Listening to the Mystery

Elul Day 11

Beginning in October, I will be leading a six-week autumn series called Listening to the Mystery: A Spiritual Journey Group.  I sent the first draft of the flyer out to a few friends and colleagues for their feedback, and I was astonished at the curious responses I received. 

Some people had very strong reactions to the word SPIRITUAL, expressing concern that a particular theology or belief system would be imposed on them. Others worried that the word would turn some people off, or that it sounded too "woo-woo." (flaky? touchy-feely? I have yet to find a satifying definition of "woo-woo!")  

A few people balked at the idea of a required initial interview for prospective participants. Great care and thoughtfulness is invested in selecting group members. I want to do everything I can to ensure a good mix of people, and a safe, comfortable atmosphere for everyone. I also want to hear about people's interests and expectations, particularly in order to determine if this group is the right fit all the way around.

Another thing that surprised me was that no one seemed to have a reaction to the word mystery. I like this word because it leaves room for many different interpretations, and it embodies the unknown and inviting aspects of spirituality. Mystery awakens my curiosity and invites me to explore. Mystery holds the promise of grace. 

Sometimes words are too confining or oversimplistic; I just have to trust that people will connect to something that speaks directly to their experience and interests. Maybe the autumn photo will appeal to them, or maybe something in the description of the group itself, or maybe just a gut feeling that it might be meaningful to sit in a circle with others and listen to the mystery.

Calistoga Oct06
Photo courtesy of JLR