Reflections: Sacred Conversation through Active Presence

Do you ever have conversations with your spirit helpers or higher Self/ teacher and you’re not on a shamanic journey or disciplined into an expanded state of consciousness?    These are conversations you might have in a journey, except maybe you’re out on a walk or sitting in a quiet room and just ask your question or begin conversation, and you feel connected and can engage with Spirit.  Experience would tell me that there are several variables to this type of spontaneous conversation: maintaining a spiritual practice, need or desire, and invoking Presence.  I wish I had the frame of mind to do it more often. I think it is possible to negotiate life in an integrated fashion, but also have to admit there may be circumstances that are surprising and intense, when I react more from my gut than from Spirit.  That’s because I am human, and there will be times yet to come when I did not feel I responded with my personal best.  That’s why I have a spiritual practice.

But here’s a thought: why can’t we engage each other soul to soul?  Rumi called it sohbet, or mystical conversation with the Friend.  Such conversation requires a convergence of active Presence between participants.  An idea I had years ago was for about seven people to sit in a circle, each reading a different translation of the same text from the Tao Te Ching.  Each translation would shed light from a different angle.  But the goal, as I saw it, was to improvise on translation – to allow the text to lead one to the Source.  In other words: sacred conversation through active Presence.

There are sacred words in a variety of traditions that were intended to lead to a soul to soul recognition, such a Namaste, Aloha, Ho, Amen, Hu, Hallelujah, Om, Shalom, and Allah.  What frequently happens is that the words become integrated – either into everyday speech or into a liturgical context – without emphasis on the Source.  In other words, people may be exchanging the words without exchanging the Presence.

It’s important not to fake this, like fake speaking in tongues in order to feel accepted by a group that endorses fake speaking in tongues.  It’s a matter of extending the context through which we commune with compassionate spirits and the Divine.  Maybe a one-word conversation is as far as it goes.  Or maybe, one word can build.

To address our friends or loved ones in sacred conversation means to see the god or goddess in them – to communicate with the transpersonal in mind.

I think anyone who sits in circle with an open heart, or attends transcendent ceremony, is probably sharing sacred conversation, even if that conversation is deep silence.

A talking stick (or crystal, feather…) is often a way for members of a circle to express themselves from the heart.  If the table is set correctly, given an opportunity to connect with spirits or Presence, it can also be a way to speak soul to soul.

Any sacred gathering can give space to allowing their spirits or soul to speak and converse on an intended topic.  This is not the same as channeling.  We are present, integrated with the Presence while we speak.  We may be consciously speaking for a spirit, with a spirit, or about a spirit with which we still feel connection. If we are speaking from a connected source, I’m not sure it matters how we label our speech.  What’s important is that we do not speak from the isolated “alone.” Speaking the words of Spirit need not produce a major revelation of prophecy.  Perhaps all you will speak is “Hu” or fill the room with silence.  When a conversation circle becomes a shared intention, each participant may continue their part of the conversation from the perspective of their acquired Presence, building through group connection (because one of the goals of Presence is connecting).

Outside of ceremony or individual practice, we can still practice sacred conversation through active Presence in almost any context.  The practice does not involve obvious trance. It’s possible that a sacred object or inner phrase will become a dedicated method to link back.  Our connection may feel more tame, but that doesn’t mean it will be less reliable. The language of our speaking needs to match circumstance.  Perhaps we would begin: “It occurs to me…”  Timing may be significant.  There is always some other aspect of soul or spirit that will listen, even if the moment seems all too brief.

There is a viewpoint that suggests the necessity of bringing our practice into the world.  This is often referred to as engaged or active practice.  I’ve even heard it suggested that a practice that is only personal may be selfish, and that a practice that is engaged with social consciousness is more useful.  I personally feel that both private and public practice have their place.  Sacred conversation through active Presence can be practiced with an intentional individual or group, or privately, or privately in public. It is possible to practice sacred conversation without the need to advertise.  When you bring the practice of sacred conversation into the world, you give life to those words or phrases that become genuine greeting and points of connection.  As a practice increases, one may target specific situations.  The goal is to increasingly engage the world with an integrated Presence.  It may seem like it’s asking a lot, you do what you can.

But what’s the alternative?  It occurs to me that unnecessary trouble can result from negotiating life situations in a disconnected or unintegrated state.   It’s bound to happen – we’re human.  But, given a moment’s pause, it may be possible to engage the world with connectedness or integration in a moment when it matters – when the sacred drum or meditation hall are nowhere in sight.  It occurs to me that when we are connected we make better choices and are more likely to be useful in any given situation.  It occurs to me that this requires attention.

Engage in the process of sacred conversation, either alone or in a group, with discrimination.  You don’t want to channel an unconscious complex or repressed feelings.  If your intention is focused, you will connect with a more informed aspect of your universe (perhaps more easily than you thought likely).  One method of bringing our spirit into the world is to rally Spirit when we are in a space that is more conducive to that connection, then “bring it with you” back into the world, to see It alive in the places you are likely to target or roam.  With practice, I feel one can conjure the Presence without need for “prior authorization or communion.”

Note on any comments that may follow: While I’m certainly not intending to limit whatever sorts of comments any gentle reader may wish to make, it occurs to me that it might be of interest and amplitude if folks made their comments with the assistance of sacred conversation through active Presence.

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