|Deborah Boyer left, as Terry and Malcolm encounter the Beloved.|
|The workshop was held at the lovely TAI Center near Madison Square Garden.|
On the second day we did a glorious version of the three body workout which Terry is now calling the 3D workout: stretching our bodies, our sensing souls, and our spirits to the inner, intimate, and infinite faces of God. And then we prayed. Patten does a magnificent job of re-envisioning prayer in a way that opens the possibility of it again for those of us who have left behind the mythical God of our childhood. (The only other person I know with a comparably deft approach to "post-atheist prayer" is Brian McLaren, as I report at Does Mature Conscious Prayer Get Better Results?)
Lurching to Freedom
We broke into groups of three, and I was lucky to have as my partners two beautiful young men who had helped to organize the weekend: Michael Stern and Armando Davila. Going first, I decided NOT to use my comfortable and beloved format: affirmative prayer from New Thought. Instead I lurched and stumbled my way through two minutes of out-loud prayer, trying out several approaches. Next came Armando who said his communion with the Divine often takes him to ecstatic states. His prayer had a simple, direct, quiet, purposefulness. Then came Michael, who spends an hour a day in prayer and meditation. In deep and sonorous tones like the tolling of a cathedral's bell, he called forth the energy of God to share with the world.
Unlike earlier exercises, we didn't share much about ourselves, and yet I felt a strong connection and love among the three of us. And THAT confirmed something I'd been sensing. The quality of "we space" that develops in the two conditions--personal sharing and group prayer-- is completely different and not interchangeable. I need both! I want both! I intend to create both! (I also felt simultaneously grateful for the structure of affirmative prayer, and freed to experiment with other formats.)
My only regret is that I didn't get to hear from every person their experience of that exercise. We did each get a chance to say a final word at the end of the workshop. And in that round, I heard from those who were unmoved by the prayer exercise, as well as from those like my normally quiet homie Bennett Crawford--who radiated a starburst of joy as he told of feeling liberated to pray (see video clip below). Picking up that theme, the next fellow said, "My name is Dan, and I love God," getting a laugh. DC's newest member Jonathan Pratt said that if the world was like the workshop, we'd all live in heaven.
Bennett Crawford shares his experience at the end of the workshop
In Love with My Integral Possee
Taking the workshop with members of my practice group from DC doubled the richness of the adventure. I drove up with six fellow members of the DC Integral Emergence Meetup: Coordinators Malcolm Pettus and Anita Conner, Barbara Kinney, Bennett Crawford, and intrepid newbie Jonathan Pratt. We used the car ride up and back to get to know each other at deeper levels, developing a bond of love we didn't want to break at the end of the ride back home.
| DC Integral Emergence Coordinators Malcolm Pettus and Anita Conner|
drive us to Terry Patten workshop in NYC. Take us out, Mr. Zulu.
|The DC crew at a great Thai restaurant around the corner from the Tryp on 9th Ave.|
The workshop was the first in a series organized by volunteers from the new organizations Integral Alignment and Universal Consciousness. We'll be back.
|DC crew packs up for home.|