People who follow our practice have spoken about how difficult they find the ceremonial forms we use. Some of that difficulty can be connected to how our forms hark back to what they were doing on Sundays as children. Yes, and there can be a bit of out with the old and in with the new attitude when looking for a new religion in later life. Such difficulties can come up on ones first encounter and the responses are varied. Most are sufficiently drawn towards meditation to give ‘the rest’ some space and time rather than up and leave. That was the case for me. Others go on to find a practice more suited to where they are in their spiritual search.
After many years of practice difficulties with aspects of form can have one going through the motions and eventually asking oneself, How can I honorably be here reciting scriptures with a confused and resentful heart? It happened to me. I was advise that I was not required to feel a certain way while singing and bowing. For example feeling devotional, uplifted, inspired, humble or grateful during a ceremony (or at any other time for that matter). The significant thing being to sit still within myself allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go while whatever is happening in the room continues. This would be the advice we would give for everyday meditation. Who would have thought of such a simple solution!
In the extracted quote below a reader and regular commenter reflects on being at a bonfire and fireworks celebration and notes a feeling of emptiness during it. As he put it, This is not the pregnant emptiness of our true nature but the hollow emptiness of jaded form.
Bringing oneself afresh each day, or each year, to events repeated over many years can be a challenge. I’d say the challenge is worth facing and likely to be productive of going deeper in ones encounter with life/form. The form, ones life?, might be a bit tarnished with age however the heart that’s present need not be.
I enjoyed the fireworks yet noticed too some sadness; a similar feeling to the one generated by new year’s eve. It’s the empty celebration. This is not the pregnant emptiness of our true nature but the hollow emptiness of jaded form. Yes it’s fun to see the display and be in a crowd of cheerful people yet somehow the very scale of the display and impersonal nature of the crowd left me feeling remote.
Holding no bough
This post is for Bill, mentioned in the above post, who has twelve months to live due to an advanced cancer. And with thanks to Dave.