How can we hold the knowledge we gain?
I will not dream another's sweet musings
when the truth is only partly known
the fruit is so sweet but of another knowledge
but face my own full on
naked in the darkness
and recognise that which has never been shown before
and dream it as my own
I will not share you with another
for their knowledge would lack the spice of experience
I am the silver salmon driving out of the peat black water into the
Timeless and heavy
Falling backwards into the darkness
~ from the poem Leaping Salmon by Anthony Dalby
You may know that in Celtic myth the salmon is a symbol of knowledge, or sometimes said to be a symbol of wisdom. Obviously, there is a distinction between knowledge and wisdom that you can make for yourself. For some time, I have been considering the problem of what we (and specifically what I) do with the knowledge I gain in spiritual pursuits such as readings, meditation, encounters with nature, etc. Often, with a little effort from us, the universe is generous with information. With a little effort we take the time to meditate or walk in nature with deep awareness, or we delve into divination or learn to remember our dreams, etc. We take a class, we go on a retreat. We gain knowledge, and it is very precious. When we receive "good advice" from a friend or mentor, this is also precious knowledge.
There is also a lot of useful knowledge available to us. If you are reading this, then you are probably bombarded with inspirational quotes and great articles (with links to yet more potentially mind-opening information). You are probably the kind of person who goes out of their way to find this stuff, to study this stuff, and possibly to absolutely wallow in this stuff. What I've been noticing, though, is how I sometimes fail to hold on to it. Of course, I have to trust that all those inspirational quotes on my facebook wall, and many other things that I read or hear, are more like part of the river. Each one cannot be a salmon with my name and address on it. I trust that if they help make my river a good place to be, they're doing their job. Hopefully, some of their nutrients are leaching out of the river and into me. However, there is a good chance that what is delivered to me in a dream, a personal reading, or something similar does have my name on it. It is worth holding on to, and worth acting upon. The first step, I see, is actually trapping that salmon. Writing things down might be a good first step - although I can think of other ways I might make the information memorable. One trouble I find with writing things in a journal is that I may connect writing it down with actually letting go of it, rather than holding on. (File and forget.) So perhaps I need to make a provision to go back and read what I wrote as part of some daily or weekly practice. Or maybe something like a picture or a post-it note in a strategic place, would be more helpful.
Actually, I like the idea of doing or making something to seal the memory of an important revelation. I think that this is one of the most useful things I can do to commemorate receiving an important piece of knowledge. Having trapped the salmon, and received the knowledge, the magic lies in moving that information upstream where it can grow into wisdom. I need to build a weir, and I need to place it where I interact with it. Some pieces of knowledge are easier to act on than others, but even one action that keeps the knowledge in view is a step in the right direction because it will affect my thinking on a regular basis. I think my house is about to have a few more interesting things on the walls!!
This is part one of a two-part piece which I originally published as facebook notes in April of 2012. To the right, you can see one of the "prayer posters" I put on my bedroom wall at the time. Right next to a mirror by the door, where I couldn't miss it! It worked really well for me -- so much so that it became the inspiration for the meditation and prayer cards I now sell in my webshop. (They are quite a bit nicer than this poster, but I still hate to take it down.) Part two coming soon!