“…and I’m just a Buddhist.”

Seated Buddha Torso
Seated Buddha Torso, late 3rd century. Green limestone, 16 3/4 x 15 in. (42.5 x 38.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.227.24. Creative Commons-BY

Our little clan (made up of just the people that I live with) includes me (Druidic Buddhist with a Wiccan background), a Discordian Heathen with Chaos magic background, a Hellenic polytheist (my wife), and three young people who don’t make much mind about spirituality at this point.  Our extended chosen family is even more of a mixed bag.

When the conversation turns to types of spirituality, I am wont to say “And I’m just a Buddhist.”  This somewhat upsets the missus, and she called me on it recently.  To her, my comment seems to diminish and dismiss my spirituality and is a negative.  Full disclosure: I also live with moderately severe major depression and anxiety, so negativity is particularly poignant in my case.

Anyway (and as I recall, my memory isn’t the best right now), as part of a larger conversation the other day, she flat out said that she doesn’t like it when I use that phrase to describe myself.  The message that I took away from her was that there is nothing wrong with being a Buddhist.  The word that upset her most was “just” because she sees it as me doing negative self talk.  I see it differently.

Part of Buddhist teaching is that everything in life is transient, nothing is permanent (See also: dukkha) and that unhappiness is caused by trying to hold on to something that will not remain.  I am currently trying to work back into Druidry through multiple avenues, but when it comes to my basic spirituality, I am, in essence, “just a Buddhist.”  I don’t think (or feel, anyway) as if I have a connection to Deity as the others in my house do, even the youngsters.  I don’t hear the proverbial “god-phone” ringing.  I don’t get the spiritual poke in the ribs by the divine.

I don’t know much of Druidry (at least, not consciously), but what I do know is that, in part, it celebrates the here and now and is present in this moment, this season. This is not different from the Buddhist doctrine.  Is Druidry significantly different than Buddhism?  Maybe.  But for now, I feel that I am mostly, simply, Buddhist.

Still, I am a little jealous of the people in my family whose god-phones ring.  I guess I want some external validation.

Book review: Zen Druidry: Living a Natural Life, with Full Awareness

Zen Druidry: Living a Natural Life, with Full Awareness  by Joanna van der Hoeven

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: I admit, when I picked up the this book from the Kindle store, I was hoping for some profound realization, something that I hadn’t run into before. I was hoping for something novel and exciting, something that I was missing in my knowledge and experience. What I got was (as the Buddhist saying goes) “nothing special.” That’s not to say that this disappointed me, far from it in fact. The blending of Zen Buddhism and Druidry that van der Hoeven does is as simple as being totally present in this very moment.  In doing so, in being fully present this very moment, we give honor and respect to everything we’re interacting with. Because, when you get down to it, this very moment is all that we have. This book is simple and direct. My only complaint is that the author is a little heavy-handed with the “Vegetarian GOOD, meat eating BAD” in one section.

As part of the Pagan Portals series, the author only has about 70 pages in which to explore a frankly deep topic, so it is obviously not terribly in-depth.  Philip Carr-Gomm gave Zen Druidry a good treatment on his website (see here) as well as offering two other texts that he recommends as follow-ons to this one.  I’ll have to pick them up and check them out, I think. Beside that, I think I might need to re-read this little book and maybe make some notes.

Hello world!

Hello again, Internet, it’s me.  I’m back under a different name, mostly unrelated to my public life.  I’m doing this mostly for myself, but also to hopefully help other people struggling with some of these same questions that I have.

Moon behind trees at nightfall
Moon behind trees at nightfall

I’ll be writing mostly about how I get Druidry and Buddhism to work together in my mind, and spirit, and how I adopt it to my family-oriented suburban mid-life reality.

A little about me:  I’ve been a practicing Pagan and specifically Wiccan in the past, but that didn’t satisfy me, so I eventually grew past that.  I’m a 20-year minister in the Universal Life Church, which is basically most of my adult life.  I live with depression and anxiety, which sometimes includes crippling self-doubt.  I’m a grad student.  I have a family of six that I live with, and have been married for about 17 years as of 2015.

I’ve been studying Buddhism with some gusto for about 10 years.  I’ve also had my hands on the Bardic grade course from the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids for about 10 years, which I have recently decided to pick up again and complete.  This is actually the second time that I’ve decided to pick it up again (first was several years ago), and I am in a very different place, mentally and spiritually.  I’ve also got a “study buddy” this time around, as one of my local associates had mentioned that he was had at least a passing interest in the course.  He is now a member of OBOD (a requirement for taking the courses) and working through the first couple of months worth of material.

I’ve been away from any sort of spiritual involvement for a long time, and have forgotten and “lost” a lot in the interim.  But, taking the Buddhist theory of beginners mind, I am starting anew.

Oh, and by the way, I am a darkling, a night walker.  I’ve been on the night shift almost all of the last 20 years.  Mornings for me are a bear, but get me into the night air and I come alive.