CONTEMPLATIVE INQUIRY IN ACTION
For me, active spirituality is based on inquiry rather than faith. Formal inquiry moves in cycles, and in my experience each cycle has a number of phases:
- Intuitive musing, gradually distilling into a sense of direction
- Crystalizing intent, and refining it with the work of preparation
- Actualizing the intent
- Relaxing after the intent is achieved
- Reflection/review on the process and harvesting its fruit
- Wondering whether the inquiry needs another cycle, which may move me on to more intuitive musing …
I’ve just had a period of down time from intensive practice. For a few weeks I let it go, my attention elsewhere. I’m just beginning to pick the work up again, at a reduced level of intensity. My sense of things after the break is not quite the same as my sense of things before, even though there is a great deal of continuity. Now as I return to the work, I would describe my Druid contemplative inquiry as being in the reflection phase of a long cycle.
Late in 2011 – specifically at Samhain – I was sufficiently prepared and intentional to launch an inquiry into contemplative practice within a Druid setting. This launch was fully ritualized and dedicated to the Goddess in her wisdom aspect. It was both a personal and collective inquiry from the beginning, and in this post I’m thinking mostly about the collective work. From the beginning of 2012 I was reaching out to and involving other people, with the first retreat day in July of that year.
Along the way we have co-created specific forms of group work. By the Spring of 2014 I had enough sense of the work and its direction to devise the questions for the interviews in Contemplative Druidry: People Practice and Potential and in this period I began the interviews themselves. The book was published in the following October. Two years later we have an available and tested means of doing Druid contemplative practice in group settings. Speaking for myself, this has made contemplative Druidry easier to talk about as a community practice, because I have a point or reference which involves things that people do and ways in which we benefit. This helps to keep the conversation grounded.
I now feel confident to let the process evolve by itself. I expect change and development and I expect to have a role in them. I want to reflect on how the process went and draw some conclusions. I will continue to integrate the work into my life. But I don’t think I need another inquiry cycle.
I’m in a parallel process in my personal contemplative practice – also at the reflection/review stage, but I’m not as far on with that and not yet clear about further cycles. More of that later. If there is another cycle I’m not sure that it will be either entirely contemplative or entirely Druid, though it will certainly incorporate elements of both and the learning from them.