Can you be a 'proper' Pagan if......
You don't meditate?
Perhaps I am the only one who initially accepted a standard impression of the term 'meditate' without thinking about it much. As a prerequisite to meditating, I thought I needed to be able to sit cross-legged, in the lotus position preferably, with eyes lightly closed, thumb and middle finger on each hand gently touching while resting lightly on my knees (which were, of course, very near the floor), probably dressed in orange or something! Tried, got cramp, eventually got up, and gave up! Then other sources suggested, sitting in a straight-backed chair, both feet firmly on the floor, arms relaxed and eyes closed. So far, so good. But then there was that stuff about not eating immediately before as digestion upsets energy flow. That blew that technique. About the only time I get any peace is just after a meal, besides, I can't concentrate on anything if I'm hungry! There is the idea of 'emptying the mind' - well maybe some people can, but I'm afraid I am not one. If I try to think of nothing, banish every stray thought as it pokes its nose out of one of the cupboards in my brain, I feel myself mentally dashing around trying to shut mental cupboards all over the place only to have others burst open and spill their irrelevant contents onto my 'empty mind'. Then I tried 'candle' meditation. That is pretty good. At least one has something to focus attention on and can eventually clear other thoughts by forcing the mind back to concentrating on the candle flame. But then, if I'm not careful, I end up thinking about - candle flames - and that's all! So, I didn't think I could meditate. Then I discovered a couple of things around the same time. You don't need to be sitting down, or even standing still to meditate. Swimming is good, so is walking, any rhythmic action - raking, hoeing, etc. Something repetitious which you can do 'without thinking' actually allows the mind to clear to think on deeper things. I also found that if I sat down in a comfy chair, (even after a meal) lit a nice candle I specially used only for that purpose, at roughly the same time every day, and did some of the basic relaxation techniques all the books talk about - you know "Tense all the muscles in your left foot, then relax, now your right foot, etc etc on up the body..." I began to be able to find room for quiet thoughts. If one chooses a concept or statement to start concentrating on - "All goddesses are aspects of the one Goddess*" for example - it helps focus the mind in a particular direction. I have also found, though, that there are times when I sit down to my own style of meditation and mundane stuff just keeps distracting my thoughts. Well, I have come to accept now, that on those days when that happens, the mundane stuff is where my attention is needed and more esoteric spiritual thoughts will just have to wait for another day. But still, if I tackle the mundane real life stuff that distracted me, in a very deliberate and consciously 'pagan' or 'spiritual' way - trying to see the value and joy in whatever it is that needs doing - I sometimes end up feeling as good, at the end of the day, as when I have had a spiritual insight in my 'meditation time'.
* one of the suggested meditations in "Pillar of Isis", by Vivienne O'Regan
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