15th April 2013 (Monday)
I arrived at Oak House with another visitor today, not one new to the centre but new to the Monday circle. He’d been a couple of times to the Thursday evening one and thought he’d try one in the day too. Sadly Tim wasn’t able to make it – pressure of work.
As we entered the main room one of the members was busy putting chairs in a circle.
‘How many shall I put out?’ she asked after the introductions had been done.
‘Eight,’ I answered without thinking.
We went to meet some of the others hanging out in the conservatory, because finally we got some sun. It looked like there was a member to member card tuition going on, but those who weren’t included basked in the sun and enjoyed a chat before being called to order by Mary.
When we filed in she asked if we could lose some of the chairs as there were only eight of us and twelve chairs had been put out.
‘Didn’t you listen?’ I joked with the member who’d put the chairs out. It was, after all a lucky guess (or was it?).
She welcomed our new member, assured him he was safe in the company of a fairly mad group, and encouraged him to say a little about himself. Then, true to her form of asking us to take turns to say the opening prayer, Mary sought out the one who looked least like wanting to do it – and asked me.
‘Was I so obviously hiding?’ I asked.
‘Yes,’ came a chorus from the others. Next time I’ll try looking with eager anticipation.
My prayers are short and usually consist of thanking God for bringing us together, for what we are going to learn, and for reminding us that our lives and what we learn are to be used in service to others. This was no different.
Our first exercise was a meditation to a CD of Buddhist chants. It began eastern sounding enough, but changed a little way in and became very Southern African. It had a very odd beat (or non-beat) which made it difficult to be lulled into any kind of rhythm. I found it a very effective piece to keep the mind focused and not wander off.
After twenty minutes of this we were all chilled enough to be only mildly alarmed when Mary announced that she was going to get the talking stick from the other room.
There was a ripple of ‘talking stick, what’s a talking stick,’ as Mary left, and we were no clearer till she returned with a wooden stick, about eighteen inches long, on which were carved symbols. It had several silver studs inserted into the wood near the handle and was a prop of the late great medium of the centre.
‘We’re going to use this talking stick to give a philosophy from spirit,’ Mary explained. I will pass it to someone who will speak for five minutes about what spirit means to them. When they’ve finished they will pass it to someone else who will also speak for five minute, and so on.’
‘Five minutes on spirit?’ I was thinking. It was bad enough being asked to do a few minutes last time but how the hell was I going to talk for five minutes about what spirit is, especially if I’m not first. Everybody will have said what I’d want to say by then. For the first time ever, since joining these circles I was disappointed that I wasn’t first. In fact I was fourth, and had some pretty impressive acts to follow.
I think I’m getting better at trusting spirit to tell me what to say, because after my initial mini fit I became calm again, reminding myself that whatever came out of my mouth was what was supposed to come out, nothing more, nothing less. And if I was ever going to be asked publicly at short notice to speak about what spirit means to me, what safer place to practice than here?
When I was handed the stick I knew the first sentence that I would start with, after that I trusted spirit. I talked about the first time, ten years ago when I consciously reconnected with spirit – or should I say, they connected with me. Up until then I’d been busy denying the existence of any such things, and would have quite happily recommended a good psychiatrist for people who did. I guess people could be recommending the same for me now.
It was amazing how quickly the five minutes went and I was handing the stick over to someone else.
Only one of us had to rush off straight away at 2.30 so we officially closed, but the rest of us agreed to do one more exercise.
Mary must have had a theme of surprises for yesterday, because or final exercise was to stand up and give an impromptu reading to any one in the group. My heart sank, and I started to wish I’d said I needed to rush off as well.
You see, I really don’t see myself as a medium in that way, giving random messages to people from a stage. When I joined the circles it was very much with a view that it would help with my writing – hence the title of this blog. And so it was that I waited in trepidation for my turn to come round. It was seven minutes to three and I saw my opportunity to get out of this.
‘I’m really sorry but I have to be gone by three,’ I apologised as the last person sat down after delivering an excellent reading.
‘Oh, you’ve just got time to do a couple of minutes then,’ Mary said. Does this woman never give up?
I dragged myself to the front, choose my person and – nothing – a totally blank head. I stared at her and tried to find something useful to say but nothing came.
‘Give her a colour,’ Mary suggested.
‘Blue,’ said my sitter.
‘Blue,’ I repeated, buying time to see if something would come. Then I noticed that my sitter was helpfully mouthing ‘communication’ at me and pointing to her throat charka.
Then suddenly something kicked in and I began to tell her how she was getting much clearer with her delivery of messages, that she was trusting it more, not trying to censor or paraphrase it. I talked about her increasing confidence and the benefits this was bringing to the people to whom she delivered the messages.
After I’d rabbitted on for a bit I just suddenly stopped, as if nothing more was there.
As I returned to my seat, and for several hours after I reflected on how suddenly the words had arrived, how meaningful they were to the sitter, and how suddenly they’d stopped.
When will I learn to move myself out of the way? Any short cut tips you can recommend?