Dreams of Strangeness

When I saw this image on Facebook, I thought, “Wow, this is beautiful, but it also looks so familiar. Where have I seen…oh yes, it was in the vampire dream.” (a few posts earlier)dreamchapelvamps.jpg

Now how weird is that?  This looks exactly like the large chapel-type setting in that dream, just before the space ships began flying around outside and the vampires landed doing their vampire thing.

But also along with the image on Facebook, this was the caption—a quote: “Tell me what you yearn for and I shall tell you who you are. We are what we reach for—the idealized image that drives our wandering.”

~ James Hillman ❤

Considering my previous post on identity and this image so closely matching the vampire dream, I’d say the coincidences are a little too amazing. So then according to the quote, I have to ask myself:

Do I yearn to be a vampire slayer?

Hmmm.  Well not in the most literal/physical sense, but perhaps in the metaphorical one.

If vampires represented ignorance and that cruel darkness lurking within each of us that tries to destroy our life force, I could easily yearn for defeating that in myself and for helping others to do so.

Guess I’ll need that ‘nut-cracker holster’ on my belt after all.

 

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Shoshin – The Beginner’s Mind

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but I can easily say that despite lessIknow45.pnghow much I’ve often thought that I knew throughout my life, or how hard-won that advanced knowledge came into being for me, the older I get the better I appreciate how little I actually DO know.

In truth it seems that with every passing day I feel this almost humorous certainty growing stronger within me: a certainty-of-my-own-ignorance—that jolting realization that what you once believed to be truth, actually wasn’t, and you may never know the REAL truth no matter how old or knowledgeable you become because that TRUTH exists in a realm that is incomprehensible to your present existence.

This body shock of awakening to our own innate ignorance can be scathingly honest and quite humbling.

It certainly was to my ego.

But to those who study Zen, this isn’t some new concept—some might simply call it ‘cultivating the Beginner’s Mind.’

What is Beginner’s Mind?  Here’s a good explanation first from Wikipedia, then from a Zen master himself.

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning ‘beginner’s mind.’ It refers to having shozinbeginnersmind.pngan attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.”

Text source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin

Master Shunryu Suzuki can explain it far better than I can:

“People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross‑legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense.

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind…

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our ‘original mind’ includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self‑sufficient state of mind.

This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

The most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind.

You should not say, ‘I know what Zen is,’ or ‘I have attained enlightenment.’ This is shoshinmaster.jpgalso the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.

Be very, very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner’s mind. It is the secret of Zen practice.”

Shunryu Suzuki
from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

 

So I acknowledge that here I sit in my own ignorance while trying to make sense of our life existence.

These are the very things I often write about: What is reality?—What is consciousness?—What are we doing here? Why are we here? Who benefits and how do they benefit from our incarnating here during this time period or ANY time period?

All those unanswerable questions come down to the battle in our minds over the relevance between our DOING and our BEING.

Here is a basic truth as I presently know it:  I AM.  I EXIST.  I EXPERIENCE.  I OBSERVE.

And I try like the dickens NOT to judge the value of what I am observing because to do so implies a comparative knowledgebase that I do not have—at least not from my humble human perspective.

the-older-i-get-the-less-i-know-by-that-i-mean-the-less-i-am-sure-of-i-view-p-403x403-nkb3nfSo each day I open my eyes and wonder what this day will bring to me. I wonder what new realization will occur to my sensing abilities. I wonder what type of sense I can make of whatever is happening to me and around me, but knowing full well that ‘making sense’ is a judgment in itself.

However, I also know that only through shoshinbeginner’s mind—can I simply observe all and note those observances without judgment or expectation—knowing I must simply allow all occurrences (and not labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’) to flow along with the river of life into the great sea of consciousness that connects us all and patiently awaits our return.

This I also know:  Beginner’s Mind is not easily achieved nor sustained for long unless you willingly intend it.

Brigit Anna McNeill’s Prose on “Winter”

“We are approaching the threshold of winter.

Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.

And we as natural human animaljessicaboehmanearthpic.jpgs are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.

But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.

This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.

This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back & chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.

A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.

A period of reconnecting, relearning & reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.

This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism.

And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind, yes she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care is essential.

She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, & face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing & light without going into overwhelm.

Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth.”

  • illustration by Jessica Boehman
  • words Brigit Anna McNeill

Sunday Chuckles

I am a fan of NASA’s Facebook page because they post such amazing images of our solar system and beyond.  So this morning, they posted this fantastic image of Jupiter up close and personal; and it got personal to a few folks out there which made for some much needed laughter.

nasalodo987.jpg  NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 “Inkblot test!    What do you see in this image by NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter? We keep finding new shapes hidden in Jupiter’s swirling clouds. Look closer: https://go.nasa.gov/2qMt8ih

jupiteratmosphere56.jpg

To which the viewership responded in hilarious fashion:

  • Scott Dew I see our lord and savior Cthulu
    • ( according to Urban Dictionary: “A character in Lovecraft’s tale ‘The Call of Cthulhu’. Cthulhu is a monstrous entity who lies “dead but dreaming” in the city of R’lyeh, a place of non-Euclidean madness presently (and mercifully) sunken below the depths of the Pacific Ocean.Cthulhu appears in various monstrous and demonic forms in early myths of the human race.”)
  • Марио Колев Here come the religious people, even if their god is fictional….
  • Daniel Harden It’s a lady giving a Velociraptor the Heimlich.
  • Liz Gaffney Air quality in Los Angeles right about now due to fires. (So sorry California.)
  • David Jobling I’m not religious but I can see the full nativity here, which is a bit of a head trip.
  • Arun Krishnarayan A Bird of prey on the right and Gandalf with a bad cold.
    And at the bottom is a shark with a wide open mouth & woman lying face down in the middle.
  • Saranda Tessera The only true god is Zeus.  Scripture tells us so. Anyway the picture of Jupiter (Latin for Zeus) is breathtaking. What a chaotic creation.
  • Steve Parkinson Keep your sky pixie nonsense off scientific fact pages please.

At least the comments made me chuckle. 🙂

Our minds constantly associate familiar memories to objects and items that we are unfamiliar with in an attempt to identify the threat or safety of them before we proceed further in encountering them. And likewise, if you want to see something that others may not see in a burnt piece of toast, you will do so mainly because you are looking for it no matter where you look.

Unimaginatively I see an amazing image of Jupiter’s atmosphere with wild weather interactions.  (But I totally concur about the lady giving a Velociraptor the Heimlich–it’s clear as day.)

Dreaming with Our Eyes Wide Open

I’ve mentioned previously that I am a fan of Alberto Villoldo, and over the years I’ve alberto987.jpgappreciated his psychological insights into human nature and his identifying the archetypal patterns we follow in the natural world around us. I also receive his weekly newsletter from The Four Winds Society that he founded (https://thefourwinds.com); and while this partial quote was from a July 2018 email, I kept it because there was importance in properly assessing those three common personal delusions afflicting nearly all of us.

heartshamanbookalberto87.jpg“Releasing in a few short days is my newest book,  The Heart of the Shaman: Stories and Practices of the Luminous Warrior, where I discuss the three common dreams we turn into nightmares.

I share these with you because transforming them is foundational to finding your sacred dream. They are the daydreams we are so convinced are true and cannot seem to wake up from.

Yet, to dream with your eyes open, you must enact your courage to face each of these head on:

  • The dream of security
  • The dream of permanence
  • The dream of love that is unconditional

When you transform these dreams─when you accept that life is ever changing, that your mortality is a given, and that no one can liberate you from a life of fear and insecurity except yourself─the chaos in your life turns to order and beauty prevails.

When you find your sacred dream, the creative power of the universe (known by the shamans as the Primordial Light) becomes available to you to create beauty in the world, and to heal yourself and others.”   —Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.

***

How many of us once believed in those concepts of security, permanence, and relationship love that is unconditional?

As Alberto states above, “They are the daydreams we are so convinced are true and cannot seem to wake up from.”

I think time and age bursts many delusional bubbles, but the daydreamer673trick is to allow our senses to effectively clear without depressing our life spirit, which means we must learn to view life in general less romantically and more realistically.

Ideal states are those levels of human attainment that we may indeed strive toward, but facing the reason for WHY we feel the need to bolster our delusions of an idyllic existence against what actually transpires in our lives, is to confront our deepest fears head on.

When you transform these dreams (of security, permanence, and relationship love that is unconditional)─when you accept that life is ever changing, that your mortality is a given, and that no one can liberate you from a life of fear and insecurity except yourself─the chaos in your life turns to order and beauty prevails.”

I mean, who doesn’t want to feel safe? After all these natural and man-made disasters around the globe, there are so many people in the world right now that would wish for this day-dream of security above all the others.

Who doesn’t want to feel a sense of permanence in their lives—for themselves and for the people they love the most?  It is a truth we can’t deny: people we love do die. We ourselves often face life-threatening illnesses and injuries that can lead to our personal demise. With one natural disaster, life can chew us up and spit us out seemingly at whim because we are mortal beings with limited shelf-life and we don’t last forever in physical form.

Who doesn’t want to personally know and feel unconditional love in their life? Who unconditionallove623doesn’t want to be accepted and appreciated for simply being ourselves, even with all our flaws and warts?  How many relationships are built on this brand of unconditional love? I’m guessing not many because it is hard to give unconditional love to others, let alone expect to receive it from them as well.

Life is hard. Love is hard. Experientially we learn so much by living in a chaotic world, but those lessons are based on successfully surviving with our sanity and our person in tack. That means we need to be well equipped to handle the world we actually must live in rather than the ideal world we once imagined to exist around us.

That also means we must face each day with courage and determination to make it the best possible day for ourselves and for those we love because there are no assurances that it will be as such.

Yes, we can still day-dream for a better existence and actually work toward that life for ourselves and for others around us, but first we must accept the situation realistically for exactly what it presently is THEN make the decision to do our best despite the adversity that we may face in the process.

“When you transform these dreams─when you accept that life is ever changing, that your mortality is a given, and that no one can liberate you from a life of fear and lifefearend34.jpginsecurity except yourself─the chaos in your life turns to order and beauty prevails.”

Yes, it is possible to create the life you desire. Yes, it is possible to surround yourself with loving companions. But we need to do so intentionally and with directed effort to create a better world for ourselves and for each other.

We must live with courage. Live with compassion. Live with eyes wide-open to all the chaos around you, and instead choose your path forward with grace and determination to make it a better place for yourself and for all of us. That is how you “create beauty in the world and to heal yourself and others.”

Live intentionally and in full awareness of your responsibility to bettering life itself. Don’t just expect it to happen.

You have to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Then you don’t just survive your life’s ordeals—you learn how to thrive in spite of them. That’s when “the chaos in your life turns to order and beauty prevails.”

Living fearlessly in the face of adversity, is when you really learn to live.

fearlessliving 45

Evolution and Transformation

I’m still considering the previous post with theworldreligionsnames.jpg “Evolutionary Tree of Religions” showing the known beliefs of cultures from our earliest documented origins to the present, when I assess my own life for my personal belief transformations throughout the years and decades of my own existence.

As children, we don’t have much say in how we are taught to perceive the world around us and view our place in that world. Those beliefs were thrust upon us by parents or religious leaders, or we were simply immersed into them by the religious community’s power in our birth location.

age of questionsWhen we reach a more questioning age, we start to have doubts about what we’ve been told to believe because we can then pit that prescribed belief against what we see for ourselves as occurring to us and around us—what we feel as opposed to what we’re told to feel.

That’s when the “WHY’s” start to accumulate within us, and we conclude there must be more to this world and to ourselves than what we have been previously told by others. That’s also when we start searching for our own answers to the deepest questions of WHY we exist and what we are supposed to do with our lives.

jimmycarterquotereligion.jpgThe biggest WHY I’ve always felt about organized religion in general is: Why are they trying to control my thoughts and my behavior, or trying to force me to believe what makes no sense to me?

Why are they insisting on placing blame on me for something I had nothing to do with that supposedly occurred thousands of years ago, or why are they trying to shame me simply because I am a woman?

So my own spiritual evolution has been as transformational as that chart showed, except mine happened in a considerably shorter time period. And amazingly enough, I find that the earliest form of religion known as animism, is still my basic belief because I’ve personally witnessed it through my own energy work and shamanic experiences.  Spirit is a conglomeration of energy, and it can take innumerable forms.

ANIMISM:animismrock.jpg

“Animism is the worldview that non-human entities—such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects—possess a spiritual essence. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of some indigenous tribal peoples, especially prior to the development of organized religion.” (Wikipedia)

I would hardly call my evolution of beliefs primitive, but I would certainly call most organized religions as such: primitive, judgmental, biased, misogynistic, deceptive, and meant to control the masses using psychological ploys with threats of physical harm to non-compliers.

Check out the chart again for the most recent dates of those religions mentioned and see when your own religion originated. See the branch that it grew from. See the root of that branch and the tree it connects to. Everything on that chart is simply a matter of a particular interpretation per region of what is happening to us and around us.

Every different religion is a particular perspective associated with an original founder’s perception or interpretation of life and how it developed.

Then others took that original perception and tweaked it to match their own interpretations for whatever reason they felt was valid.

Maybe God spoke to them. Okay.  Maybe God speaks to anyone who will actually listen. OR….maybe they interpreted whatever they “heard” or intuited as GOD when it might have been something else laying down rules of shoulds or should-nots.

sciencereligion.jpgBut again, why were these behavioral rules even necessary if not to control the masses and justify a self-appointed leader seizing control over a group of people?

One thing you cannot do when you assess a religion’s origins is to take the personal motive out of them.

No matter the myth—no matter the story, someone said to others: “This is the world as I see it—This is the world as I was TOLD it is to be—This is how we live our lives—This is who we pay homage to and worship in specific ways—This is MY truth and it must also be YOUR truth because I said it is so—This is MY belief and it shall now be YOURs as well, because I am stronger and more powerful than you are—My followers are stronger and more powerful than your followers—We will crush you if you do not follow our beliefs because MY GOD IS GREATER THAN YOUR GOD!“  10powerfulreligions

Etc., etc., through the ages. Dominant religions were the ruling religions.

So if you take the human motives out of organized religion, there is little left to actually believe other than what one personally interprets for oneself.  I think that’s called subjective relativism.

Relativism is the idea that views are relative to differences in perception and consideration. There is no universal, objective truth according to relativism; rather each point of view has its own truth.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Or that’s simply my opinion of organized religions: They seem to operate from their own concept of cultural relativism which tends to negate the opinions of others not within their circle of influence.

 

The Body of LIGHT

albertolightbody67.jpgI can’t recall how long I have known this to be a fact—that we are light-beings—and that we are far more energy than mass.

But then, time doesn’t really matter in this consideration because time is relative, as are we to some extent—relative to the dimension that we inhabit.

When I first explored the energy practices of Usui REIKI and Karuna REIKI, I quickly realized that there was more to me than I had first assumed.  Energy flowed through me and from me. Energy enveloped me.

But I wasn’t just a conduit of extraneous energy flow—I AM energy itself and I perpetually swim in an ocean of energy.

I AM (as YOU are) a sum of electro-magnetic lightwave-frequencies that can shift higher or lower at will—MY will.  For the most part, I can consciously control my own energy frequency.

In fact I constantly HUM with that energy universefractal.jpgfrequency.  It’s a high-pitched whine that stops suddenly when “something” interrupts/invades the boundaries of my energy field.

I even have an energy signature that is specific to me alone; and my energy signature affects the overall energy matrix around me in which I vibrate.

That energy signature vibration attracts sympathetic vibrations to me to resonate in harmony with my own energy-body frequency, or it repels those energy frequencies that cannot coexist with my own energy in my immediate surroundings.

If my personally-held frequency is high enough, I can raise the matrix surroundings to match my own frequency.  I can act like that fractal repeating multiple examples of its own pattern in all directions.

But if my surroundings are so low in frequency that I cannot raise them, then they can adversely affect (lower) my personal energy frequency to make me uncomfortable in that situation or possibly steal energy from me and make me sick.

This is why it is SO important to be able to hold the highest possible personal energy-frequency—we need to be able to support our own best growth opportunities, and be able to defend ourselves from lesser frequencies that may cross our paths.

lightdarkcandle.jpgPeople often talk about terms like ‘light’ vs. ‘darkness’ like they are moral judgments.  It’s not that simple.

I’m telling you those terms are simply misnomers for higher or lower frequencies that can positively or negatively affect us and our surroundings.

Higher frequencies are those most associated with love and compassion vibes. While lower frequencies are associated with hatred and fear energies.  True, hatred and fear are powerful emotions that can lead to violent actions and reactions.

But love—altruistic, unconditional love—is a frequency that can sooth the most savage among us. It is a very high lightwave frequency—and it’s very powerful, but in a completely different way from the energies of rage and violence.

Love can be life-affirming—life-appreciating. It is soothing and feels harmonious. We feel at peace with ourselves in this vibration.

Hate/fear can be life-disrupting—life-destroying. It feels skin-crawling and uncomfortable. It is the seventh-chord searching for harmonious resolution back to base. We feel disconnected and destabilized. We feel the need to strike out or release the pent up frustration that threatens to overwhelm us.  There is NO peace in this state of being. No violent action ever feels truly satisfying and final. Violence simply perpetuates itself.

Here’s the main difference between high frequencies everything_is_energy_quote.jpgand lower frequencies: Do you want to live your life in the frequencies of love and feeling at peace, or in the frequencies of hatred and feeling constantly fearful and distrusting?

My suggestion for the best possible life is to try and surround yourself with higher-frequency, natural surroundings to hold your own frequency as high as possible for you.  Then hang with higher-frequency friends who don’t need to steal your energy because they can generate plenty high-frequency energy on their own.  You’ll experience lots of happiness and laughter with those friends.  You’ll want to be around them again.

And if you can keep your own frequencies high as well, they in turn will want to be around you again also.

Funny how that works.