September 17, 2017
Volker Brendel: I think my opening sentiment cannot be anything but thankfulness and grace, acknowledging the beautiful setting provided for our gathering of friends (seven of us meeting over the last three days). We give thanks to Kate and Bill as the hosts, but we also give thanks to everyone in the gathering, because our experience was one of common creation. Different participants played different roles at different times, and there was an easy flow in providing a sacred atmosphere for our dialogue. It was very evident to me that there is specific work to be done to create and maintain such an atmosphere. In the experience of it, everything seems easy and natural, the way it should be; and yet there is very specific work to be done in preparation for setting such an atmosphere and in living our lives building what we have sometimes called "substance" on which to draw in a particular moment. An atmosphere of peace and sacredness is unlikely to come by the snap of fingers. Rather it is the result of deliberate living, honoring Life itself.
In our conversations, we noted that over the ages there have been many groupings, most of them rather small in numbers, who had a similar experience of realizing what Life is all about, and what their specific roles in expressing that Life are. Most prominent for us initially was recognition of the grouping called The Transcendalists who had their gatherings within a two-miles radius of this home, more than 150 years ago; the likes of Emerson and Thoreau. We had opportunity to take a walk around Walden Pond, just a short distance from here, and touch in with the substance of those who came before. And in our dialogue, we strongly felt thankfulness for everything that has come before and brought to this point, as well as recognition of our stature in carrying forward that work in the present.
We can look at any field of human endeavor, be it the arts, the sciences, literature – and invariably what is being created now is built upon a rich tradition of what went before. We learn from what went before. You might say, our concern is with the Art of Living, addressing the questions of: Who are you? Why are you here? What is your contribution to make? All of these questions have been considered over the ages, and answers have been given in succinct form, in poetic form, in living example, and the insights have been recognized by a few who carried the torch; and yet many times over, a collective recognition and living of the truth of Life has been rather limited and sporadic, and the evidence of the failure of mankind as a whole to live up to their birthright is all over the place.
I am looking at a small sculpture in the Isaacs' home, which is a magnificent piece of art, showing a couple (man and woman) sitting close to each other in deep conversation and dialogue (artist: Nancy Schön; http://www.schon.com). Their backs are rounded, so that the overall impression of the sculpture is of a sphere of containment for their conversation. One person extends a hand, and the other one listens intently, and both of them through their rounded backs and open arms provide a vessel to receive, contain, and ponder. That has been my experience in the dialogue with our friends here. We looked at many different topics: what's happening in our lives; what purpose our group has and what it might evolve into; and generally, what the state of the world is now and what is our responsibility to provide a voice of understanding and peace in that world. The remarkable experience was that our thinking was by no means streamlined. Different ones had quite different views on topics and experiences that were shared such that the interpretation of such experiences was quite different in our minds and hearts. It was wonderful to have the experience of a highly intelligent, highly loving, peaceful grouping of people who could recognize all these different views, bring them into the sphere of our grouping, and say: I hear what you are saying, and I see it slightly differently.
Now, personally, I am inclined to be stubborn and quite confident that I see things right. And so it was humbling to see that, no, there are other aspects to what may have been formed in my consciousness as a view of certain experiences and events, and it's so refreshing to acknowledge that I have sevenfold more sensors than just what's happening in my own skull and heart. That attitude really is in the tradition of the experience of the upper room we referred to a couple of weeks ago, of the experience of sacred circles, the experience of the Transcendalists; where in the collective mind and heart you can look at anything and arrive at a clearer picture of everything involved, or at least a larger number of factors involved, because of course we can extend the circle again and see even more.
I think our overwhelming experience was that through our friendship, through our different personalities, and through our strong bond and sense of purpose, we have enough to make a huge difference in the world; maybe not in the outer sense, but in our expression of the finest, noblest qualities of Life, moment by moment. I will not go into all the extensions of our lives in a practical sense. Suffice it to say that in an hour from now, everyone but Kate will leave this house in different directions, east and west, going out into the world, connecting with all kinds of other folks. And these are our connection points with literally everything that's going on in the world!
Incidentally, our strong sense was that our biweekly conversations in this manner are still extraordinarily useful. As we refine our own consciousness and what needs to be done, we are immensely thankful for everyone contributing to this forum. There are many ideas of using different technologies appropriate to the times, which we can discuss in the coming weeks. But independent of technology, the experience of the shared space, of the One Spirit having a vessel to work its purposes into the earth, is an immensely valuable provision that we feel privileged to participate in and give our life force to enhance.
Larry Krantz: One of the topics that was just mentioned was purpose. And that's a good question, one that we could each ask ourselves, "What is my purpose for living?" It's a question we could ask about this group, "What is its purpose?" As I reflected on that I realized that it wasn't my purpose really, it was Life's purpose. And what is Life's purpose but to be present, to express itself and to see what happens when it expresses itself in a creative way. To me this relates to worship. I know in many religious circles the notion of worship is synonymous with what we think of as ceremony or ritual. But my feeling about worship is very different. It's allowing Life to have its way in this moment—to be able to be in a moment, completely unstructured, figuratively with knee bent and head bowed, letting Life have its way and seeing what emerges. It's enjoying the creation that Life would make if given a chance to fully express itself without putting barriers, structures, or restrictions that would block it from its full expression. That's hardly been known in most people's experience—certainly not in mankind's experience. So, for example here we are at this time of year, which is close to the balance point between seasons. There are seven of us, which is an interesting number. And it didn't happen because we made some decision that these were the people who should attend or that this was the date that we needed to meet. Rather, these details emerged quite naturally, as we were sensitive to the full range of factors present in our worlds. In doing this, Life magically expressed itself amongst us in a way that was natural and uncomplicated.
And I found myself during these past few days smiling, just feeling happy and contented. I didn't need anything else. I felt all is well. We talked about things, we did activities, we cleaned dishes and sliced vegetables and so on. It made no difference. Whatever we were doing I felt really happy, glad, contented, and that we were letting an invisible force find expression through us in a way that was unique and wonderful in which to share.
I'm currently reading a book about a family that builds racing sail boats. It had become something of a family tradition. The grandfather and the father won medals, racing their sail boats, and they had two sons and a daughter. And they assumed that the sons would become the best racers—they were going to build the fastest boats ever. The sons learned the geometry of racing, studied the different kinds of sails to use, planned the strategy for a specific race course. But invariably the one who won the race was the little sister. This shocked everybody. "How did she do that!" And they would watch her put up a particular kind of sail when there was no wind, and wait a few seconds while they were laughing at her and suddenly a puff of wind would come in exactly that direction and start to push her boat forward and she would win the race. And they said, "How do you do it, what's your secret?" She said, "Well, it's very simple, I haven't read any of your books. I just wait until I feel where the wind is going to come next." She had that intuitive sense of where the wind would be, which could be an intuitive sense of where Life is moving. If you're in the flow of Life, if you're just open and unstructured now, there's a sensing of where things are heading. You find yourself in the right place at the right time, in-sync with Life and in position to discover other people who are also open to serve Life one might say, which is what we are really about.
So, I'm privileged to be with all of you and be with my friends here today. We'll be soon going on to other adventures, each in our own way, some more dramatic, others less dramatic apparently. But each will be a perfect opportunity to let Life be present and express itself creatively.
Joyce Krantz: I think Larry's story about the young girl and her intuition is resonant with what I'd like to share and what I feel about our gathering. The word that comes to mind is home. There are a lot of qualities of true home, and I think for mankind the desire to be at home, to find home, and to stay home is moving every heart on this planet. And to be in this beautiful setting—a house with a child, two exuberant dogs, and seven of us, in addition to all the other household members has been a lovely experience and a lovely manifestation of true home.
Volker touched on the ability to sit and consider things and listen from a respectful point of view somebody else's thoughts— and gracefully bringing one's own, not in judgement, but as another perspective. All in service of discerning the Truth, discerning what Spirit would bring forth in the moment now. And those levels of intuition, of attuning to what Spirit wants to bring, points to the training that we have had and the continued refining process that we are in.
Along with home another theme that comes to mind is serving, because we indeed are directed to serve. We're meant to be together. It's not as if an individual incarnates on the planet and is going to make his own way in the world in spite of everybody else. We're actually a family, a family of man. We're social beings, we're meant to be together. So, the representation of the true Spirit of home is one of our primary responsibilities. I bring the essences of home no matter where I am. That's easy to relate to. I find that if I'm at home in myself, no matter where I happen to be, it is a wonderful and delightful experience. And it welcomes everybody because I want my family to know that I'm here for them. And I will serve in whatever way I can. I was thinking that within the essences of home there's a nurturing and a protection—encouragement for each one in the family to actualize the gifts that they've been brought into the world to manifest. We are here to actualize this for the good of the whole, for the whole family.
I love the question that Volker posed. What is your contribution to be made in this world? In a family that's what we do—we observe, we guide, and we contribute, each one of us. Because the whole is greater than its parts, and that's why we gather, all of us on-line. Because we know this and Life is moving us in this way. We are responsible for the essences of home, and it is our job to refine these essences in ourselves and in our immediate surrounds. So, I'm very thankful to be in this particular home that Kate and Bill have lovingly prepared for us. It is wonderful to include you all in this experience as we gather together creating family.
Sanford Baran: I also want to express my thankfulness for this grouping of friends who have gathered here over the weekend and for this home that has provided the perfect setting for some deep sharing and significant collaboration to occur. The lovely hospitality extended by our genial hosts has been a reminder of the rich provision that has been generously provided to me in my life. I'm sure you also can appreciate the abundance that has been provided for you. Bill touched on this a couple of weeks ago—the incredible gifts and opportunities that we've all been given in terms of education, mentoring, personal experiences—you name it. And all of this has brought us to this particular point in time, where we find ourselves now. We know that in this moment whatever is required for us to make the perfect contribution is present—it's all here. Moving forward we can be confident that we are indeed up to the job, playing our unique parts, offering a blessing wherever we happen to be.
We consciously take advantage of every circumstance that comes our way. This is done as we allow the Truth of ourselves to shine forth to the best of our ability. Each circumstance also provides a wonderful opportunity to further refine our capacities and relinquish impurities that would impede the natural flow of Spirit. This is wonderful work and lays down the foundation for us to be even more transparent, so that our expression is pristine and clear.
We certainly have been given everything that is needed, but we've also been doing our homework so that we're amply prepared to do the right thing. We're prepared because we've lived our lives fully in the moment and have made the necessary corrections and refinements to appropriately hone our capacities. At the same time, we've been developing a sensitivity to the factors that are present in the moment and have learned to gracefully move with those factors, allowing them to beautifully manifest in our everyday living.
We have a deep appreciation for what has gone before. If it wasn't for those great ones who preceded us we wouldn't be here today. We have tremendous respect for mentors, for words that have been spoken, and we truly honor those words. But now it's our turn to carry the torch, and we honor those who have gone before by expressing the same Spirit that they did. We are in the best possible position to allow that Spirit to continue forward because of what we do, because of what we say, and because of our particular nobility of character that is expressed in the moment.
I might mention the title of a recent talk, "Let my True Voice Be Heard." In other words, I let what is truly genuine and special in me be expressed in my living, and likewise you let what is truly genuine and special in you be expressed in your living. Over the course of the weekend we had opportunity to savor the sound of one another's true voices. How delightful to thoroughly be oneself in the company of good friends who are doing the same.
I should emphasize that what is emerging is much greater than what we as individuals are doing on our own. There is indeed a rising tide, an awakening happening all across the globe and we welcome that. We welcome that with open arms and are very appreciative of the Tone being sounded wherever it is allowed to surface. Now there might be those who are doing this very differently from the way we do it. That's quite okay—that particular area of service is being covered by others. Our job is not to try to do everything, as if we could. But there is great appreciation for all that is emerging as life is sounding its splendor through many. In the midst of this rising tide I personally am feeling a compulsion to increasingly extend myself—to build bridges with those who I'm feeling a particular resonance with. I'm currently taking small steps in this regard—mostly cultivating in myself an atmosphere of invitation and welcome. It's all very exciting and we'll see what comes of it.
So, it's wonderful to be together—to share in this historic moment as each of us takes responsibility for allowing our true voice and sense of purpose to be known. We do this with the greatest happiness and joy.
Bill Isaacs: We are each products of our history, but we are also much more than that. One of the things that occurred to me as we gathered together over this fine weekend with friends was that the reality and vibrancy of the current of Life moving simply among us, independent of the activities that we were undertaking. To some extent at least, we were living from and embodying the quality of Being that flows through form and transcends time.
One of the challenges that human beings face is to learn to be present Now. The famous psychologist Carl Jung once described the predicament of mankind as crossing the threshold to come into the present moment, liberating him and herself from all the subconscious traditions and factors of the past. He believed that few ever achieved this. One reason is that when particularly intense or traumatic experiences occur to human beings, consciousness moves into a kind of hypnotic loop. It moves out of the present moment and into a self-protective story. But each of us has the opportunity to embody Life now. Not only do we experience life; that is what we each Are. In Life is Now, this eternal moment, bringing the total circuitry of Being to focus.
Being at least somewhat conscious of what has occurred to humanity over the ages including our most recent past, personally and collectively, we come to realize that all of these factors are known by Life. There is a recent book out that describes the history of various familiar materials like glass. It is called How We Got To Now (Steven Johnson, 2014). How we got to now; at one level, who cares? We Are now. Each of us can say this. Our awareness brings to focus what is real in the fire of life now.
The authority of Being doesn't bow to historic structures of any kind. It moves with the design present now and is seeking greater integration. What became very evident as we were together is that the integrating current is joyous, pleasurable, and very simple. To the degree that you find yourself caught in gyrations or strategic calculation you can be very sure you aren't moving fully with the true tone of life.
Life is easy. It's also potent. There is power in our association though from an outer standpoint its action can often look minor or inconsequential. Our own minds no doubt have to come to terms with such assessments. But each of us could say: I am the authority of life. No human structure stands in the way of that.
We are entering a moment where our ability to hold the creative current in collective agreement is increasingly available again—if it ever left. Agreement is easy. Agreement doesn't always mean having the same point of view. There is great richness and power in allowing new insight and new feeling to emerge through our differentiated expressions.
What does it mean to truly be of service? There is one point of focus for this world to whom and with whom we are each connected and part of—one Identity and one flow. Moving with this one point again is a great joy and is the true meaning of service. To restore our own experience of wholeness in such simple ways lets the echoes of history that brought us all to this moment be used and bear fruit because we live now.
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