The Guild for Spiritual Guidance


Document - jyung 6/9/90

Transcribed by Margot N. Dilmaghani from John Yun. gblut v·-ideo made by Taylor Hines just before John left for Switzerland around Eastertime, 1990. Shown at the Guild Reunion May, 1990 copy given to Guild original to return to T.Hines, copy either sent to or saved for J.Y.

Taylor Hines walks Touchstone Farm, -- the tree the Guild gave to John, the pond, a meditation spot near the pond with a spill­ way, the pets.

John seated in a chair in his home, with a book on his lap.

I'm thinking of you all at Wainwright House and would have liked to have been with you. Jack even made it possible by offering to pay my way over. I think it's better to say what I have and move more slowly.

You've seen Taylor Hines who's good enough to do this. Some of the Touchstone Farm. The pond and the meditation center, the garden and the tree you gave me near the rose garden.

It was Jack's idea also to bring me to you via this video tape and I do feel close to you. I do think back on the last reunion meeting how the decision was made then at Mac Legerton's sugges­ tion to have a celebratory dinner in honor of the tenth anniver­ sary of the Guild itself.

It brought back memories to me of the early meetings. We met in the library where you are now, probably. About 15 persons in­ cluding Joe Bishop and �an Merrill and a number of others and we plotted thei course wht1'e we've come. Working at times in small committees, we gave shape to it.

I remember in particular the suggestion of Jack Nelson to call it the Guild. It was, in his mind, the Medieval formation which not only trained people but kept them together over the years as a support group and that is happening. Evidence of it is here at your tenth anniversary.

I remember some of the decisions that were made then. The deci­ sion whether it would be valuable to have focus in an interfaith basis or to stay with the Christian heritage. We couldn't do everything so we tried to focus on the Judea-Christian heritage.

We talked about curriculum. It was like a group discernment that we should go ahead on the basis of standing in the

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succession of the great mystics, studying their works. My com­ mitment to the mystical insight of God is imminent as well as transcendent. And then, rather than be eclectic with regard to psychology, we chose to stay with the psychology of C. Jung. And that is another central strand of the teaching. And then to see it all in the creation myth as illustrated by Teilhard and his books. It seems to me that was a particularly wise decision not only because, as you know, I love Teilhard -- he's been a spiritual advisor to me through his writings. But more impor­ tantly, he has been able to shape the enthusiasm and the under­ standing for his myth in cosmogenesis in other minds and other things with his insights.

I'm particularly fortunate in this context to have Tom Berry with us and his great genius. I think he 's the only Renaissance man I've ever known personally . He mastered a number of disci­ plines although he focuses on the history of culture.

He's a disciple of Teilhard and he applies the vision in various areas especially his notion of the regional development of re­ sources on the surface of the earth.

He is now, as you know, been the author of a book entitled The Dream of the Earth. A good title. It is published by the Si­ erra Club. It is the first in the intended whole library of na­ ture. It's a series of essays, each of which stands alone. The book I've used as a devotional manual for some time, trying to understand the complexity of the environmental questions .

What touches me is now, a disciple of Teilhard, Thomas Berry, is influencing many people. The book is having a good source of distribution. Many people are enthusiastic about it. Recently when we were at a retreat center, we learned just in advance that Tom was going to be lecturing that morning not 35 miles away .On a long shot chance, we called and made contact and he

,was delighted to come and give us a whole afternoon . He told us his story; creation and the new story and responded to queries about it. The best synchronicity I've had in some time.

There's· something I want to say about the future of the Guild. I like to imagine us at a particular growth and commitment . It's not surprising the vision was so large at a later time it would become applicable and important. Many conference and retreat centers are now making an emphasis on the earth. This means that we are awakening to the great danger in evolutionary per­ spective of extinction . We are an endangered species.

A group of Friends on the West coast have formed the Concerned

Group in the Society of Friends for the Care of the environment. We call this "Unity with Nature" and they have a little pamphlet suggesting many things one can do no matter where one is. ith regard to the environment and resources of the earth and. so on. The title of this little book is "Walking Gently on the Earth." It touched me when I first saw it. I linked it with George Fox's commendation to Quakers that they should walk in community and be able to work with the earth at the same time they would be able to carry the good news abroad. We have the words of this little group of friends, and George Fox: Walk Cheerfully and Gently over the earth answering to that of God in everyone.

That the programs of many other retreat centers should be making this focus in our time. is an encouraging factor.

If I were to suggest the emphases I would like to see pursued in the. Guild in terms of curriculum, I would like to suggest this one, the environmental emphasis. The reinhabiting of the earth, as Tom puts it in the book. He also speaks of the

re-enhancement of the earth. He speaks of the spirituality of the earth. The spirituality that comes from the earth itself, the divine . Earthlings . If we don't have a spirituality of the earth then we don't have a spirituality of the soul. We are of the earth. Earthy.

The other element I would hope might be increasingly emphasized is the mystical. I'm sure you 're not surprised at my sugges­ tion. But I think the form of earth mysticism or evolutionary mysticism is an essential ingredient in any sound myth of mean­ ing for our time.

May you have a very good weekend together. I shall be thinking of you in my prayers . I shall be writing this summer. I'm shaping a personal myths to live by. In connection with what Joseph .Campbell has done for all of us. Helping us to under­ stand the myth of meaning is the most powerful identity in your life, by which to know your own self. I shall be writing on that theme, shaping a personal myth to live by as I wrote two essays last summer in Zurich on Intimations on Immortality and Hallowing ones Diminishments which is being published as a pam­ phlet to come out in July.

I'd like to write something on forgiveness which has come to mean a great deal to me . I concur with William Blake's insis­ tence that it was the only original thing to be found in the teachings of Jesus, more or less anticipated in one way or an­ other by earlier writers and moralists. But forgiveness is cen­ tral to Jesus . And it is important in development of interna-

tional relationship. I look to the time when there'll be the poJ.itic of forgiveness. •.

  1. think I've said the main things I want to say . I shall be thinking of you and will by name.


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