Archive for July 12th, 2009

People are often very surprised that my wife and I are huge fans of mixed martial arts fighting. They don’t see how we can connect the spiritual path with something so apparently violent. For me combat can be a sacred act and I greatly admire the skill and the determination these fighters have, the years of dedication to their training. I see these fights as a beautiful dance of violence that is mutually agreed upon and engaged in. I have met and trained with some of these professional fighters and I can tell you these are not people who like to hurt other people or have anger issues or anything like that. They just find deep inspiration in the act of competition. So the question is, how can competition be a sacred act?

My experience of deity is that deity is plural. They are the forces of Nature (the wind, sun, earth, hurricanes, tornadoes, winter cold, forest fire, and on and on). These are forces of Nature we ignore and disrespect at our own peril. I honour these gods for not to honour them is life threatening. They have the power to kill. They are conscious and they have their own agenda and life process.

There are also gods of human Nature (love, anger, trade, jealousy, lust, creativity, reason, music, fear, etc.). These are forces of Nature that are ubiquitous within the human experience. One of the more powerful ones is the god of war.

One aspect of Druidry is not submitting to the gods. We don’t “worship” the gods. We honour and respect and commune with them. We acknowledge their power and the affect they have in our psyche, in our lives. Submitting to deity is a dangerous proposition. Submit to the will of the ocean and you will drown or be smashed on the rocks. Submit to the will of winter and you will freeze to death. Submit to the power of the gods of human nature and the results are the same. The gods don’t care about us having a “”normal” live. We can learn however to feel their power and let that energy move through us without losing “control”. We stand as whole souls and craft relationships with the gods based on mutual respect. We are humbled for sure. We are in awe. But we aren’t slaves to their will. We meet them in relationship and from that sacred place, inspiration flows. And that brings me back round to mixed martial arts fighting.

In MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting, two people are able to participate in violence without submitting to the gods of war. They can pit their skills against another within a framework that allows that energy of the gods of war to flow through them without fully submitting to it. There are rules. A tap out means stop and the fight is over. The ref says stop, the fight is over. Theirs is a dance of energies that has been apart of the human experience from the very beginning. It is a sacred dance for it is honouring the gods of war and from that place, inspiration flows. I know this from experience and from my conversations with MMA fighters.

For some people it is very important to work closely with the gods of war. We do this in sports and it is a healthy way to touch those gods without submitting to them. Attend a football match in England, Europe, or South America and it isn’t difficult to feel the gods of war flowing through the people there. They use that energy to compete and find inspiration in the competition. But they don’t submit.

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