117: BEYOND BELIEF!
WED 26 MAY 12.13 - Mooning Monthly not believing everything it's told....
Aye aye beloved Mooners
We start this year's summer eclipse season with the approaching full moon eclipse in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is heavily pregnant with personal and collective belief systems and during the heightened emotions of an eclipse we are likely to stand up for ours regardless of the difficulties we may birth as a consequence.
And what are beliefs anyway? I read a good definition once (I wish I could remember where) that suggested beliefs are merely thoughts that have been repeated enough times to become believable. For example, Donald Trump believed he would be a good president of the USA. He believed he was 'cheated' out of a second term in the Oval Office. Evidence suggests otherwise on both counts but his strongly held beliefs, born of overwhelming white (orange in his case) male privilege, carried him a long way.
Are beliefs things we know? Rarely it turns out. (Lovely brief article from 2010 on the derivation of belief) More often than not they are the current expression of our social and cultural conditioning, much of which we barely recognise. White people in a white majority cultural setting will often express surprise that people of colour living in that same culture see society as inherently racist. White folks generally don't like to consider themselves racist and yet the systems which they are complicit in maintaining on a daily basis may well be contributing to a culture that is.
In liberal circles we are regularly advised not to believe everything we're told. But how many of us take time to evaluate the subconsciously authored stories that we habitually tell ourselves, and which end up dominating the narrative of our life experience. Be prepared. The I'm not worthy mind set may well will be fired up by this lunar eclipse. The subliminal beliefs we unthinkingly take for granted are quite often the aspects of our lives that require the greatest scrutiny if we want to nurture change and growth for the benefit of All.
Sagittarius operates best given space. The obvious suggestion this week then, is to get out into some - nature's mollifying call is a wonderfully effective route to calming, aligned balance with wider existence. With very little conscious engagement, being in nature takes us 'out of ourselves' and harmoniously integrates our perceptions into the bigger picture. Time in nature is perpetually beneficial, however, it could be seen to remove us from our domestic complexities in an act of almost willful denial or escape. Those complexities are always waiting at home on our return.
Under this Sagittarius Full Moon Eclipse, illumined Mooners might choose to seek the less overt space defined by the parameters of our daily lives. It's a huge challenge. How can we create space for ourselves when the walls of routine circumstance so often appear to restrict us? The answer lies, as ever, within. To develop an internal resilience is to create an inner space in which to observe ones habitually reactive thoughts (determined by our belief constructs) before they develop into impulsive action.
This momentary pause in the path from thought to action is the chief goal of Mindfulness/meditation. It establishes a consciously derived hiatus in our habitual patterns of behaviour to provide the possibility of choice: choice of action, which is ultimately a choice of perception. To choose a positive response in adversity is possibly the greatest act of conscious creativity available to us. Some wisdom traditions have gone as far as to suggest that it is the path to 'salvation' from humanity's long standing relationship with suffering.
And how do we cultivate that mindful pause? We've detailed the methodology in these columns before but here's a quick recap:
- Find a quiet spot and moment (eg: as soon as you get out of bed in the morning and/or last thing at night.... but just as relevantly during your mid-morning toilet break or before returning to work after lunch; anytime that feels appropriate really.... ) then sit comfortably on a chair/loo with your back straight.
- Concentrate solely on the physical sensations of your breath cycle - inbreath and outbreath - familiarizing yourself with your body's own natural rhythm.
- Focus attentively on the breath to the exclusion of all else. The busy chatter of the mind will initially distract you but don't be discouraged, the distractions are only thoughts after all; acknowledge their presence then immediately return your concentration to the breath.
- Practice as often as feels comfortable for as long a period as feels comfortable or effective. Three minutes is a great start then extend as feels appropriate.
In just a short period of regular practice you will find that the noisy chatter of the mind will slow down, quieten and eventually, if only for a fleeting moment, stop. In that destination space of 'no thought' you are sovereign. Choice becomes yours. You are no longer a slave to involuntary, impulsive, often emotional reactions derived from a lifetime of social and cultural conditioning. The opportunity for wisdom emerges. With practice one can evoke at will this state of 'being' rather than 'doing'. Thoughts no longer arouse immediate emotional disturbance. Long term, it provides a foundation of inner calm that underpins one's entire life experience.
That inner peace is not built on belief, it is beyond belief, beyond thought, surpassing understanding yet remaining an irrefutable, heart-felt visceral experience available to all. Few folks choose to explore it with any serious intent, but those that do will speak zealously of the peace it imparts. If you haven't yet given it a go, this week, under our Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse might be the perfect time to try.
If you think you are going to struggle on your own (watch out for those self judgements of inadequacy) there are loads of free meditation and mindfulness forums online that might get you started. (Click here for one that looks good - as yet untested at Mooning HQ) It's not rocket science though. It's such a straightforward process, costs nowt and is constantly available wherever you are. Tuck in Mooners, There's a delicious feast of conscious awareness to be savoured!
This Sagittarius Full Moon Eclipse is set to challenge our most closely held beliefs and their direct effect on our life experience. Can we harness its illuminating influence to assess with dogmatic, objective rigour how close our beliefs align to irrefutable Truth? And if our beliefs prove to be all out of whack (welcome to the club folks...) can we garner the courage necessary to entertain and implement meaningful change?
Whether we like it or not, the next fortnight is likely to see us being moved out of our habitual comfort zones. The suggestion here is to embrace any new perspective that appears on our horizon rather than compulsively resisting its arrival. Under this Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse, conscious encouragement of new thoughts, friends, ideas, circumstances, understandings, collaborations, projects, communications and actions will contribute to the development of positive new belief systems that we can all share and enjoy together. It is key to healing our planet and each other.
Keep the Mooning flag flying friends. If you've enjoyed this missive please share it with those you think might be of a similar Moonish persuasion. With love 'til next time.... Mark
Do please look out for next month's edition of MOON LIT which features the poet and folklore enthusiast Philip Leamon. Phil is an English teacher and Head of Sustainability at Cranleigh School. He is a lover of folk music and tales; enjoys gardening, writing, playing the ukelele and making his own cider. He is currently completing a new book The Mouth of the Valley with artist Mark Weighton due for publication later this year, detailing their respective poetic and visual relationships with the River Wey Valley that runs through their home town of Godalming, Surrey. He has a beautifully crafted poetic narrative to share with the widening readership of MOON LIT so don't miss the next issue due to arrive in your inbox as the Leo New Moon rolls around just before midsummer. Astra Papachristodoulou's wonderfully circuitous multi media offering of poetry and visual art is still available to read in MOON LIT Edition 5 (here). It's well worth another viewing as our belief systems fall under the spotlight of this Sagittarius Full Moon Lunar Eclipse.
FULL MOON MARKS
EACH MONTH DURING 2021 WE WILL CHART THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SINGLE, YEAR LONG LUNAR INSPIRED DRAWING BY ARTIST AND FELLOW MOONER MARK WEIGHTON
32 x 24cm charcoal on paper
MORE MOON MARKS
UNTIL 20TH OF JUNE MARK'S RECENT PAINTING 'CONSTELLATION' CAN BE SEEN AT THE LIGHTBOX GALLERY IN WOKING, SURREY, FEATURING IN THE SHOW 'VICTORIA SQUARE ART PROJECT'