As you observe silence today, focus your attention on your sense of smell. This may be difficult to do for extended periods of time, so throughout your day, find 10-20 minute intervals during which you will be able to focus your attention on what it is you smell in your immediate environment. Do you smell your body? Do you smell other people? Do you savor the smell of your food? When the day is complete, answer these questions:
- What was it like to focus my attention on my sense of smell?
- Am I a person who reacts strongly to environmental smells?
- In what way did my sense of smell impact my thoughts, emotions, or spirit?
For today’s practice, take time to ask yourself the following:
- Of the information I have learned up to now, what stands out most as vital?
- What information seems least relevant to my spiritual development?
- Which of the practices seemed to move me spiritually, and which had little impact?
- Of the information I have learned so far, what would be best to review? (Take time to review it now.)
I didn’t have any earth-shaking realizations when I focused my attention on my sense of smell. Paying extra attention to smell did actually make me feel more grounded and more present in the moment, if that makes any sense. It was harder to let my mind wander off when I was actively smelling. I did note, though, that I don’t really react much to environmental smells. My housemate Katie, for example, can’t stand the smell of vinegar and immediately notices if I used it to clean something hours prior. I, on the other hand, barely notice the smell even when I’m using it. Pretty much the only things I know of that are sure to pull a negative visceral reaction from me is the smell of vomit and the smell of rotting banana skins (which constantly fill our compost bucket). Smells do, however, do impact my thoughts and emotions. Resinous smells put me in mind of circle and help set my brain to a more spiritual setting. Citrus smells make me feel way more energetic, and grapefruit in particular seems to put me into a better mood. Vanillas make me feel sexy. The smell of the hot ground after a rain brings a huge smile to my face. And certain smells immediately send me straight back to a half-forgotten memory.
In review, I think the recent work on circle casting has really been among the most vital. I’ve never really broken it down step by step before, and it’s really given me time to focus very hard upon the energy work at hand. It’s easy to slip into just saying the words and performing the actions and ignoring energy altogether. I really appreciated this opportunity to get back to basics.
Some of the least relevant things have had to deal with tool crafting and acquisition. Partly this is because I already have a set of tools that I love, but another part is that I’ve practiced for years without having dedicated tools. Heck, in my high school days, I did the best I could with my fingers and a special cup and bowl (the agate rock ones I brought back from a trip to England and Scotland). I couldn’t even smuggle a bowl of water into my room without it looking suspicious, and incense made my mother sneeze. And yet I still practiced, and I practiced very well. I don’t think it was absolutely vital to acquire tools just to have tools for these exercises.
I think that some of the more recent things that have moved me the most, spiritually, is calling down the God and the Goddess. I’ve always struggled with prayer, and some days I think I might as well be atheist. But when I call down…I feel that someone is listening who really cares about me, and I can speak with them more honestly than I can to anyone else in my life.
It would be best for me to review the energy work at each step of circle again. I should really nail it completely.