Ah, here it is – the challenge I’ve been dreading. The DP requires five months of consistent (at least weekly, preferably daily) meditation or other mental discipline practice. While I have practised a bit of Zen meditation very sporadically before, I’ve never been much good at it, or at keeping to a regular routine of practice.
That said, I have always wanted to get better at meditating, as I have read studies that show it has physical and mental health benefits and can contribute to overall well-being and happiness. Joanna van der Hoeven’s writing on Zen Druidry has also inspired me to give meditation another go. Perhaps doing it for a specified requirement might help me with the discipline I need to stick to it.
According to Michael J. Dangler, the mental discipline requirement can be completed in a umber of different ways, including daily rituals instead of simple seated meditation. I have decided to combine the two approaches. I recently bought the e-book of A Crane Breviary and Guide Book, also by Dangler, which contains complete solitary ADF rituals for the High Days, Moon Rites and Daily Shrine Rites and which now lives happily in my phone. So I’ve started this week doing the Daily Shrine Rite in the morning and drawing an Ogham stave as my “omen” to give me a guide-thought for the day ahead. In the central part of the small rite, I am including a short (3-5 minute) breathing meditation.
While Our Own Druidry suggests various ways of counting the breath, I find that in itself to be distracting, so instead I am simply trying to be aware of my breathing, its pattern and flow, how it feels in my body. When thoughts emerge, I notice them and then try to shift my awareness back to my breathing (not an easy task for someone prone to constant overthinking).
So far, I’ve been finding it fairly manageable and a very relaxing start to the day. It definitely helps me get off on the right foot for the day ahead. Let’s see how I find it five months down the line!
I’ve also been continuing my Nature Awareness, going for regular walks along the river on my lunch break, and in the local woods at the weekend. This weekend, I went to a small pond nearby and saw a whole host of spawning frogs and toads, a sure sign that spring is in the air! I plan on returning to that spot each week to check on the progress of the tadpoles as they hatch.