Sometimes my path leads me into areas where I feel exposed, uncomfortable, and without a lot of obvious support.

I depend in the end on the feel of the path beneath my feet and the knowledge that I am not the first to come this way, and likely not the last.

... the Beatles, who devoted the rest of their lives to the Maharishi for three weeks....

(Playboy article, late 70s, early 80s)

This piece of gross cynicism provided me with one of the most valuable therapeutic metaphors I have ever used.

If you can devote the rest of your lives to anything, for three seconds, let alone three weeks, it will begin to change. Once you reach that place where you know that nothing has ever been different, and that it will continue like this for all time, and accept this totally and unresistingly, you are practising acceptance at it's most profound. You occupy a timeless present in which healing takes place. If you want it in technical terms, you have moved from a dualistic position to a unified consciousness.

Nothing will ever heal as long as we deny any part of it, for while we deny it, or attempt to separate ourselves from it, we are involved in a power struggle with it. The person who brought his gift to the altar in the New Testament story was told likewise to seek out his brother and settle the differences that lay between them. He could not make the gift - which is always the gift of ourselves - while part of himself was committed to a power struggle.

The kingdom of God, the presence of God, is realised in total commitment. God is the epitome of politeness. As long as we are involved in anything else, anything at all, he will not interrupt.

In the daily round of tasks that we carry out to earn our living, the temptation, when something untoward happens is to resist it, and to do this we tighten our muscles in various ways that we have learned to do so as not to feel the hurt. We can then mask the hurt or the tiredness or the anger and keep functioning as an economic unit. Janet Travell lists physical, emotional and chemical trauma as contributing to the formation of trigger points in the body, as we tuck the effects of trauma away for later.

The ritual of the sabbath, I believe, has at least some of its origin in this process. It is that time we devote to prayer, to meditation, to inner listening, to re-creation. Not recreation, but re-creation. It is the time we devote, in a safe place, to undoing the muscular tightenings that have enabled us to keep going through the previous week. Finding a safe place in which to heal, in which to realise, or make real, the presence of God in one's life.

I believe that the traditional sanctuary of the church building and the privilege of absolute secrecy accorded to one's confession reflect social recognition of this fundamental spiritual need for this "safe place", even though both in modern usage tend to reflect the confusion between sin and immorality.