Many thanks to Penny Billington for her wonderful guest blog post about that biggest of questions…
‘So, what to you, as a Druid, is the meaning of life?’
What a question! None of your usual tea-party-Druid-introductory chat – ‘Do you love trees?’ and ‘What about those gruesome rituals…?’ Well, no, we won’t go there: history is written by the victors, and the ancient Romans were rip-snorting hypocrites, with an agenda and absolutely no sense of irony…
But I digress.
No, the email request went straight to the big question. And the caveat, just in case I responded with a dissertation; ‘Submissions should be between 200 & 900 words.’
For Druids, thinking about the big questions should go with the territory. That’s if we’re to emulate the best qualities of the ancient Druids. I mean, even Caesar said they, ‘impart to the youth many things respecting the stars and their motion, respecting the extent of the world and of our earth, respecting the nature of things, respecting the power and the majesty of the immortal gods.’ Feeling linked to that lineage, broken as it is, though reinvigorated through a million hints from landscape, sea- and skyscape, I should certainly have thought enough to have an opinion.
But the meaning of life? Isn’t the important question, do we think that life has meaning? Should it? Must it? If it doesn’t, is it a cruel quirk of nature that our brains are programmed to be constantly looking for meaning in life?
My conclusion? That we’ll never know whether life has meaning. But I’m sure that the way to find meaning in life is to be here, now, in the most celebratory and joyous way we can. If we sort our physical lives to be the best and healthiest – for mind, body and spirit – then we can enjoy each moment through its reality, not waste it with a constant wishing for what might be. If we’re born to come to terms with one paradox, it’s this one: that by imagining perfection, and striving for it, we can ruin our lives.
Imperfection is life’s bag. In our minds, in our souls, are harmony and perfection. In the physical world, imperfect life is the perfection of the moment, devolving down into all those maddening, frustrating, fascinating adjuncts of life – money, love, occupation. You know, those areas we want the tarot reader to blow fairy-dust on, to tip the balance as we aim for the three oranges on the one-armed bandit of life. That seaside end-of-the-pier prophecy can be fun; and it can remind us that we need to pay attention if we’re to reconcile our inner and outer worlds; but as a single experience it’s wish-craft. Read a fairy tale instead; it’s a wonderful aid to accessing the other realms.
So life isn’t perfect? Good: let’s get on with it. Accept, allow, move along harmoniously.
We do this by working always for the best and highest: focusing on the big things; noticing what, in our present state of im/perfection, makes our souls sing with the birds, the trees, the streams, the whole cosmos…and pursuing those things, dancing through woodland glades in a glorious, fulfilled present, towards an unknown future.
But enough for now. For let me, in turn, ask, ‘What do you, as a Druid, think is the meaning of life?’
Maybe the big questions should be for our tea-party conversations? ‘Hi, what’s your name/how many children/Work/ the meaning of life…….?’ Give it a try, why don’t you? Focusing on the big things could be fun! I picked up the gauntlet, so follow the link below to see my brief two penn’orth (and what many other spiritual thinkers have made of it) on the biggest question I’ve been asked to date.