This is so brilliant, I can’t understand how I never thought of it before, but wondering is the polar opposite of knowing. Wonder occurs when you don’t know why something is happening and just taking simple pleasure in the affective. Roderick says that “wondering is about unlearning your life and your relationships to everything and everyone [… it] is experiencing the wisdom that emerges when you release opinions or judgments about life.” It also opens up extreme flexibility of response and can bring one around to the most creative expressions and solutions. Eventually, “the power to wonder allows Witches to discover truth as it reveals itself in each moment without resorting to fixing perceptions, cognitive understanding, or mental anticipation.” Unfortunately, with wonder unchecked by knowledge, individuals can appear “inattentive, spacy, sleepy, distractable, dense, and dull-witted.”
Roderick asks us to evaluate our own relationship to wonder by answering the following questions:
- In what ways do you feel you are connected to the power to wonder?
- In what ways do you feel disconnected from the power to wonder?
- What are the dangers of not knowing?
- Would not knowing have any benefits in your life?
I think I am drawn to wonder, but I don’t know how to just let myself go. I’m drawn to magic, which is inherently something wonderful…but there’s still a part of me rationalizing why we Witches do what we do and placing explanation over the actions. Therefore, I have a great appreciation for it, but I think I’ve gotten too estranged from the childlike place to find my way back.
The dangers of perpetual wonder would probably be a social estrangement. In the Harry Potter books, for example, the character Luna Lovegood could be considered a person completely lost to wonder. None of the other characters quite understand where she’s coming from because she basically has a vocabulary of her own–she responds to the world in her own way, and no one else can ever really share that response with her. On the bright side, Luna is also one of the most insightful characters and is not afraid to speak her mind–she has full confidence in her convictions and delights in sharing them. It’s an odd tightrope.
Practice: Rebalancing Wondering
When you notice that you are imbalanced in wondering, take time to practice this grounding exercise called “adjusting the breath.” Sit in a comfortable chair and align your head and spine. Instead of beginning your usually breath by inhaling, begin a breath by exhaling and voiding the lungs completely. Allow your solar plexus region to contract inward, toward the spine, as far as it can. What is important here is that you get all of the air out of your lungs. Once you reach your own limit of inward contraction (and please don’t do this to the point of discomfort), release your hold and allow the lungs to fill naturally. Do not try to compensate for the voiding of your lungs by deeply refilling with a large breath of air. Instead, simply allow the lungs to release from the contraction and fill naturally, of their own accord. Repeat this process three more times. Finally, allow the breath to settle into its own natural rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. Following this exercise, your mind should be refocused and clear. If not, repeat the process as needed.
Hm. I think perhaps I should take up some basic yoga practices again. I actually had a hard time with this. Voiding the lungs was sort of easy, but refilling them was a hurky-jerky process to keep from taking in that large breath of air. I could stand to practice this exercise a lot more, but from this take, I can see how it can help bring more focus instead of wonder to a mental perception. I feel much more prepared to say something purposed rather than bask in wonderment.