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Five Miles of Separation

womstc2.gif As a brain-based educator who developed an educational program on slavery, who speaks to her Avatar by way of meditation and facilitates group dialogue in communities, author Judy O'Brien has a stranger than fiction background.

The spiritual journey she recounts in her autobiographical book "The Way of the Mystic" is compelling, but I was even more gripped by how she applies what she learns to her everyday life. A crisis with her daughter who was adopted from China, a felled tree that killed a man and crushed her house, a pantomimed conversation with a clerk in Targets who directed her to an answer by way of sign language are all scenes that haven't left my mind since I read about them on an airplane headed to Boston a few weeks ago.

With settings that include a labyrinth in France, a temple in the jungles of the Yucatan, and the LOTUS/Light of Truth Universal Shrine in Virginia (which I went to the dedication of in 1986), Judy's dreams, visions, and waking life converge and unfold during her seven year long initiation into the "mysteries of the intelligence of the universe." Underlying the stories, involving dolphins, a horse, a confrontational question about her professionalism are themes of alignment, not taking life events so personally, following one's inner guidance, and opening to opportunities to use more than eyes for seeing.

What's even more "stranger than fiction" is that I know Judy. I know her because her background is similar to mine. She's my age and was raised in the same religion (Catholic) that I was in a town that borders my hometown. Less than five miles separated us as young girls whose paths crossed but never met.

I met Judy several months ago when she came to Floyd to help a mutual friend get a women's dialogue off the ground. Here's what Judy says in her book about the practice of dialogue, of which I am grateful to be a part of:

The reflection that the dialogue circle provides can be utilized as a fast moving current to move participants to the doorway to a transcendent awareness. Dialogue is talk that moves you forward!

A practice in dialogue is to assume that everything is, at least in part, construction of one's own making.

Think of a dialogue as a mindful conversation, a kind of meditation ... it is a kind of talking labyrinth, in which the opportunity exists to enter the unity at the center of one's Self.

Shamanic drumming... The Ark of the Covenant ... A Black Madonna ... A Dark Night of the Soul. Although I may sometimes put different words to my own transcendent experiences, Judy and I have been on parallel paths most of our lives.

I'm glad we finally met. And I'm glad she wrote this book.

Love, Wild Thing


oh, this sounds interesting! i have to get that book!

i'm writing a novel about a slave in louisiana right now, so this interests me particularly.

and a talking labyrinth - what a fascinating idea!

I needed exactly this tonight:
Think of a dialogue as a mindful conversation, a kind of meditation … it is a kind of talking labyrinth, in which the opportunity exists to enter the unity at the center of one’s Self.
Because I am trying to make sense of many things. Your thoughts on your blog pointed the way. Thanks.

Where is that Universal Shrine in VA?

Buckingham, Virginia. It's part of Yogaville and the Satchindanada Ashram. I added a link on the post.

What an interesting review, Colleen, and what a fascinating person. I admire someone who has the courage and the inspiration to follow or to open such a path.

Very Interesting!! xo

She grew up in Higham.

Sometimes it seems this isn't a global village so much as a tiny villa.

That bit of dialogue as not only constructed, but a form of mind-watching is valuable. Watch how perceptions distend, melt, glob.

>>Dialogue is talk that moves you forward!

I like that. We definitely could use more dialogue in this world.

That sounds like a great read. I am groundless in my own spirituality right now. I think I could use something like this.

Ok, I officially want to read this book now! It's on my wishlist for my birthday/Christmas.

I find what I like about this new Presidency is the no-drama approach and the emphasis on dialogue. this dialogue may not be evolved to the level of mediation, but I got so tired of people talking at each other.

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