Alchemical Garden Forum

Please visit Entering the Garden and discover what are our sustaining roots. You may only apply with us if you agree and consent to our Community Vision and Purpose and Ethos and Ethical Guidelines.

The registration includes writing a letter of application in which you sincerely tell us why you wish to join.

Community Vision and Purpose

Why are we around and what do we offer?

Community Vision and Purpose

Greetings and welcome!

Finding Lasting Values

(1) Proven methods and safety. A founding value of this forum has been that we have genuine confidence in those who have accomplished the Great Work all the way: Spiritual Enlightenment is both always attainable and universally accessible. Why should anyone set the bar any lower than complete realization if they are really sincere about working through the chores of self-development? But as always, to each according to his or her cup, and no one is tasked to take on more than what they are ready to accept. The half-hearted dabblers and critics are welcome here after realizing that we value both proven safety and proven results because of this founding value — and that we will not compromise this integrity.

Some self-initiated persons claim (freely quoting) that "nothing in the traditional sources corresponds to my advanced experiences". While these people unmistakenably meant this to imply that the traditional teachings are misleading, it actually means that there is something wrong in the practitioner and his practice.

We are not strict traditionalists and want to keep an open attitude about what people have for say. We just like tradition because it provides time-tested proven insights that help assess progress and keep ourselves straight.

(2) Quality communication. Our forum subtitle reads: Serious Discussion about Wisdom and Spiritual Cultivation in a Relaxed Company. It should already convey to you that we are more of a technical discussion forum rather than a place for open-ended conjecture or casual conversation.

Another lasting value is thus maintaining a quality control which preserves the original vision of clear communication. Please consider: How could every post be done with the idea that someone may quote it in an article and that it retains historical value? This is what we ask over and over again when we design and execute how this forum is operated, and it's also the same philosophy what we dearly hope that our registered users take into their hearts when they contribute any content.

How We Give Shape to Meaning

The idea of this forum is simple: to offer a privileged discussion board for dedicated people in self-development through wisdom studies and meditative internal arts. There is a fair bit of elitism in this premise, but the point isn't to create division into lower and higher strata of people, but simply declare that we are practical people gathered for practical purposes and not making a social convention where anything goes.

First of all: we are selective in how we let people in so that we can help everyone enjoy their forum experience the best. Therefore, there is a mandatory application letter which every user must write when registering. The letter will be reviewed by the staff and remain visible to them only. Dishonest and otherwise inappropriate applications will be rejected!

If you have paid attention to the forum's front page contents, then it should be clear to you that the board has two main stems called Academia and School. Academia is lead by proficient Practitioners who are able to curate or author well-articulated and sophisticated content, while School is open for everyone who wishes to discuss their internal practice. The full access to Academia is granted by elevated user privileges that can be gained a) based on your well done application latter that indicates your proficiency, b) by a staff member's invitation based on your conduct and visible development while posting on the forum, or c) by applying to the staff through private message with an example writing that you wished to contribute. It bears emphasizing for Academia contributions that we expect at least a fairly good standard of writing that serves both clear communication and grammatical correctness. We also remind that the Practitioner's elevated membership privileges are a responsibility to serve others, as can be seen by the green "Tutor" badge under the user name, and not a trophy membership for entitled snobs to show off.

We have different forum branches for particular strands of discussion, so choose well where you wish to post. Some forum branches have special restrictive rules about what kind of threads it's possible to make: discussion, article, question, and poll are all separate types with different behavior in this forum software we utilize. There also are preset prefixes such as interview, group study, essay, and instruction for discussion threads in Academia, for example. The selection of prefixes varies for each board and depends on user privileges, but we do encourage making a wise use of them. Tagging is also available to mark the discussion contents. Another feature that we have is the custom thread fields which enables putting various "safety labels" on certain forum sections to remind if there are some particular concerns to look out.

We have cut the usual slack around discussion forum socialization. There is no "general discussion" section. We discourage the use emoticons and encourage smarter writing instead. The reaction system to messages on this board is customized and aligned to our community ethos: Each one of the four available reactions reflects one of the brahmavihārās (Four Perfect Virtues or Four Immeasurables: Loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity) so the users are encouraged to be mindful which virtuous mind quality is appropriate when reading and reacting to posts.

The other side of cutting the slack is that we don't encourage idle hanging out: try to make yourself part of the community. Especially, if you have have been granted elevated user privileges, then it's expected that you are an active participant. There are always easy options for creating quality content like having a personal practice journal if you have difficult time coming up with meaningful contributions.

If you feel that something isn't working or is too inflexible, or that the forum is lacking some feature or conversation subforum, then please don't hesitate to contact the staff so that we can consider how we can help best. We can be contacted through the public Feedback and Requests forum section, especially the thread "This Forum is Work in Progress!" for discussing the forum's improvement, or sending a private message to one of the staff members.

Lastly, we would like to explain why our School section might seem so limited to particular teachers that we have invited to participate under our roof. We wish to connect beginners and genuine seekers with the best publicly available teachings and teachers, and enable healthy communities around these. "Who is a reliable and good teacher? Would I be making progress with these methods?" These are perennial questions that any seasoned practitioner will have had to deal with, and we sincerely hope that we can make that threshold of satisfaction much easier to meet. Nevertheless, it all boils down to finding one's own individual calling and becoming accountable for the choices he or she may make. Thus, plentiful compassion and the wisdom of discernment is cautioned for everyone because we cannot give any absolute guarantee that everything from circumstances to personalities always mesh well.