My mind was cleansed by a Celtic neopagan

by | Apr 28, 2017 | kayaking, meditation, mindfulness, yoga

Things got a little hippy dippy trippy last night at yoga. The teacher decided we should celebrate an ancient custom of Beltane. Knowledge of Beltrane’s origin seems to be vague and imprecise. It does appear however to have originated in either Scotland or Ireland and was co-opted by many groups subsequently. One such group is near and dear to my heart, the Druids, otherwise known as the Celtic neopagans. Druids are relatively common  in an area of England  just west of Stonehenge, I lived there for nearly a decade after leaving university. Anyway, lets just say that last night the teacher took a few liberties with the history, and the ceremony of Beltane. I found myself lying in a circle, candles were light, then extinguished and others subsequently light. Representing the snuffing out of the past and the life of the future being ignited. Fundamentally it was a spiritual spring cleaning of our minds. For once I behaved myself, rather than express, subconsciously, my doubt of the efficacy of such pagan rituals, I instead chose to focus on my own meditation.

The notion of moving on, or more accurately, moving beyond, is occupying a large mind share in my head presently. I have never dealt with the impossible lack of logic of mental illness more clearly than when wrestling with this concept. I am flawed, as I understand are all humans , it is a part of the human condition. So when confronted with your personal flaw how do you move on and make progress? If I were a follower of a religion I would probably have a defined path to walk, this, I believe, is a highly attractive attribute of organized religion. Rather than walking these various predefined, ordained, paths I presently find myself engaged instead in mental self-flagellation.

As best I can tell I need to decide to move beyond, and “simply” do it. Just as my kayak rolling needs practice and training to grow my abilities, so too I need to train my body and mind to transition out of its current state of emotion processing. My meditation and yoga practices are creating the space within my thoughts to allow me to recognize the mental beating is about to commence and make a simple, conscious, acknowledgment of my flaws. I am slowly learning to control my body’s and thence my mind’s response.

Currently thinking about my flaws, and the feelings of remorse that are generated by those thoughts, still preoccupies me. I am trying to choose instead to remove the emotional response I have been perpetuating and instead talk to myself kindly about the past and allow myself to accept that I can only improve the future.

The emotional responses to ones thoughts are influenced by nature and nurture. My existence is not predicated upon infinite punishment. Sufficient expressions of remorseful contrition are necessary both by society norms as well as for the purpose of repairing inter-personal relationships. The admitted need for subsequent, future, acknowledgement of regret does not require a constant state of sorrow to exist in the present.

Rather than spring clean my memories, I instead need to retrain my response, I need a new way of processing regretful memories without allowing them to dominate my present. Cleaning out the memories would potentially create the danger of making it easy for the past to repeat itself. Learning from the past is vital to my future success and well being.

Moving beyond will occur for me when I have found a way to manifest my remorse without mental self-abuse, and to demonstrate that I have learned. This does not seem impossible, and so today I am optimistic that progress is possible. I don’t yet know the path I will be walking down, but I know I am going to get there through continued focus on self-improvement, both physical and mental.

Namaste.