Skip to content

Posts from the ‘spirit’ Category

Your shimmering, star-spangled crystal-colored world

Large Magellanic Cloud. NASA/ESA image

Large Magellanic Cloud. NASA/ESA image

Johannes Eriunega, an Irish theologian and philosopher who lived in the 800s, said, “All that is, is light.”  Niels Bohr (1885-1962), a Danish theoretical physicist who developed the foundation mathematics for Quantum Mechanics, said,  “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”

In between the 800s and today, sages and physicists have said many things about the illusory nature of the reality we perceive with our physical senses. Goodness knows, those of us whose writing is characterized variously as science fiction, fantasy, or magical realism have put our spin on the large gap between consensual reality and the actuality behind the veil.

I used the NASA photo above in the header of my Facebook author’s page because it not only fits the fiction of a writer of fantasy and magical realism, but defines the belief behind my stories. I am not only a star gazer, but am also graced with occasional glimpses of our shimmering, star-spangled crystal-colored world as it actually is.

nightskyYou can be, too, if you haven’t already discovered that the vision of the Large Magellanic Cloud in the NASA photograph–or the night sky when the gods allow you to see it without interference from man-made light–is very much the same as an atomistic view of a rock or a person or a table, play with the exercise below.

Matter is mostly empty space. When I was young and still an adamant believer in a materialistic view of matter and logic, a minister at an alternative church told me that there’s no such thing as matter. What we believed was solid, wasn’t really solid. While he was a good friend, I thought his view was absurd.

Now that I’m the age he was when he told me that, I meet with the same “are you off your rocker” comments when I say he was right.

tableWe need our physical senses to navigate the world as we believe it to be. If your physical eyes showed you a Magellanic Cloud in front of your face, it would be impossible for you to function. However, with a bit of practice, you can see that the structure of the table in your room or the mountain outside your window–at their basic levels–looks like that cloud.

Instead of taking a journey from the Earth to the Moon, you’ll be taking a journey from the illusory world of “physical matter” to the actual star-spangled realm inside the world your physical eyes have convinced you is there.

Unlike the law of attraction and other practices that require you to believe they’ll work before your experience tells you they’ll work, you can see the stars inside your table without having to be certain there are stars inside your table.

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair and stare at your table and consider what it might be like to shrink yourself to a creature much smaller than an electron and fly over, under and through that table. How would it appear?
  2. Relax and then silence the constant chatter in your mind about the chores waiting for you, what you had for dinner yesterday, and everything else your inner dialogue is constantly focused upon.
  3. Close your eyes and imagine you will soon become an a very small firefly sitting on the back of your chair.
  4. meditationgraphicIf you don’t already have a preferred meditation technique, you can use a modified form of self-hypnosis or a biofeedback process to reduce the frequency of your brainwaves and slow down your pulse rate.
  5. Think to yourself, “I am going to a deeper level of consciousness, 10…9…deeper and deeper…8…7…6…with each descending number I am deeper than before. . .5…4…3…deeper. . .2…1…I am now at a deeper, healthier level of consciousness.” You can vary the words you think depending on what makes you the most relaxed.
  6. With your eyes closed, pretend you’re a very tiny firefly. Imagine yourself flying around the room to take a look at the objects in it. What do the chairs, curtains, books, TV set, and pictures on the wall look like from this perspective?
  7. Once you’ve explored the room, consider the table. Fly around it and see what it looks like from all sides. When you are ready, think something like the following, “I’ about to fly inside the table.”
  8. Fly up to it and stare at its “surface,” just covering there. While doing this, imagine that it’s an impressionist painter’s table, composed of flickers of paint and light. See it growing larger the way a JPG grows larger when you increase its size slowly to the point where the pixels get farther and farther apart.
  9. Now, when the table is so large that it’s component “pixels” are so far apart you can easily fit between them. fly inside it. How does it feel? What do the different “colors” of the table appear to be when you examine them closely?
  10. Hover in place and until everything you see appears like the night sky, shimmering and crystal colored and radiant.
  11. Assuming you haven’t fallen asleep, fly outside the table and–in your firefly form–sit or stand on the chair you chose before you did your meditation countdown.
  12. Think to yourself, “At the count of three, I’ll awake into my everyday reality feeling happier and healthier than before…1…2…3.” Open your eyes.

firefliesThe first time I successfully did this journey, I stood up too soon and as I took my first step away from the chair, I fell. Why? The floor wasn’t there. I was still seeing things with my firefly’s eyes. So wait there a moment and make sure everything looks “normal” before you leave your chair.

Does this journey work the first time? I can’t say. Does one “see” more clearly each time they do it? I can’t say, because it’s better if you have no preconceived ideas about whether of not this exercise is easy or difficult or whether or not it takes practice or it doesn’t.

Becoming a sparkling firefly and fluttering around the living room requires a sense of play. Or, if you don’t like flying, become an ant (or whatever you prefer). This is a game of “let’s pretend” that should be relaxing in and of itself. Have fun. Sooner or later, you will realize that your let’s pretend has become real at a deeper level of consciousness.

–Malcolm

KIndle cover 200x300(1)Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the magical realism novella “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”

 

 

Advertisements

Wisdom from nature and indigenous cultures

“Malidoma [Dr. Malidoma Some´] teaches that the healing power of nature, ritual and community is what the indigenous world offers to the modern world. In the indigenous world, community is integral to the harmony and balance of each individual.” from the mission statement of East Coast Village

africaThe modern world of science and technology has learned a lot from observing nature and indigenous cultures’ relationships with the natural world. Unfortunately, we have also missed most of what nature and indigenous cultures have had to offer, and we further facilitated that tragedy by calling such cultures hicks, savages, superstitious, ignorant and pagan (in the negative sense most people assign to that word).

Organized religion went a step further, claiming throughout history that pagans–including witches–worshiped the so-called “devil” and needed to be put to death for their beliefs. These beliefs were not only natural but threatened the knowledge and wisdom a culture based on patriarchy had to offer.

Today, for example, we look at prescribed drugs as compounds invented in laboratories and produced in factories. While synthesized drugs have brought quality control and the benefits of mass production, they also come with a price based on a patent that allows drug companies to charge hundreds of dollars for little bottles of pills with ingredients that are probably worth a few pennies.

Yes, it can be dangerous for people without an herbalist certification or an oral tradition of using plants as medcine, much less prescribe them from others. Yet, when the medical establishment condemns the practice out of hand, they are overlooking the fact that many major drugs, past and present, originally came from plants and were frequently discovered by observing what native cultures used for medicine. One expert says that 120 distinct chemicals that come from plants are currently used throughout the world.

In a recent news story (A Doctor Discovered Why Insulin Is So Pricy In America — And How To Buy It More Cheaply)  it was shown that insulin costs diabetes patients more than most of them can afford because a pricey biotech drug created in the 1970s took over the market so completely that the off-patent, generic insulin is no longer available in the United States. The whys and wherefores of medicines and their costs are part of a complex tangle of issues. The lack of natural drugs just might, in some cases, stem from our championing what comes out of a lab over what nature produces.

spellsensuousIn The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram argues that “Humans, like other animals, are shaped by the places they inhabit, both individually and collectively. Our bodily rhythms, our moods, cycles of creativity and stillness, even our thoughts are readily engaged and influenced by seasonal patterns in the land. Yet our organic attunement to the local earth is thwarted by our ever-increasing intercourse with our own signs. Transfixed by our technologies, we short-circuit the sensorial reciprocity between our breathing bodies and the bodily terrain.”

We have been making excuses for years about the supposed Gods of science and technology at the expense of a shared relationship with the natural world and those who understand it. From time to time, we run across articles that focus on one indigenous culture or another that show one group has little or no cancer and another group has little or no stress and stress-related maladies. But such things usually stop at the curiosity-level “go figure” or the profit-motive level of “how can we synthesize what they know put it in a pill?”

ofwaterDr. Malidoma Some´, a widely known teacher of African wisdom, is the author of multiple books, including “The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community,” “Creating a New Sense of Home” and the now-classic “Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman.”

On his website, Dr. Some´ writes that “It is possible that we have been brought together at this time because we have profound truths to teach each other. Toward that end, I offer the wisdom of the African ancestors so that Westerners might find the deep healing they seek.”

I don’t reject art, culture, science or technology. I do reject thinking they are all we have.  Dr. Some´ has things to teach us that we have turned a deaf and snobbish ear to for generations. Now we have a medical system nobody can pay for, global warming nobody knows how to fix and poverty that exceeds our comprehension. Something is badly out of sync and those who tell us that modern man is like a cancer upon the climate suggest that we ourselves are the problem.

Abram suggests we will never solve the major issues of life as long as we’re only willing to look at everything except nature and natural wisdom whether it comes out of Africa or the so-called “First Nations” (to use the Canadian phrase) who live invisibly among us.

I was taught what most kids of my generation were taught. Christianity is all there is. Paved streets are better than unpaved country roads. Science and technology are better than anything the witches, root doctors, and “illiterate savages” have to offer.

Undoing all that brainwashing can take a lifetime. If only, we could start fresh with our children and not addict them to false gods in the first place.

–Malcolm

KIndle cover 200x300Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” a novella about a granny and a kitty fighting the KKK that’s filled with the wisom of the natural world. It’s on sale today on Kindle.

“I loved the way Campbell made magic part of the fabric of the place…Readers of magic realism will appreciate Conjure Woman’s Cat. Highly recommended.” –  Lynne Cantwell, hearth/myth – Rursday Reads

 

 

 

 

Briefly Noted: Two spiritual books from Mare Cromwell

  • Messages from Mother…. Earth Mother, by Mare Cromwell, Pamoon Press (December 6, 2012), 112pp.
  • The Great Mother Bible: or, I’d rather be gardening, by Mare Cromwell, Pamoon Press (December 26, 2014), 314pp.

On this, the second day of Christmas, Mother Nature might well have given me two turtle doves but, in fact, she gave me (and you, as well) The Great Mother Bible just released by Pamoon Press.

In her author’s note for Messages from Mother, Mare Cromwell says:

messagesfrommother“Where this information comes from is part of the Great Mystery to me. This book was written in only five weeks. I was focused on a completely different book and Spirit broadsided me in late June, 2012, and told me this was the book that I was meant to write. I was fighting lymphoma and essentially surrendered to Spirit to write this. I healed from cancer during the same time period.

“At times Spirit will just do that.”

I have been stalking spirit–as Annie Dillard has called it–for most of my life, and the fleeting glimpses I catch find their way into my novels as contemporary fantasy. As Jane Yolen has said of truths disguised, I tell it slant.

In Messages from Mother, Cromwell gives us more than a fleeting glimpse. We see spirit standing before us with no need for an oblique lens. Cromwell extends this vision in The Great Mother Bible.

From the Publisher:

greatmotherbibleMare Cromwell was awakened at 5 AM in November of 2013, and given specific instructions from the Great Mother to set aside that winter to listen and write The Great Mother Bible. Out of that spiritual call has come this revolutionary and humorous book of spiritual wisdom that speaks to the wondrous sacred realms in which we live. With teachings ranging from the role of aliens on Earth, the Christ Consciousness, and the need for balance between the Sacred Feminine and Divine Masculine, the Great Mother offers essential guidance to help bring our beleaguered world back into divine harmony.

These are wondrous books for seekers who wish to establish a closer relationship with the natural world. And they come at a time when more and more people are seeing that threats to wild places–in fact to Earth itself–are more dire than they knew.

Psychologist Stanley Krippner writes that the Great Mother Bible will  “inspire some readers but will infuriate others. Mare Cromwell’s profound relationship with the Great Mother offers a dialogue that is witty, wise and comical. Mare writes about ‘unseen forces’ but her luminous accounts bring a lucidity and reality to their insights that are uplifting, intriguing, and wondrous.”

If you discover one book this winter, pick one of these. If, however, you prefer two figurative turtle doves, discover both of these.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Emily’s Stories”