Note: We'll not be referring to all these when we meet. They are like arrows that you can add to your Journey Quiver.
Please explore on your own before we meet at the "trail head" for our first live session. Visit the FAQ page if you would like to go a bit deeper to prepare. Go at your own pace. You can always revisit this.
Why a "Field Guide"?
Why do we frame it as a "Journey"?
Why is the purpose?
How is the Journey structured?
What are the capacities we will grow?
Are we tourists or pilgrims on the Journey?
What is a theological framework?
Videos, comments, additional resources for retreat participants can be found Here.
Charting a compassionate way through disruption
Welcome to the Journey
Heart of the Matter
Beneath or inside the life we lead every day is another life that runs like a subterranean river. Beneath the ordinary world (story) of work, family, ambition, money, pleasures and grief, there is another river (a more enduring story) that is deep and wide and carries with it abundance and healing. When we become aware of that Source we become more resilient in the face of unfolding disruption.
Module One: The Story
"The goal is not to fill your head with theories and speculations but to move you toward the inner conviction that yes, you can begin. Your heart knows the way to go." Cynthia Bourgeault.
Mr. (Fred) Rogers carried a note in his wallet given to him by a social worker that read:
“Frankly there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love if you knew their story.”
Session Two: Your Story in Context
Prompts for journaling
1st Threshold - Loved
Heart of the Matter
of the Journey.
You have never been separate from God, nor can you be, except in your mind. Richard Rohr
The First Threshold: Loved
The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure. Joseph Campbell
"A blessing: beatitude, prayer, a cry of joy, the description of reality present and to be fervently expected, and expression of life that at its fullest is a startling reminder of eternity, and acknowledgment of innate goodness and well-being, and affirmation that draws us into a charmed and intimate circle of people, the telling of a truth that honors our deepest realities."
Prompts for journaling
Heart of the Matter
The range of what we see and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice,
There is little we can do
To change Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.
R. D. Laing
The movement through the "field of openness" engages "discursive/egoic practices," meaning they are naturally rooted in our human capacities of perception (thinking and feeling) even as these capacities are stretched and opened to more curiosity, compassion and courage. These practices prepare us for the next encounter...
The Field of Openness
There are opportunities for transformation sown into all the disruptions that we are encountering on the path - interiorly, interpersonally, systemically and environmentally. We are living in exciting times. We can "reframe" the disruptions as opportunities for transformation rather than problems to be solved. The broad re-discovery of non-dual, contemplative consciousness (WE ARE NOT SEPARATE... FROM GOD, FROM OURSELVES, FROM OUR NEIGHBOR, FROM CREATION!) gives me hope. We are realizing that we have been trying to solve so many of our religious, social, political, and relational issues inside of the very mind that falsely framed the problems in the first place, and from the heart that has been constricted by the voices of cynicism. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that caused it.”
“The Way It Is"
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
2nd Threshold - Held
James Finley, a stone dropping
Always check your inner state
with the lord of your heart.
Copper does not know it’s copper,
until it is changing into gold.
Your loving does not know its majesty,
until it knows its helplessness.
LAW OF 3
" ...in a genuine impasse one's accustomed way of acting (1) and living is brought to a standstill. The left side of the brain, with its usual application of linear, analytical, conventional thinking is ground to a halt. (2) The impasse forces us to start all over again, driving us to contemplation. On the other hand, the impasse provides a challenge and a concrete focus for contemplation. ...It forces the right side of the brain into gear, seeking intuitive, symbolic, unconventional answers, so that action can be renewed (3) eventually with greater purpose." Belden Lane
The Second Threshold: Held
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. John 12:24,25 The Message
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
O God, teach me to be satisfied with my own helplessness in the spiritual life. Teach me to be content with Your grace that comes to me in darkness and that works things I cannot see. Teach me to be happy that I can depend on You. To depend on You should be enough for an eternity of joy. To depend on You by itself ought to be infinitely greater than any joy which my own intellectual appetite could desire. Thomas Merton
I feel like a painter who, after mastering certain brushes over the years, has come to the end of brushes; who in an effort to get closer to the light has thrown his brushes into the fire, to ignite more light. Mark Nepo
We are all alchemists transmuting pain into aliveness, unwanted experiences into awakening. RASHANI RÉA
Sacred - The BIG Story
“ A mystic is anyone who has the gnawing suspicion that the apparent discord, brokenness, contradictions, and discontinuities that assault us every day might conceal a hidden unity.”
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
"And don’t we all,
with fierce hunger,
crave a cave of solitude,
a space of deep listening—
full of quiet darkness and stars,
until finally we hear
a syllable of God
echoing in the cave
of our hearts?"
If winning the Cup leaves us speechless… imagine experiencing the Universe!
The BIG Story
“The time is fast approaching when one will either be a mystic or an unbeliever.”
It is the soft light just before dawn in which our shy and elusive inner self gazes through the lattice, communicating to us the first silent syllables of the unspeakable secret that “the eye wherein I see God is the same eye wherein God sees me.” Of this faith Merton writes, "The more perfect faith is, the darker it becomes…. Our certainty increases with this obscurity, yet not without anguish and even material doubt, because we do not find it easy to subsist in a void in which our natural powers have nothing of their own to rely on. And it is in the deepest darkness that we most fully possess God on earth, because it is then that our minds are most truly liberated…. it is then that we are filled with His infinite Light which is pure darkness to our reason. In this greatest perfection of faith the infinite God Himself becomes the Light of the darkened soul and possesses it entirely with His Truth. And at this inexplicable moment the deepest night becomes day and faith turns into understanding." James Finely. - Merton's Palace of Nowhere .
The spiritual journey is not career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. What prevents us from being available to God is gradually evacuated. We keep getting closer and closer to our center. Every now and then God lifts a corner of the veil and enters into our awareness through various channels, as if to say, "Here I am. Where are you? Come and join me." - Thomas Keating
The whole purpose of The Journey is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he/she presents to the world, and to bring out her/his inner spiritual freedom, his/her inmost truth, which is what we call the likeness of Christ in his soul. (paraphrased) Thomas Merton - Spiritual Direction and Meditation
3rd Threshold - Sent
The authenticity of a "mystical" experience is confirmed only within action... more
The Third: Threshold Sent
In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable we eventually realize that, here in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished. Karl Rahner
When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But...that is not what great ships are built for. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS
The Sanskrit word for enlightenment, bodhi, means “awakened.” It is a persistent misconception to think that enlightenment is the final goal final goal of Buddhism, Christianity or any spiritual path including The Journey. Yet many feel that once a degree of enlightenment was attained the pilgrim would remain in a blissful state glowing and smiling at the poor unenlightened beings who continue to struggle along the path below. Enlightenment or an experience of transcendence is of little use unless it deepens one's purpose in service to the world. Mystical (see last week) experiences come and go, they are always transient. The pilgrim is wise to "make friends" with the inconsummate nature of all experiences. Otherwise, clinging to the experience, one is likely to regress into fundamentalism, addiction, or some other abuse of power.
If you don’t have anyone who understands you, who encourages you in the practice of the living dharma, your desire to practice may wither. Your sangha—family, friends, and copractitioners—is the soil, and you are the seed.
Your Calling Keeps Calling
Michael Meade (2:08 Minutes)
Co-Creation & Return
"Constructive Co-Creation is the pursuit of moving relationships from those defined by fear, mutual recrimination, and violence toward those characterized by love, mutual respect, and proactive engagement." John Paul Lederach (adapted)
Every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist. It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one. — Walter Brueggemann
This is precisely the time when artists go to work-not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job! . . . There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. — Toni Morrison
A word from Terry
Thank you for being on this Journey with me. Thank you for co-creating this resource with me. We have engaged in this work for our own growth and for the sake of those we love, indeed for the whole world. In these times of great turning and disruption the world needs elders, guides to show the way to stay open to curiosity, compassion and courage. The Journey continues. I pray that you will return often to draw from these insights. Continue to stay close to your allies. Finally, I leave you with the wisdom of Thomas Merton:
"In one sense we are always traveling, and traveling as if we did not know where we were going. In another sense we have already arrived. We cannot arrive at the perfect possession of God in this life, and that is why we are traveling and in darkness. But we already possess Him by grace, and therefore, in that sense, we have arrived and are dwelling in the light. But oh! How far have I to go to find You in Whom I have already arrived!"