I have had quite a number of different thoughts, feelings, and needs in relation to that document that I posted here on January 20th. One of the big ones for me has been a kind of discouragement, wanting to receive more feed-back, acknowledgement and active interest than I have been. But then I realize - I primarily wrote & worked-through that material for myself and my own clarity & understanding of what I am/have been wanting. Partnership is better acheived through other means than text.
One problem here is that I think that generally-speaking, people's attention gets lost in too many words. After a certain number of words, people's minds begin to wander, and they lose interest in the text at hand. I think that one of the big problems facing society today is people's lack of control over their own attention & ability to concentrate. One of the ways in which this is expressed is through the decline in reading, in general.
So if I express myself in writing here, in too many words, people will get lost and I will never hear from them again. If I express myself in person with too many words, people will tune out then as well, but I can notice that and then try to find their attention again. That is one advantage to face-to-face contact.
To be effective in conveying concepts to others, writing needs to be concise & consolidated in meaning. What is truly important & relevant to the situation at hand can be found and expressed succinctly. Approaching it in any other way is to do so primarily for my own benefit, or for the entertainment of the select few who possess the extraordinary stamina required to keep on reading.
I still feel as strong a desire as ever to create a new kind of group. This desire comes from my wanting to help in improving myself, others, and the world in multiple ways simultaneously. I do think that it can be done, and I want to do it.
One of the areas of improvement that I did not directly talk about in my last text and which I since have seen as being increasingly important to include is that which we can call "spiritual".
When I say "spiritual", I am referring to a kind of quality of experience, that we all have had at different times, in which we feel a connection & appreciation to something bigger & beyond ourselves that runs throughout all of life. The feelings associated with this kind of experience ranges anywhere from humble content-ness to ecstasy, from "subtle" to fully-immersive. The very nature of this experience is such that when words are used to describe it, they come out either sounding like poetic metaphor or jibberish.
The best means for understanding the "spiritual" are your own personal experiences with it. I am talking experiences here, not beliefs. Beliefs (religious or otherwise) at best can point to or guide one's spiritual experiences. At worst they get in the way of having them.
So why do I say that spirituality is so important? Well, consider these recent news stories.
Why would people do these kinds of things to other people?
I see this all being the result of people losing touch with that which is authentically spiritual in us.
I see things this way... People generally refrain from killing or abusing one-another out of a fundamental respect for people. We have this respect because we see people as being a special kind of life. This has meaning to us because we have at different points felt that particular kind of connection to "something greater" that flows throughout all of life - and that leaves an impact on us. This gives us a deep, perhaps even non-verbal, understanding that these people too are connected with that. Hurting others then doesn't make any sense, because it is akin to hurting yourself & more, and it feels wrong in a very profound way. Having spiritual experiences tends to predispose one to do the opposite of that.
I think the more that people have a "spiritual poverty" in their lives, ie, less & less contact with authentic spiritual experiences, the easier it then becomes to see other people, yourself, life itself even as being utterly meaningless & devoid of value. I say "authentic" spiritual experiences to make a distinction from moments of being carried away by emotions or imagination which can lead to fanaticism or psychosis. I see authentic spiritual experience leading inevitably to a pure compassionate desire to serve life.
One thing that stands out to me during my times in New Orleans is the difference in character and energy-levels between those who were volunteering there for spiritual or religious reasons, and those there for other reasons (including myself). The spiritual-oriented folks seemed to have more of an optimism & vibrancy about them, and this seemed to be the case regardless of any particular religion or spiritual path.
This all leads me to see spiritual experience, of any form, as a source of a kind of "life-energy" needed to keep going - especially in tough times or situations. I had a few spiritual experiences in New Orleans, some of which were written about here. These were scattered & irregular, and I would like to find ways to consciously induce them. To have a sort of steady reliable fuel source, so to speak.
So I would like to be a part of a volunteer group that has meditation and spiritual exercise as a part of it's daily routine. I think that daily routine as a group supports greater discipline and likelihood of actually carrying it out, as well as lending more of a context for meaning to the activity. A practice of regular meditation I believe can strengthen the abilities of concentration & control over one's own attention.
Essentially what I am looking for now with others to move forward in creating this new volunteer group are people who simultaneously have these three qualities to them:
1) A shared understanding of the nature of people and general outlook on life
2) A shared committment to practicing present-moment life-skills (inter-personal, emotional, meditative, spiritual)
3) A shared fundamental comfort with living in an alternative non-materialistic (ie, "dirt poor but loving it") communal life-style
I admit, this is a relatively rare and obscure grouping of people that I am looking for. However, I was recently heartened to read these words by the fringe New Age theorist Tom Montalk:
"Your spiritual family exists right now scattered about, it's just a matter of timing and preparation for these to gather."
So what I have committed to do now is to take steps to better prepare & improve myself, as well as to meet others with like minds/hearts/paths. I will also continue to put more attention into the vision of the new volunteer group that I want in hopes of getting increasing clarity & self-understanding around it.
When ready, what is needed will appear. This is a certain kind of trusting + action.