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It's awfully hard to want to do things when you are waiting for other things. Even when the things and the things are unrelated.
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Yesterday [livejournal.com profile] shetawymuti posted a quotation by Jim Morrison, which I'm going to pass along:

A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself— and especially to feel. Or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to— letting a person be what he really is....Most people love you for who you pretend to be....To keep their love, you keep pretending— performing. You get to love your pretense....It's true, we're locked in an image, an act— and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image— they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it— they feel like you're trying to steal their most precious possession. - Jim Morrison

Just because I've been meditating on it off and on.
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Meditation, to me, is like getting more exercise, or eating less chocolate--something you do (or think you should do) because you think you really ought to, but not something even remotely pleasant on its own. So, you know, I generally don't. Haven't really done it since I finished that requirement for ADF's Dedicant Program. Haven't missed it. I gave it a try last night but it had been a looong time.

But you know, I've realized that I'm not really sure what you're supposed to get out of it, not really. It seems like folks tend to see it a sort of cures-all, that anything from stress to ulcers to hangnails, try meditation. Well, maybe it is, I don't know. But now I'm curious.

What, exactly, do you folks with the discipline to meditate find that you get out of it? What are the benefits?
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The weather is warm, Dan is planning to take the girls to drum circle a bit later.

Me, I gave up drumming, at least for the time being. I used to like it. I liked it because it was something I could do that let me hit that bordering-on-alpha thing, something totally right-brained. (I tend to be fairly rational in my thinking, so anything that takes me away from that once in a while is nice.) I sucked at it, without a doubt, but could kind of follow what folks were doing enough not to clash horribly. Then someone introduced the concept of using patterns, reading the rhythm from sheets of paper. And now I can't do it anymore. It's not a huge thing--I just liked to drum on occasion, I wasn't passionate about it--but, well, it's just no longer something I can do with no reference to the left side of the brain, and that means it is no longer something I want to do. If I can ever get rid of the tendency to pay conscious attention to what I am doing, maybe I will take it up again.
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Yesterday Dan and I were talking about pagan groups and organizations. I still hold to my belief that human interaction is optimal within small groups. We build large ones because we need them, because we have developed into a society that needs them, but they never do work all that well.

I'm not bashing the big groups (heck, I belong to three, although I'm not all that active in all of them)--I like them, and what they are good at, they are very good at. Generally speaking, the groups I'm familiar with (ADF, The Troth, Hellenion) are great for networking and for providing information on their respective religions, for educating members, and for training clergy. All the big-picture stuff.

What you can't get out of a large organization is spiritual experience and group identity/cohesiveness/that sense of "family." For that, you need a smaller group. And the large organizations recognize this--ADF is made up of solitaries and of groves, and, honestly, there is a lot that a sol is not going to get out of ADF because they lack the grove experience. Same with Hellenion, I suspect. Both of those groups are designed around the concept of group worship, and provide for the formation of official groups--groups that are a part of the larger organization, and that fact is underlined by whatever requirements the larger organization puts on them (public rituals, reporting requirements, particular holidays that must be celebrated, etc.). The Troth does it a little differently; there are Troth-affiliated groups but as far as I know The Troth does not attempt to control what these groups do in any strong sense--and it seems to be more a matter of existing groups choosing to affiliate with the larger organization rather than smaller groups originating as a group of the larger organization.

My personal feeling these days is that, while I find my as-an-individual memberships in these groups rewarding, I am really not interested in affiliating as a group with any large organization. I like being autonomous--I like it that the only considerations as to what to do and how to do it are the preferences of our group. I just don't see any benefits to joining a larger organization as a group that would override the advantages of being a single unit, not at this point, at least.

But I know I could be thinking this because of having been part of a failed ADF protogrove--which is to say, the group stopped being a part of ADF. We existed for several years before then, and we are still going strong, several years later. Over time, we changed. I don't foresee any substantive changes in the future because we seem to have reached our home base as a heathen kindred. And the particular group of people was/is more important than any identification with a particular organization could be. What was important was finding a way that we-as-a-group could work together to honor the gods.
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I've decided, after watching the problems that seem built into so many large organizations, that we human beings are simply not equipped to work well in groups any larger than a tribe of hunter-gatherers would have been. (And sometimes I think we'd all be better off as hermits. Apart from the survival thing. :))
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