A Spiritual Diary
About the Book
In her Introduction the author traces her spiritual adventure from the early days of her teen-age practise of contemplation. The relaxation sessions with which each day began at Speech Therapy College began her formal training. A member of the C of E, she had a spiritual director from the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield, and stayed at the enclosed Convent of the Incarnation in Oxford. After a theology course at College of Ascension Birmingham she sailed for India in 1964. There she was introduced to to the Abhishiktananda Society which promoted Hindu-Christian dialogue. After attending the Inauguration of the Church of North India she visited Gandh-ji's ashram at Sevagram and Vinoba Bhave's ashram not far away. In both of these ashrams the day began before dawn with silent meditation in a dark room lit by a single candle. She was privileged to attend a question/answer session with Vinoba Bhave himself. During those years she read the Upanishads and came to accept the belief in non-duality, advaita, without this in any way compromising her faith in Christ. In 1977 she married Salman Hashmi of the Muslim community and they had a son and a daughter. By the 1990's she was studying New Age methods of meditation, and this Diary is a record of the extraordinary results.
About the Author
I was born in 1938 and grew up during years of austerity, but young children took it for granted. I trained as a speech therapist and practised for three years. Later I did a two-year course in theology at College of Ascension, Birmingham, and in 1964 sailed for India. For the next eleven years I lived in Delhi and became a member of St. Stephen’s Community . This was for women workers of Delhi Diocese.Initially I was a Parish Worker for St. James Church in old Delhi, but from 1969 I served the Community itself, organising retreats and Quiet Days and managing a Christian holiday home in Simla in the Himalayas. For this work I commuted between Delhi and Simla. In 1970 I attended the Inauguration of the Church of North India in Nagpur, and went on to visit an ashram founded by Mahatma Gandhi in Sevagram.The ashram included a school run on Gandhian ideals of labour, service, and prayer. Not far away Vinoba Bhave lived in his own ashram where people visited for spiritual enlightenment and experience. I stayed there for a couple of days and had talks with at least two members of the community, as well as attending one of Vinoba Bhave's own open question times. In both these ashrams the day began very early with silent contemplation. This was a type of spiriuality which resonated with me. I was associated with the Community of the Incarnation, an Anglican women's enclosed community in Fairacres, Oxford, and one of the Fathers of the Communuty of the Resurrection in Mirfield was my spiritual director. He had encouraged me to practise the meditations of St Ignatius Loyala for a while. These involved visualising a scene from the New Testament until I felt I was there. Even at speech therapy college the day had begun with relaxation during which we were to visualise a beautiful scene and walk into it. However my favourite book on prayer was the Cloud of Unknowing which teaches silent contemplation in which one looks towards the fine point of the soul and beyond, ignoring any sort of imagery or thought. In 1970 I visited the Convent of the Incarnation and met Mother Mary Clare. I was privileged to talk with her and the Sisters as I stayed there on the inside. I learnt about reparation as an aspect of Christian spirituality, in which every detail of life is lived on behalf of the whole world, living interiorally the sufferings of the world in Jesus Christ, thus working to repair the pain and alienation suffered by the many. Back in India I was associated with the Abhishiktananda Society. Swami Abhishiktananda was a French Benedictine monk working in India. He adopted the life of a Hindu sanyasi, or holy man, tramping mainly in the Himalayas visiting the Hindu holy places and living in penury. He continued during those years reading the offices of his Order and offering the mass every morning while at the same time studying the Hindu scriptures of the Vedanta. These teach one-ness, non-duality or advaita. An experience of this can be attained in a single moment through living a life of austerity and devoting many hours to meditation. It is the Ah-ha moment. Swami-ji wrote several books on Hindu-Christian spirituality. The Society developed to promote Hindu-Christian dialogue. Meanwhile in 1977 I married Salman Hashmi of the Muslim community in North India. We had a son and a daughter. In 2004 my husband passed away, and at the end of 2005 I returned to Britain with my daughter .By then I was exploring New Age methods of meditation. and this Diary is a record of the extraordinary results.