As I keep reminding us both, Beltane is a time of creation and a time of re-creation. The word ‘recreation’ has become rather trite and superficial in common 21st century usage. We use it primarily to categorize non-work activities, but the attitude we bring to most recreational activities is so rigid and demanding that what we claim is “leisure,” actually becomes more work than our job. And, if you think I am exaggerating, watch the faces of children “playing” league soccer or baseball or tennis. If you still think I am exaggerating, take a peek at your Visa or Mastercard bill and notice the cost of the shoes, the uniforms, the equipment…or your own expenses for golf or tennis coaching, or for your personal trainer. And if you still think I am exaggerating, read the stories about the parents who have beaten an umpire or referee to death for a call the official made against the parent’s child.
That is not recreation by any definition of the word.
Re-creation in an intentional and attentive way of being which involves inner space and deep silence. It involves a willingness to let go of the end result and to trust in an unfolding process. Re-creation is simultaneously joyful and terrifying. And messy. Like birth itself, re-creation will probably involve blood and water and a lot of panting and pushing. But if you have ever been present at a birth (either giving birth or watching), you may remember that pushing only works when the time is right. Pushing before that is wasted energy; it drains one of power and, sometimes, of confidence and hope.
Re-creation is not only something that occasionally happens by grace, something we receive from a power outside ourselves; it is also something in which we can intentionally engage as a spiritual practice. This week, I offer you the following meditation. Before you begin, you may want to refresh your meditation or shrine space with a small pot of growing seeds or an herb with a sweet or spicy scent.
Close your eyes if you are comfortable doing that. Or you may prefer to use the flame of a candle as a focal point to help your mind be still. Become aware of your breathing and allow it to be slow and deep, until you feel centered and calm.
As you move closer and closer to the center of your being, allow images to slip from your mind’s eye as much as you can until you reach an experience of ‘seeing’ no-thing. Keep breathing and focus on your breath to help you release images until you feel yourself in the space-time before creation when there is nothing but a formless void over the deep.
In that eternal moment before creation, you feel the touch of a wind, a breeze, a breath that is not your own. Words whisper, or sing, or shout, or murmur into your ear, your mind, your heart. The words invite you to create, to bring something out of no-thing.
Just pause and, without judgment, notice what you are feeling. Name the feeling, if you can. Take as much time as you need. Enjoy the feeling. Perhaps it is excitement, awe, delight, fear, hope, wonder, confusion.
The breath or words invite you again to create.
Without thinking about it (as much as that is possible for you), let yourself image a Self, your Self. Let Self unfold in your heart or mind however it happens. What appears first? What is new or what is the new balance you feel? Do you know when you are done? How? What feels familiar? What feels different?
Notice your response to this re-creation.
When you are ready, bless your Self with the words, “You are good. You are very good.” Then, take 3 or 4 more deep breaths and open your eyes gently; let yourself become centered in this time and place. Take some time to write or draw some reflections on the meditation, something that you can return to this week and consider again.
You may want to do this exercise more than once. It may take you more than one time through to notice differences in Self. The shift may be very small or it may feel monumental. Each day is a new life, a new beginning. Beltane is a time of paying attention to and actively cultivating that fresh perspective.
Photos © 2012, Immram Chara, LLC
Text © 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
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