Today (thankfully) we get to take a break from the meet-call-intone-pass-invoke pattern before we begin it again for the three god aspects. Instead, we have the first of twelve contemplative days. In a way, it’s pretty much just meditation on a question, but Roderick gives us the following guidelines to help tackle it:
How to Use the Contemplative Question
To begin working with any of the contemplative questions, you should first find a comfortable meditative sitting position in a quiet space. Since this month’s question symbolically aligns with the compass direction of east, you should arrange your chair or zafu so that you can sit facing that direction. Light a candle, set it in front of you, and sit approximately two feet away from the flame. (Choose an appropriate colored candle for the question if you wish.)
As you sit comfortably and settle your consciousness, cast your gaze upon the flickering candle. Imagine that you hold the contemplative question firmly in the abdominal region. Imagine that you apply pressure to the question as though you were internally gripping an imaginary ball with your abdominal muscles. Relax your shoulders and arms and breathe normally. Sit with this internal “holding” of the contemplative question for 20 minutes. If you should notice extraneous thoughts intruding as you concentrate on holding your contemplative question, simply maintain awareness that thoughts are coming and going in the mind, but quickly shift your focus back to holding the question.
Try not to solve the question through rational means of any sort. Just hold the question internally until an intuitive answer emerges. It is important to note that an answer to the contemplation may not emerge in one 20-minute sitting alone. You may not intuit an answer in direct response to your meditative inquiry. It may occur to you hours, days, or weeks later. For this reason, it is important to merge with the contemplative question and engage it through each of your everyday tasks. Be prepared to receive an intuitive answer at any given moment. Give this process time and eventually a shift in your perception will take place through which you will realize your own answer.
And the question?
What is at the center of knowledge?
Now, I currently live with my parents and will be for another couple of months. Mom’s not too keen on Wicca. I’m at a stage in life now where I want to say “Accept or let me go,” but she really just can’t handle stress from my corner right now. Unfortunately for me, today was a day where Mom was up and about, all over the house, and popping in my room to ask me all manner of questions.
So I did my contemplating in the shower. Some of the best darn things in life can happen there…and in this instance, it was actually beneficial.
I am a student, and I am beginning a career as a teacher. As such, the question of knowledge and how to get it has been on my mind for several years now. In high school and college, I would look around at all the stony faces of my classmates and realize that my teacher or professor could be the best damn instructor in the world and it wouldn’t make a difference. My classmates simply didn’t have the desire to learn.
Last year when I did this contemplation, “desire” shot through me as the answer. This time, I wasn’t so sure.
As I relaxed in the water, I realized that desire to learn was just the first step at the center. I know that when I begin graduate school in September, I’ll be quickly exposed to ideas and theory that I haven’t encountered before. Learning about some will turn my own ideas upside down. But I know I’ve got to be open to them, or I won’t be pursuing knowledge. Instead, I’ll have plateaued at grasping one tiny corner of a whole. So alongside desire is also reception. And yet, the two of them are also incomplete. I have to have the drive to follow through–to make sure I have mastered the new knowledge by using it–by writing papers, or creating stories; forging new rituals; making a new product. If I procrastinate on this end, my knowledge stays superficial and slowly ebbs away until it is forgotten. So I need desire, reception and strength to pursue knowledge.
Now, I know that knowledge is a quality of air. Interestingly enough, desire is a fire quality, reception is water, and strength is earth. I need the three to make the fourth. To know, to will, to dare, and to be silent.