One of the ideas new to me in our philosophy class was that of ‘indifferent action.’ This was not to be taken in the usual sense of the word; it was more like detachment, meaning that there should be no like or dislike in the action. One did the action because it was there to be done and all action was in service to the Absolute.
I decided to put this idea into practice in my work in the office. I still had a strong dislike of typing, even more so of financial tables. I began to notice that the dislike was gradually disappearing and that my typing was even improving. I decided to apply this to the whole of my working life and found that I was becoming much happier in the office. This was to have an interesting result later on.
I was given other duties in the School. I was asked to come in on a Saturday morning to clean the house. Cleaning was another of my dislikes, but I did it willingly. Cleaning indifferently was quite different from cleaning at home. One of my other tasks was to arrange the flowers in the hallway and the rooms, and this I found very enjoyable.
I had been in the School for two years when we were told that if we wanted to continue, we would have to learn meditation and that this would become part of our practice.
I had never heard of meditation. I did not want to leave and so I read up all I could find about it. My mind was made up for me by hearing a talk by Tom Chapman, who came to talk about it in the School. Tom was a liaison officer between industry and the Church and he had links with the School. A devout Christian, he had risen through the ranks from being a lad on the shop floor to the position he now held. Small and stocky, with a scar running across his cheek from a punch-up, he was warm and friendly. For him the Christian message spelt 'LOVE' pure and simple. He spoke simply and sincerely about what meditation meant for him. He convinced me that this was something I wanted to do.
We were told that before learning how to meditate we would have to go through an initiation ceremony, and we were asked to bring a white handkerchief, a piece of fruit and a sum of money with us. The day arrived.
I was struck by the silence the moment I came through the door of the School. There were beautiful flowers everywhere, in the hallway and on the landings, as well as people sitting upright and still. I felt slightly overawed. I crept in like a mouse, wearing the long skirt I had been asked to put on. We sat waiting, in the silence.
At last my turn came. I was led upstairs to the initiation room. I handed over my offerings. I had to sit on a chair facing the initiator. He spoke some beautiful words which I no longer remember. I was then asked to close my eyes and to repeat in my mind the single syllable word which was given to me. As I repeated the word I felt my mind becoming still and empty. It was over.
I was led out of the room and down the stairs. As I went down I started to sob, my arm was held and I was gently led into another room. Another helper sat me down, offered me a hanky and placed her hands on my knees as I sat sobbing. When my tears had subsided, I was given a few more instructions and then taken into yet another room where I was given a cup of tea.
So the day of my initiation came to an end.