Something a good friend of mine said the other day sparked a thought. It was in a discussion on journaling and Greyer Jane said, " I'll get a PLAN and love it and think its true religion for a month."
And that really got me thinking, because that is definitely something that I do. I'll read something or think something, and it will absolutely revolutionize some or all of my life. And then, I'll get obsessed with it, and that one thing will become my world for a period of time. Eventually I'll get overwhelmed and have to walk away from it. Which is where, in my world, the magic happens. Because I will sort of forget about it (or at least not actively think about it) for a while...and then one day I'll remember and realize that it has integrated into the rest of my world and now is a part of it without being the whole of it.
One of the most obvious ways this happens is when I work on memorizing something, like a chant. I'll spend days, doing countless repetitions. If there is an audio track of it somewhere I will play that one track on loop for days, I'll stop multiple times throughout the day to look at my lyrics and chant along, but even when I'm not thinking about it, I'm hearing it..and often at least partially chanting along. I'll chant it in the shower, in the bathroom, in the car, while walking to get the mail. At the start, it will be both exciting and hard. I'll have to really stop and think sometimes to remember what part comes next.
Then, as time goes along, I'll start being able to remember more and more of it without really having to think about it. I'll be able to recite the whole thing through without errors, and then I start speeding it up trying to say it faster than I can think ahead. The goal is to be able to recite it without having to consider what comes next, to just be able to open my mouth and let the words flow through. At this point, I can often recite it flawlessly at times, but other times I get completely tongue tied or mind blank.
But that is part of the process. It's like my mind has been so inundated with that one thing that it starts to balk. Once I know I can recite it cleanly sometimes, that is typically when I start to pull away from it. I'll stop actively listening to it, or deliberately practicing. I'll still recite it through anytime I do think about it, but after a day or so something else invariably catches my interest and I'll not think about it for days.
Then, when I do think about it again, I will almost always find that it has become a part of me. It is something that I don't have to think about anymore than I think about the process of breathing. I have poems that I memorized in grade school that I still remember because of this.
And while it is definitely a great thing for memorizing things, it happens when I study a subject as well. Sometimes I will find an idea or perspective that resonates with me so much that it completely takes over my thoughts on a subject. Several times in my study of runes I have read someone's explanation of runes that I loved so much that it became my own for a while. I sort of forget my old thoughts on the runes and devour these new concepts. When I think about runes or interpret them, the new meanings are the ones that come to mind, even if I have to go back and look up what the meanings are because I haven't quite internalized them yet.
Sometimes, I'll sit down with multiple perspectives and actively try to figure out how they all weave together and become a new whole, but most of the time the old meanings sort of sneak back into my thoughts on the subject without my direction. I'll look at a rune one day, think of the newer meaning, but then remember an older thought that really works in that situation. And over time, the new and old end up just being parts of my greater understanding.
I used to be sort of wary of this process....I thought that I was just kind of being a blind lemming, reading something that was interesting and jumping into it and forgetting everything else I knew. And definitely, for a time there in the middle, when I am mid-obsession, I can sound very much like a follower and not an innovator. Thinking, and being someone who creates, is a core part of my personality, something that is very dear to me, so the idea that I might just be trudging along behind someone else doesn't sit well with me at all.
But ultimately, I do break off on my own, using the tools I have learned from other people to forge my own way and my own perspective of things. And I think that works out just fine for me. It lets me get a glimpse into other people's worlds. In my own ways, I am walking a mile in their shoes. Just somewhere along the way, I wear through the shoes and continue on...barefoot and in my own power.