Today, Roderick explains that as part of our main spiritual point of becoming unified with nature, we Wiccans do our best to give of ourselves because nature gives of itself freely. As he says, “the grass grows no matter how many times you mow it. Trees annually come to blossom and offer their fruit, never giving thought to who eats. This natural selflessness, then, is the most powerful position in which you can place yourself for Lughnassadh.”
And so we start a practice to learn the art of natural giving, which could also be defined as selflessness. This makes sense to me, seeing as one of the things that sets humanity apart from most of nature is our ability to recognize selfhood and do absolutely everything we can to preserve the self. Selflessness might even be something we can only attain in a larger, labor-divided grouping and–as such–is probably something that must be cultured rather than innate.
Roderick reminds everyone that selflessness is not slavishness. It does not mean that one must give up his or her own agency or submit to abuse. It just means “not resisting when things need to be done” and “releasing into the flow of your own life without hesitation.” In other words, selflessness is “engaging fully with nature and the universe” and “being life itself, which gives unquestioningly.”
Practice: Giving by Listening
Choose an hour when you will listen deeply to someone else without commenting about your own life or interests. Simply listen with full attention to the details of the speaker’s words. Repeat back in your own words the information you have heard to demonstrate to the speaker that you have heard what he or she had to say.
For this exercise, I chose to call my mother. I knew that she would probably be able to talk for near an hour–our conversations are regularly at least 40 minutes–and that between the divorce happenings, my brother Jordan being released from prison on the 17th, houseguests, kitchen updates, gardening thievery, and everything else, she would probably want to talk more than she would want to listen.
And darn it all if I didn’t get some good listening in. Not once during our entire 41 minute conversation did I offer my opinons, offer advice, or say anything about myself. Jordan is apparently doing well in his handful of post-prison days. He shot a rabbit in the garden which he and my grandmother have cleaned and are preparing to stew. My brother Zachary illegally caught two fish with my legally-fishing Uncle Ed. Everyone’s helped Mom plant all the plants she stole from the house on 53rd St at my grandmother’s. And Mom somehow came across a bajillion heirloom tomato plants of all sorts of varieties which she’s really excited about planting this year. And her renovations of my grandmother’s kitchen sound very promising–she’s so pleased with how everything’s turning out. And she even told me about a loofa soap she got and how the woman made them!
My mother certainly was a chatterbox, and she really needed to talk. I’m glad I was able to let her just talk and be heard today.