ME AND MY INQUIRY
My inquiry moves slowly. But it doesn’t stand still. So from time to time I update the ABOUT section of my blog. Sometimes I discuss my changes in a post. Occasionally it seems as if the blog has its own life and writes itself through me. I’m not sure that I would claim the word Awen here, but I can end up surprised at what appears.
This time there seems to be a settling, an emphasis on continuity. I recommit to a contemplative inquiry, grounded in modern Druidry and with the inquiry process itself as my core practice. I am now assuming that this will be lifelong. In the past I have tended to believe that the inquiry would eventually lead to a conclusion of some kind, or become redundant for other reasons. Another project would then emerge – or maybe I would retire from projects and put my feet up. That belief has gone, for my inquiry is no longer a ‘project’.
As I was writing this morning, I became conscious of the change. ‘My inquiry’, I wrote ‘has shifted from a focused experiential investigation into a more relaxed, at times meandering process that brings illumination, healing and peace’. I have always had, in the back of my mind, prestigious models of both academic and spiritual inquiry that do not encourage relaxed meandering. In the academic models, results like ‘illumination, healing and peace’ are beside the point. In the spiritual ones, they are mostly reckoned to be very hard-won. But there it is. I am moving into a life-lived-as-inquiry space by softening and reframing my idea of inquiry. I seek support and nourishment rather than new and different ‘results’. Looking at these words now, they seem obvious, not even new – but I’ve only just caught up. It does seem, experientially, as if the blog has become the voice (spirit?) of the inquiry and intervened to educate me. It’s an odd feeling.
Here is the new ABOUT text:
“I am James Nichol and I live in the city of Gloucester, England. My contemplative inquiry began in 2012. It is grounded in modern Druidry, though I have drawn on the enduring wisdom of many times and places. I am also influenced by the current turn towards an eco-spirituality that meets our own historical moment. The inquiry itself is my core practice. I see it as a lifelong journey. In my blog I include personal sharing, discursive writing, photographs, poetry, and book reviews.
“Over the years, my inquiry has shifted from a focused experiential investigation into a more relaxed, at times meandering process that nonetheless brings illumination, healing and peace. In the contemplative moment, I am living presence in a field of living presence, at home in a living world. This is not dependent on belief or circumstance, but on the recognition of what is given, in joy and sorrow alike. I find that this simple recognition encourages a spirit of openness, the acceptance that nothing stays the same, an ethic of interdependence and a life of abundant simplicity.
“My book, Contemplative Druidry: People, Practice and Potential, was published in 2014. It includes a foreword, Deep Peace of the Quiet Earth, by Philip Carr-Gomm. There are major contributions in the main text from 14 other Druids offering diverse perspectives on the topic: https://www.amazon.co.uk/contemplative-druidry-people-practice-potential/dp/1500807206/“
This post in particular has resonated with me – particularly your opening pertaining to ‘Awen’. I am also traversing the worlds of academia and spiritual practice, the latter informing and the source of much of what I am producing for the former: I am working with my spiritual practice (Druidry, Tarot and meditation/journeying) to access inspiration for the writing of a novel for my DFA. I’d love to hear more about your experience of finding inspiration – I’ve noted that many creatives receive inspiration unbidden but I’m being proactive; I’m asking for help. I wonder if your new awareness will change anything. Fascinating. Thank you for such interesting words and ideas – I will revisit your book.
Thanks for your supportive comment Lynn. My sense about inspiration is that I open up unconsciously in certain context. At roof brain level I don’t have the self-image of a creative, so I don’t open up to that channel intentionally. Today’s experience invites me to look again. Big respect re the newspaper article. People have been greatly inspired by that!
Congrats James with this shift in perspective. To me your blog and inquiry is so inspiring and encouraging. Keep on the good ‘work’ 😀 /|\
Thanks Raymond. I appreciate your encouraging comment.
‘Over the years, my inquiry has shifted from a focused experiential investigation into a more relaxed, at times meandering process that nonetheless brings illumination, healing and peace.’ This is really interesting to hear and I will look forward to how your inquiry continues to develop. I’ve been enjoying reading about your journey for a good few years now!
Thanks Lorna. I have appreciated the opportunity to follow your journey as well. Benefits of the blogosphere!