An Enlightened Druid?

Many people ask – what is enlightenment?  Oh for an easily explained answer.  The Buddha, when choosing his successor, simply held up a flower and one of his disciples was enlightened and smiled – he then became the successor.  There are many stories in Zen philosophy and spirituality about enlightenment, but none of these stories actually tell you just what it is. And nor should they – it is something to be experienced, not read or talked about.

Outiside of Japan, most Zen practioners experience enlightenment gradually, as opposed to the full smack upside the head that satori can create.  It is through meditaiton, and being completely aware that you gradually gain enlightenment.  As the ego starts to fall away, the so-called “real” self emerges.

To allow the ego to fall away, one technique is to use the “Don’t Know” mind.

“Everybody says, “I” — “I want this, I am like that…” But nobody understands this “I.” Before you were born, where did your I come from? When you die, where will your I go? If you sincerely ask, “What am I?” sooner or later you will run into a wall where all thinking is cut off. We call this “Don’t know.” Zen is keeping this “Don’t know” mind always and everywhere. When walking, standing, sitting, lying down, speaking, being silent, moving, being still. At all times, in all places, without interruption – what is this?” – taken from

It’s a hard thing to admit that we don’t really know anything.  And yet, any true scientiest will tell you that it is impossible to know 100% about anything – there is always margin for error.  When we embrace the fact that we don’t really know anything, whole worlds open up for us.  We can examine ourselves more deeply, and then ponder even on the notion of self if we were to take it one step further.  Enlightenment is said to strike when we realise that there is no self – that we are all part of everything else. In Zen, the term “oneness” is often used, but I don’t like the monopoly that this word invokes – instead I think of it as a “wholeness”.

When we are completely in the moment, when our chattering minds are stilled, when our sense of self falls away and there is only the now, we become enlightened.  In this state, many great things can happen – the perfect haiku is written, the archer and the target become one and the bullseye is hit without thought, the music simply flows, the painting emerges.

This reminds me of a similar term in Druidry, which is awen.  Many people now believe the Welsh word’s translation to be something akin to “flowing spirit” or “flowing inspiration”.  Is this any different to the Eastern version of enlightenment?  As Druids, we gain awen from the world around us, which inspires us to create or to be still, to act or to remain passive, to be in complete and total relationship with the world around us.  Not so different to satori, is it?  Again, to be in a perfect relationship with the world around us, we must learn not to separate the I from the It – instead viewing the world as a whole rather than as separate.  In this way, the inspiration or flowing spirit can flow freely down all channels directly into our soul and out into the wider web of the universe.

So, am I enlightened?

Don’t know.

14 thoughts on “An Enlightened Druid?

  1. This is the receptive nature of no mind, that I approach my poetry and music as, thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

  2. Thanks for the post, it is the receptive no mind that I approach my poetry and music, flow of experience painted within and expressed in words and song.

  3. “So am I enlightened ?” asks she
    “I don’t know” she answers herself.
    There is your answer say they.
    Do the enlightened seek publicity says they and he?
    Nice photo says she, they and he!!

  4. Autumn Song, use the tribal drums and tell Michael C Page that he has ommitted to carry out a very important task on the OBOD board. One which brings painful memories for me. He has neglected to wish all the May babies a happy birthday. How could he do that? He’s been there welcoming folks, especially the ladies, a ladies man maybe? But birthday babies. Michael!! Tut tut!

  5. I have a very clear perspective thanks Autumn Song. I can see straight through people!! A gift or a curse or maybe a bit of both.

  6. Good luck with your book and if you can pull all these strands in, in an harmonious way to promote world peace you are a stronger man or woman than I. Because my heart is broken but I go on day after day because others face much more heartbreak than I and I see strength in unexpected places. God grant us mercy.

  7. Good luck to you, Alan. May we treat others with compassion, for therein lies our greatest strength. We all go on as best we can, as Martin Luther said – “Here I stand, I can do no other”. Be in the moment, and be alive to the world. It’s all we can do.

  8. How are you on symbolism, pictures and the like? What do you think of the Fish Symbol as opposed to the Cross and is it important do you think? The symbolic hand gestures of the various Buddhas? I have seen some strange hand symbols lately carried out in front of my very eyes in an underhand way, obvious to only a few, secret signs and symbols and hidden symbols in art. Art, song, poetry and so on cross many cultures and peoples. I’m looking for my Irish roots and Irish Druids, Scots seem loud to me and quite forceful, the Irish are a gentle people. Do you know of an Irish Druid forum or network that welcomes strangers?

    • Hi Alan,

      I think symbols can be quite potent, but only if they are understood. Someone using a particular hand mudra without understanding the signficance behind it may benefit from it, but not fully. Likwise, a symbol of a fish or a cross has no significance for me, as I am not Christian – some symbols are beautiful in and of themselves, some puzzling and perplexing – others just plain weird. But always intriguing…

      Some of the Druid forums that I know of are The Druid Network and the British Druid Order. The Druid Network is by membership only, which I think is still only £10 a year – that gives you access to the forums and online gatherings, as well as the monthly newsletter, plus all the other free information already available on that fabulous website. The British Druid Order’s forum boards are fee, and are quite informative. Both organisations have very learned people there, and I’m sure that they will be able to point you in the right direction for connecting with your Irish roots.

      I love Ireland – everytime I go there I am enchanted once again,with the land, the people and the accent 🙂

  9. Thanks for your advice/help, my mother is probably my best resource in view of my Irish ancenstry and the folk tales within the family. I have a copy of the family tree from the maternal side, researched by my mother’s cousin, it is very interesting in fact. We are third generation Irish but trace our roots back to a King O ‘Farrell of Ireland. Some of us emmigrated to England during or just after the potato famine, one of my ancestors was born on a boat crossing the sea from Ireland to England. Ephraim.
    The Vesica Piscis, the fish symbol, reproduced at Glastonbury well, a symbol of the Goddess. The Bristish Druid Order I belong to, but am being currently ignored by for some reason,perhaps they have other loyalties but mask them very well. The Druid Network and it’s associates,I have absolutely no interest in or wish to explore in anyway.I don’t know why, just a fish gut instinct I suppose. But truth and love will prevail and ultimaltey I am loyal to truth and love

  10. Humans are full of emotions, anger, jealousy, love, hate.. insecurities.. especially when things are out of our control. Then we may resort to other techniques and strategies to try and control the object of our desire. We can become obessive, watch their moves and interactions, ask other people to do likewise on our behalf. This may cause some friction, everyone is not bought. Sometimes the only thing that is required is to say ” I love you”. Nothing more, nothing less and surprisingly you may find that the object of desire loves you, but had issues with an approach. Underhand tactics usually produce unexpected results, ie out of tune singing with gay vicars. More research needed sometimes or one just knows ones’s local area. Loves.x

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