APRIL AND ‘DRUID MINDFULNESS’
Where I live, April 2023 brings qualities and freshness and new growth. My heart meets the moment as I walk in the bracing breeze. Sunny and overcast periods succeed each other. Moving through this enlivening space, I naturally welcome the energy of change it embodies.
But it’s not quite that simple. There’s an underlying turbulence too, which can easily challenge my balance. Slogans like ‘I am the sky. Everything else is weather’ aren’t enough. I, as natural man, have to ground and embody them. They have be be aligned with my felt sense.
I wasn’t sure how to talk about this when I discovered that someone else had done it for me. Philip Carr-Gomm, who until recently led OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids), offers a regular podcast: Tea with a Druid. No 249 is about ‘finding calm in chaos’. It is up on YouTube as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew4pD3OJen8
Philip suggests that the best way to deal with chaos, turbulence, or the everyday stress of modern life, is to turn to the stillness inside. Then it becomes possible to stay in the moment whilst expecting nothing. It takes work to get there – to identify ways of finding stability and calm even when all around is unstable and unpredictable.
Philip understands modern Druidry as a tradition of ‘mindfulness in natural settings’, whether real or visualised. The stillness found in those settings isn’t a dead stillness but a living one – leaves rustle, waves crash. The refreshment is somewhat different from that of a more abstract meditation where we sit with thoughts and feelings, finding the space beyond. In the podcast, Philip takes us through a meditation of the kind he describes. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone, whether or not involved in Druidry.
Returning to my recent walk, and the record of it, I see branches, buds and sky. I remember the movement in the sky, and a slight quivering of the wood. Records have their limitations. The stillness wasn’t one of complete stasis, as it may appear below. My current response is complicated by the human gift of memory, which is not the original experience. I am also absorbing someone else’s input. I am in a completely different here and now. But I am held within an enlivened tranquility, not at all that of the ‘tranquiliser’, and this is certainly a wonderful resource. Gratitude to the culture that has enabled it.