Category Archives: General

A Shamanic Santa

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Some time ago Judith and I hosted a pilgrimage to Greece. One of the participants on that trip was an academic from the University of Chicago who had dedicated her life to researching the origins of Santa Claus.  The origins apparently reach back thousands of years to Siberia, and such a notion is confirmed by recent scientific research. Really!(http://www.livescience.com/42077) I took copious notes on her study of our Santa’s origins, and I have created a story based on the original  Siberian Santa. Instead of telling you the story myself, I am going to let the shamanic Santa speak for himself.

Hello, you can call me the shamanic santa for several reasons. The name “shaman” comes from the area where I grew up in the Siberian and Arctic regions. Our language is Tungusic Evenki. In the area where I lived several thousand of your years ago, we had housing with a fire in the middle of the house for drying food and clothes. The snow got so high in December that the entire house was covered with snow, and a principal opening was through a chimney like structure. We kept the regular door open, but, on special occasions, we used the fireplace.

In the landscape near our houses was a conifer forest. Under these trees grew a beautiful red and white mushroom, our holiest of holy plants, the amantia muscaria. Those of us who were called holy or wise people– shaman was our word– knew where to gather these plants. The red and white colors of the plants were very important to our Winter solstice celebrations. Let me tell you we shamans had quite a time dressing up in red suits made of red deer skin stained with ochre and spotting them with white to portray our relationship with the red and white holy plant.

Also very important to us as spirit animals were reindeer, common in Siberia. The reindeer are very special animals, and they sometimes eat the very mind-altering plants I mentioned a moment ago. When they do, they actually glow with a powerful light. As we approached the Festival of Light, Love, and laughter on the shortest day of the year, we created a loose halter to put around the muzzle of the reindeer. Then, we attached the red and white plants to the halter so that the reindeer actually took on a powerful glow. These deer were not tame, or mostly not tame. They were something of what you might call a hybrid. My spirit reindeer dwelled in a particular animal who had been with me for many moons.

As the longest night approached, we cut suckers from the conifer trees to make an altar to be placed near the fireplace, and we decorated the tree with the red and white plants. All of us painted small rocks with our requests to be sent to the upper world. It was our tradition to send these painted utterances with a shaman to the upper world. Our requests were not for “things” but for gifts of the soul, of our essence, of our deepest characters. In this way we taught our children our tribal values of first meeting spiritual needs since all comes from spirit.  You know that, of course.

On the eve of the longest night, I climbed up through the opening of the house, a chimney-like structure to meet my reindeer. Hopping on his back and leaning forward away we went through the night. Our first stop was a sacred cave where we both lay down on a bear rug. Having ingested the sacred plant, our spirits left the manifest bodies and journeyed through the cave to an opening that lead to the upper world.

Once in the upper world, we presented our painted rocks to the ancestral circle, the wise people from generations that went before. They were glad to see us because they had planned to take care of the sacred web for seven generations and so they were counting on us to carry forward in advancing Earth’s consciousness. One-by-one they listened to our requests, and then they imparted an energetic charge to the rocks that carried not only information about our requests but also meaning.  This notion is important because the ancestors see us humans as meaning-givers within the Sacred Web.

In response to the ancestors, our tribe carries the intention of creating new meaning for the next Sun cycle, a new map for the coming year. Finishing our ecstatic time in the eternal circle, our two spirits—human and reindeer—melded for the trip back through the cave and a return to our bodies lying on the bear rug. The bear clan protected our bodies while we were away.

Then, we journeyed with joy back to the house, slid down the chimney-like opening, and greeted our loved ones gathered around the tree altar. They, like us, had ceremonially ingested the plant for an opening our our consciousness to the larger waves of the Universe. For us it was completely necessary to be in an altered state to receive the gifts from above.  We couldn’t connect with our usual survival patterns in place.

The circuit was completed with a joyous ceremonial meal, punctuated by light, love, and laughter. Much laughter. We were known as the laughing tribe. All through the meal we chanted, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Until finally our words became laughter.” Each time we shared gifts from above, we shouted,”Ho!” And everyone followed until house-by-house you could hear those sounds throughout the forest.

Whether this ceremony is anything like your practice I don’t know. I do share it with you so you will know the spiritual origins of this festival. My prayer for you is that you return to the joys of the forest and the journey to the upper world, even on the longest and darkest night.

RETURN TO THE BIG BANG: Healing Cancer

 

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Earlier, we talked about how the Yew tree from the Oregon forest gave humans taxol, a most effective treatment for breast cancer. In the second phase of her treatment(after two surgeries), Judith, my spouse, engaged the Yew tree as a healing mother who gave us the offspring taxol. Together, we searched for ways to integrate alternative healing with the chemo protocol in mainstream medicine. We sat on our deck and meditated on the healing power of the Yew tree coursing through her body in the form of taxol.

Sitting next to her, it seemed the presence of the tree moved through and between us. Quite literally such a transfer was happening.

Now, Judith is in the third phase of traditional medical interventions for the type of breast cancer that visited as an uninvited party crasher. The current treatment is called radiation. As I sat in the waiting room on the first day of her treatment, reading a book on one of my favorite subjects, quantum physics, I came across a fresh description of the Big Bang. In the reading I suddenly became aware of how our Universe’s initial impulse—called the Big Bang– was now present in potential healing for Judith’s bout with cancer. Let’s explore that possibility for a moment.

A FRESH LOOK AT THE BIG BANG

According to modern science, a primordial flaring forth from a singular point called the Big Bang created our Universe. Solid empirical evidence exists for such a singularity, explosive as it likely was about 13.8 billion years ago.

How do we know such an event occurred and, if so, when?

Astrophysicists look out into deep space and, therefore, back in time. To their surprise they perceive cosmic background radiation. More specifically, they peer through a telescope aimed at the gaping space between stars and galaxies. With usual telescopes they see nothing but the vast dark. However, with specialized lenses that have the capacity to pick up radio waves, the scientists detect a background glow of microwaves called relic radiation. They label the microwaves relic radiation because such waves are not associated with any star or galaxy and thus are relics belonging to the originating event. The radiation glow is nearly uniform in all directions, but there are tiny variations in the glow that point backwards in time/space to the Big Bang, or flaring forth of the Universe.

Since the Universe has a finite age, and light travels at a finite speed, scientists can measure the radiation and thus determine the age of the Universe by examining relic radiation, a kind of fossil record in the form of light. These microwaves are like discovering dinosaur prints from moment one.

Could it be, I asked myself, that Judith’s therapy contains an aspect of the Big Bang coursing through her body/mind/soul? If so, is a related salve of light available to all of us?

Earth’s Radiation Therapy

Well, maybe not just Judith, but also all of us might be the target of Earth’s radiation therapy stemming from the Big Bang. Let’s see how. The Earth (and all living things as aspects of Earth including humans) are constantly touched by the potential healing hand of radiation from outer space. Some of this radiation is actually the Big Bang caressing us with its powers as it passes through deep space into and through our Solar System right into our body/mind/soul.

Like all healing possibilities, it is necessary to be acutely aware of dosages. Too much causes problems. Too little, another kind of problem. Evidence is accumulating that airline crews and frequent passengers receive an overdose of radiation in the course of a year, and some report malfunctions as a result. Most of us have medical and dental X-rays, which also must be monitored. Unaware exposure to radiation can create illness. Used with clear awareness, though, radiation can enhance our health.

Now, I am prepared to demystify radiation, so we can see how it can assist us. Any dictionary will tell you that radiation is the process in which energy is emitted as particles or waves. Put another way, radiation is a process in which energy is emitted by an event, transmitted through a medium or space, and absorbed by another.

Lying on the ground, especially after a sweat lodge or a brisk walk, offers the possibility of a form of radiation therapy, a transfer of energy linked from deep space through Earth’s core to ourselves. As I write, I just engaged in a few minutes of radiation therapy by lying on the ground on my back and then on my stomach. It rained yesterday, so the ground is still moist, thus offering a conductor. Is it my imagination or does the electro-magnetic field course through and heal? I was groggy. Now, I am alert and creative. And isn’t a creative urge the essence of healing? And is an impulse to create not a link to our Creator? Or even an uncovering our our true identity?

Harnessing Electrons for Wholeness

Approaching Judith’s therapy I had little information about breast cancer radiation therapy(sometimes called radiotherapy). Frankly, subjecting Judith to such a radical approach seemed like a shocking invasion. One friend even said that the treatment was barbaric, not my favorite supportive comment from an otherwise beautiful network. As I delved into how the treatment functions, possibilities emerged for my own health, and yours. I will get further into that potential in a moment.

Radiation uses a special kind of high-energy beam to damage a cancer cell’s DNA and thus its ability to divide and reproduce. The energy beam must be repeated over time in order to keep the cancer cells from multiplying. The energy beam also damages healthy cells, but they are strong enough to repair themselves while the less organized cancer cells die off.

The machine that delivers the high-energy beam is called a linear accelerator that speeds up ordinary electrons that collide with metal internal to the machine. As a result of these collisions high energy X-Rays are produced and then shaped as they exit to conform to the area where there might be cancer cells in the patient.

The Shamanic Journey Between Worlds

Such a marvelous contraption is a distant cousin to sub-atomic particle accelerators that have revealed the secrets of particles(like electrons) moving into waves. In the history of science, particle accelerators have revealed a micro-universe wherein we see that the building blocks of the Universe are not things(tiny,tiny ball bearings) but rather movements where things become waves.

As I contemplate the shuttling back and forth of electrons between particles that become radio waves, it reminds me of the shamanic journeys taught me by tribal elders. To experience healing of various sorts we can move from one domain of reality to another. Such transformation from the visible to the invisible make possible a high energy beam, a sacred potential, that can inhibit the multiplication of inner debris that keeps us from being our holistic possibilities.

Once we remove the inner debris, we can concentrate on the bridge between the finite and Infinite.

Radiance Lying Next To Me

On several occasions I wake up in the night. Sometimes I take an owl and an eagle feather to fan the energy capsule that surrounds Judith’s body. Then, I take my hand and run it over the energy field without actually touching her physically so as not to wake her up. At such times it seems she herself is radiant. I tell her she is an atomic Judith, and she replies that she prefers radiance. The glow from deep space does radiate in our love and hope. Maybe, such moments contribute to her healing. I know it does mine.

An Electronic Vision Quest

Throughout this experience Judith has declared that the several months of treatment is a vision quest. Together, we have presided as elders in over 30 years of vision questing. I have had the privilege of looking into the clear eyes of those questers who have fasted and returned from the rigors of reconnecting with the sacred core of Nature , Great Spirit. I can see their souls much like looking into the eyes of a newborn baby. They are close to their true identities as spirit beings. Theirs is a powerful radiance.It’s as if the Big Bang flares forth through them. And, after weeks of having these high energy beams pass through her body, I look into Judith’s eyes. And I can perceive the singular point, that moment when our beloved and visible Universe came into being.

RETURN TO AN UNUSUAL COMMUNITY

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A few years ago I sat on the beach with a Huichol shaman overlooking the Banderas Bay on the West Coast of Mexico talking about the life and health of the sea. Dressed in white pants and shirt trimmed in brilliant blues, pinks, and reds, he laughed more than he talked. His hat was straw with a red brim and had 17 wild turkey feathers shooting out from the sides and on top. A bright blue bandana circled his neck. At age 92 he still walked 6 miles down from the jungle mountains each day to greet the dawn on the beach and returned 6 miles in the evening after performing healing sessions and selling his art. He radiated health.

We traded shamanic stories and, soon, he invited me to join him in presiding at a ceremony to honor the beautiful Bay, which he said needed healing. His invitation inluded killing a goat as a sacrifice to the spirits of the waters. Such a sacrifice would make things better, he explained. As we explored that possibility, I shifted my hat from shamanic to scientific and asked him if he knew the sickness of the Bay was due to the effluent pouring into the waters from the local village. Goats might not be the answer, I said, with a bit of civilization’s arrogance. That tangent led him to talk about the little people living in our intestines as well as the Pacific. They were, he intoned, a community that could instruct us about the health of Earth Herself. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I would soon learn.

Eventually,the ceremony took place on behalf of the Bay, but that is not the point of this vignet. The point might be that I took one of the little people back home with me. In retrospect the little people—his description of microorganisms– may have returned with me to remind me I am not as smart as I think I am, or, more precisely, the ancient Huichols may know more than I imagined. Maybe my elder friend sent them with me as teachers of community. Let’s see why.

Mine was not a case of simple tourista but rather mysterious microorganisms that did not play well with my resident intestinal community. I will spare you the gruesome details of their playground disputes. It is enough to say an 18 month journey of getting to know the community in my gut was about to take place as my Huichol friend had predicted.

The Cure

After exploring every alternative and/or shamanic cure I knew about, I consulted a gastroenterologist who told me I would likely never recover fully. That delightful suggestion came after I told him my age. To my questionable credit, I was aware enough not to buy his unintended, hypnotic dictum. I say questionable because I was questioning everything at that point.

Soon, though, the sacred web of fields had mercy on me.

The very next week I was talking to a friend, and she told me about a probiotic that bonded with food easily. She explained that she had a problem like mine and happened on the important information that our guts harbor a vast community of 100 trillion microorganisms, that they are well organized, and that my trouble boiled in the arguments my gut community was having with the newcomers from Mexico. She suggested a new probiotic that bonded with food would be better than the probiotics I was using that had some chemical bonding involved. Accompanied by food, these probiotics would–so the theory went–find an intimate acceptance in my disturbed microorganism community. The new probiotics would restore peace and harmony.

Desperate, I tried this cure. Within a week or so I was back to normal, feeling feisty enough to write the gastroenterologist a note pointing him in the direction of possibility rather than his dreary dictums.

The Microcommunity Conveys Humility

This experience drew my attention to the interlocking set of ecofields that make-up the organism called Will. Most of who I am consists of an interactive system of tiny communities that constantly exchange information about their well being and how they might support me if I could just be a tiny bit more aware and compassionate toward them. Justin Sonneburg, Ph.D., a microbiologist at Stanford, probes the tribal relationship we humans have with our bacterial partners. Joan Borysenko quoted Sonneburg in a recent conversation with me as suggesting that humans are an elaborate vessel optimized for the growth and spread of our microbial inhabitants.

Who would know?

Is it possible that one of our central human purposes is to be kind and aware hosts to these complex communities?

The Great Return To Community

Scientists from the University of Georgia estimate the number of bacteria on our planet to be 5 million trillion trillion, or 5 followed by 30 zeroes. There are more bacteria on Earth than stars in the universe. Nearly 3/4 of the living mass on Earth is microbial. Not humans. Not mammals. Not plants. Microbes!

And these communities talk to each other about us, with us, and in us.

Each community has its own personality, its own innate intelligence, its own values, and its own wisdom. The microbes are calling us to return to the circle of life by being a circle of life within us. We now know that the health of our guts greatly shapes our immune systems. Such musing is not theoretical to me. I know by experience that the conversation the microbial tribes have within greatly influence my health. Prayer might begin with an humble awakening of awareness of the little people who live within. These little people may not only be massively larger than humans but also may convey an intelligence worth listening to. Their lineage goes back 3.5 billion years while ours is a mere 200k.

Here is what they say to me:”Will, you aren’t who you think you are. Listen to your gut. Wake up to your utter dependence on the ecofields all around and within. We have something to say to each other, and all our well being depends on the quality of our intimacy. Listening to yourself might not be so psychological. It might mean listening to us. We can lead you back into the community of life.”

RETURN OF SNAKE SPIRITS

The presence of the snake in our human story is pivotal. Recently, I have had several encounters with snakes within local eco-fields that alert me to these beautiful and formidable creatures calling humans back into a right relationship with the Great Mother, Earth Herself. Before I tell you a story about these encounters, I want to set a context so my narrative is not just hanging out there in sound-byte land.

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At the turn of the 2lst Century, we took a group of students to Knossos on Crete, the seat of the ancient Minoan culture. The roots of the Minoan people who honored the Divine Feminine reach back 128,000 years, and their artistic creations emerged about 7000 years ago. Our journey took us to the Knossos Palace, and soon one piece of art leapt out at me and would not let go—a stunning depiction of a bare-breasted woman holding a snake in each hand. Judith Yost, my spouse, wears a facsimile around her neck from time-to-time to remind us of the powerful medicine the snake brought to a civilization where the feminine was out front, supported by the divine masculine.

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In contrast to the Minoan embrace of the power of snake spirits is the repression of the sublime snake in the Eden narratives. The evidence of carbon dating indicates that the earliest account of Biblical Eden would be about 3500 years ago,three millennia after the Minoans. By this time, the sky gods had taken over what would become Western Civilization. As you well know, the snake became the purveyor of temptation and evil in our current paradigm, so we–influenced as most of us are by the Eden story—carry a repulsion to reptiles. This attitude toward snakes as enemies has become the symptom of how far humans have drifted from our core connection with Nature.

A few weeks ago I saw a bumper sticker in my hometown that read: Texas Women Kill Their Own Snakes. The woman at the wheel was reclaiming her power as a woman, but, alas, had been infected by Eden. Like a virus the mainstream cultural meme tells us that The only good snake is a dead snake. Notice how close that is to the governmental policy of extinguishing North American indigenous people: The only good Indian is a dead Indian.

With these two influences in mind, I invite you into the story of the day.

A Snake Spirit Medicine Story

Just as the sun dips toward the Western horizon and long shadows cast across a magnificent Southern Pine Forest meadow, I relax into a folding chair at our annual Earth Dance. We are celebrating our 21st annual dance that honors Mother Earth at Deer Dancer Ranch, a decades long restoration project of the Earthtribe with landholders Jack and Allison Jensen.

We have just completed a preparatory sweat lodge, inipi, and I am feeling relaxed, almost noodle like. Off to my right and across the meadow, I hear several voices tinged with fear,”Come quick! There is a large snake over by Mark’s tent.” Grabbing my new snake tong, a 72” catcher stick, I run toward the voices. Given that people tend to get overly excited when a snake is on the scene, I am not expecting to see anything more than a small garter snake or, at the most, a copperhead. Already I can hear one of our Earthtribers singing a snake song I learned from my mentor, Bear Heart, some 30 years ago and passed on to our tribe. I, too, begin singing, and It calms me.

And I need calming because, like most people schooled in Western Civilization, I have a sub-self inside that recoils in fear at the thought of a snake. On the other hand I have years of experience with my brother snakes as part of my training with Bear Heart who taught me to vibrate the reptilian stem of my brain in synch with the snake. The front part of the brain(prefrontal) and the mammalian mid-brain(amygdala) tie into useful information about snake handling, but it is the part of the triune brain that adjoins and is contiguous to the spinal cord that really helps. It is not so much that I am not afraid as I have learned to put the fear aside and shift to a primordial tuning. My fear leads me to respect and then to connection.

As I arrive, I see a large canebreak rattlesnake whose Latin name crotalus horridus speaks to its potency.Peraps the largest of North American rattlesnakes, they are heavy bodied and can grow to over six feet. Sometimes called timber rattlesnakes in the Northeastern forests, they grow larger along the gulf coast and in the Southern Pine Forest typical of the ranch where we camp. Later estimates suggest this one was nearing six feet, though I wasn’t thinking in terms of measurement. It is worthy of the name canebreak and also horridus.

Mark, an Earth Dancer who also is preparing for a vision quest in the Spring, had been cleaning his dish after his late afternoon meal when a friend, Matthew, sauntered up and called his attention to the snake just a few feet from where he sat. The large reptile raised its head and looked inside the tent and then began a slow slide around the west wall where it was when I arrived. Matthew was leading the singing while several others stood by, shall we say, speechless but not song-less.

Snake-xFascinated, I counted eleven rattles on a solid black tail, almost velvet in appearance. Black chevrons and dots stood out against a dark gray background, and I noticed a pale, pink strip down his back. I say his because I know that males tend to live in the thick forest while their female counterparts hang out around rocky outcroppings or streams. One large, black dot stands out with an x in the middle. As our brother snake slides gracefully around the tent, I see that he reaches for the end of the far corner of the tent while his tail his still on the front of the tent. Back to the measurement question: I am aware that human gender plays a role in length estimates.

Out on the red path-like road, I place the tongs on the narrow place on our snake’s neck where I usually connect. In the past I had my trusty homemade stick that actually was an old rake. Previously, I stretched the teeth of the rake apart so that I could lay the narrow place gently on the neck and allow the snake to stretch its body up the handle. Now, I tried with my new equipment. However, this canebreak soon let me know that he didn’t like my new tongs because there was too much pressure. He rattled but didn’t coil, so I shifted my connecting point to mid-body.

This not so subtle message from the snake of rattling is an expression of the mother tongue within the eco-field. Eleven rattles are such that campers ¼ mile away could hear clearly. I am not what you would call a snake-handler with weekly experience, but I have had considerable spiritual and ecological experience so that I know the intricacies of the rattle message. (What I am describing here is not a suggested spiritual practice without the presence of a mentor who understand snakes.)

I proceed. My aim is to take him at least 5 acres away, if not more. My experience tells me that the 5 acre rule taught me by my mentors gives this type of rattlesnake a new hunting area. This information is crucial because with 30-40 campers who have varying experience with eco-field awareness safety of both snake and humans is paramount.

The weight of his snake is such that I can’t carry him longer than 50 yards without resting by allowing him time on the ground. He tells me that he doesn’t like to be lifted up. Duh. Snakes don’t fly; they love the ground. Our 5 acre pilgrimage stretches my strength and endurance as I go slowly with two singers continuing to assure the snake and the campers that we are mutually respectful.

As we move past a pond where there is plenty of food for our new friend, I release my connection. He pauses for a moment. Am I imagining an eye-to-eye connection? Making him mammal-like? Off he goes.

In returning to my camping area, I sit and continue a mother tongue conversation with our spirit snake. I am touched profoundly by many aspects of the experience. Not once did he coil or strike at me. The ever-present danger and the deeply felt connection intertwined to form an umbilical cord between us and those present.

“We are apex predators,” I say to him, “We can kill each other. Yet, there is no need for that ;there has been enough needless killing within our planet today. We can friend each other.”

I listen.

“Look for me in your dreams.”

He seems to say.

Reflections

Here I am a week after the above narrative. Every night and many times during the day my brother snake appears to me. Pieces of the story emerge in conversations. Most of the time the story seems to enliven. On one occasion brother snake told me not to say more because the listener was not respectful or, maybe more accurately, not interested.

Next week I will be on my way to Teotihuacan. The ancient Toltecs built the pyramids to depict both the solar system and the body of a snake. In that healing process the Toltec pathway takes us into the body of the snake at one end of the complex and leads us through a week’s meditation. At the far end of the snake in the main avenue, we emerge at the pyramid of the Moon. Such an emergence is fitting. The snake leads us back to the Minoans, back to the Sacred Feminine, back to the Great Mother. The spirit snake initiates us humans time-after-time and underlines the good news of our day.

We can return to Mother Nature. We only need go deeper than Eden. We know the Moon embraces us. We know we cannot go to the sky and transcendence without the powerful guidance of the going through the snake and its transformative power. Snake dreams and visions need not be nightmares but rather meaningful messages leading us to our deeper selves.

AN AMAZING TRIP INSIDE AN ATOM: The Mind Bending Power of Awareness

 

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Settle back for a story about a miracle of science and how you are an experimental scientist, perhaps without even knowing it. In May of 2013, a brilliant molecular physicist, Aneta Stodoina, captured the first ever photo of an electron’s whizzing orbit within a hydrogen atom. Look at the above photo and imagine yourself peering inside. She and others on her team invented a new microsophy technique that allows us for the first time in human history to take our awareness in an atom. So, this is a story about an incredible journey into the interior of an atom and the power it can release.

What a trip!

Seeing within the tiniest bits of matter has been a challenge for humans over five thousand years because of the almost infinitesimal small scale of atoms. The science of this exploration is called—as you no doubt guessed—quantum physics. Before I get to the punch line of this blog, I want to take you back a bit in the narrative about our relationship with atoms. Hang with me.

Early Atomic Experiments

Around 460 B.C.E. a Greek philosopher/scientist, Democritus, asked a question: if you cut a piece of wood in half, and cut it in half again, how many cuts will you make before you can cut it no further? He went on to surmise that eventually you would get to the smallest possible bit of matter(in this case wood), and he called these smallest particles of matter, atoms,or atomos, a word in his native Greek language,which translates as uncuttable or indivisible. This vision is important, but also illustrates how skewed our Western view of history is. You and I likely learned that Democritus was the first to wonder about these tiny bits of matter just as we were taught that Columbus discovered America.

We were taught a system of errors mixed with a truth here and there.

Awareness Through Questioning History

At this point in the atomic story, I invite us to accelerate our re-thinking thinking by deeply questioning Western Civilization’s history. Dare to. At a likely unconscious level our historians shape the human account to justify our reducing everything to its tiniest material bit and ignore both the wisdom and folly of the ancients. Put another way our historians unwittingly prop up a worldview that supports the dominance of humans over all other aspects of Earth, a form of thinking that has pushed us to the edge of the abyss with climate change. Our mainstream history falls into a fallacy I call the trans/pre fallacy: after this, therefore better than this.

A Story Ignored in the West

Indian historian Kisari M. Ganguli notes that newer archeology and ancient texts are full of references to an ancient science that ventured inside microscopic matter.. Researching the ancient Mahabharata‘s description of a war in the Indus Valley 5000 years ago, Ganguli notes a startling account of a weapon with all the power of the Universe in it. It was, he proposes, a giant fireball, which reduced to ashes an entire race, the Vrishnis. The ground was scorched. Birds turned white. All foodstuffs were contaminated. Had these ancient ones ventured inside an atom and discovered its awesome power?

If so, what went wrong?

When J. Robert Oppenheimer was experimenting with splitting the atom for Harry Truman, he delved into and quoted this ancient science. Such descriptions gave Oppenheimer pause to think, but, unfortunately, not enough pause to re-think his choices. He (and we in the USA) became, to use Oppenheimer’s quote of the ancient narrative, “…destroyers of the world.” Were these ancient scientist warriors not only aware of the tiny world of the atom but also adept at unleashing its power? And does our current perspective simply ignore such possibilities because of the narrow lens of our thinking?

(http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/historys-lost-lesson-ancient-nuclear-war-among-indus-valley-civilizations-reexamined/)

Toltec Practice of Awareness

600 years before Democritus postulated the atom, the Toltecs made perception and expanded awareness that linked two domains of reality the focus of their science and art. They soon would model the pyramid complex at Teotihuacan after their discovery of the solar system, an advance that came over a millennia before Copernicus. Underlying the amazing accomplishments of the Toltecs is their mastery of awareness through a dogged practice that took them out of ordinary reasoning and thinking into domains we call altered states of consciousness. By stalking our usual states(illusory dreams we create) the Toltecs moved into dimensions far beyond the mainstream. My point here is that the Toltecs were early scientist/artists who knew how to move from our mainstream minds to a separate reality that anticipates quantum physics. But I digress.

21st Century Science

Now, let’s return to Democritus and his cutting of the wood until he arrived at the tiniest particle, one he called an atom. That theory held(and is still held by retro-scientists in many universities) until quantum physicists performed experiments that changed everything. Democritus and Isaac Newton were not so much wrong as their journey stopped short of bridging the two worlds of particles and waves. The results of quantum experiments reveal a link between Democritus’ tiny bits of wood and an invisible world of waves. You cut the wood; you cut the wood; and what you end up with is not a thing but a movement between worlds. Reality, it turns out, is not a thing at all but a movement, an oscillation between domains.

Then, they discovered that the waves were waves of possibilities and that the possibility waves became steeper and steeper as scientists interacted with conscious awareness. That’s what you do when you engage in an experiment: focus awareness. The steepness(or amplitude) of the wave under the focus of awareness collapsed into an actual entity we can perceive with our senses, an atom or sub-atomic particle. In our modern culture it has taken a century for it to dawn on us that the missing link in usual thinking is the wild card of focused and expanded awareness. Such awareness is at the heart of rethinking thinking. The thinking of the future will be more like meditating than critical analysis, though it will include both.

The Power of Awareness

Think of it! Or better, re-think of it! According to quantum physics, the shaper of reality at the microscopic level is consciousness. Notice, I didn’t say human consciousness because other forms of consciousness also shape reality.(That is another story). The Toltecs are right, as are most indigenous peoples. The most powerful tool we have is our own consciousness, which begins with our ability to shift our awareness from the ordinary to the trans-ordinary.

Inside the Atom

Now for our actual trip to the inner world of the atom. Look at the chair or any object near you. It appears solid, but the appearance is our dream, our handy concoction. The reality is a mass of moving atoms, like you see in the above photos. Notice how your mind may resist such a view. It’s OK. It has taken a century for our best scientists to get with how things are not things. Einstein himself said it was so weird that he couldn’t wrap himself around it.

Yet, Einstein didn’t have the privilege of the newer photography that takes us inside. Yes, at this moment, your awareness can take you through the above picture inside an atom. Then, shift your awareness to the chair, or other object. There you can see tiny sub-atomic particles. Stretch now. Open you awareness. Focus. As your consciousness moves inside the object/chair, your stretched awareness begins to interact with the chair.

The chair actually is a system of possibility waves that become steeper as you focus your awareness. Then, the tiny waves collapse into actual bits of matter that make up the chair. It is not so much that you are creating the chair as you are co-creating the chair through the power of your awareness.

Now, here is the punchline I promised. Your tiny bit of awareness connects you with the vast consciousness underlying and overreaching the Universe as we know it. Your awareness is connected with what physicist, David Bohm, calls the Implicate Order of Consciousness. In that sense you and I are are possibility waves ourselves that move into physical existence every moment. And in that sense our expanded awareness allows us to become identified as the Beloved Sacred Consciousness that brings everything into existence.

The wild card, though, is our willingness to stretch from our islands of safety into larger awareness.

 

CHEWING THROUGH THE LEASH: Prayers On The Canyon Floor

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Outlined against the dark of an SUV interior rides a white wolfdog, eyes bright but constrained. His companion is Lisa Dvorak, assistant police chief of a near-by city. Lisa named her companion after the hero of a vision song given to a vision quester years before–Wazo, a tribal word for wolf.

 The snazzy car slides to a halt on solid limestone that doubles as an old ranch road and my current driveway. Wazo waits somewhat patiently as Lisa attaches a thick, leather leash to his collar. Somewhat patiently, I say, because the hours the police chief had spent training her trusted companion were many and supplemented by expensive, professional training. Wazo jumps out of the car and immediately heels behind Lisa, a proud hybrid who knows his way around fancy cars and ranch roads become driveways. As I look at this handsome creature with kerchief around his neck, he looks like any other large and beautiful dog.

Not so!

A Wolfdog Description

Sometimes called a wolf hybrid, this magnificent mammal calls out to humans in a unique way; in fact, USDA estimates that there are 300-500,000 wolf hybrids in the USA alone. Wolfdogs tend to have somewhat smaller heads , larger and pointed ears, and one more hind toe than pure wolves. They have longer canines than pure wolves, form larger packs in the wilds, and appear in studies to have greater endurance. In a Siberian research project, wolf hybrids tracked down a target in 15-20 seconds while it took well trained police dogs four minutes. The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that wolf hybrids are, no surprise, healthier than domestic dogs while at the same time, like their wolf parents, resistant to rabies vaccines. Some experts advise against having wolfdogs as companions because of unruly behavior issues while other human companions contend that the larger the percentage of wolf, the more companionable.

A Wolfdog Heritage: Teotihuacan

Humans and wolfdogs share a deep code of connection. Evidence of common hunting endeavors of humans and wolfdogs stretch back 10,000 years in the Americas. This is not a johnny-come-lately relationship. In December of 2010 scientists announced they had found remains of many wolfdogs that had been kept by the Toltecs in Mexico’s central valley as far back as 3,000 years ago. Previously, animals in Toltec art thought to be coyotes or unusual dogs turn out likely to be wolfdogs. Archeologist Raul Valdez, after four years of studying petrified jawbones, concluded that inhabitants of Teotihuacan had dogs, wolves, and coyotes, but they almost always used the hybrid wolfdog in ceremonies at the pyramids. Something about the hybrid carried a different kind of power and courage that fascinated the ancients. We now can grasp that these wise people at Teotihuacan knew about the solar system 2500 years before Copernicus discovered that Earth rotated around the Sun.

Did they also know something about the wisdom of the hybrid?

And are there clues for us humans evolving toward a form of humanity returning to the cycle of life after a long estrangement?

Path Down Into the Canyon

Back in my driveway, Wazo follows obediently at Lisa’s side as we begin our hike down into the small canyon near where I live. Since I had known Wazo as a rowdy pup, I am amazed at how well-behaved he is, hardly straining at the leash as we leave the driveway and the office in my house behind. Lisa and I converse casually about any number of subjects, and I mention how civilized Wazo has become. The lessons of civilization are taking hold, I comment, a little disappointment in my voice. As we descend into the arroyo and pick our way through limestone rock 140 million years old, Wazo sniffs at petrified sea creatures preserved in the sediments of a Mesozoic sea that covered all this area.

 In the sweat lodge we respectfully haul in these limestone, sedimentary rocks at the outset of the lodge because they are layered and peel off the overlays of our usual psychological patterns. The rocks, hybrids themselves of compressed sea urchins, lead us to our cores, that energetic dimension unfettered by culture.Our descent seems to have a similar effect on Wazo as the dog gives way to the wolf with every step. Off to my left crashing through a juniper forest comes an eight-point buck pawing the ground restlessly, and Wazo’s yellow eyes glisten as something stirs.Lisa’s hands turn white at the knuckles, white as Wazo’s fur, as the pressure he puts on his leash increases.

Black Cherry Grove And Hidden Springs

A favorite hangout of mine looms before us, a grove of wild black cherry trees. A spring gurgles at our feet, and Wazo laps while looking alertly to the left and right. Lisa and I settle to sit awhile on a limestone shelf, but Wazo has none of it. He pulls her off the comfortable shelf, jerking her arm. Glancing at me Lisa moves to a nice black cherry tree and ties the leash securely. We return to talk about the healing balm of black cherry trees, the way grown-ups do when a child misbehaves. My great grandmother knew the recipe for a healing tea from this tree, but it is now lost in the mists of time. Even so, we soak up the powerful energy of the grove.

Chewing Through The Leash

Suddenly, a deep growl comes from the tree, and I turn to see Wazo in the last moments of chewing through his leash. Before we can respond, he is off and running, splashing through the trickling spring as he bounds about. He stops and makes eye contact in water up to his chest, and then he sprints up the steep canyon walls. My first response is to chase him and bring him back to more orderly concerns, but then I see the futility of that maneuver.

The Wild Heart

A message of non locality passes between us as I am drawn  out of my own constraints. Mouth and eyes open I am, for the moment, chewing through my own leash. A line of energy shoots straight into my heart. You know that point. It is the inner motion of the quantum self with all of its microtubules reaching out to the eco-filed all around.

The Mother Tongue

A different mammal strides by both in Wazo and within me. He is different from the dog with a bandanna around his neck, though it is still there. He speaks a base language. He stops and listens to every little sound in the vibrant, intertwining of soil, grasses, insects, trees, water, deer, snakes, and, yes, humans. Together we compose this tiny eco-field. These exchanges of signals within the web happen faster than the speed of light. On second thought they may not be information laden signals so much as a nonlocal knowing throughout the field that is present when the leashes of culture are chewed through.

Return To Civilization

We puzzle—do Lisa and I—about how to corral our dog transformed into wolf. But as we stand up and start the ascension out of the canyon, he slowly falls into step. Lisa ties what is left of the leash to his collar, and soon we are shuffling along the driveway. Thought I have written and taught about such moments for some time, this particular experience is so vivid that I stumble to express it even to myself, even now. I could say we went from the order of the driveway eco-field to the chaos and disorder of the deep, shaded canyon. Maybe.

But I would soon find out it is just the other way around.

Night Journeys

That night about 2:00 a.m. when the veil is thin Wazo appears and takes me on a pathway from the domain of the manifest particles of my bedroom to the waves of the canyon. At first, he beckons me, and then grabs me by the scruff of my neck to take me in dreamlike fashion to points unknown. My usual life that I have worked so hard to provide as a safety net now appears to me as disorder when compared with the majesty of the ride on Wazo’s back. Fears, depression, and addictive urges disappear as we glide down the canyon pathway. This journey consists of Wazo and Will in waves of possibility gathering mass to collapse into cultural actuality when I awake in the morning.

Wazo The Wave

Some time back Wazo made a journey over the great white mountain to the domain of waves, but he is still with me from time-to-time. With our dream and visionary bodies in tact we romp through waters and stare at stars. Recently, I have been going through rough waters with Judith’s treatment, with my sister who is in a similar process, and with friends who sort through a cancer healing. At such times, especially in the dead of night, Wazo comes as ally and drags me by the scruff of my neck out the disorder of tangled feelings and thoughts into deep canyons and groves of trees.When I can’t do it myself, he chews through my leashes for me.

 Then, in the morning with the dawn of new light, I know that I experience a wild form of prayer, those utterances in the visionary path that open up possibilities I could never know if I stayed on the drive-way on my leash with bandanna around my neck.

A TREE THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE

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One day I was on a picnic with the President/CEO of Roseburg Forest Products, Allyn Ford, and we fell into a jolting conversation. RFP is a closely held corporation that owns 650,000 acres of viable timberland in Southern Oregon and Northern California, or about the size of one of our smaller states. I consider Allyn to be a friend and one of the more enlightened capitalists in the lumber industry. When I asked him about his view of sustainability, he replied, “The more we know about forest lands, the more we can do to keep them healthy. The healthier they are, the healthier our business. Call us tree-huggers if you like. I don’t mind. I love trees. Wood never ceases to amaze me, and I am always finding new ways to put trees to good use.”

I checked his statements out with locals and informal research. Allyn’s foresters plant over 5 million new trees each year. He reuses 300,000 lbs. of residual material annually to make high-grade particle board. Through sustainable energy practices some of RFP’s facilities are off the grid. When I inquired about the health of the forest land he owns, he replied, “We have more trees now on that land than when I took over from my father. I plant more than I cut.”

That’s the good news, and I appreciate Allyn’s efforts. Every step in awareness and respectful practice assists and underlines that we, as a human species, are in this endeavor together with the forest. Indeed, as you know from previous blogs, I identify myself as an aspect of the forest. When the forest is healthy, I am healthy. You, too.

The bad news is that RFP and other less enlightened lumber companies utilize a method called clear-cutting, and, embracing that method, have decimated a tree that could save your life. Let’s see how.

The Inconspicuous Oregon Yew Tree

The Pacific or Oregon yew is an evergreen usually growing to a height 24-30 feet and a diameter of about 30 inches. Sometimes in droughts yews appear as shrubs in the forest floor and can easily be overlooked. The Oregon yew, thus, grows inconspicuously and very slowly beneath a conifer forest canopy; it requires dense shade. It grows best in cool, moist flats, and its seeds are disseminated mainly by wind and birds. It also is a favorite browse of deer, elk, and moose, who in turn distribute the seeds fertilized by their waste.

To the 20th Century trained forester and profit hungry lumber industry the yew appeared as useless, a trash tree. It merited no attention whatsoever because it didn’t produce lumber, wood as the lumber industry calls it. As large lumber companies clearcut, the yew tree became a casualty. No big deal, they thought. Collateral damage.

The lumbermen would have done well to talk to my mentor, Bear Heart, who once said to me,”So-called trash trees and weeds often are big medicine not yet discovered by white folk.” But like most of our mainstream culture, the lumber industry pays little attention to indigenous wisdom.

Indigenous Medicine and The Yew

A significant number of indigenous tribes well knew the value of yew trees. They used the bark, foliage, and fruits of the yew medicinally, as Bear Heart knew from his trips to the Northwest. Bella Coola Indians used leaf tea for lung ailments. Chehalis natives employed leaf preparation to accompany sweat lodges in the purification of body/mind/soul. Cowlitz created yew poultices for wounds. This indigenous partnership with the yew tree’s healing powers reaches back into the mists of prehistory, several thousand years ago. It is a well-known fact that there was little, if any, cancer present with the indigenous people when the European invasion began. Native shaman knew the anti-cancer powers of the yew and a variety of other plants.

Mainstream Culture “Discovers” the Yew

In the early 1960’s Jonathan Hartwell of the National Cancer Institute realized that native peoples used plants as sources of anticancer drugs. Plants were shipped from the field to chemistry laboratories where experiments were performed to see if the native narratives about the yew tree had any value. They did.

The history of modern medicine notes that in 1967 Monroe Wall and M.C. Wani discovered the healing properties of the Yew tree and named it taxol or paclitaxel. In an astounding example of the arrogance of Western Civilization’s historians, these two men were credited with isolating the natural product from the bark of the yew, a practice obviously known to indigenous folks for thousands of years. Those of us who as elementary age students believed Columbus discovered America should take note and develop a healthy skepticism concerning current historical accounts such as this account of the yew tree’s so-called “discovery.”

Taxol was then developed commercially by Bristol Meyer Squib. The 1970’s saw continued research into the uses of taxol as the wheels of its usage moved quite slowly in the United States in spite of the known promise of the yew’s power of healing to indigenous peoples.

In 1977 The Mainstream Wakes Up

In 1977 Susan Horowitz of Albert Einstein College of Medicine discovered that taxol interfered with cell division by binding to tubulins in the cells. Unlike other cancer drugs, which prevented tubulin from assembling into microtubules, taxol bound to assembled mirotubules and blocked them from disassembling. Without going into microbiological details, mainstream science was at last taking note of the unique healing qualities of the yew tree. The partnership of the yew with microtubules is fascinating, and I will return to this in some detail in a future blog.

Clear-cutting Yew Trees Continues

Meanwhile, back in the forest clear-cutting the yew tree continued. Senator Frank Church was concerned and in 1975 offered the Church Guidelines for clear-cutting in National Forests; the guidelines stipulated that clear-cuts would not exceed 40 acres in size on federal lands. In 1976 a law was passed by Congress greatly restricting clear-cutting in National Forests. But on private lands, like the ones owned by RFP, clear-cutting remains the silvicultural timber harvest method of choice, the yew tree be damned. The timber industry is currently attempting to remove most of the restrictions on federal lands. While it is true that the lumber industry plants millions of trees, they pay little attention to the understory where the intrepid yew grows.

The Amazing Yew Tree Continues To Heal

In spite of this gross crime against itself, the yew tree patiently continues to heal humans. It is estimated that 250,000 people are treated annually with taxol. It is used in lung, ovarian, breast, head and neck, prostate, and Kaposi’s sarcoma. The little tree and its offsprings earn over one billion dollars a year for American drug companies. Still, because the clear-cutting continues, the treatment is expensive, costing between $10,000 and $100,000 for each patient, depending on the number of treatment cycles.

How Plants Heal

Increasing numbers of researchers such as Stephen Buhner agree with my eco-field hypothesis that there is a mother tongue exchange of information and meaning within a specific landscape. Within certain space configurations there is a constant flow of, shall we say for the moment, conversations, ones mainstream culture is just now beginning to understand.

The Miracle of the Mother Tongue

The Oregon yew tree has been reaching out to humans through the millennia and ancient people knew the language. For me, conversations with the yew tree and its kin are the most effective form of prayer I know. I mentioned in an earlier blog that Judith, my life partner, was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago. Together, we are choosing many forms of healing, including surgery and chemo therapy, as well as alternative forms. Prayer is at the top of the list.

But what form of prayer?

Each day I talk to the yew trees. I apologize for the arrogance of my fellow humans, including myself. I acknowledge the innate intelligence oozing forth in the plants as healing potential for those beset with cancer. Even though we continue to cut them down, they share generously with us through a sophisticated neural network their ability to survive, a survival strategy that doesn’t compete with us but collaborates with us.

To our delight taxol is the chemo therapy of choice by our oncologist at the moment. Judith’s prayers are immediate and sensual. So are mine. I hold her hand for a moment as she reclines in a chair with a bag of yew tree medicine(taxol) flowing into her body. Its intelligence is palpable. Our conversations in the mother tongue are not abstract. They are sensual and immediate. Soon, my courage and endurance waiver, and I leave the room. Judith persists in a longer conversation with the yew.

Sleeping With The Tree

If prayer is aware intimacy, then I link intimately with the yew tree. At night I lie next to Judith, and I can feel the wisdom of the tree surging through her body. I benefit. Its energy reaches out and embraces me. Sometimes, tears flow. Sometimes, giggles break through. Both come in waves. Western medicine offers us no guarantees. I understand. In the meantime I am in discourse with the plant world, and I would never have known this kind of intimate depth without this kind of struggle.

So, in that way, Judith and I are already healed, that is, more fully aware of our connection with the Whole. Such is the potential of our species as we painstakingly make our return to the circle of life.

THE WHOLE SIGNALS THE PART: Eco-field Messages

In my last blog post, I explored with you the sometimes annoying and sometimes consciousness expanding messages from a common titmouse. Recall that I resisted field-centric messages by covering my window with a blanket so that the titmouse would cease its pecking. I took that action even though I knew the fields were attempting to respond to my utterances and prayers; thus, I became for the moment a poster child for resistance at connecting more robustly to the Whole.

Pick up my story at the point where I supposedly had silenced the titmouse and the field.

Grace Persists

Two mornings later I walked out toward my Prius, perhaps fifty yards from my house and the infamous window I had covered to silence the titmouse. As I ambled enjoying the fresh air, I could hear a faint tapping once again. Mumbling to myself, I returned to the window inside the house to see if the titmouse had returned, but there was only silence. It seemed like blessed silence, but, then, silence was not what I wanted when I prayed.

What kind of intimate was I?

I wrestled with a terrible truth: I yearned for a Universe to be responsive to my communications but only if it was pleasant and under my control. I teach and write as a harbinger of the Great Return of humans to the web of eco-fields, but it was apparent—at least in this instance—that the return had to be on my terms.

Satisfied that my house was quiet, my morning walk took me to a car port some distance away where I followed the tap-tap-tap sound. Low and behold there was my spirit visitor tapping on the rearview mirror of the car, on the driver’s side, the side where I usually sit. In spite of all of my resistance, the surrounding eco-field seemed to persist with some message. If I covered up the windows of my soul with a blanket because the tapping was inconvenient, the field in the form of the little bird persisted by following me to the mirror of my car. My little friend seemed a bit frustrated with my recalcitrance and left a few droppings near the door handle, just to inject humor into the equation.

But isn’t this just natural behavior that I need not take personally? Isn’t all of this connecting behavior just coincidence in a random Universe?

Natural Hearing and Stereophonic Messages

Maybe, I reasoned there were two channels of information available.

Stereophonic sound is achieved by using two or more independent audio channels through a configuration of two or more speakers. This effect creates an experience of hearing music or other messages from different directions, or, as sound engineers say, natural hearing. That describes my experience with Mr. Titmouse. Through one speaker I just get the behavior of a male bird pecking on the window image of an imagined rival, such is the description of reductionistic, 20th Century Science. When I covered up one window, he merely sought out another. Such reasoning is the message from one of the stereophonic speakers.

Quantum fields and indigenous people are helping us discover another speaker, one connected to our holographic brain. That speaker is the channel that sends a response to our utterances, our ceremonies, our prayers, our drumming, and the music of our souls. Such a speaker transmits through the language of the mother tongue and is one Western Civilization turned off as being magical thinking. This speaker responds to us and gives us guidance, very specific guidance through the eco-fields.

Both channels are important and are not mutually exclusive. They are both paradoxically and antinomially true. They are in tension with each other, but out of the dynamic relationship we get a message. That is the way of the hybrid on the return path. We live simultaneously in two worlds listening to two messages.

I do want to point out that there are 20 windows within a short distance that the titmouse might have chosen to carry on with his reflected intruder. Yet, he chose to fly a distance to my car and chose not the passenger mirror but rather the mirror that I would have to open. His droppings were next to the door handle I would need to grasp in order to drive. Such observations are not to be taken as cause-and-effect but correlative to my prayers.

 Decoding The Message

This form of prayer was very different from those that rely on a priest or a book or even a disincarnate spirit as the mediator of a reciprocal and intimate exchange. This communication was initiated by a force field outside myself. True, I had been blowing the conch, burning the sage, chanting, and singing songs for some time before the titmouse showed up. So, it is a chicken and egg discussion, as are most forms of intimacy.

What moves me, though, is how sensual the tapping is and how persistent is the motion from outside myself in the face of mainstream, cultural reasoning that sometimes dominate my inner council. This indigenous way of prayer is immediate, within the world where I live, and imminently practical. It requires a form of work that reminds me of the existential immediacy of any of my human-to-human intimate exchanges. Here is a likely sequence in most intimate exchanges: a heart-felt utterance, a response from the other; a defense if the response challenges my current reality; a persistence of the other; a softening to the message

Here are a few of the messages that came to me in the dialogue as I listened to the titmouse in nightly meditations.

  • The beauty of a lasting and loyal love ;titmice often mate for life.

  • Life endures in spite of vulnerability; titmice can be very long lived

  • I will guide you to the center of the circle, home; titmice stay within a select set of eco-fields.

  • Most important, just be with me. Listen to me. Making meaning is secondary.

Reflections for the Day

Recently, a researcher writing a book about nature-based spirituality asked for an interview to see if she wanted to include conversations with me in her work. We talked leisurely under a tree not far for my car port. “I know your life has taken a meandering path through psychology, spiritual communities, the study of quantum fields, alternative academia, and studies with tribal elders. If you could put in one sentence what you have learned, what would it be?”

Long moments passed.

“The path of enlightenment is through the marvel of our sensual perceptions and a trust in the natural order to guide us toward greater consciousness.”

As I read these words to Judith before I post them on my blog, the titmouse flies to the window, looks in, but does not tap.

FIELD CENTERED INTIMACY…IS SUCH A PRAYER?

Here are  common inquiries concerning prayer—how does it work? We may send prayers, supposedly to a transcendent god, but how do such messages get there? Are there carriers? Does anyone hear? If so, how do he/she/it answer? And in what language? Are we really talking to our deeper selves in a form of inner dialogue? Trapped within our own psychology?

If we are able to escape the confines of our own personalities, do our prayers actually influence the situation? If another person has requested prayers, how are they helped? Or is it just one unending mystery about which little is actually known and, as such, resistant to understanding and conversation? Maybe, it is all a matter of faith and outside our domain of discussion? If that is true, how can we possibly learn the skills sets of prayer?

Many other questions arise, and maybe honest questions themselves are a form of larger communication. Let’s respond to the questions with a proposal and a story.

 First, the proposal. Prayer can be thought of as a linking to a larger perspective in a living Universe propelled by a vast intelligence leading us to greater intimacy. The linking in prayer is completely necessary and may be discovered through common connections within our eco-fields.

Now, for the story.

For three weeks now a tufted titmouse has been pecking on a window near where Judith and I eat our meals. This little bird is sparrow-sized and about six inches from the tip of the cute tuft perched on its head to its tail. Gray above and gray/white underneath, it is scrawny and appears young. The usual range of the common , black crested titmouse is in swampy or moist woodlands, so our semi-desert Hill Country does not fit such an eco-field. We are neither swampy or moist. My guy is definitely not black crested.

 As I look at my feathered friend, I observe he looks more like a juniper titmouse, gray all over and no black markings. Trouble is, we are not in juniper titmouse natural range. Frustrated, I pause for a moment to take stock of myself.In my books I have taken issue with Aristotle for his obsession with classifying and identifying different species and likely obscuring the soul, yet here I am engaged in a similar pursuit. I imagine that I can gain some control over the situation if I know who my visitor is and what his behaviors are. By now in the story, the bird has been pecking on the window near our dining area for a week, including first light in the morning. I wake up to the tap-tap-tap, and I can’t seem to discourage him. At first I was inspired by his presence, but now he is an annoyance.

Ten days into the experience, I have exhausted internet sources with little success in gaining knowledge of behaviors. Then, Judith finds a reference in a field guide to birds published in 1960, one we have carried with us for over 40 years. This book identifies my visitor as a plain titmouse frequently reported in my area. Likely, the account says, my annoying friend is just a plain old titmouse. Plain, you say! This experience thus far is annoying but not plain by any stretch of the imagination. Sadly, acquiring these data gives me no peace.

But still I search.

The pecking behavior is not terribly uncommon and has a common-sense, 20th Century science explanation. Titmice, cardinals, and robins are territorial birds. When our tiny titmouse sees a reflection of himself in the window, it perceives an intruder into its eco-field that might be a competitor for breeding or feeding. So when he gets close enough to the window to see his own reflection, he interprets the images as an intruder and pecks at the window to chase the intruder away. That explanation makes sense but my experience is much larger than that deduction and reduction.

Why I am going to all this trouble to identify this bird? How does it relate to prayer? At this point, it is not clear to me. But nearing the end of the second week of tapping, it slowly dawns on me that the behavior of the bird is somehow connected to the prayers Judith and I engage in each early morning just a few feet from where he likes to perch and, shall I say, drum. Or maybe, just tapping.

Tapping Prayer

Twenty-five years ago I trained with Roger Callahan, creator of a tapping technique called thought field therapy. A fellow student, Gary Craig, refined this approach and called it Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). At the time that Gary made his refinement, I suggested the title Energy Free Tapping because the tapping of certain meridian points on the body freed energy from the field to flow freely through the field, including humans and other creatures in the field. This free flow of energy linked aspects of the field in such a way that a greater wholeness emerged. Healing, if you will. Slow learner that I am from time-to-time, it was dawning on me that the tapping of my visitor was there to allow energy to flow freely through Judith and me in response to our singing, chanting, drumming, and burning of herbs. In service of healing? And was the tapping titmouse the larger Whole responding to our utterances in a very sensual, immediate way?

Resistance To Natural Flow

Still, I could not resist the impulse to control the situation because of the sleep deprivation. I covered the inside of the window with a blanket to reduce the reflection, and he no longer was pecking. At first I was relieved, but then I felt a loss.

Listening to my inner core I had known all along that the eco-field was responding to my utterances, prayer if you will. Yet, here I was sabotaging the possibility of a message coming through the field. I was covering over the possibility of flow and new information. I found myself laughing at this human tendency to constrict the very flow of quantum energy that carries packets of information from the fields that are part of this conversation I am calling prayer.

Revisiting the Proposal

 Let’s expand my proposal. Assume that quantum prayer connects us to the web of fields all around us. Further, consider that the larger system of fields includes a matrix of eco-fields and that the eco-fields consist of interlaced communications between all aspects of the fields. The rocks birth the soil; the soil, the grass; the insects, the birds; the birds, the foxes and predators, including humans, and so on. This mutual birthing includes a field-centered epistemology or, to be more precise, a knowing field. Then, let’s stretch ourselves to think that this matrix of fields is suffused with an intelligence, an intelligence that has a vested interest in the evolutionary impulse.

Recall an earlier blog where I quote mathematical cosmologist, Bryan Swimme, that describes the direction of an evolutionary Universe as moving toward every aspect knowing every other aspect in its depths. In other words, everything in the Universe is moving toward greater and greater intimacy.

If this proposal has even a modicum of truth in it, then the matrix of eco-fields all around me where I live has a vested interest in my unfolding awareness, connectivity, and compassion. Why? Because that is the direction of the Universe.

In such a scenario my impulse and practice of connecting and opening myself are communications from myself to the larger fields. The question becomes, then, does the matrix of fields speak back to me,providing me with packets of information. That’s what intimacy is, isn’t it? The exchange of authentic information. Sadly, I had walled off my side of the conduit. And we explore those blocked conduits and moving beyond them in the next post.

QUANTUM PRAYER: Charting A Path Through Chaos In A Return To Prayer

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Today, I received a post from a friend,Larry, telling of giving up on prayer as he trudged through the jungles of Viet Nam in the midst of a pointless war. Lately, he developed a brain tumor and received multiple prayers from Earthtribers. His experience of being immersed in prayerful eco-fields has him reconsidering the validity of prayers since he has been deeply touched through a mysterious energy generated through a tribal practice of prayer. A healing energy, I suppose.

I know what he means, this reconsideration in the midst of a serious illness. Judith, my life partner, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of this year, and now both of us are swimming our way through chaos toward coherence, a coherence of greater wholeness. Prayer seems to be integral to our splashing with purpose. The experience of having many of you pray regularly for me and Judith has me rethinking prayer. Earlier in this blog I wrote of rethinking thinking as a return of humans to the cycle of life, so here I am doing that very thing with a focus on prayer. It may take several posts, so off we go.

Me And Prayer: A Very Short History

Me and prayer, we go back a ways. The first prayer I recall was as an eight-year-old. I was hiking in a red rock canyon near my home on a late August afternoon. A brief summer thunder shower had come and gone, leaving behind the pungent greetings of a juniper forest. Suddenly, I was more alive. Even, now I can smell the crisp olfactory greeting of that canyon. I responded with giggles and wonder. In retrospect it seems like prayer to me.

Then, in my twenties, I momentarily abandoned my nature-base and practiced arduously Christian mysticism and its various forms of prayer. God was over there, and I was linked to the Divine through a Living Christ, who also was over there most of the time. But not all of the time. Sometimes, there seemed a presence, a very present help. In this model of prayer, I reached out through petition, confession,intercession, and gratitude. All human centered activity.

After a while emotional tangles surfaced that would not yield to that variety of mystic prayer and meditation, so I took a long hiatus from prayer, unless you consider profound encounters in psychotherapy (both as a provider and receiver) as sacred connection and, therefore, a form of prayer. Maybe so. In any case I stopped using the term altogether. It seemed an embarrassment to my post-modern sensitivities. Or maybe I was just angry with God because She/He didn’t seem to help with emotional contractions. The god of Western Civilization and mainline Abrahamic religions seemed mostly interested in repression, even of the sublime. It didn’t occur to me that there was a sacred presence in face-to-face therapy since the psychology of that era was allergic to the spiritual.

Inipi: Place of Spirit And Prayer

Then, in a return to ancient tribal practices, I sat on the ground around hot stones and allowed the sweat of my body to roll off, and, to my surprise, that act seemed to link me to something greater. At first we in the Earthribe practiced these ancient ways as a very hot form of group therapy. The intense heat cut through the B.S. But soon our utterances went far beyond our own psychological conditions. We found ourselves crying out in joy and gratitude as well as suffering and pain. The heat, the burning herbs, the glowing rocks, the fire, and the grass on our bare feet seemed to awaken a language beneath our usual rational expressions. Later, I would call this ceremony an experience of praying in the mother tongue, those utterances beneath the abstractions of modern languages.

Circles of Fasting and Prayer

Like many humans over the last 200,000 years, our return to the life cycle pulled us in the Earthtribe to sit in wilderness circles, fasting and crying for a vision over a 24 hour period. After a while, some intrepids fasted even longer. To my great surprise, visions appeared, songs were gifted, healings happened, traumas resolved, and creatures came bearing gifts and messages. Could it be, I asked myself, that my earlier versions of prayer were limited to sending messages outward? Could it be that prayer is actually a two-way conversation, a give-and-take, or a dialogue within creation?

If so, with whom or what?

To me, a process was developing, a relationship with the immediate environment that seemed to mediate an energetic presence. And the language of that presence was not transmitted through usual mainline rationality or common sense or abstract mysticism or even meditation toward emptiness. It all seemed like one piece of cloth to me, this intimate exchange. Something or someone was reaching out to me through an intimate environment. It wasn’t just a narcissistic exercise, and I was surprised by joy and, even happiness. Moments of ecstasy emerged from a sometimes realization that the universe was not a machine with a deity settled in some far-off place. The Universe–and the web of eco-fields where I happened to be—was alive, interactive, and brimming with intelligent exchanges I might well call prayer.

The Inner Scientist Wants In The Circle

In addition to being a psychologist, my hobby of quantum physics had by this time taken a more formal direction in inquiry and graduate research. It soon became clear that I had to find a way to include the inner scientist in the conversation. If not, I would continue with civilization’s split between spiritual experience and scientific thought. There had to be a way because these conversations—prayers if you will– in the mother tongue were moving me toward greater and greater wholeness. As I talked with clients and students, I discovered that all of us have introjected an inner scientist/skeptic whether we are aware of it or not. These inner scientists are crucial players because they can put the kibosh on interactions I was thinking of as prayer. Plus, I knew I needed an inner scientist to balance out the wild-hearted, shamanic practitioner. In daily practice I was benefitting from the confluence of 21st Century science and ancient wisdom. In fact, the motion of that meeting place itself is a form of prayer.

The Quantum World As Prayer Context

As I probed 21st Century science, I found that there is compelling support for a cosmic map of an underlying reality, an implicate order, out of which all our perceived reality emerges. In quantum physics there is, according to physicists Amit Goswami, David Bohm, and Ilya Prigogine, a science based on the primacy of consciousness. We are aspects of that consciousness, is the daring proposal of newer scientists. All the world of experience, including all the creatures around us, are manifestations of this underlying and overreaching consciousness.

 See what I mean: I am discovering a new way of thinking. The quantum way, and what I am experiencing might be called quantum prayer.

Quantum Fields, Information Exchange, and Prayer

Wholistic Consciousness employs an intermediary of a system or web of fields to link in such a way that everything is connected to all else within the Universe, called quantum entanglement by scientists. The technical definition of a field is a region of non-material influence, such as the gravitational, the electromagnetic, and strong and weak nuclear fields. Let’s see briefly how this notion relates to prayer.

 Imagine for a moment that an underlying consciousness—what Bohm calls the implicate order—sends forth wave after wave of pulsations through the fields eventuating in the common sense world, including ourselves. As I said in my last post, this common sense world appears to be fixed and solid, but under further scientific scrutiny there is widespread motion wherein pulsating waves birth particles that in turn make up the domain of matter.

Tiny sub-atomic particles come into being as steep waves collapse under certain conditions such as human, experimental awareness. Quantum scientists have convincingly demonstrated the sensitivity of the wave/particle continuum to human awareness. As such there is now a consistent quantum proposal that the wave/particle dance demonstrates an interactive awareness/sensitivity to humans and, perhaps, many aspects of creation.

Do you see where I am going here? The Universe is fundamentally interactive awareness wherein there is constant exchange of information. Such a proposal sets the table for what I am calling quantum prayer.

In a series of well-known experiments, Alain Aspect, a French physicist, provided strong evidence that a quantum event at one location can interact with another event without any known mechanism for communication between the two locations. A photon that has been split(through a beam splitter) has an affinity of interactive information with its twin if that twin is in the next room or across a galaxy.

Simply expressed, there are information exchanges between tiny particles across space and time. You and I are—don’t forget—made up of waves-becoming particles, becoming molecules, becoming cells, becoming organs, and so on.

Quantum Prayer

I am not reducing all prayer to quantum exchanges of information, but I do find it quite helpful to note that a shift in my consciousness(since I am, among other identities, a field of photons) links with and sends information through the fields that has the potential to influence particles, molecules, cells, organs, people, societies, nations, solar systems, and distant galaxies. It now appears that the butterfly effect closely describes the actual quantum domain. It is not just new age jargon.

 Revisiting An Eight Year Old

So the circle closes, and I return to the wisdom of an eight-year old. The juniper forest and the passing thunder storm sent packets of information to me in the form of soul-stirring sights and smells. I responded with a sense of wonder, awe, and laughter. It was as if the locale was calling me to something greater. And, as best I could, I said,”Here am I send me.”  In a time of trouble this seems like a path through chaos and disorder.

“…the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started

and know the place for the first time.”   T.S. Eliot

Let’s take this conversation on quantum prayer to the next level when next we meet.