Can streaking ever become a chore?
Spiritual teachers talk about the way regular practice reaps its rewards, and that you have to persevere through periods where the meditation, or whatever the practice is, seems to be just a chore with no obvious benefit.
Julia Cameron in The Writer’s Way and Gail Sher in One Continuous Mistake suggest that a discipline of regular writing – a little every day – is the spiritual practice for writers and that the same law applies. Keep at it!
If blogging offers a similar sense of freedom combined with the risks of exhibitionism and vulnerability that naturism offers, then keeping up a blog seems a little like being told you have to do a little streak every day.
Is that all it is? Was Thoreau and company on to something with their idea of using and sharing journals for spiritual cultivation or does this just cater to our egos? The spiritual discipline with this it seems to me is the challenge to go beyond our innate human desire to display, to seduce, to persuade and to make that shift so that we are responding to what I hope are our deeper urges – to give, to share, to entertain!
I used to be snooty about the concept of entertainment until I read the Buddhist Alan Watts talking about his mission to entertain, and the week later at an OBOD Druid camp Prof. Ronald Hutton stated that he was there to entertain us. (Which he did hugely – you can hear him on the Druid podcast – episode 4 – link top right).
How different would our world have been if spiritual leaders had told us, from the dawn of time, that they had come to entertain us. If you’re laughing it’s very hard to pull a trigger.
A little streak every day. I’ll have to add that to my list of things to do along with meditation. :p
Actually, keeping a blog helps me focus on what it is I’m blogging on about, and it gets me exploring things in a new way on a regular basis. The bonus is you get feedback from readers as well.
Hi Philip – Carl McColman here, author of “366 Celt” and “the Idiot’s Guide to Celtic Wisdom” among other books… love your work, and am thrilled to have found your blog, which I just now did. This is a great post. When I first started doing public speaking related to spirituality, a wise mentor said to me, “I don’t care what anyone says, you’re there to entertain your audience.” That advice has served me well. I’m convinced that we learn better when we’re laughing, and I’m also convinced that Celtic spirituality is a path of joy — so if I (and my readers / audience) aren’t having fun with spirituality, then something is out of joint!
The Website of Unknowing
Carl – greetings! How very interesting that you should write. One of the fascinating things about the internet is the increased possibility it seems to offer for psychic – or apparently psychic – experiences.
Yesterday you popped into my mind as somebody I should contact. I came across your blog months ago and had been meaning to make contact. Now the scientific explanation is that your popping into mind and then you posting here is just chance, but is it? I’m sure this kind of phenomenon happens to lots of people lots of the time.
That aside – great to hear from you! I think you’re absolutely right about the need for fun and joy. I’m enjoying studying Jainism at the moment, but I see that some sects disapprove of ‘mirth’…. The Tibetan lamas I’ve met were always giggling and were a great pleasure to be around.
I shall pop into your blog and see how you are doing with your interest in Catholicism and add your blog to the roll here.
I interviewed Geo Cameron, who writes on Celtic shamanism, at a conference in Glasgow last year and discovered she has become a Catholic and you can hear it at:
(Somehow this audio clip has gone from this page, but it will be up again tomorrow!)
Do keep in touch and many blessings to you for the New Year!
Yours from across the seas,
Philip, I think serendipity is a spiritual principle. I’ll check out the audioclip with Geo Cameron – Frank MacEowen told me several years ago that she was someone I needed to know, so I look forward to learning more about her.
Are you doing any Druid/Christian interfaith work? I seem to recall hearing that OBOD has been involved in such efforts in the past.
Blessings to you, too –
Carl, It’s interesting you should ask about interfaith work. One of the unusual aspects of Druidry is that it is seems to be of interest to followers of different faiths, or of varying persuasions, so that – for example – we have Christian Druids as well as Pagan ones. I don’t think the same thing applies in, say, Wicca.
So Druidry is in a rather unique position of being able to provide a bridge between different approaches. We participated in a series of 3 annual Druidry & Christianity interfaith conferences in the early 90s at Prinknash Abbey hosted by a Catholic priest, inspired I think by him and Tim Sebastian, Chief of the Secular Order of Druids. Both have since passed on…
Then after The Druid Way came out, Emma Restall-Orr hosted a Druids, Christians & Wiccan interfaith conference here in Lewes, near the Long Man, which was excellent. Later there was another conference in Oxford, which I missed.
I think that’s the history of recent interfaith work between the communities over here.
Two years ago I was approached by an ex-Catholic theologian who has become interested in Druidry and we began a dialogue. He runs an inter-faith group and I gave a talk to them last summer. We have also held two gatherings celebrating the summer solstice in his garden which brought together Christians, Bahai’s, and those of ‘no fixed address’ as he likes to call himself and those who are uncertain as to which label to apply to themselves.
Last year I met Pete Owen Jones who is vicar to some of the local churches I mention in The Druid Way, and who is currently on TV in a fascinating series called ‘Extreme Pilgrim’ mentioned elsewhere on this blog. He invited us on a summer solstice dawn walk across the hills, which I missed, but from his TV programme I see that he is very interested in exploring other faiths and approaches.
After meeting him I thought we should organise a conference, or gathering, perhaps in Glastonbury and planned to write to you and invite you over for this.
I think it would be fascinating to bring together people who have travelled or are travelling between faiths.
Does this interest you?
I think if we do a little “honest” stripping every day, we will be sharing, giving, entertaining. Whether it’s writing or something else, we need the practice. It’s a little like riding a motorcycle, too. Yes, it’s fun, especially when you start, but then the lure fades a bit. Maybe you feel your bike isn’t powerful enough or your skills aren’t good enough. But if you keep riding, suddenly you realize you’ve improved, you feel more in tune with the bike and the road–and suddenly, the love of the ride returns and you realize there doesn’t have to be some great reward. There’s joy in simply doing and being.
Yes, very much so! Please keep in the loop for any such activities. I have a strong intuitive sense that for the first few hundred years after Christianity came to the Celtic speaking lands (ie lands that never came under Roman control) that a truly symbiotic relationship between the indigenous spirituality – Druidism, if you will – and the Christian faith emerged. I think most of the “anti-Druid” rhetoric that can be found in, say, the Irish tradition tends to be rather late in its origin. Many neopagans today seem to be eager to “de-Christianize” or “re-Paganize” Celtic folklore and the Carmina Gadelica, etc. – but I have a different take. I think the syncretism of Celtic/Pagan/Christianity ought to celebrated if not emulated, particularly by Christians who have grown weary of the dualistic albatross that has trammeled the faith for so long (thank you, Augustine). At any rate, I’d love to be a dialogue partner with you and/or any Druids interested in exploring these ideas.
Carl – my delay in responding reflects not a disinterest, but the reverse! This is an important subject worthy of more exploration and dialogue. I sense a lot of movement between faiths at the moment – a stirring of the great cauldron of beliefs and religious experience.
I have been reading your posts on magic and this may be an interesting point of focus for some discussions. Action and surrender in paganism and other faiths…
I see personal blogging as a kind of naturism and for some people it’s even an act of exhibitionism. Blogging is like baring your soul. So, where do you think this desire to be naked (physically and metaphorically) comes from? Why do nudists desire to strip themselves of their attire?