Focus & Depth

Back in late February I shared my current long-term goals. I had promised to share my progress toward these goals like I did last year. But life took a turn, as life is wont to do, and here it is July and I have not shed any light into this year’s process.

The reason I am finally writing about my goals four months past when I intended is complex and at some level still a mystery even to me. But the last few blogs on balance are an output of my process, so it makes sense (at least to me) to share more of what is happening to produce these latest musings.

The long-term goals I shared were deepen my spiritual journey, nurture the sustainable, passionate and creative fabric of my life, and share my message. This is a much shorter list when compared with last year's, which reflects the narrowing of my focus along with a deepening of my vision. Each of these goal statements needed further definition, so I have spent the last several months clarifying my priorities and I think I can share some of what each of these mean to me at this juncture.

My plan is to write about each of these goals over the next several weeks. I may still intersperse this series with some of my regular rants -- continuing recent threads or maybe even begin some new ones.

Deepen My Spiritual Journey

This goal has three components; study, practice and my tradition. I will cover the first two today, and discuss my spiritual tradition in a subsequent post.

Study: Specifically, my focus is to study wisdom traditions. I started the year with my reading of Sufi, Yoga, and Buddhist texts. I am slowly working my way through Evelyn Underhill’s books on mysticism while simultaneously studying advanced dreamwork. And this fall, I will begin the certification program for archetypal pattern analysis with the Assisi Institute.

I realized a couple of years ago that my reading had almost dropped to a trickle when I began wearing bifocals. So I purchased a pair of reading glasses so I could stop the incessant head bobbing associated with getting my head in the right position to read below the invisible line. But until I started to focus on reading this year, I had not realized how much I have been starving for intellectual nourishment.

I use to inhale books. My reading speed has dropped significantly from the more than 2,500 words per minute of my pre-glasses stage. So this goal includes me making time in my life for some serious reading. I had started to pick up speed before the prednisone slowed me down again. I figure this will work itself out in time, as long as I continue to make time for reading.

With the exception of old-school science fiction and some recent graphic novels, I tend to primarily read non-fiction. And I have been collecting a ton of books over the years that I have not had the time to read. Who knows, with this goal, I might finally make a dent in that pile.

Spiritual Practice: My spiritual practice has multiple components. The first is canonical prayers. I have been slowly adopting canonical hours for a couple of years. Well this year saw the debut of my canonical prayers; I have six prayers throughout the day along with a mid afternoon astrological mediation.

The prayers are offered at waking, 9 am(Air), noon(Fire), 3 pm, 6 pm(Water), 9 pm(Earth) and bedtime. Each prayer has an elemental component, a patron diety component or both. The 3 pm meditation is based on the correlation of days of the week with the seven elder planets, i.e Sunday/Sun, Monday/Moon, Tuesday/Mars, Wednesday/Mercury, Thursday/Jupiter, Friday/Venus, and Saturday/Saturn. So each day at 3 pm, I meditate on the planet of the day in its current astrological sign using the element and modality of the sign as my jumping off point.

Lately the pattern is that I remember to do the earlier practices, i.e. morning, air and fire prayers. But I sometimes forget to do the water and earth prayers, and the bedtime prayer has been missed consistently for weeks. By the time my head hits the pillow, I am so exhausted that the idea of prayer completely fades. I have been meditating on this quandary and I am beginning to think it is related to my sleeping problems as of late.

The reason I am so exhausted at night is because I have been waking up at earlier and earlier each day – often between 3:30 and 6 am. Sometimes I can coax myself back to sleep but that leaves me with a drugged out feeling the rest of the day. So now if I cannot go back to sleep within 30 minutes, I just get up, which leads to extremely long days. Once I realized how my sleep problems were impacting my prayers, I stopped ignoring it and began working on a solution. I also stopped beating myself up for basically being sleepy as all get out. (Oddly this is preferable to the sleep two hours, get up and pee, repeat cycle of the prednisone induced sleep. So I am not going back on a night time dosage just yet.)

The other components have to do with ritual, meditation, incorporating spiritual components to some of my existing routines and other practices whose aim is deepening my journey. I already had prayers and mantras inside my yoga practice. So now I am adding even more intention to my planning, routines and day-to-day activities. This is a work-in-progress.

Next up, The Order of the Elemental Mysteries.