I try to keep in mind the ‘decidedly non-woo’ when I write blog posts about meditation or insight, because there isn’t much out there aimed at secular practitioners of contemplative arts, aside from some (great) Zen practices like koan study and Just Sitting.
That said, I think it shows sometimes, that I’m holding myself back, which isn’t as much fun as I’d like it to be. So here goes:
🙂 I like the woo.
Almost the only thing I don’t like about the woo, is explaining how the woo doesn’t mean buying into every new-agey idea uncritically, to some who have already solidified their opinions.
For some of us, it simply means being open to direct impressions which are often then described in symbols and metaphorical terms. It is a way of communication.
Some ‘believe’ that those metaphors and symbols (fairies, angels, etc.) are indeed real; some don’t, but like the practices and fantasy of it all; and some (me) have learned not to believe or not believe… to dive in and out as drawn, and to appreciate what resonates with others.
I have trouble sometimes setting firm boundaries and not second guessing myself, examining everything from a million angles. Woo is visceral.
Also, I must say, people who move in these waters tend to be open-hearted, lovely people.
I think this is the reason for learning detachment early on in one’s meditation practice. When detached (notice I didn’t say unattached), you aren’t fixed to any one way of being or choosing teams. You may enjoy and be drawn to certain expressions, but it is more important to respond moment by moment. Life becomes less linear – often far less limited.
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”— Lao Tzu
One seemingly ‘woo’ thing I’d like to write about soon, is channeling, and the various expressions of channeling that are actually everywhere, but we may not think of them as channeling. I always share the Elizabeth Gilbert TED Talk, which I watch every few months because I just find it so inspiring, but you know, until last month I would not have said that what she was talking about is channeling as most think of.
She describes creative process and communicating with, indeed romancing the muses. She even dips into the ways whole cultures find, to enter into ‘creative’ and ‘awe’ful states, so they can offer what is needed to their people in their times, seeking not too interfere too much in what appears.
From the outside, it all may seem strange, but when letting go into a state of sheer appreciation, there is an inclusive magic, a deep life dance we are reunited with, or shown as part of already.
Also, and stay with me now: MR. ROGERS! I’d never seen it before, but during the film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”, it comes really clear that using puppets was a way for the adult Fred Rogers to channel the child Fred Rogers. Through especially one puppet, he was able to express the deep vulnerability he felt as a child and never lost touch with, which in turn became a voice for many of us as children. We were able to imagine ourselves into those scenarios and to receive real love.
Fred Rogers left the show at some point, and began to try new things. But he returned when children, imitating fantasy characters like Superman, began to hurt themselves. It disturbed him that the new shows made for children seemed to have no character-building element, and that no one was teaching the kids to discern between what they saw on TV (for example, magic capes) and reality.
And actually the film is informative to this topic in another way, too.
Playing in capes and imagining themselves to be heroes, may expand children’s capacities for imagination, but the child must also learn to put the cape away and come back to this world. Each world sort of preserves and enriches the other.
Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you ― and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing does.