I began reading Mel’s book the day after the general election, her introduction aptly touched on the contemporary milieu ‘bleakness, pain, suffering, confusion, wherever we look’1. In the midst of this she offered and ever-present message of hope.
Mel is an artist, healer, energy worker and teacher. Her book emerged from her unique life’s journey – an odyssey that has moved her from feeling ‘that there was always something missing’, to a place of peace ‘flowing with that which ‘Is’’2. She offers a map and tools to encourage and support others on their unique spiritual journeys. Her aim is to ‘promote discussion, create links and build pathways of friendship and communication between people, disciplines and ideas’3. An aim I feel her book is well placed to achieve. As well as an individual’s spiritual growth, the theme of humanities spiritual evolution runs through the book. There is a recognition that human consciousness is evolving and of the energetic ripeness and necessity of us to ‘be’ the change that is so needed now.
Refreshingly written in experience close language, her writing has a depth and immediacy that invites the reader to stay close to the raw data of their experience, below the level of preconceived ideas. She deliberately avoids traditional religious jargon, leaving it up to the reader to bring in terms from their perspectives if they wish. Recognising the limitations, yet necessity of words to point towards the ineffable, she defines her terms. Weaving her text, with poems and artwork, she invites shifts between right brain and left brain modes of knowing, helping nudge the reader into ‘heart-centred consciousness of that which ‘Is’’.
An understanding of the process of spiritual growth is present within many faiths and traditions. However, fewer and fewer people are being able to connect to traditional ways of expressing it. Mel’s non-dogmatic and experience close writing about the spiritual journey will be invaluable for those ‘waking up’ to their spiritual side, or who have been alienated from religious traditions, and do not know where to turn for understanding and guidance. Also, to those who have walked the path within a traditional faith tradition.
I felt an easy resonance with her exploring of the human condition. She envisions that our inner light becomes clouded by our constructed identities as we walk through life. Our tendency is then to search outside for answers, often not ‘listening’ or connecting to the ‘truth’ that is always within us, and connects us to everything. Spiritual growth is then a process of removing blocks and misconceptions on physical, emotional and mental levels that cloud the light of that which ‘Is’ shining through us.
Chapter by chapter I felt gently guided through her map. Moving from the unity of that which ‘Is’, to our disconnection from it, into a dualistic mode of perception. Then on to ways to reconnect to that which ‘Is’, a move that takes us from living as what she calls a ‘Passive Receiver’ to a ‘Dynamic Creator’. She suggests qualities that will help align and strengthen our connection to that which ‘Is’, qualities of Love – Faith – Trust – Truth – Surrender – Stillness – Humility and Gratitude. I found it rewarding to see them put together in this way, and to mull on them individually.
Insightful, practical, passionately written, coming from the heart and offered to others in humility – it is fresh, down to earth writing for our time – a contemporary expression of the spiritual journey. She suggests that the book is ‘to be dipped into and lived’, rather than memorised and thought. It is for us to sense and ponder. I would agree with this, and sense that anyone who lives alongside this work over time will be deeply rewarded.
BEDE GRIFFITHS SANGHA MAGAZINE/ SPRING 2020 / JANE LICHNOWSKI