I strive to keep in touch with the Universe through various means because I deem the sense of awe humans are capable of to be a fundamental of our unique spirit.
Living in extended urban sprawls with the resulting and increasing dependence on material commodities for our survival and happiness, means that it is likely that we will separate ourselves away from the great cosmos of which we are each an essential component. I find myself always returning to this separation in all my channels of expression because it is our divine right to be one with the whole cosmos. In other words, it is our sacred mission of love and light.
My favourite Japanese artist Mariko Kinoshita (website under construction – watch this space) shares my passion for preserving our sense of awe and embracing all that we cannot see with our limited intellectual view. She paints naturally and exactly the ‘integration’ I am referring to.
Her Shintoist (the state religion of Japan until 1946) ancestry with its reverence for the 80 million Kami-Sama (god spirits) has created an indestructible platform for her way of seeing human life. I also live in such a way, acknowledging that everything, as well as everyone, has a spirit!
Origami the art of paper-folding, so familiar to us in modern life, is a superb example of this. Folding paper requires no cutting with metal instruments exactly out of respect for the ‘tree spirit’ which enabled us to make this precious material.
I want to always walk in the enchantment of the Cosmos in my daily life. In fact, I refuse to ever be separated from it by mundane and finite thoughts and beliefs.
Kinoshita’s painting evokes exactly my determination. I am so grateful for this gifted artist’s existence and I have pledged myself to make her work as visible as possible.
All images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita, Linden Thorp and megapixyl.com
Maulinputta, a devout disciple came to Buddha and humbly apologized for having offended the Buddha the previous day. This disciple had been enlightened for a long time and was a great scholar of the scriptures, one of the most famous pundits of the realm. The Buddha was taken aback and claimed that he had done nothing to offend.
But Maulinputta insisted that he must apologise and vowed never to make the same mistake again. And again the Buddha denied that one of his most respected disciples had done nothing wrong.
A third time he came to apologise, but Buddha turned to him and told him that he promised to convey his apology to the person he had offended if he came across him. Once again he reassured the disturbed Maulinputta that he had not offended the Buddha.
Then seeing the distress of his beloved disciple, he sat down with him and explained tenderly.
Maulinputta, the man you think you offended no longer exists.
The disciple was perplexed by this, asking urgently for more clarification for fear of losing his indispensable guru.
I am not the same as I was even 1 second ago. So I am completely different to the man you think you offended yesterday.
Maulinputta’s eyes lit up realizing that Buddha was teaching him.
Maulinputta, you are still attached to these visual tricks of the mind. Remember, all life is sheer energy constantly moving, like a fast-running mountain stream. You cannot hold on to anything except the fast-running spirit enveloping us. Step in the stream and feel the flow. This is your liberation Maulinputta.
Humans are actually taught to make images to symbolize or represent almost everything – for remembering, for recognizing, to navigate, and so on – and we excel at it. This aptitude to bring to bear rich imaginations and wide vision in our daily lives is one of the things that differentiates us from animals and plants.
But actually, this often becomes an abstract route to creating our exclusive way of seeing the world. It literally forces us to identify, to stamp ‘me’ and ‘mine’ on that mind moment, and if we are not mindful we may become attached to such images, mistaking them for reality.
This temptation to ‘identify’ with the images we constantly create is our major test as humans – our conditioning and DNA (countless ancestors who have lived distant to the sacred) lead us to etch a clear line between reality and the imaginary, to make a distinction between the visible and the invisible. Also, we unknowingly consign ourselves to experiencing life always from the sidelines, via concepts and archives.
But many of us have never even heard of this ‘test’ which means that we have fully and unconsciously turned our backs on our divine mission. Instead, we favour and over-cherish a synthetic ‘self’ invented by the dictatorial intellectual mind. This is pure ego and arrogance: some would say it is the dark side of human beings, our personal ‘Satan,’ our samsara. It is as if we are constantly resisting the gravitational field of love and goodness. These resistant consumers are the norm in modern life, whereas those who live lives of surrender and desirelessness are increasingly rare. Most of us are attracted to those who are similar to us because we somnambulate through a spiritual wilderness.
Science informs us that human beings have evolved physically as much as they can; in other words, that we are at our peak as a species. But evidently, our spiritual evolution is badly retarded. As a result, most of us are not truly happy and neither is the world at large. We are restless, insatiable, destructive and primitive, unable to create harmony in our social groups for the most part and constantly craving artificial stimulation or oblivion.
In our short-sightedness in life, most of us convincingly conceal our terror of death and disappearance. But this endemic fear has caused us to lose the use of so many subtle tools available to the higher mind: the mind of ‘grace’ (Christian) or emptiness (Buddhist) or moksha (Hindu). Instead, we invest all our energy in the visible, the intellectual and in acquiring. We give over our precious human existence to shopping, possessing and questing for attention, and as a result, we have become major stakeholders in the worlds of materialism and sensual satisfaction.
Given our huge stake, it is logical that we sit back in our high comfortable chairs, flicking switches and frittering away our time viewing visual collections. Logic? Another resistance to what is natural.
We may even make images to represent our own minds: for example, the iceberg with its small tip showing above the water surface and its mass below, symbolizing the conscious mind and the unconscious mind respectively. Or the onion with its tender centre and its layer upon layer of ever-hardening skins. Although these may be useful to try to appreciate or recognise the difference between these two contrasting aspects of our mind, they do in fact separate them from one another in an Aristotelian way.
By attaching ourselves to such images, we are unwittingly identifying with them and so coaxing our contrived ‘self’ to acquire and possess compulsively. In actuality, there is no ‘self’ to identify with anything material because we are beings of energy made flesh for the express purpose of evolving spiritually.
It is preferable then to avoid making or encouraging these images even though they may seem to ease understanding. Ironically, understanding in its original sense is connected to listening not looking. Perhaps, rather than finite blocks of black and white as captured on screens and pages and in bold framed linear scenarios, there is only a boundless greyness which floats and fleets in whatever shape is needed to embody the essence of love and full awareness. Our existence in human form is only an unconditional listening, a subtle flickering of our essence of light.
If we give up trying to pin down our feelings, cementing them into our foreground, crying out for witnesses to come forward and acknowledge us, asserting our view to others, we might realize that the field of awareness is infinite and has no boundaries, no images or archives. Then we can quietly coalesce in the field needing no images or intermediaries at all.
By closing the busy outer eyes so addicted to colour, shape and orientation we can close the image albums and lock the archives, walking away to our real home beyond all concepts created by the human mind. Then we will be able to clearly hear the sound of reality moving and merging, the concrete sound of infinity and eternity, of goodness and the divine.
True understanding consists of universal unconditional listening during which nothing is pinned down, nothing is owned and everything becomes one. We embody love with our true nature enabled only by the privilege of breathing air granted from the universe. Everything else is simply arranged only to stimulate the intellectual mind.
‘We shall know each other by our deeds and being,
and by our eyes and no other outward sign save
the fraternal embrace.’
Above is a verse from the Cathar Creed (1244), The Church of Love. The spirit of life is played out whilst silently respecting everything on the material plane though not identifying with it; accepting everything but quietly supporting those who need support. It is clear from our human history that ‘identifying’ and ‘possessing’ destroy and engender greed and ignorance. Using images is, in a way, an attempt to possess aspects of the visible, to keep them for reference as a source of knowledge.
The medieval mystic Cathars possessed nothing material, not even the Bibles showy Roman Catholics had become slaves to. Indeed, all the great spiritual adepts dispensed with material supports. Instead, they did what was natural and wholeheartedly embodied their spirit of compassion and humility.
I have deliberately positioned myself in my life in a different culture (Japan) in which I cannot easily read or write or even understand the society around me. This is the most precious opportunity to stop making images and concepts. I notice that I am not using my mind in the same way as I did living in my native culture because it is often impossible to make interpretations of my environment here.
As I wander down crowded streets decked out with loud kanji, katakana and hiragana neon signs so characteristic of Japanese cities whisked aside by bicycles mounted on the pavement and bustling people pushing through the crowds, I can often only listen deeply and breathe. It is no use bringing out my image albums and brandishing metaphors and idioms because they are meaningless in a culture which reads the air instead of dissecting and deeply analysing ideas.
Here, it is often impossible to imagine what is going on in other minds around me because there is no pattern I can predict, no pictograph I can possibly imagine, and no inherited template. I can only embody my love. Mostly I float around having sealed away the intellect allowing visions to temporarily occupy me. I rely only on my ancient senses to help me to navigate.
In my life here, there is only the field of awareness. I am the terraced shaking paddy. I stand in sluiced rice rows, paddled by ducks and frogs. I am activated by tremors from the inflamed warts of the Earth’s crust below me. I am harvested and bundled, eventually finding my way into famished stomachs.
Here, I have dramatically learned how not to be separate from anyone or anything in a Land created from the hair and kimono of the million gods.
To interfere with this seamlessness for even a second to create an image, to snap a shot, would make me gasp for air!
Images: courtesy of megapyxl.com
Bird and web – Alisen.com; Sensing Energy between palms – Nikkizalewski.com; Man hunting. bushman’s prehistoric cave art – Wilad.com; Three geisha – Razvanjp.com; Cosmic Transformation – thefinalmiracle.com; Iceberg – Luislouro.com; South and North pole and all things related – Stuidoclover.com
When Bodhi mind, treasure mind, is activated, and you are immersed in the well-being of all sentient beings while casting your own aside, even a broken bell can be made to ring. It is said that even birds in flight will stop and rest their wings on hearing the resonance of such a bell.
The Bodhi mind is a state of mind in which the spirit is fully awake, fully aware of the impermanence of all things. It is a state of mind in which we can unlock ourselves from the prison of delusive passions, compulsions and cravings. It is our true nature.
The sound of the ancient syllables of a mantra or prayer can fill our being to the top. We need nothing else, no thoughts or worries or self-generated sounds. This sensation is comparable to letting the power of a piece of music, which resonates with you uniquely, take you over. We all know that feeling I think.
We take refuge inside the sounds without a care in the world. The sounds resonate with our spirit to bring about total repose or quiescence. We reach a sublime state which perhaps it is difficult to come back to the ‘real’ world from. But what we fail to realize is that this emptiness, this perfect contentment, is reality! And you can have that constantly in your life if you let go of your deluded mind!
All beings are potential Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The words on the lips of everyone we encounter in our lives are teachings, messages from the invisible world. We should let them flow into us like the most mellifluous of music. The same applies to all natural phenomena in the world.
Look fully at a beautiful sky, an eclipse, a storm or an autumn leaf on the ground, a tear in the eye of your loved one, and you are connected to the Dharma and the greatest of teachings. Simply accept the messages and your higher self will store them as a constant resource in your wisdom bank.
The Dharma is all around us constantly, eternally, but we choose instead our own mind’s views. We will never become wise and truly happy if we choose the world made by our own mind. We need to open the window or the door and go outside this limited human view.
Sound is energy, and energy can never be destroyed. It is eternal. This is why the ancient mantras and prayers from the world’s religions have survived for thousands of years. The syllables are imbued with the original utterances of their respective teachers. We intone them with sincerity and they reach back through our lineages to the eternal source to connect us.
When the Buddha was on his deathbed in the sala grove, surrounded by the multitudes who had come to pay their last respects and make precious offerings, Mara, the Prince of Demons who had plagued him with every possible distraction and temptation during his enlightenment, was also present.
He humbly prostrated himself at the feet of the Buddha to make a final offering of a mantra as well as food and drink. The Buddha refused the food and drink, but he willingly accepted the mantra. Humbled by the Buddha’s enlightenment, Mara offered amantra that could be used to eliminate all the dangers and perils faced by those who practice the Mahayanas or caring for the enlightenment and happiness of others.
Music has brought numerous realizations into my own life. As a professional musician, I reached a state of such deep immersion in the music of the Great Romantics – Rachmaninov, Wagner, Scriabin, Tchaikovsky – as a performer, that I was temporarily unable to return to so-called ‘real’ life. Like Rachmaninov himself, I had what the medics called a ‘nervous breakdown,’ what Buddhists would call a ‘realization,’ while at work on his second piano concerto.
The vibrations of this sublime music consumed me to a point at which I had to cease working on it. Even today, when I hear certain music from that period, I can feel myself slipping away. I so needed to climb on to the Buddhist pathway to keep my balance in the difficulties of human life. The bell and the ancient chants keep me anchored nowadays.
The significance of sound must not be underestimated. The bell of awakening is rung often in our various religious traditions. It signifies the true form of all existence and has the capability of purifying bodes and minds.
Let their vibrations mingle with your own. This is reality, now and here forever.
Shocked, she wondered who thought of that? She asked who put this room in this library of other rooms to hold all the songs? It is called a ‘college of music,’ but an original college was a partnership, like the word ‘colleague’ today, not a huge institution with a whole unique ethos, surging forward, attracting fame and sponsorship, competing with other such urban necessities. Walls within walls, never still.
First everything is encased, captured. Then we must build a wall around it to hold it still, to make it stay so we can perpetuate it. Even the strings of this magical instrument ‘the piano’ that I am permitted to caress only the black and white teeth of are secreted away beneath designed wood, constructed, boxed. Must I play with these limits? Must I be held back? But wait! Questions are also constructed, their answers filed away in drawers.
Then suddenly amidst all this obsessive division, we will begin the song.
I have seen your face once or twice appearing and disappearing through doors and mirrors, your wine red lips, the hushed eyes of others with voice, the mutterings of your reputation, your talent. The light of you switches off and on again as you perambulate through the banal between songs, eating and drinking of necessity, speaking if spoken to, but saying as little as possible. You have always known that speaking the mundane is the poison, and you have found the perfect antidote in song.
You appear in this room indicating with your paper mantras – your score, as a talking point to get started, holding on to it scarcely with singing fingers. My mantras stand upright on the music desk only touched at the edges, but yours are cradled against the opaque skin of your forearms. Both are heavily marked, pencil, scratches, another kind of mantra made with numbers and symbols in Italian.
Before we start, oh how I long to get started, must there be this kind of foreplay? We both know that the poison is slowly killing us. Should we prolong the suffering for the sake of others? Should we stay to be like those who have not taken the antidote? Comfort in numbers, not to stand out for fear of being condemned as arrogant, or different?
The poison of containment behind walls and below roof tugs hopelessly at the fixed anchor of time. The tyranny of the visible, the prolongation of object permanence well into adulthood. Close the door, the drawer, the coffin lid, and now it’s gone. And the demented denial of the invisible, the inaudible, the untouchable, all the time the clammy jacket of space squeezing us tightly, holding us still until we are certain we really exist.
They do not realize that the poison of our ignorance and blindness hold us back, confine us, suffocating because we monopolize oxygen and are terrified that it will run out.
But once the learned conventions have been delivered, we can concentrate on the mirrors, polishing them up, breathing on them, rubbing, and they soon start to reflect. No decision to make about which of these miraculous antidotes to apply because they all work. The pages of scores are vague references, tacit, of no more concern so tossed aside.
We begin. We breathe as one in gratitude for the loan of just this one breath, and then the next, one at a time: gratitude and breath are key conditions that will make the antidote work.
I will start the song with breath-placed bent fingers perched on the cool ivory. Their tips are singing and they are calmed by air which convinces them that their nails should not tear away the wooden confines boxing in the gorgeous strings.
Seated beneath you, I am thrilled to be the soft underbelly of our union. My legs and feet drive the pedals, operate the dampers, quickly ‘on’ and ‘off,’ to promote the resonance or stop it summarily. I must be master of the used air in this song’s room because breath is required between strings and dampers, one for each key, an airiness which keeps the vibrations regular, oxygenation of the felt pads. Breath is also necessary for the highest treble strings, fine, taught, connected to the heavens; and the lowest bass, thick, loose, connected to earth which I never need to dampen with my foot pressure.
The convention of vocal song says that the accompanying instrument will start to set the mood. But I fail to notice the start because the antidote is already working. I am no longer conscious. ‘I’ has disappeared, leaving behind only poised fingers and forearms to weight them down. Fingertips and joints ripple and pivot, merging with you even before you let out a sound. There can be no human insubordination now.
The ethereal kiss is a delusion in the showcase of romance. The poison of possession, of fixing each appointed victim completely still with lips and arms, of pressing body weight, of the burn of skin friction and static. Crude, abstract, a stab in the dark, mirrors filthied by the poison and no antidote in sight.
Separate humans jammed together, confined, last-ditch, crammed in drawers and behind doors.
Conversely, this airy kiss of fingertips on strings is the perfect reflection of yours on lips like wild geese. Air and sound are only an apparition in the visible.
(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
We modern people have become dis-integrated. This is not surprising as we live under the tyranny of time and space, success or failure, approval or disapproval, love or lovelessness. These extremes roll us between them like a ball on a board.
Our daily moments are spent by choice sailing on a stormy ocean lifted and dropped by massive waves. There is no respite from this manipulation, or what we judge as manipulation. Someone else creates the waves and the wind, and forces us to be on board! There is seldom calm on this kind of sea. We may induce it though with a soothing substance, with anesthetic, or instead, bury our dreams and honesty with ourselves and let a trespasser deal with the danger.
If we do not have a stable core, a beautiful background to the absurdity of human behavior lived out under tyrants, then we are literally moving from one wave crest to the next relentlessly. We are not in control because we are outside our spirit, trying to hold everything still in the midst of great flux, trying to make meaning of the nightmare with the conditioned mind. One thing finishes and we rush on to the next, galvanized one minute, recuperating the next, always reacting to some prodding from an external source.
The conditioned mind combined with the constrictions of society and our communities have snuffed out our inner light, the connection with our true nature. We are inhabiting our physical form, but our spiritual essence is lying stagnant. Another automaton being has been created by the conditioned mind to fill the fleshy shell, and to take over ownership.
Our stable core has not disappeared entirely, but the strata of meaningless life have been laid over the top of it. If we want to integrate once more, we need to find a way to activate and unearth it. Moist moments of meditation, of stepping briefly into the great still silence, will start the process of removing these strata. But it will happen more quickly and effectively if we can take more control of the ship: loosening the sails, off-loading unnecessary ballast, or smiling for no reason because we know that no terrible situation can last forever – it is certain that the waves will subside and the sun will emerge.
Adversity is inevitable in our human lives, and as the French origin of this word points out, we should turn towards the negativity and challenges that we encounter, not try to escape from them. Only fear makes us resist, but fear is only a tactic of the conditioned mind to make us turn away. Turning towards? Turning away? It’s our choice.
If we turn towards our suffering, if we go with the massive swell of the waves, then we can embody it and better deal with it. Fear and other delusions are random flashing lights which distract us from our native stability. Looking full in the face of our suffering will shift away the strata so that our true nature will overcome anything.
The master tells us that fully facing a difficult relationship which we shy away from is exactly how will find our way back to our stable core. We ‘are’ that situation. It is not something the we ‘have,’ or that is imposed on us. If we say the words, ‘I am suffering,’ and not ‘I have so much suffering,’ we step into control, no longer a pitiable victim of life’s cruelty. We are neither separate nor exempt in reality.
I feel a great sadness for modern human beings. Most of us are beleaguered by our emotions and over-sensitivity, severely infected by media hype, dominated by prescribed self-images, and have completely receded into fear of using their voices and more. We have sold our souls like lemmings, jumping off the cliff willingly, oblivious to the pain of being smashed on the rocks below. It is because we are intoxicated by the allure of status, fame and wealth, completely estranged to our native nature or our infinite power. It is this oblivion and disconnection that creates a death-wish and makes us so profoundly unhappy and discontent.
Can you imagine for a moment that you are genuinely content exactly as you are, as who you are, right now at this moment as you read? Or are you unable to truly connect with yourself, vague, in a fog, scared to admit you are deeply unhappy and unsatisfied? Until we have the courage to be utterly honest with ourselves, there will always be a duality, a darker hidden side of us, a conflict, or call it ‘friction’ if you like. Until you embrace exactly who you are with all your faults and negative emotions or distortions, at this moment, you will never be whole or integrated into the human experience.
Integration? Not being separate. Being one with all the energies around you so that there is no ‘friction,’ no distinction. It is only our divisive blind mind that spitefully plucks us out of the stream of life, extracts us and forcefully transforms us into a separate being with will and choice, and the resultant limited human power. If we remain integrated into the magnetic field of all existence, then our power is unlimited. When we create friction through this act of auto-isolation, it inevitably has an effect either mentally or physically. Friction causes heat, which eventually burns. Negative human emotions like envy, greed, anger, cause such friction, pulling and tearing at our eyes, our skin and the tender flesh of our hearts. Conversely, positive emotions enable everything to move smoothly like silk on skin, like a breeze along the shore, like the full-eyed gaze of unconditional love.
The epidemic of depression has come about because our magical true nature has faded into the mists. William Styron in ‘Darkness Visible’ describes the onset of his depression in the afternoons….’…when I’d feel the horror, like some poisonous fog bank roll in upon my mind, forcing me into bed.’ But I suggest that this is not the apparition of depression, but rather the monster ego moving in and taking over. The intellectual mind is acquisitive, proud, ruthlessly analytical. When it is not shifting around interminably, obsessing and speculating endlessly, it is barren, detached from the heart, from any links with the miraculous invisible world. It is one-dimensional, and yet our lives in developed countries entirely revolve around its idiosyncrasies.
This ‘mind’ has removed us from our natural state, placing us always at a distance to reality, always at the side, filtering everything we perceive. It is then sorted, classified, and organized until the breathing, functioning, joyful soul of humans is hidden, forgotten, withered. The intellect has distracted us with a cheap trick! The truth is that we make the world with our minds, we sense the world through the mind, and if we do not, then it ceases to exist. It distracts us with endless choices, design/create options, whims and moody selections. There are no whimsical choices in the infinity and eternity of reality. We listen and follow our heart; the central part of our energy invests in the miracle of ‘being.’
Such a mind is driven by the two extremes of achieving and succeeding, and their opposites. Life becomes a series of ends or deadlines we have to meet. We are serial-livers when its comes to end-gaining, finishing one task and moving on to the next, and then counting to see what we have achieved and what we still need to achieve. This is a style of being born of the man-made concept or mirage of time. Time and the linear are all illusions. ‘Time’ is the process of the heart, an endless circle of being, of loving, of energy. We can redesign our lives so that we have this rotundness of heart time, immersing ourselves in the process rather than the end or culmination. Process lodges in the heartbeats of each of us. We only need to measure it to meet the needs of others and the time-and–age-bound systems we have created. Age is another kind of end-gaining and judgments made by these systems.
Allowing awe to flourish in our daily ways is our nature, but we learn to hide it away as we grow into adults. Keeping our sense of awe for the magic of our human beings vital and engaged gives new meaning to our lives. Wide-eyed awe or wonder, devoid of envy or judgment, spiced with humility and acceptance, is also our true nature. All the beings we meet in our daily encounters are magical beings like we are. If we profoundly accept and respect them, even if they are behaving strangely or in some negative way, then there will be no end to our sense of awe, or joy in this human journey. We do not need to fight against the inclinations of our beings which are naturally full of light and blossoms. If we perceive that another being is hurting us, then we have temporarily mislaid our sense of awe for the energy of creation. It is the interference of the intellectual mind which causes this ‘friction,’ but we can easily return to the silken life.
Depression is often defined as a deep sense of loss. But nothing is truly lost if we put aside the synthetic identity generated by the mind to let the true self shine again. It is a loss of all that is good and pure in favour of something that fits in with mediocrity, control, and the expectations of others, not of our precious self. But it is never lost because it is outside the concepts of mind, therefore eternal and infinite.
(Inspired by ‘Darkness Visible’ by William Styron, the film ‘Side Effects,’ 2013, Soderbergh S., Jude Law and Rooney Mara, and various professed sufferers among close friends)