back to main Events page

Introduction
Why Seven Clusters?
Why The Golden Rule?
Why Human Dignity?
Why Economy?
Conclusion
Library/Resources
Programme Suggestion
How To Get Here

Walking Meditation

heptagon

Introducing a Walking Meditation project
World-Views in Dialogue
at
Evera – Trentham, Victoria.

Henk Bak, 17 August 2013

This introduction is intended to make a contribution to the ongoing dialogue between religions which is both traditional and new.
Walking meditations at Evera offer a setting with a bush-land location, meditations in the form of a pilgrimage and the inclusion of philosophy and secular humanism in the dialogue. The invitation is extended to ‘re-visit’ the original spiritual impulse of each world-view, before it became embodied in the structures that later evolved as the means to realize its original potential, and intended to bring people closer to what for them was and is the most sacred: God, Cosmic Law, Human Dignity…

Here is the new rule;
Break the wine glass
And fall toward
The Glassblower’s breath.
Jall-al-din Rumi   

There is little need to seek a ‘common ground’. One shares the earth, nature, the light, the wind by walking on it and in it…
And the surrounding stillness is a good space for our listening.

The medium by which spirits understand each other
is not the surrounding air,
but the freedom they possess in common.
S.T Coleridge

After having dwelt for a brief time in each of the main sacred sites and having immersed ourselves in what makes each of them sacred in its own way, and after having walked in meditation from site to site on common ground - under the one sky, on the one earth - we might do well to sit around for a conversation. Emerging from a meditative stillness we may share our experiences, observations, insights and – perhaps – some glimpses of a future in which our origins and present understanding appear in a new light and new possibilities getting closer to the source or goal…

To be silent.
One who practiced silence more intently
touches on the roots of speech.
R.M.Rilke

Why Seven Clusters?

Shouldn’t we come to a different kind of human dignity?
To the one becoming to the human being:
the dignity of higher insight
and respectful willingness to serve the great universal life
Shin Gwydion Fontalba.

There are 7 clusters of trees and three other on the walk, dedicated - in a kind of spiral order from the outside inward  - to: Indigenous/Aboriginal spiritual cultures, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Dao, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Secular Humanism, “Perennial Philosophy” and in the centre the “Ocean of Life”, source and goal of all philosophies and religions.

Life wants to renew itself.  The living spirit is greater than the body it inhabits. The spirit of each of the “world-views” is greater than the ways and forms through which they embody, understand and express themselves.

The project is open for the dialogue to be informed by the deeper perceptions and profound understandings flowing from initiation teachings and training within the different philosophical and religious streams. What used to be hidden as ‘occult’ or ‘esoteric’ is now available, either in confused, distorted and commercialized ways on the consumerist ‘spiritual supermarket’ or in well established contexts of integrity and competence.

Why the Golden Rule?

Do not treat others in ways
In which you yourself don’t want to be treated.

Expressed at different times, in different ways and cultures, the Golden Rule can be seen as crystallization of living customs and laws that have guided peoples for thousands of years in their relation with one another (‘horizontal’) as well as with nature, higher realities, laws or beings (‘vertical’)

These customs and laws had been formulated during the “axial time” (ca. 1500BCE ---ca. -600CE) when the World-Views developed their current forms, texts and practices and when economic and political life was (still) embedded in a spiritual culture for which the natural world was an expression of spiritual presence as well.  

Since public life has been fragmented into its ecological/economic, legal/political and reflective/cultural functions, (a second “axial time?”),  the Golden Rule has remained as philosophical and/or religious guidance for individuals’ private lives, but lost its role as basic rule for all public life.

Why Human Dignity?

The dignity of the human being is sacrosanct.
Thus it is stated by the Declaration of Human Rights
and this sentence stands as a rock in history.
Shin Gwydion Fontalba

By declaring Human Dignity the inviolable basis of all human rights, the United Nations laid the foundation stone for re-integrating the Golden Rule into public life.

Each religion and philosophy may – out of its own traditional customs and laws – have something to contribute e.g. towards turning our economic institutions into instruments for the realization of the Golden Rule in public life, e.g. Aboriginal law of sharing, Mosaic Law; Economic Sharia, Balinese Banjar etc. And more recent spiritual teachings outside the mainstream have offered new insights and practices to help heal and transform our ways with the planet.

After 40 years active involvement with the teaching of R.Steiner and then Shin Gwydion, 35 years of Bio-Dynamic compost making and over 10 years of Teaching in the Melbourne Steiner Teacher Training seminar, plus pioneering ethical investment. I can vouch for the validity of approaches that in many ways are fruitful beyond the mainstream levels of scientific understanding and practical application. And I am sure that others have similar experiences with other spiritually based approaches beyond the mainstream.  (e.g. Sri Aurobindo or Vandana Shiva, in india)

Why Economy?

The essence of economy in one word: attention.
O.Mikhael Aivanhov

The creation of an economy that works for all requires a wisdom like the one nature displays in its most mysterious processes of digestion and reproduction. It needs spiritual awareness and guidance at an even deeper level than the political process to establish justice or facilitating the freedom in which creative culture can thrive.

To break the consumerism that now consumes the earth requires a transformation in the order of an evolutionary step.  Attention to the true nature of consumption and the sacredness of daily bread has always been a spiritual concern .Todays focus is to awaken economic life to its own deepest spiritual origin and task, to enable all of us to live and work in the care and dignity of a true human sisterhood/brotherhood in partnership with nature.

Conclusion

The experience with this project, when mediating on my own or with some participants, has over the last 7 years been very enriching for myself and for others.
I hope that many ‘fellow travelers’ on the road to mutual understanding and appreciation between faiths and philosophies, feel by this short introduction invited to come, individually or in groups, to  share the experience and contribute to this mutually enriching process.

The project might also be helpful for teachers and senior high school students as part of an interfaith, comparative religion subject.

From experience I realize that it is difficult to fix dates that suit everyone’s agenda, hence most visits happen by appointment. An open day is envisaged in the beginning of February (World’s Religions Harmony week), beginning of June (in anticipation of mid-winter, when the weather is still comfortable)  and around the 4th of October, festival of St Francis, worldwide patron –saint for ecology and date of the public launch of the Free and Non-denominational Movement for the Protection and Enhancement of Human Dignity  (2009)

The Library/Resources

The project is supported by a modest library, which is open for participants to explore…

Some references relevant to this introduction:

  1. Nguyen Anh-Huong & Thich Nhat Hanh. Walking Meditation, Sounds True Inc. Boulder USA 2006   
     -*-Inspiration for the form of the project.
  2. Earth Celebration 1997 25th – 28th September 1997 in Waldenburg-Wasserfallen, Switzerland  Ganga Verlag  Walzenhausen. Switzerland. 
    -*- The inspiration for the content of the project.
  3. A.P. Shepherd. A Scientist of the Invisible An introduction to the life and work of Rudolf Steiner.  (1954)  Floris Books Edinburgh 1983.
    -*-  Canon Shepherd, Anglican priest, Vice-Dean of Worcester Cathedral, demonstrating  the relevance of Steiner’s spiritual work  for many fields of life including religion.
  4. Anonymus (Valentin Tomberg)  Meditations on the Tarot. A  Journey into Christian Hermeticism. Element Books UK 1991
    -*- “It is simply astonishing. I have never read such an extensive account of the ‘perennial philosophy’ [..]. There is hardly a line without some profound significance. [..] To me it is the last word of wisdom.” Bede Griffith. In: Beyond the Darkness. New York 1999 

Programme Suggestion

In general terms the programme for a group/individual visit to participate in this project would look as follows:

10.00  - 10.30 am: Welcome with refreshments, to arrive.
10.30 - 11.00 am: Introduction to the project.
11.00 - 1.00pm: Walking Meditation.
1.00 - 2.00pm:  Lunch: Bring something to share.
2.00 - 3.30pm: Conversation, reflection and closing meditation.
3.30 - 4.00pm:  Farewell with refreshments before departure.

Drinks and biscuits for morning and afternoon tea provided.

Contribution: by donation to cover expenses.

How To Get Here:

By train:

Bendigo Line to Woodend and then coach to Trentham:  limited service, weekdays only, please check current timetable.

By car:

Calder freeway - from direction Melbourne exit Woodend/Macedon or from direction Bendigo exit Woodend/Romsey. In Woodend, turn off to Daylesfor/Trentham. In Trentham, Forest Street is the first Street to the left after the sign ‘Trentham’. No 14 is to the left.
Western Freeway - exit Greendale/Blackwood, Trentham. At T intersection turn right: Forest Street is the last street to the right.  
From Daylesford - follow Main Street/High Street : last street to the right is Forest Street.

For information/bookings: phone 54241702 or hbak@westnet.com.au  or write to Henk Bak, 14 Forest Street, Trentham 3458

photo of golden wattle blossom

Daoist Cluster

Back To Top