by Tom Huth, Art of Spiritual Guidance student
1. He puts our mere instincts for self-preservation into a larger, grander context, letting us glimpse that we’re part of a more meaningful, more uplifting, more universal scheme.
2. He turns sh*t into gold. He listens to me utter some half-baked idea and then reframes it slightly—-gives it just a quarter-turn—-to make it sound as if I’ve actually said something profound.
3. He leads me to believe that his teachings are addressed specifically to me and my own mortal tribulations, even as I suspect that everyone else in the room is thinking the same thing.
4. He is amused by the truth but serious about helping us search for it.
5. He always knows at the start of a session just how long to let us chatter away and just when to call us to order.
6. He has a voice that’s at once soothing and commanding, at once suggestive and precise, a voice that’s a melody rising and falling, a voice that lulls us awake.
7. He gives us crayons to colour. He reads us children’s books. He lets us play dress-up. He tricks us into turning our workaday lives into fairy tales.
8. He speaks only about what he has learned in this world, not about what he has done.
9. He remembers every facet and foible we have revealed to him, including those we didn’t mean to reveal.
10. He has that Irish twinkle in his eye which lets us know we’re all on the same journey: toward a lightness of being.
Thomas Atum O’Kane, PhD, is a long-standing and well-loved presenter at Hollyhock. He is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, holds a M.A. in Psychological Counselling, and a doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology. O’Kane has been a senior teacher in the Sufi Order International where he served as Secretary General for 12 years. He leads workshops, retreats, and pilgrimages in North America, Europe and The Holy Lands. atumokane.com