Becoming Fully Human

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‘Human’ is a process – no longer an animal, no longer a god.

Our appearance in human form is a tiny part of the whole cosmic process, so if we cease to interfere with that process, the ‘means whereby,’ we will be able to move on to the next stage of our spiritual perfection!

We are beings suspended between Heaven and Earth, between ignorance and knowledge, between light and darkness.

Animals are ‘beings.’ Humans are ‘becoming.’ We are yet incomplete, a new species. Only 10% of our potential has been realized.

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We had our chance to be fully-conscious gods of limitless power early on in our evolution, but we chose the cerebral way. We allowed the intellectual mind to interfere and create its own delusional reality known as samsara (a world of suffering and loss, of beginnings and ends).

This has set us back to a position where we are 100% evolved physically, but for the majority of us, only 10% of our potential has been realized. This incongruence creates anxiety, anger and struggle which leads to destruction and discontent.

 

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The Earth and its species have evolved over a 4.5 billion year period: but human DNA is only 200,000 years old at the most. At all costs, we must not be distracted from our precious and special human consciousness because that is our natural process, our earthly way to become and our mission!

We are, so let us simply be!

Nothing more!

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Monument Valley straddling the states of Arizona and Utah in the United States of America, serenely cradles beautiful upthrusts from the Earth’s mantel which are 570 million years old! Their process continues on! No interference from the human mind. Such an inspiration to cease interfering!

Our planet and its nature are already perfect.

 

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Images courtesy of megapixyl.com, Mariko Kinoshita and Linden Thorp.

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Slither out of the dead skin of your past and future

Your past and yourfuture are like unwanted skin!  Rub them away with sharp awareness and slither into reality.  No past = no karma! 

Ego and persona with all their limitations are simply grooves etched by repetition and reaction into the mind  

so that our daily lives become like a laser that habitually falls into the groove and makes it ever deeper.

Awareness is the only virtue.  It is your true power so embody it.

Prowl with every hair into each moment of each waking interval in search of its very centre.

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Such awareness is a narrow bridge leading you out of the groove of necessity you have created into your unbounded True Nature, your absolute sincere heart.

Here and now you mirror each moment exactly as it is, and by doing so, you act and you laugh with relief.

Nothing else is needed.

                         

images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita, Linden Thorp and megapixyl.com

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Holding the Earth

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I feel so privileged to be here at Monument Valley staying in a Navajo Hotel called ‘The View.’ These ‘monuments-butte,’ free-standing rock formations, appeared about 570 million years ago. This was once the ocean floor and the mantle of the Earth uplifted in these strange forms known as ‘The Mittens’ to crack it. Later the ocean subsided west during the shifting of the tectonic plates: the resultant mud became sandstone and limestone.

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Such an ancient scenario to suddenly arrive in, but arriving creates such a connection with my Earth! I am One with it! I am sandstone and limestone: the desert paints me in rainbow colours against the gigantic Moon.

 

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This is my Earth! I am inspired to become its custodian once more, to hold it and look upon it with complete awe! Only putting aside the synthetic reality created by my limited mind will allow this to be.

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Images by Linden Thorp.

Avoid desires to be touched by the divine.

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It is our countless nagging desires that keep us separated from happiness, from the great truth. But there are 2 principal desires: the first is to avoid death; the second is to avoid living fully.

The intellectual mind conjures up such desires as a distraction from the free flow of our energy.  Our divine origins have led us to the manifestation of our unique energy in the world of form, and from that moment on we must undergo a huge battery of tests until the for we are tenants in deteriorates and vanishes like dust in the air.   The tests are mostly about attachment.

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Our energy flows.  It must do because the prime reason for the existence of energy is movement. But we have bounded that energy in a human form and we must carry the weight of thousands of years of conditioning, of the desires of our nation, our community, our family and our ancestors. Most people under such weight abdicate responsibility for their energy, and even forget it completely.

Can we sustain the weight while also keeping the flow of our energy and life force moving.  Or will we become static and passive, and start to live a lie, ignoring our most basic energic urges?

If we can detach form the forms and material temptations, and allow our selves to flow naturally, then there are no fears, no negativities.  Just a vital pulsing river of all life.  This is the glory of our human consciousness.

Energy is the only thing we possess.  It is dynamic is we allow it to be.

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images courtesy of megapixyi.com

True Nature: the Beginning

 

This new site – ‘TRUE NATURE: Our Supreme Inheritance’ – is dedicated to writing and perfecting a book with the same title. Another way of saying this is that I am adopting a currently very fashionable approach to writing and publishing which is to write a book in short episodes published live on the internet. 

I like this idea very much because I often get lonely and lose objectivity if I am working on a large project with little feedback over a long period. I love the prospect of having my followers, my audience, accompanying me and making me notice flaws or inconsistencies in what I’m writing as I go along.

I also love being challenged about my ideas and way of seeing human existence, so I’m really hoping you will feel free to post questions or comments. Please freely contact me and interact in this place of reflection.

Of course, the scheme and concepts for this book have been well-planned so it’s not as if I’m writing completely off the cuff. However, I anticipate that as I write, as usually happens, I will be moved in directions completely different to what I had planned once the narrative comes tumbling out of me.

So, getting this book out will be exactly like taking a long journey. There may be unexpected adventures or changes in route, but basically I think I know where we will end up.

I’ve finished packing and got all my travel accessories ready. Above me is the rocket ship we’re going to travel in! Hope you’re ready for a rocket-ship ride? Perhaps not what you had in mind.

I am also looking forward to talking directly to you, to wooing you with my view of the world. What is my motivation, I can hear you asking? Well, I am a writer/creator of many different things, but the crucial thing about my passion for the written word and for the beautiful language of English, is the challenge to touch my readers.

And it so happens that I am someone who has always had a fascination for the spiritual, the mystical, and belief in the basic goodness of human beings even though they often behave badly. That’s another thing I’m curious about. Why do people behave so badly sometimes and get so scared of life, and death? And after a lifetime of questing and tireless spiritual training, I think I’ve got some ideas about that.

So, basically I’m hoping that you can join me a couple of times a week for the next few months so I can reveal my insights to you in short easy-to-read episodes full of images, as well as get your feedback, good or bad! If you miss a visit, or are lacking in time to read me, I promise to make a little summary of the points I have made so you can easily catch up. I will put them in a special place so you can easily see them, and call them ‘travel notes.’

I like to use images to make my points clearer and to break up the text a little, but it is my intention not to clutter up this site with advertisements for other sites or works in process. I hope this TRUE NATURE site will be like a sacred corner in our lives – quiet and peaceful, a place where you can retreat from the gravitational force of life out in life. If I could, I would light a candle and burn some fragrant incense there, and open the window a crack so that the air flows nicely and we can feel the closeness of the universe and see my favourite tree and Moon plant in the garden.

So, I’ll get started and summarize what’s going to happen with each episode. You’ll soon get the swing of it. There are 5 episodes so far, so please come and visit me. Episode 1 asks, “What exactly is true nature?”

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Desirelessness: walking away from ‘civilization.’

I briefly lived with a tribe of Australian native people 11 hours by land cruiser south of Ayer’s Rock.  Our group went to help them to move deeper into the scorching interior of Australia in order to return to ‘traditional desert life.’  Their tribal leader, Ninija, had decided that the aging and young of her people should return to their ‘Lands,’ turning away completely form white-fella comforts and handouts.

During this adventure, my view of human life completely changed.  

The settlement we left consisted of primitive prefabricated housing and an air strip.  But not one member of the tribe lived inside the housing. Instead, they used them as a dumping ground for the heaps of material goods donated to them from white-fella do-gooders.  

White Australians have always wanted to ‘civilize’ these desert people, to make them respectable, useful to their average urban ways.

There is no such thing as a ‘gift’ to the desert dwellers and not one of the variety of items they receive is useful to their desert life: nylon dresses, leather shoes, plastic toys, kitchen equipment, tools made of metal.  They accept them and then quickly let them pass through their fingers. They are soon added to the tall heaps of detritus inside their unsuitable housing.

The day we left the settlement in our land cruisers loaded with prefabricated shade shelters to erect as the tribe walked in temperatures that most humans could never survive, Ninija and her people walked naked and barefoot.They carryied nothing except their few custom-made possessions to negotiate the harsh Lands and climate: 

Dilly bags woven from Mangrove string for their totemic badges; Wood and Grass carrying bowls (coolamon) sported on their heads, shoulders or against their bellies; custom-made digging sticks slung across their backs from ornate Kangaroo straps; beautifully crafted boomerangs for hunting; and perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing the precious bones of their deceased.

As they slowly walked, the sheen of their black skins caught the strong sunlight and their blond and red topknots of wild hair blended in with the iron-rich ochre of the desert floor. They were joined occasionally by competing kangaroos on one side, and a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, on the other.

They were walking away from ‘civilization,’ – known to them as ‘The Lands of Frowns and Fears,’ away from ‘safety.’ They had neither compass nor water flask.  Walkign away from health care and education; away from the culture of ‘the thinking‘ stuffed with words and ideas.  

Our ‘modern’ mobilized team followed them at some distance, kitted out in snake boots, fly-nets, clinging to our ‘possessions’ stashed away in brightly coloured waterproof rucksacks and pouches. We were highly protected by metal and glass, and cooled by powerful air-conditioning.

I have learned from these genuine custodians of the earth, that a desireless state is a truly pure and happy state.  It is ‘now’ and ‘here.’  Whereas, the future is a mirage and the past is dead. 

I have learned that time itself does not move because it is only a crude device, another delusion; instead, the only movement is of our minds

When our desires are frustrated, all of our negative emotions are generated because we cannot get our way.  In complete contrast, not having any single desire is contentment, no craving, no worries or attachments. Naked and without possessions, we can blend into the many natural realities of the universe

All desires are a mirage or like the horizon: we can never reach them because they are imaginary, a hallucination, delusional. And yet, we persist in running after such pots of gold from the desire to possess them, to drag them like magpies into our nests.

A state without desires is purity itself. If we allow them to ebb away then we do not need to reach out to gods and deities for benefits or protections

If we clear the bridge of the mind of such clutter, then we can walk straight out in the vast field of consciousness and awareness. There we can embody the divine, our original state.

Without worldly desires and clutter, we naturally embody the divine. This is our true human mission. 

Images courtesy of megapixl, etc: all licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

The story of Ninija and my adventures has been written as a novel called ‘Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day.’ If you want to read more about desirelessness, please visit: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UUSPLYM or watch the video trailer at: https://youtu.be/xCZ3FMGc0bs

Two Angels

 

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Dawn is an eminently suitable time for angels to leave the down of quilt and pillow, to slip away from the smooth cotton snug, to move further than just turning over.  A loving observer said that your dark red eyelids showed thousands of glow-worm lights as they flickered.  Your luminous clavicle bones trembled, widening, and your swan neck grew long.

The pale sheet bandaged around your breasts slipped allowing dark, mystic nipples oratory and your spine became a shifting spire making scarecrows beneath the sheet.  Several kisses were captive on your argent forehead, but your eyelids could not be caught.

Your keeper told you that you had had a fit, convulsion, apoplexy, petit mal, grande mal.  Gave you the precise time and duration, the clinical description, of your episode.  Stopwatch.  Jotting down notes.  A part-time biologist. You told me, toying with a description like un-relished oysters or snails, and I knew.

“I move in and out of consciousness.  It is timeless.  I am ashamed.”

As a dark-haired angel child you were never alone for the legion Sistine blue butterflies which lived in the orbs of your huge blue eyes may carry you off somewhere at any moment.  Your father held on hard to you when you blinked and walked with you into sleep until the butterfly wings were paired and still beneath the surface of your eye-lid lakes of heliotrope. Then, pale with watching, he would imagine your sleep, never knowing that your head was filled with moon-crazed creatures.

When you heard him pad away with worried steps, you would get up to let them out of the skylight in the hallway, listening for the moon.  As they dotted up into the stars, you compared the constellation in your head with that beyond the glass.

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Your life was filled with trees which you collected behind your eyes.  Eventually you had enough to plant out the pattern of stars in your head.  This tree chart which you often looked at was designed to be a forest of sound.  The breeze would rustle through many different species of leaves, and the wind would resound around the carefully positioned trunks, the excited air silvering through uncountable spruce needles, cymbaling birch leaves, tinkling the berries of rowan and holly. 

You would stare up from the ground looking through thin clouds and tree vapour, your eyes dangling azure fruit on very long stems, or sometimes a pair of errant bluebells in late summer.

Later, you would plant out your own tree garden to make a map of the world.  Moscow. Budapest. Delhi, all with the appropriate tree.  You were not daring enough to use the constellations of your childhood, but there is still time for that.

The huge shiny Bechstein piano took charge of most of your young years.  It was very difficult to get you away from its big body; your dextrous fingers constantly summoning sounds from the slim, smooth keys.  They were your white friends who carried around younger black siblings which you tolerated.

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Your intent eyes stained the manuscript with their blueness because you read on and on, hour after hour. And when your eyes began to flicker, your fingers learned to stay still while your mind extemporized blissful forays into your sound garden.  Then your fingers would go on as if nothing had happened.

Sometimes you would sit under the piano and flicker the pink and blue, and your mind would fly up into the dark vault of strings.  You would lie with your disheveled head on the sustaining pedal so that the inter-stellar hum would go on forever, or until some meddler came and insisted that you climb up on the huge leather stool with its buttoned hills and valleys to play something soothing. 

As soon as you were alone again you would climb down and yelp up into the strings, hungry for harmonics, marveling at the coarse copper of the bass notes, the triplets of wire for the treble.

You.  A listening creature.  A honeycomb of receptive cavities.  A gentle twinkle of star.  Breathing. Flickering the minute muscle screws of the membrane in your ear, tightening or loosening the skins as you pleased. Later, they wanted you to read and write about sound.  Paragraphs.  Letters.  Ruled pages.  Wanted you to turn sounds into history, morality, even to make politics out of it. 

You left the university in haste, going alone, unsafe, to flicker in the bottom of the domes of Florence.  Frescos were your cushions and clouds into which you bedded.  Your eyes always played the part of angels, sexless, weightless, circling close around the Madonnas, your fingers deftly activating spheres of coloured sound.

You left your first love behind.  A Rasputin who draped his gigantic beard across your white belly and shared his opium pipe with you.  He had travelled a little way into your world by this means but he hadn’t learned listening and how talk was only the voice playing with shadows.

You have learned to flicker at your will now, standing in the well of the Duomo, flying up into your dreams, or diving into memories if you desired. But always preferring the dark softness of Now, your senses working at full pelt.

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Then one day you thought that the coloured patterns and pitch of your messages were received. 

Far across the great dark dome in which you had been always alone, aware only of your trees and of walking again and again through huge mirrors, suddenly you saw other flickering, glistening eyes.  They were blue but darker.  Beneath the eyes, long dark fingers were operating vessels of sound, only some of which you recognized.  Above, a head was slightly bowed, intent, listening unmistaken and beautifully.

There were wisps and sibilances of a struggle for breath as the two beings realized they were no longer alone.  Their throats became blocked, crammed with sapphire spangles of tears of joy.  Only a thin trickle of air passed through which prompted strange intermittent sounds.  Breath-speech.

There were many diversions through mirrors before the two beings approached each other.  In time they held each other’s faces in long lit fingers.  Their neat hair became disheveled, blurred, and their commingled sounds were sustained into eternity.  They spluttered out colours from the octaves of their spines through the tiny trap-doors in their porcelain throats.

Dawn was an eminently suitable time for the commingling of two angels.

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images courtesy of Megapixyl.com and Mariko Kinoshita

Making Images: the greatest test for human beings

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Humans are actually taught to make images to symbolize or represent almost everything – for remembering, for recognizing, to navigate, and so on – and we excel at it. This aptitude to bring to bear rich imaginations and wide vision in our daily lives is one of the things that differentiates us from animals and plants.

But actually, this often becomes an abstract route to creating our exclusive way of seeing the world. It literally forces us to identify, to stamp ‘me’ and ‘mine’ on that mind moment, and if we are not mindful we may become attached to such images, mistaking them for reality.  

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This temptation to ‘identify’ with the images we constantly create is our major test as humans – our conditioning and DNA (countless ancestors who have lived distant to the sacred) lead us to etch a clear line between reality and the imaginary, to make a distinction between the visible and the invisible. Also, we unknowingly consign ourselves to experiencing life always from the sidelines, via concepts and archives.

But many of us have never even heard of this test which means that we have fully and unconsciously turned our backs on our divine mission. Instead, we favour and over-cherish a synthetic ‘self’ invented by the dictatorial intellectual mind. This is pure ego and arrogance: some would say it is the dark side of human beings, our personal ‘Satan,’ our samsara, It is as if we are constantly resisting the gravitational field of love and goodness. These resistant consumers surround us in modern life: those who live lives of surrender and desireless-ness are rare.

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Science informs us that human beings have evolved physically as much as they can; in other words, that we are at our peak as a species, but evidently our spiritual evolution is badly retarded. As a result, most of us are not truly happy and neither is the world at large. We are restless, insatiable, destructive and primitive, unable to create harmony in our social groups for the most part and constantly craving artificial stimulation.

In our short-sightedness in life most of us convincingly conceal our terror of death and disappearance. But this endemic fear has caused us to lose the use of so many subtle tools available to the higher mind: the mind of ‘grace’ (Christian) or emptiness (Buddhist) or moksha (Hindu). Instead, we invest all our energy in the visible, the intellectual and in acquiring. We give over our precious human existence to shopping, possessing and questing for attention, and so we have become major stakeholders in the worlds of materialism and sensual satisfaction.

Given our huge stake, it is logical that we sit back in our high comfortable chairs, flicking switches and frittering away our time viewing visual collections. Logic? – Another resistance to what is natural.

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We may even make images to represent our own minds: for example, the iceberg with its small tip showing above the water surface and its mass below, symbolizing the conscious mind and the unconscious mind respectively: the onion with its tender centre and its layer upon layer of ever-hardening skins is another. Although this may be useful to try to appreciate or recognize the difference between these two contrasted aspects of our mind, it does in fact separate them from one another in an Aristotelian way.

By attaching ourselves to such images, we are unwittingly identifying with them and so coaxing our contrived ‘self’ to acquire and possess compulsively.  In actuality, there is no self to identify with anything material because we are beings of energy made flesh for the express purpose of evolving spiritually.

It is preferable then to avoid making or encouraging these images even though they may seem to ease understanding. Ironically, understanding in its original sense is connected to listening not looking.  Perhaps, rather than finite blocks of black and white as captured on screens and pages and in bold framed linear scenarios, there is only a boundless greyness which floats and fleets in whatever shape is needed to embody the essence of love. There is only an unconditional listening, a subtle flickering of our essence of light.

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If we give up trying to pin down our feelings, cementing them into our foreground, crying out for witnesses to come forward and acknowledge us, asserting our view to others, we might realize that the field of awareness is infinite and has no boundaries, no images.  Then we can quietly coalesce in the field needing no images or intermediaries at all.

By closing the busy outer eyes so addicted to colour, shape and orientation we can close the image albums and lock the archives, walking away to our real home beyond all concepts created by the human mind. Then we will be able to clearly hear the sound of reality moving and merging, the concrete sound of infinity and eternity, of goodness and the divine.

True understanding consists of universal unconditional listening during which nothing is pinned down, nothing is owned and everything becomes one. We embody love with our true nature enabled only by the privilege of breathing air granted from the universe. Everything else is simply arranged only to stimulate the intellectual mind.

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‘We shall know each other by our deeds and being,

and by our eyes and no other outward sign save

the fraternal embrace.’

The above is a verse from the Cathar Creed (1244), The Church of Love. The spirit of life is played out whilst silently respecting everything on the material plane though not identifying with it; accepting everything but quietly supporting those who need support. It is clear from our history that identifying and possessing destroy and engender greed and ignorance. Using images is, in a way, an attempt to possess aspects of the visible, to keep them for reference as a source of knowledge.

The medieval mystic Cathars possessed nothing material, not even Bibles which showy Christians had become slaves to. Indeed, all the great spiritual adepts have dispensed with material supports. Instead, they did what was natural and wholeheartedly embodied their spirit of compassion and humility.

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I have deliberately positioned myself in my life in a different culture (Japan) in which I cannot easily read or write or even understand the society around me.  This is the most precious opportunity to stop making images and concepts.  I notice that I am not using my mind in the same way as I did living in my native culture because it is often impossible to make interpretations of my environment here.

As I wander down crowded streets decked out with loud kanji, katakana and hiragana neon signs so characteristic of Japanese cities, whisked aside by bicycles mounted on the pavement and bustling people pushing through crowds, I can often only listen deeply and breathe. It is no use bringing out my image albums and brandishing metaphors and idioms because they are meaningless in a culture which reads the air instead of dissecting and deeply analyzing ideas.

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It is often impossible to imagine what is going on in other minds around me because there is no pattern I can predict, no pictograph I can possibly imagine, no inherited template. I can only embody my love and float around sealing away the intellect and allowing visions to temporarily occupy me, while relying on my ancient senses to help me to navigate.

There is only the field of awareness. I am the terraced shaking paddy, standing in sluiced rice rows, paddled by ducks and frogs, activated by tremors from the inflamed warts of the Earth’s crust below me, burned and bundled and finding its way inevitably into famished stomachs.

Here, I have dramatically learned how not to be separate from anyone or anything here in a Land created from the hair and kimono of the million gods. To interfere with this seamlessness for even a second to create an image, to snap a shot, would make me gasp for air!

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Images: courtesy of megapyxl.com
  1. Bird and web  – Alisen.com
  2. Sensing Energy between palms –  Nikkizalewski.com
  3. Man hunting. bushman’s prehistoric cave art –  Wilad.com
  4. Three geisha –  Razvanjp.com
  5. Cosmic Transformation –  thefinalmiracle.com
  6. Iceberg – Luislouro.com
  7. South and North pole and all things related – Stuidoclover.com
  8. SoundHealer’s web banner – Nikkizalewski.com

Song: the perfect antidote to the banal

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‘There is a room around this song.’

Shocked, she wondered who thought of that? She asked who put this room in this library of other rooms to hold all the songs? It is called a ‘college of music,’ but an original college was a partnership, like the word ‘colleague’ today, not a huge institution with a whole unique ethos, surging forward, attracting fame and sponsorship, competing with other such urban necessities. Walls within walls, never still.

First everything is encased, captured. Then we must build a wall around it to hold it still, to make it stay so we can perpetuate it. Even the strings of this magical instrument ‘the piano’ that I am permitted to caress only the black and white teeth of are secreted away beneath designed wood, constructed, boxed. Must I play with these limits? Must I be held back? But wait! Questions are also constructed, their answers filed away in drawers.

Then suddenly amidst all this obsessive division, we will begin the song.

I have seen your face once or twice appearing and disappearing through doors and mirrors, your wine red lips, the hushed eyes of others with voice, the mutterings of your reputation, your talent. The light of you switches off and on again as you perambulate through the banal between songs, eating and drinking of necessity, speaking if spoken to, but saying as little as possible. You have always known that speaking the mundane is the poison, and you have found the perfect antidote in song.

You appear in this room indicating with your paper mantras – your score, as a talking point to get started, holding on to it scarcely with singing fingers. My mantras stand upright on the music desk only touched at the edges, but yours are cradled against the opaque skin of your forearms. Both are heavily marked, pencil, scratches, another kind of mantra made with numbers and symbols in Italian.

Before we start, oh how I long to get started, must there be this kind of foreplay? We both know that the poison is slowly killing us. Should we prolong the suffering for the sake of others? Should we stay to be like those who have not taken the antidote? Comfort in numbers, not to stand out for fear of being condemned as arrogant, or different?

The poison of containment behind walls and below roof tugs hopelessly at the fixed anchor of time. The tyranny of the visible, the prolongation of object permanence well into adulthood. Close the door, the drawer, the coffin lid, and now it’s gone. And the demented denial of the invisible, the inaudible, the untouchable, all the time the clammy jacket of space squeezing us tightly, holding us still until we are certain we really exist.

They do not realize that the poison of our ignorance and blindness hold us back, confine us, suffocating because we monopolize oxygen and are terrified that it will run out.

But once the learned conventions have been delivered, we can concentrate on the mirrors, polishing them up, breathing on them, rubbing, and they soon start to reflect. No decision to make about which of these miraculous antidotes to apply because they all work. The pages of scores are vague references, tacit, of no more concern so tossed aside.

We begin. We breathe as one in gratitude for the loan of just this one breath, and then the next, one at a time: gratitude and breath are key conditions that will make the antidote work.

I will start the song with breath-placed bent fingers perched on the cool ivory. Their tips are singing and they are calmed by air which convinces them that their nails should not tear away the wooden confines boxing in the gorgeous strings.

Seated beneath you, I am thrilled to be the soft underbelly of our union. My legs and feet drive the pedals, operate the dampers, quickly ‘on’ and ‘off,’ to promote the resonance or stop it summarily. I must be master of the used air in this song’s room because breath is required between strings and dampers, one for each key, an airiness which keeps the vibrations regular, oxygenation of the felt pads. Breath is also necessary for the highest treble strings, fine, taught, connected to the heavens; and the lowest bass, thick, loose, connected to earth which I never need to dampen with my foot pressure.

The convention of vocal song says that the accompanying instrument will start to set the mood. But I fail to notice the start because the antidote is already working. I am no longer conscious. ‘I’ has disappeared, leaving behind only poised fingers and forearms to weight them down. Fingertips and joints ripple and pivot, merging with you even before you let out a sound. There can be no human insubordination now.

The ethereal kiss is a delusion in the showcase of romance. The poison of possession, of fixing each appointed victim completely still with lips and arms, of pressing body weight, of the burn of skin friction and static. Crude, abstract, a stab in the dark, mirrors filthied by the poison and no antidote in sight.

Separate humans jammed together, confined, last-ditch, crammed in drawers and behind doors.

Conversely, this airy kiss of fingertips on strings is the perfect reflection of yours on lips like wild geese. Air and sound are only an apparition in the visible.

Transcending All Separations in Sound

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 The energy of sound and its perception is an ancient force which has mostly been overwhelmed and replaced by visual energy in modern times. Today, people cannot often surrender themselves entirely to listening, to soaking up pure sound for its own sake, without meaning or pictures or associations, or to listening to each other wholeheartedly without judging.

It is intellectually accepted that the energy of sound is composed of vibrations, but how many people regard sound in this way? Opening oneself so that the vibrational patterns of incoming sound can merge with one’s personal vibrational receptors and then allowing the physiology to react without blocking, is rare. This ‘allowing’ oneself to be touched and moved by vibrational patterns is an important dimension of healing, or apprehending the invisible world, of being fully alive. 

In this way, we can maintain contact with the universe and the magical forces of Nature. Receiving sound and merging with it is our true energetic nature. It balances, it moves with our energies, never remaining still. This is the expression of pure life. Buddhists call it the Dharma, Chinese chi, Christians spirit, the ancients, Harmonices Mundi – the Music of the Spheres. We can see this balance and dynamics in the design of this magnificent temple Byodo-in below.

The ancients, our ancestors, were closely in touch with sound. They knew that if they could produce it in certain skillful ways, they would be able to balance not only the immediate environment and the sensing beings in it, but also contribute to the massive banks of sound of indestructible energy stored in the universe. 

Today, sound tends to be a fashion statement, mass-produced, elitist, wallpaper, an accompaniment to images, an escape from reality and natural life. Urban environments are populated by people pursuing status and wealth who spend their leisure time plugged into devices which receive sound, but are they truly listening and not just using ‘their’ sound to shield them from reality and assert their individuality and separateness? Some might say that plugging in and becoming impervious to others or the natural universe is a violent act of arrogance or deliberate isolation from others, a refusal to be aware.

Sound has nowadays become a commodity listed in a ‘purchases’ category, or downloaded to ‘my playlist,’ or even stolen from its producer without rightful payment. We are the consumer, pinning down what we have paid for, appropriating it and turning it into our knowledge and materials to build our profile with. This is a travesty of sound. It is not a commodity.

Ancient Chinese philosophy and medical systems viewed all life in terms of Yin and Yang, the opposites of energy or matter, which are never static but in a constantly changing relationship of balance. The four seasons are a notable example of this. Others are darkness and light, sun and moon, feminine and masculine. The five elements of the universe, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, are essential to balance also. Fully cognizant of this, ancient people strived to make musical instruments, which would fulfill this need.

In Korea, the zither was created according to these principles. There were two types: one which is known as the female and the other the male. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese text used for divination, refers to them as instruments reflecting the ‘resilience of woman’ and ‘the braveness of man.’ Modern discontented people may object to this seeming gender discrimination or segregation, but it is a fact that the universe operates on such contrasts. 

It is only in the mundane visible world that we make such differences, such separations. In the ‘invisible’ world of sound and spirit, there is no real separation into genders, no attachment to differences: so, we can and must transcend such separations. 

The female Gayageum has silk strings plucked and struck with the bare hands to give a range of sensitive sounds. The male Geomungo also has silk strings, thicker to produce a lower tone, 16 frets, and is struck with a bamboo stick to produce a percussive sound. Two different qualities can harmonize together to create a whole. 

The shapes of both instruments are strongly influenced by Yin and Yang. Both the Gayageum and Geomungo have a prominent rounded front representing the vault of the heavens, while the back is flat, representing the Earth; the front is constructed from softwood of the Paulownia tree, while the back is made from hardwood of the chestnut tree. The hollow interior of the Gayageum represents the 6 directions, 4 cardinal compass points and up and down, and its 12 strings the calendar. Flat versus rounded, soft versus hard, plucked versus strummed: all of these are aspects of Yin and Yang, and all necessary for balance.

The Geomungo has only 6 strings each with a name: the two outer strings are bungen, the civilian, and bugen, the soldier, characters or types which appear in the I Ching. If their conflicts can be harmonized, then the glories of music have triumphed over the lower minds of humans. The Geomungo gradually was withdrawn from use as a concert instrument to entertain an audience to be employed solely as an aid to spiritual elevation.

Sound is sacred. If we live our daily lives with this awareness, it will help us to live naturally, without friction in our interactions with others, or in our general performance in the visible world. 

Kind words, sincerity and unconditional love need to be the main constituent of our vocal utterances in everyday transactions. This combined with the gift of truly listening to each other, to genuinely receiving the sound utterances of others, will once again create balance in the wider perspective.

Images: Courtesy of Megapyxl –

Byodo-in Temple in Kyoto, Japan – <b>© <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/sepavo-stock-images-videos-portfolio”>Sepavo</a&gt; | <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/&#8221; title=”Premium Stock Photos”>Megapixl.com</a></b>

Beautiful Peacock Roof Design – <b>© <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/lucyinsisu-stock-images-videos-portfolio”>Lucyinsisu</a&gt; | <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/&#8221; title=”Premium Stock Photos”>Megapixl.com</a></b> of megapxyl.com and Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, Japan.

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Zithers and player copyright: Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, Japan.