I’ve been wondering over the last few months about the efficacy and benefit of many things, this blog being one. It is perhaps more accurate to say ‘blogging in general’ as there are so many voices clamoring for attention that yet another in the chaos seems pointless, but making an impact on people is not my goal here. Neither is simply vomiting my experiences and thoughts into one place for the sole purpose of seeing my half-formed thoughts coalesced into some sort of partially intelligible collection. When it comes right down to it, though, this blog is only one of many related undertakings that I have been questioning.
My participation in ADF is another. When I joined Ár nDraíocht Fhéin I thought that I would find something … well, other than what I found. It is really too — almost laughably — predictable, and truly I have realized that I have been living the same pattern in many areas of my life: I expect to find in a group or book, really in some external source, what properly can only be found through living personally, immediately and freely in all that is around me. Patience and temperance always seem to be bitter bedfellows, though, but in the end my urge to invest my own given goals in some other, external thing ends in disappointment. One always must do one’s own work. This is not to say that I think ADF is not viable, genuine or otherwise beneficial in its religious capacity, just that I have taken it for something that it is not.
The turning of this past moon has seen the closing of a surprisingly uncomfortable chapter. Our move from South Carolina to British Columbia saw me in a perpetually cantankerous mood, suffering what one reader (who I doubt reads my blog any more) referred to as an ‘existential style hangover.’ The cause was not, as she suggested, overindulgence in the ‘mind-candy’ offered by mass media but a year beating my head against walls established by my own insistence and anger. Don’t misunderstand me; anger is amazingly useful, but it is as insidiously dangerous as radioactive material.
Like fear, lust and other primal emotions (most notably the predatory instinct present excessively in violent criminals) anger blinds one to the connections between all things, throwing its sufferer back into one’s own self. This blindness is really an inability to empathize, to participate in what our society calls ‘our common humanity.’ People become nothing but the objects of our motivating emotion; our anger allows us to lash out no matter how we hurt those around us, our lust allows us to use people as sex-objects, our fear turns all others into monsters, and we lose ourselves with our connection to those around us.
Contrary to the unspoken sensibilities of humanism, this connection is not limited to other humans. Connections lie between each of us and all things, but each discrete connection has its own characteristic nature. Connections with other humans occur to us in sympathy, empathy and our sense of a common nature. The word ‘love’ is often used to refer to this sense of connection, since we can love each other, our pets, the natural world and even ideas or abstract notions, each with its own proper set of experiences and resonances. ‘Love’ is particularly useless as a word for this, though, because it is imprecise and gives no real indication of how higher states of connection and perception may be reached or properly embodied.
How to deepen this sense of connection is tied intrinsically to my own ability to harness these emotions. Resisting only gives power to these. Perhaps a more accurate formulation would be to draw a parallel to body-surfing (as I’ve never been properly surfing). Trying to force one’s way through or onto a wave takes an enormous amount of effort and usually ends in violence, tumbling end over end into the sand. Understanding the cyclical nature of waves and working with their various forces not only takes very little effort but makes for one brilliant ride. How much more complex and powerful are our emotions!
So here I am returning to my blogs and picking up the thread in a wholly different place and time. Let’s see where it leads …