August 16

images-1I met you some years back in Damanhur, which is a commune, ecovillage, and spiritual community situated in the Piedmont region of northern Italy about 30 miles north of the city of Turin. Nearly a thousand people live there together in house-units spread over the mountainous area and maintaining most of the social features of life including their own schools and even their own money. I was there with my family exploring the commune to find out whether we would like to become part of it and you were on a pilgrimage after you had lost your company and your life as a successful executive. You had cycled all the way from Denmark without using any money and you intended to finish your trip in Rome. Damanhur was the first place on your trip that you needed to pay to get in.

You opened my eyes, with the help of a couple of other friends, to see the power-structures of the seemingly idealistic and spiritual place. It was lead and strictly governed by a small elitist group around the creator of the place Falco or Oberto Airaudi. Like so many ”alternative” structures all over the world this was also based upon the governing structure of the surrounding society. Falco was in many way like the Pope leading his own miniature Vatican. Thank you for opening my eyes to see.

We got to be friends the first time we met. We shared the same inquiring mind, the same willingness to know and to understand our world and ourselves. You had created yourself through the pressures of business life and success (and failure) and I had kept myself out of it all. You even looked like a proverbial business executive and I was the odd one out.

When we parted I flew back home knowing that Damanhur was not for me, it was not the society of mutual sharing my soul was looking for. And you continued your pilgrimage all the way to Rome, which you later told me was a nauseating place full of money and power. After that you came to us on Åland Islands for a long visit.

You had studied all kinds of spiritual healing practices and during those weeks you stayed with us you tried to help to bridge the gulf between my wife and myself. You saw how we both were so easily triggered to react when in conflict with each other and you tried to find ways of helping us. We all tried, but it did not really work out, something was missing. But still you and I had a great time sharing our views about this weird world, we were on the same page as they say.

My wife was suffering from cancer, which she had hoped that Damanhur could have helped to heal. She was diagnosed with breast-cancer when our daughter was a mere six months old and the cancer was now spreading further in her body. She eventually died three days before our daughter’s seventh birthday not having found the healing she yearned for from anywhere in her world.

While my wife fought desperately for her life you found your way to Norway where you started your spiritual healing practice. You loved giving your courses and leading the participants towards health that they so sought for. You were still the boss! You soon found a beautiful new partner to share your life with.You two were married in a wondrous ceremony of love joyfully expressed. We were also invited but for some reason we could not participate.

After my wife’s death I was left alone with my daughter. For once I who had so often left my wives and families had nowhere to go; I was to take care of my daughter, to be the great bosom within which she could grow into her full bloom. I was to be for her that which I had never been able to be for my now adult sons from previous marriages.

Once again I started to look for a commune that could help me to carry my responsibility towards my daughter and also give me a meaningful place of participation in this world. I found my ideal from the Norwegian mountains, a Camphill-village with a small Waldorf-school, where my daughter and I could grow as participants of a spiritual community. Camphill-villages are communes where handicapped or ”special” people share their lives with us ”normal” ones in a family-form. They have arisen from Rudolf Steiner’s ideas and are now spread all over the world. I felt that this village was the one my daughter and I needed.

Three years ago after Christmas we spent a week in this village called Solborg. The place was magnificent, situated on a mountain above a beautiful valley. We enjoyed being there and soon found new friends. My daughter even attended the school and learned some Norwegian. She was ready to move to Solborg. I was interviewed by the collective board and I felt this to be the right place. I was open with my own views, which were not quite anthroposophical but stil spiritual.

On our way back to Åland we visited you and your wife, which did not make a big detour for us. You were living in a tiny house on the countryside and I soon felt a certain desperation in your life-situation. You and your lovely wife were working hard to make your living but things were not really flowing easily. You were in a tight spot.

I told you that the morning we started our drive towards your place my daughter said that now she knows that she doesn’t want to move to Solborg. I heard what she said but I was still keen to move there, I wanted to find a society where I could feel that I belonged. I wanted to share and to be a part of something greater, something meaningful outside of my own family.

We stayed with you overnight and then headed back home. It was good to see you, good to share with a brother and his lovely wife. And still I felt the uneasiness in the air.

We got back home and the following week I got a short note from Solborg that they did not want us. I was disappointed as I had put so much energy into this new life already. I called them and heard that they did not feel that I would suit their community. A hard message to swallow… But my daughter had in a way already made up her mind and there were some deep conflicts in Solborg of which I had got many hints during our stay. Ok, that was that!

Just maybe a week after that I saw a notice in the local newspaper about a grand house with 7 ha of pasture out in the country that the local government was willing to lease to the highest bidder. I had heard about the house earlier and had even visited it. That was my opportunity to create my own community, my own world, instead of trying to fit into somebody else’s world. I gave my bid for the house and it turned out that I was the only one interested in it. When my daughter saw it she immediately said: ”We take this!”. And we two leased a big house of almost 300 square meters inclusive a cellar floor.

We moved in during the Easter and soon after I heard about the great change that had taken place in your life. You had given your life to God and Jesus and were moving back to Denmark to be a part of a Christian society. You who had opened my eyes to see the true nature of Damanhur were now ready to give your independence for something greater. You wanted to be lead instead of leading others. You had turned a new page in your life, and so did your wife. It made me wonder…

You even invited me to come and visit your new commune, you knew that it would be good for me as well. I had just found my home in the countryside and I concentrated my efforts towards it. I bought a pony for my daughter. And I dreamed of a bigger family both for my daughter’s and for my own sake. We had a good time together but I felt that a bigger family would give her more human nourishment than I alone was ever able to give.

On a yearly Viking Market the last weekend of July I met the woman who would soon move into our paradise with her three kids. We soon married. I was living my dream, and still somehow walking in your steps, my dear friend. This I realized just recently after living this new married life for about two years. Things were great, my wife is full of beauty, our farm is a paradise, our four kids get on well together and still something is nagging me, there is a part of my life that is not whole, not Holy.

In early July I saw an ad about Inner Humanity Camp, which would be held in the end of the month in Tammisaari, Finland. A group of young people had experienced something profound when they had openly shared their spiritual and emotional truths with each other. They had organized the event to share that experience with others. Their words sounded so innocent and true. I wanted to participate, to share their experience.

The five days of sharing that they formed from their love, wisdom and vulnerability created a wondrous bowl of understanding and acceptance. There were many of us who took radically new steps within ourselves, which we could then openly share with all the participants. This event gave me a first ever experience of being totally accepted, of being able to fit in both with my strengths and with my weaknesses. I felt fully loved, carried by something greater than my human insecurity.

My life was radically changed by those few days, my heart finally opened for the sharing of love that I had so yearned for. I was actually part of something great… I was in love, actually living in it, just as I had always done without being conscious of it. And luckily my wife was also able to share the experience as she visited the camp for the final night and day. We both felt the truth of it.

All of this brought you back to my mind. I now understood why you chose to become a Christian and to let Jesus and God save you. It is the same experience of acceptance that I got just within another framework of spirituality. The young people of inner Humanity Camp had wanted to create an open spiritual experience, which would not be dependent on any of the structures built around our spiritual core during our long human history. They had wanted to create a free spiritual experience of acceptance and love, and they had succeeded. My changed life is a great proof of. I am now saved just as you are, my dear friend.

This view was made all the more explicit when just after coming home from the Camp our family was visited for two days by a lovely group of six young women. They as a group had an air of open friendliness, of truthful sharing and acceptance. Only gradually got we to know that they all belonged a Lutheran revival movement called Laestadianism, which both my wife and I had previously held to be a group of strict puritans. These women who had all grown up within this movement were a living proof of the beauty that flows out of us human beings when we have been fully accepted by our society, by our own world.

One day after we had described the profound feeling of acceptance we had experienced on the Camp these lovely women went for a ride and shared with each other how they saw our experience resembling their own experiences of acceptance within the Laestadianism. At the same time while they were away my wife and I discussed the same issue and also saw the basic resemblance of these two experiences. The feeling of being fully accepted was essential in both of these worlds. One basic tenet of Laestadianism is that everybody has the right to relieve their neighbor from their sins, which means that there are no ministers standing in between a member of the group and God. That is what these young women had experienced, it is what we all need, it is what you and your wife found in your Christian commune, and we found on the Camp. The true experience of being fully accepted or loved with all of our strengths and weaknesses. That’s it!

The question arises: How can I help my fellow human beings to have this profound and life-changing experience? That’s for sure the same question you had in mind when you so eagerly kept on inviting us to your place where you had felt this unconditional acceptance. We, you and me, want to share this profound experience that is so deeply healing for every human being.

How to be the love and acceptance that the whole humanity so greatly earns for? That’s the question. I trust that by holding on to this question, by letting it constantly ring within my being I can always find the action, the thoughts and the deeds that best answer to the question. This needs to happen every living moment of my life, in every now that ever opens towards new futures of ever expanding love and acceptance.

My dear friend, I am sure that we are now both back on track, back as brothers working together so that love and acceptance can flow ever deeper into our human minds. One day we shall see ourselves and each other as beings of pristine innocence ever exploring the creative fields of divine potential, we shall see the truth of what we have always been. I am in love just as I know that you also are, my dear friend.