Archive for July 9th, 2009

I recently visited a pagan group at a local prison. It was an extraordinary conversation that was truly inspiring. These men are working really hard to raise their level of consciousness. I haven’t met people outside of prison who are more passionate about the environment. They talked a lot about the amount of waste in the prison – food, paper, and other resources. They are acutely aware of just what is happening to the planet with the burning of fossil fuels and what the end of cheap oil will mean for our way of life. And they are doing their best to address this in the prison through leading by example and offering suggestions to the management of the facility.

One topic we discussed was “sphere of influence”. All are working hard to make the prison a better environment for people to live while paying their dues to the State, and to begin to build better lives for themselves when they get out. To me, this was great example of how we have to focus our energies on the relationships that are closest to us.

We also discussed life being in the moment, that we all could die at any second, and what is the value of our pagan practices in the face of that reality. All life is change – continuous creativity, sliding into decay, and then once more the elements gather into new creativity. Paganism offers us a sense of certainty in the face of the reality that there is no certainty in life. The path helps us find acceptance for the fact that nothing in life is fixed. And it helps us develop the ability to raft these ever shifting currents.

I encouraged the group to focus on developing honorable conscious relationship, right where they are at. And to that end, their pagan practices off much. These teachings tell us, not just to wake up, but also provide us tools to do so, the tools to be fully present in life. And they teach us that being present is at the core of truly honorable, respectful, conscious relationship. For when part of us isn’t present, our ability to navigate relationship is compromised.

These men realize this fully. They are diving deeply into their pagan tradition and trying to live the path as fully as possible. They are faced with incarceration and owning up to their crimes and how that has affected the victims as well as the greater community. Yet at the same time, they are walking the talk with a level of dedication that I rarely see in pagans. From these men, I have learned the value of faith.

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