The theme of the May 2019 Conference was about good and evil –‘Walking with Our Time – Can We Transform Evil?’ This was most wonderfully introduced and carried through lecture and conversations with Christine Gruwez who has spent many years working with and leading seminars on Manichaeism. In our time of the Consciousness Soul, good and evil are working together and our path forward is not to be based on ‘either/or’ positions. We need to transcend dualism and consider expanding our thinking to include thoughts around ‘as well as.’ Why is evil so powerful in out time? Answers don’t bring us any further. As contemporaries we look for a path rather than a set of answers. She elaborated on the five steps of the path:
- Be present as a spectator, feeling a sense of powerlessness
- Become still and listen, allow events to deeply penetrate
- A meeting, open up to pure potential
- Be present and witness, develop presence of mind
- Be awake, engage, a possibility for redemption exists
What attitude can each of us develop when confronted with darkness and evil? We have the possibility to develop the attitude of ‘milde.’ Christine brought this German word for a quality of soul that could be described as gentleness or kindness. It is contained in the image of Mary who provides an open space where goodness and evil are welcomed as potentiality. This is the quality of warmth and light which expresses love.
For the enrichment of our theme, artistic workshops were offered. Our English-speaking group of about 20 participants collaborated under the skilled directionof Denis Schneider and Eric Tardif.
In small groups of 3 or 4 we used black crayon on white paper and worked with ripped newspaper to create individual patterns. Each person had a turn, darkening where they desired. As can be seen in the photo, each group’s finished work illustrating dark and light was totally unique.
This was not the end, though: we were asked to choose two words to express aspects of our design. Then, as the whole group, we built up words into phrases and finally ‘wrote’ a verse which incorporated most of the original words. None of us could ever have imagined the outcome. It was a truly collaborative artistic project taking us on a fun and creative journey through the exploration of darkness and light.
Here is the poem our group created:
Dynamic light building Spider
Play transforms Spring Light
Head held dynamic acceptance
A big thank-you to Arie van Ameringen and Claudette Leblanc for bringing Christine Gruwez to Canada and for organizing a lively and inspiring conference!
Barbara Mundy and Susan Koppersmith