QA255 QUESTION: My purse, containing identification, money, lectures and other valuables, was apparently stolen during the last Open Weekend at Sevenoaks. I can see how I created this on many levels – my cheating and my stealing, my over-identification with outer material values, my distrust of outsiders. However, the experience has still been a shock to me. Consciously, I didn’t expect my purse to be taken at Sevenoaks. Also, the incident has affected the whole community and those who were participating in the Open Weekend. Could you help me see more clearly how I created this event and what the meaning is for me, and also the meaning for the community and those participating in the Open Weekend.
ANSWER: There are several levels involved here. In addition to what you mentioned for you personally, there is also a symbolic meaning in this event. The purse represents your feminine values, which you fear will be stolen from you unless you carefully hoard yourself and prevent yourself from trusting and giving out and over to loving.
On a more general level, it is a misconception and an unrealism to believe that because you are a spiritual community, such a thing ought not to happen. It can and will happen just as much or as little as in any other place.
Human beings who are on a search for a Path, or who are already on a Path of purification, are not perfect. They may be addicted to stealing, as much as to anything else. This realism is important for you, all of you, to attain. In that way you will not tempt those who may have difficulty to withstand such an opportunity, thus increasing their guilt and their fear.