short blessing, one chime or in blessed silence. But its value is offered to the world for the greatest good of all Being.
I look forward to other regular meditations – at the Full Moon. Weekly for the Bees (in the Nature Sanctuary). Monthly with hundred of people in the Universal Hall (connected by livestream to as many more people around the world). Daily with attunements for work and meals. When I travel, I still practise meditation on my own – but now I find that I sorely miss the meditations with others that brings us all into the Divine presence regularly at the same space/time. The “together practice” amplifies my own meditation experience, because I contribute to the experience of others as they do to me. This is one of the ways that We Space is cultivated, nurtured and joyfully shared here. I am so blessed to grow in, with and as this spiritual community in service to the greatest good of all locally and non-locally. It has taken my original experiment in meditation started in 1984 to another level of commitment that seems to directly grow the Master Code – as I meditate for myself, I create space for others to do so, and together our focus contributes to the wellbeing of our places and the evolutionary circles of compassion on our planet. Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!
This blog series is a set of Dharma Reflections from Findhorn Foundation, Scotland.