Just as fewer people feel satisfied with conventional belief systems more are wanting to explore their spirituality beyond beliefs, concepts, creeds and the structures of organised meetings of any sort that have agendas and goals.
Consequently, many are exploring their spirituality on their own, yet they feel isolated and unsupported, finding a magic conversation here and a chance remark there with a stranger. This vacuum of community does enable us to appreciate connection, however it comes. A burst of sunlight from behind the clouds, the blossoming of a flower or watching young children play can be enough to connect us with our inner joy again. Suddenly we experience we live in a world where we are not actually alone, where there is unconditional Love available for all.
For the past 3 years following a clear request from its readers, The Cygnus Review has been publicising the possibility of setting up local meetings for its readers and their friends across the UK, simply – to be, together.
The meeting’s format is kept to a bare minimum, based on 12 years experience of holding such monthly meetings at a retreat centre in the Cotswolds. There are no agendas or any need for shared beliefs. No one knows how the meeting will go, least of all the one who happens to be holding the space this time. We sit in a circle and introduce ourselves, where we are from and perhaps a sentence or two about what brought us here today. For the rest, we speak one at a time from our hearts about what is living within us, in the present. Quite frequently we may lapse into a convivial stillness enjoying each other’s presence without the need for words. At others, we may listen intently with our hearts to a sharing of a recent breakthrough or breakdown from one of our companions. Naturally, we spontaneously refrain from attempting to “fix” or judge them. Together we inwardly ask for the highest good to happen to all present or involved in the current story being shared. This opens us to actually trusting that the universe has all in hand, whether or not we can comprehend how this might be.
For those who are used to organising specific topics, it may seem a bit of a backward step. “Surely, these meetings will just turn into social gatherings?” some have said. This can happen. However, having supported between 80-90 groups over the past 3 years we have learned a lot about “keeping it real”, by making lots of little explorations/ mistakes/ learnings and sharing them amongst the groups. We have discovered that the “getting to know you all” period can drag on rather a long time and topics can remain rather superficial or intellectual without the group setting a clear intention for the meetings.
What that intention is at any one time is up to each group, in the moment, to set. Sometimes it can be shared during a meeting, especially if there are new people present or participants can already set their intention in the days before the meeting, so that when they arrive their whole being has a chance to already “be” there. Something along the lines of “let everything we contribute be in harmony with the highest good” or “may the results of this meeting be for the highest good of all concerned.”
What is said is not as important as the actual intention in each heart present at the meeting. We don’t know it all, but we know that each moment in our lives offers just what we need to help overcome our current resistance to “letting go” of control in our lives and letting the universe carry us along in its flow. Like jumping into a fast flowing river, we cannot “half do it” We’ll only jump in when we absolutely trust that all shall be well.
Some of the local groups called Cygnus Cafes have elements of structure, some may even bring speakers in or have pre-arranged topics to discuss. This is fine, but we have noticed a mismatch of expectations. Someone wishing to explore heart to heart conversations is a bit disorientated to be given a lecture or be told they are expected to talk about the I-Ching or their relationships, for instance. Likewise, someone expecting to sit back and listen to an author may feel confused with a group sitting and sharing their life experiences.
For this reason, I have left Cygnus to create a sister list of groups that have a couple of things in common. None have agendas, schedules or speakers, instead they aspire to live in the moment and allow the conversation to flow from heart to heart. Groups can be on both lists if they wish, but only the free-flowing ones are eligible to be listed on the http://www.auroragatherings.com website.
A word about the name, Aurora.
After considering perhaps a hundred or more possible names, this one felt just right. On research, we discovered that Aurora means,
“The first rays of the Sun that chase away the dark night sky before the orb of the sun slips over the horizon”.
This moment seems to be just where we are, daily re-aquatinting ourselves with our very own inner connection or spiritual sun. Each day is a new opportunity to watch for the rays of our inner connection to illumine our daily routines and shed light on them, to chase away the clouds of our inner resistances, whether they be springing from our conditioning, our isolated willpower or our egocentric fears that we are ultimately alone and unloved, which is why we so often feel we need to control our environment, “to make things safe”.
If you wish to explore with us or start a local group along these lines contact me, Geoff Napier on 01285 762 982, or email firstname.lastname@example.org There is additional information on the http://www.auroragatherings.com website.