I would like to continue from where I left off at the end of the last post where I alluded to my “contemplative life”. I’m amused that this topic should be the focus of just my second post – an indication of its importance to me. I’m amused because I arrived in Findhorn nine years ago with a very long-held material and sceptical worldview. I believed I was without a spiritual bone in my body, a stance I had held since childhood. By the age of 12, I had decided there was no one (Judeo-Christian-Islamic) God. I studied science at school and university and, in time, became a social scientist. I still value the scientific method, take nothing at face value and seek evidence for any phenomenon that stretches my credulity (such as angels, devas and nature spirits, for those of you who know Findhorn). I have never believed in an afterlife.

As a teenager, I struggled to make sense of life, convinced there was no heaven, no God-given guidance by which one lives, indeed, no ostensible meaning to life? So I researched – searching for meaning in moral philosophy, political theory and existentialist literature. And I reasoned. I decided that if the gift of life on this Earth is all there is, then I damned well better make the most of it, else waste a unique and precious opportunity. I slowly developed a humanist worldview, seeing that we humans are born with enormous potential for growth, development and magnificent achievement. And yet sadly, most of us never realize more than what? 10%? 5%? 1% of that potential? I started to see unfulfilled human potential as that which provides meaning in life.

Ultimately, I came up with a home-spun ethos of my own by which I believed I could live and make sense of my life. I reasoned that creativity is a key potential that remains unfulfilled in most people. We are innately a creative species, evidenced by our extraordinary cultural and scientific development. Surely, creativity is one of our primary drives as a species. And yet, as individuals most of us rarely tap our creative potential. So I resolved, there and then, to strive as best I could to develop my creativity. But, I reasoned, this can be quite an individualistic, self-centred pursuit. Having read the kind of left wing political literature prevalent in the sixties, I had developed quite a strong socialist/egalitarian streak (one for all and all for one). The notion of a self-absorbed drive to realize one’s unique creative potential worried me.

The principle of service seemed to offer a balance. If developing one’s creativity was about meeting the needs of the individual, then service offered the opportunity to give something back. So it seemed equally important to realize one’s potential for service… to family, community, society and the planet. Happy with that, I still felt there was something missing – something that tied these two impulses together… integrating them somehow. Love provided the answer. I reasoned that whatever one does, should be done with love. And that the third imperative by which I would live my life, would be to deepen into love… in all its various manifestations. I would pursue greater creativity, with love; and I would seek to serve, with love. And I would love, with love.

So there you have it – my home-spun, tripartite, raison d’être. I saw these three impulses: creativity, service and love, as a kind of holy trinity. Developing my potential in these three arenas would be my purpose, my code of conduct and my ‘religion’. And so it’s been all my life. Whenever I’ve had a decision to make, large or small, I assess it against these three criteria and decide accordingly. I ask, “What choice will enable me to best grow creativity, service and/or love?” It’s as easy and as difficult as that.

This post has turned into a rather long-winded preamble. I set out to write about my life at Findhorn – my spiritual practices. (Those practices will now have to be the subject of the next post.) The relevance of the above, I think, lies in the congruence that I feel here, in this community. At Findhorn, we similarly value creativity, service and love; indeed, these are three central tenets to our community’s spirituality. It could be said that our key ‘mantra’, “work is love in action” synthesises these three aspects of our culture. We see all work as an act of service. We bring divine love to a task when we are fully present, engaged and acting in service. And action, certainly as it was modelled by Peter Caddy, is creativity made manifest.

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Herein lays the source of my contentment here at Findhorn. Living in this community enables greater alignment between my values and my lifestyle. This, for me, is crucial to personal wellbeing. Furthermore, living here has enriched my daily life. It has provided practices that enable me to further cultivate my purpose.  As the practices have become second nature, so my contentment has deepened. What’s more, living in this community for nine years has softened my worldview, a lot! Much of that change has occurred in the last few years. It took its time, but eventually Findhorn worked its magic on my somewhat limited worldview. And I’m extremely grateful for that.

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