There exists out there a fairly well-known though thoroughly misunderstood religion…

…one that has been around for centuries, despite the best efforts from other parties to put it down.  In recent years, Ásatrú (or Odinism as it is sometimes referred to) is in the midst of a great reawakening, as scholars and other interested folk unravel and redefine ancient texts and folklore.  The native religion of the ancient Teutonic peoples, it has now spread in modern Western society.  No matter your thoughts on this or any other religion or tradition, Ásatrú still has one major element which rings true for us all today, in terms of how we choose to live our lives and interact with others.  The motto of Ásatrú, if you will, is this:

Hearts in the past, Minds on the present, Eyes on the future.

They are saying, in essence: yes, respect your traditional and ancestral history, build your frameworks on it, and yes, plan for the future, keep your eye on the goal.  These are so important.  But never forget to keep your mind on the present.  In ancient Nordic times this meant keeping your focus firmly on the job at hand, starting with your family, then expanding to your village, and then to your clan.  Relationships, you see, played such a large role in these environments that an entire movement was born around those ideals.

Perhaps Eckhart Tolle, German-born bestselling author of the well-known The Power of Now, understood this:

“Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”

You may have heard of a pseudo-disorder that has become prevalent in our post-modern society, one that is so much on the rise that people are even being treated psychologically for it: FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out.  We have become so connected to the virtual world, via computers and smart phones, Facebook and Whatsapp and Twitter and countless other mechanisms and mediums, that we now know more about the ‘friends’ that we’ve never met, more about celebrities that we’ll never know, than we do about our neighbours.  Just the other day, I heard about a little girl that spoke to a friend via Video Skype; her friend lived only a number of doors away.  We get so carried away with checking to see what everyone is up to that we forget the people right next to us.  We’ve all seen this one: a couple at a restaurant not talking, not sharing the moment of Tolle’s Now, simply staring into their own phones as they exercise their fear of missing out.

We are, in fact, so connected to the world around us that we miss out on those closest to us.  We become, in short, disconnected.  And what is the ultimate end-point of this disconnectedness, the attention we do not pay to our relationships while we spend our time on virtual relationships, no longer really talking, or really listening, or really paying attention to the moment we’re in?  The more we do not engage, the more discontent we become; the more discontent, the more bored we are. A passive scrolling through life is showing it effects: one would think we could spend time mentally entertaining ourselves, but we can’t.  We’ve forgotten how.  What an injustice we serve ourselves daily, allowing ourselves to be scattered all over, missing out on those precious Now moments as we bow our heads and round our shoulders, paying homage  and worship to the little screens of Instant Satisfaction.

Maybe our good Mr. Tolle can sum it up for us, once more:

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

Love,
Marléne