Overcoming Fear At Y Goeden Mellt: Status, Power And Right-Thinking

20180720 A LESSON IN OVERCOMING FEAR AT Y GOEDEN MELLT

It’s interesting the memories that spring to mind when one looks at old photographs and the stories they remind us of, of what they  can teach us (even years later).

I’m looking at a photo of me when I was, perhaps, aged about seven or eight, taken a mile from where I lived, and still live. In that dense old forest where the photo was taken, stood Y goeden mellt, a special-to-us (then) children. It was an old, gnarled, twisted, yet majestic tree – Y goeden mellt was our childhood name for the tree. In English we called it ‘the Lightning Tree’ (See here).

On one occasion, at about the time that that old photo was taken – oh, so many years ago – having misjudged the time I was walking alone in that area at twilight. I was a very confident child, usually. Always, ‘at home’ in the forest. Infact, I loved the forest, and still do.

But on that occasion a little seed of doubt was sown in my mind. The sky grew darker, perhaps a storm was coming. The trees seemed somewhat taller and formidable. Sounds in the forest undergrowth seemed amplified and eerie, or certainly unnerving to a wee lad as I was then. There are lots of myths about elementals and others in the forest, stories that my grandmother would tell me. Always, she would say that there was no harm to be had from them if one respected them. Oh, I was a respectful boy.

But, still….

On that occasion, I can remember my mind went into ‘overdrive’ and I quickened my pace toward home, our little cottage called Ty Gwyn (that is, the White House due to its brilliant white exterior) in the wildness of  Capel Curig, north Wales.

It grew quite dark, and the wind started to blow strongly, and so, as a wee lad, I broke into a trot. It was as if there was a voice in my mind which said, ‘Run, little boy. I’m on your tail.’ It didn’t seem a friendly voice.

I started to run, dodging the branches of low trees, almost instinctively, turning this way and that. I had never been fearful of this area of the forest, but on that one occasion that had changed. ‘I’m closer than ever, and I’m coming to get you’, the voice seemed to say. I ran faster and faster. Now, quite fearful, I was colliding with some small twigs and would find out later that I sustained some small bruises on my bare arms and legs.

‘I’m all around you, little lad. Behind you, to the sides, and yes, in front of you’, the voice in my mind seemed to say. With my heart beating faster and faster, and sweat upon my brow I ran even faster, and then stopped.

Even at that age I realised that if this animal or ‘entity’ was all around me, then stopping, standing still was probably the best course of action. My heart was racing. Could it be a wild animal? A bear? (such was my fertile imagination as a child). Perhaps it might be that hag, the Gwrach y Rhibyn (see here). Similar stories of mythical and supernatural creatures occur in ancient Celtic, Druidic and Hebrew-Christian thought and/or writing, and elsewhere. Leviathan? Scylla and Charybdis? Grendel in the story of Beowulf? Spring-heeled Jack in more modern times? Monsters?

I stopped. Waited. With my heart beating fast, still, I looked around. Everything seemed brighter, my senses were more alert, everything louder, and I waited. And, I waited. And,……nothing. No monster!

Words of my dear Christian-Celtic-Druidic grandmother permeated my mind. ‘You have nothing to fear, except fear itself’, she would say. I was reminded also that somewhere in ancient text it was written ‘Do not fear’, written some 366 times. Though my child-body was reacting – heart beating fast, quick breaths, sweat on my brow and cheeks – I was determined to stand still and be intentional about not fearing. Slowly my body conformed to my inner state.

In the years that followed that childhood event I read about the story of Milarepa. He was a clever man. So clever that many people shunned him and thought him weird. He was a hero, one of the brave ones, albeit a loner, for he lived in a cave, well away from people. And, yet in times of stress and trouble some sought him out for advice and encouragement.

One evening returning home to his cave, Milarepa found it full of nasty spiritual entities. They were eating all his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. He believed that they might be a projection from his own mind, yet he was anxious and confused as to how to get rid of them.

Later, it occurred to him that one way forward was to teach them about oneness and how they were a projection of his mind. And, so he sat down and spoke to them about compassion. Little happened. He got angry with them. They laughed at him and carried on.

Then he sat down on the floor of the cave and said, ‘Well, I’m not going to leave and I guess you’re not, so I suggest we all live here in harmony’. As he said that, all of them disappeared. Except one!

Milarepa saw that this spiritual entity, or rather, his mind’s projection, was particularly nasty-looking. He wasn’t quite sure what to do, but slowly approached that entity and stopped just in front of its bloody, sharp-fanged mouth. He surrendered himself to the situation and said, ‘If you want to eat me, here I am’, Milarepa said to it. Immediately that nasty spiritual entity left him.

It is said that Milarepa discovered that when resistance is gone, so too are demons or nasty spiritual entities, or mind-projections or negativity.

And, so I stood there in the middle of the forest. Nothing came for me. Nothing bothered me, and so I purposely, intentionally, walked slowly (as if to prove a point, as best an eight year old can). It took me another ten minutes to walk to Ty Gwyn. My grandmother, I discovered, was right: show respect, don’t resist, and do not fear.

I got home. My grandmother noticed the few, small cuts and bruises on my arms and legs. She asked, ‘So what was pursuing you that made you run so fast, judging by those cuts and bruises?’ I can remember myself looking up at her and replying, ‘I thought something was, but…when I stopped I couldn’t see anything after me. So, I then walked home’.

‘Good man’, she said. I remember thinking that she called me that, even though I was only 8 years old, but I felt encouraged. I felt as though I was ten feet tall. It felt good.

In the tough times that we all inevitably face – and perhaps are facing now – it seems to me that we all need a timely reminder of our status and power. To realise who we are – much loved by The Source of All, the Universe, The One behind It All. And, a reminder of our power – I can do all things….’ it says in ancient text. Meanwhile: And, as my grandmother used to say: Please, do not feed the fears.

 

 

Eyes Wide Open: The Luminous Web And You

20180501 EYES WIDE OPEN THE LUMINOUS WEB OF LIFE AND YOUAt the end of my garden in Capel Curig in north Wales, where it meets a rather distinctive, mysterious and therefore much-valued copse, there are a small number of gorse bushes growing wild. I love them.

I could tell you, as I looked at them, that their botanical name is Ulex europaeus, but that’s rather an academic and clinical view of them. Not very interesting. But, there’s so much more about them.

‘Everybody loves to tell me I was born an old soul
Better keep my eyes wide open’

Sabrina Carpenter, singer

I could tell you, and it is so true, that they are wonderful to look at, and when they flower between January to June their flowers are a most vivid, breath-taking and brilliant yellow. It is an also an important shrub as it provides shelter and food for many spiders, other insects, and birds such as Dartford Warblers, Stonechats and Yellowhammers. But, there’s more. Even more. There is always more. Mae mwy as they say in Wales

What if our perception is stunted? Our understanding limited?

What if our perception of other people, of nature and the cosmos, what if the view we hold even about ourselves is arrested, partial and limited by our twenty-first century thought? Like looking into a dirty, in-need-of-a-polish mirror. We do, after all, live in a society which idolises science, and which is very much the offspring of ancient Greece with its dualistic view of the world.

What if we’re blind to what is really out there?

Composition

Once, as I gazed at those gorse bushes after a rain storm they bristled with light, the reflected light of the sun in thousands of water droplets on their spiny leaves and stems, caught in their flowers and on a myriad of spider’s webs that had ‘colonised’ them. As I half-closed my eyes and let my imagination flow I could see the shrubs, the water, the lights were Life itself. And what’s more it wasn’t only the shrubs the exuded such Light-lIfe. It was everything.

‘…there is another way to conceive…life…not [as] a clockwork universe in which individuals function as discrete springs and gears, but [as] one that looks far more like a luminous web, in which the whole is far more than the parts.’ Barbara Brown Taylor, The Luminous Web.

In our mind’s eye, in our imaginations – which are no less real (and maybe more so) than the physical world we see with our two eyes – Life is not separate parts that are autonomous but are facets of the One, that Life Web. Each seeming part, an observable node, is invisibly connected to that one Luminous web, but for now we might only be able to glimpse it periodically using our mind’s eye. It is enough.

The universe, then, shines and shimmers with an ancient light that is, currently, too fantastic to behold. And what of you and I? Oh, yes, as people who are connected to that Life-Web, we too shine. ‘I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being’, said Hafiz, and ‘Let your light so shine…’, said The Christ (Matthew 5:16a, The Book). Ofcourse, there are those who will find it hard to believe, and those who will fight against such a notion, but I do believe it is true.

There is always more. Mae mwy as they say in Wales. Our composition, our outlook, our very status are all wonderfully, graciously entwined and part of that Luminous web of Life.

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…’ (C S Lewis)

No Limitations

That Web stretches outward and is more luminous and expansive than we can yet imagine, touching everything in the universe. Why, that Web connects you, as you sit in front of your computer or iPhone reading this, with, say, the Crab Nebula, some 6500 light years away. Send out a ray of light to the Crab Nebula today and it will arrive in AD 6718. But, I would venture that that connectedness takes no travelling time should you ‘jangle’ the web of which you’re part (by sending a good-thought, a prayer, light and love in that direction, or elsewhere). Physical limitations don’t apply. The web in the Crab Nebula instantly responds. It can do no other.

There’s a wonderful book by one of my favourite ‘old’ Brit authors, John Wyndham. Amongst his great books, he was renowned for writing ‘The Day of the Triffids’. But he also wrote a book called ‘Chocky’, a delightful book that has twists and turns that causes challenges along the way. Matthew is the main character in that book and he gets into awful trouble at school for being different and acting oddly. His drawings and paintings in art classes, for instance, have odd colours for the sky and sea. Perhaps, purple instead of blue, and orange instead of green-blue water. And why do the buildings he paints seem odd and compressed? Matthew is getting his ideas from beyond, from someone else in another part of the universe – it is a sci-fi book, and a very good one at that. And this is what happens in his physics class:

‘It arose…from Mr Caffer’s assertion during a physics lesson about the speed of light was the limit; nothing, he dogmatically stated, could travel faster than light.

Matthew, put up his hand. Mr Caffer looked at him.

‘Oh’, Mr Caffer said, ‘I might have expected it. Well, young Matthew Gore, what is it you know that Einstein didn’t?’

Matthew already regretting his impulse said, ‘It doesn’t matter, sir’.

Mr Caffer insisted on a reply.

‘Well, sir. It’s just that the speed of light is only the limit of physical speed’, said Matthew.

‘Indeed. And perhaps you can tell us what travels faster?’

‘Thought, sir,’ said Matthew.

In sending a good-thought, a prayer, energy, light and love in any direction, you and I, as we’re part of that shimmering, Luminous Web, do so instantly. There is no time, no time delay involved. It’s instantaneous. Quantum physics, too, now seems to be hinting at this.

The physics that we’re so used to – and it does perform a good task when driving, shopping, mending the toaster etc – do not apply at the very deepest, spiritual, cosmic, energetic, intimate and ‘magical’ level of the Universe, of which we’re part.

Limitations do not apply, and you are not what you (probably) thought you were!

And finally…

You, too, shine with a myriad points of ancient and cosmic lights, and one day ‘when we’re there’, we will see each other as we really are, and know each other even as we are known, as it says in ancient sacred text. Meanwhile, so look deeper, more intently, intentionally, with your mind’s eye. An amazing world awakes  for those keeping their (spiritual) eyes wide open.  There is always more. Mae mwy as they say in Wales

‘There is a radiance in all things that is indestructible and almost unperceivable.’ Mark Nepo

 

Celtic Practice: Making It Happen Takes Just 000127

20170911 CELTIC PRACTICE MAKING IT HAPPENI love stories, the myth, the magic of stories being told around a fire in the evening, but also those recent true stories of people who, unwittingly, made major discoverers, and here’s one just such story.

There is a story of Edward Lorenz who was a meteorologist who wanted to use computers to predict the weather – this is some time ago, when, like old radio computers had valves.

Working at MIT in the 60’s he came up with twelve mathematical equations to govern the computer program which mimicked the real world regarding temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction etc.

He started the program and out came reams of paper print-outs and predictions. When he inputted the same data he could never make them repeat themselves. The results were, perplexingly, always different. In the latter part of 1961, taking a short cut and wanting only to input one specific part of the data and to save time, he started the program in the middle instead, and typed in a few numbers to get the computer started, and went off in search of a good cup of coffee.

When he got back he found weather predictions so different from anything else that had gone before, that he started checking all the equipment.

Then he realised what was happening. One number the computer was working with was 0.506127 but to save space the computer was working to few decimal places only and ‘saw’ that number as 0.506. Inititially Lorenz hadn’t considered this ’rounding up/down’ as consquential, but now realised he was wrong to dismiss it.

‘The tiniest changes changes in the environment…not only your partner’s hiccup but also something far away as the gravitational pull of an electron at the far edge of the Milky Way’ can make a vast amount of difference.’ Barbara Brown Taylor

Lorenz found that the difference between the initial number inputted and the final rounded up/down number was just 0.000127, and that was all it took to create a major effect in the computer’s prediction.

Now consider: you and I in prayer, or sending energy or light or love, moving energy around or using it, manipulating it (in the nicest sense of the word), or engaging in a ritual or ceremony for someone, some area of the planet or for some particilar good outcoume such as a change of circumstances, healing, forgiveness etc. All it takes it 0.000127. It doesn’t sound much, but thats it – a little intentional action by you and I can have major effects. And don’t worry if you’re working alone – not that one is really ever alone.

It may be seen that greater observable power (maybe from a mature person or more people acting in concert) may have a greater effect, but though it’s good to aim for maturity or to get others involved, one person’s action can have a major effect invisibly and visibly.

‘Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.’ Samuel Johnson

Bigger is not always better, more discernible power doesn’t mean the outcome is quicker, better or ‘brighter’. I don’t think it works like that. That’s the view and philospohy of our modern day materialism, and we’re dealing with fundemental elements of the universe. Altogether different. Altogether stranger. Altogether more powerful.

All it takes it 0.000127. All it takes is that energy from intentional action to effect a change.

‘ There is another way to conceive the universe…not a clockwork universe in which individuals function as discrete springs and gears, but one that looks lore like a luminous web…In this universe…every interaction – between people and people, and people and things, between things and things – changes the face of history.’ (Barbara Brown Taylor).

It means that lightworkers and energy workers, healers, those praying to God, those using the Caim (see here), those engaging in Celtic, Christian or Druidic (or another faiths’) rituals and ceremonies, those advocating peace and love, those working in regular jobs which serve other people in any way, those who are writers or musicians or artists or dancers or actors etc who in some way want to inform others for their benefit or for their entertainment, those doing any kind of positive work in the physical and/or spiritual realm (and there is no real dichotomy between them), yes, everyone, including you and me, can have a positive effect in sending ‘energy’ to another via this luminous, instantaneous, all-connecting web, and then watch for the results.

And, all it takes it 0.000127.

Okay, this is an immeasurably small number to us non-scientists, and like the answer in Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy who marvelled at the answer 42 (but weren’t sure what it meant), it is easy to dismiss it by asking,’ what does that actually mean?’. It essence it means you and I can make a difference when acting in concert with the Universe, The Source, That Which Is Larger Than Us etc. Be encouraged, today

‘Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.’ (Robert Louis Stevenson)

 

Celtic Thought: The Luminous Web Of The Universe

20170606 THE LUMINOUS WEB OF THE UNIVERSEThere is a ‘shy’ linkage of everything at all levels, but especially at the unimaginable small and energetic levels; and there’s an interconnectedness of which we are part, at least that’s what quantum mechanics infers. The universe is part of us, and vice versa, and really does see through our eyes. Through us it obtains consciousness. That was yesterday’s theme. But, the journey continues.

‘So what?’, I hear some say.

If that linkage is real, and I believe it is, then we are all connected in one amazing ‘Great Chain of Being’, as some describe it. Others call it ‘the Kingdom’, or ‘the Nested Holarchy of Being’, in ancient sacred text it is personalised as ‘members of one another’, and to others, like Barbara Brown Taylor it is ‘the Luminous Web’ which spans space and time in its totality.

Connectedness.

web unspash demi-kwant-17364

Touch one part of a web, and every part of it vibrates

But with this connectedness, apparent by intuition and imagination and a new awareness, there is a need for a new understanding and outworking of this deep and profound kinship. After all, we (and that includes all humankind, earthly creatures and trees etc, and indeed, the whole cosmos) are one.

Relationship.

As I look through the window to the outside world – I’m not outside in my little inner-city garden today – It’s raining hard – and, I ponder, ‘Does that mean we have to hug trees? What does it mean in relationship to my immediate neighbour and, say, those in need on the other side of the planet? What does that mean for us as individuals? (in one sense of the word) or as a group, nation, species?

Responsibility.

Richard Rohr talks about ‘the flow’, a personal and energetic ‘river’ of grace that infills everything, and others would take this further and say that its conduit is the luminous web, or even that they are one of the same!

sun pixabay meditation-277889__340

Relationship is ‘in’ the gaps, too!

So, if you want to hug and tree, do so – if by that you mean you will actually hug a tree and do more, because something else, something extra is needed. If you are upset when you see injustice or badly malnourished people on tv – and who isn’t moved at such tragedy – and feel led to make a considered response, do so, but bear in mind that something else is need.

‘The energy in the universe is not [so much] in planets, or in the protons or neutrons, but in the relationship between them’. Richard Rohr.

The ‘extra’ and much-needed ingredient is relationship, and it is here that awareness, intuition, and imagination comes in. We can do things, but without the right attitude and a two-way relationship there is no love.

Refusal?

‘Sin [however we view that word] is always a refusal of mutuality and a closing down into separateness.’ Richard Rohr.

If we act, and believe it right to do so, then act, please….act favourably towards others and the environment in a way that is appropriate and resource-affordable to you, but remember love (which was also the title of an interesting song sung by Yoko Ono. Was that really released in 1968? Time flies!).

There’s more. Mae mwy

love daisy-712898__340

Love is foundational

It is one thing to understand and delight in connectedness, but we live in a materialistic and shallow world, and unwittingly we can reduce our response accordingly (and even unknowingly). Connectedness, hugging a tree (literally or metaphorically), or even prayer, well-wishing, sending energy etc isn’t just mechanical – like a boardroom flowchart – something that can just be done and it’s over. It’s living and active, and it is about deep relationship. It’s about love.

Love.

It’s one thing to hug a tree (or the environment, or others etc) or do all those beneficial things, it is entirely a different order of action-relationship when it is based on love.

‘To become fascinated is to step into a wild love affair on any level of life’. Brian Swimme.

 

laniakea_nrao_960 nasa

The universe is a web

After thought: From the smallest imaginable point to the biggest structure in the universe, the universe is a web. A web of quanta, atoms, molecules, solar systems, and the galaxies. A web. Interestingly, just as stars clump together in a web that we call a galaxy – and we’re on the outer edge of an ‘arm’ in a spiral galaxy – so galaxies clump together to form a web. The picture, right, is an accurate representation of millions of galaxies forming a web in space. ‘Our’ local neighbourhood – a small part of that picture – spanning over 500 light-years, is known as Laniakea [The name Laniakea means “immense heaven” in Hawaiian]. The universe is a huge web! Isn’t that fascinating?

 

20170606 THE LUMINOUS WEB OF THE UNIVERSE

Power-Blessings 103: The Joy Of Responsibility : [3/4]

20170504 RESPONSIBILTY 3OF4 BLESSINGIt was a dark and  stormy night. It was late November, it was seven o’clock on a cold and wet, rather inhospitable Wednesday evening, as I entered a large hall belonging to a faith-group, ready to deliver a talk to a group. I was told to be prepared to address a group of 60-100 people, and so I was ready.

When the time of the talk arrived, it was clear that the rain, the cold, the inhospitable weather, the fact that the nation’s favourite ‘TV soap’ was being aired on (and the series was at the point where a major cliff-hanger was about to be revealed), and a major football match (soccer, to my American friends) was about to start, had taken their toll on the attendance figures in this hall. I stared from the front at seven people.

I wasn’t upset, as I do believe the people that could benefit from the talk were there. It wasn’t even that my ego needed ‘massaging’. But, a change had to be made to my plans.

With a group of 60-100 a talk could be given from the front, with say, questions at the end. All rather formal, pre-planned, and somewhat ‘distancing’, but probably the best and most proficient way to deliver a talk to 60-100 people. But, not to seven people.

Be prepared to be ‘underwhelmed’.

How we conduct a blessing depends on the circumstances, even the number of people involved. In taking that talk as an analogy, we have to adapt. What would work in some circumstances, will not work in other circumstances. We need to be aware and adapt.

‘The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.’  Mark Twain

In that talk, rather than stand at the front and deliver it in the style of a monologue from a distance, I got the few people to form a circle, rearranging their chairs and including one for me, and we turned the event into a dialogue. I delivered the talk but paused occasionally and included everyone by asking open-ended questions, by making it informal, and more ‘cosy’. It worked.

How we deliver a blessing will change.

Over the last couple of days we’ve looked briefly at what a blessing it, initially looked at intentionality (see here), and then looked at examples of the source, or the Source of power-blessings (see here). So, when to bless, and how to bless, and the responsibility that follows it are just as  essential, and a few thoughts about this follow.

If a person asks for a blessing, then you can gauge how to deliver that blessing. If you’re in their home, it may just be a whispered prayer, or if they’re used to and expecting something more vocal then it could be a moderately loud blessing, set words or improvised prayer-blessing.

In a formal setting, such as in a service or ceremony it may be also more ritualised, with physical actions appropriate to the circumstances.

‘Create inclusion – with simple mindfulness that others might have a different reality from your own.’ Patti Digh, Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally

But, never inappropriate, and do anything never likely to embarrass the one being blessed. Even if it means, and it may be  good idea, to explain what you intend to do, so that their are no surprises as the ceremony unfolds.

After all, we want to be inclusive, and not exclude or ‘distance’ people.

In a café I might see someone nearby, someone unknown who I feel may benefit from a blessing. In such cases I’d probably visualise a power-blessing going from me to them, perhaps as a ball of light – about the size of a golf ball. Why not? Visualisation is important, as it is part of intentionality which is all important. If that ball of light is a metaphor, and I believe it is, then it could be an imagining of an actual happening, and I believe it is. Faith.

It may be okay to send someone a blessing incognito…but not always.

There are times, especially if you know the person and you would like to bless them, to ask, first, and really listen to them. It may be awkward for them, they may be unfamiliar with blessings, and to launch into blessing them without their consent may not only upset them, it may put an obstacle between you and them (and that’s the exact opposite of what a blessing should do), and you may be left half-way through blessing them and look faintly ridiculous. Ofcourse, we want to act responsibly, and there is no pressure – or shouldn’t be. Do watch out for the ego!

There are times when it’s best to ask to bless someone.

‘Never allow your ego to diminish your ability to listen.’ Gary Hopkins

Oh, I know several people, especially at formal gatherings when dozens of people are expected, do like to dress up for the occasion. And, why not? If it’s appropriate and ‘adds’ something to the occasion it may be something to encourage others to do, or to do, yourself!

To give a blessing, means first, create a space and to enter into liminality (to cross over that ‘threshold’), and to do that requires preparation and an act of significance. In terms of many churches this may involve the officiant entering the chancel or at least a raised platform, the dais; for Druids and others it may be casting a circle and entering it; for others it may be the donning of ceremonial clothing. All denote the movement into liminal space, sacred space, the ‘blessing-space’. But, it’s done in such a way as to be appropriate and helpful. But, what if you haven’t got your special attire or ‘tools’ (and for this, some use a small bell or incense, candle etc, depending on the formality of the setting)? What then? Ofcourse, you can still bless, because in essence..

…It’s best to keep it simple, anyway.

In blessing responsibly, we might be led to pray for people at a distance, perhaps for people in other lands, for endangered species of animals, for some area of the world where calamity has taken place. Then do it. Do it in an appropriate way – which will be different depending on whether you’re at home or at a public event and are scheduled to bless, depending on whether it is an event with small numbers or large, and whether it’s formal or informal. Adapt. Always try to be inclusive, and involve others. It’s not just ‘theatre’.

‘When everyone is included, everyone wins.’ Jesse Jackson

Be encouraged to bless.

But, it may be a lonely task. In many cases you may have questions that go unanswered, may not see the end result of your blessing (and that’s okay, really), or you may find that much of what you do is behind closed doors (and, that too, is okay, as it’s only the ego that wants to hog the limelight). Known or unknown, whether you have blessed a thousand times or are endeavouring now to do your first blessing, it’s okay. The power behind a blessing comes from far beyond, and it isn’t our power that is the force behind it, anyway – and that’s awesome to comprehend. The Source provides the power behind an energy-blessing. And, that means, that usually, it’s best to bless and leave the outcome to the Source, and not be too ‘prescriptive’ about what we’d like to see.

‘Spoken words have power beyond measure.’ Debasish Mridha

We, then are much like conduits, placing ourselves in that power flow from the Source, as intermediaries – and their are benefits to us.. We are like conduits. Whatever happens when we give a blessing – and, don’t expect those we’re blessing will necessarily ‘feel’ anything (it might happen, it might not), the blessing is effective (maybe, in some positive way unknown to us) because it depends on the power-source, and that’s not us, but the Source of All. Always, positive.

It’s not about us. It’s about the Source. What do you think?

So, what’s stopping you?

‘If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.’ John O’Donohue

Tomorrow, having mentioned that blessing another, others, events, animals, the planet etc can be a lonely exercise or ‘calling’, we’ll look at further encouragement, ‘teaching’ and mutual support. How can we assist each other?

Power-Blessing 102: The Source: [2/4]

20170503 THE SOURCE 2OF4 BLESSINGYesterday we briefly looked at the definition of blessing and intentionality, both vital starting places, and essential on our journey into the realm of power-blessings (see here).

Today, we look, briefly (and it is only a brief overview of a vast theme), at the energy behind such blessings, what it is, and why and how it can be visualised.

‘Your longing desires to take you towards the absolute realization of all the possibilities that sleep in the clay of your heart; it knows your eternal potential, and it will not rest until it is awakened. Your longing is the divine longing in human form.’ John O’Donohue

There is a school of thought that says the universe is a ‘vast sea of energy’. Not just ‘up there’ and out in the furthest reaches of the galaxy and beyond, but also in the space and locations we inhabit, and, indeed, the matter out of which we are made.  All of it is energy of one sort or another.

Connectedness.

That means that we’re part of the universe and have access to its power. But, there’s more. Ken Wilber calls us ‘holons’. A holon (Greek: ὅλον, ὅλος, holos, meaning “whole”) is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. The word was used by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machine (1967).

Part and yet whole/all.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25;40b, The Book

We have our own intrinsic energy some say, and others might say the whole lot is ‘borrowed’ and comes from somewhere else, but it seems that we can share that energy, and it can be depleted, and be refilled. Refilled, from where? Opinions abound about ‘external’ sources.

Our energy? Another energy?

Some might not put too time into wondering where this source is, so long as the cycle of energy use, depletion and refilling is accomplished. Others, might say it comes from Universal energy, those who are from a sylvanic persuasion might say the energy comes from elementals or nature around us, others might say it comes from somewhere else, such as from angels or other benevolent beings of importance to the individual).

In each of these, if pressed, one would get a ‘picture’, or at last a good description of the source. Ofcourse, imagination comes into play here. Those who believe in a Universal energy store-house might picture a galaxy or the vast reaches of space, elemental energy-users might imagine a welcoming forest or forest inhabitants, an elemental and so on.

External and yet, internal.

‘The most important matter for a practitioner is to be able to break through the veil of the material plane in order to enter the ultimate dimension and see the interconnection between us and all other phenomena in the world around us.’ Thich Nhat Hanh,

So, when I put forward an ‘Ouranic store-house’ of energy ‘above’ us, and I do, I’m using picture-language, imagination and metaphor to describe something that, as those others already mentioned have found, is difficult to put into words, and we may well be describing exactly  the same thing in different ways. So, please don’t be upset if you have a different view to me – we can still learn from each other, and support each other.

It’s metaphorical.

Ouranos is Greek for the sky, or some would say heaven (and therefore, the Source, for me, is God. However, the use of the word ‘God’ is much overused in our society, so I go ‘further’ and would say the Source is the Christ – who manifested ‘himself’ initially 15 billion years ago, and works also through the universe, nature, events etc), and for me this is apt. That’s where, I believe, all real power and energy comes from. That’s my metaphor.

Ofcourse, the more I describe that sore-house ‘place’, the more inaccurate my description will be. Who can sum up the infinite vastness and majesty of spiritual places, such as heaven, using mere words? Rhetorical question. If we can imagine it, it must be much more.

But, (somewhat cheekily) I’d like to declare that I visualise that heavenly or ouranic store-house of energy as a wonderful meadow, tall with ripe corn, just waiting to be harvested by anyone that needs or wants it, and the Field-Owner is happy with you and I harvesting its energy – infact, it is grown for that specific purpose.. Now, ofcourse, it is more that that, but maybe on this occasion an insufficient ‘picture’ is better than none? Metaphors really are important.

What if earth
Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?’
John Milton, Paradise Lost

However, you describe it, I do believe we can ‘tap’ into that energy to fill (or refill) ourselves with the express purpose of passing that energy, those power-blessings on to others. There are a number of ways to ‘tap’ into that energy, such as one (or maybe a mixture) of the following

  • meditation (kataphatic)
  • good works
  • visualisation/imagination
  • intentionality
  • ritual (and you might like to get an inkling of power-ritual in this article poem – click here)
  • liturgy
  • prayer
  • meditation (apophatic) etc.

So, for instance, in using ritual I unusually use my imagination and enter, liminally, into that blessing-place; and also physically might wear something special, or light a candle or ring a bell  to signify the entering of sacred space. All metaphors – but important because they declare intentionality. Never diminish the imaginal (realm) or (physical) ritual, or liturgy. They open and close the path to amazing energy, and are the ‘carrier waves’ of power-blessings (as we will see tomorrow).

So, such energy comes from that store-house, for me it’s an ouranic store-house, but it’s more! Energy sounds so impersonal, just a matter of physics and mathematical equations, but I believe it’s more.

Personal.

Whether one accepts the idea of an Ouranic store-house, Universal store-house, elemental store-house etc, I do believe it’s more than just being zapped with energy. The Giver is Personal, the Power is Personal, it’s deeply experiential and meaningful, and our use of it as a conduit to other people, animals or nature etc is Personal.

That has repercussions when seeking that energetic infilling or refilling ourselves and using it for others. Responsibility is not a word that many like, but with tremendous power, responsibility is needed.

‘Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? [We are like] children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness…we should all be wearing crash helmets.’ Annie Dillard, Teaching A Stone To Talk

How to exercise that power, the ways and how to do so responsibly is the theme of tomorrow’s article/blog.

 

Everything You Wanted To Know About Blessing, But Were Afraid To Ask*

20170428 BLESSING 0 BLESSING‘Bless you’, I said.  ‘But, I haven’t sneezed’, was their reply.

And so, for some, that’s the limit of their understanding of when a blessing is initiated, or perhaps an indication of their level of their uncomfortableness or embarrassment at being blessed.

Have you ever been asked to bless? As a Druid, Celtic, Christian, Pagan, or, of another faith or belief, have you ever been asked, or bypassed the request, or felt uneasy about it?

It may feel odd to receive a blessing in daily life; it may seem strange to  bless or want to bless another person. But, blessings are great events full of meaning, power, pathos and convey favour, love, understanding, acceptance, promise and, well…a blessing!

And yet, we are reluctant to bless, aren’t we?

‘When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity, happiness… all the good things.’  Maya Angelou

It is such a simple thing to utter those words, and yet we refrain, perhaps thinking it too easy. At other times, we be reluctant because we think it too complicated or disqualify ourselves, deferring to others – thinking, ‘They have a qualification, a title, and office, and so they are best placed to bless others’. Too simple.  And, we miss out blessing others, and miss out on being blessed. We seem to place obstacles in our path, close the door, and find reasons not to bless.

Perhaps there’s a middle route?

‘See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.’ Rev 3:8b, The Book

Who can bless? This is an easy one to answer. You can! We identify ourselves in so many ways, and usually materially, but then we live in a very materialistic world. We might identify ourselves by the work we do, our familial status, age, our social status or, perhaps, our income. Very seldom do we say, I am myself. I am spirit. I am soul. There is a holiness in me. Therefore, I am someone who can bless’. [Excerpt from David Spangler’s book, ‘Blessing: The Art And The Practice’]

I really do believe we live in a time when there is a great need to bless people, local and world events, etc eco-nature concerns, events, workplaces, homes, projects and endeavours etc. It’s time to ‘send out’ those blessings, and in return to realise we, too, are blessed. Whether we are Druid, Celtic, Christian, Pagan, of another faith or belief, I do believe (more) blessing is needed at such a time as this, and so all of the articles on TadhgTalks next week will be on blessing in one way or another. I’m excited about that, and would encourage the same in you. You are called! Needed! And, have that capability and energy, and will be blessed, too.

‘The most important matter for a practitioner is to be able to break through the veil of the material plane in order to enter the ultimate dimension and see the interconnection between us and all other phenomena in the world around us.’ Thich Nhat Hanh,

It is so important that we know the value of blessing, how to bless in formal ways and informal ways, to bless and be blessed in the process. It is not just a duty and a joyful one at that, it’s more. It’s your birth-right and a calling from another realm.

‘Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits. John O’Donohue

Next week, we’ll consider exactly what a blessing is, the source of it/them, the ‘how to’ (using the Caim, imaginal ‘tools’ etc), the reasons for blessing, and the reciprocal nature of blessing-energy. Yes, you can benefit, too.

 

* Well, perhaps not everything.

 

Celtic Thought: Life Is Like…

20170413 LIFE IS LIKE...CELTIC THOUGHTAt the far end of my cottage’s garden in Capel Curig (in north Wales) is a rivulet. Hidden by trees and gorse bushes, it rushes by the northern boundary, invisible to all, except to me and a few locals. It’s so small – you can leap over it – it has no name, except for the one I gave it. To me, this ‘watery companion’ is: Bach ac yn gyflym. Welsh geographical place-names are very descriptive, and it seemed right to call this rivulet by this name. It means ‘small and fast’.

Here’s a few thoughts as I watched Bach ac yn gyflym flow by, and as (for some) we are nearing the end of a specially remembered week that culminated in dramatic events, that many take to heart.

Metaphorically, life is like a stream, perhaps something like Bach ac yn gyflym. I was going to write about encouraging you to step into that Life-stream, but I do believe we are all in it, already.

“You wander from room to room hunting for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck!” Rumi

This stream isn’t just life events as we experience them with all their surprises, twists and turns; it is that, but it is also more. There is more! Mae myw! It is Life, the Life-Giver itself (and apologies for that impersonal pronoun when Life itself is anything but impersonal, but Life is also beyond ‘he’ or ‘she’, and yet encapsulates both/all).

This Life-stream embraces us as we live life, and my encouragement then to myself and others, bearing in mind we are all already in that flow, is to encourage each of us to have an awareness and/or remembrance of being part of it.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1 The Book

As I sit and watch Bach ac yn gyflym flow by I witness leaves and debris float by. Some of it swirls into little eddies caused by indentations in the river bank, and stay there for a while. Out of the main flow of the stream, they may look or ‘feel’ safer and linger for a while, but the power they experienced just seconds before is diminished. And then, maybe unexpected to them, but not to me as an observer, the current catches them and off they go at great speed to their destination.

Maybe, we too, can feel safe or get comfortable, or maybe too safe and too comfortable, and object to the buffeting of life. In being too cosy, like those leaves in that riverbank indentation we can feel safe, but lose access to power and energy. Even in that ‘safe’ position we are still in the Life-stream, but maybe unaware. Even in that ‘safe’ position we have access to that power and energy. But, we don’t use it….after all, we’re (momentarily) unaware of it.

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”  Rainer Maria Rilke

Being aware of our status (we’re all in that Life-stream) and aware of the power and energy (and that it is available to us), will, I think, put life events into perspective. There is no ‘maybe’ with a river, no need to barter, no worry of it stopping, no concern about where it is going or its destination. It flows. It knows. It is.

It’s flowing now, carrying us in an amazing ever-changing movement in that Divine, energetic dance, and if we’re quiet we might just ‘hear it’ and experience its all-embracing love. And then, the next step is to revel in that Life-flow wherever we are or whatever our circumstances might be, to enjoy its energy for good (purposes), and to pass (recognition of) it on to others. What do you think?

“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” John O’Donohue

 

The Elements: Air: A Word Spoken In Season…

20170307 a word in season CELTIC THOUGHTIn this season, spring, air is the remembered and celebrated element. Something so invisible,  so powerful, sometimes so forgotten, and yet so vital for our existence.

Here’s a few thoughts about air from a Celtic, Christian (Celtic), Druid point of view.

So, take a breath, maybe a deep breath through the mouth and hold it for two seconds, and then release it. Maybe, do that again…and then return to normal breathing. We often take breathing for granted, and yet that simple exercise is such a momentous thing to do. Air. Dare I call it a miracle?

Air. There is power in breathing.

‘Spoken words have power beyond measure.’ Debasish Mridha

When we’re sad our breathing becomes heavy, and we emit heavy sighs. When we’re joyful we can laugh so much that it seems our lungs will burst or we’re likely to hyperventilate and get giddy. When fearful, we hold our breath and concentrate on listening to the environment. And, when we’re about to do something hard or spectacular we take a long deep inhale of a breath as if to prepare ourselves. Breathing then, and in the short exercise above, is a kind of prayer, a celebration of life, an exercise in ‘being’ and a thanksgiving of (and for) the gift of life itself.

Air. There is life in breathing.

In one of my tribes’ stories, it is often said that Moses timidy got the better of him, and he  never asked the Source of All his (or her) personal name, but that the Source of All was gracious enough to reveal it. Over the centuries that name, being so special was never uttered in full, and so we’re left now with the (usually unpronounced) name YHWH (and which, when you add vowels, becomes YaHWah (pronounced ‘yah-way’) for those that want to pronounce the name). Scholars, however, were quick to realise that the letters YHWH represented breathing sounds, aspirated consonants. Add some vowels, and you get the name YaHWeh. But, ‘breathing’ consonants.

‘Breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for this wonderful gift.’  Amit Ray,

So, could it be that the name of the Source of All is the sound of breathing? I will be more emphatic and say…

Air. God’s name is (the sound of) breathing.

I have stood in Clackitt’s Wood and between tall high-rise buildings in London and with the air quite still at ground level, have heard the wind skim and distort the tops of trees, and over those trees and those tall buildings  heard the wind ‘groan and moan and wail’. Power.

Some years ago I was on a school’s governing board, and coming late to it, I was (as were other governors placed on a subcommittee, too), put on the ‘Exclusions sub-committee’. Along with two other governors I herd my first case of a very young student who had been excluded and through this ‘hearing’ the school was frantically trying to put into place measures to ensure the pupil got ‘back on track’. The childe sat in the chair, as her parents told the governors, ‘It’s a pity she’s not as bright as her sister!’. I watched as those words took hold, saw the child’s head droop, shoulders curl as her ego reeled from that ‘battering’. (Negative) Power. I’m happy to say the governor chairing that subcommittee gently rectified the situation, encouraged the parents not to be so negative or compare that child to anyone else, and ‘built up’ that child’s confidence, and I’m pleased to say that measures put in place led to that pupil returning to achieving good things. Power.

Air. Words have the power to ‘crush’, or ‘build up’.

What we say does have an effect. We can use our words, in relating to others, to ‘crush’ their ego, or encourage and ‘build them up’. Of course, I’m advocating the latter. In our rituals (and our ceremonies etc) whether in a group or alone, our words have energy, and do make an impact. In that sense this can be a cautionary word, to be careful in uttering negatives.

‘When you realize the awesome power of words, you can change lives.’  Tammy Kling

However, I like to think of it as an encouragement for us to utter positive words – whether in a group or individual prayer, ritual or ceremony, or whether we’re talking to friends, families, strangers or whoever we encounter. I’m advocating, that we use words of encouragement, or even a blessing (and we’ll look at that word, blessing, in a few days) toward others.

Air. With a word of command the universe sprang into being.

Air reminds us to use our words wisely both in talking to others, to ourselves or ‘into the air’ in a solo or group ritual etc. Your words have power. Use wisely…but do use!

‘Words have magic. Spells and curses. Some of them, the best of them, once said change everything.’  Nora Roberts, Jewels of the Sun

In Dark Times, Shine: 3/5: And, Action! [Celtic Thought]

20170306 and action CELTIC THOUGHTHere’s part three of ‘In Dark Times, Shine’ albeit slightly delayed. If you wanted to recap the earlier parts, please see here for part 1 about your distinctiveness, and here for part two about empowerment.

So, here’s part three: In Dark Times, Shine: And…Action.

We do live in dark times. There are those around us who need spiritual-liberating, to be freed from their ‘prisons’ to enable them to be the person that are destined to be, and you could probably be, probably are going to be instrumental (along with others, perhaps) in that mission.

Whether you’re a latter-day Celt, a Christian Celt, a Druid or of some other faith or tribe, we all need to ‘shine’ and work for the good – in small ways and large, wherever we are.

This is not to heap so much responsibility on you that you’re actively thinking of how to work with millions of people and losing sleep about it – but it’s about working with those you encounter today. Just a few people. Just a small number of loving actions. Not a chore. Not a bore. But,  a joy. Not counting how well we’ve done, and not keeping score, but doing what you and I believe we’re called to do in the moment, and feeling good about it (although it may appear as energy leaving you and prompt feelings of tiredness).

Now that you know that you’re called to do something that only you can do in a unique way, and now that you know that you have been granted the power and energy to do it, what do you do? It’s all about action.

A clue to what we’re meant to do could be where we’re located and what you like doing – your giftedness, what is on your heart, and the circumstances you find yourself in.

‘Do not despise these small beginnings…’ Zechariah 4:10a, The Book

The Source Of All is quite clever (an understatement, of course, but then I’m British) at arranging all this, and providing opportunities for you to be active. Ah, synchronicity!

Location
I know some who are placed in rural areas, others who live in huge cities, and others whose work takes them to wild places. Wherever you are, this could be an indication of what you might consider doing.

‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can’. Arthur Ashe

Jeremy works at a local store in a large town. It is his job to work at the check-out counter, and his gift is that of listening. He  always greet customers with a hearty smile, and will always listen to them. When he only has one customer he will strike up a conversation, and always be encouraging. His gift of listening, really listening, and of encouragement is able to be exercised through his regular job.

Zoe lives in a rural area. She loves the countryside, and her part time job is that of an administrator in a nearby village. At other times, she gives guided tours around the countryside and places of interest, and in this way hopes to encourage others to take an interest in the environment, and animal and tree preservation. She feels her gift is to give knowledge to others about rural life and ecological protection.

Where you are may be an indication of what you’re called to do, and where action can take place. Does this apply to you?

Sometimes, just being in a place, and just showing up is enough!

Giftedness
You may be accomplished at something – have a gift and/or have spent some time studying (and rememeber, it is never to late to start studying or enrolling on a course of somekind), and this, too, could be an indication of what action you can take.

‘We are all gifted. That is our inheritance.’ Ethel Water

We cannot be masters of everything, but each one of us has a unique gift (or several), and it can be used to allow us to be who we are, and be used to build up others, also.

Sarah is a wonderful musician. She used to work as a curator at a local museum, and then concentrated on her music. Her full-time job became part-time as the music (joyfully) took up more of her time, and then latterly her full-time work (if you can call it work) is her music! Her gift is to entertain people and sometimes to move them deeply in matters of the spirit through music.

Sam is a dextrous man. By trade his work is a plumber. By day he works ‘solving’ plumbing problems, repairing leaks etc, and an assortment of other activities associated with plumbing. His gift is that practicality! Most evenings he and his house-bound wife spend some time in praying, sending out positive-thoughts, good-wishes, wholesome rituals etc (using the caim form of ‘enacted’ prayer, sometimes) for ecologically sensitive areas of the world, for wildlife preservation, for war-torn area of the world, famine areas, as well as for their local area and family and friends. They wanted to do something together, something that could be done from their small home. They believe this work to be vital. It is.

I know some wonderful musicians, others who are dextrous with their hands, others are authors, and others who are encouragers, and am in awe as they use their gift for others. Sometimes, I wish I had half of their talent, only to stop those thoughts in their track and realise that I, too, have a unique gift that they don’t possess. And you have a unique gift (and some lesser gifting’s in other areas) that others might envy (in a nice way), too. Use your gift(s), enhance it by practice, enjoy it, use it for the benefit of others. Does this apply to you?

Events
In small ways, in seemingly random events that happen during the day, in large ways and small, you might find yourself interacting with people, and being able to offer assistance. Of course, it depends on the event and your giftedness. But, there will be ways that you can use your gift (and you may have other major gifts and a host of minor gifts – so never back off of an action by disqualifying yourself). ‘Random’ events might be just what the Source Of All has arranged for you to encounter the person who needs to hear from you, to meet and interact with you, to be ministered to, by you!

I’ve always been in the right place and time. Of course, I steered myself there.’ Bob Hope [Or, did he steer himself there?]

Of course, your gift(s) may be something that needs some ‘diarising’ and planning, and that too, can allow you to serve others. I know accomplished energy-workers who have clients that benefit from their services. Others who organise ceremonies and rituals for individuals and families etc. Others who play and sing in faith group assemblies and clubs – all ways of being wonderfully active in building up others and themselves, too.

Together
Whatever your gifting(s) are, do use them. Don’t disqualify yourself. Ofcourse, I’m not encouraging you to ‘bite off more than you can chew’, and to always  have a healthy balance, but it’s  within your scope of capability and it wont offend others by ‘stepping on their toes’, then do it. You may not be able to do everything – infact you won’t be able to! Once, again the Source Of All has it all worked out. It’s quite clever: We need each other.

‘Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.’ Henry Ford

We are called to action, and within the framework of team work.  After leading a funeral. someone said to me,  ‘Tadhg, thank you for doing that. I couldn’t have done it’, only for me to respond by telling them how naturally they served me in other areas , in areas I couldn’t excel in, and how that also encouraged me! I only say this because I’m sure the same has happened to you.

We need each other. Whether your gift is practical, artistic, active, passive, if you’re an author (or a potential author), a musician, a Celtic or Druidic ceremonialist, a light-worker, energy-worker, an administrator, a cleaner, a plumber, mechanic, be the best you can be, and ‘do it’. This is your time to shine.

‘I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will’. Edward Everett Hale

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention (again) the wonderful story about the child and the starfish: see here.

[PS: Any names used, apart from my own, have been changed, and anecdotes about other people were used with permission].