Rising Sun Healing Arts

Blog

Fear

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” But, in these times, it seems reasonable to be fearful doesn’t it? Everyday brings news of another mass killing; men of all ethnicities going out and randomly killing off everyone in their vicinity. And then there is climate change. The world has been assailed by increasingly frequent and violent storms that kill off masses of people in the blink of an eye. If it isn’t quick death, then from Love Canal to Flint, it is a slow, debilitating process of death that is caused by the invisible poisoning of our Earth — air, water, soil, food. If that’s not enough, then there is the looming threat of financial collapse causing misery or death by poverty. It seems like everywhere we turn, Death is looking us in the eye. It is frightening! It’s a wonder we don’t all wake up in the morning and just run out of our houses screaming in terror!

Why would Roosevelt, a reasonable and intelligent human, say that fear is the only thing to fear? I was once face to face with a Rottweiler that lunged, completely unexpectedly, from the corner of a porch toward me. Because I had been a regular Yoga/meditation practitioner, I had cultivated a state of internal calm and centeredness. When I saw the dog out of the corner of my eye coming for me, fear did not arise in me. Because the gaping abyss of fear was not there, the dog stopped, almost in mid air, turned and went back to its corner.

It has to do with being whole inside. Fear eats you up. The state of constant, subliminal fear breaks down your inner integrity. Fear can save your life in emergencies, but, with a persistent presence, it can also be like a leprotic disease, creating holes in the fabric of your being. In Nature, healthy plants aren’t attacked by disease, only plants that are already sick — same with animals. Predators have mechanisms that tell them when something is weak or sick and they go for it. It’s a green light for annihilation!

When calm is your abiding state, when you are able to stand back from the melee and get quiet inside, a whole new world comes into play. Peace is an unassailable ‘defense’ system. It doesn’t allow fear to exist.

Barn Phantoms

You can walk into the barn through the spaces between the weathered grey boards or you can walk in through the doorway. Either way, stepping onto the cool concrete floor you will be faced with stacks of hay bales in the room ahead and perhaps see a cow on the outside, gazing  complacently through the wide open barn window. There is just enough light coming in that shadow does not own the place, only a misty greyness, a sense of subtle expectancy. On the far wall, opposite the hay bales, dangles a row of solid iron hooks.

Once, not too long ago, a young, freshly killed deer, roped at the hind feet, hung from one of them. The owner took great pride in his first kill. He was not aware of the youth of the deer when he shot it, nor that he had broken taboo in taking it. For months, long after his departure, the deer hung there, a bloodless, gutted carcass. The coolness and solitude of the barn held the deer in quiet suspension.

Daily, the cows munched their way through the pasture, content in their meanderings. Just downhill from the barn, out in the fields, planting activities continued as usual. The market garden sprouted generously in spring rains and quickly filled the space between the rows then began to reach upward until the farmer could disappear into the vibrant lushness. Occasionally he would stop, suddenly feeling called by the whispers of spirits in the old barn looming up the hill. As time revolved through the days, the boy and the deer began to weigh heavily on his mind. The boy did not come back to clean and skin the deer. It was way past time.

There is a pile behind the barn in the shadows of the orchard. If you were to dig through that mass, not too far down you would find the bleached skull of a young deer. As a matter of fact, you would find an intact skeleton, the phantom of a young boys journey into a future he did not intend.

Crystal Ball

“Quetzal: …Before I give you a clear account of the prophecies of Henoch, I would like to point out that prophecies are always changeable and can be changed for the better if man makes positive changes in his thoughts, feelings and actions, leading to that which is better and positively progressive.” (© Billy Meier/FIGU 2002–2004)

A recent conversation with friends led me to a realization that shifted me 360 degrees and something essential came suddenly into clear focus: that each of us is always creating the future moment by moment with our feelings: not by our beliefs, thoughts, words and actions but by the feelings underlying them. The feelings that are bubbling inside of you, moment to moment, beneath the business of the mind, are the foundation, the wellspring, of your present and future. You don’t need a psychic to tell your future.

Your internal world is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of potential. Often you aren’t consciously aware of your feelings and because of this your future unfolds randomly. But there is a way you can consciously sense, choose and create your future and it is a process that will fulfill all of your needs and capacities. By regularly tuning into, acknowledging and understanding your feelings, you will align with and manifest all potential aspects of your being.

Eugene Gendlin, author of the book Focusing, recognized that successful therapy clients were tuning into and unwinding something he called the ‘felt sense’ — a vague, unarticulated cluster of feelings. Your felt sense is your living truth. By articulating it, you access uncensored knowing. Your felt sense is your inner crystal ball, which is in steady streaming operation. Basically it is akin to a gut, intuitive feeling about the rightness or unfinished sense of something.

In the beginning, it is a unformulated, undefined ‘something’ that you sense, usually in the wide expanse of body between the perineum and the throat. It is palpable. It is something that does not come from the conditioned reactions embedded in a mind that has been molded, censored or enculturated by external learning. Says author Penny Kelly, “We have been conditioned to not acknowledge or act on our feelings. The result is that we begin to lie with our entire being.”

Feelings and felt senses have patterns. Within a pattern of feelings, you may identify many indefinite or conflicting feelings before you arrive at a new pattern alignment that feels just right. This sense of rightness catalyzes and shifts the feeling patterns causing a synergy of the parts, a shift where everything in you reorganizes and engages. This place will very likely be surprisingly different than, perhaps even at odds with, the feelings, thoughts, ideas and images that you embraced before, but it is the manger that births wholeness of being.

The challenge comes in understanding the underlying meaning of the felt sense patterns. In order to grasp the meaning and to then guide the stream of possibilities, here is a condensed version of some steps you might take. Sit quietly, step into your inner world. Feel the sensations in your body. Acknowledge and sit with them like you would with a friend. What calls for your attention? Is there a word or image that comes from those feelings? Does that felt sense want or need something? (Refer to Focusing Resources for further steps). Throughout the process, you will know you have identified the meaning of that felt sense when the entire body resonates in response.

A psychic or empath can tune into various possible futures contained in your feeling pattern, but by going that route you deprive yourself of exercising your fundamental ability to identify your own vital truths. By learning to tune into your felt senses, your own inner See-r, you understand the creation of your optimum possible future from inner knowing and, even more importantly, you acknowledge and accept your true power, your natural, intuitive authority.

Identifying and shifting the array of feelings you hold may be the only sure and genuine way of creating a reality that satisfies all of your internal constituents and if you don’t get to that place, then you create realities and futures that don’t quite fit or that are ultimately undesirable. When you do arrive at that inner alignment, then you have arrived at a profoundly peaceful and harmonious internal Presence – your Living Truth. When you live from that Presence, you create the path into a future that unfolds moment by moment from your intrinsic nature, the one that your innate, indwelling intelligence leads to: your most potently meaningful life.

 

Skills for Self-Reliance: Adapting to a Changing World

Come join us on Saturday, March 5th for a rewarding adventure into a future that works to benefit all. A day-long primer in homesteading skills, permaculture, small livestock, energy technology, and ‘food forests.’ Five very experienced individuals will be sharing their knowledge on living in ways that provide security and abundance in the midst of today’s uncertainty.
Fee: $25 before 1/29. $30 thereafter.

Location: Lily Hill Farm, Lawton, MI.

Time: 9:30-5:00

Register at: https://squareup.com/market/lillie-house-permaculture/skills-for-self-reliance

Further info see: http://www.vankalpermaculture.org/event/skills216/

 

The Heart Hears!

One night I was sitting quietly, fully engaged in the music that I was hearing — a playlist of some of my favorite pieces — classical, pop, inspirational, world music. I realized that it had been a long, long time since I had taken the time to actually, fully listen. My entire being was feeling sound, absorbing rhythm and essence into every cell of my body and Psyche. Not to be cliché, but because I was wholly present to the music, it struck a deep chord directly in the core of my heart, a place I hadn’t been able to reach for what seemed like eons. Something significant shifted and awakened in me as I listened. What followed was an altered state of consciousness and a night of profound dreams.

Some, maybe all, of the most powerful moments in life happen directly through the heart. We make connections with people, animals, art, nature, music — all aspects of life. Heart-to-heart connections are the very sustenance of life. The word heart itself contains intriguing relationships. The words ‘hear,’ ‘ear,’ and ‘art’ are contained in the word heart. It is not a far stretch to add an ‘h’ at the end of ‘heart’ to include the word ‘hearth,’ a home, a place that warms and nurtures the entire being, which is a primary purpose of the heart. The heart is the hearth of the body: the home of love and connection to life. The home is the heart of life.

Have you heard the phrase, ‘the ear of the heart? Genuine meaning often escapes the mazes of the linear mind, which hears only the superficial. The intelligence of the heart, the ‘ear’, can detect the spirit and essence of what is being communicated through any medium. Beyond actual physical hearing, we have intuitive senses. The deeper meaning of words comes directly through our heart-felt intuition. Jane Roberts, famous intuitive, comments, “…we will be intuitively aware of what the other person is saying to us: we will know what is beneath words. We will also use words better ourselves to communicate our inner feelings since we will know what those feelings are.”

We get it at a feeling/intuitive level because the essence of sound, the basis of words, is vibration. Vibration itself has primal meaning, which creates the essence of words. In some cultures, there are people who can understand many languages because they feel the substance of words, the meaning of the vibrations, through the ‘ear of the heart.’ Herbert Whone in, The Hidden Face of Music, comments that, “In a material existence…a man has to delve deep to get to the heart of the matter.” The heart hears!

Sound is, of course, the basis of music, which is a nonverbal expression of human communication. Music is a medium that affects the heart directly both psychologically and through physical vibrations. I’m sure that you find this obvious! In ancient Greece, music is one of the nine Muses – the Divine Muse. She is the one who presides over all the others. She is mighty and powerful. She can make your heart soar or send you into paroxysms of sadness. She penetrates the heart directly and intimately. Her power creates bridges from heart to heart.

Author Herbert Whone expands on these deeper influences. Man, he says, “…is capable of tuning in to, or more simply hearing, the song of any other being in the universe. It is for this reason that we find the word ‘hear’ embodied in the word ‘heart’. It is the universal heart, which is the source of true wisdom, and ‘to get to the heart of the matter’ is a saying that reveals the truth in this. Real hearing is a penetration from heart to heart.”

The kind of Music you listen to can totally change the disposition of your heart. Try an experiment. Sit or lie down comfortably. Select a few styles and rhythms of music to listen to. Pay close attention to your heart’s response. Get to the heart of what you feel. Your feelings are like shades of color in the background of a painting. Notice that your feelings change with the music; even the heartbeat changes. Observe how each piece affects you emotionally. Feel the spirit of the music move in you — that spirit can transform everything!

Mitchell L. Gaynor, M.D. in The Healing Power of Sound says, “In a series of studies that examined how music affects blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing, and other aspects of the autonomic nervous system, participants’ heart rates were found to respond both to the volume and the rhythm of the music. And in some cases, the heart rate or respiratory rhythm actually synchronized with the beat of the music.” Gaynor goes on to describe further studies where music reduces anxiety, heart and respiratory rates, and changes blood pressure.

Music is a soulful, moving pursuit and can connect you to the deepest source of yourself through ‘the ear of the heart’. When you speak from your heart, your source, you express the music of your soul. Music that brings inner harmony can heal. As a part of your health maintenance plan, try listening regularly to healing music. It is a lot cheaper than a trip to the hospital — and steady doses of healing music on a large scale might even lower insurance rates. Perhaps, if heartful music had a prime place in our homes and culture, the rate of shootings in this country might decrease, wholesome connections abound, and the measure of sanity increase.

Your heart is your inner hearth, your home – a place to return to for harmony and comfort. Your own words, used wisely and in harmony, are the music of your soul. These are crucial reasons to use speech and music to harmonize our hearts so we can become healthy humans. The potentials for utilizing Music to heal the heart of a culture and to increase our abilities to connect with one another are myriad and necessary. Increasing our ability to absorb the wonderment and sacredness of life through sound and music are worthy and compelling endeavors.

Mushroom Fantasia

Getting to know mushrooms can be as mind expanding as actually ingesting the legendary psilocybin mushroom. Mushrooms have a strange beauty; in some cultures they are sacred. They can inspire awe; they are mysterious, appearing silently and seemingly from nowhere. Paul Stamets, mycologist, comments, “. . . rains fell and mushrooms magically sprang forth, wilted in the sun, rotted, and vanished without a trace.” It is easy to believe that they originate in the land of the fairies, that they are creatures from Alice in Wonderland where nothing is as it seems to be. In ancient fables, fanciful toadstools, even though poisonous, have given a fairytale aura to mushrooms – they are home to elves, sprites and, of course, fairies.

Mushrooms come in strange and diverse shapes, sizes, and forms; and are usually found in delightful, dwarfish communities some spreading over acres of ground and some, such as turkey tails, will completely encircle and colonize tree trunks, becoming an exquisite form of living art. Some have dome shaped tops resembling church cupolas, others present flat tops large enough to spread a feast on. For instance, Noble Polypores can be almost 5’ across and weigh more than 300lbs. You can find mushrooms looking like they were made just for kids – red button tops covered with white polka dots with a stark white stem stretching into the ground (Fly Agaric which are poisonous) and mushrooms that sport white cascading spines that resemble wigs of hair (Hericium Erinaceus).

Do you know how important mushrooms are to the health of Nature? They are a keystone species on which many other aspects of the biosphere depend. These awesome entities are responsible for holding entire habitats together. Mycelium, which Stamets considers the Internet of Nature, is what mushrooms spring from. This intricate mycelium network forms a fibrous mat, just under the surface of the ground, which not only holds everything together, but also creates an astounding communication system that gives every plant access to every other plant within, sometimes, thousands of acres. Trees and plants use the mycelium internet system to, among other things, send nutrients and healing chemicals to other trees or plants that are in need.

According to Stamets, “The soil that fungi produce sustain, ultimately, all life,” and, according to some, mushroom compost is one of the best soil conditioners you can get for your garden. Amazingly, mushrooms, such funky creations, can remediate, or heal, entire poisoned areas of land – brownfields – land areas that are saturated with toxic chemicals. At the end of the remediation process, and of the growth and maturation of these mushrooms, neither the brownfield nor the mushroom are any longer toxic. They have both been purified — or transformed. Mushrooms are also used in water purification processes.

In addition to their essential role in Nature, mushrooms have multitudes of prized medicinal and culinary properties that offer multiple benefits for the health of humans. Grocery stores have picked up on this and are expanding their repertoire of edible mushrooms. Mushrooms are valued food products — some truffles sell for more than $500/lb. Toadstools themselves may have culinary and medicinal properties but most people don’t have sophisticated enough knowledge to know how to use them.

Mother Nature holds a fantasia of wealth in the kingdom of mushrooms that benefits all sentient beings. Expand your mind; explore the world of mushrooms. You might just find yourself in a startlingly unique and enchanted realm.

Ain’t Got No Body?!

“Most of us have undergone rigorous training in ignoring our bodies. Bodily awareness is not some peripheral function, but the foundation of our sense of ourselves and our ability to respond to the world.” Says Susan Aposhyan, expert, teacher and author in how the body and mind are integrally intertwined. How connected to your body are you? Do you believe that your head is your only necessity in life? Do you live only in your head? The body is an intelligent organism made of components that work cooperatively with all aspects of yourself to make you a holistically healthy, functional being. Everything that happens in life affects the body as well as the mind. The mind affects and shapes the body. The body is a reflection of your mind and it also shapes the mind. The information that comes from the bodily intelligence helps to organize the mind.

What you don’t know about your body can impede your effectiveness in the world. You can ignore it or make it a slave at your own expense. Every feeling and thought you have is correlated with physical sensations. Those sensations inform the mind about your experience in the world. When you are in a chronic, stressful situation that you cannot effectively escape from or impact in a successful way, for protection, you suppress unwanted sensations, feelings or thoughts.

Your body then creates physical defenses by habitually constricting the muscles, thus deadening the tissues of your body, a defense that is called ‘armoring’ in some psychological systems. Once you suppress or defend yourself against certain thoughts and/or feelings, you are no longer aware of them which means you have cut off communication to that aspect of your being and don’t have conscious access to those feelings and thoughts and what they need to tell you. Feelings and thoughts are correlated with sensations: armoring deadens sensation.

Physiologically, this coping strategy of defense is stored primarily in the muscles and fascia – a sort of plastic wrap that wraps around, communicates with and connects together everything in the body. Fascia allows and supports a river of energetic flow throughout your body/mind. Armoring cuts off the flow of blood, lymph and energy in your body so that you are no longer fully alive, you have numbed parts or large areas of yourself; you no longer have awareness of certain areas or access to all aspects of your intelligence.

Armoring or defense structures after a certain point no longer serve a beneficial purpose. Simply becoming aware of your defenses actually begins to change the armoring, to thaw the numbness which then allows the life flow to resume. This is a first step to opening to your greatest potentials and to a healthy, more vibrant, energetic body and exciting and satisfying life.

Vote with Your Life!

 

The problems of the world can appear so overwhelming at times that it seems almost impossible to get a grip on it all. And what to do about it? Reading the news can feel depressing at the least and even disabling at times. How can anyone do anything about something so apparently enormous? How can one lone individual bring about change — or is it all just a cookie cutter life?

Long ago, when I thought about the enormity of the world’s problems and saw the injustices in my own backyard, my sense of rightness directed me to work toward mending the holes in the tapestry of the common good. This is called Tikkun. Tikkun is an ancient Jewish concept that means ‘repair of the world’. So based on my own proclivities and my own experience of bias against women in so many areas, I made a decision to start my own business – with a few dollars and using just a simple, three line classified ad. I went into fields related to outdoor work and home repair, fields usually relegated to men. The business was successful and was one of many woman owned businesses that blossomed during that period and began to open doors for women. To me it seemed a far more powerful way of affecting personal and political reality than voting.

With that recognition in mind, I’ve continued to create my own businesses. There are three concepts that have guided my decisions about what I do in the world. The first is Tikkun, already mentioned. This second is based on ‘the personal is the political.’ This is a slogan that came from the feminist movement and means that what you do affects everyone at many levels whether you are aware of it or not. The third concept is that of ‘Right Livelihood.’ This is a Buddhist concept that means you implement, as your means of livelihood, that which is in the spectrum of the common good and this will have a beneficial affect on all living beings.

In light of those beliefs, climbing the competitive success ladder only to make a boatload of money was not my primary goal. The common good was. I made enough to have the basics of life and a small amount extra and I was happy with that. I loved what I was doing, I did It well and my enthusiasm for change carried me past all obstacles. I knew that what I was doing for a living, along with so many others working in the same direction, was making a difference in the system. I continue to make choices based on what I see needs mending in the world tapestry. It is not easy to go against the grain of capitalism, but I don’t regret any of my decisions. In the end, many small acts of courage by many concerned individuals are what make the big waves that change the world.

Is there something you want to change? What gives you enthusiasm? What do you see that needs mending? Is there some way you can use your skills, predilections and gifts in a way that will benefit more than yourself . . . that will benefit Mother Nature and all her relations – meaning all living beings? You don’t have to start a business. You don’t have to do anything formal. Use your imagination. Act from your heart. Vote with your Life!

 

 

Magic Mind

  • What kind of life do you want? What would be the purpose of that life? There are many road signs in our language that point to the phenomena that we create our own reality: “You reap what you sow.” “What goes around comes around.” “You made your bed, now sleep in it.” Why does life happen in the way that it does? Do you want to change that?
    Eknath Easwaran, a distinguished Indian philosopher, comments, The Mind, they say, observes the so-called outside world and sees its own structure.” (p.13. Bhagavad Gita. Easwaran), meaning that we see our own internal reality, the contents of our mind, reflected in external reality. We pick out the pieces that match our beliefs and put them together, usually subconsciously.
  • As you become conscious of what you are putting out there, you can make changes according to your response to “What kind of life do you want? In other words, as you become aware of what drives you, you will then have the tools to clearly assess and direct your own reality. If you change the contents of your mind — the way you think, your feelings, then how you understand and experience reality will change.
  • All that the mind contains is what you pick up through your external senses: hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, touching. This input is structured according to your inborn or genetic factors, familial upbringing, experience and culture. “When we were born we experienced a continual flow of visual and auditory sense impressions but we had no interpretations for them. It was by experience that we learned to understand what we were seeing and what we were hearing.” (“Ensouling Language.” Stephen harrod Buhner.p.129) These experiences created a structure of thought systems or a string of perceptions and these understandings or thought systems became a framework through which you perceived the world. You encounter the world through the windows of perception.
  • Like a horse with blinders, you have a limited view because of the circumstances of your particular life. When an event happens, what I see and experience is not the same as what you see and experience. This is where the allegory of the blind men and the elephant come in. One thought the elephant was a tree (leg) another thought it was a snake (trunk). We are all touching the same elephant but each enjoys a very different part or aspect of that elephant. We do have similarities in our experiences and these are what attract us to particular situations together. Your reality then is limited but not predetermined; you have a say in the creation of your own reality.
  • IN order to create your own reality you have to be aware of and understand your thoughts and feelings and their results. When you maintain awareness of your inner landscape and have intention about what you want in your life, you can then choose the contents of your mind and recreate your beliefs and thought systems in order to navigate life more effectively. You can choose what you want to live and manifest. Know yourself! Life is not totally under your control though. Shit happens because there is randomness built into the Universe or we wouldn’t have choice. There are billions of others creating reality too, so understand your feelings and thought systems, change what doesn’t lead to your chosen destination and be committed to your dream! Awareness, intention and commitment are the essential ingredients to success in your journey.

Chicken Rebels

Do you ever wonder what drives animals to do what they do? Or wonder if and what they are thinking? Here on the farm, chickens reign. Chickens are complex, fascinating and gregarious creatures. They hang out together in the coop, under the coop, out in the tall grass. The group will often, at the behest of the rooster or one of the hens, suddenly take off running toward a definite destination and clearly with great purpose, but for reasons not obvious to humans – at least not to this human. Maybe they sense an insect convocation somewhere up the hill; or maybe the time of day, the scent on the wind, the position of the sun calls them to a certain spot. Sometimes they run off together to hang out in collusion under a tree, possibly planning for . . . . . do chickens plan? Do they have issues that they have to work out among themselves?

Despite their gregariousness there is, occasionally, almost predictably, a lone chicken who goes off to live her own sovereign life: to roost and sleep and lay her eggs out in the field, or in the greenhouse, or under a pine tree, instead of hanging out with the group at the coop. Against great dangers she goes because there is an abundance of predators out there who feast on chickens: hawks, raccoons, foxes, big cats. Just this November Nate, the farmer, found at various locations in the field, the remains of four noble younger hens who had been living independent of the coop. These rebels would all have their independence despite the dangers.

Recently one has taken to laying eggs under a huge Blue Spruce tree quite a ways from the coop, not far from the road. It is winter. Cold. Temperatures hover around 6 degrees. We have at least a foot of snow. Nate found the autonomous hen under the Spruce one day, sitting on her eggs, so cold that she could hardly move. He carried her back to the coop. But next day she goes back to the tree. I watched her yesterday returning from her hideaway under the spruce walking toward the coop. She moved through the snow like a monk in meditation. One foot at a time, with boundless patience and determination, she would place one in front of the other. Occasionally she would fall into a snow drift and stop. Then, after a momentary pause in her journey, flap her wings and go on moving, dignified, proud.

The distance from the spruce to the coop is probably around 300’. That’s a long way for a relatively small critter to go so ponderously through snow and in such frigid weather. Remember? Six degrees. I marvel at what spirit, what passion or calling possesses her to choose the road less travelled while the group in the coop remains in warmth, camaraderie and in evident contentment. Animals are complex creatures. Is this one called to a contemplative life? Or maybe, more adventurously, she has dreams of starting her own roadside egg stand some day? What is she thinking? What goes on in the minds of animals?