When I lived at Findhorn (1981-88), I was involved
and interested in experiential approaches to spirituality and
psychology. There are some very interesting techniques, which
have been useful to me:-
- While at Findhorn, I first sat in on an experience
week again to see what it was like, and then I did some more
as the 'co-leader' to learn the pattern and the logistics. After
this, I went on to lead more than 20 groups as the 'main leader',
training numerous co-focalisers. I also led more than 20 Departmental
Guest Weeks, and numerous other small groups within the community.
- I was the focaliser of major community work departments
for a total of 4 years - leading meditations, carrying out group
processes, managing, delegating, doing personnel functions,
and so on.
- Part of my basic impetus for all of this was the
"Group Consciousness" workshops of Kay Tift, where
I gained a great appreciation of the potential and needs of
groups, and the stages of how a group can grow and develop
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming is to me the central
technology of the mind (so far). I particularly like the decision-making
systems, and the techniques of collapsing anchors, and changing
channels. They are very powerful and direct techniques. I did
several workshops in NLP
- I did DMA as well, which is very useful for building
momentum towards whatever goals have been chosen, and also for
formalising and fixing 'inner' decisions.
- Arnold Mindell is a psychologist whose Process Oriented
Psychology is both highly subtle and sophisticated and also
powerful and 'understandable'. I did his "World Work"
week at Findhorn in 1994 (?). His techniques are very strong
in the areas where he is strong (Race, Gender, Insanity etc.)
His books are also very inspiring, especially "The Year
1" and "Dreambody …..". His concept of the 'dreambody'
seems close to the theosophical 'Astral Body'. Mindell has created
some effective and deep new techniques and ideas.
- Holotropic Breathwork is an advanced breathing technique
which seems to be a safe way of going through cathartic experiences.
I did a workshop in this in 1998. Apart from this, I don't like
catharsis techniques much, such as rebirthing and co-counselling.
- Essential Peacemaking is one of the many inventions
of Danaan Parry. I did this work twice in 1996/7, and enjoyed
the events and processes involved, and I can recommend it highly.
- "The Money Game". I have always been very
interested in money, and have read and studied "The Seven
Laws of Money" and "Money is my Friend", and
I have led many "Money Games". The areas of Manifestation
(of your own reality) and energy are fascinating (and their
links to health as well ??)
- Oracles have been a big influence, though I am now
a bit embarrassed about how much I used the 'I Ching' long ago.
I liked the book "Diceman" but was fortunately too
shy to try it. I learned to tell fortunes using playing cards,
I used the "Star and Gate" symbol pack quite a lot,
especially in groups, and I have built up my own fun pack of
postcards (The Epsom Oracle) for instant answers to simple questions.
I don't like the Tarot - it has too much history and weight
- Psychosynthesis was very popular at Findhorn. The
idea of sub-personalities is especially useful.
- "Games People Play" by Eric Berne, was
published in 1964, and is still unequalled for its accuracy
of analysis and its honesty and humour. I have never done any
transactional analysis, however.
- Harley Miller at Findhorn has invented many fine
techniques, such as the "Scale of Qualities" and the
"Conscious Questioning Self" exercise.
- I played "the Game of Transformation"
several times, but didn't like it as much as other people seem
Above, I have written about the 'experiential' type of work that
I prefer to do, however, I also have a thorough grounding in the
intellectual approaches to this. I joined the Theosophical Society
in Cardiff in 1978, and I was Treasurer of Cardiff Lodge of the
TS for a year. I have absorbed some influences from the following
schools (it is very unwise to claim to 'know' theosophy !):-
- The Theosophical Society. I have read the "Secret
Doctrine" of HPB from front to back, but I suspect that
I have understood virtually nothing of it. I found the works
of Hodson and Leadbetter much more approachable, but with hindsight
they seem very old-fashioned and 'of their era'. "The Mahatma
Letters" is not easy, and was not very useful to read.
However, the great virtue of the TS is its open platform where
the really important questions about existence can be raised.
Some of the TS speakers have acquired great knowledge through
their studies of hindu and other eastern subjects. As my retirement
project, perhaps I still want to attempt a synthesis of science
- The Lucis Trust and Alice A Bailey Books. I got much more
mileage out of these books, as they tease you along and raise
a lot of very good questions. I enjoy the "Full Moon Meditations",
which I suppose I have now done for 20 years, and also their
free "Problems of Humanity" study course. I have read
12 of the books in 20 years (4,000 pages !!?). Once again, though
I have read a lot of the books, and I have had quite a lot of
flashes of understanding, I suspect I have understood little
or nothing of what the author is really trying to communicate.
- Anthroposophy. I have only read 3 or 4 books by Rudolf Steiner,
but they have been excellent (especially "Agriculture").
He has the great virtue of writing from his own perspective
and about his own experiences. His followers can be painfully
obedient, but the Schools, gardens and other offshoots of his
work are remarkably good, but have had little apparent wider
- The Liberal Catholic Church. Founded by Leadbetter and Hodson
of the TS, I feel the service is true to the highest potential
of the holy eucharist, which is close to the highest channeling
which is possible. I should attend more often, but being in
a choir and singing the great masses and requiems by Mozart,
Haydn, and Beethoven is nearly as good. The Two Commandments
of the New Dispensation are central, but are not easy to apply:-
Love the Lord Thy God, and like unto this, Love thy neighbour
- Later, I read a small amount of "The Life Divine"
by Sri Aurobindo. This is very closely, carefully and intensely
reasoned. Transparently, it expresses the authors own experiences
and insights, and his proposed "Integral Yoga". It
is very unusual for that, but it is a slow read. The Auroville
community is a remarkable achievement based on his teachings.
- I have read Gurdjieff's "All and Everything" twice
now, and it is one of the relatively few things that I want
to re-read. I think he has a very individual and entertaining
approach to everthing, and he writes as himself, not as a 'channel'
or a representative - I value this approach more and more as
time goes on.
- An ongoing theme is my interest in devas, angels and nature
spirits, and I have read a lot of books about this. My own experiences
cannot particularly verify any of the books, but some of the
books have obvious genuineness and substance, especially Geoffrey
Hodson and Marko Pogacnic (whose book I helped to translate
In practice, I don't really use any of this as an everyday routine,
but it is 'there in the background' or 'on the back burner'. Whether
it is all crystallising, fermenting, stagnating or going mouldy
is highly debatable.