Memory from Focusing International in Israel
Early the first morning I went out on a long pier that felt like enters into the Sea of Galilee. The deciding point to attend The International Focusing Conference in Israel this year was the fact that I will have the opportunity to experience first hand the total environment that historical Jesus was born into, his followers lived and is a cradle of Judeo – Christian traditions.
That particular morning, sun was just rising from the hills, some small insect were buzzing around me, the air was thick with humidity and held a promise of a hot day. I was deeply immersed in the ambiance of the moment allowing it to speak to me. This is why I wanted to be here. A question that was on the edge of my enquiry is: what is this environment such that it brought forward one of the most influential personalities of our time?
I did not have a vision of Jesus or Mary or Moses or any one else, but I started to understand in an organic way what my faith and attraction to Jesus was about.
Looking at the birds hovering around the swampy shores catching their breakfast and the swaying grass in the morning wind, something at first vaguely familiar floated in – “Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing ….Look at the birds in the sky …… now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith?”
Then out of the morning mist, an old wooden raw boat appeared on the smooth water. Only occasional sound of oars breaking through the water was audible. The fishing nets and other gear used by 3 fishermen, their skill of throwing nets in a circular outline, ensnaring fish to get in and then collecting their catch resonates …… again a question ….. what kind of a man was HE to be enlightened and speak such wisdom that made some of his companions recognize his divine nature? What made him tick? The fishermen waved to me from distance and I waved back. I wandered how did we connect – on some deeply implied of human levels –like these kind of fishermen, ordinary people were his followers who understood something about his message that was organic – dare I say felt sensing? It shifted their lives to be willing to be tortured and stoned as his followers, because they KNEW something they could not deny. Again felt sensing connection – nobody can dispute when something becomes explicated as personally known.
We had a bus trip with an Israeli guide and a Palestinian driver. Both skillful guides in their own way. They took us to many “Christian” shrines, but one made a special impact on me. The Mount of Beatitudes is situated close to the Valley of Tabgha. It is known in Christian tradition as the site of the “Sermon on the Mount” place where significant sermons on the principles of Christianity were spoken by Jesus. As we set on some stairs overlooking a dale from the top of the Mount, there are fields covered with yellow grass, delightful wild flowers, trees, valley gently sprawling below us. There it is again – this experience of timelessness. >>This sense of being bodily alive in a vast system is the body as it is felt from the inside<< resonates. We are sitting on the stairs and our Israeli guide without much introduction opens the New Testament and starts reading: “Happy are the poor in spirit ……theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” I feel shivers all over me. ….”Happy the gentle, they shall have the earth for their heritage ….. Happy the peacemakers they shall be called sons of God ……. “ As he finished reading the group dispersed on the grounds. I feel deeply moved and drawn into this larger than here and now experience. Gene’s words touch me: >>…. a gigantic system of here and other places, now and other times in fact the whole universe …. <<. My friend Sergio from Chile and I sit quietly on a bench overlooking valley – not talking just sensing the sacred. Something is understood between us without a word being spoken at this moment. There is a presence of more than us.
And then on the drive back to the Conference Center, on the hot evening, the Guide gives us advice: “Be careful if you are planning to go swimming in the lake (Sea of Galilee). Sometime storms with huge waves come out of nowhere suddenly and can be very dangerous.” I remember (Mt 14) “…. when evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake was battling with heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night, he went towards them, walking on the lake………”. This is so real – this is still the way of life here. He was totally immersed in the authentic world, and yet so totally transparent and in fact “part of a gigantic system of here and other places, now and other times, himself and other people – in fact the whole universe.”
This is my living experience of this theoretical text.