Contemplation is one of my favourite methods of approaching Druidry. It’s a big, umbrella sort of a term covering a number of ways of working, and one that I’ve found fellow Druids increasingly interested in. Contemplation needs very little, if any training. Pointers can be nice, but its available to anyone at any level, including children. It does not require special gifts, magical whatevers, you can be as muggle as you like and the path remains open. As we don’t all hear the voice of spirit, or walk in otherworlds, this is an important consideration. Contemplation does not lend itself to hierarchy, dogma, or forming powerbases. I like this aspect. It can be solitary, or shared, or both.
Contemplating can be a purely intellectual process, all about asking questions. We can ask questions of anything we encounter in life. Politics, science and culture are full of potential material to contemplate. We can ponder all manner of things with a view to deepening our understanding, seeking our own place, figuring out how we want to live. It’s not unlike philosophy, only without claiming (necessarily) the language, history and habits of philosophical thought. As a topic, ‘philosophy’ can seem daunting to the ‘unqualified’ where contemplation does not imply the need for a knowledge base.
We can contemplate our own emotions, spend time sitting with our feelings, being present in our bodies and deepening self awareness.
We can set ourselves specific exercises, contemplating an object, image, concept, experience and so forth. This approach takes us more into the realms of meditation.
Finally, we can approach any action with a contemplative mindset that allows us to think deeply about what we are doing, while we are doing it.
Thus contemplation can be a part of all aspects of our lives. It enables us to deepen relationships and further our own understandings. Coming back from long, inner journeys, we then have the option of sharing what we’ve found. This, I think, is always a good thing. While I’m much in favour of solitary working, the person who never touches base with anyone else can become separated from consensus reality all too easily. Sophilism, that perspective where we become the only thing of value in our own universe, is not conducive to good Druidry. Of course we may disagree over the outcomes of our ponderings, but this is good and healthy, it helps to keep us questioning. The person who dedicates to contemplation should not be dedicating to always thinking they are right, or getting too comfortable and smug. This is a path of questioning, and above all else, we have to keep questioning ourselves as well.