What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?
What new movement toward growth or ensoulment is quickening
in the heart of the human family at this time? And what unique part
is each of us born to play as this impulse to grow quickens in and among
What is your personal experience of collective
wisdom in groups?
I have participated in one kind of group or another---and
have experienced many different styles of group leadership---for more
than thirty years. Each experience had taught me something I still use
today when I facilitate groups or participate as a member of a non-facilitated
group. The common truths I have gleaned from this continuum of group
experiences are these:
• The more each individual feels safe to speak
truth, abiding by parameters agreed upon in advance by the group members,
the more rich and meaningful the experience is for everyone in the group.
• No person holds the answer, or the wisdom, for
all. Each person matters to the success of the group’s purpose
and the outcome of the group’s experience.
• Listening to each other with devout attention,
in groups and in relationships of all kinds, makes a critical difference
in the decision of participants to be authentic with each other.
• Placing a greater purpose, a clear intention,
or a higher meaning than individual agendas at the center of the group
(circle, conversation, relationship) creates a stable container for
whatever the people have come together to accomplish.
• We have a lot to learn from one another; the
greatest lesson is that our most significant teachers show up in unexpected
forms. Therefore, never turn anyone away from your heart.
• If we develop ways to come together across differences
that separate us, and work toward a common purpose, there is good reason
to be hopeful for the future, not only of humankind, but all of creation.
What is it about the work in this field that excites
you and connects you to your own deepest self?
Perhaps the single most driving force in my early life
was the belief that there were other people who shared my longing for
strong and meaningful connection across differences that seem to divide
us. I wanted to find them. I wandered, more curious than lost, asking,
“Where are my people?” Somehow, I believed we were meant
to work together toward a larger purpose than any
of us could individually embody.
The great delight in mid-life has been my experience
of other people emerging from quiet, solitary journeys to participate
in humanity as a larger, collective presence of what I call “change
agents.” I see this web site as an attempt to weave our individual
strands into a collective story…and our individual paths into
the idea of a collective work. I am happy to join you.
Please provide a brief storyline or snapshot of
what brought you to this work.
I think of two stories. One grows out of an encounter
with a teacher many years ago when I was a teenager in his church confirmation
class. The teacher explained why Christianity was the single true path
to God, or what I have come, later in life, to call the Mystery. I asked
how that could be. It seemed improbable to me--- if we’re created
as a beautiful diversity of age, race, nationality, religion, and ethnicity---that
any group of us would be favored over the others. The teacher was baffled
by my question, and I was baffled by his inability to understand (or
answer) it. It seemed perfectly apparent to me that we are parts of
a greater whole…and that the whole is enriched and enlivened when
each of the parts makes its unique contribution. It was this
exchange that led me to suspect my window on the world was different.
The second encounter that brought me to this work stems
from an argument I had ten years later with a friend I thought was very
wise. He objected to a quote hanging on the wall of my first home: It
is in each of us that the peace of the world is cast. From there, it
must spread out to the limits of the universe.
I was proud of this quote. It reflected values held dear
to my heart. My friend---a philosophy and religion professor at a local
college---challenged me. His strongly held belief was that all change
originates at the macro level, and trickles down to the personal. I
was just as strongly bound to the belief that change starts at the personal
level and moves outward to the collective. We had fierce discussions
about who was right and who was wrong, until a new possibility occurred
“Maybe we’re both right,” I suggested.
“Maybe change starts anywhere it starts, and moves in ripples,
out or in, until everything else is effected.” He grumbled and
sputtered. Finally, though he made it clear that he doubted this was
true, he agreed it was an acceptable compromise in our standoff. From
the perspective of time and age, I now see that I wanted to participate
as far back as my teens in conversations with people of diverse viewpoints.
I wanted to engage in lively, rich dialogues of deep meaning and authentic
These two events, along with others, were catalysts to
propel me onto the psycho-spiritual path, searching for answers to my
many questions. I’ve been questing ever since.
How would you like to be available to others in
I offer, first, my writing. I am soon to release a book
called “Embracing the Mystery: The Sacred Unfolding in Ordinary
People and Everyday Lives.” This book is a compilation of stories
about the Mystery emerging in our midst, and the call being issued within
us to embody this fully. It is published through Rogers
McKay, the non-profit, ecumenical, spiritual-educational organization
I co-founded in 1997.
Rogers McKay provides a variety of programs to help ordinary
seekers of all ages and all faiths to create a sustainable spiritual
life by listening for the presence of Mystery in their everyday lives.
I offer our web site, accessible at www.rogersmckay.org,
as another place where conversations emerge to support all of us in
the efforts we make to generate new ways for people to come together.
I offer myself to conferences, retreats, consultations
and conversations where I could be helpful in exploring the multitude
of ways the Sacred Mystery is revealing itself in and among us.
Links to this site or others:
Books & Articles by Meredith:
Still: Hearing the Call to a Spirit-Centered Life