Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Power of Questions

Reflections of our Annual General Meeting and Conference

- by Micah Edelstein

At our small Ascension festival in Dartmouth, NS, I asked Judy King if I was going to be asked to speak about something at the upcoming AGM in Montreal.  I wanted to be prepared for what was about to be my first AGM experience. Judy smiled and said I might be asked to say something about youth representation. I thanked her for the information and for the travel bursary and began to think about what youth representation could be. I call it the “ youth question.”

I have recently developed a deep appreciation and new understanding for the power of questions. It used to be that I sought answers externally for questions arising within me. We all want answers; it’s natural to seek outer side for to answer to inner questions. Recently I’ve come to understand that the question is everything. Living with the right question is not easy, but what we receive from living with the question is nothing less than a gift from the gods. This same gift is lost in the pursuit of answers. What lives in questions is a glimmer of our divine consciousness. Answers are then the question that has died within us as a result of our own thinking.- a solid type of thinking.  Put another way, answers appear to penetrate into our expanding consciousness like a type of gravity on our souls. The more answers we form the heavier we become inwardly because we have really become like gravity in our consciousness. Gravity thinking attaches a fixed concept to a living breathing consciousness and brings it closer to the earth element. We could say answers trap divine consciousness in the same way that material thinking traps elemental beings.

Working against this tendency is levity consciousness and we experience levity consciousness when we form questions but refrain from attaching concrete answers to them. It was out of this understanding that I have chosen to think about youth representation within the society as a living question without a concrete answer. , Ari-Paul Saunders, another youth member of the society, spoke about the same question in his letter to the AGM. We have agreed to explore this question together. We are hoping that something comes out of our dialogue for the next AGM.

I would like to also mention a wonderful reading I was drawn to before the conference:  The Necessity for New Ways ofSpiritual Knowledge. I found this Steiner lecture spoke to the themes and discussions at the AGM and also offered a deeper perspective on the keynote question of our Social will. I would recommend this lecture to everyone.

The Annual General Meeting
The AGM was a great event all around. I really enjoyed hearing about the different activities across the country, and also sharing my own experiences with the group. I spoke about my experiences with biodynamic education in Nova Scotia and my observations on two types of consciousness. I shared how I have accepted I don’t have the practical experience of most farmers, yet I have been able to give them deeper understandings for some of the mysteries behind the methods. There is a wonderful dialogue that comes out of this dynamic.

In the break out discussion groups after the sharing circle we first explored the question: Out of what you have heard this morning (members contributions), what is living? We then switched groups and explored the question: What needs to change to cultivate this life? It was remarkable to watch how two different questions created one continuous conversation between two different groups. I found the ideas everyone brought forward echoed the same themes presented in the lecture I referred to above. Both Steiner and the members in my group were speaking from the heart and both are true conversations out of the spirit of the time.  I hope everyone is able to continue the work we started in this dialogue in their everyday lives.

The business affairs’ meeting was informative, and concise.  I was impressed with the level of funds held by the Society and I imagined the real possibilities for investing some of the funds into creative initiatives through a type of “creative capital fund”. In my opinion, the three fold social order is a hot topic across North America as we all try to find a better way of living together. I’m excited to see if the Society can begin to explore ways to move funds into the other spheres as investments, or social capital.

The Conference
The Conference was my favorite part about the whole weekend.  Denis Klocek’s two lectures were thought provoking. He seemed to bring many of Rudolf Steiner ideas into a contemporary context connecting them with embryonic and technological discoveries. These gave an interesting perspective and depth to Steiner’s work on consciousness, freedom, the human threefold nature, initiation knowledge, Goethean science and the origins of evil. We met in small groups the following day to reflect on the “challenges of our social will”. I found these conversations to be very inspiring because there were 6 or 7 people all bringing their own anthroposophical  perspectives to the same questions. The conversations were rich, full of zeitgeist and felt like nourishment on many levels.  My hope is that in the future keynote speakers might be encouraged to interact with conference members more intimately, similar to the group discussions.

For the workshops I choose to do Eurythmy and singing. Maria Helms and Eric Oxford were both wonderful at their respective arts. They shared a real love of the art and I came home singing Bonsoir, Bonsoir, to Maria’s Taurus, Leo, Gemini and the selfless I Eurythmy gestures. I really enjoyed all of Maria’s Eurythmy work. It was a real highlight for me.

One last thing I like to share was the joy of being there with friends and also meeting many members for the first time. I also loved the reality of a truly bilingual French/English AGM.  I felt having members who spoke French brought a great deal of insight and humor to whole weekend. It also gave me a great reason to improve my French skills.  

Sincere thanks,
Micah Edelstein


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