I am sitting here trying to come up with a way to approach one of my class discussion questions, not really sure which way my brain is going to spark on the topic. I do have an opinion on the topic, but that is the problem – it is just an opinion. And one of many on the topic that roll around in my brain. But I do know that the Imbas will take a hold of me eventually, and I will gather a perspective together and write. And write some more. And some more. I just need to quiet down the rest of my thoughts, and let them slide into the background – even for just a short while. But in the meantime, I sit, listen to some quiet music, and gently push those stray thoughts out of the way. Like Tom Petty once lamented – the waiting is the hardest part.
Honestly, its not the easiest thing in the world to do – finding that quiet, alone point in one’s life. Most people go through their lives not realizing how much external noise there is. And how much that can sometimes interfere with the need for quiet, focused thought. Up until recently, I always believed I had a firm grasp on how to handle this concept of stillness for myself. Then I stumbled upon a few thoughts which I felt relayed an even deeper perspective from the book “Zen Druidry: Living a Natural Life With Full Awareness” by Joanna Van Der Hoeven.
In Druidry, we learn to listen – to the blackbirds singing at dusk, to the airplane overhead, to the bee buzzing amongst the daisies. So too should we learn to really listen to each other and not merely hear each other. Too often we are ‘listening’ to someone while already forming a reply in our own heads before they have even finished speaking. Engaging fully with the moment means fully listening when someone is speaking.
Druidry is all about relationship with the natural world. If we are truly mindful, that relationship will have so much more meaning. We really begin to understand that we are part of an ever-changing world, in a constant flux, with no single moment defining who or what we are – merely an endless series of moments which we all share on our journey through life.
We hear and attune, fully experiencing the earth and her rhythms. We dedicate ourselves to further understanding these, through relationship and empathy, compassion and determination. We become aware of nature’s cycles and our own cycles, encouraging those seeds that will nourish us to grow, and letting go of all that holds us back. It is living with the courage to be fully present, whatever the reality. It is connecting to ourselves, our gods, our world around us, with dedication and determination. It is letting go into the flow of awen, of satori, of truly being.
…and that is only three quotes from the book. Joanna makes excellent points – we have to attune ourselves to stopping our own notions of what we see and hear – where we continually attempt to complete the thoughts of others – and listen to everything that is being stated. Not to assume that we have already heard what we are about to hear – or have seen what we are about to see. And then to open ourselves to whatever experience is about to happen – without anticipation, without assumption. And this includes in communicating with ourselves…trying to clear that space where we can achieve the focused thought of the moment. Where we can be in the ‘now’ of the moment.
I cannot say that this technique of clearing your mind to achieve hyper-focus on an issue will work for you. It works for me. Its the manner in which I can achieve the state of being between the worlds. If it does not work for you – do not be too put out over it. It merely means that the methodology is not working for you. Keep looking for the one that will help you achieve the state you are seeking.
Now, I think I can finish clearing up what is in my mind, so I can focus on this single question for my class discussion – and provide the opinion I believe to be the most appropriate answer for me….