There are folk in my presence today who will be present at the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Shalom Mountain in 2076
May 29, 2016
Voice — Who are You?
I am Gerald J. Jud, a left-handed Tantric yogi under discipline and instruction Khajaraho. I am Gerald Christ, a devotee of Jesus Christ, who as my guide points the way in my journey with God. As my lover, he calls me to power in my journey with God. I surrender everything to God — my ego and my name and all preferences. I yield to the unfolding. Thy will be done. I am with God. I am satisfied.
Voice — Where did you come from?
I have come from the Eternal Source, the Upholder and Sustainer of all things in the Universe.
Voice — Where are you going?
I am returning with joy and thanksgiving to the Source.
Voice – Who are you going with?
I am going with the Shalom Community. Now, toward the end of my journey, almost all of my nuclear family has gone on through the gate and you, the Shalom community, are the most important part of my love and meaningful relations.
Voice — Why are you here?
I am here to make a prophecy. There are some folks sitting before me right now who will be present when the 100th year of Shalom Mountain will be celebrated in 2076. I am here to celebrate my relationship with you and the important institution that Shalom Mountain is in this culture.
I have four remaining copies of Training in the Art of Loving, the book reporting on our research at Kirkridge, showing that the Shalom process can make lasting change behavior in three days. I am going to give a book to four persons who will agree to be present at the 100th anniversary celebration. I will not be there in my body but if they close there eyes they will see me sitting there with them.
I am here to prophesy that Shalom Mountain Retreat and Study Center will be here to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2076.
Shalom was born on the wave of the Human Potential Movement in 1976 when many other institutions such as ours were also founded. They flourished for a while and then disappeared. My presentation today will celebrate the reasons that we have continued and will continue for a long time to come.
I am an old fashioned preacher. First, I will tell you what I am going to tell. Next, I will tell you and then I will tell you what I said.
Here are Four Forces (Spirits) which will sustain us as we travel toward our 100th Anniversary in 2076.
Love — We have a single, over-arching purpose — to reflect on and practice love as the creative, sustaining power of the universe. Everything we do as a community grows out of that one center.
The Body/Spirit connection. — Each of us is dual — Body and Spirit. Because all of our existence is dual, our programming focuses on both aspects, Spirt and Body — Spirit and Form. This focus makes us whole and it will sustain us.
Our style of leadership — Recently one of our elders, Connie Bowes, received a PhD degree. Her thesis explored the reasons that Shalom Mountain weathered the storms of the 70’s and 80’s while so many other institutions withered? Her answer was that it was because of our leadership style.
The Unique nature of our community — We have an initiatory process that binds us together in a transcendental way and allows us to unfold in deep caring for each other. This power will sustain us and allow us to unfold.
I will now proceed to elaborate on these four power centers.
We contemplate and practice love as the great sustaining power of the Universe.
Everything that we do as individuals and all that we do as a community grows out of this center.
At the be beginning of each retreat, we covenant to love each other unconditionally. As a result of this experience, we find ourselves bonded and continue to intend to love each other. We are rewarded not because we do it perfectly but because we intend the experience of our love as our bonding power.
The left side of the brain sees the Principles and Skills of Loving written on the wall. And then we ask all of the usual questions about how to do it. The right brain enters the mystical, alchemical lab and knows what the left brain cannot explain.
The practice of love as we know it is three-fold. It is uniquely personal. Looking in the mirror and practicing the Skills of Loving is one important way of self-observation. Through such self-reflection, observing ourselves in relationship, it all starts from there. We love because we love ourselves. We are now capable of loving human beings — the people we live with, the people at work, the people we know and even people whom we have not yet met.
We love the creatures of the earth, animals in cages and animals in their natural habitat; a bug trying to get through a glass window; a venomous spider and mating butterflies.
As we grow and develop in our level of consciousness, the scene changes and takes on new meanings. This is especially true in our perspective and love of God.
All of the different retreats offered here on the Mountain are presented to deepen our understanding of love and its practice.
- The mat trip
- The journey to God
- Advanced Journey to God
- The Path of the Mystic
- Sex and Spirit and Couples Work
- Advanced Sex and Spirit
- The Wisdom School presented by Marc Gafni
- Unique Self Work
- Work with Men and Women and Youth
In all of the great religions of the world, singleness of focus is lifted high and we hear, “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light,”
The great music in our churches, synagogues and mosques, echoes in our consciousness. It is love’s vibration. Our great literature strains to tell of is glory. We are filled with our longing for each other and our longing for the God that dwells within us.
The practice of this love will sustain us and let us continue to serve in the spiritualization of the human community.
The Body/Spirit Connection
When our spirit manifested on this plane, it incarnated as form and body — spirit and body. Here we are a dual formation — two behaving as one. Yet, there is a difference. The soul dwells in the body. The body does not dwell in the soul. So at the ending, the body returns to the earth and loses form. The Spirit (soul) returns to the eternal source.
Transcendence — That experience which emerges in our dancing, laughing, crying, dreaming together interpenetrates our lives. It feeds wonder and awe and calls us to cry out the name of God. No doubt, our journey with God is the mainstay of our existence.
Looking through the goggles of the history of religion, the body has not always been seen as good and it was not to be honored. Often it is seen as the cause of sin and iniquity. In the living of our lives, it is often seen as the source of pain and anguish.
This is not true of the our Shalom community. Here we say, “The Body — WOW!” The Body — the source of the ecstatic, sensory awareness, delight and the mystery of love in the flesh!. WOW”
Yoga was introduced and practiced at the first Shalom Retreat. Its ancient chakra system has stretched our bodies and our minds and it teaches how our energy flows in our bodies. So, we practice an ancient path and its perspectives in a new context – ancient truths finding new expression.
New energy and new context spells SEX. We pay attention and in singleness and in group life, we are explorers, cliff hangers and cliff jumpers.
The context for the birth of Shalom process was rife with sexual energy. My own life, as well as many of yours, was awakened in the 60’s and 70’s — open marriage, triangles and quadrangles. Many of us cliff jumpers did practice and reported back to the community. In my own life, I was the keynote speaker in Manhattan at the invitation of Cauldron Productions on Sex and Spirit. The title of my address was, “The Triangle: An experiment tried and failed.”
In the last few years, incredible changes have occurred in our larger society. I met my first transgender person in 1972. Today big changes have occurred in giving freedom and acceptance to these friends of ours. Same sex marriage is now legal in many states and of course, we have long celebrated the rights of gay people. Much has changed and still there is much to do.
My first experience of yoga was with a leader who himself was just a beginner. But Spirit used him to light a fire in me. Here at Shalom Mountain, the focus is not on doing it right but allowing discovery to take place — each in his or her own time.
The flow of energy in our unique bodies is wonderful to behold and fascinating to contemplate. Yoga moves us to ever deepening awareness of how the magic of energy flows through our bodies and it induces us to practice an ancient and wondrous way to keep a body in shape and pain free.
I have practiced yoga for over 50 years. I decided to be teacher-free and to allow an ancient practice to manifest in me in this new context. It happened. I have become a self-described yogi. Every day, in my devotional practice, is a new surprise, a new beginning and a new sense of “with-ness” with God.
This is my experience. I am sure that many of you have other wonderful things to report.
We don’t change because someone instructs us to change. It happens with a change of consciousness. I was over 90 years old before I consciously fell in love with my own body. Strangely, most of my life, I thought that IT was out there, instead of right here and now. Yoga is my open door to being with God.
Though, much healing takes place on Shalom Mountain, we do not call our leaders therapists. We call them Spiritual Guides — because we are essentially a spiritual community.
Characteristics of our Leaders
- Our leaders ask Spirit to make them of some use.
- Our leaders are capable of handling projection. It is true that they say, “I did it”, followed by “I, yet not I but God.”
- Our leaders do not model perfection — they model integrity.
- Our leaders do not give answers. They help a retreatant to shape his or her questions and help them to pursue their own unique answers.
- While credentials to lead are honored, the power to channel the Spirit of Guidance is central.
The Shalom leader is not required to have a PhD in analytical psychology. Though I have some fairly good credentials, I never presented myself as a therapist. I presented myself as a spiritual guide for life’s journey.
If a Shalom initiate is called to lead and has the power of attraction so that he or she is easily trusted and they have experienced and know the Shalom process, nothing stands in the way of their leadership.
Our Unique Community
The fourth reason, why Shalom will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2076, is the Uniqueness of our community.
There is no doubt that we are a community and there is no doubt that we are unique. Here I am giving my perspective of our nature and function. It is my perspective and I encourage you as I talk of my perspective to also think of yours. We are never finished. We are always changing — we are process people. I always like to remember that the first thing put on the wall of the meditation room was “It does not yet appear what we shall be.”
Everything that I have said before in this presentation has been a witness of who we are. We are therefore, a spiritual community.
Many of us are religious but the Shalom community is not a religion. We are not focused on belief systems but we are centered on personal experience as we pursue our longing for the eternal.
While honoring the different therapy professions, we do not present ourselves as a therapy center — though of course, much healing goes on.
We do not say, “You are sick and we will make you well.” We say, “Come, whoever you are, wherever you are in life’s journey. You are welcome here. Come to seek a presence and to pray for a spirit. This is a free and open community — no up and down, no in and out, no right and wrong.”
Finally, a very important characteristic of our community is that we are not a political community. We do not spend a lot of time on current political issues. However, because we are compelled by love, the issues of justice, mercy and compassion are to the forefront our personal lives. But, when we are acting politically in our private lives, we are not representative of the Shalom community. When Be and I and Gail Faithful were at the front lines of the war in Nicaragua, nobody sent us there. We were there because we sent ourselves. When Be and I did a three day fast at the River Entrance of the Pentagon, nobody sent us there, there was no discussion about it. We sent ourselves.
The Communion of Saints
Stories are an important part of all family life. Some of the stories cause us to shed tears, others make us thoughtful; some stories when they are told make us bend us over with laughter. Shalom is not unique in the fact that stories are the glue of bonding in the human community. Our uniqueness lies in who our unique saints are. They are not our saints because they live perfect lives. They are our saints because they live their lives full out. Bill Eitner and Helen who was beloved here, Chris Boeve, Tommy Depinto, Charlie Bauer, Gerry and Mary Kent Norton.
But all of our saints have not gone through the Golden Gates. Many are still living. My next story has to do with one saint living and the other one who is dead. During my tenure at Shalom Mountain, there were two saints to whom I would like to give special attention. The names of these two saints are Burt Giges and Augie Eiger. These two saints are responsible for us being here today.
Augie provided a protective cover for me in the Livingston Manor community. Burt provided a cover for me in the professional world. He, a prominent psychiatrist, said as he danced on a table one night, “This guy is alright. You can trust him.” Maybe there should be an Augie and Burt award every year for someone at Shalom who has just become a saint.
We are also a community of dreamers. I believe that the greatest gift that God has given us, is the gift of creative imagination. It is a great mystery — the intense subject of contemplation. It could be that with the power of dreaming, our life stories and the life story of this community unfolds. No one knows the full power of dreaming together but because we are dreamers, we are participants in the unfolding of our personal futures and the future of this institution.
Now at the end of this presentation, i want to lift up the importance of something that is going on in our community at the present time. We are a responsible, financial community and by supporting the Legacy Project, we help to imagine and secure the future of our work together.
At the beginning of this presentation, I said that I would tell you what I am going to say, I would say it and then I would tell you what I told you. Now I am the telling you what I told you — that Shalom Mountain will be strong, loving and serving in ever increasingly wondrous ways in 2076.
Also, at the beginning I was asked “Who are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? Who are you going with?” Shalom Mountain has wide open arms for all of us who keep asking those questions.