This is the second workshop in the series Archetypal Dimensions of Spiritual Guidance. I actually missed it because I chose to go to Mexico, I got punished by a day of rain, however my friend Lynn has kept beautiful notes. This particular archetype represents the perspective of holding love and compassion for both oneself and for others in times of adversity and challenge. Atum presented a beautiful prayer titled the one who hears the cries, “Hold us in the heart of infinite compassion. in your presence we find refuge acceptance on the blessing of graceful peace.”
I realize going through the notes of the weekend that not a lot resonated for me. So I think the best I can do is reflect on how this archetype manifests itself in my life and how I work with it. This archetype does not personalize easily for me. For example to use someone like Kwan Yin, Jesus or Buddha really doesn’t have any positive energy for me and as James Hollis says that “when for whatever reason the energy no longer enlivens that image for us that structure dies for us as a source of the divine, the energy has departed leaving a dry husk.” (I have realized during this program that I need to find my own way and not all of the practices or teachings will apply or resonate to me.)
As far as this archetype is concerned I will review it from three different perspectives. Firstly how is this archetype relevant to my life at the moment? I am frequently the hearer of the cries with both Spiritual Coaching clients and friends. What I deal with ranges from fear of death and dying, progressive illness and relationship issues, financial issues to work issues. My primary role is to listen and empathize and stay out of judgment or problem solving. The cry needs to be heard not addressed however I may offer some tools to help cope – a book, a prayer, a poem or a meditation, but my primary role is to hold them. I observe that those who have a strong belief system may be able to use their faith to sustain them however frequently faith can be severely tested. Sometimes this leads me into an exploration of faith and occasionally into stories about how my faith has been restored. (I keep a Soul Journal that features experiences that provide the foundation for my faith; when I am tested I read them,) I realize that not everyone has resources to call upon when confronted with adversity, tragedy, challenge and change in their lives and I often become a primary resource. I notice there is sometimes a need to explore a current “God” concept as certainty in the old gets severely tested. As the Indian sage Tukaram observed, “Certainty undermines one’s power, and turns happiness into a long shot. Certainty confines. Dears, there is nothing in your life that will not change – especially your ideas of God.”
Secondly, in terms of when I have a cry I need to be heard, I know I have been exceedingly fortunate in building a community of friends who I can share intimately my concerns and challenges. Some are from the SG community and some outside. They are mostly counselors, therapists and coaches and all share a common commitment to the journey of the soul. In addition my relationship to my belief system helps me hold my own drama in the context of the mystery.
Thirdly, on a less personal scale there are there is the need to hold the state of the world and the “cries” that arise. I try to avoid exposing myself to too much needless drama. What gets through I hold in the context of mystery. I experienced a major crisis last year struggling with the comparison of my amazing life and the state of the planet. It came back to learning to hold the paradoxes that we all encounter. The way I do this is within the context of a greater mystery.
Atum asked a pivotal question, “What archetype will you bring to the cries when you can’t carry them?” I think my archetype relates to one of the mystery supported by the power of my community and the ability to transport myself into natural beauty. Like Wendell Berry, “I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water.” and it helps me live in a paradoxical world.