In Avalon, we choose empowered surrender to the reality of this moment, to All There Is — for our own fulfillment and in service of a higher purpose.
Avalon was created out of decades of study of how to consciously engage with
the fullness of Life, with all its shadows and all its joys. In Avalon, there are no
rules (other than to do no harm to ourselves or others). Instead, we are guided
by seven principles we have discovered that support our journey to be fully
human and fully divine.
- Surrender into our relational Nature.
- Stay in the mystery of not knowing.
- Act when touched.
- Allow life force to move through.
- Practice yin first.
- Cultivate compassion in action.
- Find meaning through integration.
SURRENDER INTO OUR RELATIONAL NATURE.
Nature is the totality of everything that exists — within us, between us, and around us — that shapes our lives. Human beings are deeply relational. We are connected with each other through energy, intelligence, and forces. In Avalon, we acknowledge our vulnerable interdependency with others and engage our creative power to create relationship. We surrender authentically to our true nature, lovingly accepting and exploring both the depths and heights within ourselves. We do this in relationship to others, in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance of every aspect of what it means to be a human.
STAY IN THE MYSTERY OF NOT KNOWING.
As humans we like to believe we can consciously control our lives and destinies. In some ways, this may be a useful self-deception, because the truth is that we live in relationship with others in more mysterious and nuanced ways than we might like to admit.
If we look deeper into the human condition, our life path seems to be covered in a veil of mystery the ordinary mind cannot understand. But mystic traditions point to a greater, divine intelligence in ourselves — a Higher Mind, Self, or Soul that connects us to Nature and its healing and transformative forces. In Avalon, we train in staying silent and curious in the field of not knowing, trusting that the intuitive wisdom of the Higher Mind will guide us.
ACT WHEN TOUCHED.
In ordinary life, we often act out of conditioning. Our actions adhere to socially accepted roles, normative principles, and habits of behavior that we learned to use to achieve love, respect, or praise. In Avalon, we move beyond unconscious reactivity and instead choose conscious responsive actions of the Soul. When we rest in the silence of not knowing, a situation may arise that touches our heart so deeply that we feel an impulse to act — a kind of pressure in the body-system that compels us to move. This call to action comes from the not-knowing mind, and we may not even consciously know what it wants to express — yet. The invitation is to move and see what happens.
ALLOW LIFE FORCE TO MOVE THROUGH YOU.
Nature's life force is not static but continuously disconnects, rearranges, moves, morphs, and transforms beings to fulfill their true nature. Sometimes life force leads us along predictable and well-ordered roads; other times, it invites us to explore surprisingly wild, weird, and uncertain landscapes.
In Avalon, we let life force move us fully when we are touched and called to act. This involves tuning in to inspiration from the spiritual realm of not knowing and allowing it to move through our body-mind, which ultimately leads to manifested action within the group. Your action may inspire other individuals to respond to their own callings, creating a dynamic field of heart-based actions unfolding from a collective consciousness. In Avalon, this relational process often leads to healing and transformation for all individuals involved, since full surrender to life force is a surrender to the healing and transformative power of Nature itself.
PRACTICE YIN FIRST.
According to Chinese philosophy, life unfolds in the dance between yin and yang. Yin is the feminine principle of love that invites every aspect of what it means to be human, into an all-accepting field of unconditional compassion. It is yin that nurtures newborn life, heals wounds, and reconnects broken parts. Yang, the masculine principle, is the love that discerns, disciplines, and gives direction for growth and fulfilling life's purpose. In Avalon, we cultivate and practice both energies in a unified balance—but we meet traumas, fears, and vulnerabilities in others with yin first, as a leading principle. We first offer protection, kindness, openness, and nurturing, before inviting yang energy to provide strength and directionality for our next steps.
CULTIVATE COMPASSION IN ACTION.
Compassion is a moral impulse to alleviate suffering through connection. It is the recognition of our shared humanity, an empathy that goes far deeper than feeling pity or sorrow for another. In Avalon, we cultivate compassion as a surrender into spontaneous, raw, intense, and radical actions of mercy (yin) and justice (yang). While yin compassion responds to another's vulnerability and expands the loving heart-space in authentic responsibility (not false care-taking), yang compassion concentrates the heart energy to fight for another's soul (never against another). True compassion can be soft or fierce depending on the other's particular context but can never be put into an ethical, predictable box of defined behaviors. This is the quality of compassion Avalon aims to cultivate in the world.
FIND MEANING THROUGH INTEGRATION.
Integration is the process of reflection, contemplation, and embodiment of new experiences. To integrate is to make meaning; and making meaning of our experiences is in turn central to integration. Simply put, integration is the mental process of taking in our experiences, expanding the field of conscious knowing, and being inspired to rewrite our life stories. In Avalon, we come to make meaning of our experiences through theory sessions, and through the evening Debriefs at the end of each retreat day (see Practice). In the Debriefs, retreat participants are invited to share insights, perspectives, and feedback related to the Meetings and social dynamics we've experienced throughout the day. In essence, we offer each other eyes through which we can better see and understand ourselves, to translate this new knowing into new possibilities for our lives.