Robert Patton

Board President

Robert Patton began his quest to deepen his spiritual awareness over a gazillion years ago with a term paper on the Salem witch trials in his 9th grade American History Class. He began his shamanic training with our first Seeing with the Heart class in 2000, although we suspect he was a proto-human shaman in some Pliocene lifetime long ago. Over that gazillion years, Robert has acquired and continues to expand a working knowledge of world mythology and religious traditions, leading him to a sense of awe at the sacredness of all things; at the same time, personal observations and experiences have led him to the beginnings of understanding the place of suffering in the World. Several years ago, Greg Besek introduced him to the Chod practice of Tibet and Robert has been furthering his knowledge of this act of ultimate compassion as a personal discipline. .

Robert finds himself drawn to psychopomp work. Coupled with his longing to deepen his understanding of himself and his relationship to all living things, Robert has recognized that psychopomp applies to the living as well as the dead. This has led to the channeling of several songs used in workshops and by the vision seekers doing Vision Quest on Grass Mountain.  He assists with the Seeing with the Heart classes and has led sweat lodges at Spirit Hollow and other places. In 2005, he put together the “Communion of Spirit” ceremony (based on the work of Tom Kenyon and the inspiration of  Sandra Ingerman’s Medicine for the Earth workshop) and which he has since revised as “The Synaxis of One Spirit” to incorporate an element of compassion for all; this work and, again, his observation of the World have deepened his understanding of the true meaning of Unconditional Love.  In 2006, Robert was ordained as a minister by the Universal Life Church Monastery.  While Robert’s natural inclination is for working behind the scenes, Spirit has “pushed him out of the nest” to teach and to offer healing to the soul with patience and empathetic understanding; while he may challenge people to look closely at their beliefs, his touch is nurturing and non-judgmental, always seeing the soul and the Divine Flame within it.

At Epiphany, 2011, Robert says that he had an epiphany.  ” I realized that so many of us fall into the ‘delicious spiritual trap’ and begin to believe that suffering is a mark and measure of our spiritual progress.  We ‘surrender’ to it as Divine Will and begin to pride ourselves on how well we do suffering.  What bull!!  True there is suffering in the world, but the fact that we have pain and misfortunes in our live is no different because we are engaged in a spiritual practice than it is for any other being on this planet. Our practice may make us more aware of  suffering, but our own suffering is no mark of merit; rather, it is a reminder of our ONENESS with all things and opens us to compassion. Rather than ‘surrendering’, I need to actively attune my God-given free will to That of Spirit, roll up my sleeves and my pant legs, get down in the muck and mire of living and do the work of co-creation that I came here to do.”  Robert goes on to say, ” With that realization, what had seemed to me to be a pray of surrender–Blessed are You, Most High, Who has taken hold of the edges of my world and shakes it until I can find no solid ground on which to stand–now revealed its fullness:

Blessed are You, Most High, Who has taken hold of the edges of my world and shakes it until I can find no solid ground on which to stand; blessed are You, Who bids me ‘Fly!’ and will not accept ‘I can’t’ as an answer.”

Music often allows him to find insight into the problems of everyday living through the lyrics and sometimes just the voices of various artists ( check out the video below).

Robert carries his spiritual search for compassion and understanding for all beings into his daily work for the State of Vermont, much in the tradition of the tribal shaman whose primary function might have been village potter, but who mustered his shamanic skills when, where and as needed. This non-shamanic “primary profession” has led Robert into the exploration of shamanic technique and practice in urban, corporate, and governmental settings.  He is also currently exploring the healing connection with water embodied in the Candomble Orisha Oxun and the Archangel Raphael.   Working with Michel Yeager of michelbytes.com, Robert maintains the Spirit Hollow website.

Avery Sunshine:  Love (Won’t You Try It)