Friday, December 4, 2015

The Stuff Of Life … And Death

In light of Paris and now the Colorado Planned Parenthood facility as well as the San Bernardino Health Department where people, armed with guns designed exclusively to kill people, are doing just that – killing people – I try to focus on stilling my mind and allowing the Holy Spirit to open my spiritual eyes to a vision of True Reality – acknowledging that every thought and act is either an act of Love or a call for Love.
I am still a novice at accomplishing that. I have to have help to still my mind. I routinely find the outdoors of great use in doing my “stilling.” It is the only way I have found to propel me into the Now, where I have to be to hope for the arrival of stillness and the whispers of the Holy Spirit.
I am currently reading a book by Jon Turk entitled “The Raven’s Gift” [St. Martin’s Press, 2009]. Quoting from the back jacket: “The northern lights have indeed seen strange sights, but none quite compare to Jon Turk’s adventures on the frozen tundra of Kamchatka. There he encounters a great-great-grandmother spiritual healer who mends his body of damage sustained in a long-ago skiing accident. The tension between his own logical scientific background and the mysterious shamanistic wisdom of his healer is at the heart of this wonderfully told story of Koryak life and his own personal transformation.
In the book Turk describes [pages 3-5] his first experience of a transformative, intuitive “knowing” that emerged inside him while, on a beautiful spring day, he watched his dog simply leap, bound, run, dig and play in the meadow where they were. “My dog suddenly raced off at a sprint for about fifty yards, leapt into the air like a fox, with his front paws spinning, and landed, digging furiously, clods of sod flying into the air….I sauntered over, but by the time I arrived, my dog had abandoned that hole, sprinted another fifty yards and repeated this same odd behavior. [The dog did that 3 or 4 more times.] “Each time, after breaking through the protective sod, he shoved his nose into the earth and sniffed, then dug, and sniffed again. What did he smell down there? I squatted on my hands and knees and tentatively stuck my nose into one of his holes. Even my human senses could detect the sweet aroma of decay as mites and bacteria woke from their winter somnolence and began to munch and crunch, as only mites and bacteria know how, to convert bits of roots and old leaves into soil…. By the time I reached the fifth hole, my nose and cheeks were smudged with dirt and bits of moist soil lodged onto the hairs of my nostrils, so the earth was inside me, as if we had just made a pact of togetherness….
Since that time, my entire adult life has been a balancing act between science on one hand and the smell of the earth that became so seminal that spring day in the Rockies on the other. I have made the bulk of my living writing college-level textbooks on geology, environmental science, chemistry, physics and astronomy. At the same time I moved to a ski town and became involved in high-intensity rock climbing, skiing, kayaking, and later mountain biking. Climbing a vertical granite wall in a remote region of the Canadian Arctic … involves a different level of intensity than smelling the spring earth. But the relationship between the two is stronger than most people would suspect. During expeditions, the often razor-thin margin between life and death depends on a tactile, sensory awareness of the environment that incorporates but also transcends logic. My first introduction to that awareness occurred on a spring day when I was walking in a meadow with my dog.
I have described several instances where, smelling and observing the myriad life in the muck of my wet-weather creek, I found myself making sense of me in light of the commonness of this thing called “Life.” I simply had this feeling of knowing what the indigenous peoples have known and trusted: Life is universal and non-discriminatory. Native Americans, as well as Australian Aborigines, understood that all things have life or spirit: animals, birds, fishes, reptiles, trees, springs, rocks, winds, storms, and – of course – humankind. But they also understood there was no hierarchy. No one form of life was superior to another.
When I truly sense that reality, I become immediately calm. My little spark – called biological life – is no different (nor better than) any other form of biological life. I’ll watch an ant. I don’t think he’s saying to himself: “I’m tired of this. Why couldn’t I have been born a soldier ant instead of a worker ant? Why couldn’t I have been born a butterfly – or a hummingbird?” Then I’ll talk to him, asking,  “Are you even vaguely aware of how upset I am?” “No? Don’t you care?” “No? Okay, maybe I shouldn’t either.” “Thanks for listening.”
Maybe I’m just a little off my rocker. But I feel calm. I feel peace. I feel at ease. And I have grown to love those small, little moments. If only people could be as non-judgmental as ants. Oops! That means I am seeing them as judgmental, which means I am looking at them through my own judging eyes. Mr. Ant! Where are you?
In A Course in Miracles (ACIM), Chapter 25, The Justice of God, Section IV, The Light You Bring, Paragraph 5 alludes to this sense of Oneness that extends beyond the human form to all of nature: “In you is all of Heaven. Every leaf that falls is given life in you. Each bird that ever sang will sing again in you. And every flower that ever bloomed has saved its perfume and its loveliness for you. What aim can supersede the Will of God and of His Son, that Heaven be restored to him for whom it was created as his only home? Nothing before and nothing after it. No other place; no other state nor time. Nothing beyond nor nearer. Nothing else. In any form. This can you bring to all the world, and all the thoughts that entered it and were mistaken for a little while. How better could your own mistakes be brought to truth than by your willingness to bring the light of Heaven with you, as you walk beyond the world of darkness into light?”
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

#1 Dec 2015
Copyright 2015

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