Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I always have questions and musings about what lies behind everything we experience as inside or outside this entity we each call “me.”

Think about it. Power is a great motivator, perhaps the greatest motivator. People have been seeking power since forever began. To seek wealth is actually to seek the accumulation of power. Wealth allows one many options in the physical world. Also, it places one above the vulnerabilities and dangers that poverty exposes one to. Well, at least that is always the hope behind the acquisition of wealth. Nothing protects an individual or even a group against death or the possibility of loss of power that comes with an invasion by someone with more wealth and power. And then there is a greater power that defeats all other powers that we call death.

The power of the disenfranchised is generally the possibility of taking power away from those who hold it. To remove wealth, social standing, self value, and finally life itself from another is the dark power of death. Every child has at some time in a rage about not being able to master something destroyed it to demonstrate who was boss to him/her self if to no one else. In truth I have always suspected that suicide is motivated by the need to remain in control of ones life and personal power when faced with the indignity of an ultimate loss of power. It’s an “I’ll show you,” approach to the death of personal power.

Power isn’t really about survival beyond the basic need to find food shelter and fellow humans to live among mate with and share tasks and skills with. However, it does seem that as long as death exists humans will always find their pursuit of power ultimately futile. Is that why we invented religion? The religion that is the current orthodoxy, i.e., science says that this is the case.

As I think about the attraction of power it occurs to me that all people have a natural desire to be godlike even though it often comes out in a distorted and ugly form. Spirituality is hardwired into the human species, of this I am convinced, and it will emerge one way or another. If not in a creative and protective way, then it will come out as the power to destroy. By spirituality I mean the desire to be Godlike. It is the ultimate attraction that lies behind most other attractions. With this desire comes the affiliated response to that desire, worship. What a paradox! Worship is a response to a form of power one respects and desires and by its very essence acknowledges what one doesn’t have and yet wants to have. It often comes with mixed feelings of fear, love and envy.

Let’s put aside the whole argument of whether or not God or a higher power exists. I am sensing more intensely as I explore the whole issue that it doesn’t matter what we conceive mentally; we are nevertheless driven even on a cellular instinctive level to acknowledge a higher overarching intelligence and ultimate power that we might as well refer to as God. Certainly a belief in God eventually becomes a trip up because the part could never contain the whole by the very nature of its situation. For that reason what we refer to as God could never be either proven or disproven. That is entirely beyond our realm of operation considering the limits of our equipment.

Those who believe that there is no reality beyond the five senses and the rules of popular physics are essentially the cell trying to understand the body that contains it. All one has to do to blow that na├»ve assumption apart is to see how a fly’s eyes are structured. Ultimately it is not ours to believe or disbelieve reality, since being one of its products we can’t know what it is.

Authority is another aspect of power and godlikeness and it is often paired with tradition. Humans are by nature herd animals and seem to require a pecking order so that various functions don’t collide and things are kept moving effectively. To some degree this is a survival issue. But circumstances change and it seems that they change more rapidly than the authority of tradition and inevitably there is a collision between the way things have “always” been done, and current needs.

Since we haven’t been at it very long, we tend to assume that we are very advanced as a species. I remember my mom telling to me once, “when I was thirteen I thought about all the things I knew and decided that I knew everything I could think of.” Of course she thought it humorous that her thirteen year old self believed that all the things that she could think of was the same as all that was. But is that so far removed from taking our senses and current knowledge as ultimate guides to that which is real? All we have to do is read an old textbook or see a documentary based on outdated assumptions to recognize that what is called science is still tenuous.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just Testing - Personal Demons

I've been thinking about what it truly means to follow one's heart. It seems that to do so evokes the demons who want things to stay the same, and keep us in their grip. We recently returned to Taos, New Mexico from Cottonwood, Arizona. The first week was relatively quiet, but the demons were just waiting to scope out our situation. Now the trip ups are beginning to emerge from hiding. I think this is why it is so easy to lose pieces of one's soul here and there along the twists and turns life takes. Pieces of soul are lost whenever we give up our life force to adjust to situations that intrude into the flow of our lives. Its like tripping over a rock on a trail - one that was invisible until after the fall.

My Partner, Blue Spruce Standing Deer, was gifted with a beautiful
Kingman turquoise bracelet by a Navajo Medicine Man many years ago. It became more precious as the years passed and it attracted attention wherever he went. He told the story of this amazing gift many times because people would frequently ask about this bracelet. It was truly a "Medicine Object " and carried a charisma of its own. Shortly after our return to Taos he went into town and then around the pueblo with his son and an old friend. After many months of no alcohol he "fell," as he put it. Although the day was beautiful, the conversation good, and the sense of being home very sweet, he fell back on a promise to himself and his medicine path. He only noticed the bracelet's absence after returning to his house. He called me late in the afternoon, very disturbed because this bracelet had just disappeared without a trace. He backtracked all the places he had been that day several times and came up with nothing. The next day we both went out and again retraced his path of the day before. Of course we found nothing. I began to feel very strongly that we should stop searching and pray toward the Mountain to release the bracelet and all that it meant to him to the spirit that gave it to him, give thanks for being able to wear it and love it all those years and promise to continue on the Medicine path from that time forward without questions. Perhaps this Medicine object is gone forever because its time has passed, perhaps it left as a powerful message about self betrayal, and perhaps it will someday find its way back to him, but I had no doubt that he should entirely release it at that time because it no longer belonged to him and perhaps never did belong in the sense of possession. Perhaps it came to him as a reminder that he carried medicine but no longer needed to be with him as a physical presence. I have a strong feeling that the story isn't over whether or not the bracelet reemerges.
Taos is our power place and place of emergence. I realize now that although the Natives of Taos Pueblo regard the Blue Lake as their source , and place of emergence, emergence isn't just a one time deal. It is a life source with a spiritual umbilical cord attached. If there is a blockage in our ability to receive the food for our soul it will definitely become an issue. I am learning much about my own blockages and through that my true source of nourishment.

We all make adjustments as we go through our personal journey through this dimension. There are many obstacles to contend with; bad childhoods, bad jobs, bad marriages, wars, natural disasters and so on. Sometimes its a voluntary sacrifice when we give up parts of our soul to gain something we believe is important such as wealth, social prestige, political power or even a seemingly selfless gesture to benefit others that comes at our own expense. But there is always a desired outcome for the sacrifice and the hope that life can resume again in a good way after the goal is obtained.

If the body is encased in a soul, as I believe it is, (an invisible sleeve that holds our essence together but doesn't fit too tightly, or too loosely), an injury or depletion of soul wounds the physical body as well. The tests and trip ups on the path reveal how well we are fitted with our soul.

One thing I've become sure of is that once we make a commitment to follow our heart, or the "medicine path," everything in our lives that doesn't fit that path will be challenged. The things we got away with before will no longer be tolerated. A saying that I believe came from a Sufi master comes to mind, "the devil is God's most humble servant." Even the things we do believing they are correct, traditional or socially responsible often come back at us like a boomerang if they don't fit the "medicine path," the path with heart.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Places of the Soul

I have been back in my home in Taos, New Mexico for two weeks and three days now but it is not what I anticipated. I have changed. I am not the same person who left for Arizona last September. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in a time warp and came back to the past.

And yet it isn't the past, its an entirely different environment than the one I left when I moved to Arizona. This occurred in stages. When I was first in Cottonwood, Arizona I longed for Taos, and missed the familiar places, the taste of roasted green chili, the quaint and sometimes irritating main road through town with road construction that never stops and never seems to make much difference, and of course my own adobe walls and the precious plants in my garden.

The Pueblo seems about the same, my partners house is the way we left it with his son still in it and so on. Now Taos and I don't dance to the same tune as we once did. The things that used to make me feel at home now irritate me. I have another perspective. Of course this story isn't over. My garden is back in shape, the phenomenal quiet power that I feel radiating down from the sky is still there as we drink our morning coffee and interact with the very active wildlife of Ravens, Magpies, Starlings, Prairie Dogs, local cats and dogs and occasional Coyote.

Taos was never kind to me although it tolerated me and I got away with an economically precarious lifestyle for an unusually long time. But it was my greatest test in life as well. I realize now that my memories are laced with a delicious but dangerous drug that I barely survived, although I did so with with some pride in my ability to survive some perilous tests. Taos is a "Medicine" place in the Native American sense. But that medicine came at a great price. However, I seem to need a change in Medicine now. I have gone through the initiation and it is time to use what I have learned and to retrieve the parts of my soul that were scraped off here and there in my journey through the wild brush of Taos.

Arizona was and is a new chapter. Not to replace the Taos experience but to take it forward to another level of life. It has been a way of extending my soul, reinvigorating my creativity, and discovering other perspectives. Literally, I needed new scenery in my life. With this discovery I want to bring these two parts together in the blend of my future.