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A Visit to Herr Mueller at Salem and the Prophet's Way Conference

by Andrea Lomas

The Prophet’s Way Conference (19th - 21st April 2002)

To visit Salem is to fall in love: with fellow travellers, with yourself, the food, your surroundings, and most importantly, with God. Salem means ‘peace.’ To me it also means ‘home’ and ‘love’.

Falling in love is all about surpassing boundaries, a quest for unity. To be part of a multi-national experience where people from Russia, Germany, Britain and the USA can sit around a table together sharing songs of peace, is a memory I will cherish forever. If only the UN was as effective!

As soon as you arrive at Salem, you are struck by the holistic harmony of the place, wooed by its simplicity. Everything seems to hang together perfectly. The whole world could grind to a halt and Salem would continue, weaving its threads of peace.

Much of this has to do with the influence of Salem founder, Herr Gottfried Müller, an 88 year-old inspiration whose life experiences have led him to reject violence in all forms and adopt peace as his sword, compassion as his breastplate. Salem was established on these principles. He has ‘help’ of course, in the guise of God, family, and staff, but it is his spark and energy for life that stays with you long after you leave.

Herr Müller lives his philosophy by performing small acts of mercy and compassion. He created Salem in the belief that everybody should be entitled to a family and a place they can call home.

Home, to me, is somewhere you can always come back to, a ‘safe place’ where you can leave your troubles and pretences at the door, and be wrapped in a comforting blanket and know that you are loved. A retreat; a place to heal false thoughts and wounds and be reminded of who you really are. Once recharged and pieced back together, you are able to step out into the world and share that equilibrium with everyone and everything you touch. This is the true meaning of peace and therefore of Salem.

Some are lucky enough to have access to such a place on a daily basis. Others are not so fortunate and spend their lives being batted this way and that in a game of ‘emotional ping-pong’. Boundaries are created for protection, which love has a hard time penetrating. After all, unity means vulnerability and that, in the past, has always equalled pain. A self-fulfilling prophecy is thus created.

Salem eliminates those boundaries, and succeeds in creating a home, not only for the children and families that shelter under its roofs in countries as diverse as Africa, Russia, the Americas and Europe, but also for seekers of an inclusive spirituality.

Much of last weekend’s Prophet’s Way Conference was devoted to creating a ‘safe space’, for healing the child within. Together with Herr Müller, we walked the Prophet’s Way, formed a ‘Salem Circle’ and were anointed. We exchanged self-healing techniques with Thom Hartmann, and dined like kings on the simplest, most wholesome and delicious food and drink I have ever tasted. And to cap it all, we shared time, tears and laughter with people who have become an extension of our own families.

Needless to say, we were sorry to leave. But a piece of Salem always travels with you. This time, our group from Scotland have decided to link those pieces together and create a little bit of Salem magic in our own country. We intend to create a community for children aged 9 to 90, another ‘safe place’ in the world. Then all we have to do is bring people home …

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