Spiritual Companion

October Newsletter 2019


This is the view looking up from my deck into the leaves of the big oak tree, with a blue sky in the background. What if the blue sky was ocean and the green leaves land? Sailors are always looking for shelter. We love to sail out in the open ocean, a rollicking, rolling roar of a sail, then as the day ends, find a quiet cove to drop anchor for a serene and tranquil night. Gazing up overhead at the oak tree and sky I see the ideal calm blue cove created by the green leaves. I imagine steering my boat, sails now furled, slowly into the harbor, leaving the wild ocean sea behind and entering the smooth quiet waters of the cove.

As the seasons change now, the rhythms continue, sea to shelter, shelter to sea:
we choose.

We’re Gainin’:

Collins Brook, A Maine Free School
A Memoir

Currently in stock. Contact me if you would like an autographed copy.
Available at local bookstores and on Amazon.


Collins Brook School teachers gave me the gift of time, trust, and tolerance to find my own way. I remain to this day a curious and enthusiastic learner, continuously in search of ah-ha moments. This life-altering experience shaped the teacher I have become as I share my fascination for the act of learning with young students in my own classroom. Teaching is more of who I am than what I do. Collins Brook is a place and time very dear to my heart. It had an enormous influence on who I am, and was especially influential in my decision to become an educator; the experience still influences how and why I teach.

Lisa Shepperd, Collins Brook graduate, Art Educator


Crossing the street in Freeport, a man drove by in his car, slowed down and waved at me with his middle finger, and yelled at me, ”Why don’t you go back where you came from?” Granted, I had long hair and looked like a hippie, but I was startled, and hurt. I was shocked by his anger. But I felt at home in Freeport by then: this was my home, too. I worried when I saw unmarked cars on the road by the school, or occasional helicopters flying overhead. In response to news stories about the culture clashes around the country, the riots in the cities and the government responses, I felt protective, even paranoid. But I didn’t know what to do to defend our property and what we were doing there. I had heard about surveillance by the FBI and I thought we might be a target because of our new educational philosophy or because we looked like a commune. I strongly believed in our right to start, run a free school and, now that we were successful, expand. I wondered if any authorities had interviewed any neighbors, especially the one next door who owned the swimming hole. I never again saw the man who gave me the finger in town, but I wondered if he represented others who didn’t want us to exist. Nothing ever came of any of that, it was my own paranoia. We lived in Maine where we benefited from the fierce New England trait of independence.

from Chapter 6 We're 0pen 1969-70


Out sailing, I felt a needed freedom. I wondered if it was similar to the freedom the kids felt at Collins Brook. I felt less bound by space or time. I could feel the irony that I put all this work to create a free school, a school where kids could experience free choice, but I felt less free because of all the responsibilities. I was overwhelmed by everything at school and at home. I needed to be by myself, to find some peace. When I had a chance to sail, I was so intent to get away that I shortchanged myself on supplies; to leave the dock was more important than exactly what I had packed for food or clothes. I rejoiced when I could cast off the dock lines and watch the space open up between Wandoo and the float. Suddenly I was free, the boat moved out into the river and caught the current. I felt more peaceful already as I motored down the river, out past Pound of Tea island and into open water. Even when it was blowing, which it usually was by the time I got off, typically from the southwest, I felt engulfed by the peace of the islands of Casco Bay, the spreading sea and the wide sky overhead. The low fir-trimmed islands, settled and secure around the edge, waited serenely, as if that’s all they had to do. I steered toward my favorite overnight harbor, the cove at Jewell Island, on the outer edge of the bay, a quiet and secluded anchorage.

from Chapter 7 Animal Pancakes 1970-71

Morning Blessing Gift Meditations
Available on Insight Timer,
the free meditation phone app


Morning Blessing Gift Of Touch


Also available on Insight Timer: lessons from my book

Lesson 1 The Four Quadrants: Balance


Awakening Human Consciousness and the Future of American Spirituality

  • Thursday, October 3, 2019
  • 7:00 PM 9:00 PM
  • Osher Auditorium - MECA 522 Congress Street Portland, ME, 04101

Professor Dana Sawyer, who has been working with the Esalen Institute (located in Big Sur, California) for many years, will discuss new directions in consciousness expansion and spiritual life, while also showing clips from a new film series about Esalen entitled "Supernature."  Come hear a fascinating update about the crucible where the movement for consciousness expansion began and where primary studies in alternative psychology and spirituality still continue. 

Dana Sawyer is professor emeritus of religion and philosophy at the Maine College of Art and a member of the advisory board for CHIME.  He has written a critically acclaimed biography of Aldous Huxley and the authorized biography of Huston Smith, the renowned scholar of world religions.  In addition, he has written articles for many journals and magazines, including "Tricycle: The Buddhist Review." "Parabola," and "Yoga Journal."  Sawyer is a lively and entertaining speaker who promises a memorable evening. 

$12 suggested donation; all proceeds will benefit ChIME.

Register here!

Special Annual Event

Photo Credit: Scott Mohler
OMComing 2019!
Join us on October 18th, at 5 pm at the Portland New Church, as we honor this year's Planetary Chaplain, Claudette Ndayininahaze, co-founder of In Her Presence. Learn more about Claudette's work in the community, catch up with old and new ChIME friends, and enjoy a delicious meal.


Copyright © 2018
Rev. Dr. Jacob Watson

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