Findhorn Reflections: A Very Personal Take on Life Inside the Famous Spiritual Community and Ecovillage by Graham Meltzer is reviewed by community member Thomas Miller.
It can be bewildering to try to tell the Findhorn Foundation’s story given the community’s enormous diversity. Members who are sharing with first-time guest groups often use a standard disclaimer that what they are giving is their opinion and that the guests are sure to find someone here with the opposite view. Given this, perhaps the best way to approach the community’s story is to fully embrace the multiplicity and see the community as a choir of different voices that somehow harmonise despite their different melodies and pitches. This is exactly what Graham Meltzer’s latest book Findhorn Reflections does. It sings his own celebratory, provocative, intimate and thoroughly personal song while pointing out some of the larger themes and patterns of the community’s music of emergence.
In his usual learned but easygoing style, Graham has written Findhorn Reflections as an overview of his experience in the community. Most of it consists of previously published blog posts, but he has also written some material specifically for the book. Easily understandable to people unfamiliar with the Findhorn Foundation, the book explains our practices and institutions, like angel cards and attunement. However, the sharpness of his eye for detail and the succinct personal stories with which he illustrates points offers even long-time members a fresh view of community life. Using short themed chapters, he approaches life in the community from several different angles, sharing his personal take on everything from the quality of meetings to sex in the community to meal times.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the book is the way in which Graham’s own spirituality changed as a result of living and working in the Foundation. It narrates his movement from atheistic scepticism to an openness that nevertheless remains distant from the spiritual experiences of the community’s founders. Reflecting on how the Park Garden team carefully communicated with nature beings, for example, he expresses curiosity and respect while noting that he himself has no direct experience of nature beings and can only speculate about what the members were actually going through. His warm openness and willingness to transform reflect the heart opening process that is central to the ‘Findhorn experience’, regardless of what spiritual language people use or what drew them here.
Although Graham challenges some of the community’s practices and does not hesitate to identify aspects of the Foundation he has questions about, the book is mostly an exuberant celebration of the community’s life. His joy in learning to sing Taizé (and in learning to see himself as someone capable of singing), in eating meals in the community centre, dancing and meeting with friends in the course of everyday activities is a theme that he returns to again and again.
For more details on the paperback or Kindle edition and to buy the book click on the image above.