I am James Nichol and I live in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England. The Contemplative Inquiry blog started in August 2012, and includes personal sharing, discursive writing, poetry and book reviews. Originally, it was an inquiry within modern Druidry*. Over time it has developed an existentialist orientation, in which the inquiry is an open process of bringing my truth into being, a truth which remains provisional, agnostic, and limited by my personal and human horizons.
My inquiry is based on a stance of attentiveness and wonder. ‘Contemplative’ indicates methods that train attentiveness, open spaces for wonder, and provide opportunities to reflect. Not everything can or should be captured in words. Yet much can be usefully articulated and shared. For me, sharing is itself a valuable practice.
Much of the power and beauty of human experience is held in spiritual traditions. I am not a person of faith, but I will continue to include references to faith-based, transcendentalist and esoteric traditions even though I follow a firmly this-worldly path. They deserve inclusion and remind me that there are other ways.
I am connected to my local sangha of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Community of Interbeing, in the Vietnamese tradition of Zen Buddhism, whilst maintaining an affinity with naturalistic currents in Druidry and Paganism.
I am interested in the creative and developmental possibilities in ageing, since I was born in 1949 and am in later life myself. This interest found a voice some years ago in a doctoral project Social spaces for mature imaginations: reflections on a participative inquiry (University of the West of England, 2007). I have an earlier background in public health, health education and counselling. My original education was in English Literature (University of Cambridge, 1970). From my perspective it was (certainly in the later 1960’s) a better way of nourishing my life interests than psychology would have been. It is still an important influence.
*See my book, Contemplative Druidry: People, Practice and Potential, was published in 2014 with a foreword Deep Peace of the Quiet Earth: The Nature mysticism of Druidry by Philip Carr-Gomm, who leads the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.
REVISED 25 OCTOBER 2017