I’ve never had a fixed daily practice. Things that I do shift, fluctuate and evolve over time. I try things, and if they don’t suit me, I let them go and move on. Not being much of a morning person, about the only spiritually relevant thing I can do of a morning is start slowly, marking the move from dreaming to wakefulness and letting my mind settle before the day starts. I find that leaping out of bed and rushing around suits neither my state of mind first thing, nor the direction I want my days to go in.
Meditation has been a part of my life for a good twenty years. How I do it, when and where and why has varied greatly over that time frame. Early on, pathworkings and visualisations dominated my approach. I have a vivid imagination and it’s easy for me to use that in escapist ways, which I gradually became uneasy about.
Like most people who meditate I’ve been exposed to the idea of being wholly present in the moment as the point of meditation. I’m no good at it, and it does not sit well with me emotionally. I cannot divorce myself from past and future. I’m too interested in knowing and understanding, and in gathering material to share as stories and poems. To be wholly present is to be cut off from all of these things. I recently ran into the idea of ‘abundant time’ which I like a lot more. It suggests being very present, whilst also keeping the context of your life and what you know as part of that mix. It feels more natural to me, and makes more sense to me. There are a great many approaches to meditation available, so finding things that make emotional sense, seems the obvious way to go. All else is dogma and submitting to someone else’s authority.
I’ve always loved bats (excuse the huge jump in this line of though). One of the things about pipistrelle bats is that left in peace, they roost in the same place, and hunt in the same place every night. They come out at about the same time in relation to the sunset, not the clock. Seeing the bats requires being alert to when the day is ending, which I like.
I know where my nearest bats are, and I’ve taken to going out in the evenings to stand and watch them. I’ve started to notice things that impact on the life of bats, and have become more alert to the early evening moths. Bats don’t emerge in the dark, but after the sunset, so there’s still a lot of light to see what they’re doing. I turn up to the bats very deliberately. Not to worship them, nor to worship some bat-related sense of deity through them. Not to seek signs or messages in what they do. Simply because they are there, and I like seeing them. I like the addition of their presence to the day. Standing still and largely quiet to watch their amazing flights as they hunt, is inherently soothing and takes me out of myself. The light fades, and I go home calmer.
While primarily it’s a simple kind of meditation for relaxation, I know I am also learning things about twilight, and the sunset sky, the settling of day-flying birds, and the less predictable habits of the owls. That I can stand still and quiet for half an hour or so with no difficulty comes from the meditation I’ve already done. That I have any interest in doing this at all comes very much from my Druidry.