Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quakers in Los Alamos: an Oxymoron?

Event: Sunday, 25 September 2011; Updated:

My second meeting with the Quakers took place in a private home in Los Alamos. I love the first hour of complete silence! Two members from the Santa Fe community, who had been at my first meeting were there, but I hadn't recognized them. As is the custom of Quaker meetings, at the end of the period of silence those who feel led by the spirit are invited to speak. The hostess shared a story from the national organization. I felt like singing a song, but resisted the prompting at first. "Why don't you ask permission to sing?" the prompting continued. So I sang a favorite old spiritual from 1830s Tennessee.

I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger
Travelin' through this world of woe
And there no sickness, no toil, no danger
In that bright land to where I go.
I'm goin' there to see my father
I'm goin' there no more to roam
I'm just a goin' over Jordan
I'm just a goin' over home.
I know dark clouds will gather 'round me.
I know my way is rough and steep.
But golden fields lie just beyond me
And souls redeemed no longer sleep.
I'm goin' there to meet my mother.
She said she'd meet me when I come.
I'm just a comin' over Jordan.
I'm just a comin' over home.

We then gathered at the dining table for a potluck lunch. During our chat, I was asked about why I had come to Los Alamos and mentioned both the Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum and my interest in dream work. Shari, one of the two from the Santa Fe meeting, expressed special interest and disclosed having studied dream interpretation with experts, including the well-known Jeremy Taylor, a Unitarian minister, whose work I'm also familiar with. Encouraged by her interest, I asked if everyone would be willing to try my simple CREEI process as a group experiment. They readily agreed, and I asked them all to recall a dream without disclosing its content, while I asked my twelve standard questions.

In this setting I did not ask for titles for the dreams nor did I take notes as I usually do. But they seemed to get the idea how a group such as this can develop closer community in the process of doing inner work (privately answering the questions) while being aware of how others were answering. A simultaneous inner/outer process.

Shari then stunned me with an observation. How appropriate it seemed to have introduced my dreamwork and LADDOF to them as Quakers and didn't it now make more sense why Quakers were in Los Alamos?!

There it was! Our purposes coincided and I marveled why this connection hadn't occurred to me earlier.

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