We in M.A.L.E.s Ireland care to be present to Presence. In an ancient tale, a disciple asks his teacher where he should look for the truth about life. “Here and now, in simple ordinary ways,” he is told. “Then why don’t I see it?” he asks in frustration. “Because,” replies the Holy One, “you are mostly somewhere else.” We get distracted too easily, regretting what was or fretting over what is yet to be. Being present requires intention and practice.
Simply paying attention to our breathing, remembering that our breath and spirit are one and the same, helps us recognize our connection with all that is. Beating a drum syncs us with the heartbeat of all beings and brings us out of our heads and into our hearts. The simple observance of silence provides space to quiet our thoughts and listen for the whisper of another voice. Solitude in nature puts us in touch with soul and quiets the noise. As the poets say, “Sometimes the truth depends upon a walk around the lake.”
When we come together as men, centering collectively is also important. We sit in a circle when possible and place a sacred object—perhaps a candle, stone, feather or drum—in the middle as a reference point, drawing us out of ourselves like spokes in a wheel are drawn toward the hub. As we move consciously toward the center we draw closer to one another; as we connect to our brothers we come closer to what is greater than ourselves. Grounded, roots take hold and fruit is born.
To be grounded in the here and now is to honor both spirit and soul. Spirit draws us up and out of ourselves, while soul beckons from within, keeping our feet to the ground. We desire to be men who are both intimate with what is greater than ourselves and comfortable in our own skin.
Other JOI practises: