Saturday, March 5, 2016

Remembering To Remember

I just came back from a trip to western North Carolina where a very good friend recommended a book entitled The Spiritual Awakening of the Great Smoky Mountains, self published by Page Bryant (1994) Waynesville, NC.
As was Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing, by Robert Wolff [Inner Traditions Publishing, 2001], which I wrote about last month (Understanding The Whole Helps Understand The Parts; Msg-3-Feb-2016), Page Bryant was able to verbalize many of the feelings and intuitions I have been experiencing without being able to express them well. Using different words, she is expressing this identical overpowering sense of Oneness, where there is no distinction between subject and object, that I have been experiencing yet have not found the appropriate words.
During a brief morning meditative moment this week, a spot of clarity about these nature-related thoughts of Oneness flooded my mind. I want to share those with you today.
Page Bryant writes about her own sense of Oneness she embraces when visiting the Great Smoky Mountain National Park: “Though the entire area is beautiful and helps to put me in a calm and open state of mind, I am particularly drawn to the beautiful little roadside waterfalls found throughout the area. These wonderful moist, green spots are delightfully fragrant with the smells of the rich soil, the moss-covered fallen trees, and the negative ions that seem to reach inside and caress the soul. The first time I visited such a site I was almost instantly propelled into an altered state of what I call pure ‘nature consciousness’… that precious frame of mind and heart that stirs and opens my deepest senses and emotions in complete safety and compassion for all that lives; the state that brings my ‘connection’ with all that lives into full consciousness….” (p. 34-5)
She writes a lot about Native American rituals and ceremonies – many connected to very specific Smoky Mountain sites of the ancient Cherokee. She wrote: “I believe that ceremony is one of the most valuable tools we have to bring about a change in our consciousness, for healing the earth and ourselves, and for getting into conscious touch with the [spirit and energy of the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms].” (p.157-8)
As she was describing the role of ceremony and ritual within Cherokee culture, I became very aware that, for me, what she seemed to be saying is that ceremony or ritual has the ability to help me remember to remember the power of intuition or experiential (not cerebral) knowing. I need always to remember to remember the awe inspiring occurrence of this kind of intuitive knowledge – a knowing that simply overpowers my intellect. It is not knowledge I have deduced. It is the knowing that I know to be true because I experienced its truth for me.
She goes on to describe some of this knowing.We must, if we and our planet are to survive, return to a remembrance that the Earth is alive! … We must, once again armed with a knowledge of the sacred dances and songs, lift ourselves out of the mire of apathetic materialism … that we might heal ourselves from the ecological and spiritual tragedies which have resulted from our almost total reliance upon our intellect. I take nothing away from the value of logic and reason and feel it to be a necessary part of our approach to knowledge and understanding. But omitting intuition and by not bringing our intuitive faculties to bear upon whatever knowledge we gain, we run the risk of the precise one-sidedness of materialism so apparent within society today. Science and the lifeless mechanical world it permits to exist is not all there is. [To take a successful journey to explore an intuitive awareness of unseen energies and life forces] we must carry with us the tool of [openness and] willingness; a willingness to have a honest sense of desire and expectation in order to become aware of earth’s living energies and the mind to think of the world as a whole being that is held together by a real living, unifying energy which links us all – every place to every other place, every soul to all other souls, and, ultimately, the Earth and her children…” (p. 69-70)  
This call for remembering to remember reminded me the other morning of the Christian ritual of the Last Supper and Jesus’ words to the disciples: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” But after reading Bryant and Wolff, along with the messages of A Course In Miracles (ACIM) and the wisdom of AA, it helped me put this experiential sense I have been having in a new light. Perhaps Jesus wasn’t saying “Remember me, I’m going to die for you in order to satisfy the judgment of my Father” (a critical tenet of Christian dogma), but saying: “Remember, we are all One. Every person is but a reflection of you. The act of all of us tonight sharing together one cup and one loaf is symbolic of that reality. Please do not forget that.”
Take what you want from this message and leave the rest. Oh! Find and embrace a small waterfall regardless of the weather today. Perhaps it will connect and enrich you.

#1 Mar 2016

Copyright 2016

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