Woke up not wanting to go to church this morning (Child Ego State). I talked to myself, put on my Sunday best and made my way to the house. Dev, Kuldip, Sunil and Robert arrived and we chatted together. Karaj brought down the large painting of the depiction of Christ on the cross which he had bought in a gallery in Sicily some years back and it seemed a suitable introduction to my first voluntary church visit ever. The picture was beautiful.
A Visit To Church
As we approached the church, I felt nervous and as we entered I felt very challenged. Here I was embracing everything I had so vehemently argued against for so many years. We walked through the entrance hall of the modern building – it was completely different to my image of a church which was a big help. Nevertheless, as we approached the doors to the main hall I called Sunil and Dev to me. I needed people around me because I did feel very challenged by the whole experience. There were, however, three reasons why I did not turn around and walk straight back out again:
- My experience of the prayers from last Sunday
- The company of the others
- The love I felt as soon as we walked into the main hall
When the preacher began, I received my biggest test. He was a young man, about my age, and he displayed the commitment and passion which I had shown in all my arguments with people when in my twenties. He was vociferous, incessant and unrelenting – just like I used to be. I could therefore have no problem with his attitude and although he gave me a headache, I knew there would be something in his sermon for me. Indeed there was. I was touched when he said that it was the name Jesus which had burnt the heroin and the hatred out of his body. Something had clearly changed his life and he was fully committed to it
Getting In Touch With Who We Are
He went on to say that if we allow our spirit to connect with the spirit of God, then our lives will change instantly and our prayers will be answered even before they are uttered. I could relate to this because I am in the process of letting go and I am finding my true self. I am beginning to touch my inner core and my life is changing. After church we sat in the garden and discussed what the sermon had meant for each of us. Sunil talked about breaking the curse each of us carries in our heart when we are not truly free. Karaj equated this with our script. That is what we are doing in the group. We are freeing ourselves from our own curse. Beautiful.
The preacher had clearly found peace with himself – he knows who he is and he has no problem with his identity. As Karaj said, life is simple, there is no need to complicate it. All we need to do is get in touch with who we are and live it. When we do that we open up and begin to experience the love which is all around us. That is what I have been doing over the last few weeks – I am getting in touch with myself and I am seeing and feeling the love which is around me – something I have never consciously felt before.
The six of us then enjoyed a delicious lunch with Shona, followed by a spontaneous session of painting. It was just like being back at school. We all painted a card for Diwali and had a wonderful time doing so. My first reaction was one of bewilderment and nerves at what I would paint and my lack of ability (negative), but I soon settled down because there were no rules and, despite what the four-year-old Karaj opposite me said, it was not a competition
Struck By The Power…
For the rest of the afternoon there was great activity in the garden putting all the materials under the awning at the end of the garden. I took the opportunity to rest and to clean the office. As I did so I knew I would miss the men’s presence tomorrow morning. I took them some tea and chocolates for their break – I remembered Karaj’s words about how motivational it is to receive even just a visit when work is going on.
It was dark by the time I had finished hoovering and tidying my office and I rejoined the men to see how they were getting on. I was delighted when the opportunity arose to lend a hand as the final touches were made to another excellent job and as I sat before the five men, with the light from the lamp shining across their faces, I was struck by the power of them all and I recalled the imagery of the Irish gang which Robert had encountered as a forester. In yesterday’s group he had explained that the band of Irish roadbuilders he met were so effective because they worked so well together as a cohesive unit – each one playing its part and being supported fully by the others.
…And The Love
At one point in the supervision session Robert challenged Kuldip and I was moved not only by the love with which he did so but also by how much he is coming into his own in this space and fulfilling his potential. The same was true with Sunil’s contribution to the afternoon’s work – he has been in his element. I thought to myself. ‘I can’t compete with these two…but I can do what I do’. I am unique and I have something special to offer. Karaj continued by saying that the contribution which the men are making is what I have always wanted. For months I could not understand why the men were not taking the opportunities they had here. That has all changed and the men are now grabbing everything with both hands, and it is wonderful.
Today has been the culmination of a special few days which, above all else, have shown me the love which exists for us all. Karaj summed it up beautifully at the end of the day when he said, ‘Let us continue this love affair’.