The former spiritual community where I spent a large part of my life - scratch that. Freudian slip, there. Getting ahead of myself, in this reminiscence. Starting over:
The spiritual community where I spent a large part of my life is celebrating its 50th Anniversary towards the end of this year. I won't be there. I wish it well. But therein hangs a tale.
I'll summarize this telling a little, in the interests of brevity; to say as well, in recognition of the inculcation of short attention spans these days. Quick hits of 'information', and move on. Don't allow them a chance to check things out in detail. They might find out - but that's another blog. On with this one:
I won't be there, because it would be too painful. I had to leave the community behind, as I proceeded further on my path in life, and it did the same on its. It was not an easy decision. I was quite comfortable there. But that was, in the end, part of the problem. I will explain.
From a spiritual community structured as a non-profit charitable Trust, where its members/staff were basically serving it as volunteers, it - the community I joined, many years ago - is moving into being a business, for a livelihood for its staff. Its, therefore, employees. That move is undercutting its basic spiritual-practice principle of demonstrating a life of Service; so it needs to be extremely careful as it enters the strictly commercial world's ethos. A 'good' business. But a business nevertheless.
An example of the danger of mentality that can develop, in such a shift - and even in a dedicated spiritual community like the Findhorn Foundation:
By 2001 the community was in dire financial straits. iI was, simply, living beyond its means; had accumulated a huge debt - of around 850,000 pounds, I was told. I wasn't living there at the time, had left the community back in '94, to go live (in a relationship) in Australia, and wasn't aware of its financial siltuation; but early in that year, I had begun to feel a draw back to the community, and that summer, when my partner and I visited the community - on one of our occasional visits back to Scotland, to tour the country besides visiting our old haunts - I checked things out, to find out why I had been feeling drawn back. That was when I found out about its financial condition; and to cut this story short, I returned to the community in early September of that year, to lend a hand in its time of need. And that was when I got quite a shock. Not about the size of the bank overdraft; I had known about that by then. But at the attitude amongst the community members of that time.
I joined in on the major community meetings that had already started to happen, in giving The Debt major attention;1 and that was when I gained an insight on things. Everything was put on the line - except the level of allowance that the membership was paying itself at the time. By then - that is, dating from my time, back those many years previously - the allowance had crept up. And up. And up. And so was, obviously, part of the problem. Indeed: a major part of the problem. So there they were, in late 2001, with this huge debt hanging over their heads; and the prevailing attitude was: 'You can cut Staff lines, and cut the food budget for the guests, and raise the costs of the programs we run, and buy cheaper building materials - whatever. Sell cut flowers from our gardens. But whatever you do: Don't touch my allowance.'
Except it wasn't.
And continued. Until that beast raised its ugly head again.2
Back we went to such community meetings, taking a hard look at our finances; this one at the beginning of 2012, after we had weathered the 2000s fairly well financially - and doing so by keeping the allowance at its budget-precarious level through the whole time to boot. Which may well have been a mistake, in retrospect. Compounded, the mistake.
"I hope it [i.e., the allowance] is the last thing we cut," was the comment of one (long-time) member, at the occasion of the specific meeting early in 2012 for looking at our budget for the year. It was all I could do to keep from getting up and walking out of the meeting - and possibly the community itself, at that point - and leaving behind me my parting shot to the body: "Can you hear yourselves??"
In the event, it was part of my leaving process; which didn't culminate until some weeks later, after I had done a 'spring clean' of all the articles and newsletters and notes and other material that I had accumulated over the years.3
Starting life over at the age of 77: a bit of a daunting task. But it was, really, time for me to go. As I said in a parting email shot to the community; after summarizing my concerns about the direction in which it was heading, and just before walking out of the door of my room for the last time, and hitting Send: "The Foundation needs to experience what it needs to experience."
And so did I.
And I have. And I have been pleasantly surprised to discover, on the Internet and in books that I have been checking out of the Main Library of my old home town (where I have returned to live out my days), that 'the world' - at least a large part of it ; a critical mass of it - has 'gotten it'. Has picked up well on the basic concept of my former spiritual community (i.e., the community I was formerly a member of...well; let the ambiguity go): that of our entering a New Age. A New Age of consciousness, wherein we will enter a stage of Abundance; of Joy, Peace and Plenty. Once we release ourselves from being unduly attached to money. And can see the forest for the trees, as it were: gain a higher perspective of life, from where we can see that the very thing that is keeping us from experiencing the Abundance of the Universe - with the likes of free energy devices, and food 'replicators', and so forth and so on; advanced technology, befitting our time and place - is the self-limiting concept of doing things - sharing goods and services with one another - for the money.
Working for the money. Rather than for the Service involved. In treating ourselves - each other - as ourselves.
Now approaching Ascension; to a higher level, a higher expression of that Being.
You'll be glad - joyous, in fact - that you did.
And left the old world behind. The Old World, of wars, and pain, and suffering. And lack.
And, perhaps, bury, in a ritual, a one dollar note, as a symbol, of leaving behind, forever, the thing that has kept us in captivity for so long. Has kept us in debt to the moneychangers of the world. By finding ourselves beholden - beholding ourselves, in a state of lack of higher consciousness - to money as debt.
And we can write, on its tombstone: Here lies Bernadette. May she rest in Peace. As we now claim our Birthright, as Sons and Daughters of the real God.
P.S. Unfortunately, some spiritual teachers think - or at least, often seem to think - that poverty and such is all just about one's attitude; that all you have to do, to 'create your own reality', is to shift from 'poverty consciousness' to 'prosperity consciousness' ('stop thinking of money as something dirty, and that you don't deserve'). Well, that's all well and good. And 'attitude' does have something to do with the problem, of scarcity, and sense of lack, and so forth. We do set up resonances with our thinking. But the key to the human problem is not jettisoning your personal attitude towards money, and towards your self in relation to money ('I deserve success'). It is jettisoning money itself.
More specifically: interest-bearing money. In a word: usury.4 The invention of which is where humanity got off track; in creating 'money' as a commodity in itself; in its own right. And so, 'making money' became the object of the exercise. Getting engaged in making money make money. Treating it as an end in itself, rather than merely the means to an end. The end, of providing each other, as fellow members of the human family, with goods and services. With 'money' simply as a medium of exchange. And thus delinking 'income' from 'job'.
But that's another blog. In its own right. As it were.
As 'it' was…
To say: As it used to be.
Before we got smart.
And cut out the middleman.
So to speak.
And as we speak.
And as we speak.
And P.P.S. Don't misunderestimate me. I understand a valid point here, about not thinking to solve something fundamentally simply by taking away a 'temptation'. People won't stop eating junk food, so take away junk food; say. People shoot each other with guns, so take away their access to guns. People won't line up their kids for their shots, so don't let their kids enter school until they do - or even take their kids away from them, for that reason.5 And so forth and so on. To say: things need to be dealt with on the 'attitude' level. If some people take advantage of money - of interest-bearing money - in a deleterious way, rather than take away their toy, thinking that solves anything really, get them to think differently about it. It's not the money per se that is the problem; it's the person's attitude about it.
Right. And wrong.
The money itself - the interest-bearing aspect of it - is what is the problem. Not just because 'it's a matter of attitude' - because it causes us not to think of each other as brothers and sisters, but as competitors, and as consumers, to make a buck off of; and caveat emptor, baby, But because it creates debt. Makes us debtees and debtors.
And the only 'person' that we have a debt to is our Creator. For giving us the gift of life.
And we are paying that 'debt' off, by proving ourselves to our Source.
For being a good bet.
And so be all of us.
All. Of us.
Or later. For some.
Given, the gift of Choice.
Also known as free will.
Not to be undercut, too severely, by the state.
Which should never become our Master.
We have other work to do, than to be the slaves of anybody.
And that's what we are about to celebrate, this year. Beyond the celebrations of individual, er, spiritual communities……
1 A particularly relevant footnote here: This was not the first time that the community had had to look at a problem with living within its means; to say, with its debt. The first real Debt - which we tried to get our heads around by personalizing it, and started calling it Bernadette - had come to a head back in 1983; when we turned that one around (I forget how much it was for; perhaps around the equivalent in the money terms of the time) by taking a big risk and raising the money - from our friends in the world - to buy the caravan park in one end of which our community was situated and running it as a business, profits from which were deeded to the Foundation over the years, helping us to get our 'home' back in financial order. It had been a major effort; and I was not the only member of the time, to say, and feel: Never again. Well; it's a small world…
2 Sorry, Bernadette; just a figure of speech. Don't take it personally.
So to speak…
3 I was sorry to see a lot of it go. But I needed to start my new, after-Findhorn life, clean and clear.
4 Some have tried to excuse interest-bearing money as not really usury, that that is simply a term for big interest charges. It is not. It is a term for an idea. Read on.
5 'For being a bad member of society.' When they are in actual fact being a very good member, for alerting the public to the lack of safety - and worse; deliberate toxicity - of many of the shots the public is being given. To make them good, docile members of the herd. Or else.