As someone who worked for several years on a rural farm in the Old Sainte-Rose, I recall quite clearly this state of mind that is neighboring meditation but remains different on many levels. There is a dedication, a focus on the work being done but also an appreciation for small things that are taken for granted far too often:
Savoring a juicy apple while sitting on a plateau of rocks near the fields and eyes closed, feeling the pleasant and refreshing burst of the wind that gets colder day by day. Then, venturing in the glade to leave some food for the fox that sometimes greets me on the same hills where I accomplished my External Adept Ritual and remained standing for the entire night during a harsh winter. There is also that mesmerizing and famous portion of the Autumn where our Boreal Forests become ablaze with vivid colors and the birds insists on singing even though the morning temperature drops significantly. When Winter finally arrives, we are hardly ready but still headstrong about completing our tasks. Horses are remaining in the stable when it is freezing outside and we are gathering around the table for a hot stew before getting back to roll the huge bales of hays that are waiting, covered in the back of the trailer.
In those moments, you do not think about filling the blanks or you do not think about anything else but the present moment. You are in complete harmony with the very experience of being alive and strangely, everything becomes whole again. Sometimes you are tired because of the hard work and perhaps even annoyed by the insects or the temperature but nonetheless, you are there and nowhere else. There is no need for abstractions, no need for lies and pretence or some manufactured ideology or religious dogmas because everything is as it should be…
You are contributing to your community, you work hard and yet, in an humble fashion. You deepen your relationship with nature and animals and attune yourself with the numinous changes that happens during the seasons. You are also experiencing genuine relationships where there is no need for comparisons or false identities since you do not even have the time for these platitudes. The body and immune system are also strengthened tremendously because of the many internal and external hardships that it experiences through the months. There are no mundane conceptions such as Negative & Positive. Even when the cat manage to eviscerate a mouse or when the old horse ‘Mister’ needs to be put to sleep because he is too ill. There is simply an understanding and a taking part in the alchemical cycles.
As simple and as evident all of this might seems when you think about it, what is most formidable is that it is perpetually forgotten or ignored and replaced by some other things far less important and meaningful. I am still perplexed by this very question: Why do we need a cause, an ideology, an idol, an aspiration that becomes so inflated by ὕϐρις and the certainty of knowing that it is forced upon others?
There are so many individuals who achieved personal and collective greatness without holding on to such dangerous temptations. They did it even while knowing perfectly that they would simply have no answers to explain certain existential and metaphysical questions. Going through life while being comforted by manufactured abstractions is nothing short of holding on to an illusion until your final expiration. Why do we constantly feel the need to sacrifice love, compassion, friendship, loyalty, fairness, temperance in exchange for a false guarantee that everything can be explained by our chosen conceptual addictions?
In my eyes, there is hardly anything more gracious and wise than an individual that has accepted his state of ignorance and completely severed ties with abstractions while still seeking to express Wu-Wei for himself and for others. Never in my life, have I felt closer to this blissful harmony than when I was working at the farm and would partake in the constant fluxion offered by nature or when I was at the monastery sharing a joyful moment with the monks or walking in the orchard with the dogs.
Having the mind silenced in love and the heart filled with healthy ambitions and gratitude is the greatest ritual of all. Existence requires no additional ornaments or compensations, it simply requires you to be and follow the path that leads to the glade, where the soul is nurtured and Örlog, fulfilled.
« There appears to be, however, one small consolation, at least for me. Which is that such outdoor work – and reﬂexion upon it – slowly provided, slowly built within me, the insights and the feelings that led to that ‘numinous way’ I reﬁned, after 2011, into my philosophy (or perhaps more correctly, into my weltanschauung) of pathei-mathos. Insights and feelings greatly added to in 2002 when I began work on another farm, and which work ﬁrst led me to seriously doubt my commitment to the Muslim way of life, and write letters containing words such as these:
There is a lovely, simple, pleasure here in this ﬁeld. Spring is most certainly here: in the meadow ﬁelds, seedlings of the late Spring ﬂowers push up through the tufts of grass whose frost-bitten ends are joined by shoots of new growth. Already some
ﬂowers bloom in the grass: there, a Dandelion; there: almost two circles of Daisies. And, to compliment the calls and songs of other birds, the loud repeating call of the Parus major. It is good to be here, with an unobstructed view of the sky, and I watch the clouds, borne as they are on a still cool breeze that begins to chill my hands, a little. But there is Sun, warm, when the altocumulus breaks. On the horizon in the North, beyond the tall old Oak, small Cumulus clouds drift toward the hills, ten miles distant. Thus am I again – for these moments – at peace with myself, this world, listening as I do to a large ﬂock of Starlings who chatter among themselves in the trees across from the drainage ditch, there by the copse of Ash, Oak, and a few young Beech […] Work, yes there must be work: toil enough to keep that balance. And work with these my hands, outdoors where lives the silence that I love as I feel the weather, changing, bringing thus an empathic living for me, in me, and for this life that lives around, emanating as it does in this grass, those trees, the clouds, the soil, the water, those ﬂowers, the very sky itself.
But, as so often with me, the insights, the feelings, were swept away by not only my tempestuous inner need to do what I considered was then my duty but also by a life-long love of, a desire for, challenges, pontiﬁcation, and conﬂict. Such insights, such feelings, were always – sooner or later – so swept away. Until that fateful day one May.
The deﬁning moment, for me – in terms of understanding myself, in terms of understanding politics and the error of my decades of extremism – was the tragic personal loss of a loved one in May 2006. In the hours following that event I just knew – tearfully knew without words – my own pathetic failure; what I had lost, what was important. Thus there came upon me that day a sense of overwhelming grief, compounded by a remembrance of another personal loss of a loved one thirteen years earlier. For it was as if in those intervening years I had learned nothing; as if I had made the life and the dying and death of Sue, in 1993 – and of what we shared in the years before – unimportant.
I have no words to describe how insigniﬁcant, how worthless, I felt that day in May 2006; no words to describe, recall, retell, the remorse, the pain. Suﬀice now to recount that my life was never, could never be, the same again. Gone – the arrogance that had sustained me for so many experiential decades. Gone – the beliefs, the abstractions, the extremisms, I had so cherished and so believed in.
How stupid, how very stupid, I have been: for almost all of my adult life. That it required the shock, the personal trauma, of the suicide of the woman I loved to break my arrogance, my selﬁshness, my self-absorption – and cure me of my need for challenges, pontiﬁcation, and conﬂict – most certainly reveals a lot about my character. That apparently jumelle nature of a person who found peace, contentment, in working outdoors with his hands but who also could not, in his weakness, resist that arrogant desire to zealously interfere in the lives of others, to propagandise and proselytize; an interference, a proselytism, born of a hubriatic certainty that he ‘knew’, that he ‘understood’, or that he had discovered the right way (political or religious) of living for others, and therefore had some sort of duty to act, wrecking havoc and causing suﬀering as he did so, always making excuses for himself. For every and any cause does so hallow havoc. »
–Memories of Manual Labour
 Memories of Manual Labour, David Myatt, February 2014.