Meetings with amazing people

meetings with amazing peopleLooking back, do you not find that some particular individual people and synchronistic events have had a special influence on your life? This is what Will Parfitt focuses on, related to his own life, in his recently published book Meetings with Amazing People – somewhat along the lines of GI Gurdjieff’s Meetings with Remarkable Men. 

I remember reading Gurdjieff’s book many years ago, at a time when I was fascinated by the life and ideas of that remarkable person and his associate and sometime collaborator PD Ouspensky. That book really was a thrilling and at times hair raising read, and gave good insight into where Gurdjieff was coming from.

It would be wrong to try to measure Will Parfitt’s book against such an illustrious benchmark. Will has been for many years a leading UK exponent of psychosynthesis and qabala, so this is the context. Does it give insight into the formative influences on Will and the development of his practice?

The answer is a resounding yes. Will identifies seven key influences on his early development, in the intriguing context of a task set by a mysterious messenger, Sri Anandapuran. Each of these seven individuals had a significant and formative influence on Will’s future outlook on life.

The story in this short book is very readable and well told, to the extent that the reader can feel why each episode was of such importance. It also provides an intriguing glimpse of a life inspired by synchronous occurrences and  ‘swinging 1960s UK’.

For me, the added benefit is to inspire your own consideration of what were the significant and synchronous influences in your own life,  what was the universe really trying to tell you,  and did you listen and act upon it.

Health warning: Will’s story is imaginative and readable, and not necessarily an exact factual statement of events in his life.

This Beautiful Earth

this_beautiful_earthMy previous post on gardening was inspired by this book by Will Parfitt, who has explored personal and spiritual development for many years, particularly through psychosynthesis and kabbalah. Its subtitle is ‘Gardening as a spiritual practice ‘, so you can see the connection. [I should declare that I have known Will for many years.]

Will draws parallels between the practice of gardening and the living of daily life in a mindful and spiritual way.

“A gardener is part of the garden and the relationship between the garden and gardener is a shared practice of mindful living, of increasing consciousness.”

The introduction gives an excellent summary of what is in the book:

“This book contains many stories that have a spiritual take on gardening… adaptations from Zen koans, Sufi stories about Mullah Nasruddin,… Taoist teachings,..”

For the purpose of review I have read the full text. In practice, it is probably better used as a book to dip into and savour, allowing its messages to slowly percolate.

I recall reading the tales of Mullah Nasruddin by Idries Shah many years ago, and Will’s book has a similar quality. It is not to be read literally, but in the realm of metaphor, paradox and zen – a traditional approach to the spiritual path. If that appeals to you, do buy it!

Note that this book is not specifically about gardening as such. As Will says on the back cover,

“The gardener is a metaphor for the Self, that part of us that observes, witnesses without judgement and, through its connection to our deepest sense of conscience, helps us to make affirmative decisions in life.”

Nice one, Will!

For Will’s other books, on Psychosynthesis, Kabbalah, etc. see his website.