Deep Calls To Deep: When The Caim Becomes Kything

20181107 WHEN THE CAIM BECOMES KYTHING

And so, they called to the Quarters. In a forested area, about thirty people, firstly, faced and addressed the east, then turned to face the south, then the west and then, finally, the north. Through ritual, through intentionality, a circle of power had been formed. A type of caim now existed.

’I live my life in growing orbits which move out over this wondrous world. I am circling around God, around ancient towers and I have been circling for a thousand years. And I still don’t know if I am an eagle or a storm or a great song.’ Rainer Maria Rilke

The circle is important. Within the circle of the caim there is power and potential: things happen. Sometimes the caim can be a physical circle in which a practical ritual takes place, usually for a group. On many occasions the caim can be used by just one person, and then the caim starts with a physical circle and then as one mediates one goes on an ‘inward’ voyage.

The caim has many uses, and have been the theme of previous articles. See here for one example.

And so, on this occasion of a solo event, I wanted to go ‘inward’ to bless someone in a special way. The way of blessing is many and varied, and usually there is no need for elaborate ritual, but on this occasion the decision the person in mind, a dear friend, was to make was so important to them that I felt I wanted to do a little more.

And so, the caim sprang to mind.

The caim can be a simple but powerful, and effective ‘circle’ ritual that moves one ‘inwardly’ to that inner sacred place, that place of communion, le pointe vierge – the virgin point, that which is at the centre of our being at a point of ‘nothingness’, untouched by illusion.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field, I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.

Rumi

Many, today, for sole event caims, use a minimalist three-stage approach to the caim at least in the beginning of their caim practice. This is:

  •  making a caim and
  • using a prepared ‘set’ prayer, or liturgy, or creative visualisation, and
  • closing the caim and an act of ‘earthing’ it.

Once in that ‘inward’ meditative state, in my mind’s eye I visualised a protective ‘bubble’ around me, in a ‘sea’ of stars, unseen to others. The caim is a circle, but in three dimensions it can be viewed as a sphere, a ‘bubble’.

‘When you pray, go into your room. Close the door and pray to your Father, who can’t be seen. Your Father will reward you, because he sees what you do secretly.’ Matthew 6:6, The Book

In that secret place I imagined this friend as outside the caim ‘bubble’ I was in, and a short distance away. And then, as I looked in that direction, to my surprise, I imagined them to be in a similar ‘bubble’. Astounding. Could it be that at times when we intend to use the caim for others, that our spirit can communicate with their spirit, and at such times their spirit (unknown to them) is also embraced with a caim, a bubble, a ‘shield’ of power and potential for them (even if they are physically unawares)?

Not wishing to be distracted from sending power, light and love to assist this friend in their impending I wondered briefly. Usually, I wouldn’t let any other thoughts distract me at a time like that, but on this one occasion I did allow thoughts to flow.

Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist, was imprisoned in a concentration camp during the second world war. Seeing the horrors around him, he was sustained by the loving connection he felt between his wife and himself. Though physically separated by thousands of miles, he felt a close, spiritual connection. In that concentration camp he wrote:

‘As my friend and I stumbled on for mile, slipping on icy sports, supporting each other time and time again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise’. Viktor Frankl

In that caim I saw my dear friend though many miles away, in that imaginal realm, which some may believe to be real, whilst others may believe it is unreal. I believe the former. And, my friend, too, inhabited a caim, a circle. Viktor Frankl’s experience was indeed a spirit-to-spirit presence, and I do believe that the caim can, in some cases, also be used in such a way – for spirit-to spirit encounters of the imaginal kind.

Have you ever been in someone’s company and come away knowing more about them than what they have just spoken about?

Have you felt that you have got close to someone, closer that just words have permitted, but at a soulish or spiritual level?

And, have you had the experience where you may have met someone for the first time, or perhaps have known them for some time, and just knew that words were not needed, and just basked in a knowing silence?

These are examples of the kind of encounter I’m referring to. A spirit-to-spirit, deep calls to deep, encounter. Kything?

Roger Gerard calls this kything. Kything, then, is like spiritual intuition involving another person. It is a going beyond being present to their body, emotions, mind, to something altogether deeper, more mysterious and fundamental. When you kythe you are in touch with the spirit or soul of another. Some may say this encounter is very real, others would say it is metaphorical. I believe the former. But in any case, if it is metaphorical and viewed as not real in substance , and we view the encounter as a prayer or well-wishes etc, isn’t intentionality the all-important factor here? If so, in either case is it is acceptable, and still worthwhile, and remains a powerful strategy.

Later, I continued with the caim and sent energy, light, love, power, and prayer to that person in need, seeing them in my imagination, and in a new and vital way because of this caim event.

But after coming back to physical space (but do we ever leave that sacred space/time?) and ‘grounding’ myself, and opening my eyes, I couldn’t but help think further about kything and its benefits to you and I, and will write on it further, soon.

‘With kything, you may also work through forgiveness for a past offence even I that person is no longer physically accessible, either because of…distance…or refusal to meet.’ Louis M Savary and Patricia H Berne

Imagination: In Between Are The Doors…: A Thought

20180111 IMAGINATION IN BETWEEN ARE THE DOORS

‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.’
(Albert Einstein)

With the candle lit, and sitting crossed-legged, I waited. Eyes gently closed and breathing being slow but regular, I waited a little more. Slowly I started to relax and the sense of mechanical time receded into the distance. Intentionally, I moved deeper within.

Liminality approached.

Gradually my thoughts stilled – oh there will always be a stray or nagging thought, or two, or three, but the way to deal with them is to spend no time or energy on them, but to ignore them. If you pay heed to them, even mentally note them and ‘file’ them for later attention you have ‘stepped out’ of this special time of Encounter. Just let the thoughts go.

Liminality, the ‘threshold’ is the ‘gap’ between Here and There. It is a wonderful place, accessed here by the imagination, and sometimes unwittingly visited when we relax and daydream (or dream). It is a place of peace, power and potential. A place of Encounter.

‘You say God speaks to you, but it’s only your imagination.’ These are the words spoken by the inquisitor to Joan of Arc during her trial for heresy.

‘How else would God speak to me, if not through my imagination?’ Joan replied.

This time, one of many, I was to use a kataphatic approach. Using mental pictures and symbols, I imagined a spiral staircase ascending before me. It had a rich, red stair carpet that felt thick underfoot.

The event was a guided event but not directed – that is the outcome was not scripted, and in this way I was hoping for a word of information, of direction. Ofcourse, sceptics and those firmly entrenched in twenty-first century thinking will question this approach, but it seems to work, at least for me, and so I commend it to you – even if you try it only because you’re curious or you think it might be fun to do.

Did you know that Friedrich August Kekulé, the German chemist, told of two dreams he had at key moments of his work. In his first dream, in 1865, he saw atoms dance around and link to one another. When he awoke, he immediately began to sketch what he saw in his dream. In another dream, in which he saw atoms dance around, then form themselves into strings, moving about in a snake-like fashion. This dream continued until the snake of atoms formed themselves into an image of a snake eating its own tail. This dream gave Kekulé the idea of the cyclic structure of benzene.

And so, I found myself at the top of the staircase, and pushing the large oak door open, I was in the corner of a large room, a hall, a library, infact. Just the right place to find a word of guidance, information. I could smell the dust of old books and the smell the polish used on the two dozen long wooden tables, which spanned, almost, the breadth of the library. Books ‘hugged’ all the walls, and huge frosted windows high up, tinted yellow, let in the light. The room was bathed in an other-worldly sunlight glow, or warming yellow. My heart leaped.

To my left and about twenty feet away, sat three librarians . They were indistinct  and glowing a deep yellow. Angels? Elementals? Was this Library a representation of Heaven, The Other Place, or Caer Wydyr (the Glass Fortress, as they call it in. Wales)? Apart from those three librarians and me, there was no one else in the room.

Was this a dream, a day-dream, a vision or the rambling thoughts of neurones ‘firing’ randomly in my brain brought on by the digestion of too much cheese? Or, was it a deep encounter? To consider that at this point would have ‘broken’ that ‘connection’ and allowed rational thought to overpower this experience. Right now, it didn’t matter to me. I was enjoying this experiential encounter.

‘There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.’ (Aldous Huxley)

I wandered around the Library, occasionally stopping and exploring the bookshelves to see if anything significant manifested itself. What was the word for me? Nothing. After what seemed like many minutes I found myself near the Librarians’ desk. One of them beckoned to me. Still indistinct, and glowing yellow, and without a word being spoken, I was handed a large, dusty, ‘dog-earred’ book. I took it, bowed (for some reason, but odd things like that can happen in such experiences), and turned to a long table behind me to explore the book.

I came into this liminal realm for a word of information, and believed the book would assist. As I was about to open it I was aware that the three Librarians were now behind me, peering over my shoulders. Benevolence. I was cocooned in the yellow glow they were emitting and a peaceful warmth like honey seemed to ‘pour’ over me. It made me laugh heartily for no reason.

I looked at the cover of the book, it read: The Count Of Monte Cristo. I had read that book at school many years ago, so it wasn’t on my mind and there was no reason for it to appear in this event, but this was a guided event, and not directed, and so events can seemingly take on a life of their own. But it it my belief that The Guide of All does permit encounters in this manner and prompts ‘from a distance, if ‘we have ears to listen’, if we are receptive. After all, Joseph was ‘spoken to’ in a dream. I have no doubt that the  Source of All speaks, similarly, today in dreams, in the physical realm, through others, through nature.

I gradually leafed through the pages of that book, and at page 12 I felt the Librarians draw back as though they had done all that was necessary. Near the very top of page 12, a word leaped out at me. ‘Patience’. That was my word. That was for me. I knew it. In the busy-ness of all that had happened to me over the last few months, and which was now (thankfully) drawing to a close, the word I needed was, that I was to have just a little more patience (and for a little longer).

‘Patience is not sitting and waiting, it is foreseeing. It is looking at the thorn and seeing the rose, looking at the night and seeing the day. Lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full.’ (Rumi)

For that second time in that event I laughed inwardly. I turned to thank the Librarians. But, as soon as I had said the words ‘thank you’, I was ‘back’, and the Library had gone! The dream, day-dream, vision was gone. I was  conscious of sitting cross-legged in a dark room, and of the flickering candle in front of me, aware of mechanical time, and noticed now many thoughts crowding in. I had left that liminal experience, sacred time/space (and a type of ‘access’ I would commend to you) and was, indeed, back from that imaginal realm and firmly in the sensible realm (that is, this realm of the senses). Back, but different. Changed.

‘ Love is patient and kind…’ (1 Corinthians 13:4a, The Book)

Patience was what was commended to me, and a word that I took to heart, and would apply (more so) in my daily life. I extinguished the candle but sat there for some time, dwelling on that encounter which to me, (still) means a lot.

‘Imagination creates reality’. (Richard Wagner)

 

Developing ‘Soft Eyes’: Apophatic ‘Day-Dreaming’

20170818 DEVELOPING SOFT EYES APOPHATIC DAYDREAMINGYesterday we looked at kataphatic ‘day-dreaming’ as one way of thinking in a visual and imaginative way, that is vital if we are to rekindle that childhood and deep perception of the world around us.

Then, with the ‘soft eyes’ of exploring mystery, rather than only with the use the analytical eyes of modernity we can regain that way of ‘seeing’ the ‘magic’ that exists and appreciate all that is around us. We can look at things more deeply, rather than at surface level.

In that previous article I mentioned an Anishinabe (First Nations) man from Canada wrote:

‘When most humans go into the forest they enter with so much of the world on them that any possibility of feeling the sacred is removed. When we go into the forest we must become soft like the animal people and the tree people’.

Today, I’d like to introduce apophatic ‘day-dreaming’. If kataphatic (see here) ‘day-dreaming’ is the using of mental ‘pictures’ and the imagination to grow, mature and be transformed, then apophatic ‘day-dreaming’ could be viewed as being the opposite.

As I extinguish the candle on the garden table, and losing the small but significant light, I’m plunged into darkness. I can’t see anything for a while, and it’s a wonderful feeling. And then as my eyes get used to the dark, I begin to make out shapes, and realise that I can see a few things, after all. This is very much like apophatic day-dreaming.

Now some may call it apophatic meditation, but for this article I’d like to call it apophatic day-dreaming because we all ‘day-dream’. Some are fearful of exercises which seek to empty the mind of thoughts, but I’d like to suggest that what apophatic day-dreaming really does is encourage us to disregard those annoying and extraneous thoughts that ‘flutter’ into our minds all the time. It’s a ‘down-playing’ of thoughts that get in the way. And, many churches and faith-groups are finding apophatic ‘day-dreaming’ useful, though they may call it centering prayer.

‘Another way to think about Centering Prayer is training the mind to become free from distractions so it can “rest in God.’ Amos Smith

It’s rather like, when I’m at the north Wales coast, and sit on the beach, and gaze at the horizon where the sea seems to meet the sky. I’m sure you’ve done similar. You can gaze away for what seems like a few minutes and yet half an hour or more has gone by. Call it lost in thought, focussed attention, or being ‘mesmerised’, but I’d like to suggest this is apophatic day-dreaming.

And, as you gaze at the horizon, maybe a dog  runs across the beach between you and the water’s edge. You may be mildly aware of the dog but you pay no attention to it. That’s apophatic day-dreaming. However, it you ‘focus’ on the dog, metaphorically, and think about it, then you’ve lost that wonderful ‘horizon-gaze’, and the moment has gone and ‘you’re back’, and you’re out of apophatic ‘day-dreaming’.

Now apophatic day-dreaming has a vast number of uses, and there are many exercises to assist us develop skills to assist us.

For instance, if you wanted to dwell on the Source of All, Nature or God, then what do you think of? I’d suggest that not concentrating on what the Source, Nature or God looks like – to take the apophatic approach – is one good way forward. After all, whatever image we have in our minds about the Source, Nature or God is going to be wrong. By definition, how can the finite mind imagine the infinite? And so, not dwelling on imaginative and extraneous thought can draw us closer. And, before you know it, that Time of Quiet, which you thought lasted only a few minutes, had infact lasted half an hour – a sure sign that you achieved apophatic day-dreaming.

This is in contrast to yesterday’s way of ‘day-dreaming’ and isn’t contrary to it – it’s another useful ‘tool’ for us to use.

With our eyes closed, and distractions abated, apophatic ‘day-dreaming’ brings us ‘closer’ to Source of All, Nature or God. Ofcourse, locationally we’re no closer or further away, but in our awareness we have drawn ‘closer’. This type of day-dreaming isn’t about doing, it’s about ‘being’. It isn’t about visualising anything, but not dwelling on thought(s). It’s not about recieving a ‘picture’, message or guidance, but revelling in that inner silence and stillness, in that inner place that some call le point vierge (the virgin point).

‘It’s very, very simple. You sit, either in a chair or on a prayer stool or mat, and allow your heart to open toward that invisible but always present Origin of all that exists.’ Cynthia Bourgeault

It’s being in a ‘place’ where effort isn’t needed. There is a point in any new human relationship where there is an sharing of views, a time of vocalisation to get to know someone – laughing, joking, teasing etc – and then there comes a point when you know each other sufficiently so that words aren’t need. Your’e madly in love and words just seem cumbersome. They’re now not needed in the courtship, and you’re comfortable with silence and each others company.

Apophatic ‘day-dreaming’ is very much like that. As you enter that area where the Source of All, Nature or God is, as the Beloved draws closer to you all you can do, all you need do is rest, relax, surrender, and bask in each others company. Words are not needed.

Time will fly, and what seemed to be a few minutes might be half an hour or more. Any analytical thinking (such as ‘Am I achieving apophatic day-dreaming, yet?’) will actually ‘pull you out’ of that wonderful liminal space-time. And so it’s usually afterwards as you leave sacred space-time that you realise, in hindsight, that you have had an encounter. Or, maybe you don’t feel that afterwards. Nevertheless, you are more than ‘feelings’ and the fact that you entered that liminal space with the intention of apophatic ‘day-dreaming’ means you have, indeed, encountered.

‘The mystery of seeking God is that God is the One who finds you.’ Kingsley Opuwari Manuel

This is one small aspect of apophatic ‘day-dreaming’, and something we’ll come back to from time to time, perhaps with the addition of local and online workshops soon.

Meanwhile, I would highly recommend that you put yourself in a position to make time for apophatic ‘day-dreaming’. A deep encounter with the Source of All, Nature, God or the Beloved in that place of inner stillness is beneficial. Through such encounters we can grow, mature, and are changed, transformed. Through such practises we can (re)develop ‘soft eyes’ to see beyond seeing and rekindle that childlike trust, innocence of the world around us, and original perception.

 

Developing ‘Soft Eyes’: Kataphatic ‘Day-Dreaming’

20170817 DEVELOPING SOFT EYES KATAPHATICRecently I mentioned about my childhood adventures with friends in north Wales, and how our imaginations ran riot. Oh, how we loved mystery. Then, albeit an adventurous and daring group of boys and girls, like most children, there was a limit. And beyond our physical comfort-zone, our immediate locale, lay the ‘even more’ mysterious area that we, as children, called ‘Yr ardal anhysbys’ or the ‘unknown place’ (see here).

And then, we all – you and I – grew and matured, and we generally lost that ability of childlike perception and love of mystery. Busyness or disinterest set in, or we became so mature that we might have believed all previous ideas were naive, or perhaps we became fearful. And, bit by bit we forgot to use our imaginations as a child does.

In that previous article I mentioned an Anishinabe (First Nations) man from Canada wrote:

‘The Four-Leggeds and the Windged Ones live to a different rhythm. Theirs is the rhythm of soft eyes and soft feet. Two-Leggeds have hard eyes and hard feet. When most humans go into the forest they enter with so much of the world on them that any possibility of feeling the sacred is removed. When we go into the forest we must become soft like the animal people and the tree people’.

As adults I would suggest that we can recover our childhood ‘soft eyes’, and rekindle that ‘focus’ on the mystery that is around us, and ‘see beyond’, with the use of kataphatic and apophatic ‘day-dreaming’.

‘There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.’ Aldous Huxley

Yes, I’m sitting in my little garden in my London apartment, and there’s one candle lit on the garden table. I’m in a restful mood, and my eyes keep half-closing. It’s not tiredness. it’s just that I am quite relaxed and very comfortable. And as I look at the candle, my mind thinks about its light, its warmth, how small but significant it is, and then my mind wanders to consider the light that a lighthouse emits and how useful to mariners they are. Somewhat of giant leap from candle to lighthouse, I know, but such is the imagination and its strength.

And, that is an example of kataphatic thinking.  It’s about thinking on an object or theme, and mulling it over deeply to an end.

This way of thinking is vital if we are to rekindle that childhood perception and to view the world around us with the ‘soft eyes’ of exploring mystery, rather than only use the analytical eyes of modernity.

Now some might call it kataphatic meditation or contemplation and that may upset some or make others fearful, and so, in this instance I’d like to call it kataphatic day-dreaming, because we all day-dream at times. And, usually we’re quite comfortable with the idea of day-dreaming and are familiar with it.

This kind of thinking around a theme or dwelling on object, in my case a candle, has many uses and there are so many exercises that are of benefit to develop that skill. It is much-beloved by advertisers, who months ago on tv and in magazines will have ‘seeded’ your imagination with thoughts of sun-drenched beaches, a new car or the latest fashion, even without you knowing it sometimes.

Did you know, for instance, that August Kekulé, a German organic chemist (1829-1896) said that he discovered the ring-shape of the benzene molecule after having a day-dream of a snake seizing its own tail (this is an ancient symbol known as the ouroboros)?

We might use this kind of kataphatic day-dreaming to imagine a story – maybe ‘putting ourself into the story’. It is one thing to objectively read a portion of sacred text or part of the chronicle of a latter-day hero who may have fought with dragons and to consider it analytically, but it is entirely another thing to ‘enter’ the story using our imagination. Then, we can ‘picture’ ourself as a bystander or having a significant role in the account, and imagining our interactions as well as the sights, sounds and smells etc that we might encounter. We might ask ourselves what we would have done? Isn’t that a function of those ancient parables and koans eg ‘Consider this….’. Isn’t this very much like some of the St Ignatian programs and imaginative exercises that many churches and faith groups use and are finding so useful? We can learn so much more this way.

‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.’ Albert Einstein

And, ofcourse, for those wanting to be a good footballer, who hasn’t had an imaginary conversation with their footballer-hero of yesteryear and asked for hints on how to improve their game, or who, as a writer, hasn’t imagined going back in time to interview Shakespeare and ask him for writing hints or tips, or imagined Sherlock Holmes peering over their shoulder to assist with a knotty plot problem? You havent? You should try it.

And if you do try one of those examples above, or perhaps you might like to try kataphatic day-dreaming in a forest, your local park or your garden to be at one with nature, then allow yourself to be fully immersed in the moment and let thoughts come and go, and ‘play’ with your imagination. Make copious notes at the end of that time, rather than as you go along, as that will ‘draw you out of the moment’, and dispel the ‘magic’ of your newly kindled imagination. Enjoy it.

‘Set your imagination free and do your best to keep up with it.’  A R Fagundes

Developing ‘soft eyes’ to appreciate nature and the mystery around us, to gain wisdom and nature-peace, healing, guidance, energy, the awareness of Presence and more, with the use of the imagination is a good start. Try it!

This is one small aspect of kataphatic day-dreaming’, and something we’ll come back to over the next few weeks (perhaps with the addition of local and online workshops etc).

This is a brief outline of kataphatic ‘day-dreaming’. There’s so much more. And, tomorrow, we’ll look at Apophatic day-dreaming.

 

Things That Go Bump In The Night: Random Thoughts & One View On Meditation

20170712 THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT 1You could be forgiven, especially after my (likely) encounter with the Gwrach y Rhibyn early yesterday morning, for thinking that a night in the woods would be out of the question. Oh, but you don’t know me.

In north Wales I live in a rural and relatively remote area, and I love it. It is a complete contrast to city life and my time spent in London. Here, near Capel Curig, I can relax, breathe easily and walk lightly upon the earth. It’s a great place – even when peering out of the living room window at lush, grey-green mountains in the distance – to let thoughts meander. And, tonight (the evening of 11 July, 2017) thoughts, for no seeming reason, were rife.

There was only one thing for it – a hike (albeit a short one this time) and a night under the stars. I have my favourite nearby places and haunts to camp, usually about an hour’s trek away from where I live, but last night a walk into the forest lasting about ten minutes would put me in thick forest, and would suffice. And, ‘awalking’ I went.

‘The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.’ Haruki Murakami,

And, after erecting the tent under a deep blue-black, clear sky and a ‘starry, starry sky’, sometime shortly before midnight, those rampant thoughts raced even more.

Alone.

Firstly, the Gwrach y Rhibyn – the witch, that hag of the mist and portent of death! Fearful of the Gwrach y Rhibyn? No, when told numerous stories of that hag I was always taught to have a healthy respect for such beings, or if you’re not too sure whether such beings exist then insert the word ‘stories’ for ‘beings’. And, so I was taught to have a healthy respect, but no fear. However, as I sat there, outside the tent I can assure you that my eyes were wide open and I was alert. One cannot be complacent. I’m reminded of those people that rear lions from cubs and then invite a fully grown male lion into their house. I like reading about such events, but to me that’s one step too far.

Healthy respect.

If I encountered the Gwrach y Rhibyn out there, in the open, that’s okay…but to invite her into my house, where she could ‘turn’ and then I would have the problem of removing her, is quite something else. But, I’m not a fearful sort of person. Not silly, or ‘over brave’, but not fearful. I told you my thoughts were racing that evening. So, a healthy respect for the hag of the mist is good. But, all is well. She’s not here.

Other thoughts continued to flow like boats on an ocean. And, so it was an opportunity to meditate. There are different ways that word ‘meditate’ is used, and different forms of meditation, and for some of my friends the word and process is anathema, and it confuses me why they should think that.

Open mindedness.

The ancient and latter-day Celts and Druids are an imaginative lot. If you read some stories of old you get the impression of a myriad of shape-shifters and ‘magical’ things happening. Why, even dear St Patrick was said, at one time, to have shape-shifted into a deer to escape danger. And there’s at least one reference in the Book to a talking donkey. And, don’t even get me started on selkies and kelpies. Did these actually happen or where did they occur in the imagination of someone’s thoughts? And, does that really matter? They happened!

Joan of Arc at her trial: I hear voices telling me what to do. They come from God.
Robert: They come from your imagination?
Joan: Of course. That is how the messages of God come to us. (Scene I)

Those inner workings of the mind are important, and meditation is all-important. Bearing in mind different forms of meditation and interpretations of the word, here’s one definition: meditation is the ability to objectively hold a thought at arms-length, metaphorically’, and analyse it. It’s the one I was using last night in the forest, as I held each thought at arms-length and inspected it.

Analysis.

Meditation isn’t about letting your mind go blank (and so you don’t need to worry if anything will ‘crawl’ in that vacant slot (even if such negative things exist)). Right then, last evening, there was no probability of my mind going blank. As I sat there, quietly, a large number of thoughts moved through my mind, like boats endlessly sailing across the ocean.

Thoughts such as: What would those Christian friends (who don’t know if my Druidic tendencies) think of me if they knew? What would my Druid friends (who don’t know of my (Christian) theological degree and ordination) think of me if they knew? What should I do now about the possibility of moving house after Christmas? Should I re-paint the outside of my house? Should I take up Ben’s challenge (after I ‘thrashed’ him at chess) of a wrestling match? Actually, that one is easy to answer. Self-preservation kicked in.

‘Each flying thought, a flying thought pursues.’ C B Langston

But, other thoughts, for no real reason, raced though my mind, like speedboats on the ocean. Infact, very much like ocean-liners on the ocean. Meditation, in the form I was practicing that night, was very much like peacefully gazing out to sea and looking, intently, only on the distant area where the sea ‘touches’ the sky. Focussing on that area, you’re then aware of vessels passing in the nearer field of view but you pay them no attention. I’m sure you’ve done that, in reality, when on the beach. And, that for me, was last tonight’s meditation. Not focussing on all distracting thoughts, except for the one that I wanted to analyse.

Objectivity.

Each thought – about the Gwrach y Rhibyn, what some of my Christian friends might think of me, what my Druid friends might think of me, and Ben’s challenge – was analysed. This is not to say they worried me, nor that  I had to work through them, frantically. Quite the opposite. This form of meditation is all about focussing on one thought, holding it at arms-length, and objectively analysing it from all possible angles. ‘Well, I didn’t know I had so much emotional baggage attached to that thought’, and ‘Why do you, dear thought, keep returning, and you seem bigger than before?’. And, ‘This is a powerful thought…only If I grant it that power’, or ‘That’s an interesting thought, but I’ll come back to you later, dear one’, and so on.

We, each, have that power to hold thoughts in an objective way, and as with any muscle, the more we do it, the more it grows. The more we say to ourselves we cannot do it, it’s too hard or give up, so the faculty reduces. You are not your thoughts. You are more!

‘You are more than your thoughts, your body, or your feelings. You are a swirling vortex of limitless potential who is here to shake things up and create something new that the universe has never seen.’ Richard Bartlett

And so, as I sat there, and it was gone 2am before I turned out the torch’s light, I had systematically worked though a number of thoughts – many which you will never know about.  And, that may be a good thing. After all, What would those Christian friends (who don’t know if my Druidic tendencies) think of me if they knew? What would my Druid friends (who don’t know of my (Christian) theological degree and ordination) think of me if they knew? You can see the irony here, I’m sure: those few detailed admissions here, that genie is now out of the bag, for all to see. But, I’m that kind of guy. And, I trust you, anyway!

Between friends!

As, I laid there, and with sleep descending quite fast, I heard a rustle in the undergrowth nearby. That thought was nipped in the bud quite quickly, analysed within seconds and dismissed. If that was the Gwrach y Rhibyn, she had better not come between me and my sleep! Oh no! Needless to say, after what seemed only a few minutes I opened my eyes to the most glorious yellow and bright sunrise, and assumed, after all, that it wasn’t the hag of the mist. But, it makes you think! And, there I go again!

Celtic Thought: Seeing In The Dark

20170419 CELTIC THOUGHT SEEING IN THE DARKFor many, light equals safety. And for them, darkness infers insecurity and may lead to feelings of fear. It is the case that, sometimes, we talk about light in a positive way, darkness in a negative way, but it need not always be the case.

True, when we ‘shine a light’ on something, metaphorically, we can come to see it, picture it, and understand it, and perhaps even quantify it. This may be an advantage when speaking of physical things. What then of spiritual things, and when we need to use a different form of perception? If we’re talking about the deep things of the Source, then ‘seeing’ can be a handicap. Think of the Source, and whatever ‘picture’ or metaphor we use by way of a description  will be limiting and therefore inaccurate. The Source is beyond our imagining, and cannot be quantified.

So, a different form of perception is needed. We need: seeing in the dark. And that means, befriending the dark.

‘I said to my soul, be still, and let darkness come upon you
which shall be the darkness of God.’ T S Eliot

I admit, when I’m in north Wales, I love night walks in the forest. These can be deeply spiritual and rewarding. My eyes are rendered virtually useless as I navigate my way in near total darkness, and yet other ways of perceiving arise. I become more attuned to the sounds of animals, the ‘sighing’ of the trees as the wind blows through them, the sound of a nearby rivulet, the smells of trees and flowers, the feeling of the earth underfoot, and deep feelings of ‘presences’. I love it. I’m safe but lost (in wonder). Alone (but surrounded by nature). Wrong-footed visually (but something deep inside comes to the fore to guide me). Isn’t that encounter? Connectedness? We need a different way of seeing and that starts with befriending the dark.

Why?

Because the Source ‘inhabits’ the dark, too. And, in that darkness we are not distracted to see the Source as this thing or that. The Source, in the dark, is invisible, close, true and (almost) palpable. More so, in the dark.

[The Source]…’parted the heavens and came down, [and]
dark clouds were under his feet’ Psalm 18:9, The Book

With no visual distractions, with darkness all around, we rely on that which is deep within. In the dark there is no false illusion, no eyesight-vision at all, no distractions, no opportunity to quantify. Deep calls to deep. An encounter with the Source, as a result of deep meditation, cannot be described in terms of length and breadth, cannot be quantified, but merely spoken of in near-miss metaphors at best,  with the use of clumsy words. But, with our eyes closed in meditation or prayer, we enter the dark[ness]. And encounter in a deep, dynamic, earth-transcending, indescribable, real way.

‘You will…be led upwards to the Ray of the divine Darkness which exceeds all existence.’ Dionysius, Mystical Theology.

It sounds paradoxical: the way to the Source is not to use your eyes; if you want to ‘see’, then look into the dark; the Source is such a great Light that the Source uses darkness to make us comfortable; darkness releases us from the handicap of visual-quantification; in the dark we ‘see’ more.

‘There is in God (some say) a deep, but dazzling darkness.’ Henry Vaughn, The Night.

Do not fear. Make friends with the dark.

 

Celtic Thought: Connectedness: ‘This Is London Calling…’

20170202-this-is-london-calling-celtic-thoughtWe are all connected.

I know many acknowledge that connection, but sitting here in such a small place as Capel Curig, where I’m currently living, with rugged grey-green mountains beset around it, and the locality spanning such a small area on a nation-wide map it can easily be lost, and even more so when one looks at the globe. Then it, probably along with Wales, disappears!

Connected

For a moment, it felt like Buzz Lightyear’s experience in that movie, who, thinking himself unique in the cosmos, is then confronted with thousands of replicas of himself in boxes on the warehouse shelf! I had that sort of experience – a humbling experience, albeit a very good one.

We are all connected.

We’re connected by our DNA, and scientists can now trace the origin of all humanity back to a couple who left Africa several tens of thousands of years ago; we’re connected by what we do and say – and who can not but be pleased or terrified by recent happenings at the Whitehouse and understand such connection; and we’re connected when we buy and sell – I’m currently wearing and using items from England, France, India, China and other far-flung (to me) and wonderful places; and we’re connected spiritually, one to one!

‘In a real sense all life is inter-related. All…are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…This is the inter-related structure of reality.’ Martin Luther King.

This was brought home to me, as I finished off breakfast outside this morning by imbibing a steaming-hot cup of coffee at the garden table and gazed at Glyder Fawr (mountain range) in the distance. And, it was awesome. But, oh boy it was cold, but none of the freezing or below freezing temperature we normally get. No, a bracing 5 degrees Celsius. Quite mild, really, though the logical part of my brain reminded me that it was a cold as the inside of my fridge!

Really Connected

But, the really awesome thought was that you and I, we, are all connected in so many ways, and especially in a spiritual way, and what I write in my blog via the internet, and when you write comments in response to TadhgTalks (on WordPress) or my FaceBook page(s), and even when you just check my blog (or I read your blog, if you have one), then, our words, our thoughts, our intentions and our spiritual-connectedness, affects each other. Neighbours!

‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ Mark 12:31b, The Book

During the second world war, when much of the world was in darkness and ‘occupied’ by the enemy, the BBC (so I’m told and have heard only when listening to those old ‘news reel’ re-runs) would broadcast daily  massages about freedom and hope, and it affected the loves of millions who would listen on hidden radio receivers for the radio station that accounted, ‘This is London calling …’, they would hear, and gain hope.

We are all connected.

Globally Connected

Well, this is Capel Curig calling…. albeit in a smaller way, and I’m listening, too. By Facebook in recent days, as an example of connectedness, awesome people from the following countries have viewed TadhgTalks, read it and some have left comments, wonderful people from:

Afghanistan, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong (SAR China), India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Spain. Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States Of America, Zimbabwe.

‘that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…’ John 17:21a, The Book

I can imagine others might produce a longer list of viewers to their blogs, others a smaller list of those who have viewed their blog, but I am amazed, full of gratitude to those people who have taken the time to ‘connect’ with me, and in so doing I have ‘connected’ with them. Family!

We are all connected.

Practically Connected (As In, Connected In Practical Ways) & Something To Do

And, this got me thinking. Periodically, I perform the caim – a wonderful (full-of-wonder) special liturgy and ritual for protection, or as a blessing and for other reasons in that in-between realm of liminality, the ‘gap. See here for details of performing the caim.

For some, dark days are returning, and a ‘war’ on truth and liberty proceeds. But truth and light can be ‘reclaimed’, perhaps the caim is one way to reclaim it, and, in small and personal ways some will ‘switch’ the lights back on in peoples lives in a slow and peaceful way? Tadhg

And, I thought that I would, over the next several caims, over the next few weeks, I would send good-thoughts, positive energy, prayer-power and love to all those people from those wonderful countries listed above (maybe taking several counties per caim), to those individuals and those whom they love, their locality and, indeed, their country, and would ask them, ask you, to do the same – to learn and to perform the caim, in a glocal (local and global) act of powerful intercession. You can make a difference.

We are all connected.

Ofcourse, I don’t know you personally, and in many cases don’t even know your name (though I’d love to hear from you by email etc), and you, caim for others won’t know their names or exact location, but the Source of All does!

‘If I am not for myself who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?’ Hillel The Elder

The Source, that which some all God, or the Christ, is the One behind the caim and does know, and so such liturgical and ritual power-blessings by us, will get straight through to you and those who you hold in our minds because of the Source of All, the Great Connector! And, so they are blessed. We truly are all connected, and the internet is yet another physical-tangible-usable-parable to remind us. And, the caim is a wonderful way, now, to participate in that cosmic, Source-originating connectedness to the benefit of others.

‘There was a time when fire and story would fall asleep in unison. It was dream time. Philippe Petit

Afterthought: Connected In Space & Time?

Ofcourse, we’ve only mentioned the caim as affecting space, sending good energy, thoughts and prayers to different locations. But, for (mystical) Christians, Druids, Celts and those of other/similar spiritualities there is the idea of such caim energy flowing though space and time! Now, there’s a thought…and something to write about over the next week or so. Meanwhile, blessings to you and those whom you love, Tadhg.

Tadhg’s Journal: Christmas Shopping, Me, Mike Tyson, And Meditation.

161214-christmas-shopping-journal

Journal: Over the last few days I’ve discovered several things: I am really a mystery shopper, and Christmas shopping is a wrestling-match or boxing-match with the god of commercialism, and I realise, even more so for me now, the deep benefits of meditation.

How did this happen?

I bought something from eBay and it didn’t arrive, even though delivery was expected exactly seven days earlier. I complained. If you know me, I’m not the complaining sort. I’m quite Buddhist in my approach to life, infact….but I mean, I waited a week beyond the delivery due date! I emailed the company and said they scored one out of ten in my books (and I think that’s quite generous, as I hadn’t received the goods) and they said they’ll send the order again as they didn’t want it to affect their rating. I replied and said I’d be happier if they sent a duplicate order to keep me, the customer, happy, rather than only worry about their rating. The finer point that I was making was, I think, somehow lost. Afterwards, meditation  helped me. I’m calm.

The Master said, ‘If your conduct is determined solely by considerations of profit you will arouse great resentment.’ Confucius

I need hearing aids. I know people look at me at say, ‘Surely, you don’t need hearing aids at your age, aged 25’. That was Brit humour there. But, if I don’t have hearing aids I’d never be able to understand what’s going on when I watch the X-Files on tv. More Brit humour. Nor, would I be able to understand the machinations of UK central government policy and statements these days without my hearing aids. Umm, on that occasion I was being serious, sadly.

And, so I bought a set of hearing aids about five weeks ago – if anyone is interested, they were twice as expensive as Theresa May’s leather trousers! Very expensive! Now, one hearing aids went ‘kaput’. They promised to fix it within a week, and so I waited an extra week…but, nothing. So, I phoned them today and explained it was now two weeks after the event, and they said the audiologist was busy, but would ‘phone back. He didn’t. I phoned again, and was told the same thing. I confess, I increased my voice, but only by one decibel, to infer dissatisfaction, and said, ‘We’re all busy, and I paid a quadrillion pounds for these hearing aids’. Okay, that was hyperbole on my part. The audiologist eventually ‘phoned back. Afterwards, meditation  helped me. I’m calm.

‘To live fully, we must learn to use things and love people, and not love things and use people.’ John Powell

Serious point: And, now I know why some people are upset. True, we don’t know the difficult life circumstances they’ve been through or are going through, but neither do we know the trouble they’ve had in doing their Christmas shopping this year – it does seem more problematic than last year don’t you think? Everyone seems eager to sell, but maybe not-so-hot on delivery and after-sales service. Meditation  helped me. I’m calm.

But, please have pity on grumpy people this Christmas. Have pity on me if you see me – I might have had the (Christmas) commercial equivalent of three rounds with Mike Tyson! Meditation  helped me. I’m calm.

‘Meditation is a way for nourishing and blossoming the divinity within you.’ Amit Ray

I know you can’t rest, and need to know the conclusion of the two accounts, above. Yes, after waiting an extra week and complaining via eBay, and the company emailing me back, the item was delivered an hour later! And, after waiting an extra week, the audiologist said it had been awaiting collection in the store for a week, and apologised that no one had contacted me, as promised. Meditation, then  helped me a lot today. I’m calm. How are you faring?

 

Celtic OrthoPraxis: Deep Seeing 101

161005-deep-seeing-standard-thoughts

I’m told that in many cases, when the Police ask eye-witnesses to come forward and report a crime, and testimonies are recorded, that it’s very rare for such accounts to completely ‘agree’ with each other. It’s as if we all see most of what is going on, but not the complete picture! It’s as though we then, unknowingly, fill in the gaps to give a false picture of what (we think) is going on.

It’s written somewhere: seek and you will find. A call to ‘deep seeing’. Perhaps if we look, we’re in with a chance of finding, and the more we look intently, the more we’ll find.

If there’s buried treasure in my garden at Capel Curig, for instance, and you dig, the more you look and dig the greater the chances of finding treasure. Don’t seek, but just look on, inactively, from the side-lines, without any commitment, and you’re guaranteed to find nothing. Just in case you’re motivated to dig my garden, I should point out there is no buried treasure there (well, so far as I know!).

So much depends on how we see things. More often than not the style of gaze determines what we see. There are many things near us that we never notice simply because of the way we see. The way we look at things has a huge influence  on what becomes visible for us …. Each of us is responsible for how we see, and how we see determines what we see. Seeing is not merely a physical act: the heart of vision is shaped by the state of soul.” ~ John O’Donohue

Seeking, or a commitment to ‘deep seeing’ is important to finding treasure, and more so if we want to come closer to nature, and identify, appreciate and revel in ‘natural’ treasures eg animals, trees, plants, weather, events happening around us etc, as the ancients did.

So, how do we as latter-day Celts, emulate those ancients Celts? How do we honour the Source, appropriately to our belief: Christian, Pagan, Druid etc? What do we do to ‘see deeply’?

Some might suggest something like:

Put an autumnal leaf on a table in front of you, and meditate upon it, say for twenty minutes. So, why not?

If you’ve chosen a leaf you can meditate without intentional thought initially (though thoughts may come and go) by gazing at it (without analysis).

And then you might like to spend time looking intently at it, and describe to yourself its colour, its shape, its texture, and maybe smell?

Then you might like to imagine the life that lives on it, but which is beyond our range of visibility. You might imagine further atoms, quarks and ‘strings’?

Then, imagine, its colour when on the tree, the change, the ‘sacrifice’ the leaf has made, and why?  How about, imagining it’s place in the scheme of things, and its ‘connectedness to you? (And, the latter may ‘move’ you from analytical thought back to that initial ‘no-thought’ as words seem too small for such a cosmic arena?)

Orcourse, it doesn’t have to be a leaf. It could be anything. A fallen leaf is seasonal, but you could ‘see deeply’ using a household item, a piece of food etc.

There is a lot to ‘see’ with ‘deep seeing’. And then you can ‘see’ beyond. And, not only with a leaf. Events that happen around you, interactions with other people, all can benefit from ‘deep seeing’, that is in going beyond just visual perception.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

It is easy to see things only at surface level, but how about taking time to go deeper, deep seeing?

 

Creating sacred space: A way

01 creating sacred space 1

If you’re anything like me, there are times when you need to draw aside. I’m fortunate to live in London and north Wales, and to travel between the two places. In London I meet more people, clients, but I am more time-governed, and like all cities it is known for the hustle and bustle of activity, its busy-ness; and in Capel Curig, Wales I can relax, take my time as time seems slower, and draw aside so much more easily.

The Need

And yet, there are times when I’m in London that I need solitude, stillness, a time to ‘go deep’, ‘recharge my batteries’, and place to ‘get away from it all’, to draw aside.

Are you like that?

In a city, here, of over eight million people it can be, seemingly, difficult to find that peace….but it is not impossible. And, here’s one way of creating sacred space.

I have ‘pooled’ the views and resources of some of my Christian friends, latter-day celtcs, and my druid, wican, pagan and other friends, not forgetting ‘light-workers’ by that or any other name, and my gratitude goes to each one of them for their provision on ideas and information, and their patience with me.

Ofcourse, if you listen to some (other) people, they will tell you that you have to go to the ends of the earth to find that space and peace, and though it is good to travel and there may be some value in experiencing the ‘judder’ of another culture, another spirituality, I don’t believe it’s not a necessity to travel to find that sacred space.

Where?

In a very real and profound sense, the whole of creation is sacred.

A Himalayan mountain-top, Grand Central Station in New York, near the post office in Masod Road in Multai (at the heart of India), at Waterloo Station in London, or in a corner of a room in your house or apartment in Bend, or Glasgow, or Truro or wherever you are; to me, as a latter-day Celt, all places are sacred spaces. What do you believe?

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! ‘. Genesis 28.16-17 part, The Book

And so, in this article I’m looking at creating an awareness of sacred space and intentionality – both important concepts, and both will bring us benefits, as we long to draw aside. Yes, I’ve found that, if I’m aware and intentional, that sacred space can be found even in the City, and so I can forge that awareness of awareness [sic] anywhere.

How?

And, one way of drawing aside, daily, wherever I am (and, wherever you are) is with a home sacred space! Still with me?

In my house, in a small room at the back, in almost total darkness, sitting in front of a small table, I light the three candles on the table, carefully placing the spent match on a little saucer that I had placed, earlier, on the edge of the table just for that purpose.

As the candle-light flicked, throwing a warm and gentle glow on the room’s walls, I could see items I had placed on the table: lit candles, prayer beads, small rocks gathered as a memento of a spiritual pilgrimage to St Nectern’s Glen some years ago, and palm-stones of carnelian and jet and serpentine, a photo of my late-mother, a home stoup (a little trough usually for water, and in this case, containing fragrant oil with little bamboo sticks in it to diffuse the delightful aroma), a ceramic goblet and jug…

I sat cross-legged, back upright, relaxed, quietened my thoughts, closed my eyes (almost), breathed deeply (‘in through the nose and out through the mouth), and waited. This is the first stage, the stage of separation (from thinking about the mundane), and I waited…

For some, the notion of creating (an awareness of) sacred space may seem odd or artificial, or outside their ‘normal’ mode of spirituality. Some would use such times to pray for others and such prayers can easily take the form of a ‘shopping list’ of prayers. There may be nothing wrong with that, but this way of using sacred space, I believe, slows us down, takes us deeper, and is something that we can put our heart into.

It was as though, in the darkness, a delightful, benevolent, positive-energy and loving Presence had surrounded me. I knew if I tried to think about it, to rationalise the experience there and then, that thoughts would get in the way, and it would ‘disappear’. And so, I waited, did nothing, and in the stillness and darkness, basked in that Presence and enjoyed the encounter with the Friend. This is the second stage, the stage of encounter.

And so, I would very much like to encourage you to give the idea of creating a sacred space, say, a special table, a start; to adapt it to your spirituality and needs, and see what happens. I do believe you will benefit in a myriad of ways, some of them completely unexpected.

It may be best to start off with a low, small table in the corner of a room, a place where you can go and not be disturbed.

So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. Genesis 28.18, The Book

Think deeply of what you want to achieve.

Is there usually the need for peace after a busy day? Would you like to spend time ‘journeying inward’ to meditate? Would you like to use the table as a prompt to pray/send positive energies to those in need? Would you like a book of prayer or chants to hand, or an outline of some form of ritual to do? Be inventive. There are many uses for sacred space, and they’re not mutually exclusive.

After what seemed like five minutes, I opened my eyes fully. Because I wanted to use this time to think of another, I reached out from that seated position, and took hold of the carnelian palm-stone. I moved in onto the little wooden plinth on the corner of the table, and centred my thoughts of this friend in need.

What you put on the table is up to you. I would suggest it should be meaningful to you: photographs of loved ones or pictures of saints, and/or rocks or pebbles that have some meaning to you, oil, anything that encourages you to be more thoughtful, to go deeper, and to encourage spirituality. Some may like to place a small crucifix on the table, others a small plant or a small vase of twigs, still others, might like to place a little statue of a saint etc.

‘Everything is a symbol of something, it seems, until proven otherwise.’ Thomas C. Foster

I have a carnelian palm-stone on my sacred space table. To me, it is a symbol. It is said the carnelian protects against poverty, and the friend I had in mind, as I sat in front of that table, had money worries. Some believe that such stones have magical qualities and that that palm-stone is the right one to use. What do you think? It’s what you believe that matters! That action helped me to focus on my friend in need.

Intentionality is important

It could be that that palm-stone has no magical qualities at all, except that which we give it. It’s intentionality. Being intentional is important.

For me, I try to ‘look beyond’ that palm-stone to the Source of all, and then the  palm-stone is a visible reminder, an enacted parable (the kind you read about in the Hebrew Scriptures) of where the Answer lies, and to remind me of the friend I’m thinking of.

There are no wrong ways of doing this. Enjoy the selection process. It too, is a spiritual exercise.

I half closed my eyes once more and thought of this friend in need. In my mind’s eye I asked the Presence to embrace this friend and to supply their needs. For many minutes after, I did nothing, thought nothing, imagined nothing, knowing that the Source and the Source’s power were sufficient and right my friend was being cared for. I paused for some minutes.

This is apophatic prayer or meditation.

I then deliberately used my imagination – entered the imaginal realm. Rather than just list this person’s name (and others) in a shopping-list type of prayer, I spent some time visualising them. I wanted to slow things down and go deep…

Just picturing them in my mind, and seeing them ‘hugged’ by the presence, and their money problems ‘evaporating’.

This is kataphatic prayer or meditation.

Once, again, intentionality. Is this magical? Is this pictorial prayer? Is it (just) imagination, or more? What do you believe? You decide.

I do believe in the Power at work here, because of our request and intentionality. And so, I could ‘see’ this friend in a better state, and felt as though power had gone out

And then it felt right to finish. But, not too quickly.

Over a few minutes, my breathing returned to ‘normal’, I became aware of my thoughts, I slowly stretched my muscles, and slowly opened my eyes fully.

Even then, I waited a few minutes, basking in the ‘after-glow’ of encountering the Presence. This is the third and final stage: the return.

This is but an outline of one element of creating (an awareness of) sacred space and being intentional in what we do.

Do bear  in mind, action in the physical realm is (still) needed.

Having prayed or meditated, having dwelt in that imaginal realm, what was imagined there, should be ‘worked towards’ in the mundane (always supposing that what you sought was legal, decent, honest and not dangerous).

And of course, in that realm a lot of symbolism takes place. Some work may be needed to put into practice what one saw or felt in that imaginal realm – so, please don’t be too literal about it, in the mundane. If for instance, say, in the imaginal realm you saw your friend, for example, being protected by a brick wall, it doesn’t mean you have to entomb them in concrete in the physical realm! It may mean that you need to surround them with loving acts of attention. Common-sense is needed.

What now?

But, of course, all of this starts with an awareness of awareness, and one good reminder of this is a sacred space in your home that you have ‘built’, that special corner or special table, a sacred space.

Tadhg

 

If you would like more information about sacred space, apophatic or kataphatic prayer or meditation, so please contact Tadhg, direct. Similarly, do please contact him with you views and constructive ideas. We are all on this journey of exploration and adventure, together.