It’s rarely apparent anymore, but the this journal is primarily intended as a journal of personal development. Hence the title.
I came home early from work today. A sense of general physical/spiritual malaise progressed into feeling like I was coming down with something after lunch, so I took my leave. I meditated, I napped. Stacey burned some sage for me. I talked to her a little about how I felt, the sense of heartsickness combined with fever and lethargy. I told her I felt something was trying to get my attention, and that I don’t exactly want to treat it so much as grok it. She suggested that my spiritual life has been on the wane in the past weeks, and I think she’s on to something.
Maybe it’s time I had a talk with myself about matters of the spirit.
So, Avdi, how is your soul doing?
It aches a little today, and I’m not sure why.
Have you been feeding it lately?
I guess not. My weekly mediation group fell apart a couple months ago and that was really the only regular spiritual practice I had.
But I had been feeling a change was due anyway. For some people, meditation is the end; it is the core of their practice. For them, deepening their practice means meditating longer and with greater focus. I think the leader of the group fell into this category. And that’s fine. I got a lot of good out of mindfulness meditation. It’s a tool that will be of great help for the rest of my life. But for me, mindfulness isn’t so much an end as a baseline, a blank slate from which to start. It was a way to stop and take my bearings, so that I could begin to see where the compass of my soul was pointing.
What direction was it pointing you in?
I’m still not completely sure. I still haven’t found a group that I felt wholly comfortable practicing with, and despite my loner tendencies I am certain that a solitary path is not right for me.
We’ve been hanging out a lot with a loose group of “redneck pagans”, as someone termed them. I really like them a lot; they are good people and they make more sense to me than the urbanite and exurbanite pagans that have known up till now. But, while I love them and I am happy to be accepted by them and honored to be invited to rituals and whatnot, for the most part vaguely Northern European nature religions don’t really call to me on a heart level.
What does call to you?
The poetry of Hafiz and other Sufis. But, I don’t know that I want to pursue that path either.
All I really know for sure is that I have been drawn all of my life, even before I had the words to frame it, to a relationship with God as Lover and Beloved. That’s why, as a Christian/Messianic Jew I was drawn so strongly to The Violet Burning. There was a take on a relationship to God that I’d never heard before, and it struck a deep chord in me. Only in the past few years have I discovered that there is a thread running down through history, across many religions, of mystics who perceived the divine not so much as a king, or an architect, or an all-present force, but as lover of their soul and the darling of their heart.
Also this: I know that music is somehow important, even central, to my soul’s expression. I have only ever felt close to God when I was reaching out to another person – singing, hugging, speaking inspired words of encouragement. I feel like maybe in music I might, some day, be able to transmit what I feel when the spirit fills me through music.
And how are you doing toward that end?
Sigh. I’ve been picking up the guitar a little more toward the end of this year, but still not so much that I even have my calluses back. I also began – barely – to work on the piano. I have a feeling the piano is tremendously important to my musical development now. I should really spend more time with it.
Yes, you probably should.
I had a lot of things I wanted to do this past year. I had a list in my head which I never wrote down, but among the items was to get a new job, buy a new car, start taking classes again, work out regularly, and learn to play the piano. I did the first two. In many ways it has been a watershed year. I got many things sorted out, internally and externally. I’ve written about some of this before. I’ve cast aside doubt and fear and (most of all) resentment. For the first time in many years I feel like my life is becoming aligned with my desires and values.
But there are some things that got lost in the shuffle of all that activity. And they are things which, ignored for long enough, have a way of casting a gray veil over every other accomplishment.
I think perhaps this year I will set only one goal for myself: to cast myself fully into music once again. And I will let the rhythm and the melody tell me where to go from there.