On the 2Oth I had one of the few Sundays so far this year without a service, and in fact, the only service I had last week being at Neilson, on Tuesday. Sheila Caruthers is President of this busy church and an excellent medium in her own right. Sheila was one of the first mediums I saw on the platform when I entered spiritualism twenty-years-ago.
But instead of having a lazy week I was as busy as ever.
Things have changed greatly since I entered the Spiritualism movement twenty-years ago, which is only to be expected, but I wonder if it is for the better? When I started attending a spiritualist church, I knew nothing about sitting in circle or even wanted too. It did not want to appear impolite at turning down a request to sit in the ‘open circle’ that I took my first step into what was going to be a long journey, a journey that is still continuing. I found it interesting and eventually applied to be accepted at the next intake for the ‘development circle’. It was never in my mind at this stage, or even close to the end of the three year course, to target platform work. All I wanted was to understand my psychic abilities and know more about how spirit work with us.
This was a ‘closed circle’ that had an intake each year and lasted for three years, with a different circle leader in charge each year. The whole structure was well planned, taking one from learning about themselves, our spirit abilities and how work spirit with us. All done slowly, giving one time to mature within their own personal abilities. No certificates, no rushing on to the platform before the three years was up, or even a guarantee that one would be on the platform at the end of those three years. Many in the circle were not sitting to be platform mediums but they benefited from those three years as it helped them in the lives, occupations etc.
There are many one day or weekend workshops run by individuals these days but I do not feel this does the same job of helping one to develop their psychic and spiritual abilities slowly and steadily to their full potential.
Then there was the cost... Almost all the development and learning that I and many others had at ASK Stewarton, was only the church membership fee Today for the individual, such training can be costly and that is why last week, being a quiet week for churches which I had planned, I spent several days taking workshops at little or no cost to those attending. I took a meditation class for those who feel that it is impossible to still their mind, not to link-with spirit, just to have a little relaxing time without their mind being unable to switch off. Working with a small group for a few hours in trying to get the key for each individual to make it easier for them to calm their mind.
A full day of working with those who cannot find a circle to sit in. There are many reasons for this, there is no spiritualist church or private circle near them, and they don’t have the time, or do not want to give the commitment to being part of a circle week in week out. They have no ambition to appear on the platform of a church or to give private sittings, they just want to understand more about why spirit is around them and if they can use this in helping others etc.
Then another type of evening I enjoy, giving a talk on spiritualism with questions afterwards. Such evenings usually run over time.
I am not saying that the way I came though my development is the only way, but I feel that I am a better person/medium because I had this training all from the one source and a well thought out course over the three years. Like anything, slowly bringing to maturity usually gets better results than forced growth.
I sympathise with those starting out today on their spiritual journey, that the only way open for many is to seek the odd course/workshop here and there. And that the cost of some of those courses can be prohibitive to many especially with high unemployment and pay freezes that affect many at this time.
For those in Glasgow and surrounding area Irene McGilvery and Bill Thompson are taking workshops at the Glasgow Association of Spiritualists throughout 2011. I will look for anything suitable in other areas of Scotland and let you know about them in later blogs.
Why am I not practicing what I preach? A good question. With my travelling around to churches and doing pastoral work that I feel spirit has pointed me towards, an area that I feel is sorely neglected in spiritualism, I do not have the time. But I do leave blanks weeks in my diary to do what I can in this area.