How do you find the words for the indescribable? And yet, I must. I am bound to give voice to this experience. Record it. Be held accountable for it. Remember it and its powerful effect. Savor it. Hold it. Let it continue to transform me.
I knew the weekend would be wonderful. It was intended for Quaker mystics. How I have hungered for just such an event: one long on heart and short on intellectualism. I have been disappointed in other promising venues in which the heart was frozen, missing or unrecognized. I felt drowned out by extraverts and misinterpreted. Perhaps just missed or skipped over by intellectuals.
This was also the first time I traveled and roomed with a companion from my Meeting (church) and one whom I could trust and be lured into playful rebellion. We made great land partners, though not surprisingly as we have shared our spiritual journeys over many years. In addition to an impromptu stop at a roadside landmark netting a tour of the private home and grounds, we snuck a bottle of wine into the dorm one night and gathered with her divinity-school friends for beer another: great balance to all of the deep work.
As the collection of 44 people from coast to coast, mainly from the middle and even Australia, gathered in worship, beginning with the simple plea of “help me,” I understood this would be fertile, personal ground. We splintered into home groups of five, where we would repeatedly meet to get to know one another. That first evening, I was dumbfounded when one suggested it was her goal to have fun. Then I embraced the idea. We moved our second meeting outside and another soul, uncertain as to why she was here or even what constitutes a mystic, burst open and we were able to tend her gently as Spirit’s love streamed in powerfully.
|The fabric heart Allison gave each of us to remember|
In prayer or worship, when I want to connect, I visualize offering God my heart in the palms of my hands, unpeeling the layers like an onion and handing her the core. As I laid my hand on the back of this woman, I was further directed to offer my heart to her in the same way as I have Spirit.
I’ve never done that before. Yes, you have with me. Now just go ahead. It’ll work, trust me.
I could feel the energy of love moving through me and into this person. The others joined and we were all connected: to each other and Spirit.
We reluctantly parted after much embracing for lunch.
A few minutes late, I stumbled into the group I had organized – Art and spirituality: living an authentic creative life. It’s something I’ve wanted to discuss forever and this was my chance with an entirely new group of people than my home clan. We were a sculptor, poet, needlework artist and writer/artist and we spoke of our creative process, its spirituality and our passions. It was a lovely opportunity and somewhere I felt another, wordless connection to like-spirited others.
I scuttled upstairs to my next session, one where I was merely a participant in exploring our mystical experiences. Wow … this IS what I am here for, I thought when I saw Jan jot down her subject.
Allison walked in and we kind of looked at each other. After the morning’s worship she said she’d had something to tell me regarding my vocal ministry of
I’ve been sitting here playing with the idea of God within and not out there – somewhere. How would life be if I could do that?
As we waited for the fifth to gather and saw he was a no-show, we, too, moved outside to the center of the Earlham campus into a cluster of Adirondack chairs under a tree. Jan began by saying she was being given the image of a woman at a market choosing the juiciest fruit and her interpretation is that we should select our juiciest mystical experience to share.
Juicy they were:
• A prayer and desire to see the sacred feminine answered by a giant floating Mother God head gently kissing each person;
• A waking dream of being born to a vacant mother, knocked out in the birthing process, only to remember being held in God’s fingers.
• Swimming in the ocean, losing normal consciousness to be held in the living water of God, being gently rocked and knowing unconditional love.
• Surviving trauma, finding yourself on the floor recognizing the tiny seed of God within, asking if this all and simultaneously knowing the vastness of the minute seed.
We collectively acknowledged connecting these stories as a divine gift we could never have humanly linked. Stories of birth, death and re-birth, of woundedness, healing and love.
When Allision pointed to the center of her chest and identified the seed of God, I knew this to be true in myself. I have been trying for so long to know that of God within. I have witnessed it in others and intellectualized it for myself, but not truly known it without Allison’s help.
As we began a second round, the caution not use this telling as entertainment gave me pause. I shared what had happened earlier that morning. Diana, also in my home group, corroborated that she sensed the energy flowing and added her hands to the collection. She affirmed what I had experienced, giving me confidence in that seed within.
As we contemplated dinner, we opted to continue and ate together, swept up by the magic of Spirit.
[Look for part II]
• H0w have I been called to mysticism?
• How do I experience Spirit?
• When do I have the opportunity to share those experiences?
• Where do I feel safe?
• When have I been swept up with others in Spirit's magic?
not just for
an answer to
the hunger and prayer
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