September/October 2012 This I Believe
The Legacy of Findhorn
by Geoff Dalglish
Findhorn, the pioneering community in Scotland, celebrates 50 years as a beacon of love and light that reaches the far corners of the globe.
If we could rewind life a half century we’d be greeted by a very different world to the one we know today.
In a bleak wintry dunescape in northern Scotland, sacked hotel manager Peter Caddy and his wife Eileen parked their caravan at the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park, hoping to figure out what to do next and be on their way within days. With them were their three young sons and close friend Dorothy Maclean.
That was on November 17, 1962 and never for a moment did those three adults guess that they were the nucleus of what would become a renowned spiritual community, holistic education center and celebrated ecovillage with the lowest recorded ecological footprint in the developed world.
The beginnings alongside a rubbish dump were inauspicious and it wasn’t until the early 1970s that the book The Magic of Findhorn by visionary environmentalist Paul Hawken and a BBC television documentary put the fledgling community on the map, attracting seekers from around the planet.
Long-time resident Angus Marland, who looks back on a 40-year-association with Findhorn, says: “The place is just as exciting and full of potential now as it was then. What is manifesting now is as important as it was in the late 1960s and early 1970s.”
Fast forward 50 years and we find an oasis of green living with solar panels, whirling wind turbines that harness electricity, eco homes (some fashioned from discarded whisky barrels) and the Living Machine, an ingenious natural and chemical-free process that uses plants and bacteria to convert human sewage into clear water that almost looks good enough to drink.
Each year Findhorn attracts thousands of visitors and seekers from around the globe. What’s the attraction?
For me it’s the indefinable energy of the place — that wonderful sense of well-being and joy that bubbles up at the most unexpected moments. People smile and laugh a lot, as well as having the courage to confront all the difficult questions. Who are we? Where are we going? Is there a way out of the mess Spaceship Earth finds itself in at the beginning of the 21st century? Can we build a new social paradigm where money and economic growth are not the primary motivators?
While the community has continually evolved, it remains founded on three fundamentals: going deep within to access the stillness and divine guidance that Eileen Caddy relied on in her daily meditations, cocreating with nature in the way that Dorothy Maclean demonstrated and following the example of Peter Caddy who regarded work as love in action.
So what’s Findhorn really like?
It has taught me to see the world through new eyes and to appreciate that there is love and beauty wherever we choose to look. For me that has meant shedding most of my worldly possessions and basing myself at Findhorn.
I know that we can each make a difference and need to if our children and their children are to inherit a world as magnificent as the one I was born into.
Learn more about Findhorn at www.findhorn.org.
— Geoff Dalglish