Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"I look for the quiet...."

This past summer I wrote about discipline and struggling with daily practice. Just like we all know regular exercise is good for us but we have trouble doing it, I have the same struggle with daily practice. The inertia of the bed had been too much of a lure.

This past month I’ve found myself teaching, leading a study group, and in a college course. I am weaning myself back into the model of college student and find myself picking up old study habits. I have a lot of trouble concentrating at night to read and retain dry textbooks. When I was in school, I would wake at 5 in the morning, when it was quiet to study with the dawn chorus and my cats. Slowly I’m setting the clock earlier and earlier to use the quiet hours in study rather than feeling guilty at night that I don’t have the energy. I plan on using those hours even when my study for the week is complete, in meditation, journaling, and going to the gym. My contemplative, practice hours have returned. The funny thing is the impetus for this change has been out of necessity, but at the same time, the lethargy of wanting to stay in bed is fading. I want to get up, I want to start the day, and I am less tired now that I am more busy.

Hail to the dawn!

I have come to a point where a lot of my work will be patient practice. My lessons that I need to work on are mostly not in books right now. Meditation, disciplined sitting, just coming to the altar daily, and personal development in an internal alchemical way are my current tasks. I remember when I first joined my coven, my HPS was adamant about the importance of daily practice. She mentioned that those who know, can tell when a person has the discipline and strength of daily practice. I have on occasion help such a practice for a while and always needed to rededicate myself to the practice. . I admired her unyielding steadfastness.

I am also learning the value of resiliency and flexibility. Having a strong core implies that there is also not the brittleness that comes with being immobile.

Great, strong trees bend wildly in storms. In 2003, I witnessed a mild hurricane. I sat in my house, dry and quiet in the lack of electricity. The wind and rain whipped around the house and the trees danced and thrashed. The storm itself smelled of the ocean gone ashore and the energy was wild. Within the safety of my house I did not feel fear, but awe. The trees were what got me. Even the ones that fell or broke did so like a jump of faith off a cliff into the future or into death. No fear, just grace and acceptance. It was a great wisdom the trees gave me then, and I have tried ever since then to adopt that faith and fearlessness into my own life.

I have also been working lately with fear. Fear as illusion, fear as cleanser, fear as guardian at the gate of the threshold of newness and of the unknown. From where does fear and panic originate? What shadow memory does it herald? When we choose what causes us pain and fear and instead trust and have faith in the process our the paths of our lives, fear becomes our teacher and guide.

I found myself in a vision last night, transported unexpectedly to a place I had once visited before. For this illustration, I will call it the Temple of Saturn. Instead of the grey fallen angel prostrate in front of the pool of granite, There were several of these priestesses, silent, gray and cold. There is stillness and silence. In fact, I too felt still and silent as if breath, pulse and thought had all slowed down to a pause. I was one of these grey, still priestesses. Watching, alert, silent. Keeping observance. Timelessness.

The center, the place within known as the don tien, is often described as a place of stillness. I have always felt that place as a heavy, active spot, center of gravity and density, and pressure. In the Temple, all was still. Inside that tight point of density is a vast emptiness---space and peace. Blessed be.
This post's title is a lyric from the band Ego-Likness


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