Q&A with Gaylene
What inspired you to undertake a PhD at this time of your life?
Being urged by senior colleagues who saw originality and potential in my research for some greater contribution. Age doesn’t really come into it. Being free though from the demands of FT teaching definitely affords more creative space! The research question must be compelling, brought to life, and lived.
What has been one of the most significant findings or stand-out experiences in your research?
Transpersonal awareness. Once the question was refined and lived day-to-day, inside out, words, images and symbols, would appear. Whether on the morning tide of sleep or as a jolt awake in the wee small hours, I kept a journal at my bedside ready for these vital ‘signposts’, archetypal to the organic ‘whole’. Unfathomable synchronicities meant I often felt ‘in the flow’. When I attended to the inner work, an outer response would likely occur—a sort of Camino echo.
Where would you like to see your mindfulness of seminaria workshops taken – is there a dream location or group you wish to work with?
This is a hard question! (I don’t know what I don’t know.) Already though, the mindfulness of seminaria is practised in diverse social settings. Anecdotally, results are encouraging and coherent. Because language is our cultural heritage, we can take it for granted. But in workshops to date with different age groups and walks of life, there is something quite awe-inspiring about the way people are discovering something new in their relationship to the power of the word. So to answer your question, I hope to be ready in the right place at the right time to offer the work, dovetailing it flexibly according to need. If that happens to be with people at a threshold in life … letting go, turning something around, waiting at death’s door, or struggling with life’s next steps, I think the transformative, healing capacity of TMoS can serve well. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying creating workshops with a professional learning focus for corporate groups whether they be healthcare, counselling, celebrant, educational and culturally diverse.
Why is this work so important at this time of human evolution?
We live in precarious times. Yet there is a collective sense that humankind can contribute consciously to its evolutionary process. A critical level of pure consciousness can become the catalyst for change. Accompanied by compassion and acts of loving kindness (such as we’ve seen graciously expressed in public life lately in NZ and beyond), this helps to eradicate fear, the basis of greed and abuse of the planet and each other. It builds trust, hope and courage for renewal. TMoS is hugely meaningful. Mindfulness practices get people in touch with themselves. As the wise philosophers state: ‘To know yourself is to know the world. To know the world is to know yourself.’
What is your personal daily mindfulness routine or rituals?
I’ve been practising meditation in the Western tradition since the 1970s and my doctoral study required a literature review of comparative traditions. Also, besides TMoS, my inner creative renewal comes from simple sources, the addition of mindful walking, pastel colour drawing learned at Alamandria workshops, and participation in a couple of meditation/mindfulness groups.
What are your favourite quotes and why?
I love the researcher stance of physicist Niels Bohr’s: “Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation but as a question” because it is the question itself that leads from discovery to discovery.
Another of Niels Bohr's I like is: “If we couldn’t laugh at ourselves that would be the end of everything" – a reminder to overcome the pedantry of preciousness and the preciousness of pedantry.
And finally “ … words are not the thing. And yet it is to our words, language, that we must apply all our phenomenological skill and talents, because it is through the words that the shining through (the invisible) becomes visible” by Max van Manen. I chose this quote as a reminder that through creatively practising the mindfulness of seminaria, we can access that which is beyond words.