Seminar on Reconciliation
This seminar lasts one day; participants arrive in the morning.
Ceremony of the Service
Before thinking about reconciling, we begin by meditating on the experience of reconciliation in order to transcend the psychological and place it on a level of profound spirituality. This is no small challenge, because it defines the mental placement required for a good work of reconciliation. It also proposes creating a personal aphorism that concentrates a great positive emotional charge and facilitates the process of progressive reconciliation.
We begin with the video of Silo’s talk on Reconciliation at Punta de Vacas on May 5, 2007. Participants take notes on whatever they consider most important.
Note: This whole seminar lasts about 7 hours, depending on the number of participants. It is best not to set time limits on the different parts, but instead to allow everyone to take as long as they need.
Exercise 1 – Group work Form groups of three. Read and study the talk, with a copy for each participant.
Exercise 2 – Individual work Write a summary and synthesis of the talk.
After reading and studying the material in small groups, individuals carry out an initial reflection on reconciliation as a profound spiritual experience. This involves looking for the register of an internal disposition that profoundly moves our whole being in connection with our most heartfelt aspirations and our deep need for internal freedom, and the great coherence this implies. In other words, this reflection is carried out from and for the depths of the heart, with an elevated spirit of internal letting go, without reservations, in order to reach an appropriate internal depth. It also means not paying attention to resistances that arise from hidden resentments or skeptical rationalisms, which might relativize this or any other profound spiritual experience.
Exercise 3 – Individual work Reflection on the dimension of reconciliation as a profound spiritual experience, connecting with our inner depths in the way that moves us most profoundly.
Exercise 4 – Guided practice, whole group I sit comfortably and relax my external muscles, dissolving all my muscular tensions, both localized and general… … I move deeper inside my body, letting myself sink into the warmth of the sensations, relaxing any tensions… …Then I move down through my inner body, first through my throat and then through all my internal organs, all the way down to the bottom of my trunk… …Now I gradually relax my head, starting at the top, and moving inward and downward… …I repeat this several times… … …Now I try to feel my reconciliation as though it were a migrating bird that travels tirelessly thousands and thousands of miles, knowing where it must go… …knowing what it must do… …I am guided by my rebellion against suffering… …
Exercise 5 – Individual work Look for similar registers and experiences in Exercises 3 and 4, and take notes.
Exercise 6 – Work in groups Interchange about experiences with Exercises 3 and 4, with one person writing down conclusions in each group.
Exercise 7 – Whole Group work Interchange about the conclusions of each group.
Here we set about internally defining an internal aphorism to help us launch a progressive work of reconciliation in which we uproot all resentment in order to transform our lives.
Exercise 8 – Individual work Reflection on positive, mobilizing images that can be reduced to an aphorism. Start by making a list of hopes, certainties, or powerful guiding thoughts, with the idea of finding a word or short phrase that fits. One can also use an inspiring image. This reconciliation must be rooted in an aspiration that has a positive, emotionally moving charge such as, for example, to feel a longed-for flood of kindness toward ourselves and others. This seems to be the only way reconciliation can truly become a profound spiritual experience. Take notes.
Reconciliation can mean acknowledging and accepting our own frustrations, failures, mistakes, weaknesses, and deficiencies. It can also have to do with things we’ve done, incoherent actions that caused suffering in others, and with things others have done that hurt us deeply. We might also want to reflect on any mood of hopelessness at the world situation, so charged with violence and intolerance, and resolve to change our outlook, wagering instead on the process of humanizing the Earth and freeing the spirit.
Exercise 9 – Individual work I sit comfortably and relax my external muscles, dissolving all my muscular tensions, both localized and general… I move deeper inside my body, letting myself sink into the warmth of the sensations, relaxing any tensions… …Then I gradually relax my head, starting at the top, and moving inward and downward… …I repeat this several times… …Now I search for a look, or perspective, of understanding… …a look that recognizes in my greatest mistakes, how certain factors piled up and overcame my ability to respond… …I try to admit that my ignorance… …my inability… …and the weight of circumstances… …could scarcely have allowed me to overcome that interplay of such adverse forces or the suffering they unleashed… …I go over those situations that have made me feel the most resentment… …and I make an effort to humbly admit that at that time I was unable to give better responses so that others would not suffer… …I admit my ignorance in knowing how overcoming suffering and conflicts… …in the same way, I seek to accept the ignorance and the fears of those who have caused me suffering… …now I try to recognize in myself my best moments - those invaluable moments of hope… …of getting things right… …of being coherent, of acting according to my truest thoughts and feelings… …I try to recognize in those moments the states of internal fulfillment and freedom I’ve experienced… … in this way, I try to balance the scale of my life, to endow it with the luminous meaning to which I aspire… … and I resolve, by doing so, to transform the environment I live in…
Exercise 10 – Group work Interchange in groups of three about the previous individual work. Take notes.
Exercise 11 – Individual summary and synthesis Write a summary and synthesis of all the personal work you have carried out today.
Exercise 12 – Whole group interchange Free interchange with all participants about the day’s work.
In the Hall or other meditation space, give thanks together for the understandings reached and ask for ongoing, progressive reconciliation.
Gather for shared refreshments.
download: Seminar on Reconciliation.pdf