Pondering, reflection, meditation and contemplation are frequent features of the Druid path. There are many ways of doing it. We might sit in silence and see what floats up. We might focus our minds on a certain topic, explore a visualisation or undertake a pathworking. We might meditate through movement, or take a meditative approach to our ritual work.
Thinking is a big part of Druidry. For some, Druidry is better described as philosophy than as religion, but this is not in the sense of adopting wholesale a way of thinking about the world. Druid philosophy is not something you study, take onboard and then manifest in your life. It is something that you do. Philosophy for Druids is always a work in progress. There is always more to learn and understand. Deeper insights are always available, more connections can be contemplated. Some of this can be developed through study and debate, and by life-experiments and experience.
To go from those raw moments of experience to developing philosophy you have to process what has happened. Therefore, it is in thinking about our feelings and beliefs, reflecting on our experiences, contemplating our lives and meditating on our aspirations that we create, from one day to the next, a process of personal philosophy that has no end point.
I find it helps to put some time aside each day for thinking. How I do this has varied a lot through my life. When I started, I used the time before sleeping as my main pondering space. My dysfunctional first marriage coupled with the challenges of a young child made it harder to have a regular practice, and I took to snatching what quiet time I could for a few years. Mediation groups have given me productive spaces to work in, and the structure of the OBOD course helped me reclaim some life, time and space for my path.
Currently I have two periods, reliably, in each day that I can use for my indoors Druidry. I use the time before sleep for prayer, and reflection. I’ve arranged my life so that I spend a lot of time in bed (by modern standards) and am not so overtired that I fall asleep at once. There’s a lovely, warm, relaxed space available to me as a consequence. I wake long before I need to get up, and generally I wake when my body wants to, and am able to spend the first half an hour or so of the day reflecting on what I need to be doing, working through ideas, contemplating life, self, and matters arising. It means I step out to face the day clear headed, knowing what I’m doing and ready to start. This blog post was sketched out in such a way, alongside the two others I need to write before lunch. Last night I was reflecting on images from Gordon MacLellan’s inspiring poetry.
Modern life encourages us to keep running, and to exist in over-stimulated environments. It is easy to be bombarded by an excess of information and never have time to reflect on it, derive meaning or consider implications. This reduces both the benefit and the joy to be derived from any experience. Taking time to ponder, also means getting to savour what has happened to us. In having time to reflect, we integrate experiences into the stories of our lives, and we re-create sense of self. In stepping away from hectic-lifestyle culture, and adopting a slower, more thoughtful pace, we become active participants in our lives, rather than passive recipients, pushed round by whatever forces hit us.
There are many ways of meditating, many reasons to meditate and many effects of making it part of your life. If all you can find are ten minutes to spare in a day, find them, because those ten minutes will help you transform everything else.
(Druidry and Meditation, on sale over at amazon kindle at time of posting…)