Conscious Non-Killing

Conscious Non-Violence

I’m going through an emotional patch at the moment, but hope to resume normal service soon.

While looking at the five precepts, I decided that the ones I have issues with are honesty [exaggerating] &  toxins [eating too much junk].

 

[The Irish Sea: July 2009. Entitled:   A Mindful Moment]


In a basic sense, they are:

1. Don’t Kill                                                                    (be kind/mindful)

2. Don’t Steal                                                                 (be generous/frugal)

3. Do not commit sexual misconduct                                  (be respectful/responsible)

4. Don’t Lie/Exaggerate/Deceive                                        (be honest)

5. Refrain from intoxicating substances                               (be aware/mindful)

A couple of days ago, an insect, which looked much like a mosquito rested on my wall in my bedroom. Upon discovering I didn’t have a cup handy to put it out, I grabbed a bit of tissue, intent on ending it’s life swiftly.

And stopped.

The first precept came to mind: Do  Not  Kill.

So, I decided to leave it for a day and see how things went. When I woke next morning, it was sat in the same place, so I assumed it had not snuck off to bite me. End of day 2, it rested on a different part of my wall: yet I was free of bites, so left it.

BY early Day 4, it was flying around my room with a smaller fly. I’d had the window open, so it may have been a different one, but I turned off my bedroom light at around 2:45am today, turned on the hall light and left my door open. After 15 or so minutes, it flew out to sit on the wall beside the landing light. I turned that light off before returning to my room and turning my own light on so I could check around for any other bugs.

So murder isn’t the only option. This also resonates with something my Philosophy of Religion lecturer said yesterday about anger: It went something along the lines of  “if we’ve had a bad day and are angry and they are happy: this will not do! How dare they be happy!”.

She spoke about the energy it takes to be angry with someone or with the world. If I’d killed that fly, it would have been out of anger; however small.  it would have basically been “How dare you be in my room, this is my safety from pain and you’re here to harm me.”

Even for animals which can harm us [i guess humans can be included] we do not need to act in a harmful way. Choose Kindness (precept 1).  It’s not difficult to make those first steps. It’s very difficult for me to do this with humans, so I started out with insects.  I always put out spiders rather than kill them, but ants and flies; I seem to be prejudiced against. I guess that’s what I’m working on being more aware of (precept 5).

I’m still reading The Mindful Woman (64) and one of the pages I read last night mentioned choosing kindness in order to start a revolution. Will you choose kindness?

These are not commandments. They are paths to peace and, in the Buddhist philosophy, freedom/enlightenment. If any of these speak to you, could you maybe work on one? This is not a recruitment plan nor am I saying you SHOULD do any of these. It’s just something I feel I could work on.

~Rose.

Advertisements

Spirit

When I first came to Paganism in 2004, an important part of my life was dance. I danced to release tension, to find myself and once finding this spirituality; to take time for the divine.
Though I’ve never had lessons, not in gymnastics, nor ballet or Irish dance; I was a dancer.

Over the years, singing became a larger part of my life than dance and even then, health problems with my throat [and thus my voice] and my knees have all come to bring me down. I’ve not been steady at anything in my life; getting bored/giving up/forgetting all lead to failure at anything for which I had enthusiasm for. There’s no routine I’ve kept too – I don’t perform ritual every month nor pray every day; I don’t meditate each week nor do I always eat my 5-a-day.

Speaking of my 5-a-day challenge, today is the final day and I’ve three more fruit/vegetables to fit in today to complete it. I had only one slip-up, and that was due to being out of the house for so long; I only managed 4 of my 5. but instead of starting from scratch today, I’ve called it a learning curve and vowed to reach six today [Edit: achieved].

 However, a few key themes really do seem to come back to me, especially when I’m stressed and the most common/noticeable for me is:

* Dance – this is something I had a real routine with a few years back; using staff and just letting the spirit take over my body. It’s my only free time; from my ever-chattering mind and myself. Dance is my escape; my truth where I find my insight.  For me, it’s a breath of life I struggle to find. I believe we often reach for our power but in times of stress; it’s difficult to connect. This is my connection.

Dianne Sylvan really captures it using Maslow’s definition of peak experience in her blog post on NIA:

“uplifting and ego-transcending; it releases creative energies; it affirms the meaning and value of existence; it gives a sense of purpose to the individual; it gives a feeling of integration; it leaves a permanent mark on the individual, evidently changing them for the better.” ~ From her post, quoting Wikipedia.

On a separate note,  I attended a talk on careers today’s and as with the rest of this week, it’s been reflective [appropriate for the end of the Pagan year, no?]. Questions were asked: Could I be a teacher? A psychiatrist? A psycholinguist? A policewoman? Enroll in the army?

I wasn’t thinking much about these questions when I arrived but I need no more encouragement to be true to myself than a house where I can turn my music up and dance without knowing people are below my feet trying to watch a movie. And I reached that transcendent space.

By the final song; The Night [Disturbed], which I’ve never danced to before and only listened to once or twice, I’d fully embraced the swing of it, whirling and swaying, leaning and twirling.

[I’ve a small room comprised of about 2×4 metres space… lots of turning avoids tripping over the bed and dancing into my wardrobe [which has no door, so I could even fall in].

The space I found opened like a flower and suddenly I could breathe on my own.

I think with such profound experiences over the last year I’ve become accustomed to the high of life:
my first gig, first wiccan ritual, first druid meet and ritual, first Handfasting, first pagan pub moot; the first chance to be myself and let go- my first opportunities to be open and free and not watch my every move; knowing I’m accepted with them- these have all allowed me to become an energy junkie and mixing with ‘normal’ people just doesn’t cut it.
I’ve always had just a few friends, very carefully picked out; whose energy lifts me and who passed many unconscious tests of mine before I let them in.
The experience of dance brings to light the energy I have; the potential within me, just as those few people can bring out the best in me.

 

Dianne also posted about her experiences with dance. As always, her words are much more eloquent and have a much softer flow. [i.e they include cohesion] 

“I wanted to dance because, even at fifteen, I knew there was something there. Something between the rhythm and the motion…something underneath the cheesy techno remixes and the horrid Spandex unitards…something there, something elemental and visceral, something that itched beneath my skin, a knowledge, a hunger to move.“

Today I think I just came home needing to ‘scratch that itch’. My early blog names included Gaelic for “waterfall dancer” and “dance enchantress”, so it’s been with me throughout my journey.

Anyway, back to my point: This week’s transition has included reflection on my career. When I attended this talk about teaching today, a lot of the questions were along the lines of “could you do this? Does this click for you?”. I smiled at the questions, musing slightly but paying no major heed. I came home and as no-one was in, I danced. I put on Disturbed a bit too loud and danced. By the third time round of hearing ‘Indestructible’ I was exhausted. And I was grinning.
All the stress and annoyance and incomprehensible feeling [I couldn’t comprehend why it was here] of the last week and a half vanished. This is what I do. I danced a further four songs, so today’s dance count is at thirty-two minutes, and I’ll likely do another song before bed.

 

This is who I am; it’s my truth.
No matter what job, what country or how bad my health; no matter my religion, my labels or mood:
I’m a dancer and I always will be.

~ Rose,
Celestial Dancer.

Choice – Part 2

Mum50th 130This is a post-it note which sits above my light-switch in my bedroom. It’s right beside the door. The wire connects my computer to the router (and thus the internet). I’ve placed it there so I’ll have to really stop and focus on what it says (to read it past the wire) and maybe even move the wire to read it. This creates a strong focus on the words, hopefully keeping my mind focused on choosing and intending patience. I’ve written the word alacrity there to remind me of one of Christine Kane’s blog posts, about intention. It’s a trigger word. It’s my Choice.

 

I’ve spent many years trying to be more like specific others. Others who also had traits I desperately didn’t want. There’s a fine line between obsessive cloning and incorporating traits of those you admire into yourself. I’m finally at a point where I’m building from ME. From myself, my own foundation; building more of me onto it. And perhaps the impatience is the fear of losing this new building and going back to taking from others.

My friend is going on a course/workshop in September on Reiki. I’ve never done an official course on energy healing, yet I have had positive results when attempting to heal people with my own energy (and using their own to heal them). I wouldn’t say I’ve healed people, but I tend to believe I’ve helped. From SO’s brother who couldn’t be left unattended for a week in case he stopped breathing to someone with tennis elbow to calming athsma attacks. I do what I can, but I wouldn’t say I’m a healer.

Her choice got me thinking. I would like to go on a course or retreat, a workshop or meeting where I can learn something which really speaks to me. I love my degree course and enjoy it; but I’m looking at things that will aid me in a spiritual manner. I’m taking my time choosing, as there are a couple of choices; but also because I’m one who weighs everything. However, in a state of fear, I rush, and often it’s not the best solution. I don’t want to rush into the first or cheapest course because I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep building.

There are Buddhist retreats in Sussex, the Druid group Anderida Gorsedd hold two camps and a conference each year, the Wiccan group I know held a camp this year, and I’d also quite like to visit Scotland – Marie asked me to come visit her and I think next Summer I’ll take her up on the offer. I’d love to see it, to feel the truths of the place. I’ve also yet to visit Stonehenge. Now, Stonehenge is the cheapest, then Scotland (because of Marie’s kind offer to put me up in her house). And I do learn a lot from her. She keeps me conscious. She’s a brilliant teaching influence in my life; constantly catching me whenever I’m negative about myself (things so rote, I don’t notice anymore).

But I may find that one of the courses which will allow me to actually practise new techniques or speak with many other people, may be more beneficial. But as I said a few posts back, like Darkly Fey used to find; perhaps I’m not ready for this yet. Unfortunately, with no income, and falling £7,000 in debt with the government every single year (and I’d like to do post-graduate study); I’m in a position where I can “save-up” for these retreats, courses or workshops. At this point, (before they take this years £7,000 to add to last years) I think I’d be ready (it would push my fear boundaries to hell, but I know I could do it and I’d like to push them) to visit Marie. I’d prefer to do it in the Summer Holidays, as I’ll be seeing her in about a month and it would make more sense to do it in a 3.5 month void. But who knows what the year will bring.

For now, I choose patience.
I intend it.

My name is Rose, and I choose Patience.
What Do You Choose?

Lacuna: Fragments & Flaws

While reading a new title to my list (I was given two books today), the trees fell away to views of fields and hills, and a sky of orange, yellow and pale blue- the colours melding as though I wash with water; and some of my tension fled.

Weald 078I was reminded of Ali’s comment on my previous post.  I’ve been thinking on this a couple of days now, for though I’m not very patient (my patience is something I’m working on improving), I don’t jump into things often without some thought. She mentioned that one way of motivating myself into action, would be to incorporate things that cause me to act into those where I fail to do so.

So, step one, is to define the activities I’d usually “prefer to do”. These include:

Writing –blogs & poetry; during my mid-teenage years, I wrote over 800 poems in the space of two or three years. I’ve recently taken it up again; experimenting with words once more. I’ve also been blogging since 22nd July 2005; only 4 months after I joined allpoetry.com.

 Watching – movies & television; I only watch four programmes – one of which they only show for three/four months a year. I watch two spoof news programmes (which is my ONLY course of news other than blogs as I find the news makes me passionately vehement towards the world; and Top Gear.

 Singing – involves less physical effort; and can be done while doing many things- including movement such as exercise or tidying my room or even showering.

 Fiction – I will always rush to continue reading a book where the story draws me in. I used to read 3-4 factual and 2-3 fiction books a week; switching happily between fiction books in between chapters.   Now I can read a couple of fiction books; and those books which have a story-style (The Celestine Prophecy; Becoming the Enchanter, etc) but the more factual books I struggle to read. I can’t read them in environments where anyone’s talking (television, radio, parents, other students nor any music which has a rhythm which changes often).

 

The main pattern I’m finding relates to multitasking. I’ve mentioned before that this world is of too-fast, must-be-busy mindset and a university student from a middle-upper class family is expected to:
  have good grades, turn in work on time, read 200 pages of core texts a week, do extra reading for assignments, have a money-earning job, write up lecture notes, gain work experience relating to the field of our degree, memorise the lessons of the day/week/course, have a tidy room, shower/bathe often, socialise with other people, eat well and exercise.

 Also; no human would be complete without adding some method of relaxation. Although I wish to spend time in nature, do yoga, meditate, read, dance, draw, paint, and/or take photographs; when presented with options that allow me to multitask and take no effort in relation to movement; I’m likely to choose them over those presented above.

 Not surprisingly, (though I know some students DO manage to do most, if not all of the above), I fail often to have three healthy meals a day, 7 days a week and often don’t make notes on all 200 pages; often not even skim-reading them nor have I ever had a job (though I do look/apply/attend interviews/constantly give out and update my CV). I’m not suggesting this is an excuse nor is this a complaint. I choose to be a student and I choose to prioritise certain sections of that list. I’m just stating what I believe to be likely causes of this feeling.
Now it’s the summer holidays and suddenly I’m at a loss, especially with so many books on my list, and also with wanting to meditate + go back to doing yoga daily + spend 10 minutes in nature every day (open bedroom window and observe the garden) + do bellydance weekly again + begin practising keyboard/recorder again + keep my room tidy all at once. I want to suddenly throw myself into doing all of this; and with so many choices and no easy way to multi-task on a lot of them; I don’t know where to begin.

Ali mentions on her blog how she intended to work through her druid studies with a form of structure. Many people work best like this, and I agree, I think I could be one of them; however, my self-discipline (oh yeah, add go back to karate lessons and practise for at least an hour a week to that list) is.. out of practise.  Like patience; self-discipline is something I desire to have but.. erm.. lack the discipline to put effort into (oh the irony)..

I’m forever intrigued how I can so obviously notice this and yet still am not motivated to put some effort into changing it.  I’m fed up with it and starting to dislike myself for this trait yet don’t make effort to alter it. Which then brings me to dislike myself and thus the cycle repeats.  I’ve read the books and watched the programmes; I’m a psychology degree student and know that I need to start by implementing one small change and stick to it for a month before instigating a new change.  Perhaps it’s the combination of impatience with depleted motivation. I’m too impatient to see results (hmm, example of society’s quick-fix attitude?) and thus; any change I make is easily lost.

I’ve diverted slightly. Ali suggested incorporating one of the less-motivating interests with a common pursuit. Currently I’m writing this while watching Have I Got News For You (spoof news programme) and reading bits of my book when the commercial break occurs (having muted the television). Perhaps writing this all down might get me off my lazy backside and at least start doing something useful with my day again. If any of you feel like enforcing a schedule upon me with things I wish to do, please let me know. =P  I have twitter and MSN so you could send me messages when I’m to change activities.

As mentioned earlier, I received two new titles to add to my summer reading list. My two new manuscripts are Alain de Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy, which is the first Philosophy book I’ve ever owned and Endless Path: Buddhism by Diane & Jon Sutherland, which is only on lend to me. I got to chapter three of Consolations during the car journey home and hope to be able to finish it in the next fortnight. I’ll let you know how that goes.

 Moon Bless
~Rose.

P.S. I really admire those bloggers who can write a post/series/essay without using brackets as much as i do – if any of you have any constructive criticism on this topic (or at all), please let me know!

Pagan Values: VOICE.

”PaganIt’s not an exclusively Pagan value, but very few are. We have silence, within the witches pyramid, and well known as a skill. Patience and the ability to listen; but also, in the druid and Wiccan open circles, there voices; their creativity is so open and stunning.

As I briefly mentioned, though somewhat rambled off topic; a separate aspect of voice is void. To Be Silent is one of the four base edges of the Witches Pyramid. I’ve just spent almost an hour in silence as the damn chorus rang out and some clouds tinted pink with sunrise. The dawn’s just brought rain with it too.  Five hours later, the sky’s blue, though with some white cloud, and the sun is streaming. 🙂 This is spring.

SunRise 196

In my house, I seem to be the only one willing to speak up. My house-mates will complain and make comments; but when it comes ot going to the people who’ll actually be able to solve these problems, they won’t even do it anonymously, let alone sign their name at the bottom of the form (so to speak). It’s not a purely pagan value to speak out; the cliché words of “make a difference” or “change the world” or even “leave my mark” are well versed and often heard from mouths of many faiths.

SunRise 148

On a Pagan Level; the chanting around the fire or the performances at the druid Eisteddfodau are just two examples of this voice. The poetry which brings laughter, the song which brings silence, peace and smiles; the chants which bring community and teach of key elements. I hadn’t heard the “Lady spin your circle bright” song, now the elemental ones; I didn’t know a lot of The Spiral Dance; though I did read the book 4-5 years ago. 

SunRise 136

Voices teach. They soothe; connect and create. Voice; is a VALUE.

 *~* Eisteddfod (plural Eisteddfodau)– A Bardic festival and competition of the performing arts, from the Welsh, meaning ‘a session or assembly’. Usually opened with a Druid ceremony.

Creative Meditation One

On Thursday I attended the first meeting of the Creative Meditation and Buddhism Society. There were three of us in attendance, including the person guiding us (in my experience, those running courses don’t like to be called teachers – perhaps because we’re all teachers and all learners?).

 (The person guiding us, like all people mentioned here, will be down under a fake name, Karasu. It means compassion & contains letters found within his name. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get round to giving him this blog link, but in case I do, I just wanted to make that disclaimer here. )

 It wasn’t as structured this week as the Monday class I attend, which created a nice contrast and gave it a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. The beginning half was spent discussing some differences between Paganism, Christianity and Buddhism, which is always a good starting point.

 

We then used a technique which began with a D.. Though Google says Shiatsu which sounds similar.. A kind of tapping and massaging of the body with the intent to be aware of the body. Having been a magic practitioner for a good few years, I found this to be a useful and intriguing technique. My own energy work rarely involves physical contact and the difference was noticeable to me.

When we started tapping the head, I smiled in remembrance of EFT Tapping.

 

We then did a slow walking meditation, which was a first for me. I still struggle with the breath and concentration, but it gives me something to work on. I’ve walked to college and meditated, focusing wholly on the feel of each footstep, and the birdsong around me, but I found it hard to be aware. I had to focus on Karasu’s voice, then as he directed us to focus on our senses, my feet on the floor, then the sounds – I couldn’t step back and just Be as well as walking. I can sing a song while reading, so I know my mind is capable of multitasking and although it involves focusing on one thing, perhaps that would be the next step. While I’m focused on that one thing, trying to sense the others too.

 Relating to the discussion, Karasu asked many good questions intending to make us really think about the topic, but one specific question made me smile as it was something I’d yet to think of.

 

It was along to lines of “What would your definition of divine be?”

Having been brought up in a religious family, I’ve never actually asked this question – changing only my beliefs as to the nature of divinity; not what actually can be classed as Divine.

Please forgive the scholar-esque approach, I’ll keep it brief.

The Collins English Dictionary states:
Divinity – study of religion
Divinities (plural) – God.
(Surely the plural of Study of Religion should be Studies of Religions, no? =P)
This led to:

God (noun) 1. spirit or being worshipped as having supernatural power.

That last definition sounds about right for my opinion of divinity… although I don’t agree with the term ‘supernatural’.

In my opinion, since magnetism was seen to be a form of magic until science explained it, nothing is outside of natural.

Supernatuaral 1. of or relating to things beyond the laws of nature..
Nature 1. whole system of the existence, forces and events of the physical world that are not controlled by human beings.

 The three cases of divinity I explained prior to this were imminent, transcendent and manifest. On the imminent and manifest levels, I guess this fits. The God hovering above the earth controlling things doesn’t have Physical form (or is invisible, whichever fits your truth better). If it’s not Physical, it isn’t within (not necessarily beyond, but certainly doesn’t remind within the parameters of) nature.

For those who believe plants and humans are divine, this poses a completely separate issue, which I’m not even going to attempt to discuss. I’m not erudite and at this moment in time, I’ve enough questions to be discovering.

I guess when I say divine, I mean magic: Intuition, fate, energy, the laws of physics working toward making us better (the definition of magic in my mind). It’s the use of magic without conscious thought.

 Chi isn’t conscious so I guess that is a part of divine (using my definition), but energy work (manipulating/guiding chi) is just the connecting with that divinity, so not a divine act as it used intervention. That’s another part I suppose. If takes effort to Intervene with the laws of nature. Fate is said to guide, karma is said to work within its own rules – similar to The Law Of Attraction (see The Secret by Rhonda Byrne).

 It’s a very good question and one I doubt I’ll ever truly be able to answer but in attempting,

 The subject of judgement came up. A comment that ‘the Buddha didn’t judge but a lot of God-figures appear to be judging’ was made. This struck a chord with me.

 I guess for me, the Goddess is a mother. She’ll tell me I’m being a moron, send me “don’t be lazy” sign but still be a good listener and aid me if she can. She won’t judge me when I make a mistake but say “look at what you can learn and maybe next time you’ll do better. She won’t give reward without my deserving it, but she’s not going to punish me for being human.  

She may disapprove, but will support me.

“You’re being an idiot and going to be upset later, but I’ll come with you and you can come cry on me and I’ll be here to listen so you can work it out for yourself”.

Same goes for the God, though he has less of a figure at the moment.

 As I said in a previous post:

 We view our God/dess with human characteristics. They can be angry, lustful, happy, sad, good or bad, just like humans. Many of them had sex, some even die and are reborn. They are shape shifters and can take any form. They aren’t perfect or all-knowing, but they keep a close watch on their children.”

 I didn’t feel threatened by any of the questions or comments; but like my thirst for knowledge, I also desperately want to be understood – and that’s where I ramble on at such a fast pace, no one understands me.
Oh the irony. =)

 We also discussed taking the Bible seriously. That the stories of the bible have symbolic truth, but taking them in a.. literal sense can be damaging. I know a couple of Christians read this, so if you can shed light, please feel free to add your opinions.

 I’ll no doubt continue this next week,

Moon Bless,
~Rose.

Enchantments: The Goddess In Bible vs. In Quarks

 Some things are too hard to miss. This is a brief and perhaps pointless post, but with the full moon last night, I felt motivated to do at least some spiritual-related study. I found this website.

 

In attempting to write devotions for the year to come (Beltaine +), I found this interesting source, which I must admit, only brought smiles and recognition.

 

I still worship God. I just discovered the Goddess. What’s really shocking is I discovered her from the bible!

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God is translated from the Hebrew Elohim. Elohim (translated only as God) is a plural, feminine, and masculine noun. The translators of the bible have completely ignored the feminine half of Elohim and simply wrote God.

We all know that one man Adam and one woman Eve were created in the image of the Elohim. Since two images, one female and one male were created, it is only logical that the Elohim are two images, one Goddess and one God.

 Some will argue that the second chapter of Genesis says that woman was created later from the rib of a man and not simultaneously with man? This is true, the second chapter does say that. However, the second chapter of Genesis is a completely different creation story. Even another God creates heaven and earth; Jehovah, translated as “Lord God” created the universe in one day in Genesis 2:4. The Elohim weren’t that good and took six days.

 It made me laugh. Our Gods are wondrously laid back. They knew they had no deadlines; and therefore, made a decent job of things.

And then, I came across perhaps one of the most perfect sentences I’ve ever read:

 

We view our God/dess with human characteristics. They can be angry, lustful, happy, sad, good or bad, just like humans. Many of them had sex, some even die and are reborn. They are shape shifters and can take any form. They aren’t perfect or all-knowing, but they keep a close watch on their children.

 

Outrageous to some, perfect to others.

 We are the blessed children of the Gods, and we are loved by them unconditionally, from birth. And I love every moment of it.

I see the divine as tree and sky, as sea and land, as moon and sun and yet know that my scientific explanation is that they are the field of quarks and bosons beyond atoms. I can see the faces and names of Artemis and Apollo, of Mother Earth Gaia and Father Sky, of Lord and Lady and yet know they’re every particle of energy from dark matter to a ring of Saturn, or the Virgo super-cluster. Even in the spaces between energy.

 

I am a scientific theist, and the gods come under the category of Manifest, as explained previously.

 

 I’ve less than 2 weeks until I’m home, and I’m so ready for it.

Enjoy your weeks and I hope those who celebrate had a good Esbat.

Stars Above,

~Celestial Rose.