My Beloveds of Whom we are all One,
As I travel through the Transcendent Leadership program this first year and prepare for the second year, I have had periods of intense study and periods of simply being in the Presence, and through it all a greater sense of connection with That Which Is.
This summer I thought about one of the books that had a significant influence in my life, Saint Francis by Nikos Kazantzakis. I was working at DuPont in a Teflon plant at the time, circa 1971, a recent chemical engineering graduate from Penn State, ready to make lots of money but knowing I was not really an engineer. This book assisted me in making my transition out of that work and into becoming a seeker, as I used to refer to myself. I searched for the book and found a paperback copy that I have been reading daily. I’ve been having a wonderful experience of Francis’s soul journey through Kazantzakis’s eloquence and I have been filled with Spirit as I read. Much of the shadow of Francis’s life is explored and shared. In the second semester of the TL program “Light in Shadow: Adventures in TL” is one of the courses, and another course is “Expressing TL through Myth, Story, & Archetype.” I consider that this book is a good read as a companion to some of the texts from these courses as Kazantzakis covers material that we explore in each of these courses.
Around the same time, I came across one of the SAT seminars from 1983, the year I was ordained, in which J-R talks about our mythologies, “Are You a Myth in Your Own Mind.” I am aware that the universe continues to send me serendipitous experiences, what seems like daily.
In the book, there’s a passage I read that instantly brought in the fire of Spirit for me. It is after Francis had his beginning dark night of the soul experiences and had moved to the place of gathering the friars who were called to be part of his brotherhood. He had taken one of his first new friars to the square in Assisi and had encouraged him to give away all his wealth and fabrics to the people; a letting go, getting free, and letting God. One of the priests from the town was shaking his head in dismay and figured Francis was the one behind this young man’s actions.
Francis approached the priest:
Father Silvester, you remember what Christ says, don’t you? Forgive me if I remind you. ‘If you want to be perfect, distribute your possessions to the poor, and you shall earn a good treasure in heaven.’ So why are you shaking your head? Father Silvester coughed, turned fiery red, and went on his way. Francis felt distressed at having hurt him. ‘Father Silvester! Father Silvester! He shouted. The priest turned. ‘I reminded you of Christ’s words. Forgive me. You, the priest of God, know them better than I, the sinner.’ (p. 130, Kazantzakis)
A couple of days goes by and the priest makes his way to the small shelter Francis and the friars had built for them to live in. Francis greeted him asking,
“What wind brings you to our shanty?”
“The wind of God,” answered the priest. “…your words were flames: they burned and cleansed my heart.”
“They were not my words…they were Christ’s.”
“Yes, they were Christ’s words, but the way you said them Brother Francis, made me feel as though I were hearing them for the first time, as though I had never read the Gospels. I’ve always read them every day, but the words of Christ have been, so many letters, so much noise—never fire. For the first time—thanks to you, Brother Francis—I understood the meaning of poverty, of love, and what God’s will is…. And so, I came.” (p. 134, Kazantzakis)
This “fire” is what has me right now. It captures the essence of my experience so far in the TL program. This wasn’t clear to me when I first enrolled in the TL program. I recall, I wasn’t quite sure why I was taking this program other than I wanted to be a part of this first group of students in this new PTS program and that I wanted to support my partner who had just spent a year away from home leading the creation of the program along with other ministers and initiates and with the support of the Presidency and the Traveler.
Like the priest in Saint Francis, I had been reading the books, being of service at trainings and conference, listening to seminars, and enjoying a good life. Yet, I knew there was more. The next level. And I knew it was time to wake up. I knew my life was going to change.
Frankie in Assisi on PAT IV, 1985
Then the courses began, and my perceptions began to change. I realized I was here for me. To be part of this cohort of students and faculty, to breathe in the wisdom of guest speakers, and read texts including J-R’s books. And, my daily awareness of this learning energy was present all day. I began to live the learning like an on-going Living in Grace training. I didn’t keep up with all of the reading and writing, but I knew I was living them when I would check-in and read a posting from another student and recognize the alignment of my experiences with theirs.
I chose one assignment that lifted me higher each time I worked on it. I began to examine the “Luxor Temple Meditation for Peace and Harmony” which was recorded by J-R in 1988. I had the good fortune to be in attendance at Luxor Temple when J-R brought forward this meditation. The process of examining the words became so powerful for me. I looked at each word or phrase and asked, “What does this mean to me?” Much of it led me to research the history of Luxor Temple and the culture. This was the place the pharaohs came for healing. I also began to look up every word to explore the various meanings they might have, for example, just the meanings of the words “harmony” and “balance.” I learned that balance is a word of horizontal dimension while harmony is a vertical dimension; my interpretation of J-R choosing these words was to represent the cross. I discovered that J-R would lead us from our feet to out of our body focusing just above the top of the head. And then bring us through it again in some type of spiral. I was in a state of ecstasy as I continued taking each sentence and reveling in the grace, the blessings of His words.
It is with great loving and gratitude that I extend an invitation to you, to join the second cohort of the Transcendent Leader program. I trust that you’ll rejoice that you did. I participated in an informational Zoom session with fellow cohort members as well as students who are inquiring. It truly provided an opportunity for yet another blessing of Loving.
Here’s a link if you would like to get a glimpse: transcendentleader.org/faq/
Loving us all,
PTS’s Transcendent Leadership Program is a two-year program that explores what it means to lead a life of Soul Transcendence. Faculty are still accepting applications for a new class that begins in August. You can participate in the program from wherever you live, with a 5-day “residency” in Santa Monica every semester (six months). Please go here to learn more or to begin your application and join us on this transcendent adventure transcendentleader.org