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The Portland Meditations, Spring 2004

Exploring New Jerusalem and Peacemaking: Transforming the War Within

Facilitated and written by Jill Dahlquist

When I was first asked to facilitate some meditations in Portland, Oregon this past spring, the violence and struggles in the Middle East entered my dreams. In many of those dreams, Abraham, the ancestral father of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, would appear and be with his two sons: Isaac, the founder of the Jewish lineage; and Ishmael, the founder of the Muslims. There was great sadness surrounding these two sons and a sense of urgency.

As I prepared to leave for Portland, people around me, seemed troubled by the war abroad. The images and sounds of violence, hatred and revenge seemed overwhelming to them at times.

My acquaintances were also experiencing more conflict at home. Relationships were strained. Marriages were breaking up. Children and siblings were fighting with each other and their parents. Our old ways of doing things just didn't seem to be working any more.

But there is opportunity in this conflict. It is as if many beliefs, societal structures and relationships in this world are dissolving into a pile of sand. I look at this sand, scoop up a handful and heat the sand until it is liquid. I then take a pipe, dip it into the liquid sand and begin to create the most beautiful hand-blown glass sculptures. Out of dissolution, comes the opportunity for reconnection and the chance to create great beauty.* (Thank you Lianne for this vision!)

The two meditations in Portland explored the opportunity we now have to reconnect and create beauty even in the face of war, conflict and intolerance... And I would like to share them with you.

Click on either meditation or scroll down to read the text.

© 2004 by Jill Dahlquist, all rights reserved.

For more information about Jill Dahlquist and her work, see www.Grouppeace.com. Contact her at Jill@grouppeace.com or call at 414-456-1001.



Exploring New Jerusalem
Portland, Spring 2004

Facilitated and written by Jill Dahlquist

The New Jerusalem IAM group meditation was the smaller of the two meditation groups. It was a diverse group of people who were all involved in working with others to heal emotional and physical wounds. As we started, I began to share what I saw, heard and felt.

I saw New Jerusalem as a golden triangle; a place in our hearts that has always been there. There is nothing we have to do, no workshop we have to attend, no evolutionary step we must take to experience this New Jerusalem because it has always been within us.

In anatomical terms, the place where we can experience New Jerusalem is called the sinus node: a cluster of cells in the upper right portion of the heart where an electrical charge is generated to start the beating of the heart. Scientists have attempted to discern where this energy comes from. The reality, however, is that the spark, which emanates and animates our heart, is a connection to source. It is that doorway through which we are one with the divine. It is our source spot to all that is.

The golden color of the New Jerusalem triangle was the energy of IAMsacred. When we see and feel our own sacredness, we begin to realize self-love and the divine within us. It is more difficult to see the divine in others when we cannot love ourselves. Self-love is the key, and sacredness is the doorway into this golden triangle.

As I relayed this information to the mediation group, I saw the participants sitting on a fiery wheel facing inward. As we looked at each other, golden pyramids began to appear in our chests and a golden pyramid began to form in the center of the circle. Our choice is not whether New Jerusalem is here now; it was revealing its presence in glorious splendor. Instead, the choice for the meditation was really how much we wanted to bring and/or integrate New Jerusalem into our conscious lives.

As I relayed this information to the group, I began to see a door of light in the golden pyramid in the center of our circle. To experience New Jerusalem, all we had to do was to walk through this doorway. It seemed simple enough.

And yet, when relayed this information to the others, I became of aware of fear in our meditation group. The fear appeared as three small children who cowered in the center of our meditation circle. They were afraid to go further. They didn't want to go through the doorway because they didn't know what was on the other side. One child wanted to play was dancing and swirling about. Two children wanted to hide.

In response, the divine feminine appeared in the form of Mother Mary and took the children into her arms. They didn't have to do all these grown up things; instead, they could be with her. The children were pleased. Two hid beneath her gown. Another took Mary's hand and left with her to go play for the remainder of the mediation.

With the children and fear taken care of, the meditation proceeded with an invigorated speed. When asked whether we wanted to go through the door of the golden pyramid, the meditation participants all responded with a "yes." But how would we get there?

As we sat in the circle, pathways began to appear which connected the golden pyramids of our hearts to the pyramid in the center of the circle. The pathways looked like spokes of a wheel and were made up of our wants, our longings and the true desires of our hearts. When we follow our heart's longings, we travel down that path.

At this time in the meditation, several of us began to see and feel with greater clarity, our hearts' desires. As we felt these desires, all participants traveled down the path and effortlessly stepped through the door of the golden pyramid.

Once there, we began to experience our connection to the divine. Some were led to look upon the beauty of their soul. Others were given greater clarity about their vision in this life. A few were enveloped with a sense of well being, belonging and unity.

We stayed in this place for awhile and everything seemed so effortless, so present. I felt whole and connected. These feelings I remember vividly. My cognitive memory, however, of what happened during this experience is no longer here. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes it is best to just leave experiences as they are….perfect in every way.

In any event, after a time, we "came back" and became aware of our group and of our surroundings. To more fully integrate what we saw, felt and heard we then paired off with other participants and shared our experiences.

When the sharing was complete, we realized that each participant had received exactly what he or she needed to receive at that moment. Now, at the end of our meditation, our task was to simply allow this process to continue to seep into our consciousness.

What a wonderful realization. All we have to do is allow... and we consciously experience New Jerusalem right now. Every day. No waiting.

How simple.

© 2004 by Jill Dahlquist, all rights reserved.

For more information about Jill Dahlquist and her work, see www.Grouppeace.com. Contact her at Jill@grouppeace.com or call at 414-456-1001.

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Peacemaking: Transforming the War Within
Portland, spring 2004

Facilitated and written by Jill Dahlquist

At this meditation were several people who knew each other and they shared a sense of familiarity and intimacy. As a result, our group energy formed effortlessly as we began our meditative journey to experience peacemaking from the inside out.

At first, we began to walk through a passage way into different places within our physical hearts. As we emerged from the passageway, we found ourselves at a beach alongside a beautiful silvery ocean. The ocean was very still and inviting. I felt such longing to get into the liquid. It shimmered like a moving mirror.

As we prepared to get into the ocean, we began to shed the masks and clothes that we wear in the world and laid them on the beach. There were work clothes, tools, hardhats, shields and armor--all sorts of clothes and masks for every occasion, for every expectation, for every perceived need.

Finally, we began to wade into the ocean and entered the silver liquid. It felt deliciously smooth. Soon it enveloped us. It was supporting every part of our body as we could float effortlessly in this liquid velvet. A profound sense of peace, stillness, and acceptance filled our beings. As stray thoughts and concerns bubbled up, they just oozed away into this silvery vastness.

We floated here for a while, and then, I knew it was time to move on. Our group had wonderfully received and enveloped itself in a state of grace. And we would need this as we continued our journey.

We had another place to go and experience. Slowly and gently, we left the silver liquid and went through a door to a place in our hearts. I have, in the past, experienced this place as a communication room and it felt very, very different from the place we had just been in.

In the center of the room was the energy of the middle-eastern conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. To me, it looked like a dark swirling vortex of disembodied limbs, faces, screams, hurt, betrayal, revenge and pain. The sounds were difficult to hear and I felt like I couldn't breathe for a moment. The impact of moving from this wonderful silvery peaceful ocean to a place of screams and pain was staggering.

It is times like these that I rely heavily on my spiritual guidance to lead me. I am keenly aware that not everyone in the meditation group would be consciously experiencing the same things I was at that time. We only take in that which is in our highest and best interests. It was important to let the experience unfold for people at their own pace, their own time, in their own way.

So, I urged everyone to take some deep breaths and ground. As I again looked at the swirling mass of violence, blood and pain, I noticed Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael surrounding the swirling mass. They had their hands clasped together as they sat in a triangle at the bottom of the vortex; their eyes were closed in concentration and contemplation. As rage and hatred swirled in the space in between them, they were centered -- aware of what was in the vortex but not enveloped by it. Everything here was sacred.

I encouraged people to simply experience whatever they could at the moment. We were brought here for a reason--in part, to see that our hearts could stand to experience all of this. In so doing, could we still find that place of grace and peace that we experienced in the silvery ocean? Could we feel the presence of Abraham and sense how he and his sons were holding this vortex? Could we sense the sacredness of everything that was happening?

Some of the members of our meditation group wanted to flee. Some were stunned by what they were seeing. Others were not consciously experiencing very much. But the meditation group stayed with the experience and began to form an energetic circle around Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael.

As we gazed upon this vortex of the Middle Eastern conflict, the meditation then shifted slightly and I asked the participants to think of someone who had betrayed them. Then, I asked the participants to place that person in front of them and look into the face of the person who had hurt them so deeply. Some participants began to see their brothers or sisters in front of them. Some saw other relatives, others saw co-workers.

As they looked upon these faces, a transformation began to happen. A golden energy, which I experience as IAMsacred energy, began to come into our meditation group. It pooled around our feet and enveloped the meditation participants. It shimmered, danced and seemed alive.

In that golden energy, we were encouraged to be honest about our feelings and I asked a series of questions. Could we be allow ourselves to feel whatever we feel when we look upon the face of the person who betrayed us so badly? Could we give ourselves permission to experience how our hearts are large enough to hold this pain and a sense of sacredness….and that it is okay?

As people became more in touch with their feelings, I asked the participants to look into the face of the one who had hurt them deeply and say, "I am sacred". As they did this, the person they faced replied back, "You are sacred." For some, this exchange seemed a little unreal, because we do not always get this acknowledgement in our conscious lives. But we practiced this exchange and as we said I am sacred and had it mirrored back, the feeling of our sacredness, and larger sense of peace seeped into our meditation.

We then reversed the process. This time, the person who had hurt us said "I am sacred" and we were asked to say, "You are sacred" back. As we tried this, I was aware that there was some resistance. It was hard to let go of some grudges and that was okay. This meditation was an opportunity to simply experience as much as we could, at the moment.

As we then continued and practiced saying "You are sacred", I was aware that Abraham and his sons, who were still in the middle of our meditation circle, began to shift and stir. Abraham opened his eyes and looked upward. The swirling black vortex in the center of our meditation began to be replaced with a brilliant shaft of golden light. It was intensely bright and as I gazed upon it, I was aware of a sense of urgency. Our meditation group needed to leave this place…. Now.

I felt a little surprised by the speed of this shift. I wanted to see what would happen with this golden shaft of light. But there was no denying the urgency of our needing to leave. And so with as much gentleness as I could, I asked our meditation group to step away from this place; to go back the way we came and return to the silvery ocean and beach where we had floated so effortlessly in a state of grace.

When we arrived at the beach, it was time to come out of our meditation. But what masks or clothes would we put on to return? We stood for a moment and gazed upon the items we had taken off when we had started this journey into our hearts. This was a point of choice. Some meditation participants chose to take on new appearances. Others felt comfortable to slightly modify what they had had on before. There was a feeling of curiosity and exploration as people experimented with their outward appearances.

In various stages of dress, we finally left this silvery ocean beach and returned back to our meditation circle. As participants opened their eyes, we began to share our experiences with others in the group and a wonderful and lively discussion ensued.

One woman shared how hurt and angry she was at being ostracized and criticized by her sister, a fundamentalist Christian. Others shared experiences of being persecuted and judged by others who held certain religious viewpoints and we saw all the ways we disconnect from or feel judged by others with different beliefs. The discussion then evolved into how we could honor our feelings and maintain our boundaries in the face of intolerance and hatred.

Certain people in the meditation then shared how stunned they felt when we moved from the peace of the silvery ocean to the energy of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Some asked, how could both of these places and experiences be in our hearts? Our minds wanted to define peace as the absence of conflict. As participants ruminated on this, I wondered: what if peace was not the absence of conflict? I wondered whether our experience of seeing this vortex of blood, hatred and severed limbs, was, in part, an opportunity to reframe how we view such violence?

As people shared their experiences, I then encouraged the participants to pay attention to their lives in the next week or so. Different messages or experiences stimulated by the meditation would continue to seep into our consciousness for some time. A clerk in the store, a child on the playground, a spouse may say or do something, which could result in an "a-ha" moment. We all had deeply experienced our meditation; but how these experiences filter though to our consciousness could vary.

Finally, our meditation group closed as people shared what clothes or masks they put back on when they left the silvery ocean to come back. Some put on tool belts and hardhats. Others put on fashion designer garments, which were all sparkly and shiny. At least one person came back butt-naked. It was great fun as we then left to try out our new or slightly modified appearances in the outside world.

© 2004 by Jill Dahlquist, all rights reserved.

For more information about Jill Dahlquist and her work, see www.Grouppeace.com. Contact her at Jill@grouppeace.com or call at 414-456-1001.

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