I give below my personal account of what goes on in our
inquiry group meeting, in terms of
Shekinah, and at the end in terms of three types of inquiry. Each person in
the group has their own experientially-grounded belief-system about what we
do. There is no one correct account, but a family of related accounts with
varying degrees of mutual overlap and resonance. John Heron.
Shekinah in Hebrew means 'residence', 'dwelling'. In Jewish
tradition it is the name for divine immanence, for the divine presence as it
makes itself known in the material world, 'overshadowing', 'hovering',
'indwelling'. It is also associated with the feminine aspect of the divine,
concerned with interpersonal relationships. In the mystical system of the
Kabbalah, Shekinah is linked with the tenth Sefirah of Malkhut and
the manifestation of the divine kingdom on earth. In what follows
Shekinah refers to the spiritual reality that is between humans,
and between humans and other presences in other realms. It is
the reality of the relation between.
(1) As people arrive and gather we socialize with cups of various kinds
(2) When we are well settled in, round a low table with candles and other
items, someone proposes or starts a check-in round. This round accommodates
a whole diversity of options: simple reportage of current life-events,
routine, joyful, challenging or traumatic; an account of current spiritual,
psi, psychological, interpersonal, energetic/sexual/somatic dynamics; a
cathartic release of some current and/or archaic distress with
self-generated insight; self-transfiguring spiritual assertions; and more.
Group members support and bear witness to the person checking-in, but rarely
interact or comment, because the check-in is somehow directed to what is
(3) There may then be a period of silence, or a period of silence
plus someone stroking the rim of a Tibetan bowl with a stick of wood to
produce a tone.
(4) At a certain point there is a very distinct and spontaneous
qualitative shift in the group energy field, and one or two people are
moved, and gradually and idiosyncratically each one is moved, to open their
bodily, incarnate energy to what is between us, and between us and presences
in other realms, by posture and gesture, by movement, by vocal toning, by
rhythmic sounding of a diversity of rattles, drums, bells, tambourines, etc.
This is also an opening of the heart. The posture, gesture, movement,
toning and sounding are improvised in the living moment out of a
heart-communion with the between.
(5) This dynamic, charismatic body-heart opening goes on for a
considerable period, with series of crescendos and diminuendos which are
potently co-created with the rhythmic life of the between.
(6) There is an unmistakable final diminuendo. We become entirely still.
We draw together and hold hands, or sit silently apart, and for a long
period feast on the extraordinary depths and presence of Shekinah.
(7) This also has an unmistakable ending. It may, or may not, be followed
by a sharing, an affirmation, an inquiring review, of what has been going
(8) We close the meeting and people depart for their homes.
What may be interwoven with the above are spontaneous episodes in which
one or more members may speak out of, and speak as, archetypal powers and
presences interfused with the event.
And there are three types of inquiry with which we engage. The first is
our bedrock inquiry process which occurs at every meeting. The second and
the third are procedures we adopt at varying intervals:
(1) The active discrimination
during charismatic expression, exercised on-the-hoof, with regard to how
we are doing it and in relation with whom or what. For a more technical,
epistemological account of this see the final section,
Evaluation, in the paper on
Coming into being.
(2) Co-deciding an intentional
project beforehand about how we do our charismatic expression, then
doing this, then sharing feedback on it, then building on this in a
second action-reflection cycle, etc.; or in the milder version of this,
simply reporting back on what has been going on for each of us during
our emergent Dionysian charismatic expression.
(3) Using part of a fortnightly
meeting to plan individual or agreed spiritual practices to be taken as
an action inquiry into daily life before the next meeting, when each of
us report back on our inquiry strand.
empathic resonance; soul resonance.
Emotional and interpersonal
competence; no dumping; awareness of oneís distress and the ability to
manage it appropriately; the ability to own and report on down/negative
Authenticity: openness to self; the
ability to choose to be uninhibited charismatically and emotionally and in
aware relation with others.
Sense of humour; enthusiasm.
Not being a spokesperson for any
external spiritual authority; non-dogmatism; spirit of inquiry.
Tinkerbell effect: the ability to
entertain imaginative worlds. Heronís beard: the ability to give unusual
experiences the benefit of the doubt, to let them unfold their potential.
No meddling, no tinkering, with
another personís check-in.
Commitment to regular consistent
Confidentiality with respect to the
self-disclosure of other group members.
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