19 January 2010

Lessons of the Ox

We have well entered the final moon cycle in the Year of the Ox and I sense the breath of the sleeping Tiger that awaits. The discipline of the Ox guides me daily through an exercise routine designed to strengthen my stomach muscles and back so that I may some day soon return to my hammer and saw, but I find another hidden meaning in the daily practice: opening my inner channels of energy, connecting the physical and spiritual in the warm currents of Chi flowing freely in the concentrated efforts of flexing and reaching. Thoughts turn to reflection and I begin to see the hidden rhythms with different meaning as the cycles close and open.

At the end of the last cycle of 12, in the Year of the Dog, we loyally followed the Universe, sniffed out its hidden path, and landed in a wild and abandoned forest. The Year of the Boar was quickly upon us and we accepted the pig’s dream to fly, casting ourselves completely into a leap of faith, building a home among the trees and spirits. The new cycle of 12 began again with the cunning Rat as we meticulously made lists of priorities, set goals and plans in motion for a sustainable future, studied our environment and gave name to the land. In this current Year of the Ox we have reaped both physical and spiritually kharmatic harvests, honey and fresh eggs, vegetables and herbs, solar electricity and self-pumped stream water, but also disillusionment and sickness, frustration and the collapse of physical strength.

I found myself pushing towards exhaustion, attempting to follow the Ox’s stride to finish my projects, but as my material gains mounted I let crumble my spiritual discipline, stopped actively meditating, no longer remembered my dreams, incessantly stirred awake in the night obsessing over the next placement of nails or joists or beams. I wrote less often, drew fewer images, and in the forgetting of my art I fell off my path, slipped on a stair from which I had never before slipped, and crashed in the dark. “The kharmatically physical and the spiritually material,” snorted the Ox, “are all the same to me.” I could not physically continue with the material work before me, though I tried with the well-known stubbornness of the laboring sort, and only worsened my physical state. The Ox then whispered through the electrical pain of another discipline which drives her forth. “I am known,” she mused, “for my physical strength, but it is my spiritual discipline that allows me to continue without tiring.” Head shaven, unable to move, I was humbled into succumbing to the true message of the Universe, turning physical, daily exercise into meditational reawakening. “The Tiger arrives next,” warned the Ox, “and he has no patience for the weak.”

The Tiger, the Tiger, the coming Metal Tiger. Associated with war and the greed of the power-hungry, the Tiger flashes gambles of high risk and great gains. The yawn of the Tiger awakening in the physical realm of our fragmented world already in endless conflict sends a shudder through me, but I steady my resolve with the Ox still at the helm. We need not battle against the Tiger, we must in fact become it, for a Tiger in the house protects against robbers and fire so that his energy may be our greatest threat and our greatest defense. This is the razor’s edge marked in the clear lines of a tiger’s coat, the ever-present spiritual divide of Ying and Yang, the chaotic twist necessary to spurn fractal, infinite, creative possibilities. And like all ruling animals of the zodiac, the Tiger will strike in both the physical and spiritual realms.

Powerful world leaders deeply embedded in the machine-driven, military consciousness are deceived to use the force of the Tiger for destruction for a Tiger can never be controlled and will lead to their own undoing. In the space of corrupt folly the Tiger can summon forth a new consciousness, give it strength and form. If we artists and lovers and believers in peace become the Tiger within our deepest spiritual selves and allow that energy to work through us into the physical world this year, what can we finally lose or shed and what will we gain? “You are learning,” laughs the Ox, “but keep practicing.”

13 January 2010

My Shadow Witch Meditation

At 4 in the morning while the city and the house slept, I awoke without knowing why. As I tried to go back to sleep, fears and scenes from last year’s robbery started to reappear, trying to gain a holding and grow into worse and repeating scenes. Over the past year, I have tried to vanquish them, have tried to forget, to let pass, to stop their reoccurrence in that subtle space of my imagination where I know myself to be responsible, where without protection the negative can manifest itself as physically as wishes, drawn from the occult places of fear with as much imaging attention as a gardener watering and caring for plants. The fears in that pre-dawn witching hour poured themselves into a shadow form, having had been nourished here and there by my inescapable thoughts for months, and this shadow with the presence of a small witch began gnawing on my left hand and arm.

I had confessed to Christine yesterday my inability to forget the fear of last year’s robbery and my growing concern that I might actively be calling such fears into manifestation through my thoughts and fearful visioning. She suggested that I practice a meditational exercise: the next time those thoughts and fears begin to arise, I should imagine filling myself with light, expelling all shadowy and creeping thoughts with this light so that in its brightness the fear literally disappears. At the first sensation of the shadow witch’s gnawing, I began trying to calm myself into a meditation, humming quietly a hu song vibration, and then imagining my body slowly filling with light until my body was glowing, was shining. But the small shadow witch did not disappear and in the light I could see her form like a small child. I brushed my lighted hand across her cheek and I suddenly recognized this shadow witch, this manifestation of my fear, my creeping thoughts and negative emotions, she was a part of me and my path, and that she had to be loved to be transformed. I pulled this shadow witch, this abandoned child of my deepest self and embraced her to my chest, pressing her into my heart-center, transforming her shadow into pure light of love, holding her as part of me. I repeated the imagery over and over again, sensing her gnawing, filling with light, touching her face, embracing the cast aside parts of me, transforming fear into love.

Then I re-imagined everything in our bed with our house in Los Brujos, holding my shadow witch close, her shadow melting into light, all of us part of the same. With my breathing I imagined lapping waves and began to draw forth waves of liquid light over me, filling the room, expanding back and forth with my inhale and exhale. I filled our room, the bathroom, the rest of the house and loft, and pulled forth a burst of extra light as the golden liquid reached the altar, pushing toward the ceiling, every crack filled with liquid light. Then I let the liquid light overflow through the windows and door, fill the cats’ house and the dog’s houses, wrap the water tower, flow over the bee hives, fill the workshop construction project. Liquid light spilling over the worm compost and the henhouse and the woodshed, bursting extra light from the altar as I filled the greenhouse and sent a wave of liquid light down over the lower garden and up through the Puppeteers’ house-site. Outside the boys’ house I paused at the door and asked permission before entering, the door opening and then filling the house, the kitchen, the bathroom, the workshop, the bedroom, washing golden liquid light over the two sleeping boys. A final extra burst of light from the boys’ altar and the liquid light shone in beams, spreading out in all directions across the forest, leading the liquid waves over the neighboring properties, washing over our entire island of regenerating native, temperate rainforest. And now, from this oceanic base of liquid light, I pushed the wave toward the front gate.

I called forth the shadowy images of thieves coming up the path and sent my wave of liquid light over them, transforming them into their small, abandoned, fearful selves of shadow and these too I recognized as parts of myself. I embraced them to my chest with my shadow witch, I pulled them toward my heart center, I transformed their fearful shadows into love-filled light.

Now here hung the giant tidal wave of liquid light at the front gate overlooking the gravel road, the pine plantation beyond. The scarred landscape stretching down the hillsides studded with three-year pines among their predecessors’ stumps and passed-over branches, the left-behind tracks of giant machines still compacted in the hard, orange clay. And I sensed the hollow sadness of the forest, the anguish for what had been robbed of itself, and this pain too I recognized as part of myself. A rumbling lumber-truck hauled itself up the road and I launched my liquid wave of light as it passed, pouring light as love over and through the truck and its driver, all as a part of myself, and sent the wave freely flowing over every pine, every surface down the hillsides, washing every crack with a wave of golden liquid light.

I watched the wave flowing away out across the countryside, the neighboring forests and farms and plantations, from the resting trunk of El Brujo, the last pine to fall in the clear-cut harvest. The dogs and the cats joined me and together we sat against the remaining trunk of El Brujo with my small shadow witch quietly sitting beside. Everywhere around us glistened from the passing of the wave of light and my heart-center felt at peace, our sanctuary protected and healing. There I ended my visioning, my imaginative meditating. I know I will practice this exercise again and again in different variations and contexts depending on how fear and misgivings may next arise, but I am very content in the form the transformation adapted and the simple truths which were revealed in the unfolding: to love my every part of me.

10 January 2010

Pondering the Seven Life Lessons of Chaos (John Briggs and F. David Peat)

We live in an incredible jungle-world of fractal diversity. Waking up again in the forest with light rain dripping from vine tendrils, leaves pushing forth new waves of growth, every surface blossoming moss-lichens, grasses stretching so tall that their heavy seeded heads droop with the added moisture, ferns continuing to unfurl, glistening green of lush chlorophyll filling the lungs and senses… this tangled kaleidoscope of growth outside my window enjoying a pro-longed and endless Spring. So this is a vibrant temperate rainforest finally, after 3 years of Summer droughts, we approach mid-January rich in moisture, rain barrels overflowing, the forest stretching itself awake, filling blossoms with nectar, reaching out toward sun and sky. The long days no longer a dusty meditation through the hours awaiting the cool of night stars. Clouds pass and clouds cluster, winds sending rain and then ushering in sun, and the forest basks in the balance, the smallest details underfoot not shrinking away, but enveloping, grappling, surging forth into any open space weaving growth among growth in competition, in collaboration. This forest, an infinite open-loop system of creative potential and me at its doorstep looking in, drawing inspiration, becoming part of the swirling stream, giving and receiving love.

There is no comparison with man-made environments. Even the most intricately planned city-scape or botanical garden can not compare with the energy that a vibrant forest emanates. There is an ancient consciousness present here that fabricated spaces, no matter how detailed, fail to capture. Somewhere in their fabrication a loop is closed, the fractal potential cut-off, diversity homogenized, wave functions collapse into a few or one; we are held separate in our boxes and isolations seeps in. We may have 20 choices of drink flavor, hundreds of ringtone sounds to fill our days, but there is always a limit, a finitely produced quantity and the greater energy potential is masked, lost, forgotten.

For the first time in human history we as a planet are raising a generation of primarily urban dwellers whose daily existence is delineated by fabricated, man-made spaces where no matter the amazing high-definition digital detail the true energy and diversity of Nature’s potential chaos is packaged, limited, or completely absent. Our incredible bodies and souls have been ever-connected to Nature’s chaotic flow throughout our existence on this planet and we have thrived on that cosmic inspiration. Will this new generation recognize its absence? Will we find a balance or conform to our mechanized engineering? Would we willingly shed the essence of our humanity for a controlled and limited environment? And will Nature miss us as we distance ourselves into our plastic and steel and glass towers? Will She come calling us home? Can we ever truly plan and build and defend a physical space on this planet that does not in its foundation succumb to Nature’s chaotic will? What are our intentions as a People on this planet, inside this Universe? What are we losing in our daily choices, what potentiality do we absent-mindedly dismiss with our actions, our thoughts, our emotions? Are we each truly wanting to live in a fragmented world, that is, do we fear our unknown, unexplored potential so much that we can not even recognize how we choose collectively to empower the prisons surrounding and separating us?

I am a child born of privilege, have had every avenue open to me to pursue my heart’s desire. I could be a successful businessperson, a government executive, any leadership role. I could be materially successful with an ample, dry-wall house, two-car garage, vacation cruises, and technical devices for my play-things. There are probably many people who wonder why I did not choose that path, others who actively wish that I had. Instead I have run off to the forest where wild edges still linger and ask lofty questions of the Universe. Am I arrogant, am I selfish? Any more or less than the average corporate salesperson? I want to touch inspiration, believe in magic, find that cooperation and dreams are real, that love is stronger than fear. And to know that this modern-age too shall pass, with its expectations and hierarchy, its power and the powerless.

The forest yawns and smiles and Nature’s fractals, of which we are each an inseparable, entangled part whether we acknowledge it or not, continue to unfold.

05 January 2010

Accepting a Physical Transformation

I am to spend the next 2 weeks flat on my back day and night healing a slipped disc and strengthening the muscles surrounding it. Healing completely so as to one day return to battling 4” nails and aged oak, finishing the workshop-temple, manifesting other construction projects.

It is a strange commitment to make, to resist movement, even those once most-basic bends reaching down or turning over or sitting up. Every pass now slow and calculated or quickly advised against with nerve flashes of electricity and aching; my own body in conflict with itself. And muscles fatiguing without use, that physical therapy isolate in order to strengthen. Frustration and concentration to rebuild the fibrous wall that broke or bent along my spine beginning some 2 and a half months ago with a night fall from our loft and then aggravated by my daily chores and projects. I am shocked at the effort to lift my right leg while lying down, where the sciatic nerve had been most pinched. I recall how I had bounced about the past year, in retrospect actions bordering vain arrogance, with my physical body enjoying possibly its most fit state, flexing biceps in mirrors, leaping up and down stairs, hauling boards and beams, sawing and hammering any and all angles, carrying heavy loads from town up the graveled road, splitting firewood in one blow. And now reclined, made quiet, observing and waiting, on to another schedule out of time where artistic hobbies take precedence, meditation replaces thought, pushes away worry, because I am on my path, exactly where I am supposed to be, the Universe guiding and sending me the exact care necessary.

Hadn’t I asked for physical transformation? Here I am, a serpent shedding old skin in stages, on many levels. But slyly taken care of, the support pieces almost premeditatedly arranged so that my collapse falls exactly within Christine’s summer vacation and one of our closest friends is a professional physical therapist, not only offering to guide and orchestrate the healing process, but also giving us a room in her home in order to stay in town and receive my daily treatments of ultrasound and electrical current and isolated muscle rebuilding. Accompanied at every pass, this serpent eases into a new skin unhurried, unpressured, able to listen to and heed every call from the body to rest, to grow, to heal. The Universe lovingly bestowing hard lessons with gentle care and I know myself to be more than fortunate, more than privileged.

I watch as other members in our universal family struggle with their own back pain, resigning to life-long limitations on their movement, trying to compensate with brute strength and a stiff upper lip because there are bills to pay, mouths to feed, no nest egg to cover examinations, no connections to call on, no options, no other path. My reposed vacation from my life appears pampered and I know the shame and envy that hangs at the edges, has evolved unfairly across world empires and economic history. It sets my resolve further to heal completely. Anything less would be an insult to these gifts, a mockery of their pain and a disgrace to the Universe’s unique opportunity. I know not what else I can do. My path carries this dimension ever-present for a reason yet unknown and I can not deny nor claim ignorance to the injustice. I can only follow this path, invoke humility and sacred gratitude, and set my heart towards a future consciousness in which such marked differences do not exist.