Divine Thread: our human legacy (Navajo Wisdom 1)

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The Navajo nation believes to this day that they are the direct descendants of the Holy People or Creation Gods. Their whole reason for existence is to carry their legacy forwards with each generation endowed with the physical and emotional attributes of human beings. Their way of life known as the Blessing Way, or Beauty Way, represents the female energy of creation – harmonious, peaceful, happy, undemanding.

In Navajo wisdom, there is no division between sacred and secular unlike in western traditions. Life itself is sacred, only sacred, therefore knowledge, the process of learning, is also sacred.

Holism is their way of life, a constant expression of interconnectedness and beauty. They astutely survey the misplacement of even one small element of life because it is bound to effect all other parts and so the harmony will be broken.

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I recently visited Monument Valley, Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgali (Valley of the Rocks) deep in the Navajo Lands straddling Arizona and Utah, and there I directly witnessed such harmony and beauty.
The hotel we chose was called ‘The View’ exactly because it is an astounding viewpoint out on to such Holy Rocks. This is considered to be the heart of the Earth according to Navajo Creation myths – the Monument Valley Tribal Park, 92,000 acres of majestic buttes, spires and rocks. Unlike other Navajo reservations, this valley is still inhabited by Navajo – 30-100 people depending on the season who live in hand-built houses without running water or electricity, tending their livestock and creating artifacts.

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‘The View’ hotel, the first in Navajo Lands, opened in 2008, followed by a renovated visitors centre in 2009. When driving at 5 mph down the unpaved valley road which weaves in between the sandstone ‘monuments,’ we could get a view of it embraced by the sandstone contours, built in a way which completely respects the majesty of the sacred.

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On arriving, after paying a modest entrance fee to enter the national park, we drove up to the rear windowless side of the hotel to enter the plain lobby. The experience was almost like walking into one of the rocks itself. The lobby is centred around a massive indoor chimney with a log fire burning in it, the walls adorned with Navajo artifacts, but it was the meeting with the beautiful female receptionists that moved me most.

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They exhibited the ‘Blessing Way’ perfectly. No masks. No posturing or acting. Their voices were low and respectful, their eyes used carefully, the information we required expressed succinctly. I immediately thought of hospitality training in western traditions, and how the customer is treated as a god and entitled to amass charm points during their stay! But these young women had the courage to show their true strong nature to all visitors equally. There was no effervescent welcome because we were expected by the spirits.

It was as if we were in the presence of the Navajo Creation Beings, moving in an eternal dance with them.

Their creation story states that once the Earth was made and after things had been placed on it, the First Man and First Woman pulled a single feather out of a Bald Eagle and blew on it while vowing that from that moment on nothing would be still in the universe, ‘not even water, not even the rock.’ (see ref: 1983:16)

We ancient spirits in human form, which is what all human beings are, can directly influence such movement. I had a sense that even the 58,000 year-old rocks were flowing amongst the warm breath of the Navajo guardians, and this sense of movement is still with me several weeks after my recent visit to Monument Valley.

 

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This experience illuminated the importance of venerating our beloved ancestors who laid the foundation of our lives. I have no single doubt that we are descended from the gods and have been entrusted to carry forward their sacred legacy. We can all choose to live as Holy Beings in this very life.

These stunning buttes below are called ‘The Mittens.’ They are the covered hands of the Earth beings pushing up from the Earth’s mantel in what was once a great ocean high in the mountains of Arizona.

Our Earth is a living moving monument to our divine origins.

 

 

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Images courtesy of Linden Thorp (4-9 February, 2017) and megapixyl.com

Reference: Pinxten, Rik and Ingrid Van Dooren, Frank Harvey Anthropology of Space. Philadelphia University Press. 1982

Divine Thread: from the gallery

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Most of us live in a world in which the past dominates us. It seems to have such a strong influence, magnetizing us to always look into another time and making comparisons with the present. It is as if we sit in a high gallery strapped into a chair, our necks braced into position forcing us to look down on a dream which we are taught makes our reality. However, this is true conditioning, a kind of indoctrination.

The past is not in any way dynamic because it is produced by the mind as something which we amount to, something we can either regret or revel in. But above all, it is something we know, especially our personal past. We are separate from it but we can look at it whenever we like – the subject and the object.

 

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In fact, this manmade concept of ‘time’ has been created exactly because of our doubts and fears of the unknown. Time is a synthetic reality in which we can create many desires and then go about realizing them. But such activity is only a distraction from the reality of the unknown. To find true liberation we must embrace what is unknown courageously.

Desires are eternally repetitious in the dream of the past and projected into the dream of the future. The pattern is always the same, circular, a circle which keeps us captive. And the mind just goes on creating this pattern and ingraining it so we can live blindfolded, effortlessly. So that we feel safe because we think we know!

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After thousands of repetitions, particular experiences become more and more weighty, artificially significant. Then, ‘reality’ seems so convincingly real that we relegate everything else to the realm of dreams.

However, if we are living on auto-pilot, repeating everything, again and again, we are not in any way aware. Dynamism only comes into play when our full awareness is activated. Most of us prefer to be deeply asleep with auto-pilot engaged to the inconvenience of awareness. Why not allow the mind to work automatically, taking over every moment of our existence so that we can sleep.

If we sleep, we will never know Oneness with the Universe. We will never know the vast field of consciousness and the joy of each moment of the unknown. Wee will never embody the creature we are, stepping into every moment for the very first time.

We will never ‘know’ that we are composed of pure energy and that the only thing that energy does is to move eternally, flowing on in the wide river of all life.

 

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One day, someone told me that they owed me an apology. I was surprised saying that I was unaware of any mistake or offence they had created. They tried to apologize again. My response was that I would tell the person they offended when I met them and that it was not me because I am in no way the same even from moment to moment, let alone from day to day.

 

 

Images courtesy of Megapixl.com: see licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

To read more about ‘going beyond all dualities,’ our Divine Thread, and Oneness, please visit my web site at http://www.divinethread.wordpress.com

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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

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.

Sound Healer’s web banner – <b>© <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/nikkizalewski-stock-images-videos-portfolio”>Nikkizalewski</a&gt; | <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/&#8221; title=”Premium Stock Photos”>Megapixl.com</a></b>

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

The Human Papers: an extract

 

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Monk of the World

“They have always told me that the first time is the worst, so I should cultivate fear before I jump or enter the freezing torrent inch by inch.  That makes me smile.  They also firmly assure me that to talk to myself indicates madness! Ha!

I was told take this orange and eat it ‘only when you are alone,’ but I protested, saying, ‘I am never alone because I am part of the universe.  I am not separate or different.’

I tried to explain that the shiny peel of the fruit I turned slowly in my hand as I spoke was my skin, its microscopic pores allowing the inside of the fruit out and the outside in.  I said, ‘this fruit can breathe just like me. This concentration of the pungent and dazzling essence of “orange” was made visible exactly to make our human lives possible.  Its heart of sparkle and freshness is my heart too.’

But the subject was quickly changed to something banal and I was condemned as a mad eccentric!  

‘Alone’ is a human excuse, a weakness, an inability to accept that one is not an island. Thinking that we are ‘alone,’ ‘solitary,’ ‘unique’ is the sheer fantasy of a deluded arrogant mind. Indeed, thought itself is a dead thing which disconnects us from the universe. 

At this moment my critics seeing me standing waist-deep in this deluge would ask indignantly, ‘How can you stand the racket of the water in torrents, let alone stand under them. You seem to welcome the pelting of its icy dollops on your head?’

They are afraid because they have made themselves separate, aloof from nature’s tears of joy. I raise my open hands eagerly towards the cascade to connect with other universal evidence which is identical to me.  Ah!  There I go!  There is no ‘me.’” 

The monk of the world splashes the surface aggressively, sometimes momentarily angry that he has become flesh with all its conditions, its catapults and trip wires. But it is only a lightning flash of what completely consumes and disables most humans.  At these minute incidences of human anger, he knows overwhelmingly that overcoming this is his mission, his very mission.  He must not get tricked, must not fall into the trance that most flesh-dwellers fall into with alacrity, but that also he must never deny his blessed flesh.  It is always a source of sunshine and joy to him with its ever-changing texture, it’s hot and cold spots, its expanding and contracting, dilating and retracting, its inner winds and tides. Planetary. Wandering. This shocks other celibate clerics whose flesh is extinct.

The moment in his childhood when he sat on the deserted beach of his homeland and the sea and sky became one, floats peacefully by before his eyes in the watery chaos.  He knew then that the horizon was just a device of the mind and that the blue and the green were not separate, not water and air distinct from each other.  Their blue and green actually flowed in his own eyes and arteries. And he felt sad for all the people around him who misunderstood their existence and in so doing created a perpetual drama, swinging helplessly between heaven and hell, manufacturing fear and pride from their factories.  Without these fabrications, life was timeless, limitless, positive and exuberant.  

‘The water fall is stingingly silent now and yet deafening at the same time. But I am no longer the listener.  What the trapped would perceive, do perceive, as slapping icy pain, assault, arctic torture, is in truth the universe dancing on my skull and shoulders.  It in itself will never break me, but the thought of it, the fear and anticipation of it might, I realize.

The taste of blood comes from the searing cold pellets scratching and chafing my skin, but how do I know it is blood, or that it is my blood.  No, I cannot know that. It is not my mission to identify with this form I am lodging in to complete my mission, to rise to my next evolution. The manifestation of my vibrations only exists for others, their eyes and ears recurring the birth and death of my flesh.

Audience

The two trapped peers watch from above.  They must always observe this exotic creature asking how he came to exist, jealous of his determination and worst of all of his power. Everything he has touched has benefited and all he has encountered have loved and attended to him. They shout loudly to each other above the din below.

‘How many thousands of years has he been here? And why does he make us feel so insecure?’

‘Perhaps he’s a gongen or god of the mountain forests? He never seems to eat or sleep, only to go in search of beautiful women to woo and flirt with, and to conquer. A shaven-headed being has never been seen in these parts before.’

‘Con, have you ever cut your hair since you became a man?’

‘No, never. Because I know it’s the source of my manhood. That I will get many children with this strength that I cultivate each day with rare herbs and wild garlic oil.’ He caresses it as he speaks sliding his fingers along its length hanging down his back.

‘Why doesn’t he realize that do you think? He just shaves his off with his sword the moment it starts to sprout while staring into a still pool. Or does he know a secret we don’t? Do you think we have been tricked, Doi?’

They both simultaneously lift off their conical straw hats, pulling down the chin strap and letting them float in the steaming bubbling pool they sit dangling their feet into to warm them. Meanwhile, still keeping a watchful eye on their bald charge, they adjust their top knots, gathering the fallen hairs and tightening the leather tie.  Their special lacquered combs are always kept at hand to scrape back fine hairs that fly away when it is so freezing. Hair, after all, is their future happiness.  They must look after it well. 

After checking their top knots and replacing their warmed bamboo hats which bring a smile to their icy cheeks, they simultaneously undo the ties of their top robes, their several under robes, and finally unwrap the silk binding shielding their withered penises from the cold. They are also their future happiness and the source of their descendants so they must tend them carefully.  And at this point, they turn away from each other for privacy and to do what they must individually. 

They each have different beliefs about their body fluids: Con that he should never let sperm escape from his body in order to preserve his essence for forthcoming generations; and Doi that he should let out his sperm every day so that the amount he produces will increase like a bottomless well. So, there they sit, back to back, peeking down into the deep watery valley below, one breathing deeply to make his penis wither even more and to enhance his supply of sperm deep inside him, thanking the ancestors for the cold weather which makes it so much easier, but secretly dreading the hot summer; and Con, caressing and pulling to make himself larger and larger, battling against the freezing cold which touches his pinkening scrotum, occasionally stopping to warm his hands in the steaming water, then continuing on, willing the moment of ejaculation to come. 

Neither of them has a thought or erotic image in their heads, no flashing picture show of slow unveiling or forbidden scenes because humans have not fallen from godhood so nothing has been hidden or become unknown. The evil and distraction of the secular have still not developed so their minds are truly pure and if an impure sensation is detected, they tell each other immediately and help each other to realize that they must not interfere, must not try to go upriver even if unconsciously. It is simply their duty to tend their hair and their manhood because they are told that this is their mission in life, to preserve the generations of their line making them strong and wise. 

Unlike the smiling apparition below in white blood-stained robes standing directly beneath the waterfall waist-deep in the shallow pool, they have been instructed what to do and how to do it to preserve their generations, to hand down the wisdom, to be a respected member of their community. They are all practical, loyal and devoted, while he is ethereal, unidentified with anything or any idea, flowing downwards with the torrent and going where he must.

For both Con and Doi, pleasure and duty are indiscernible. Their clear mission is to follow the wise. They must not be different or stand out in any way.  Con is calm, reduced, his inner storehouse full and potent, his heart somehow warmed and reassured by the concentration of energy down into his feet: he is relieved in one way.  Doi is also calm now, breathing quite quickly and feeling the warmth of his sexual energy rising and then falling. His tide comes well in, crashes hard on the beach with a slapping noise audible to Con despite the waterfall din, and then ebbs away and he sighs and shudders.  He is relieved in another way.  They turn to each other now and check and admire the wilt of their respective vegetables, Doi wiping and commenting on the thickness and quantity of his produce.

‘There! Duty done. And all the warmer for it too!’

They wrap themselves away, binding their testicles separately to their scrotums in a matter of fact way, lifting a leg or a buttock to make sure the silk is straight and does not later irritate or chafe them as they climb and descend the forest slopes in pursuit of the ice-bather. Then they pull down their various layers, straighten their dresses and check themselves once more, settling down to observe in silence, turning their satisfied gaze to the waterfall. But in simultaneous tension, they guffaw that the creature has gone.  Vanished!  Not a trace!

They cautiously inch down the steep path to look for traces of him.  The ice is thick in places but they lower themselves down with bendable bamboo holding onto each other.  Once standing at the edge of the pool shivering, holding their ears, they comb the surface for a trace of his blood, a shred of his white robe, a scatter of stones as he staggered out stiffly to run for cover.

They look at each other dumbfounded.  Perhaps they also had dreamed they saw him, as others reported they had done. 

cold water ablution