Théun, can you please give us some guidance on our meetings amongst ourselves. We feel that these meetings are important for our learning, and yet when you are not present these meetings all too often turn into a mess. People start losing the focus and go off on wild tangents, the result of which is that normally there is a fight with individuals often disagreeing violently with one another. How can we make these meetings more productive?
First of all you should know that meetings are not the same as gatherings! Meetings are FORMAL events which serve a specific PURPOSE! Gatherings, on the other hand, are INFORMAL events that do not normally serve a SPECIFIC purpose, other than a group of like-minded people SHARING time together. So it is important that all of you are CLEAR on what it is you want or do not want. In other words, are you talking about meetings or gatherings? And depending upon what you are talking about, are you ALL in AGREEMENT with the PURPOSE of such an event? I will use a few examples to make this clearer.
When we meet for the retreats it is UNDERSTOOD that we are meeting for the purpose of learning. But when we gather on the Day of Friendship we are simply sharing time together and the day just develops in whichever way it develops! If some of you WISH to share something from your lives, then that is what you do, and IF this sparks off something similar for someone else, then that is great! I, on the other hand, am also sharing time with friends and therefore IF I feel like it I may or may not give guidance on what is being discussed or shared! If some others of you feel like sharing some music, or poetry, or dancing, or joking, or whatever, then that is also great! For this is what a GATHERING is about, namely, an INFORMAL SHARING that is neither planned nor structured! As I once before pointed out to you, how does one plan or structure friendship? LOL!
So to get back to what you are asking me about, let us say you decide to have a mid-retreat meeting. The implications here are that BECAUSE it is a meeting it SHOULD serve a SPECIFIC purpose, and BECAUSE it is a FORMAL event you SHOULD make EVERY EFFORT to attend, unless it is just absolutely impossible for you to attend. If, on the other hand, you just feel like getting together and sharing, then that is good, but then realize that people should be FREE to attend or not, and that they should likewise be FREE to DO what they would like should they attend! For example, if you invite people around to visit you for a weekend it would be rather FORCED to EXPECT everyone to DO the SAME THING as EVERYONE ELSE! Some of you may wish to sit and chat, whilst someone else may wish to be IN your company, but not wanting to necessarily chat! The Scholars may wish to sit and compare notes on erudite subjects, whilst some just sit and listen! Some others may not enjoy technical discussions and would therefore prefer to read, or to go for a walk, or cook the next meal, or knit or play music, or whatever else, but it is exactly herein that lies that truly WONDER-FULL FAMILY feeling! B-:) Everyone is TOGETHER because they ENJOY each other's company, and yet NOT ALL of you necessarily have the same interests! B-:)
If I may again use an example. When the family at Hunter's Lodge and I get together we ARE all TOGETHER, yet we also do not ALWAYS sit together and share together, although sometimes we do! Often, though, we also tend to do our own thing! Russell enjoys discussing politics with Neil and Elizabeth, that is, if and when Elizabeth is NOT busy AMBUSHING someone, which is by far her GREATEST pastime! X and I enjoy cooking, and Y loves to help us, but most of all loves to lay the table, arrange the flowers, candles etc! Z loves to do whatever there is to be done, even if this is just to chat to someone, arrange the coffee tray, chocolates or whatever! L just enjoys sitting and listening, or else telling jokes or funny stories, or looking after everyone's drinks! M, being South, normally also wants to help in the kitchen! H loves washing up, but is often in trouble for being either too slow, or else not too good at her job! <g> But she has enormous fun anyway! Ralph and Sarah also like to help with the washing up! And B, well B is ALWAYS very willing to help wherever he can, but most of the time he just gets in everyone's way! <wg> So in the end he gets a warm hug, and is told to pack away the dishes, but as he can never remember where everything lives, we then spend the next few days trying to find them again! LOL! But all in all we enjoy being together! B-:)
Notwithstanding any of what I have shared I would also like to point out to you the REAL import of what it is to be a GROUP in the TRUE sense of the word and in relation to the Warrior's Path. Being a Group does NOT imply that you MUST meet regularly, or even gather regularly, UPON the PHYSICAL PLANE. Being a Group means that EACH and EVERY ONE of you are living IMPECCABLE lives and are STRIVING to make a difference in the world around you! What makes you a GROUP is this COMMON PURPOSE existing between ALL of you! Therefore the REAL IMPACT and therefore VALUE of the Group does NOT lie in the meetings or gatherings as such, but in the WORK that is being DONE COLLECTIVELY by the members of the Group at the LEVEL of the DREAMERS! In other words, it is through the GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS of your Dreamers that you as a Group have the GREATEST IMPACT as a Group!
Yes, what you DO on the physical plane IS IMPORTANT, and VERY important in terms of the INDIVIDUAL and his or her role or participation within the process of life! But when it comes to GROUP work you should realize that TRUE GROUP EFFORT can ONLY be effected and materialized through the FOCUSED and UNIFIED INTENT of EACH and EVERY ONE of you in terms of the One Purpose, namely, INCLUSIVENESS, and this has got ZERO to do with whether you meet, gather or not, for that focus and intent is HELD STEADY by the Dreamers, who are not bound by either space or time! The best way in which to grasp this is to think of it in the following way.
If you as an individual misbehave at a PHYSICAL meeting of the Group, the REAL work of the Group does not suffer as a consequence! The worst that will happen is that you will all learn from the folly! :) If, on the other hand, any one of you secretly lives a life that is NOT impeccable, then at the level of the Dreamers who are BOUND by GROUP-CONSCIOUSNESS, you are a LIABILITY to the WHOLE Group, as well as a DRAIN upon the focus and the intent of the WHOLE Group, and consequently the IMPACT that you as a Group SHOULD be having within the world is greatly diminished!
Friends, I am NOT in ANY way wanting to dictate to you what you should or should not do as far as your meetings or gatherings are concerned, for there is NO BETTER way in which to learn than through EXPERIENCE! I am merely offering you this guidance in the hope that it will serve to guide you into a greater understanding of what it is you are trying to achieve.