Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Associated Germinal Moments from the May 2015 AGM in Toronto 

by Richard Chomko

As a member who hasn’t been to many AGMs lately but used to go to them 20 years ago, I felt called to this last one partly because it was happening in my own backyard. However, as I still needed to attend to the Village Market Friday night and Saturday (where I am the manager), I joined the proceedings only at 4 pm Saturday.

Reflecting on the weekend, my first intimation of the conference was seeing strange anthroposophists (i.e. not from around here) wandering the halls of Hesperus. These arrivals from afar, this convergence, awoke in me a certain feeling.

Unlike the centrifugal, radiating process of death and dissolution, this coming together of so many from so far, in a centripetal gesture, brought a feeling of engendering, of coming into being, that augured well for the days to follow.

Jumping in at the Jump Gate

For me, the conference proper began with Bert Chase’s time travel retrospective of mankind’s journey, from the eons of spiritual antiquity to the post-modern day. All that and a discussion of the being of Christian Rosenkreutz and his relationship with Rudolf Steiner, over the past ages of human development. Although Bert’s presentation echoed much that I knew already, I found it refreshing in its breadth and majesty.

From the Head to the Heart

Then followed Jonah Evans’ talk about practical Christianity in social life. How do we regard and think about those with whom we disagree or are in conflict? Do we inwardly dismiss them and separate ourselves from them? Or can we be willing to stay with the pain of the conflict and strive to love the person in spite of our disagreement?

Jonah has been the Christian Community priest here in Toronto now for nearly two years. As a regular participant in one of his study groups I find that he has a unique ability to bring these first principles of Christianity down to a personal level. 


Further underlining the theme of “making it personal” was the series of artistic biography exercises, interspersed with the talks. These involved working in groups of three to identify difficult situations each of us had experienced in our relationship with others in the society and distilling those into descriptions, key words, and finally, “sentences”.

Another part of this was a process of two people working together to draw a visual image inspired by what they saw in the soul gesture of the third person, as illuminated by the biographical experience he or she had chosen to explore. A selection of the resulting images accompany this report. And the prose and poetic distillations (the "sentences") of some of the participants follow at the end.

I can't comment on the experience of the collaborative art since I was in the only group with two instead of three people. But I felt the willingness to deal with these relationship shadows was appropriate, bracing and lent a certain gravitas to the conference.

At the conclusion of the process, Regine Kurek asked us to combine our selected key words into “a sentence”; I joked that, like in a court, the “sentencing” comes at the end.

You’re With Me

Saturday night’s Eurythmy gave me a new appreciation of the colour-fringing effect of after-image colours which appeared to my gaze at the edges of the strongly coloured Eurythmists moving against a dark background. Somehow I’d never noticed that before. And of course I also enjoyed the Eurythmy, as Eurythmy.

I was glad to be able to add this observation about colour fringing to my (never before published) General Theory of Veil Eurythmy. According to this theory, one of the ways in which Eurythmy works is by by overloading what I’ll call the world constructing engine of the mind, leading to a glitch in the matrix —  a partial, momentary, breakdown of maya, of the illusory world of appearances.

It’s like I’m looking, I’m watching, I’m trying to follow all the movements, all the changes — the moving Eurythmists, the flowing veils, but I just can’t keep with it all and it doesn’t fall into any pattern that I can call up placeholders for from my mental library. There comes a moment in what I’ll call “good Eurthymy” when I become aware that the mental picture I construct of the world that’s “out there”, is fraying a little at the edges. And the awareness of the fraying reminds me that the world I “see” is a mental construct. Am I the only one who experiences this?

The digital video analogy of this effect I’m describing would be a too-low bit rate (not enough data space) resulting in “macro blocking”, or the inability of the system to resolve detail in a scene in which a lot is changing and moving.

The Sentencing

So, in conclusion, here are some of the “sentences” from the biography sessions:

“You are brave — let go of your constricting self — connect with energetic compassion and patience to your radiant self which is revealed in the world.”

“It is astonishing! To be intimately human is being one in and with the world.”

“Awakening to insight through embracing coherence, leads to overarching understanding.”

“Each heart’s darkness and light brings freedom for love.”

“Be brave in time to love one another.”

“May the other enliven and awaken me to perception and insight.”

“By openness we resolve karma where light in darkness meets all human in one world”

“I live in the stream of time
I live in the present
Relating to another feeling
Express yourself
Is there judging
Remembering self to behold the others
New light in my darkness”

“Friends in high places the key to interpersonal conflict with friends.”

“Let the mood
Release the intricate
journey to now.
Open now out,
way out.
Behold the other.”

Impressions from the AGM and Conference

by Dorothy LeBaron

I would like to thank each person who was present at the recent AGM and Conference in Thornhill. It was quite an extraordinary event. The group that gathered had a wealth of life experience and connections in the Anthroposophical movement. The conference presenters were an inspiring example of working together creatively, being able and willing to take a risk and find a creative way of interweaving artistic biography work with lecture content which led to a very lively afternoon and evening. Working with the theme “And the darkness becomes light” led to an experience of a deepened relating to one another.

In the conversation we had at the end of the conference, I noticed in particular two themes emerging that we as Council have previously heard from members across the country.
“Where are the young people?”
“The Anthroposophical Society is isolated from the world. Why are we not out there, doing more, connecting to the world?”

This time there were some interesting voices responding to these questions.

“What is at the root of the longing to have younger people here?”
“How do we become elders?”
“When we meet like this, we have an opportunity to nurture the soul in an environment that holds and supports us. We come together, then carry our moments of awakening into the world.”
“The Michaelic impulse is trying to find it’s way into human culture, everywhere in the world. How can I see and connect to it?”
“What if we were to serve Anthroposophical initiatives others bring forward with the question, “How can I help you?”

I had a sense in the room of something emerging, something showing itself. This something is about the Anthroposophical Society in Canada. That it does not need to be “fixed” and that there is not something wrong with it. That it does not need to be pushed and prodded more “into the world”. That in the course of the weekend, we together had co-created something that was an offering to the world, and that we are world.