Soul-making part 1: Meditation
This is the first article for our course on 'Soul- Making' which will be exploring the spiritual practices of the West through nature enabling the reader to explore the nature of the soul and connect with their indigenous roots here in Britain. Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts.
Meditation is a dynamic active pursuit of the soul, allowing us to connect with our natural state. The mind when shown a place of rest is serene and at peace with itself allowing us to tap into our true nature.
This state in the modern western world is often only harnessed when we find ourselves in extreme circumstances such as dangerous pursuits or accidents. The mind in these circumstances is in a flow, all of life slows down allowing us to stretch out every second, giving us time to react to the given situation.
We experience a state of timelessness which William Blake may be alluding to when he says ‘to hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour’.
Imagine being in that state constantly being able to react to any given situation with the perfect response, this is the state meditation masters have achieved and all of us can experience. Given time and practice this state can become more and more our own natural state.
Meditation is often associated with the East and often the western culture is more familiar with the Buddhist concepts of mindfulness or the Hindu system of Yoga.
However the Celtic tradition is alive with instruction on the nature of the soul brought to light through the stories, poems and Bardic knowledge especially preserved in Ireland.
Although the traditions have suffered great oppression from political and religious elites and finally a modern disconnection from spirituality, the knowledge is still there waiting for us to delve into.
Set aside an area in your living space you can use just for meditating and ritual. In the same way we recognise a place of power in nature such as Stone Henge or Avebury, this is our own place of power where many memories will be created.
Use the same seat/cushion each day and have a set of clothes to wear for this process to instantly put you in a certain mind-set conducive for meditation, in much the same way you wear different clothes for work or for sport for instance.
Light a candle, go within, draw your senses inside. Once that spark is ignited within you, you can experience it in all the elements and you can take your senses out to the world filling it with joy.
A suggestion is to meditate by visualising the Birch grove which signals the start of your Otherworld (Inner realms) journey. Visualise the light airy birch grove teeming with melodious birds, a myriad of fungi and the sounds of wild animals stalking prey or making shelter. Make it as real as possible, try to touch the barks, smell the scents and hear the sounds. Go deep into the feeling of being immersed in nature, remembering it is the feeling rather than the visions that is most important. Be still and at peace for as long as you have time for; bringing love, gratitude and acceptance into your day or evening.
Meditation is more effective practiced regularly every day as you would with any discipline, in the same way an athlete or musician practices every day to reach their goals.
To make time, allowing say twenty minutes each morning and evening to cleanse the mind by using ritual or meditation is no different from having a wash morning and evening. A constant practice will enable you to imbibe these qualities throughout your day and life and you may find prolonged practices of meditation naturally follow on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Bathing in water enables your physical body to be clean but true cleanliness comes from within.
To explore these themes in more depth you may wish to subscribe to our Home Study Courses HERE
Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.