Trainings and Studies
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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:-

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. "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 ??)
  10. 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 of interpretation.
  11. Psychosynthesis was very popular at Findhorn. The idea of sub-personalities is especially useful.
  12. "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.
  13. Harley Miller at Findhorn has invented many fine techniques, such as the "Scale of Qualities" and the "Conscious Questioning Self" exercise.
  14. I played "the Game of Transformation" several times, but didn't like it as much as other people seem to.

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 !):-

  1. 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 and theosophy.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 impact.
  4. 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 as thyself.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 into English).

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.

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