Reunion with Reality

Three contemplations on the New Story Summit





The sharing of indigenous ritual experience with the summiteers was transformational, particularly for someone like me raised in modern culture. The ritual experiences were heart-moving and relayed some of the value and impact they must have in their indigenous homelands.


I came away from the Summit having gained appreciation for ritual in culture and spiritual experience. I also came away feeling that ritual loses some of its power when taken out of context. As valuable and important as it is for particular cultures, I don’t feel that they always translate in whole to contexts outside those cultures, or that they are universal in the sense that people of modern or other cultures can derive the same value from them that those within the mother cultures experience.


It is important for us to experience, learn from, respect and appreciate the great value and importance of ritual for all people and at the same time realize that all ritual is not applicable or appropriate for all contexts.


My guess is that ritual will have great value in the New Story context, and its value will differ from person to context, and it will neither be universal nor uniform. There will also be great value in the comprehension and appreciation of ritual in human history and culture.


Perhaps the greatest contribution that ritual will make to New Story is the wisdom and presence of those practitioners who embody the fruit of ritual and share that fruit with the whole of new humanity.




There were several moments of disruption at the Summit. Disruption can be positive or negative and the disruptions at the Summit were both. It is necessary to upset the apple cart, probably more often than not, especially when trying to enter a new paradigm. And, that disruption will naturally be uncomfortable and oftentimes harmful to some. Growth does come out of suffering.


Disruption that does not account for the wellbeing of those who bare the brunt of the disruption contains violent elements. It is possible to do disruption in a nonviolent way. I felt nonviolence as a principle element of the New Story and the new paradigm was largely missing from the conversation. Respect is the fulcrum on which the lever of ‘principled nonviolence’ pivots, especially respect for antagonists. One can be clear, firm and catalytic and still be caring. Indeed, without the latter, the former traits lose their effectiveness. This was evident at the Summit.


Also evident, in at least one case, were the suffering and regret of a disruptor whose actions while being from the heart, were not kind to those whose presentation was disrupted.




One great struggle of the Summit was to achieve balance between the need to share what we do with the need to share who we are. The former we share mostly by talking. The latter we share mostly by being. As interested as I often was in what people had to say about what they were doing, I was more interested in being in the presence of people who exemplified the best of humanity. That best came from the heart, often through the eyes, and frequently from people I had not known before and likely will never be in the presence of again.


This was the great sharing experience for me at the Summit. I will always treasure it. I suppose that the schedule could have allowed for more of it, but I am eternally grateful for what I got.


I also value the presentations people gave, both artistic and intellectual. Perhaps less of that would have allowed for more of the sharing of presence, but as an early attempt to gather souls in New Story, I thought things were not as far off as some others must have thought.


I laud the organizers and the presenters for jobs well done. I also am deeply grateful to the Findhorn community and elders for holding the Summit literally, figuratively and spiritually. And, I applaud those whose disruptions came from the heart and were necessary to the process. I hope we all have greater vision now and recognize and respect the humanity of all, and consider the problems we face in the world as our adversary and not each other.




Copyright 2017 James Phoenix

updated 9/24/2017