Love and Beauty

…for a poet is a light and winged thing, and holy, and never able to compose until he has become inspired, and is beside himself, and reason is no longer in him. Plato

Let’s start at the end. What gives us joy, reason, meaning, and a feeling of being alive, connected, loved and loving? Is it not, as Plato, the poets, the mystics and many other ordinary persons have shown from time immemorial, a deep and abiding personal experience with love and beauty?

In his most recent book, Secret Body, Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions, Jeffrey Kripal takes us on a deeply satisfying exploration of the relationship between modern currents of discontent, political division and concern for the future humanity, culture and the planet itself, compared to the state of our spirituality, or lack thereof, and specifically the loss of a deeper, more personal experience of the divine.

Consciousness is the fundamental ground of all that we know, or ever will know. It is the ground of all of the sciences, all of the arts, all of the social sciences, all of the humanities, indeed all human knowledge and experience. Moreover, as far as we can tell at the moment, this presence is entirely sui generis. It is its own thing. We know of nothing else like it in the universe, and anything we would know later we would only know in, through, and because of this same consciousness.

There is then, by way of intimate and direct apprehension, no knowing outside of the experience of one’s conscious mind and body. Whether a metaphor or not, we are in, or within, an unseen parameter of the limits and expansions of conscious experience.

Embedded within the confines of our experience is a sense of dualism, strangely apparent, whether from the experience of being a separate body immersed in so many naturally occurring instances of “two,” or from the habits of mind in which language seems only able to abstract and translate immediate perception and sensation into discrete sequences, ideas and parts. Time and space, as primary conditions of embodied life, will always have their way with us. The sense of duality at root of embodied existence, may however provide more than what meets the eye, but also what meets the heart.

Like some immeasurable kabbalistic structure, all of reality is really made of letters, words, thoughts, in short, of a writing mind, but we only catch glimmers of this Logos, this Meaning of all meaning. As a result, we are not the writers but the written. “We are not the artists but the drawings.” And so we submit to the inherited scripts of our ancestors — so many fake worlds, unreal identities, and simulacra. (Philip K.) Dick gave all of these constructions and discourses a name: the Black Iron Prison.

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Perhaps as humans first began to use language, unburdened from the library of one’s cultural historical past, language may have been, more or less, an expression of immediate experience. The accumulation of “so many fake worlds, unreal identities and simulacra” had yet to carry with it a thread of the past, as it so clearly does today, so much so, that we’ve incorporated within our identity, histories, arbitrary and incomplete as they might be, conditioned and contextualized by how we hear and understand them today. While threads can be useful for carrying forward patterns and trends, knitting together coherency, an ongoing heroic, but futile, struggle of life against death, to our detriment, has dominated both land and mind in every culture and era. The arrow must fly, but care should be taken to know what we’re aiming at. All the random aiming of arrows over the vast expanse of the universe will ultimately fail to bring us closer to the divine, in which a fuller experience of love and beauty awaits, if we continue to shoot in the dark.

Non-human animals also compete in a struggle for life, but without the aid of technology, the damage to themselves and others remains quite limited. Although seemingly less than ever at the mercy of the elements and the powers of nature, such as they are, we moderns are out of shape and psycho-spiritually out of shape for any real struggle. Our hubris for fixing what we have in fact broken, seems to know no bounds.

We really think we are our masks and language games. We privilege our religious egos over our humanity, our societies over our species, our cultures over consciousness as such. We have it exactly backward. This book is about reversing that reversal. There is no more urgent political project than this.

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What then, can be said to the ways in which we go “about reversing that reversal?” Although we could go on forever describing our current dilemma in terms of the inherent limitations imposed from within and without, is there perhaps something available to us, from time immemorial, continually overlooked by the distractions of the day-to-day struggle, immersing us not only into our storied lives, but keeping us from stepping out into what may only present itself as impossibly remote possibilities of our future selves? And can language, story and imagination, that which immerses us, according to the prevailing myths of the day, in the “bad play” we currently find ourselves in, be the very vehicle that moves us into those future selves we currently envision and hunger for?

The one as two

Although ideas of wholeness may attract us as ways to heal division, and integrate the broken pieces of ourselves, others, and the world divided, we might question whether or not a more useful means of perceiving, which reflects more closely the physiology of the body, could prove to be useful. Surely, wholeness is a seductive word which points to a truer reality in which both love and beauty flourish, but is there any hope that mere mortals can find an access point in which we can truly commune with the divine?

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The experience of ourselves as not one, not whole, but rather as having two modes of perceiving, or what we simply refer to as an ability to both perceive through the senses while reflecting on that which is perceived, is somewhat obvious to most of us. This double vision can be seen structurally throughout the physical senses, from the two distinct sides of the brain, both with unique modes of perception, to the stereo-optics of our vision we are naturally equipped with. The mind and imagination too, see two-fold; inside/outside, conscious/unconscious, self/other, dead/alive, male/female, true/false, along with a myriad of other polarities that easily get our attention. Perhaps though, instead of being compelled to choose sides, opposites might present an opportunity to see as two, in stereo, forming a syzygy rather than a conflict.

The “one as two” dynamic appears throughout the ages in a variety of personified forms, including, the spiritual twin, guardian angel, Daimon, Genius or doppelgänger. These others may serve as necessary agents whose purpose is to engage us in dialogue with an autonomous figure in dreams or reverie. These are not only convenient fictions, but for some, living presences, visible or otherwise, that we engage with as partners in life’s journey. They offer us the opportunity to relieve the ego of its claim to that of sole purveyor of conscious experience by presenting an invisible otherness through reflective moments, offering to us messages that grace our steady movement throughout the day and night, and opening us up to a fluidity in our interpretation of reality along with an opportunity to deliteralize any stringent claims we’re tempted to settle upon, from the perceptions we are immersed in and influenced by. This would be akin to James Hillman’s perspective in which we share a “being in soul.” The soul for Hillman is necessarily a perspective, rather than a thing. Soul in this sense acts as a mediator, a carrier of the universals, downward, to the root of each personal embodied life.

We desperately need a new theory of the imagination (or a revived old one), one that can re-vision the imagination not as simply a spinner of fancy and distracting daydream but also, at least in rare moments, as an ecstatic mediator, expressive artist, and translator of the really real.

Ecstatic mediator? Perhaps the only way to entertain the possibility of such an idea requires that one incorporate a practice that acts as a portal to the impossible; for facilitating the experience of something present that is more than just “me.” The recognition that one indeed has habits of perception which can be seen through and reworked towards something more satisfying, can serve as an initiator into seeing habit itself as that which constrains thinking, exposing us to the susceptibility of falling into belief as an end point, a conclusion, which ultimately stifles the senses and constricts access to the universals. This codification easily becomes a death of soul, in which we no longer engage the living waters of life, but settle for drinking from the swamp.

Jeffrey Kripal sees the need to revitalize the quality and value of our spiritual experiences, if we ever hope to revitalize the human experience and end the current death spiral. Perhaps too, what we’ve come to call “paranormal” may just be a term that has come into use alongside an increasingly modern prejudice in which our fear of the esoteric, its relationship to the erotic, and invisible realities has gone underground.

All quotes: Kripal, Jeffrey J.. Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions (Kindle Locations 4076-4078). University of Chicago Press. Kindle Edition.

Polyphony

“Songbirds sing. That is fact, not metaphor. They sing, and in the forest every morning, when a dozen or a hundred or a thousand individuals of six or ten or twenty different species sing at once, that is polyphonic music.”

Everywhere Being is DancingWhen I first read these words in Robert Bringhurst’s book, Everywhere Being is Dancing, it reminded me to pay more attention to sound. Not just the intentional listening one does in conversation or to a piece of music, but to the sounds of everyday life. I am finding that the best way to experience the polyphony of everyday life requires switching the senses away from intentionality and expanding awareness to what is present.

During this exercise, thoughts continue to distinguish, characterize and define the sounds. I suppose this is a response based on cumulative memory and habit. For as mortal beings with a sensitivity to all that threatens our peace and wellbeing, by necessity, we live in a stream of continued response to our senses.

“Music, dancing, storytelling, poetry are means by which we can and do embrace and participate in being, not tricks by which we prove our independence from or our superiority to it.”

So, if we can listen to polyphonic music, whether the source is human or not, can we also listen to image and symbol in our speech for their inherent multiple meanings?  Is there then a polyphony of mind, heart or soul? Perhaps we can see too that a culture’s musical expression might also be a reflection of the heart and soul of a people. Bringhurst notes some of the differences in expression according to the voicing and texture of the music:

“In homophonic music, lovely though some of it is, and written by geniuses, as some of it certainly is, only the leader has any substantial freedom of action. Melodies may follow one another, but they cannot coexist. Where the leader’s voice leads, the accompanist’s must follow. The laws of harmony demand that every tone or note or thought or body have its own space or its own time or both. If two notes want the same space at the same time, the two must fuse and lose their independence, or one must move harmonically aside.”

Does not this form of music parallel the modern tendency towards authoritarianism, and the single-mindedness that goes along with it? Maybe with some practice, one can hear more than one thing at a time. Admittedly, an openness to listening may suffer in a world that does not cultivate a sense of beauty in everyday things. Although technology increasingly contributes to a loss of community, it’s understandable that some of us prefer to filter our public experience with the aid of i-pods and cell phones.

“We have, in fact, a lot of practice hearing polyphonic speech. It surrounds us in the woods, and it surrounds us in the street and the cafe. It’s what we hear wherever we can listen to the world. It’s also what we hear where people speak with neither fealty nor fear, and where their speech is not drowned out by their machines.”

“With neither fealty nor fear,” and I would add, with all that comes from both inside and outside. Finding one’s voice, of course, is not only finding what one can say, but also what one can think, write, draw, sing or express in whatever fashion one is inclined to. These practices that find us, while at first may take us beyond the mainstream of both the culture and the drudgery of day-to-day, after some time become incorporated as habits of body, mind and soul. It is then that the edges between “work” and “play” blur, or soften, as does one’s identity with its demand of pondering and working on one’s self or others. Not that You or I disappear, but the youthful question of “who am I” loses its claim on us.

We are capable of polyphonic thought and polyphonic speech, as polyphonic music proves. We are capable, that is, of multiplicity of mind in a healthy form. Why is it that the only multiplicity of mind in fashion now is a crippling disease? ease? Polyphony made audible is music. Schizophrenia made audible is noise.

Schizophrenia, as noise, because we haven’t listened hard, or deep enough. Or, perhaps because we believe too much in language and forget that, while beautiful and necessary, it sometimes charms us into mistaking it for a world which, in spite of all that is said, sung or done, will always remain bigger, truer and beyond the reach of language.

I’ll close with Bringhurst’s lovely quoting of the poet Don McKay:

“Poetry is language used with an awareness of the poverty of language…. gauge…. Poetry remembers that language is shaped air; it remembers ashes to ashes, dust to dust, wind to wind; it knows we don’t own what we know. It knows the world is, after all, unnameable, so it listens hard before it speaks, and wraps that listening into the linguistic act.’ “

Robert Bringhurst. Everywhere Being Is Dancing: Twenty Pieces of Thinking (Kindle Locations 322-324). Kindle Edition.

Finally, an explanation, along with some examples, of polyphonic singing:

All quotes from Robert Bringhurst except otherwise noted. Everywhere Being Is Dancing: Twenty Pieces of Thinking (Kindle Locations 275-276). Kindle Edition.

Revolution

Once upon a time, some men believed that the sun revolved around them. Then one day, here and there, some very brave men decided they wanted to know how true we could be. Why would the sun, so precious to life, participating in the very gift of our life, revolve around us? Our big Lion King, regal and alive with powerful star energy is a force to be reckoned with. Who can even see his face?

Imagine the adjustment to be made, when one by one, people everywhere reimagine their place in the world knowing it is they, not the sun, who are doing all the revolving. Who then, is beholden to whom?

Take heart though, for there is still the beautiful face of the moon which is so attracted to us that she faithfully revolves around us every 29.530589 days. She’s just a little off, like we are, revolving as we do around the sun every 365.256363004 days. But in an incomprehensible act of faith she keeps her face turned to us. Is there anyone you have ever known so faithful and true as that? It’s true that the sun, along with our own joy of spinning, do, from time to time, hide the lovely Lady moon’s beauty from us. It’s just as well because we have to get some work of living done now don’t we?

Although many of us have yet to digest the implications, it’s clear to some of us that things are just as they need be, for this particular story to take place. What story? The one we’re in of course.

We’re aligned with opportunity. We spin around an amazingly powerful sun, basking in his rays, fed by his birthing of all sorts of growing things. And the lady of our dreams stays with us, faithfully showing, with just the right amount of solar light reflected back to us, a Holy presence in her, and so, in each one of us. Her faithfulness to the beautiful marbled ball we call Earth, could be our faithfulness. But, just like a woman, she let’s us see exactly what we want to see, passing no judgment. For without her lovely mirror, how else could we ever receive any truth?

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Is it the fear of what is other, the initial recognition of duality, that tempt us further into categorizations of duality? Is individuality, that necessary movement for freedom of action, what fosters a battle stance, a duality initiating all future duels?

Perhaps fear of the other must finally, as Jung suggested, reduce the gods to diseases, eliminating their autonomy, along with the autonomy of ideas, that now further reduces all human perception to the material causes of brain chemistry, neurons, or delusional thinking. Could we have moved from a world where once all was personified, to one where we’re not even sure of our own personhood?

“…the experience of the gods, of heroes, nymphs, demons, angels and powers, of sacred animals, places, and things, as persons indeed precedes the concept of personification. It is not that we personify, but that the epiphanies come as persons.”

Pan, Mikhail Vrubel 1900

“Epiphanies come as persons,” for us rarely, but to understand the truth of this we can look to dreams or art.

If you can possess your experience, all threats of “other” are “managed.” Filtering experience, we make sense of the world as fits our emotional state, religious viewpoint, cultural conventions, language skills, or whatever else fits the habits of our awareness. Barriers between us and the world are forged categorically: self and other, self and self (resistance even to unwanted thoughts and fantasies that have their way when all is quiet), self and world (especially the uncivilized worlds of forest, jungle, deep-sea and inner city). Sometimes, it is only through a dream or nightmare that we may be reached, and then, rather than hear a message, we might rather insist it was something we ate. 🙂

“When Pan is dead, then nature can be controlled by the will of the new god, man, modeled in the image of Prometheus or Hercules, creating from it and polluting in it without a troubled conscience.”

In their book, Pan and the Nightmare, Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher and James Hillman remind us of a historical account of Herodotus’ in which Pheidippides receives a message from the god Pan that saves Athenian democracy:

“Herodotus says Pan burst in on Pheidippides, cried out his name, and gave him a crucial message that saved Athens. The leaders of Athens believed Pheidippides, won the battle, and set up the Cult of Pan in Athens. Were the cunning and intelligent Greeks so deluded? Did all this come about because of the exhausted state of mind of a certain messenger who had a sudden bright idea and conjured up “Pan” to bless it with authority?”

Here Hillman mocks the modern prejudice which insists the phenomena of receiving messages from the gods is some form of delusion or power grab. I agree with Hillman that it is to the essence of the experience; that of being receptive to receiving messages, that remains relevant to us. What has modernity done for us by refusing to even entertain any such direct experience of the divine? Are we any wiser, safer, secure in our destiny, more civil in our interactions, more caring for home, city and planet for it?

I love the hints, suggestions, ideas and messages that come through experiencing the world as personal; alive, layered, varied, imprecise, whose purpose serves more than functionality. When fear provokes me into summarily dismissing a foreign way of looking at something, or a new way to hear an old idea, it leaves an unsettled feeling in my heart. That unsettledness, when attended to, eventually brings a gift of insight, understanding, compassion, beauty and love.

When ideas themselves can be seen as other, coming to us personified, as dream images do – without the threat of seeming like a foreign invasion, the desire to possess them and boss them around lessens. Their gravitas remain, but without weighing us down as their owners. If there is one gift I have received from spending time with Hillman’s ideas, it is this loosening and respect of fear, and an increase of interest in ideas for their own sake.

“Could we step back from our times, step out of the pretensions of the fearing ego who would bring every atom of nature under its control? Then we might realize again that we are not the source of personified gods. We do not make them up, anymore than we invent the sounds we hear in the woods, the hoof prints in the sand, the nightmare pressure weighing on our chests.”

As well, it is freeing when I recognize that others are also not the author of ideas. We may all be possessed by them, but who knows where their source lies?

Perhaps our need to possess ideas, shifting them away from an experience of the divine, comes from the absorption of polytheism by monotheism, and monotheism by scientistic materialism that takes monotheism one step further. If monotheism reduced the gods to one, separating divinity from the material world, materialism finished the job by removing altogether any notion of the divine, reducing the world to mostly dead bits and pieces bossed around by chemistry, math and physics.

But the shifting of states of awareness through the ages may be necessary, and the Greek imagination helps us to see Dionysus at work here. It may be Dionysus, the only god to have one mortal parent, that best represents the psychological style of modern consciousness, for he was both a god of the grapes, given to transcendent ecstasy, but also ripped apart by the Titans to avenge his father Zeus’ love of Semele, his mortal mother.

Can this myth tell us something about the modern tendency to reduce the world into bits and parts, along with a love of transcendent states, whether through drugs, alcohol, technology, apocalyptic visions or meditative states? Can we see the possessiveness in reducing the world to bits and pieces, and deadening it for the sake of control?

In slicing and dicing as we have throughout the last millenia, perhaps the resulting technology will come to serve another twist of fate. Through the transcendent impulse, we may see seeing, taking on a birds-eye view of not only our planet, but of the vastness beyond our understanding, which may foster in yet another Dionysian trait; a rebirth into another style of consciousness, one that expects variety, and without fear, experiences the divine everywhere.

All quotes, Hillman, James; Roscher, Wilhelm Heinrich (2014-10-09). Pan and the Nightmare. Spring Publications, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

The Soul of the World

The Soul of the World is the second part of James Hillman’s two-part book, The Thought of the Heart and The Soul of the World, in which he sees a world suffering a breakdown in much the same way as individuals suffer. A world ensouled, a psychic reality, in which we imagine with our hearts, connecting each of us to the things of the world, as part of the Anima Mundi. See Here for some of my recent thoughts on first part of the book, The Thought of the Heart. 

“The world, because of its breakdown, is entering a new moment of consciousness: by drawing attention to itself by means of its symptoms, it is becoming aware of itself as a psychic reality. The world is now the subject of immense suffering, exhibiting acute and crass symptoms by means of which it defends itself against collapse.”

So, is the world broken because individuals are broken, is it us, the family (or lack thereof), the community that are to be blamed for brokenness, or is it just as much the other way around? Are we broken because of the breakdown of the world? The essay was presented in the late 70’s and I think we have begun to turn our gaze outward a bit more, but perhaps we still need a way to enter into a sense of the world as ensouled; a world that, through an awareness of its images we sense is alive needing our attention and love. For some of us, too long have we lived convinced of the world’s deadness which risks alienating us from caring and just as importantly, from feeling cared for by the world.

“Rather let us imagine the anima mundi as that particular soul-spark, that seminal image, which offers itself through each thing in its visible form. Then anima mundi indicates the animated possibilities presented by each new event as it is, its sensuous presentation as a face bespeaking its interior image – in short, its availability to imagination, its presence as psychic reality. Not only animals and plants ensouled as in the Romantic vision, but soul is given with each thing, God-given things of nature and man-made things of the street.”

He is arguing for a readmittance of our animal sense, an aesthetic response to the face of the world, a world that is not just dead matter, but alive by virtue of its images presented in each particular thing. And this response is necessary as “…any alteration in the human psyche resonates with a change in the psyche of the world.”

“To interpret the world’s things as if they were our dreams deprives the world of its dream, its complaint. Although this move may have been a step toward recognizing the interiority of things, it finally fails because of the identification of interiority with only human subjective experience.”

When sense and imagination of the world leave us we are left with “images without bodies and bodies without images, an immaterial subjective imagination severed from an extended world of dead objective facts,” we then sever the heart connection as the hearts way of perceiving is both sensing and imagining. “To sense penetratingly we must imagine, and to imagine accurately we must sense.”

Our modern troubles with the heart lie perhaps not only in the physical heart but this thinking heart of perceiving and sensing. Maybe our suffering hearts are sick from more than just what we eat or how much exercise we get, but from the suffering of the world and our relation to it. But if the world needs our aesthetic, animal sense to re-imagine our contact with it, Hillman reminds us that it’s not so much the beauty of arts and a sanitized, deodorized world that will heal it, but an aesthetic knowing leading us to “thing-consciousness,” felt and seen in all of the objects we encounter in our day-to-day; the chair we sit in, the cars we drive, the inornate and anorexic walls and buildings, erected quickly and built with practicality and efficiency in mind and not for their beauty or the beauty of the world.

Hillman insists that it is in the particular things, even the smallest things, including our need for speed, expansion, the hunger we are unwilling to live with that make up the soul of the world and that only through our attention to these things, and caring for them can the world in turn care for us. This revisioning would be itself an environmental movement, a love affair in which “each of us reworks our background” that is the world, a world alive that is ensouled.

“A world without soul offers no intimacy. Things are left out in the cold, each object by definition cast away before it is manufactured, lifeless litter and junk, taking its value wholly from my consumptive desire to have and to hold, wholly dependent on the subject to breathe it into life with personal desire.

When particulars have no essential virtue, then my own virtue as a particular depends wholly and only on my subjectivity or on your desire for me, or fear of me: I must be desirable, attractive, a sex-object, or win importance and power. For without these investments in my particular person, coming either from your subjectivity or my own, I too am but a dead thing among dead things, potentially forever lonely.”

All quotes from James Hillman, Spring Publications.

11 Day Clearing – Anima Mundi

My apologies for the lateness of this post. It was supposed to be done yesterday.

This post is part of the  initiated by bluebutterfliesandme, a series of posts reclaiming 11 in which we can:

“Take one thing a day, either a physical, actual object that needs to go, or better yet a habit, or psychological bug and exorcise it, throw it out.”

You can find links to all the contributors and their offerings at the link above to the bluebutterfliesand me blog. Clearing away is something that perhaps comes and goes in the same way that the seasons do. Sometimes something must go just as autumns changes clear the trees for next year’s growth.

More than any other time in my life I feel blessed with abundance. Not the richness of having things but the richness of being alive and of being immersed in whatever I am doing and wherever I am. It wasn’t always this way, and that might be why I am now able to appreciate peace and happiness when it does arrive that at one time seemed so elusive.

Droid_01-10-2010 153I’m not sure that I can narrow down what I am clearing to one thing, but these past few years I have felt my attention facing a little more outwards into the world. Maybe that is what aging does to us, or maybe it is something else, but I am far less concerned with why, than with what the change is like.

In the earlier years of my life I was very focused on the seeming mysteriousness of who I am. Having always felt deeply unsettled, a troubled child, I thought my quest in life was about knowing who I am.  But as I get older (I am 55 now), I find my interests shifting outwards to a curiosity about what is going on for others and in the world in general. Life can be hard and suffering comes in many different shapes and colors, but as much as is possible, I don’t want to add to the world’s or to any individual’s suffering. So, the question has become, what does the world need? A very big question…

Although it seems that the world is in a mess, the more general my feelings are for the worlds problems, the less it seems I can do anything about them. So, part of what I am coming to see is the importance of differentiating between what is within my reach to change and what problems are too abstract, and not in reach. Probably not big news for some people, but life is made up of small moments, but they can be powerful sometimes life-changing moments when we look to see how we can help each other, even in small ways.

So, I thought I would offer up a few thoughts about the clarity emerging from this shift in perspective. I hope these thoughts do not come across as criticism of their opposites, or of anything that might be important and helpful in someone else’s situation – they are not meant to be.

1) I am not a project to be worked on. There’s more happiness to be found from engaging others and the world. I am the vehicle, the eye, the mind, moving, seeing, thinking, taking in and hopefully bringing forth something that the world needs. The I that would fix me is just as broken as the me I would fix. Healing is needed of course and does indeed happen and there’s nothing wrong with seeking a path towards that goal.

2) The world needs each and every one of us. Together we make up a whole, and there is no world outside of that whole. We are in the world and the world is in us. We are the world – all of it. We all belong, but it’s good to be aware that not everyone feels this way and it might be your turn to remind someone else that they are needed, even or especially when they can’t see why.

3) We have nothing. We don’t have anything because life is a motion picture. Things, feelings, others, ideas, beliefs are all in motion and organically changing; psyche reflects soma. We are the movie, the play, the song. It’s a drama, a tragedy and a comedy and sometimes it seems all at once.

4) We all make choices, ready or not. We all realize in varying degrees the choices we are making. Some of us need reminding of the power we actually have instead of the power we think we want. This was especially true for me back in the days of my youthful folly.

5) It is easier to misunderstand but more rewarding to take the time to understand. When I find myself immediately resisting an idea or an opinion, it can be tempting to place myself in opposition and increase the tension, but I have been trying to practice listening and imagining the world from the perspective of what it is that is being resisted. It’s not always easy to do, but when done, it helps me to understand how someone can form the ideas and opinions they have.

6) You can always change your mind. This is a wonderfully freeing gift that we are granted. Opinions change, feelings change, love is available if we practice looking for it and passing it on to others, even in the very small kindnesses that we do in our day-to-day.

7) Everyone and everything needs our love. Again, love happens in small ways and to the things that we touch and use as well as the people, the animals, the ground that we walk on. Love for the world can bring care for the world, and care for the world can bring beauty and peace.

At the very least I am trying to be less a part of the problem and more a part of the solution as my life unfolds. Where once upon a time I felt separate, apart and outside of the world we all share, I now see the world as an unfolding tapestry where each of us has a part of the continual weaving that makes up what C.G. Jung and others have called the Anima Mundi, or Soul of the World.

Please enjoy Soul Fields post posted today  tomorrow and tomorrows todays offering from Karen, whose link should be found here.

Here are the links to all of the contributor’s posts in this series:

Sept 11th – 11 Day Clearing~ Self Doubt

Sept 12th – 11 Day Clearing ~ This too shall pass

Sept 13th  – Self-Reflection (Entry #2)

Sept 14th –  Healing through forgiveness

Sept 15th –  Darkest Before the Dawn

Sept 16th –  Am I a Raven or a Dove

Sept 17th – Cellular Healing Meditation

Sept 17th –  Anima Mundl

Sept 18th –  Changing your Perspective on Life

Sept 19th –  Lost in your Thoughts

Sept 20th – Self Reflection (Entry #3)

Sept 21st –  Clearing and Living in the New Energy Consciousness

Sept 22nd – Pluto Station-purge, clear, forgive, release

I Can See For Miles

It’s fun to go camping for a few days, but great to be back home – especially after not having access to a shower. My husband and I spent the last couple of days in the Mt. Hood National Forest, camping, hiking and enjoying a lovely view of Clear Lake and the surrounding mountains from right outside our tent trailer.

We intended to hike on Mt. Hood’s Cooper Spur, but had to cancel that hike when we were informed by the Forest Ranger’s that the road leading to the trailhead had been closed because of damage from a fire a few years ago.

So, instead we took a drive up to Timberline lodge on Mt. Hood, which is a very popular ski resort here in Oregon. There is a short hike straight up the mountain from the lodge that takes you from an elevation of 5,960 to above the timberline at 7,000 feet, a roundtrip hiking distance of 2.7 miles.

PhotoWe decided to do this short hike as a warm up to Saturday’s slightly more ambitious 7 mile roundtrip hike with a 2,500 ft. elevation gain up to McNeil Point. We didn’t quite reach the top though because I couldn’t bring myself to walk through a very narrow canyon path in the last 1/2 mile of the trail :(). I’ll post some pictures of that hike at a later date.

The short hike from Timberline Lodge is quite lovely as it immediately puts you above the timberline and every 1/4 mile gives you a drastically bigger panoramic view of Mt. Hood and the mountains to the southwest of it.

Much to my surprise, among all of the many rocks and stones that one encounters along the way, one red volcanic stone in particular caught my eye. Immediately I saw that is was full of craters! If this does not strike you as odd, I direct your attention to Erik Andrulius’ blog in which he challenges our assumptions about the formation of the moon’s craters being the result of impact.

PhotoI thought of Erik’s explanation of the moon’s craters when looking at this volcanic rock as it also has these crater-like holes, but I don’t think geologists would say they were from impact. Hmm. I do believe that Erik is on to something and that his theory about the moon crater formation being an inside job deserves some more attention.

“I know you deceived me

now here’s a surprise.

I know that you have

‘Cause there’s magic in my eyes.” Pete Townsend