Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.
As an atheist who meditates and practices a little paganism to ground that meditation, I proceed with the only thing I can know for sure – I have thoughts. My mind is the only thing I can confirm exists as far as consciousness and the nature of consciousness is such that it has debates about it. I have very little doubt that consciousness is something that develops and grows as our brain does and that it takes a long time to become fully aware of how it works.
I find that meditation is not about clearing my mind so much as it is centering and capturing my thoughts. Like taming a wild bronco, at least temporarily so I can ride it for a little while before it throws me off. It allows me to have some order in the chaos of what I think if even for just a little while. Much of life is chaos so discipline keeps part of it sane from our perspective. For me that is what meditation does for my thoughts.
Time to Look Through the Eye:
“To see the truth, change one eye for another”
My meditation time is on the Nine Noble Virtues because virtue is what I am striving for. Regardless of spiritual questions, virtue and following it has benefits. I would doubt any jsut god would reject honest striving for virtue. Malevolent gods should be rebelled against and if there is no god, well virtue has its own rewards. Cue Marcus Aurelius. My issue during meditation is to thing deep in a specific virtue in relationship to myself.
There is still a lot of mystery to how this works but change does take place as I have become much calmer in recent months. That is I feel much better about my thoughts. Probably because I recognize there is no such thing as sinful thoughts only human ones and in particular my thoughts. No thought rises to holy or falls to sinful They are thoughts and nothing more, but it is the mystery of how to make them work for my benefit that keeps me at the meditation altar.
Consciousness, Relationships, and Virtues are the essence of my atheist spirituality. Nothing more or less. It is true real spirituality because it is grounded in that which can be proved to be real – for the most part. At the end of the day this is part of meditation – what can I prove is real other than my own thoughts.
So I will spend my morning at least in part at the meditation altar for the reasons of taming the raging thoughts into something more focused and useful. But at the same time, it is the wild bronco of my thoughts that I admire. The wild nature of them is their strength and power. I jsut seek to ap into them for a little while.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.