The Words of the Fefferman Family
September 25, 1999
In '94 I was "between missions" (unemployed) and I guess you could call me Desperately Seeking Dan. I was doing a lot of personal exploration through Jungian psychology and various new age type readings. My dear friend Denny Townsend witnessed to me about a group called Temenos (now called Pathways) that does these really expensive workshops. He convinced me it was worth it, and I finally shelled out the dough and went. (Funny thing, Damian, Rosalie and Paul were all there too, and Damian and I were roommates.) To make a long story short, it was the most powerful spiritual experience of my adult lifetime, except for the Blessing and having kids. What impressed me most was the way in which the workshop staff worked together in such a disciplined way to help participants experience for themselves the concepts that were being taught. In fact, the workshop was about 80 percent experience and only 20 percent teaching. By experience I mean guided meditation, facilitation in small groups, art, dance, large group spiritual exercise, ceremony and ritual, high intensity sound, inner child work, journalizing, questionnaires for self-reflection, etc.
I was recruited during the workshop to join the Temenos staff, but somehow I felt intuitively that this wasn't God's plan for me. I came home feeling that I wanted to find a way to bring this kind of experiential teaching technique to our movement and community, even if I had to do it totally without official support. Three days later, Tyler Hendricks called me up out of the blue saying that Rev. Park (Continental Director) wanted to start a new "Chapter 1-oriented" workshop tradition, with lots of excitement, energy and even dancing, and he wanted to know if I was interested. Well, I was, to say the least. So I went up to New York and ended up appointed as director of witnessing and education, with my first task being to create the workshop.
Some of you may have attended the first one, in the NYker grand ballroom. We had more than a hundred people, mostly members, but quite a few guests too. There was a lot of laughing, crying, dancing, sweating and various other fluid-producing activities. It was definitely a wet workshop. I also brought the workshop to Boston, L.A. and DC. It ruffled a few feathers though from the DP-only crowd who didn't like all the "horizontal" stuff. Rev. Park asked me to make it a little less New Agey and more blessing-centered. So I did. Attendance immediately began to fall, but we still had some decent turnouts, because people were interested in bringing guests to hear about the ideology of the blessing.
Anyway, at one workshop, Rev. Park and Rev. Ang showed up. They sat in the front row until lunch. Somewhere in there I led a guided meditation. Maybe some of you have done it, borrowed from Shakti Goawain's book. You get them to close their eyes, take some deep breaths, let go of the tension, and listen to some Enya music or whatever, and then they are walking down a path. They imagine what the surroundings look like--beach, forest, mountain--and then they come to a special place. From there they are led to construct a sacred sanctuary out of the things around them and whatever other special materials come to mind. Then they are led to create their own sacred altar and to place ritual objects on it. Then there is a moment where they simply sit in the Presence of whatever spiritual reality they imagine. There is a suggestion of a message or gift received and given. And then they are led to leave the sanctuary, reminded that it is always there for them to come back to whenever they want. And then down the path and back to real world. After it's over they write what they remember in their journal, or maybe share a testimony. Later in the workshop I did some other guided meditation, but the Rev.s weren't there for that.
And there you have the story of how yours truly led Rev. Pak and Rev. Ahn on a guided meditation.
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