Why us? Why now?
Last week, Anna, Phil and myself were having one of our regular phone calls about the Diploma Course that we’re offering in January. After we’d checked-in with each other and talked ‘business’ for a while, the conversation began to deepen between us. We soon found ourselves exploring two questions in particular, why us? and, why now?
Here’s a paraphrased version of that conversation, if you’d like to eavesdrop…
SJ: I know we’ll make this diploma relevant to people’s careers and their professional development. We all embody spiritual competency, maturity and the grounded humility that comes along with this. Because we’ve had long careers in demanding roles within mainstream organisations we’re not naive about spirituality in these contexts, which is a very important dimension of the approach we collectively take.
Phil: Yes, similarly. I know that we three bring a unique and fascinating blend of experiences and backgrounds to this subject. We have all worked in large organisations for many many years, we have deep transpersonal experience, and we each sit happily on the ‘bridge’ between the mainstream and the alternative worlds. Our spirituality is grounded and accessible. I care about our world and I know that you do too. Millions of decisions get made every day right across our planet home, which directly and indirectly affect how we live and work, and that will affect the future health of every living thing for generations to come. Think about that. Some of these decisions are big and far reaching. Far more are small, almost incidental, and seemingly transactional. My dream is that the decisions any of us make will come from a place of love, and with an awareness of the needs of all current and future stakeholders. I know I share this vision with you both
Anna: For myself, when I think of either of you, the words that come to my heart and mind right now in this very moment are; safe, loving, clear, straight forward, intelligent, compassionate and present. Our paths crossed, however many years ago, and though we’ve each had our own trajectory since then, we’ve always remained in proximity to each other. This counts for something in my cosmic worldview, the fact that we’ve always energetically remained connected. So, over time I’ve learnt to trust you both as people I can depend upon. People who see me and embrace me as I am, however that is! And my feeling is that you’ve received the same from me. This way of relating between us is no small thing. It’s the very ground we stand on as we bring this project to fruition over the coming year. If we’re unable to see and hear each other into being, how can we do it for anyone else?
And why now?
Phil: In my professional work, coaching senior people in leadership effectiveness, I see such a need for a focus beyond the material. I’m convinced that when people are in balance intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, they are most likely to make decisions that take account of their teams, communities and wider society. To be in balance requires that first, we know what these areas mean for us and second, that we take action to promote and maintain health and wellbeing. We don’t usually talk about spirituality in this way, or in the workplace, even though meaning and purpose are at the heart of who we are. I’m excited that this programme gives space to explore these areas, in depth.
Anna: A phenomenal amount of commitment, attention, energy and expertise has gone into creating the Diploma. I trust the timing of it now because people have been preparing the ground for so long. For me, the timing is perfect because it’s also rooted in where we are culturally in this historical moment. There’s a groundswell of people who recognise that Practical Spirituality is a liberating, inclusive concept, and one they want to make deeper claim to. James Hollis, the Jungian writer and analyst, talks about the ‘burden of meaning’ falling onto the shoulders of individuals now that institutions don’t carry it for us anymore. Hollis regards this as both a terrifying and unique opportunity. I feel that too. If we are truly awake, we choose, repeatedly, to take full responsibility for ourselves with all this entails, to work to create a more just and compassionate world, and to embody the values that we hold as truth. I believe this course provides a framework for exploring each one of these interconnecting dimensions.
SJ :I see a strong need, particularly in the professional environment, for people who are both spiritually literate and who have a person-centred approach to spirituality. Spiritually literate means understanding and knowing how to engage with other people about their own sense of spirituality, whether this is about belief or no belief. We all know that spirituality means different things to different people; a person-centred approach focuses on what works for people on their own terms. This way of relating always starts with, “How do you connect with the wonder and energy of life? What works for you?” I believe the Diploma course enables people to deepen their spirituality in several ways; through being challenged and supported to heighten their self-awareness, to identify a daily spiritual practice that works for them, and in learning how to be of service to others in this arena. The world needs people who are mature and autonomous in their spiritual practices and who value diversity and inclusion. This programme has been designed for those people.
So that was our conversation. There’s always more, of course. Anna, Phil and I will be further immersed in this conversation with participants on the Diploma course from January through to the end of it in July, and beyond we trust…
If you have any questions or would like any information about the Diploma course please contact me.