Today I am posting (with permission) a share on the silent lurkers among us at the Spiral Steps on-line support group. This is a non-cross talk meeting, not a chat group; something rare in cyberspace. This means that members do not comment directly on each other's shares or give any kind of advice. In this way they avoid what makes other boards so unsafe: favoritism, cliques, unwanted advice, bullying and trolls. The post speaks to the ways in which people read what we write and how it may impact their lives in ways we'll never know. As a result, I think it's relevant to earthwise bloggers and teachers, as well as to those in recovery.
I just wrote this note to a friend today:
Our teachers are sometimes not what we expect them to be, but the lessons are always there for us if we are brave enough to accept them as given.Here's to all those willing to learn the lesson.
As someone once said, the test comes first, the lesson afterwards. Survive the test, and you're well on the path...
The Lurkers Among Us
Someone pointed out the other day that a lot of people lurk at this board.
...Why shouldn't people lurk? They do it in real world meetings all the time. A meeting needs to be a safe place where people who need to share can, and those who need to listen, can. The point is acceptance, yes? and respecting that people here will work this program as best they can.
Or not...Some people may very well come to this board and expect others here share their experience, strength and hope without ever giving back. Maybe they don't want to take the trouble to learn how we do things here. Maybe they don't take any of this seriously at all. Maybe they haven't yet worked up the courage to tell their truth here. But do we know that?
What do we know? ...In a real world meeting, I can see heads nodding in wry agreement. I can see people smiling or focusing on me with empathy. I can hear laughter, too, and get a hug after meeting. Here it's often silence. We've poured out our hearts to a circle of relative strangers, we've told secrets, shared things our best friends don't know, and sometimes all we get is a sense of release and respectful silence. Which is what bothered one of our members who recently said that they sometimes felt like they were sharing into a void. Ah...but are they?
A lurking member may read our share and light a candle or say a prayer for us. They may include us in their meditations that evening or simply keep us tucked in their hearts for a time. They may choose to send a private email to someone they relate to here or who they feel has a need and say "Thank you for sharing. I got a lot of that." or just, "Hang in there". None of this will ever come to light at the meeting itself.
A silent member may write about what we've said that day in their journal or inscribe it directly on their hearts. They may share our insights with a sponsor, group, friend or loved one (1) or they may take it and use it in their own life to great effect. What we say today may give them the courage to make needed changes tomorrow. We'll never know unless they choose to tell us.
This is, perhaps, the one article of faith we have here, we who are non-denominational as a group, and require no faith at all. It is this: we choose to believe that what we do here matters. It matters to us personally and it matters to people we will never meet, people who may be doing more along with us and for us then we will ever know.
We do what we do here for ourselves. We hold the mirror up to our life experience and look into that mirror as honestly as we can, trusting that fearless examination will free us from our delusions, guilt, pain and suffering. We share here to focus both our concentration and our consciousness on healing and empowerment. No one ever said it was easy; we said it was worth doing. It may help to keep in mind that what we do here helps other people, as well.
So today I am thinking about the silent ones among us. May they share or not, depending on their need. We will trust that they read this board with attention, respect, compassion, and open hearts. We will trust they recognize the gifts they are given from those who do share here and that they accept these gifts with gratitude and honor.
Regards to all here,
A Moderator for the Spiral Steps board
(1) Spiral Steps is an anonymous group so that everyone's privacy is protected.