From Vibration to Form to Something New

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The next three blogs are based on a sequence of  three dreams, one per night, three days in a row, three weeks ago.

First dream:

 I’m riding on a narrow mountain highway on a bike tour of New Zealand. I see lush vegetation on one side of the road and a precipitous drop off on the other. Enjoying myself as I ride down the winding mountain side, I feel the presence of the mountain, feminine, immense, timeless darkness. I also experience a feeling of transition, a movement through and down, much more than a descent in altitude. After a time I reach the bottom of the mountain. On my left I see a gas station, convenience store and restaurant. Feeling hungry I walk in to the restaurant. I ask for a seat. I’m told the only seat is with a family. “I’ll take it”. Once I’m seated I introduce myself  to my meal mates,  a mother, father and their daughter. They are from Mahia they say, which is not too far away. They also have a son but he isn’t with them at the moment. The comments about their son feel odd but I don’t ask further questions. I eat and talk with them. Afterward excusing myself I walk over to the gas station with my bike to check the tire pressure. Then I stuff puffed white popcorn into the spokes of the wheels as an offering to the goddess of the mountain. Walking my bike towards the highway I see a young man in a wheel chair near the convenience store. I go over to speak with him as I suspect he is the family’s missing son. I say hello. He doesn’t speak or lift his eyes. Thinking he wants to be left alone I start to walk away. He raises his hand which stops me. Lifting his eyes to look at me the young man motions towards the highway. I realize he wants to come, to ride back up the mountain with me. Thinking about his desire I know it will be very difficult for him, slow for both of us. Still there is something about him that says we need to take this journey together.  Okay come on, I say. He turns his wheel chair around then we move through the parking lot to the highway together.

Rather than working on the meaning of this dream, the symbolism of the crippled boy, and the masculine connections among others I have a desire to relate to the images with active imagination.

I first explore the dream by looking for a Maori translation of Mahia. There are two defintions “place of indistinct sounds” and “to do”.  Ah, the vibration of Eros is in the air I think to myself.  I feel I am on the track of something new. Keep going I say to myself. Finding a quiet, open space in myself, I bring the imagery of the dream and the two definitions forward. I wait.

After some time I see and hear the following exchange- as I turn to walk away from the young man he holds up his hand to stop me. I notice he holds a piece of paper offering it to me. I reach out to take it. As he hands it to me he murmurs whenua moemoea (land of dreams). At this point I stop the imagination.

For the rest of the day I consciously hold the imagery as I go about my daily routine. I have the second dream of the series during the night. Later the next day I have an urge to go on a bike ride with my camera. While I ride I continue to be with the imagery of the piece of paper. Returning home I stop, as I often do, on a small curved black bridge over Whitemud Creek. The sun is low being late afternoon. Looking down in the creek water I relax opening my heart to the moment. After a bit an inner voice says here is the image on the paper from the dream. Take it.  The picture is below. 

 

 

 

 

At home now I gaze at the picture for quite a while.  Slowly moving back in to a relaxed state I continue holding the image in the picture.

Suddenly a voice arrives from within saying great mountain, queen of the world, smoke rises from your head, fiery white heart and water. She is water and the future.

Readers might take the imagining from here. From indistinct sounds a form or image arises out of which new paths can branch out endlessly, each something new.

Water is rising.

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Finding Something New Through A Death

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Brushing my teeth in the downstairs bathroom I notice something odd in the mirror over the sink. At first I think it is a floater in my eye but since it is on the left side of the mirror near the wall I turn left out of curiosity. To my surprise and delight a jumping spider, black with two thin white stripes on its back, is hanging down on a silken thread from the door frame. I watch as the spider climbs back up the thread a few inches. I say “hello little one, thank you for joining me this morning”. I feel the something new its presence brings in the moment. I turn back to finish brushing my teeth. Looking back a moment later to check on the spider’s progress it has disappeared. A little voice in me asks “how could it move so fast?” I grab the towel off the rack on my left. As I start to dry the sink I see something black in the sink. I look closer, a spider leg. Damn. I lift the towel and there is the lifeless body of the spider. I begin to feel pain in my heart at my thoughtless unconscious act. An accident yes but my tiny inner voice had warned me. I wash the spider down the drain. “What are you doing now?” the inner voice says. My heart feels my mistakes. I hold my hands to my chest in prayer for this tiny being which didn’t need to die at my hands. Two days later I continue to feel sad and heartsick over what happened. Yes, over a spider.

I want the reader to know why this experience touches me so much. This particular spider had been attempting to make contact with me for over a week, hanging down on a thread from the wall over the small round table I work on with my computer, going up and down the thread in front of me, hovering at eye level, it couldn’t be missed. Sometimes it would jump around on the floor around my feet. I ignored its dance, smiling at its antics but not taking the movements seriously. Still it persisted. While this was going on at night I was dreaming new and different dreams, new patterns, water in many, I felt different somehow. I was also attempting to make deeper connection with an old man, a steward or green man of the earth, water and air who had been in my dreams. But I missed the connection between the two streams.

So I have turned to write about this death, the missed weaving of threads and how gathering them now brings me to something new.

Surfing the internet one comes across numerous videos of animals saving other animals, humans saving animals and animals saving or helping humans. Are these stories anomalous, a figment of my or our wishful imagination in a time of ecological degradation of the Earth, maybe something that makes one feel better about accelerating animal deaths. Yet we have video evidence and a lot anecdotal stories from friends and others of these kinds of events. Should I dismiss all of this as nonsense?

Rather it’s my sense we are witnessing, like my experiences with the spider and these videos, a change in how I and others filter information. Let me explain.

The information (sensory and intellectual) a human being allows as “real” is largely based on the prevailing belief system/story of the society one lives in. From ancient Greece and Rome, to Christian medievalism, the Renaissance and finally in our Enlightenment based scientific modernism, each of these civilizations had a set of beliefs with filters determining what information was acceptable and what wasn’t, what was fact and truth and what was “fake”, a lie or just not to be believed. It is also obvious from the historical record that we have changed our beliefs over time, but how? For the most part these beliefs and the associated filters are lived mainly unconsciously by the society’s participants allowing and promoting collective behavior. It is only when the problems faced by a society cannot be solved by the existing belief system that its biases and filters become visible. Because the belief system isn’t able to solve its problems faith in the truth of the story or stories underpinning the society’s beliefs starts to wane. This leads to a crisis of meaning as the accepted beliefs provided the narrative with which to live a meaningful life at least in a collective sense.

Our civilization is using more and more money, technology and planning in attempts to solve the growing number of issues our society faces.  And yet despite our efforts we have growing social inequality, the sixth great extinction of animals and plants, destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems and potentially catastrophic climate change.  Is it as some people say we simply haven’t had the right application of reason, money and technology to fix the problems? I would suggest it is becoming clearer day by day the “right” solutions make the problems worse and as faith is lost why we have soaring rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. Our own souls do get what is happening to us and the world even if many of those affected do not understand what is at the root of their despair.

As meaning is lost human beings struggle to find something else, something new to give them some sense of why they are alive, of how to live. This experience brings me back full circle to the animals, to the natural world and our relationship to it, to the filters we have had in place in our modern world. As they fall away or are discarded by loss an individual is more able to begin to experiencing new ways of seeing the world, internalize them and discover something previously rejected as real.

Rather than seeing the natural world as a clockwork machine, soulless, and strictly instinctive as our present beliefs suggest one begins to find the natural world has a soul, is alive, vibrant and responds to our gestures. We start seeing videos, hear or read stories that express a different way of relating to the Earth and its abundant, beautiful and complex life.

However, some people perhaps more fearful than others harden their beliefs seeing the old belief system as the way through impending collapse. They have faith in old solutions like technology, war, and economic growth, even as collapse continues. My soul is not drawn to the old solutions but to life based on a deeper relationship to the natural world. How does one open to something new, to new ways of seeing, how do we remove or at least start to change the filters of our previous ways of seeing life? Here’s a short story of how this happened to me.

The day after I killed the spider in the sink I’m riding my bike on some trails in the river valley. I’m still feeling the resonance of my actions. After about 30 minutes I stop to drink water on a pedestrian walkway over an Edmonton freeway. Taking my water bottle out of the pannier I notice a reddish brown beetle resting on the lip of the pannier opening. My intuition says this little insect has been travelling with me for a while. A long time ago I would have blown or brushed the beetle off of my pannier. Remembering the spider experience I recognize this little beetle might have a desire to be where it is, being more conscious and aware of its own needs than I could ever be. As I look at the beetle I notice warm love in my heart, a valuing of its life, its being, then my heart says being with is enough. I drink my water and we cycle on. I don’t know when the beetle left me.

Having this experience left me open to other happenings around me. Riding towards home on the same trip I cycle out from under the Quesnel Bridge spanning the river here. I hear ravens calling in excited tones. Looking back over my right shoulder I see three ravens up on a steep grassy side hill beside the bridge on ramp. The wind is strong, side-by-side they are leaping up in the air gradually floating down to the ground. I slow down to watch. Over and over they leap up. I have seen crows do this very thing in strong wind near the river on a few occasions. My intuition and what I see (different filter) tells me they are having fun playing with the wind. I finish the ride home feeling different, more settled, excited too. Yes, more alive.

I killed a spider that wanted my attention, I let a beetle be, maybe to rest or take a ride, who knows for sure, and I see ravens playing in the wind. Is this anthropomorphism? Or by taking off my filters, maybe wrenched off by killing the spider, being observant, open hearted, seeing clearly, noticing and relating to inner resonances, I experience something new, find deeper meaning and soulful relationship with the natural world. New experiences of truth, beauty and love.  

 

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Our New God Will Be Virtual

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A few days ago Russell Lockhart (ral’s notebook.com) published a blog “Hacking Your Dreams”. Here are the last two paragraphs:

“As I noted in an earlier blog post, we are now deep into the robotic replacement of humans. One step along the way, will be the robotic replacement of dreams and as this unfolds dreams will be monetized. You will soon be able to buy the dreams you want. Or, as advertising becomes ever more successful, you will want to buy what others want you to dream.

Be ready.”

After pondering the meaning of the article for a few hours I began to note my reactions to what the blog portends. I felt a range of emotions- grief  for the what a loss of dreams would mean for humanity and the Earth, anger over allowing ourselves to be gradually turned in to machines and pain in my heart for the life lost as the machines sever us from our connection to nature. All of these feelings melded into a sense of sadness about the present and the future.

I wanted to do something about all of this, to make it go away so that I could function in my day. I didn’t like how vulnerable it made me feel. Pushing these feelings away away, trying to forget or deny them, led to dull anxiety gnawing away at me instead. I knew where this angst would lead- body symptoms, a headache or back pain- as my soul reacted to a deflection of life energy into a dark pit. What was this dark pit I asked myself? Was it despair from feeling unable to do anything about a future leading to a soul death of humanity and of the Earth? With the “powers” pushing us towards this eventuality and with the complexity of modern civilization was the angst about finding ways to be heard let alone create change. Was the pain of present losses compounded by the prospect of such a soulless future part of the darkness? Perhaps all of these fears added up to a fear of the unknown, a fear of the future.  I ended up feeling paralyzed as to what I could do or respond with.

Eventually I decided to write as I am doing to undertake a sorting process around these painful issues and engage negative capability as a different perhaps ludicrous response to the paralysis. So I sat still and opened myself to whatever voice wished to speak. This is what appeared.

The imagery of Cypher, a character in the first Matrix movie, first came to mind in what is called “The Matrix Steak Scene”. Cypher is sitting in a fancy restaurant at a small round table with Mr. Smith. Cypher decides to sell out his companions to Mr. Smith because he is tired of the battle against the machines and desires to remain in the world of the Matrix instead. As part of the agreement Cypher asks Mr. Smith to make sure he, Cypher, doesn’t remember what he has done, he wants to be rich in his new Matrix life and someone important, he pauses thinking, “an actor” he says after a few seconds.  We see a wee bit of irony in the script writer’s choice of “vocation” in that moment. In a later scene where he “pulls the plug” killing some of his companions in the Matrix Cypher speaks about being tired of always having to follow orders, of being a minion rather than a boss. In this moment is he experiencing a sense of being powerful even though his power comes through betrayal and cowardice? Does knowing he won’t remember what he has done assisted by the Matrix virtual reality allow him to excuse, compartmentalize, or repress his guilt? What human behavior is like this?

Here we can see the malignant narcissism of the ego in full flower. Reality is too difficult for this man’s weak ego; his ego wants power and control at any cost as compensation; he would rather live in unconscious denial in a machine made image filled oblivion or virtual reality illusion where he has absolutely no responsibility for his previous actions, nor remember them, all characteristics of a sociopath.

Then I asked myself is there much of a difference between what he is doing and our civilization’s denial of climate change, ecosystem destruction and species extinction? Are we not betraying each other and the natural world in particular so that we can live in an illusion of human progress, a kind of virtual reality through unconscious repression? If Russell Lockhart’s suggestions are accurate in the near future we will be able to more thoroughly escape our betrayal by increasing immersion and distraction in technology, VR, and eventually even in our dreams. How convenient it would be to avoid the pain of our souls and our hearts caused by this betrayal.  Stress induced body symptoms from this betrayal will be “medicated” away (alcohol, marijuana, opioids, anti-depressants); the destruction wrought by our betrayal and reflected in our dreams will be soothed with VR. In fact we could be sold a whole new reality to avoid the guilt and pain of our complicity in creating a world in extremity; and like Cypher choose to believe the “steak” or the new story implanted in us is real. The malignant narcissistic ego is capable of that level of self and soul deception. To me this is a form of evil.

Despite our attempts to rid ourselves of religion and God through our belief in reason, the religious or spiritual impulse remains alive in us and finds places to be expressed. We are simply ignorant and unconscious of this process going on underground as it is projected on material things in our secular civilization. Since the Enlightenment this impulse has been projected incrementally on science, technology and the “stuff” of consumerism. More recently and to greater and greater degrees it is projected on money as money is the common thread that binds them. Sounds like the “One Ring” doesn’t it?

“One Ring to rule them all, One ring to find them; One ring to bring them all. and in the darkness [unconsciousness] bind them.”

The commodification or monetization of everything, including dreams is the ritual enactment of the etymological meaning of religion, to “bind to” as is expressed so well by the inscription on the One Ring, the Ring of Power, above. We are binding ourselves ever more tightly to our projected symbol of God as our anxiety and underlying fears about life and the world grow. Binding ourselves to money for its God like or spiritual powers, power over something, more control, security and comfort, enabling the buying of things to calm anxiety and in vain attempts to sooth our tortured souls.  One can see this binding in the financialization of the world economy; coin and paper money becoming mere digits or light in a computer is a form of spiritualization, the complex mystical algorithms finance uses to function, its arcane language interpreted by money priests of all sorts and the outright worship of money by a range of people not just the 1% are all aspects of being bound to something as a form of belief. It is a religion of money, where faith in money’s power gives one seemingly God-like freedom and control over life and a means to defy death especially the death of the planet and the human species.

Now as the crises we are facing deepen technology is likely the next God waiting in the wings for our spiritual projection of the all-powerful one. Why do I say this? Often times when I discuss the crises facing us and the finite nature of the planet the answer I get back is a professed faith in technology. Technology will save us I am told or read in a variety of media. It seems to me individuals and society says this  in order to avoid  truly feeling and thinking about the consequences of the way we live in our civilization. Technology will save us from our sins. Believing this we don’t have to go any further. If we did acknowledge our responsibility then much of the meaning of western civilization, its greatness, our grand visions of progress and of attaining a final utopia would crumble into dust. How could we live with that? I suspect most people couldn’t.  It is a belief that flies in the face of what is actually happening to the planet and to humanity. How then does one come to terms with losing so much that we love?

As life becomes more extreme it is quite possible that technology will become the last great hope for salvation and idolized, seen as magical, even fetished and will be used as a form of control to reduce anxiety and increase security. Many human beings may willingly accept this authoritarian and powerful God if it brings relief however temporary or illusional from the anxiety and underlying fear of collapse. By collapse I mean the collapse of our beliefs and faith in the stories underpinning modernity, and the disintegration of the physical structures and functions of our powerful and “progressive” modern civilization.

We already bow down to the God of money. Will humanity also make technology omniscient and its technologists and owners our masters?

We can become more consciousness of where our religious impulse is going and develop new stories about our relationship to money and technology. Then new roles for money or technology in human life are possible but we are not doing that much at all.

The invisible wires of control developed by Edward Bernays are expanding. Could humanity someday become as in the Matrix, serfs used to provide energy and raw material for a machine or robotic civilization? Will our “bosses” be machines, or AI symbiants, part human, part machine? If we allow ourselves to live in an illusion but accept it as reality there is no telling how far this could go. We are already doing this by denying what is happening to the Earth and to humanity to avoid our fears and the vulnerability that comes from the loss of what we love, of Home.

Some human beings back in the late 1990’s could imagine a future such as portrayed in the Matrix and created it in a movie. The natural world of which we are a part is replaced by machines and technology. Our connection to the root of life is being severed.

We become what we do, we become what we think, the natural world endures all of this. I desire a different path, a life that is led by a relationship to Mystery, my own soul and with the soul of the world. In this kind of life one attempts to be at home with uncertainty and vulnerability, to feel our fears and not deny them. We learn how to find the courage and strength to look at what is truly happening inside ourselves and out there, to see they are related and connected, and then finally act from our hearts.

Cypher holds up a piece of steak on his fork as he sits with Mr. Smith. Looking at it Cypher says he knows the steak doesn’t exist, when he puts it in his mouth, the Matrix will tell him it is juicy and delicious. Then he says “after 9 years [of fighting the machines] you know what I realize?” putting the steak in his mouth, “ignorance is bliss”, chewing his face expresses pleasure.

Is ignorance or unconsciousness of doing something harmful, bliss? The human ego malignant or otherwise, unwilling to experience psychological pain, to suffer and bear the guilt and consequences of its choices, remains deeply narcissistic. Money and technology are used to remain safe and comfortable, our materialist society’s version of bliss. The Other, nature and our fellow human beings, bear the burden of this narcissism.

In the next blog I will write about how one might approach being at home with our fears.

 

 

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