Mastery of Awareness – First Year
An essential part of a Bard’s training is developing his Awareness. The Mastery of Awareness is the act of learning how reality really works, and then using this knowledge to create the world, or reality, that resonates with the dreams of our hearts. GMDO is eclectic in the way it uses knowledge and techniques from many cultures around the world for the training of its students.
Developing Awareness is a vital and essential part of the Way of the Druid; it is the way to get clear about our lives, to align ourselves with the natural flows of cosmic law, and it enables us to become increasingly alive. How do we become more aware? By learning the rules of Awareness and by putting them into practice. And what are these rules? Simply, realizing that what is really going on is not what seems to be happening in the physical world – true reality lies in the invisible spaces below the surface of the visible, and in the silent gaps between words.
The Mastery of Awareness has many levels, and here we start with the first: the Bardic teachings, or Awareness 1. Awareness 1 has ten basic principles. By studying them and seeing how they relate to your everyday life, you can start to experiment and learn how to use them. By putting them into practice and integrating them into your world, you can make huge leaps in awareness, and, consequently, create a much higher-energy lifestyle.
The first principle is that awareness is a skill that can be learned, practiced and increased almost infinitely. Like an iceberg, true reality consists of the small piece of ice that is visible, PLUS the vast bulk of thr iceberg that is invisible. A Druid’s task is to explore the entire iceberg, making the invisible visible.
We have been taught that everything we can see and touch is the only reality; everything else is either imaginary or nonsense. The second principle states that we are all beings of light in a universe consisting of pure energy in constant motion, and this energy has awareness. Our energy body is an egg-shaped aura of light, described by the Druid shamans as the ‘Cocoon of Man’.
Druids called the physical world the ‘Apparent World’, as it indicates what reality appears to be, rather than what reality truly is.
The third rule a Druid learns is that Awareness is proportional to personal power. In other words, the more energy he has available, the more aware he is. Thus, in order to develop in Awareness, he must find ways to increase his levels of life force. When a student becomes a Bard, his training is introduced as the Way of the Hunter. This description illustrates the theory and practice of Awareness and the hunting of personal power.
Every thought we think, every belief we hold, and every attitude we have contains an inherent quality of energy. In order to become more aware and to increase our personal energy, we need to change the quality of our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes to ones that hold higher energy.
As levels of awareness are proportional to the energy we possess, it follows that we need to hunt extra energy and integrate it into our life. How do we do this? An excellent way is to look closely at our attitudes, practices and behavior, and identify what feeds us – makes us feel good and what nourishes our soul. We need to do more of this! Likewise, we need to identify what makes us feel bad, draining us of our precious life force, and either transform it or eliminate it. There are many ways and approaches to do this: our internal guidance will show us how.
Another simple way of increasing our energy is to focus on the positive in life. Positive energy is exactly what it says – positive energy! If we make a commitment to use positive energy in our lives we feel great, surfing the waves of life, and we manifest great things. If we dwell on the negative, we feel bad and attract negativity into our lives. We have the power to choose!
The fourth rule states that the Way of the Druid is one of full immersion in life. Some intellectual understanding is necessary to point the way, but as soon as the student is ready, he must work with his everyday reality, transforming it like molten plastic into the world of his heart’s desire. The value of any teaching is making it work in practice. The Druid’s is a difficult journey, but luckily there are good maps and descriptions available from those who have traversed this path in the past, and from the many who are traveling along it in the present. It is much more pleasant and effective (and sometimes more challenging) to share this journey with others.
The fifth rule states that the outer universe is an exact mirror of what we truly are as human beings. What we perceive outside ourselves is a perfect reflection of our inner reality: the old saying “As above, so below” is literally correct. This phenomenon is the best tool we have of discovering who and what we truly are: all we have to do is to observe the world about us without judgment, and see how it affects us. This precept – “Know Thyself” – is at the heart of all mystery schools.
Our lives are perfect mirrors that do not lie. Everything we are is reflected back to us in the way our reality unfolds (our destiny), and how we react to it (our characters). Everything is us, as we are One with all. To the extent we can accept this is the amount we take responsibility for ourselves. By taking responsibility for ourselves we empower ourselves to change our reality according to our dreams.
A consequence of this rule is that we can only change the outer world by changing ourselves. Even the most powerful magician or dictator cannot manipulate the ‘outside’ world in order to satisfy all his desires, but he can change himself. As we change, so does the outside world. In this way we are all empowered to create the physical reality that most resonates with the dreams of our hearts.
The sixth principle states that the only goals that have any relevance to a Druid are the dreams of his heart, and that anything else is pointless and an energy drain. This process is called finding, or creating one’s Path with Heart.
Druids develop their spiritual power by applying themselves to manifesting the dreams of their hearts, whatever the cost. The seventh principle states that only single-minded, focused effort generates the energy needed to make our dreams come true. Success is NOT related to the result of our struggle, but to the impeccability with which we have striven to make our dreams come true. With unswerving perseverence a Druid will eventually create a whole, healthy world, or whatever his ultimate dream is.
The magical word here is commitment. Commitment is possibly the most powerful magical spell in existence. It means to devote one’s entire energy to make sure something happens, whatever the circumstances. To walk one’s talk. What an extraordinary act! A Druid knows that it takes a huge effort to change himself, and so he commits himself to do so to the best of his ability. The effort must be constant, and slowly his reality will change.
Results, whether success or failure, do not reflect our personal power, or progress upon the path. The eighth principle states that there are only two types of failure: giving up, and not starting in the first place. Remember – the whole point of life is to actually live it – so it is the journey, not the final destination that is important!
The ninth rule states that freedom is only possible if a person takes full responsibility for his or her life. By blaming or indulging in victim consciousness, we disempower ourselves. By taking responsibility for the fruits of our thoughts, words and actions, we empower ourselves to become the creators of reality we truly are.
The tenth rule states that a person’s awareness is proportional to the extent he or she lives in the present, the ‘eternal now.’ Much of the practical healing work students undertake on themselves is directed towards recovering energy they have left in the past, and also retrieving energy they have projected, due to fantasies, hopes and fears, into the future. All our projected energies must be brought back into the present in order that we may become whole.
This results in an activated Magical Child, and the student rejoins the full, healthy flow of life again. Being spontaneous liberates a huge amount of trapped life-force. Conversely, an inability or disinterest in loosening up and enjoying the tides of the moment makes a person heavy, dull and boring – signs of low-energy and fragility. A person who lives completely in the Here and Now is said to have ‘Presence.’
Most of us live in a dream world. Either we live in the past, forced to act out old patterns of wounding while listening to incessant, useless chatter in our heads, or we are fantasizing about hopes or fears of what may happen in the future. Few of us actually live in the present. But if we are not present, where are we? We are not truly living; we are drifting about in a fantasy while life itself passes us by.
John Lennon said: “Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans…” Too soon we realize we are old and it is too late…
Many of the exercises we practice in Druid training are designed to bring our awareness into the present. It needs a lot of determination and strength of character to do this, for it means facing those fears and blockages that appear whenever we are fully present. Yet we cannot heal unless we return to ourselves and occupy the Here and Now. In the Druid Training, most of the students’ efforts, and the focus of the teachers, is to make this happen by whatever means are necessary.
One last thought: Whoever dares, succeeds!