I was sitting in front of a blank computer screen trying
to write the methodology chapter of the Mini-Proposal for my
dissertation: "The Experience of Seeking, Receiving, and
Following Divine Guidance." The little black cursor was
impatiently flashing on the white computer page. I turned the
computer off and did a guidance meditation. An inner voice
whispered "Come to me with empty hands." During the
next few days I repeatedly received messages on emptiness and
surrender as I randomly opened the spiritual texts of "A
Course in Miracles," "The Daily Word" of the Unity
Church, and the Kabbalah. The inner voice urged me to let go of
everything, even my intention of writing a dissertation. I
finally got the message and let go. Suddenly, the methodology
chapter started to flow out of me and I wrote it in a few days.
The plan was a statement of my intention while establishing that
the essential nature of the topic required a continually
unfolding and open approach.
I entered the proposal phase of the dissertation assured that
I could continue to work with a structured methodological plan
while keeping open to the process. Within a matter of weeks I
found myself caught in the clutches of anxiety as I became
increasingly aware that I was off schedule. Even
though my schedule and deadlines where created as estimates, they
subtly played on my consciousness. Just saying the word deadline
was enough to churn my stomach. Once again, I asked for guidance
while meditating. I received a stream of images and ideas that
released my inner tension. The inner voice told me that
"deadlines kill the present moment and flatten reality into
a linear prison." The image of my linear schedule expanded
into interweaving multidimensional circles. Each research phase
was a circle that seemed to emerge out of the previous one while
feeding the next. At the same time, the phases extended
throughout the whole process, surfacing and submerging when
needed. The word deadline was transformed into the
phrase living circles.
This inner guidance sent me into a deep altered state that I
can only describe as a methodological revelation. It became clear
to me that I needed to create an empty hands and
living circles methodology. This methodology would
establish an initial method of seeking guidance for the project
at various steps along the way. The design for each phase would
emerge out of the previous stage using input from inner guidance
and outer cues from the external environment. These external
environmental cues would come from a variety of sources including
co-researchers, literature, media, and synchronistic events. A
method of discernment would be developed to direct the research
based on these internal and external cues.
This whole experience reflects the Chthonic process referred
to in Organic Research (Clements, Ettling, Jenett, & Shields,
1998). This mysterious, natural, and organic process of growth
that binds together the soil, seed, roots, trunk, branches, and
fruits of the organic research tree. All our
intentions, plans, designs, and methods wither in the shadow of
this profound and glorious force that brings all things out of
emptiness and into wholeness . . . and into emptiness again...
Clements, J., Ettling, D., Jenett, D., & Shields, L.
(1998). Organic research: Feminine spirituality meets
transpersonal research. In W.G. Braud & R. Anderson (Eds.),
research methods for the social sciences (pp. 114-127).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.