Friday, April 27, 2007

If I didn’t have Collin I would be taking my experiment with voluntary simplicity much farther. I have the worst urge to toss out the TV, VCR, and DVD player. Granted, we haven’t had cable or satellite TV service for years, and since we moved to Snyder receive no over-air reception. So we have a TV set, but no TV service. Our TV is about eighteen years old, a small 13-inch color TV that no longer has a remote control. Collin uses it to watch his videotapes and DVDs. The only TV show we watch is “Survivor” (of all things). Collin has been following that show for several years, so we watch it at Di’s house.

I’ve been discovering the profound spiritual value of simplicity. One aspect of simplicity is silence. The noise alone of the television (let’s ignore the actual content for now) would keep me from the spiritual place of stillness that insight flows into. Would I be able to become who I'm meant to be with a television set blaring in the background?? I just don’t think so. I feel pulled to explore simplicity in even greater depth than I have up to this point. A quiet environment becomes a critical requirement for me.

I would love to experiment with giving up all TV, Internet, radio and newspaper exposure for a year, and minimize even telephone usage. I would totally give up the telephone if Collin didn’t require an easy way to reach P. But for now it’s a necessity.
Collin certainly wouldn’t like it if he had to give up the Internet. Of course, he would be forced to find other, presumably healthier, ways to fill the time he would normally waste on the computer.

And once Collin’s grown my real dream is to build a small passive-solar straw bale post-and-beam house in Pennsylvania, heated only by a masonry stove. There would be no electricity, but hopefully an indoor hand-pump providing cold fresh water. I would like to grow and raise more or less all of my food, have looms and a spinning wheel again, and woodworking hand tools. And be a writer. What a good life that would be.

The writing bug has been biting harder. I have the beginnings of a crude outline for a book as well as some rough ideas for magazine articles. Why have I continually overlooked the pretty obvious fact that I meant to be a writer? Granted, I need a lot of practice and refining of skills, but I have no doubt that will come. I’m intimately familiar with the creative process, the “zone” you enter where miraculous things happen. Writing is sacred in that you tap into the creative domain, which is really pure Mind. Mind manifesting in words, language. You never know where your writing will take you because largely you’re channeling the Divine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

When I try to imagine our human destiny, try to peak in on us in a little while, say in a mere 10,000 or 20,000 years, the world I see is not one of space travel and Jetsons cityscapes. Instead I see a return to living among nature in beautiful simplicity, with our energy spent on spiritual and communal living, living mostly as hunters and gatherers with maybe some supplemental cultivation and animal husbandry techniques thrown in. I see a drastically reduced human population and a return to balance and ecosystem health.

I stumbled upon a book at the library that addresses our future and makes me hopeful that my vision will become a reality. The book is called The Long Emergency, by James Howard Kunstler. It’s about the end of oil and the end of this crazy consumer-mad culture.

Before this book I had never completely thought through our immediate future, the next hundred years or so, or even the remainder of my lifetime. Most people would be horrified if reality plays out the way this author believes it will, but I am so excited by the possibility.

The decadence of the past two centuries, the rape of the planet, will turn out to have been a strange, temporary anomaly. All of the nonsense of our culture will be cleansed. There will be no more megastores with 30 styles of toasters to choose from, no Hollywood, or fashion industry, cars will become untenable. We’ll have to return to the land, living locally, and rebuilding true community. We will have to return to our rightful place on this earth, as a small part of the whole, letting go of our delusions of grandeur.
I know the readjustment will be tumultuous--there will be a lot of childish temper tantrums as nations and individuals revolt against the inevitable and necessary turnabout. Imagine how yuppie-dom will rebel as they’re forced to give up their behemoth cars, their lives in suburbia which can no longer provide for them, their gym memberships, season tickets, dry cleaning, cheap electricity to power all of their gadgets, trips to the mall, the cinema, the nail salon and tanning booths, their lattes and 57 kinds of imported artisan cheeses.

Imagine the unrest! And of course it will be more dire than that. In many places there will be mass starvation, disease, lack of health care, lack of water, depleted soils, and unpredictable climatic change. It’s all a recipe for war between and within countries, for mayhem and anarchy.

I understand the magnitude of suffering that will result and yet I celebrate our likely fate. This cancer needs to die off. This monstrosity of selfish, gluttonous, irresponsible “culture” (if it can be called that) that is our modern world needs to be excised. I don’t mourn the loss of human life, even possibly my own, which will result from this readjustment, because spiritually I know we all go on in one form or another. I’m excited for future generations who hopefully will have the opportunity to inherit a better world. Of all the lifetimes I sense I have lived, this has been the hardest to come to grips with. For my whole life I’ve been bothered by the excesses of this world. The grief I carry is terribly deep. The full realization now that this culture is a very temporary one comes as a huge relief.

Before I read this book, in working with my forest meditation, I had imagined that maybe someday, tens of thousands of years from now, this forest would again exist on this earth, and humans would walk and live amidst it and experience the radiant spirituality of these great beings. Now having read this book I think Yes, the great for us will return one day. What a miracle that would be.

So again, all of this thinking brings me back to my great moral dilemma, livelihood. What should I be doing in this lifetime given our situation?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The recollection of this ancient forest still has me mesmerized. What can I learn from this forest?

First, I think it’s another lesson in “Nothing Is Ever Lost.” I’m certain this forest existed. I’m certain it’s been gone from this earth for a long time, possibly thousands of years now. Yet I’m able to visit it, and more importantly, I feel it’s still there for me to learn from. I almost get the sense that this forest wants to be remembered now, in our time--that it has teachings for us, vital knowledge we have long forgotten.

I am so excited to have been given the gift of this forest. I’m interested in developing a meditation practice around it, to see what I can learn.

I’ve been exploring the energy of place lately. If our human potential varies drastically from place to place, even inches apart, imagine what I could discover if I attuned to the vibration of this sacred forest! I’ve said it so many times before, but as humans we have barely begun to recognize our full potential. I feel that this forest has a lot it could teach me about our potential.

I’ve become increasingly alarmed lately by the more and more dire reports about global warming. Polar bears will soon be extinct as the ice caps continue to melt. So many other species and ecosystems will be lost. I know in the whole grand scheme of things this is all just Mind dreaming Itself. Worlds and galaxies congeal out of nothing, then disappear. Spirit is the constant. But it’s hard not to feel sad and helpless, as a human, seeing all of this destruction we have caused.

I know if earth became just a big desiccated rock, I could still apprehend my true nature, without anything external to guide me. The physical world is just Mind made manifest, but Mind can be discovered in other ways too. The ancient forest is still a living, breathing reality and polar bears will always be a living, breathing reality too.

I finished reading the book Voices of Our Ancestors last night, the Cherokee book I mentioned. Late in the book I came across a sentence talking about body position. The author wrote “Subtle differences in position in different cultures point out the effects of bioresonance, how certain environment affects our thoughts and even our physical development.” This was in a paragraph on meditation and prayer postures, so she was really talk about subtle changes in position.

I love how the universe always affirms my thinking by sending along the right book at the right time, saying exactly the thing I’ve just been thinking. It’s my nod from the Universe that tells me, yes, you’re on the right track.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I had a dream last night. It was a very simple dream, but the effect on me this morning is anything but simple. There’s something here, something very significant.

I dreamed I was visiting someone at a small log cabin in the woods. Outside, talking to the person, I noticed off in front of me an enormous ancient tree. Its diameter was like that of a small room, maybe eight or ten feet across, and its canopy soared so high above us—150 feet? I couldn’t really say. The trunk was quite straight with a few, but not many, limbs down lower and gnarly roots around the base. I was immediately drawn to it, climbing up the roots in order to hug the ancient tree. I was in total awe.

Upon awakening, with this dream vivid in my mind, I was bathed in deep, deep sadness. I still am. I had the sudden realization that I’ve been dreaming about this forest of ancient giants since I was wee small. This is the first time I’ve ever remembered one of them. Often I have a sense that I go places in my dreams that I can’t recall, familiar places. This is obviously one of them.

The one thing I feel strongly is that this forest existed, and probably many others like it, at some point on this earth. These were not redwoods. It felt like a deciduous forest that would be somewhere in the northeastern U.S., or ancient Europe. The recollection of this forest feels like a past life memory, like I’ve actually walked beneath these giants before, but maybe they’re only inner symbols of my psyche, who knows?

I wish there was language to express the feeling-sense of my experience in this forest. I think it ties in with my recent line of thinking--when we destroy the earth, we destroy a way of knowing ourselves. These trees are containers of ancient wisdom; they are ancient beings, not only silent witnesses. They hold knowledge, deep, deep knowledge. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live among them. Who would I become?

It is hard for me to jump back and forth from my memory of the forest and the reality of the world today, where wood is a commodity and entire forests are clear cut.

I wonder what happened to the forest in my dream? It’s unimaginable to me that any human could stand in the presence of those giants and not be overpowered by the sense of the sacred. Yet, similar forests have been cut to the ground. How is that possible?
What would that do to a tribe if people who lived in such a forest? How could they go on, how could they bear it? How would they ever make sense of such an enormous act of desecration?

I wonder if I finally remembered this dream because just in the past week, in an effort to start writing again, I attempted to describe my experience with Mrs. Kaufman’s huge maple tree? I’ve always felt like I truly connected with that tree spirit and the senselessness of her death was just devastating to me. Trees are beings of great dignity. We need to honor them. They are so vastly more evolved than we are and we have much to learn from them.

The old ones though are mostly gone from this planet. Not for many, many generations will we have the opportunity to learn from these wise giants, and only if we return to balance first and learn to caretake for all of the beings here.