Sunday, 4 March 2012

Signs of the Times

A large 'shooting star' lit up the sky last night, I am told. I didn't see it personally. But I - we - have it on good authority: plenty of other people did.

I am being reminded here of my last post, wherein I referred both to a lesson I learned from my university Philosophy 101 professor - about what we know and what we don't really know - and to John Donne's XVIIth Meditation ('Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions'), talking about bells tolling for souls. "Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him. And perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that." I didn't see that meteor (or whatever it was. Space junk, circling the planet like chaff; although particularly dangerous chaff, if you venture into its path, or it degrades into yours?? Small things having potentially major effects...); but I know of its passing. Just as I know that my time here is coming to an end. Know, from 'signs and portents'. And by 'here', I mean in both a microcosmic and macrocosmic sense. In the community, in which I have lived for a large chunk of my life. And in the world. Or at least, in its current 'format'.


I found out about the meteor last night - passing our way, and on over (BBC reports had it being seen all the way down south to Devon)1 - from an email from a member of my community, who had gone out last night with his wife for an impromptu walk, and who were greeted with that intriguing surprise overhead. There was a first thought, for them, that 'the aliens were coming'. What they couldn't have known, was how it may have been a warning bell, tolling not for them, or for 'us'. But for me. For I am opposed to them, and their little family (they have a small - very cute - daughter), being here. In a manner of speaking.

I wish to explain. My community - this community that I have been a part of for many a year (well over 25 years, now; ever since January of '76, with a couple of periods of time away) - is what is called, and what we call (or used to call, at any rate), a 'spiritual community'. It was founded on some basic spiritual principles. For this community, these are - have been: (1) Put 'God' first, and align with the higher will via inner listening; (2) Do things out of Love ('Work is Love in Action'), not out of an expectation of reward, either in adulation or remuneration; and (3) Give of your best in all that you do, so that you don't let yourself, or 'God' (the realm of spirit), or all those around you, down, in the example that you set. And lastly, tailor-made to and for this particular community: to do all this with a sense of 'Co-creation with Nature'- of living in harmony with our Mother Earth.

If the form of the community is ever to change, it must still continue to abide by its basic principles. Or the dream - the vision - will die. It may be a lingering death. But in the end, it will die, from not being nourished by its roots, rather suffering under the weight of a transplant to it that it couldn't sustain.

I speak of the fact that it is now being threatened with a major change in attitude, which could well demolish at least one of its basic spiritual 'root' principles: that of doing things (and doing them well) for the sake of doing so. Not for the outer reward in and for doing so.

Explanation: The community is currently looking seriously at financial issues like differential pay, and individual needs-based 'sustainability'.

To clarify. This community was founded on a simple note of Service - service to the vision of a New Age. A New Age of consciousness on the planet, when humanity would live closer to its highest potential, as 'spiritual beings having a human experience', in the felicitous turn of phrase of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. When we would (will) bring 'Heaven down to Earth'. And this community has demonstrated the basic principles of how to bring that change about, through the features mentioned above. We have done things in alignment with spirit - by meditating a lot, as the basic spiritual practice of this community2 - and out of Love. Not 'for the money'.

The success grows out of 'putting first things first'.

As to the matter of personal finances: After paying a basic membership fee, whenever a member had used up their savings, or other source of finances, they could go on the community 'allowance' scheme. To start with, that was £5 per week; and continued on that level for many years. (Clearly, its members were not here - in those days - 'for the money'.) Then, when the Foundation could afford it, the allowance for its staff - ie, those who needed it3 - was raised to £40 per month; and after a short 'testing of the waters' at that level (with a couple of years in there of Christmas bonuses, if we had had a particularly good year, financially speaking), it got raised to the princely sum of £50 per month. This was all 'across the board': it did not depend on one's job. We were all giving of our best wherever we found ourselves being drawn to serve; for ourselves, our own personal growth, and for the collective. Then, in 1993, a major change was introduced: the Foundation experimented with giving 'itself' - its staff - a major raise in allowance, by doubling it, to £100 a month.4 Unfortunately, the income for the year did not increase in kind (there had been no reason to believe that it would; it was all just based on the wishful thinking that the Foundation would be able to afford the allowance increase), and the community went into an expenditure freeze in its last few months of that fiscal year; which included a request for those staff who could afford to trim their allowance level back to what it had been to do so, to help the Foundation out.

It turned out that only a few of us did so.

What was this all about? It was about a change in consciousness. 'Championed' by those who wanted to stay longer in the community, and not have to go back out into the commercial world, to carry on with their lives there, after some period of time of giving Service - Seva, in Sanskrit terms - to a centre of Light and demonstration, as part of one's spiritual growth in life. This was also the beginning of the average age of the community membership going up, along with the average length of stay. I left the community at that point;5 and when I came back, nearly 8 years later, that change in attitude and consciousness had started to manifest itself more fully. In a fundamentally dysfunctional way: a huge debt. And I mean, huge.

And in looking to climb out of our financial hole, the body chose to put everything on the line - how to increase its income, and how to cut expenditures - except one thing.

The level of Staff allowance.

Which, by then, had climbed to a massive (to me and any earlier members of the community) level of £200 per month.

And so was obviously part of the problem. But when I broached the subject - in Staff meetings,6 in looking at The Debt and what to do about it - of including in the mix of suggestions the logicality in trimming the monthly allowance, and running the budgetary figures to see how much we could save at different levels of that trimming (by £10 a month or etc hard figure, or %10 a month or etc), I got quite a shock.

I got silence.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

The body didn't want to go there.

It was, basically, a new being, from my previous time there. Whereby, now, many - the majority?? - of the Co-Workers7 are championing those amongst them who, for various reasons, need more of an income than the basic level of allowance that the Foundation has been able to afford to contribute to the wellbeing of its staff; at least up till now.

Like the young family who saw the 'heavenly sign' last night. Who are lovely people (and it is nice to have young blood around the place). But who are now part of the putting of pressures on the Foundation that are taking it away from its basic, fundamental principles, and depositing it back into the Old Age's paradigm, in particular of working 'for pay'. Of doing things 'for the money'. When, in the estimation of people like me, it should be pioneering the answer to the world's problems.8

Which is to do away with money.

With the nexus between 'work' and 'income'.

With, that is, the interest-bearing money system. So, not 'away' with money en toto. Just with the mindset of people doing things - sharing their goods and services with one another, and giving of their best in the process - out of the profit motive; which has characterized the human social structure long enough, now. Rather, to do such things out of a higher motive. Out of the highest motive possible: out of gratitude to their Creator for life with meaning. Out of, in a word: Love. And when we do that - when, we do that - we free up the flow of said goods and services, so that there is enough, basically, for all; and for access to those things that are, by their nature, limited, there will be some sort of credit system: people earning credits for their Service to the system.9

But not 'money' per se.

And here we are, in this spiritual community - this harbinger of the New; this cutting edge of the future - slipping back into the Old. Precisely when we should be pioneering, and demonstrating, the new...

My heart aches.

Yes, and for that young family. But they need to learn to stand on their own 'two feet' in life, and not be dependent on either the Foundation - this non-profit charitable trust, that is never, by its nature, going to command the level of income from its programmes to cover all the financial needs of all of its Co-Workers (and so can't properly operate a needs-based system of operation) - or the state; regardless of the current level of support the UK government gives its citizenry. That support base is collapsing as we speak - collapsing, to a great extent, under the weight of the weakness of the philosophy of people learning to rely on the state for their sustenance; and thus has come about the creation of a dependency mentality.

The mentality that is going to see humanity into its Golden Age is precisely the opposite: of realising that, if we do things out of a higher motive than that of 'making money' - out of, in a word: Love - we will create a society that provides enough for all. In one fell swoop. But which operates on the principle of each one taking responsibility for helping the whole work.

NOT on the 'principle' of dependency. Of looking to someone or something outside of oneself to provide one with their sustenance.

Like this young couple at this community. Just starting out on their mutual life path. And looking to the community - this non-profit charitable trust, with a particular trust-deed purpose for being - to meet their needs. And the Foundation now looking at the very possible outcome for itself of sacrificing at least one of its founding principles in order to do so - which also just happens to be the very principle that is the answer to the world's moving into the New. (And, for one example, that young couple's very answer to their situation. Which they would better be supporting. Not delaying.)

The bottom line: the Findhorn Foundation - my community; to date - will never be able to meet all of the financial needs of its staff-at-any given-time, and still get on with its primary job and purpose. That is to expect too much of and from the Foundation (and keeps those individuals in a state of dependency mentality on the Foundation). And, as I have pointed out, is not its job anyway. But that's the road it seems to want to go down, to explore; not to continue to demonstrate the way of Love, ie, the breaking of the nexus between 'work' and 'income'; the breaking of the mentality of being 'paid' for 'work'. And free will is the name of the We seem to have come to a parting of the ways.

As to this idea, of 'me' and 'it' being truly separate:

There is another issue here, that is also involved in all of this. Roughly speaking, that is to think of ourselves as separate entities. Each one against the world. The identification with 'self'.

In 'the paper' today - ie, in fact, the magazine of the Sunday (London) Times - there was a cover article on a somewhat aging movie star who has become so identified with her body that she is in a terrible mess in her life. The details are not critical to this comment. It's 'the principle of the thing' that I want to remark on. To say: As we have become besotted with our bodies - which are, after all, only a temporary vehicle for our souls to inhabit, in this school of Life - so have we become besotted with - enamoured of - money, and position. Life has become an unseemly pursuit of pleasure for pleasure's sake; just as 'money' has become an end in itself. Not the means to an end that it was intended to be. The end, of humans providing themselves with goods and services. NOT the end of creating 'us' and 'them'; of competition being the grinding stone of accomplishment; of figuring out how to make more money. Rather than how to provide each other with more and better goods and services, and unfold our potentials in the process.

'Each other'. Ourselves. Our true selves...

Consider. If we weren't so besotted with 'money' - which is, after all, as I say, but wish to emphasize - properly a means to an end, not an end in itself (except as it has become), there would be no poverty. Would be enough for all. If everybody just realised, and remembered, why they are here. And got on with 'the business'. Our true business. The business of discovering who we are really.

That We Are One Another. Just, currently, playing parts, in a play, whose purpose - as the playwright put it - is to catch our 'conscience'. Knowing, finally, that not only are we One Another. But that

We Are One.

And therefore, that

We Are God.

That God is not only in us. But Is Us. And We, It.

And it's time to start acting like It.

Not like separate selves, living lonely lives, of varying degrees of despair. But releasing the illusion of separateness.

Becoming who we truly are.

Becoming, that is to say: One.

So, the bottom line for our current level of consciousness to 'get', is that:

We are not our bodies.

We have bodies. But that is not where our true Self lies.

And knowing this - really feeling it, now - I for one am not for much longer going to be identifying with mine.

It has served its purpose, as a vehicle for me to use to gain insight into life's purpose; and I can now no longer relate to it; am having a hard time continuing to play The Game of Life any longer.

Just as my purpose in this community feels like it's over, now, also; for how out of touch I feel with its current reality. And what, apparently, it needs, still, to experience. In its lesson-learning in life.

Which pains me to see, and feel.

As the continuing pain in the world - from humanity's not understanding its true Self - pains me to see, and feel.

Wars, and rumours of wars...


My time here is - feels - over. And by 'here', as I say, that feels macrocosmically as well.

I feel a little like Moses. I don't think I'll see the Promised Land myself. My job seems simply to have been to help to lead my people to its edge.

Its cutting edge...

'And perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.'

I get it, now.

So: Goodbye. Meaning, seriously: God be (with you. And you. And you).

But we'll meet again.

On the other side of the curtain.

Where we can all take our bows. For making it.

For making It.


1 which I found intriguing, from a personal perspective on the phenomenon, and this 'matter'. My brother - three years older than I, but who died an early death - was named DeVon. And I was thus given to think of him, and his passing, as I contemplated my own, with these 'intimations of mortality'. But I get ahead of myself...

2 This community - the Findhorn Foundation - was founded on the guidance, the inner alignment with Spirit, through daily meditation, of a middle-aged Englishwoman named Eileen Caddy, with her link with the higher realms starting in earnest in the mid-twentieth century. She titled her first book - compilations of her daily guidance - 'God Spoke to Me'. At first she perceived God as something separate from her, although 'inside' of her ('the still, small voice within'). At the end of her days, she had come to the realisation - or conclusion, for the more scientific-minded amongst us - that there was, in point of fact, no separation. That We, and God, are One.
It just take some doing, to get to that point, of awareness, and self-identity.
And I'll say a few words about that 'identity' business in a few moments.
As for those who might question her guidance; as Peter - her husband; and activator of her guidance into the material realm - would say (and did, often): 'The proof of the pudding is in the eating.' A thriving community, of souls dedicated to helping to bring in the New, grew out of her experience, and inspiration, with the help of Peter, and of their spiritual partner, Dorothy Maclean. That community - a 'centre of Light and demonstration', attracting thousands upon thousands of guests over the years - is now approaching its 50th anniversary. It has been doing something right...
(Peter, who had moved on in his life at the end of the '70s to bring 'the New Age' to Hawaii and the West Coast of America, died in a car crash in 1994 in Germany. He was living there with his fifth wife in this life at the time; and, according to his autobiography, in an Epilogue by his then-wife, Renata, had reached the top of 'his personal mountain', five days before his death. (He had been a major mountaineer in his life; it was a fitting epitaph.) Eileen, who had remained at the community throughout its lifetime, died peacefully there - here - in 2007. Dorothy, who had left in 1973, to take the spirit of the Foundation out into the world, operating from North America, returned to the Foundation permanently - after a number of visits over the years - in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and is seeing out her days here. I say 'here', for now, for me.)

3 NB: This was - is - NOT a 'wage', or pay', for services rendered. They were rendered voluntarily, out of Love.
And incidentally: In the very beginning, the community was simply whoever turned up, and could afford to stay here. Some bought their own caravans or bungalows; the younger people shared caravan space, as available. (There was one caravan known as Seven Berth - bunk beds housing 7 people.) In the early '70s the community was legally constituted as a nonprofit charitable trust - hence the name, the Findhorn Foundation - primarily so that people could get credit for donating to the operation of a charitable trust; which was a particularly valuable way for the community to operate, before the numbers of guests (at first through word of mouth, and then through various publications) started to increase, and the income grew that way.
The purposes of the Trust were/are to run educational programmes of a, roughly, 'religious' nature, and with a particular emphasis on Nature, for the betterment of the world.
Nothing about employees of an employer; about paying 'wages', or even 'pay'.

4 Mine was only one of a couple of voices that suggested, at the community meeting called to discuss the matter, that we should, rather, see how we were doing at a midpoint check-in, and determine then if we could in fact sustain that level of personal allowance sharing-out of the Foundation's income, given our other budgetary needs. 'No no!' I was shouted down. 'We can do it!' And 'Yay!'s all around...I felt, at the end of the meeting, what some experts in 'community building' and union meetings and such know: that it is the voice of those who stay the longest at meetings that wins the day. It felt, to me, like a set-up.
As it does now.
A set-up, for personal gain. To try to make it a fait accompli, before too much reaction sets in, and queers the pitch, as it were.
Not a healthy feeling.
Not a healthy situation.

5 not out of unhappiness at the changes going on in my, and the founders', community, but for life reasons (specifically, entering into a committed relationship with a member who wanted to go back home and be a proper grandmother).

6 A contributory factor to this whole picture was that, by now, 'the community' that I had known, and had left, was but part of a larger settlement of people, who had moved to the area because of the Foundation/community, and wanted to be part of 'an eco-village'. Great. And Eileen's guidance had also carried the 'message' - early on - that the community was to grow from a garden community into a village into 'a vast city of Light', whatever that may turn out to be. But in becoming part of a larger whole, the Foundation found itself up against two main cultural determinants: (1) Other people around who were living a commercial world's level of income, and whom we paid to do various specific jobs for the Foundation on that basis; thus emphasising the difference in 'pay' going on around us; and (2) its own staff's continued desire to put roots down here, personally. And that meant the pressure of having a 'sustainable' lifestyle, and level of 'income'.
Thus the mentality was no longer one of receiving an 'allowance' as a mark of appreciation for one's service to the charity. It was becoming one of 'pay'. Pay for a service rendered. Not the demonstration of the principle of 'Work is Love in Action'. But of 'Work is To Be Paid For'. Heading towards the 'consciousness' of: 'Work is the Means to the End of Making Money'. Grrr,,,,,,

7 another example of the different body here from my earlier time: now including some people who hadn't gone through the normal Orientation process for new members, but who had come in because of a particular skill, or were living in the Wider Community, for whatever reason (a family, eg), and could only afford to give a certain amount of shifts of Volunteer support a week to the Foundation, as part of their sense of and desire for spiritual Service, that drew them to this place in the first place. (That, or simply wanting to be part of an eco-village. Not everybody is here for the same reasons. Which also puts stresses on the culture...)

8 At this point, I want to note that I am intrigued by the relationship between this issue regarding this community, and the issue in America - my home country (and for good reason, I feel - right now regarding its Founders, and how the curretn generation of both bodies is threatening the entity that their Founders created, set into being. And there is further common ground between the two instances. Read on.

9 And I'm not here going to go into the subject of the 'proofs'/evidences for 'a Creator'; for something more than Man. There is considerable evidence for that state of affairs, not least in all the evidences for the fact of reincarnation. Which is evidence for a Plan. Which is evidence for a Planner. An Author of the play we are in. To sort ourselves out, via the working-out of the spiritual-growth principle of free will. For now: He who has eyes to see, let him see; and ears to hear. And I'll continue on with my topic.
But we really need to get clear on this matter. And like, now. Tempus fugit.