As part of my solo practice, I sometimes do Awen mantra meditation. Aah comes in with the inbreath and wen goes out with the outbreath. Classically, I have followed these two syllables into a felt sense of what has been called the Shakti of the mantra, the power of the mantra, its inner pulsation and grace. In my embodied poetry of practice, Awen resonates like the primal breath and energy of the Cosmos, a subtle vibration underlying the apparent world, welling from a paradoxically creative emptiness. Visually, if my eyes are shut, the world tends to dissolve into a river of tiny lights, set wide apart from each other. If they are open, my visual experience of space changes and boundaries become more porous. This tends to be a place of deep receptivity and renewal.
Just lately I have been experiencing Awen mantra meditation differently. I believe this relates to being more active in the world – paradoxically through the contemplative Druidry project itself, with its relationship building, writing and now publicising ‘Contemplative Druidry’, and the beginning of plans for retreats beyond the local group level. I like this side of things more than I anticipated, because it connects me in a different way. And I also find that, in these times, the Awen mantra meditation becomes more focused and directional. I start to have the traditional understanding of Awen, as creative inspiration, more in mind.
So working with the mantra takes on a sense of dedication and intent, and also an aspect of invocation. There is still a receptiveness in there, of making myself available to Awen, as a vehicle for it. But it’s not in the manner of possession or channelling, or any obvious sense of psychism. I have to keep my wits absolutely about me, hold my intent actively, use discrimination and make decisions.
When my contemplative work became a project as well as a practice, I feared that I would saw off the meditative branch that I am sitting on, and fall into a sort of repetitive busyness syndrome. Now I see a greater range of possibilities. Life and awareness are always moving, always in process, and require different means of grounding and centring at different times.