This is what happened, period.
My Findhorn Experience.
It has been very difficult to write about my experiences at the Findhorn Foundation. I realised that I was talking to a bunch of knowledgeable people. You, my friends at Findhorn and [I hope] beyond. You know about this kind of stuff much more than I do, that’s why you went to Findhorn. To gain spiritual insight; to touch base with your spiritual side; to recharge your spiritual batteries and take some time to look within yourself. Some of you are professionally engaged with spirituality, psychology and healing.
Who am I to spout forth about spirituality when I am a newcomer to even thinking about it? At this point I don’t even know what spirituality is. I’m guessing that it is a mysterious thing which, when it is lacking, makes you an unhappy person. I’m guessing that it fills a need in all of us to have a greater purpose than just to live, breed and survive for a while. I’m also guessing that it has something to do with creativity, and beauty, and the giving and receiving of love. I have heard snippets here and there, but am not remotely knowledgeable about it. Instead a thousand questions arise in my mind. [I should read some books or at least Google it.]
It just remains for me to describe to you as honestly and clearly as I can what I felt during my week at Findhorn. Without rationalising, philosophising or drawing conclusions at this point. I will let you draw your own and hope very much that you will share and discuss them with me so that I may learn from your experiences and that we may help one another to get the most out of them.
Perhaps I have more time than most of you to think about my experiences at Findhorn; as much time as I want, in fact, as there are no commitments or rendezvous to attend to. I have enough time to write them down which helps me to assimilate and find meaning in them. I believe that much can be gained from this process.
As the days pass and I can see the events of that life-changing week from a greater perspective, I feel and know that what I experienced is of the deepest significance; not only to me, but seemingly to everyone I come in contact with. It has in some way changed my interaction with people. I have shared those experiences with some people close to me and some complete strangers [like Roxi, the young lady I sat next to on the bus to Manchester] and have received only warmth, gladness and empathy from them, when I might have expected cynicism and mockery. Perhaps I have been lucky, that those I have spoken to were caring people and not biased and closed; or perhaps most people have a hunger for spiritual food.
I am writing this over a period of time; days and weeks will pass before I have collected enough rays of light together to create some snapshots of what Findhorn means to me. Later I will see these meanings more clearly and I will tell you all about them. Every day brings new people and new connections. A lot of positive vibrations are coming my way.
The lead up.
On the first day when we had to share our reasons for coming to Findhorn I was caught unawares. I could not remember exactly what those reasons were and mumbled something about re-establishing connections with nature. That is how much preparation I had done before I got there. None! I did not have a clue what I was required to do, what would happen and whether I was going to like it or not. I do know that I was excited, as I always am when I dive into the unknown; when I go to new places outside of my comfort zone.
As I was travelling up, I was kind of resting in a state of emptiness. In the previous months I had been trying to make some serious choices about what to do with my life. I had been travelling on my bus for three years and was feeling somewhat travel weary. People say it must be great to have so many choices in your life but I say, through experience, that it is also very hard to choose. All choices have pros and cons. I was actually not sleeping well and in turmoil about whether to keep travelling or whether to settle down and spend more time with people I loved and who loved me; whether to come back to the UK or Europe or return to Tasmania and so on...
Just a few days before Findhorn, for various reasons, I had decided against the UK option which meant that I was once again looking for something to fill that space. I was like...a vacuum ready to be filled by Findhorn. In a way I felt a release and gazed out of the train window as the misty moors of Scotland flowed by like a dreamscape.
I was tired.
The first surprises came even before I reached Cluny. I slept in a bed and breakfast a few kilometres away with an exceedingly interesting landlady. [No! I mean the lady who owned the house was exceedingly interesting; I did not sleep with her, I slept in her house!]. She tells a good tale, does this landlady, and is full of stories. She used to be a reporter, that’s probably why she is experienced at focusing on the subject matter and presenting it in an entertaining fashion.
Anyway, she spoke of things I had not come across before. For example, how she was healed by Shamanic power of a dreadful, disabling disease. Shamanic Healing, what is that? I still don’t know exactly although I have come across various pointers recently. The power of it may well be in the mystery. She spoke of these things in a matter of fact way. Not as though these miracles happen all the time [for she was aware of the significance and communicated the awe], but more as though we, the listener, would know all about it already. She could clearly describe the feelings she had, physically and mentally, and what she saw. She told it like it was. This is what happened to me...period.
I was stunned; my mind had been introduced to the Findhorn way. Was I prepared? I opened up to new possibilities.
It turns out she’s had a long association with the Findhorn Foundation and has many friends there. Two other participants of our group were also staying at her house and she showed us the routine at Cluny when we first arrived.
Cluny was delightful. The atmosphere was bright and cheerful with lovely flowers in the garden, someone singing in the lobby and the sun pouring into the comfortable lounge and dining room.
We introduced ourselves at our first gathering, explaining whether we had expectations of our stay here, when we had first decided to come and how we felt right now. It took a long time to hear everyone’s story. The journeys of some individuals were long and tortuous, some were touching and all revealed something about the storyteller; their hopes, troubles, ambitions and character. The first barrier between strangers had been broken.
On Sunday we had Sacred Dance. We danced around freely to start, to loosen up. We felt more relaxed with one another after opening up the previous day. But then we engaged in the ritual of more formal dances. Folk dances that were chosen for their simplicity, grace and contact between people. Not just physical contact but more importantly, contact between hearts. The most memorable were when we were required to greet one another in turn, try to greet as many dancers as we could with a smile and goodwill as we moved towards one another. It was hard to do this with conviction without losing your step. To look someone in the eye was...disconcerting with some and easier with others, but it broke more barriers and revealed more of our character. We were getting to know each other without words, through our bodies, our eyes and from our hearts. What a beautiful thing Sacred Dance is.
The concentration became meditation. Our minds learned the movements; then our bodies took over. There was no longer so much need to think about the steps as we abandoned ourselves to the rhythm, to the Movement Mantra and could now open our hearts to one another. Love began to flow between us. I did not want it to stop, the longer the dance, the stronger the love. Keep going, I’m hooked!
On Monday the Group Discovery Games with Amanda and John were even better. These were not games I suspected. They were techniques to help us focus on co-operation, fun, connection, trust, compassion and love between people. We danced a sacred dance of the day before but that was just the start. We massaged each others’ backs. With our eyes closed we were pushed around by our partners through the milling crowd, ever faster, hands down, exposed, putting our trust in them entirely to steer away from danger.
We communicated through touching hands alone, again with closed eyes so we did not know who it was until the end of the game; in silence and no peeking. We had to follow certain instructions... “Say hello”... “Happiness” ... “I love you”.
We took turns being deeply depressed, curled up in a foetal position, hurt and in despair. Along came someone who cared and with a gentle, comforting touch and unconditional love healed the pain and brought light, life and hope back into the other person’s life. I must confess it did remind me of my first aid training, but then; those Paramedics are angels.
It seemed to me afterwards that these games served a good practical purpose. There is nothing wrong in a bit of training in how to provide unconditional love and how to receive it. You learn how it feels from both sides. The giving and receiving of love is what makes the world go around. It has got to be one of the most fundamental activities of all in our lives. Many people don’t know what it feels like; they have never been given any and don’t know how to give it. They need to be shown. They need to feel it.
Hugely important lessons these, not just simple games; you can make it as real as you want. I gave it my all, and so did my partners; I can still feel the love now and will never forget. I’m so glad [I have to keep saying that!].
And then we were planets; eyes closed, whirling in the blackness of space, cold and alone... We felt a presence, our energies touched, we were attracted to one another, gravity was drawing us closer together, we held on, having found one another never to let go. In time we were clusters, clinging together with an invisible force, and then larger, and larger still became our mass. The force of attraction became stronger, it turned into love, we merged as one and could feel the immense power...gravity, attraction, energy, love; it was all one. We were as one.
We opened our eyes, and saw open, smiling faces all around. There were tears of emotion, of happiness, of love. I cried too, with the joy that filled the room. We held on to one another and lifted our heads. I physically felt the loving that had built up in the group. We had opened our hearts and the force of love flowed like energy; the light shone in our eyes and lit up our faces. It was glorious! We swayed gently like children in a loving embrace.
We sang out loud, declaring our love... “And I think to myself...what a wonderful world.”
Ha ha, good choice of song Amanda and John.
Sitting in the library after the games,
I stare at my almost blank page. My mind is still in a whirl and I cannot compose a thing. A member of our group sits opposite me leafing through a book. I tell her about my difficulty writing down what had happened. “Just start writing, it does not matter how good it is, let it write itself,” she replies.
This is what I wrote:
Warmth. Tingling sensations. I’m glowing with love, remembering people in the group. Their faces come up one after the other, smiling, loving. My love flows out to them. It feels so natural to me; family but even more; I have never felt this way before. Sustained love, more than half an hour later I still bathe in it. I look out of the window. Nature, the world is more beautiful than before; even more beautiful, it seems impossible. I see some of the group outside and feel connected to them. One of my group sits opposite me reading her book and I feel the naturalness of it. She is my friend. She smiles so openly, there are no barriers between us.
I will carry this feeling with me for a long time; it is indeed a strengthening, re-energising experience. Tears of sadness have turned into tears of joy for some. All of us have opened our hearts and been touched. I am so glad for myself and for all of you.
Perhaps one day will come when the warmth of love will fade to just a memory. Maybe then it will be time to come back [I wonder if you can do Experience Week again?] Are the other courses as searching and emotional as this one?
This is the first time I have done anything like this, so are the feelings stronger than those felt by people who have done this before? Do you get a bit blasé about it when you repeat the exercise; you know what to expect? For me it has been a surprise; no, a revelation is more like it!
It gets better still, the next day
after Love in Action [housekeeping and preparing for lunch] with those lovely people at the park and our walk in the forest. It was group time and my turn to share my feelings. I simply wanted to say that I had experienced such a wonderful day the day before, especially at the Group Discovery Games. How I had felt so much love from everybody and how I had seen the light of joy in people’s eyes as we hugged and swayed gently together.
I was going to keep it simple.
This is exactly as I wrote it in my notebook immediately after the group sharing:
But then, in a moment, before I had even completed my first sentence, I felt a physical surge, an expanding; a filling up of my whole body. It was a powerful, warm force, like a flow of energy coursing through my head, trunk and limbs. I was transfixed for many moments; it seemed like quite a while. If I had not tried to retain control I would have flown away or passed out...or something.
I fixed my eyes on Jonathen’s; he seemed calm and was directly in front of me. Everyone else in the circle of friends almost disappeared in a shivering blur of light and shadow.
My head, hands and feet were hot with tingling energy. It was as though they were conduits, the energy producing the heat by resistance. That’s how it felt. The tears flowed freely.
For some reason I omitted to write about how I felt, so busy was I, back in my room, writing about how “it” felt. Well, I’ll tell you now, because that is far more significant than “it”...I WAS FILLED WITH LOVE, WITH GLADNESS, WITH GRATITUDE, WITH INCREDIBLE JOY. They were tears of helpless joy and yet I seemed to be detached enough to note the details of what was happening to me.
The sensation subsided although I still felt glowingly hot. Now I was more shocked by it. I stammered something; cannot remember exactly, but do know that I said that I have never felt like this before in my whole life; this strong love flowing from all of you [I think I said. By now I was speaking about what had just happened as well as the day before.] I also said that although I loved my family and they loved me, we did not show it openly; I had never felt such a direct love from them. [Or something along those lines.]
As I sat listening to other people sharing, it seemed profound; there were lots of tears and laughter too, the atmosphere was electric, intimate and intoxicating. For me it was a very special time; something special was happening...something greater than the group of people gathered there. Was this energy generated by them, or did it come from elsewhere? My immediate assumption was that it was the love generated by the people in the room, as I had experienced on the previous day only much more powerful. I was dazed, but felt the love; felt the love.
I had many more great experiences at Findhorn. The teamwork at Love in Action; how much fun it was working together with people that care and how easy the work becomes. Weeding the garden at the park, where I had some heart to heart talks with lovely people from the group. Taize singing, meditation [which I had never formally done before; I kind of meditate when I’m alone in nature, which is often], The Service Department Attunement which was amusing and revealing. The free time at The Park, dancing and listening to the singing. And just hanging out with friends who loved one another.
But the one experience that is the most profound and on which the whole week seems to revolve was the sharing. It was a kind of climax [dare I say it? Yes! It felt like an almighty, Earth moving one!] to the opening up of my heart and mind that I had gone through previously. I don’t just mean the opening up at Findhorn, but before that; going back a few years even, when I left Albany in my bus reconnecting with my creativity.
Findhorn was an acceleration of that process; the destination. It was a fast track to what I was looking for. [I even wrote about it in my blog before coming to the UK. Check it out on: http://takinitezy.travellerspoint.com/29/ if you like].
I reckon I found it on Tuesday 21st of August 2012 at around 8 pm. Yes, it was obvious really. The message to me was simple, blunt, powerful and unforgettable.
But I am a sceptic and asked myself many questions regarding this powerful experience. Was it due to my emotional state at the time? No; I did not feel more emotional than normal, although I have become more emotional in the last few years. I have spoken from my heart before in front of a group of people; I am used to that and am not embarrassed or phased by it; and have never felt this physical rush. Had I suppressed my emotions and was this an unexpected trigger? Had I gradually been opening up to get to this stage of raw sensitivity and acceptance? All the questions I asked myself and research I have done until recently, many weeks afterwards, were inconclusive on any level; I could not explain it away.
I also asked someone from the group that very evening what to make of this experience...She asked me a question in return, “do you doubt what happened?” It took me a second to answer sincerely, “no, I don’t.”
“Well then” She replied “It was real. If you believe it, it is true” Boy, there is a lot of wisdom embedded in that statement; about belief!
I have stopped asking questions about it, it is pointless. No more doubt. This is what happened to me...period. And that is where Human awareness and pseudo-scientific analysis part company. There can be no proof that it was a psychological phenomenon and equally there can be no proof that this physical energy I felt came from outside of my body. Anyway, science cannot explain feelings, but feelings are what matter most to Human beings. My feelings matter most to me and they are evolving into some very positive directions. Most important is how this experience will manifest itself in me in the future.
Many of you were wonderfully loving towards me after my sharing on Tuesday. It was as though you had witnessed something very special. I knew it was very powerful, but did not realise that it had affected you too. After the session and in the following days I received so much warmth and open loving smiles, hugs galore and comments about how you had been deeply affected, how authentic and sincere I had been with my words [the few I managed to utter], how much happier I looked and how I showed my vulnerability, something men don’t do much [I guess you meant the tears, which is not unusual for me lately]. I had a song dedicated to me. Some of you confided in me with your personal difficulties. I was receiving that love again, and again. I felt so deeply privileged [and still feel it now, as I write with tears coursing down my cheeks and...oh no...onto my keyboard!!]
I told you, I’m a lucky man! [I also got an angel called “Humbleness.”]
I spoke about the love I had received from all of you to the Homecare group I worked with at The Park and once again the joy welled up in me. I saw by their shining eyes and glad smiles that they could feel it too.
Love flows from person to person if their hearts are open.
They carry it with them and pass it on to others, so it never ends.
So love flows throughout the world and never dies.
When enough people come together in love it has the power to change the world.
This is the most fundamental and profound message that I received at Findhorn. It can be used as a foundation for life itself, for how to relate to others, for how to relate to the future and our precious Earth. It is the foundation on which we can build a better world.
You see how deeply this experience has affected me? I remind myself of it often. My experience at Findhorn is one of the most precious of my life. I hope you will share your experience of Findhorn with everyone too. Writing about it will help to focus your mind and carry the feeling once again, so that you can build on it for the future.