It is sizzling summer here which induces a panic in non-natives used to more temperate climates. We cannot survive without air conditioning, so it is difficult to stay long in the open air, even for native Japanese, born in the far south in tropical Kagoshima and Okinawa. So, driving in the car with cold air rushing in through the vents, is so calming as well as tantalizing.
This land is exquisite when away from the rather careless and pragmatic urban areas. We drive north-west of bold and brassy Osaka, into the mountains. The forests of mixed pine and bamboo are dense with rigorous and ancient energy, and sure to be full of brown bears, raccoons and monkeys.
It is 3.45 in the morning, and we set out to join the crowded motorway, filled with people returning to their hometowns in order to clean and adorn their family graves, and to wait for the return of their ancestors from the world of spirits. Dawn approaches as we dive into the forests interspersed with rich green rice paddy, and I marvel at this glorious land of rock and tree and bear.
My partner Mariko chants he Heart Sutra in Japanese as we drive on, followed by iced Oolong tea and freshly sliced Japanese pear, nashi.
Three hours later, we arrive in Takeno, a tiny seaside village, Mariko’s hometown, and park our little ‘k’ car (economy car) in the small shale yard of the old family house. Her cousin and her daughter with her children are waiting for us, offering us a cool shower, and iced Barley tea.
After we have cooled down, we prepare to chant for Mariko’s mother’s 27th death memorial, putting on our robes and preparing the giant home altar (butsudan) with candles and incense. Every one sits behind us holding their juzu(rosary beads) being sure to copy our bowing and gassho (palms together at the level of the heart).
The chanting is more of a challenge and pleasure than usual because the ancient owner of the house has abandoned real Buddhist practice to join Sokka Gakai, a Japanese religious organization which has prohibited any Buddhist images. So, we must focus extra hard in order to slice through this misguided diversion from Dharma to reach the golden reclining Nirvana Buddha right at the back of the butsudan.
Afterwards, we take flowers to the family grave and chant again, being sure to wash the tall head stones with fresh water so that the spirits will not be thirsty. In the hottest part of the day, the local people will retreat indoors, closing all sliding doors to create a cool place, and relax together drinking sake (rice wine) to wait for the arrival of their ancestral spirits.
Later, when the sun has set, they will go again to the graveyard with lanterns and food to offer at the grave. They have come together from all parts of Japan to meet together at the family house and celebrate their ancestors.
This profound gratitude to all their descendants without whom they could not be alive today, is most moving. This is supreme Dharma, identical in the human world and the world of the spirits!
I have learned so much from this most inspiring Japanese custom.
(The following will be interspersed with the indigenous voice of an Australian tribal leader.)
Putting aside the man-made lenses of ‘time,’ ‘space,’ ‘race’, ‘gender,’ and ‘money,’ and so on, is the only way to integrate into life’s true course. This is how we can best begin to repair what we perceive as the damaged links of the broken chain of existence.
The human race has interfered persistently with what is natural, almost insisting on creating its own reality and then imposing it on others instead of listening to the truth and staying put. We have traditionally searched outside for our sensual satisfaction and the realization of dreams, when all the time the glories of our human existence lie inside, deep within our divine spirit.
We have therefore become ‘disintegrated’ beings because we block what is natural, always choosing to ‘live’ indirectly, vicariously, or ‘outside’ reality in our minds, our noses pressed up against the glass. We were given life 2.5 million years ago, but why do we still utilize so little of our cerebral potential(10% maximum) and fail to realize our divine potential. We claim that we are ‘civilized’ when we lie and cheat, abuse and kill, suffer and seek revenge so readily.
Given the passage of so much time since our birth, is it reasonable to assume that we are handing down the information and knowledge needed to improve and develop us? Or are we unable to access our immense resources because we have lost the skills and tools to do so? We mostly defer to one crude tool only, the intellect. Is this why we are presently swallowing our pride and seeking the help and ingenuity of indigenous people whom we once pronounced ‘savages’ in a last ditch attempt live in a way meaningful to the planet?
In our present state, it seems that we may never repair the conceptual ‘circles’ and ‘cycles’ and ‘phases’ of universal energy we have adopted in order to try to understand it. The irony is that we were never meant to understand it, just accept it, integrate with it, because our personal energy is already a component part of it. The leaves of a tree do not question their existence.
We are on the inside if only we looked directly but education in the developed world is designed to develop individual intellects, to produce leaders and hierarchies, in short, to control. In contrast, indigenous people in their traditional lives are always inside looking out; they are active participants in the centre of a universal reality. They stand in the eternal stream of energy, both visible and invisible, and in their natural, uncorrupted state, they are entirely accepting and consequently wise. Unlike ‘civilised’ people who rebel if there are insufficient options, there are no choices for them because they are finely tuned to something far greater than the human ego.
ninija, traditional landowner of thousands of miles of the Lands and spiritual leader, says:
White-fella they come before, talking on and on. They tell ninija what ‘best.’ We not understand ‘best.’ We not choose. We no choice. We just. White-fella choose, count, talk and point with long-long white finger.
By way of an example of this ‘disintegration’ mentioned above, we outsiders can visualize beautiful things in immense detail by virtue of our superb memories. Beautiful flowers have been immortalized by photographs and works of art which are also quickly recalled. In fact, thousands of images are stamped onto our memories so that there is no need to go to find the real thing. Even if we do encounter the real flower itself, it may be in a contrived garden and we may compare it with those in our mind collections.
We are addicted to recalling a flower’s name, both common and scientific, its country of origin, the soil and climate type it prefers, as well as its use as a motto or symbol, its rarity and health benefits, and so on. So, we are rarely experiencing the flower directly but instead through interpretations, knowledge or representations.
It seems that no stone is left unturned in the present world so that the drive to make everything common knowledge is at its height. Traveling to remote places to bring back mementoes is applauded and now the Internet is fully at our disposal to further accelerate these global trends. As a consequence we have become inveterate consumers with the means to go anywhere and everywhere to acquire whatever takes our fancy.
Indigenous peoples in their traditional state actually ‘own’ nothing except what they can custom-make from raw materials provided by the Earth. Here is a description of what the tribal members I helped to move from a state settlement back into their traditional lives were carrying as they departed. They were walking back into the Lands in the scorching center of Australia.
…they took only a few handmade possessions which they habitually carry or wear. Their dilly bags woven from Mangrove string, containing personal effects such aschuringas (totemic identity badges). Their Wood and Grass carrying bowls,coolamon, sported on heads, shoulders or against bellies. Their custom-madedigging sticks slung across shoulders with ornate Kangaroo straps. A range of beautifully crafted decorated boomerangs for hunting both for children and women. And perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing Bones of their deceased. Churinga. Coolamon. Hollow Log Coffins. All hand-crafted and customized from Desert materials.
The party of shiny black skins with their blond and red topknots of wild hair was occasionally joined by competing Kangaroos. On one side, they were flanked by a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, and on the other by a troop of wild Camels. Above the whole assembly, white Pelicans flapped their slow wings through an indigo Sky, muttering to full Moon.
These desert people most probably will die if they leave their Lands for any length of time, especially if they move into synthetic, urban environments. Following is a description of the experience of Ninija and her granddaughter Gina going to ‘white-fella’s city’ to collect the body of dead Ginger-son. Lumaluma is the ghost of white-fella who comes to plague Ninija to be his concubine, all the time distracting her from her duties to officiate at her son’s Burial Ceremony. The Djang, or climax of the burial ceremony, is the greatest of all rites of passage for their people. (Notice the writing convention of all things belonging to Mother Nature are capitalised, and all those to humans are in lower case. ninija insists on this to show utter respect and gratitude)
When we bring ginger body back to Lands from city, lumaluma, he follow us. He bring him terrible sounds with him. Car. Truck. White-fella whirring engine. Many many people loud. i think i stop breathing because i not hear my own lungs crinkling shut then open again. i not hear lovely sweet flapping sound of just-knowing – lumaluma he call it “waiting.”
And smell? Smoke! They fill Sky so it like white night. i breathe fast because white night sting if it inside me. i pant like Dingo. i look out but only see white-fella wall, wall, and more wall. wall bigger than ninija Rock or Buga Mountains in Lands. wall and roof so I not see Sky. I cannot run without big hard concrete stop!
In fact, knowledge of something is an indirect way of ‘knowing’ it. It stimulates our intellects and memories, but it is not reality. The phrase ‘snap-shot’ has become popular in recent years to describe how our minds are continually opening camera shutters, recording, archiving, attempting to make everything we encounter permanent. We are image consumers with very little need to turn away from our fantastic internal collections. But, this habitual activity always pulls us back to our minds where everything is convenient and controllable. How can this be reality?
This is how I felt before I went to the Desert and encountered ninija and the Dreaming, and before ninija became my spirit guide.
Before the Desert and ninija ‘back-then,’ i was a human camera. i was an archivist, and a repository for captions. “Say it. See it. Check it. Now prove it!’ After arriving here, i soon stopped looking and listened instead, and so slid into my rightful place. Now, if i cease listening to the Universe for an instant, ninija strides into to my mind and elbows me roughly in the ribs. she strictly guides me back from the needy eye, and from the very needy ‘i’ of my ego.
Another aspect of the integration/disintegration mentioned above involves the concept of time. Indigenous peoples use only the moon and sun to regulate their days and nights, so they never wait, recover/change gear, or smoke a cigarette or swig time concept alcohol to help them to overcome the ordeal of living. Rarely do they become stressed by external pressures as we do, counting the seconds ticking on.
They move smoothly from one instance of their life to the next, listening for their roles, so there are no concepts of work or leisure, etc. There is nothing else except seamless immersion in what the Earth and Great Mother Nature, their totem group, and their fellow tribesmen need. There is no media but instead the songs and stories of celebration and morality, which are handed on orally and need no interpretation because they are concrete.
The original energy source of modern urban humans is permanent and indestructible as it is for indigenous peoples, but we moderns have become compulsive archivists and rebuilders and therefore have damaged it. Surely, it is not possible to compartmentalize and analyze such sacred energy as we do: concepts and theories will never heal the diseased flora and fauna, rebalance the planet or prevent us from destroying each other.
These interferences and interruptions in what is natural, fueled by human hubris and synthetic, excessive emotions, have turned us into an invasive species, a common garden weed, aliens. Shockingly, we move around intently seeking pleasure, status and the fulfillment of our desires and wishes, almost exclusively to any other concerns.
We are also frantic to achieve something notable before our visible life ends and we become invisible and, as we see it, powerless. Whereas those who protect the natural environment and never ‘die’ have no white-fella status.They find contentment and pleasure exactly in the natural world and live in the moment. They never hanker after tangible signs of their existence or use filters to alter their perceptions, change their mood, forget or bury the things that are distasteful or brutally honest.
We are all animals and yet we humans diverged from animal species as our brains developed. We wanted to be different, standing on two legs instead of four, reaching for the best fruit at the top of the tree instead of groveling for grubs. In this divergence, we lost touch with our instincts and intuitions, refusing to fit in with the natural order and went all out to exploit the world’s resources for personal, religious or national gain.
In so doing, we needed to stamp out the traces of ancient and indigenous cultures as they presented an obstacle to our betterment. This was when we broke the virtuous circle, becoming determined to create something entirely new. And because we turned our backs wholesale on natural wisdom, we were forced, ironically, into ‘survival’ mode, using trial and error, making fatal or fortunate mistakes and supposedly learning from them.
It has frequently been pointed out by religious and spiritual wisdom that ‘there is nothing new under the sun,’ and yet we constantly think we can invent and innovate, throwing out what already exists. Our motivation is often power, recognition, money and worse, and while we are investing all of our precious life’s moments in this ‘progress’ pursuit, ancient peoples are absorbed in being the stalwart custodians and protectors of reality. They are single-mindedly devoted to preserving, blending in, and living in awe of what already exists. Without a doubt, radical change is needed inside each of our minds not in the natural world. Our leaders need more wisdom to be able to work in equal partnership with what is natural.
In hindsight, it is easy to see that it is unnecessary to make devastating often fatal mistakes, rushing blindly into situations and taking over officiously. We ‘developed’ people are constantly end-gaining, striving to reach goals which are often arbitrary in terms of the planet and the natural world, not to mention our spiritual well-being. As indigenous peoples and the enlightened will tell you, there actually are no ends as there are no beginnings. Existence is one eternal circle.
So, why can’t we use our higher minds to innovate and extemporize to enhance what already exists, rather than sweep it under the carpet? We could effortlessly stay in the universal circle in harmony, integrated and eager to gather wise beings around us. After all, rash acts spring from rash thoughtsproduced from our lower minds; whereas wise and considerate thoughts emanating from our higher minds, our true and divine origins, produce wise and balanced acts. Thoughts are actually acts in rehearsal.
In contrast, in their traditional lives Australian aboriginals are fully integrated. They flow with the tide of reality not against it and so are absolutely ready to catch any ball that may be thrown to them. For them, there is no meta-reality, no perceived reality, no personal interpretation, because they are reality itself. They absolutely embody their Dreaming Lands. They are their feelings not simulacra as we are. But above all they are love and respect and awe for each other, and for the forces of nature and the Universe, which they consider to be their loving parents.
They just embody what is – never thinking or speculating, selecting or deciding, always submissive to and fully aware of their divine origins and mission. That is why they easily die or succumb to outside influences if they are removed from their Lands.
They are part of the Dreaming reality at all times, fully integrated, and not at all separate. They are immersed in what is known as the seamless ‘here-and-now.’ The arrogance of ‘civilized’ people tears them out of their own origins, their own ‘Lands,’ leading them to pursue life for gain and power, always at a distance from reality, and often from sincerity. They are rarely submissive and if they are, they are negatively judged by the mediocre majority and feel a sense of shame or loss of pride.
You can read ninija’s story in ‘Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day,’ Strategic Books, 2013 PB, 2015 epub., to get a taste of desert integration and wisdom: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UUSPLYM
I wrote this article ‘Integration into Life’s True Course’ in response to David Suzuki’s article in the Vancouver Sun, ‘Aboriginal People not environmentalists, are our best bet for protecting the planet.’ June 8th, 2015, link: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/David Suzuki Aboriginal people environmentalists best protecting planet/11112668/story.html
article images courtesy of Megapixyl.com: Aboriginal woman-Rosedarc.com; Didjeridoo3-Fotandy.com; Part of a native Aboriginal wall painting-Ingehogenbijl/com; Man Hunting-Bushman’s primitive art-Wilad.com; Quantas Beoing 737-800-Amlindley.com; Devils Marbles-Teedee.com; Indigenous Australian Art-Lucidwaters.com; Didgeridoo-Lucidwaters.com
Ancient Indians, like the Aborigines of Australia and Japanese Shintoists, believed wholly in the supernatural and the natural world and especially envied the characteristics of some animals. The peacock was one such creature they revered and desired to emulate. At first, they were afraid of the peacock with its mournful cry, its fantastic plumage and feral ways, and especially shocked when they realized on observing that it was capable of eating poisonous spiders and snakes in order to nourish its large physical structure, and could survive. Quite naturally, they also wished to transcend such poisoning and human fragility, and so came to worship the peacock out of a mixture of envy and fear.
At this time in India there were 2 powerful religions: Hinduism for the masses and Brahmanism for the elite, and all beings aspired to spiritual liberation through these pathways. Therefore many mantras, or invocations, were used as a matter of course in everyday life, the Indians possessing an authentic insight into the use of the spiritual voice to communicate with the invisible world. So, such mantras were developed to emulate the peacock and bring this animal god closer to the human world—mantras, which even incorporated the doleful cry of the peacock, for example, the Great Peacock King mantra from Tibetan Buddhism: “Om Mayura Krante Svaha.” They really believed that by calling upon this magical and terrifying bird, they may themselves gain some of its divine qualities, and so transcend their weaknesses and limitations.
So, Mantrayana, the next stage of Buddhism after the Golden Buddha’s initial teachings and death (circa 2600), was created, and the idea that all poisons are the same, pondered upon, so that in time, the negative aspects of the human mind such as ignorance, greed, and hatred, became known as ‘poison’ which required an ‘antidote.’ Mantras or invocations were viewed as just such a kind of antidote, and so eventually were recognized as a part of nature and not created by man at all. They represented an esoteric or secret language, which nature or the universe would respond to, and a way of fusing with the microcosm.
The people had enormous imagination not having yet learned the passiveness of modern, intensively technological societies. As today, poisonous snakes such as the cobra were common, so protection and awareness was essential to prevent fatal bites or stings. One method was to mesmerize the snake with the sound of a flute so that it would obey, but another way was to worship creatures that could dispose of them. When a peacock comes face to face with a snake, it purposely pretends to be scared and allows the snake to wrap itself around its body. Then just as the snake is about to attack, it spreads out its wings and feathers with great force and sends the snake flying.
The image of the elegant peacock driving away a poisonous snake, like a beautiful woman driving off an evil beast, impressed people. They thought this bird had god-like powers, and so gradually this image metamorphosed into a Buddhist deity or holy being. Much later in Japanese Buddhism (7th Century), this image below became known as Peacock Myoo or Guardian of the Law.
The guardian is riding on the back of the peacock and holding sacred instruments in each of her four arms: a lotus, a peacock feather, a fruit resembling a lemon, and pomegranate. The lotus represents benevolence and kindness. The lemon cures the diseases of anyone that eats it. The pomegranate drives off evil spirits. But the mighty peacock feather has the power to actually prevent disasters such as earthquakes and floods. This painting was made using luxurious materials like silver and gold leaf to make it sparkle and shine with the Peacock’s mystical power. However, the metals have tarnished over time.
In general, the peacock is a symbol of openness and acceptance. In Christianity, it is a symbol of immortality, and in Hinduism, the patterns of its feathers, resembling eyes, symbolize the star constellations. And in Buddhism as we can see above, wisdom is its attribute. The five feathers on the peacock’s head are said to symbolize the five spiritual paths and the five Buddha families. Their beautiful colours give pleasure to all beings in the same way that setting eyes upon a Bodhisattva (an enlightened being) or Buddha (an awakened being) can bring comfort and provoke bliss.
Human intelligence, the unique human spirit naturally will find many ingenious ways to communicate with its origin, the invisible world, and this is the way to true balance and happiness.
Images courtesy of Megapixl.com: Peacock by jessealbanese; Three Peacocks-kvkirllov; Indian Architecture exterior-Jaipur City Palace-twinandphotography; Peacock Myoo-Japan Temple exhibition-clthorp; Beautiful Peacock Roof design-Japan-Lucyinsisu; Japanese Peacock – Krookedeye
The story of how I wrote my Australian work Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day
As an author, I sometimes find myself between two worlds: that populated by the hard facts with visual proof told in R.T. (Real Time) or man-time as I like to call it; and that of the spirit, invisible, unbidden, in need of no proof. The former is championed by frightened people of knowledge, out of contact with their fire and their true nature, who argue and disturb people in the name of the so-called truth; the latter champions speak quietly from their experience, not knowledge, and have no argument with anyone but simply wish innocently to share their view of the world, to enrich, to edify others.
What should I do if I have repeated dreams and take on wholesale the strong flavour of something invisible beyond knowledge, something I cannot pin down into facts and justification? I could stay quiet and for the most part do, but in some cases, I can use the literary or artistic vehicle to convey a crucial message out loud. People listen to art whereas they often stuff their fingers in their ears when it comes to politics, religion or humanitarian common sense, all of which are often based on the much over-rated ‘knowledge.’
25 years ago I arrived in Alice Springs on my way to visit Ayer’s Rock, the aboriginal belly-button of the earth, and was unexpectedly selected to join a group project in the South Australian Desert. At the time, I had no idea that this experience would completely transform my life, but it did, and I have written about it quite innocently in my novel,Easy-Happy-Sexy (2013). Some years after the experience, I had several very strange dreams, both waking and sleeping, about the tribal leader I had encountered briefly there called Ninija. Quite soon after through the ether she initiated me into Desert Wisdom and became my spirit guide, and to this day she appears unbidden in my meditations and dreams, always addressing my higher self.
Ninija indicated to me that developed peoples are in the process of rapidly destroying the Earth and each other and that it was time she told her story of the damage they had done to her people. She appointed me as custodian of this story and set about relaying it to me through images, songs, and fables. It tumbled out of me and I wrote it down in strangely disconnected notes which eventually I consolidated into Easy-Happy-Sexy. There is no way I can prove this happened to me, so I ask my readers to take my word on it, and to listen avidly to the urgent message Ninija wanted me to convey to ‘my people,’ (people of the developed world).
I have no logical explanation as to why this happened or what my connection with these amazing tribal people is, but I do know for a fact that we who inhabit the visible or mortal world are our ancestors and that we are entrusted to carry forward our line. I strongly feel that my ancestors were once indigenous to Australia and have chosen me to convey this wisdom at this precarious time in human history.
Now you may say that every white English-speaker or speaker of European languages may expect to have ancestors who were involved in the migrations and exclusions from overcrowded Europe to various parts of the New World. But in my case, I feel the reverse happened. By the same token, if we consider that the presence of aboriginal Australians has been detected as long ago as 40,000 years and that our ancestors may stretch back to that prehistoric epoch, then why is it not possible that I have traces of them in me, modern citizen of the developed world that I am?
The objective of my group experience in the South Australian Desert was to escort Ninija and the surviving elderly and children of her tribe back into Aboriginal territory in the very centre of Australia so that they could once again pick up their traditional life. I actually experienced some beautiful aspects of that traditional way which was being revived, and I felt so at home with them: they made good sense in terms of the Earth and its inhabitants. Many of their traditional ways are truly ancient, stretching far back long before they had encountered white-fella’s concepts of ‘time’ and ‘space,’ to an epoch of harmony and the flourishing of the Earth. This Golden Era when humans were young and innocent and lived closely with nature is how things were meant to be before arrogance and power took hold and we allowed negative emotions to rule us. The visible was just a small part of the invisible then so we were energy-sensitive – able to predict the future and tell the past, to know each others minds, to live outside concepts and theories, but most of all able to commune directly with our ancestry and the spiritually-evolved beings who walked among us.
Recently white settlers in Australia are arguing about who actually is from indigenous stock, bringing discrimination into the most natural and ancient scenario of all. The native people have lived peacefully and harmonically in Australia for 40,000 years. Talk about Hubris! Arrogance! Discrimination! Going where the limelight is! Etc. And the so-called white writers can only write about native life as observers if they insist on observing the facts and staying within charted and visible territory. I have ventured outside these boundaries into the vast invisible world and through my spiritual awareness am certain that I have, as mentioned, native Australian DNA somewhere in my being which laid me open to becoming an advocate for the rights of native peoples in general, and to awakening to my Australian spirit guide Ninija.
About a year ago, I started to conceptualise a non-fiction work which came out of another such spiritual and life-changing experience of the Cathars, medieval mystic Christians exterminated as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church. Once again I found myself transplanted to the Eastern Pyrenees, the chain of peaks which has created a natural border between Spain and France, where I lived for about 6 years. And once again, through a series of dreams, meditations and being touched by the potent spirit of that place where they were exterminated, I touched another thread in my ancestral line and realised that my relatives had been Cathar martyrs in that place.
At the time, I was seriously practising the Buddhist teachings but had a vivid revelation that the Cathar beliefs were almost identical and that they, in turn, dovetailed beautifully with the creation spirituality of the Aboriginals. My spiritual life became ecstatic watched over not only by the Buddha and all his emanations, but the highly-evolved Cathars martyrs and Ninija and her Desert wisdom too. Tuning into one’s legacy through meditation and awareness of a higher being is available to all of us, but it seems that only spiritual seekers grasp the opportunity to accept the visible and invisible worlds as one. Only fear of the unknown, the unseen, leads us to throw up a wall between them. After all, the human race is innately good, and it is generally agreed that the positive virtues of trust and acceptance are greater than the negative of suspicion and defiance.
My feet of clay as a creator could easily be unearthed by the knowledge-dependent R.T. brigade, but I will not allow it. If only they really understood the fragile nature of the notions of time and space, and opened to the idea of three thousand dimensions instead of just three. If only they had for a moment walked outside their concepts and theories, stood back and put their weapons down, and examined their motivation for expressing their ‘mere’ opinions. For what are opinions and knowledge when compared with experience and insight and the knowledge that we human beings are one with the glorious universe that gives us our lives?
We cannot embody opinions and knowledge. They are specks of dust, mere material floating in the sunlight, compared with our magical essence of love and light.
Buddha taught that if we become enlightened we will have full clairvoyance (seeing) and audiovoyance (hearing) in the past, present and future. When our conditioned mind is quiet, idling so that it can deal with the demands of daily life, and all our cravings have been extinguished, the clarity of our perceptions will intensify. We will no longer simply react in the ups and downs of subjectivity or duality, being swept along trying desperately to get our feet down on the ground for a few seconds. I have witnessed and experienced past lives and future lives, and I have lived with indigenous people who naturally have these extra-sensory tools at their disposal.
Karma is an absolute proof of our past and our future to come (DNA is the scientific equivalent) which we hand on through the birthing process and the closeness of related spirits to our families. It is a marvel how we inherit our parents’ physical appearance and structure. We also inherit their predispositions and proclivities, their cellular conditions, and very often their diseases, sorrows and losses, come to the surface in our lives. It is also, therefore, logical that we will pass forward our karma and our wisdom to future generations, and that is our responsibility.
How do we create good and bad karma? – respectively the karma to live happily, safely and to fulfill our life’s course; and the karma to have tragic and restless lives, crippling disease and deformity, to be criminals and make others suffer. It is useful to see karma as a seed which we sow with our thoughts, words, and deeds: eventually, the seed germinates and ripens at an indeterminate moment we ordinarily have no control over. But with spiritual practice and elevation, we gradually take some control.
We must accumulate as much merit and virtue as possible while crossing the river of life so that our negative karma will be neutralized and our positive karma will increase. These are the challenges of the world of form which we are deliberately manifest in to overcome. Having good karma will ensure our happiness in temporality, and if we cut the negative karma and console our ancestors their spirits will reside comfortably in the spiritual world. If our ancestors are suffering in the hell realms, then that will reflect in our lives. All things that appear to us are simply reflections of the invisible world.
Look back at photos of yourself as a child, a young adult, and older adult, and you may be so surprised at how different your appearance is. The camera catches glimpses as your karma and DNA flows and transforms, and at any moment, you may resemble your ancestors right back to the beginning of human history, the seeds being planted and germinating as you travel through life encountering suffering and joy. Pure gratitude and appreciation for your parents and theirs, and so on, is the best way to console their continuing journey in the spiritual world. ‘You’ would not exist to have these incredible opportunities if they had not given birth to you.
Floating lanterns inscribed with prayers on the ocean or rivers is one moving way we remember and console our ancestors in Japan. The torrii, large orange gateways to be found all over the country, were expressly constructed to allow the spirits of ancestors to return to the physical plane at certain periods of the year. They visit briefly to gather our prayers and wishes and then return, representing a golden chance to feel their closeness to us.
I am my parents and my grandparents. I can never walk in any other footprints than theirs along the beach, although the conditioned mind may convince me I have taken a new direction.
I smile and shed tears and love and feel and breathe as them. It is my true nature to eternally tend their garden of karma as our seeds ripen and stock dies while they recline on a shady verandah, always watchful.