So a couple of days ago I published a post about my last travel experience titled, “Exhaust.” It didn’t get much readership, but I’m really not surprised. I’ve been absent a lot this past year for a variety of reasons, but if you’re blogging you sort of owe it to your audience to actually be blogging 🙂
I also made that post at mid-day and I usually get more readership if I post in the early morning. But I picked up a few more folks with my post yesterday about Mt. Rainier. At any rate, I’m thrilled that I haven’t lost all of my readers and hope they will all return eventually.
I’ve been trying to decide what direction this blog should go. Clearly, not all posts can be about a metaphysical experience while hiking through the wilderness. So maybe I should broaden my view and start looking at some of the writing prompts and just bang something out everyday.
Who knows what I’ll come up with . . .
Rabbit Hole: One of the factors interfering with my writing right now being is that I am actually having neurotoxic reactions from handling the laptop. It seems I’ve developed problems with many plastics or else it’s a chemical treatment applied to the plastics. Sad, but it sort of takes the fun out of using the keyboard.
I wasn’t far from the Firepit, sharing time at a primordial level. A visit with the Ancestors. A Community in the Void. To find answers?
Or perhaps just to realize which questions to ask?
The fire crackled as the Earthly aroma permeated the crisp night air. Whorling upward, coiling with widening arms like that of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way. Norma-Cygnus, Sagittarius, Scutum-Crux, and Perseus all reaching outward, embracing you, inebriating you with the release of GrandFather Sun’s stored energy. Burning as brightly as our Dantians within, our Seas of Qi. A dynamism unmatched. A gift from the Great Star Nation.
Where would these forces of Nature take me?
My intuition instructed me to focus on the flames, the smoke, the forming coals, the glowing embers. They took on their characteristic checkered pattern, those coals, the weaving of flames through wood. A braiding down the length of each limb as they wrapped themselves in reverse spirals from the smoke.
But then, something else.
I began seeing symbols etched into these glowing branches. Hieroglyphics, pictographs, petroglyphs, but not carved or drawn in caves, or on stone walls, or in high temples. No these were living, breathing messages from beyond. Ever changing and vanishing with the smoke.
I made mental notes, my own snapshots in time, hoping to recall this mysterious language later. And suddenly two words in English appeared, embedded in those coals.
And then they were gone. Charred ash fallen to the ground. Reduced to the same Stardust of their original carbon composition. Of what we are all hewn from.
I took this as a literal meaning. There are “no limits” to this lifetime. Only limitations we place on ourselves.
But as with all messages of this type, it takes time to solidify, to integrate, to release hidden meanings. Or perhaps synchronous ones.
Present day. I was running through a QiGong routine and one of the standing meditation poses is called Wuji, or the Bear Pose.
As you settle into this position, you are elongating your spine, the Crown of your head is pulled up by an imaginary Golden Thread drawing it up towards the Heavens. You tuck your chin but relax your jaw. Legs are squared off shoulder-length apart, knees in line over feet that are parallel to each other. You bend your knees slightly but don’t lock them. Relax your shoulders and your chest. Your hands are held down in front of you dropping to full arm’s-length, wrists bent at 90 degrees with the palms facing upward. And you sit down [Barely or Bearly 😊],* rolling the end of your sacrum – imagining being connected to a Cord running deep within the Earth’s core – opening “The Gate of Life” or “Power” or the “Point of Origin” [the ‘Mingmen’ point].
You are weightless.
This is also called the “emptiness posture.”
Later in the day, after finishing practicing some Tai Chi forms, I sit in front of my computer looking for a file about the same. And what should I stumble upon, but a file outlining the meaning of Wuji or “Wu Chi.”** I had saved it. For this very day apparently.
Now I’m sure you’ve had days like mine where I start out with an idea of how the day will go, but I diverge from that path. I mean, I already have a scattered thought pattern, and it is more so lately as I have multiple things on my plate.
But today was different. Different in the sense of how I circled back to that moment before the Fire, and a message from six months ago, and how that message ties into absolutely everything.
The file I had saved explained that Wuji or “Wu Chi” refers to the “Unmanifest Aspect of the Tao.” But what is this “Aspect?” It is the “state of non-distinction prior to the differentiation into the Yin and Yang,” which in turn, gave birth to “all of the phenomena of the manifest world.”
Wuji or Wu Chi is subject to several literal translations but, ultimately, they all lead to the words “no” or “none” and “limits” or “extreme boundaries.” Thus, “No Limits.” Emptiness in any movement or activity. In this state of mind and body, “Nothing separates me from my surroundings.”
Or yet another way of looking at that would be nothing separates me from “All My Relations.”
There are many translations of Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Turning to Johnathan Star’s translation of Chapter 28, we find this concept of “No Limits.”
Hold your male side with your female side
Hold your bright side with your dull side
Hold your high side with your low side
Then you will be able to hold the whole world.
When the opposing forces unite within
there comes a power abundant in its giving
and unerring in its effect.
Flowing through everything
It returns one to the First Breath.
It returns one to No Limits.
It returns one to the Uncarved Block.***
When the Block is divided
it becomes something useful
and leaders can rule with just a few pieces.
But the Sage holds the Block complete
Holding all things within himself
he preserves the Great Unity
which cannot be ruled or divided.
There is indeed a state of “No Limits,” but it’s not quite the message as I had originally surmised. It is a return to that infinite, unlimited, boundless, timeless, undifferentiated state of existence.
As I return to the Fire, now blazing in my household, I stare into those flames holding tight to what cannot be held, the limitless state of non-duality. Looking to hold all things within myself, “which cannot be ruled or divided.”
* Rabbit Hole # 1: A note from my Ag School days, I had taken a class in Animal Sanitation and Disease Prevention that was taught by a Veterinarian. This Doctor had served in the Air Force and had assisted with the development of the ejection seat for pilots. Of course, they could not use skilled pilots to test this mechanism out, so they looked for an animal with the same hip structure that could sit down like us humans. You guessed it, they used Bears. They sedated them and sent them, seated in a jet-fueled contraption mimicking the cockpit of a plane, down a railroad track and, at the right moment, blew them up into the sky in their chair hoping the parachute would open. The Vet did not report any Bears getting injured. Just an interesting aside from the so-labeled “Bear Pose” or position, where you sit down, Bearly. 😊
*** Rabbit Hole #3: Various translations of the Tao refer to it as an Uncarved Block of Wood and use this in various descriptive manners. I’ve seen it in Stephen Mitchell’s translation, but I don’t believe I saw it mentioned at all in Witter Bynner’s translation. Mitchell’s is, perhaps, a bit more pragmatic, while Bynner’s is very poetic. Whatever translation of the Tao you may find, enjoy.
Warning: This post is about mystical stuff. If you don’t like that kind of stuff you can stop reading now. 🙂
Quite a few years back in my undergrad days, I had access to the biofeedback lab at the university. The goal was using their machines to lower my heart rate and respirations. To achieve a state of complete relaxation.
The little tones beeping from the machine you wired yourself up to weren’t a distraction but were an adjunct to assist you with hitting the set goals. The rate of the beeping reflected the rate of your heart rate and respirations until you were able to lower them to the desired parameters. Thus, heart rate lowered, respirations decreased, no more beeping.
I would be laying on a mat on the floor. My head on a pillow. The temperature of the room was warm and comfortable.
But while I was relaxing in the lab one day, I experienced a “side effect.” I guess you could call it that. I had a spontaneous vision, or experience, or a visualization; whatever you wish to call it. I discovered, just recently, a term for these experiences – transpersonal.
I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I pulled into this Washington State Park. I wanted to spend a couple of relaxing days on the Ocean. Rejuvenate my body. It’s not that my Mind or Spirit needed rest. My senses had been flooded this trip with such a continual string of breathtaking sights that I was on a natural high. But I had been punishing my Body. Pushing myself to my physical limits and beyond. On the road an average of every six to seven days, without pause, and hiking continuously. I even needed to do some sewing before hiking again, repair my daypack, as I had managed to tear a few holes in it.
Yeah, a few days on a Pacific beach sounded wonderful. And besides, I’d have a new experience of staying in a Yurt.
There is a Place in the Heart where Everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, Senses, Soul, Eternity – All are there.
Are you there?
Enter the Bowl of Vastness that is the Heart.
Give yourself to it with Total Abandon
Quiet Ecstasy is there,
And a steady, regal Sense
Of Resting in a Perfect Spot.
Once you know the Way,
The Nature of Attention will call you to Return.
Again and Again,
And be saturated with Knowing,
I belong here, I am at Home here.
As I attempt to understand the Nature of our Existence, Our Essence, I naturally try to define it with terminology. And I then end up chasing other terminology to define that terminology. This process repeats and stretches on into infinity . . .
At least it does for me.
So, do we really get an answer to those time-worn phrases? Terminology dissects and divides, which is one of the basic problems with understanding just who and what we are.
I began a tradition a couple of years back. A tradition of repeating words. Words that I had written to describe the day and the season we were entering into. I’m a bit late this year as November slipped by, and that’s when I usually re-post this. This November wasn’t as Gray as last, but December is pulling that cloak over this Northern Hemisphere.
While Winter is not officially upon us yet, the days of Autumn have definitely past. Grandfather Sun is still moving South. And the atmosphere is shifting into Gray.
I wrote about this “Gray.” It’s “color.” It’s feel. It’s taste. It’s sounds. It’s moods. And eventually, it’s brightness and it’s “Inner Fire.”
So as we enter this season of hibernation, before the awakening and emerging from the Dream Lodge into the new life of Spring, I share these words again.
Teach me how to trust My Heart, My Mind, My Intuition, My Inner Knowing, The Senses of my Body, The Blessings of my Spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space And Love Beyond my Fear, And thus, Walk in Balance With the passing of each glorious Sun.
– Lakota Prayer
Rainer, The Elk – Stamina and Community by Harold Stearley
Long before Sunrise. Route 431. Leaving Tahoe. Headed North. Some say it’s the direction of Manifestation, others the Coldness and Darkness of Winter.
As per usual, I stumbled upon this fine quote today while I was working on another post. Lovely words, and the picture I chose was from Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.
As you ascend the Ridge, you must pass through these clouds. It is actually raining in there. And when you emerge, you find yourself above the clouds feeling Grandfather Sun’s rays warming you as you peer back through the valleys. It appears that you could simply walk across these clouds, as is the nature of Love . . .
Photo: The Merced River in Yosemite Valley. It is insanely beautiful here. You can marvel at pictures, but they don’t capture the essence. There is great magic here.
You have to be here to truly experience its wonder.
I traveled through Yosemite during the time of COVID restrictions, and the Silver Lining was the number of people inside the park was restricted. The experience was so much more enriched without the pollution of so many humans. 🙂
As the quote would indicate, there is an Art to “Seeing.” To shine a light on differing perspectives. To consider the Nature of a place with more than just “Sight.” To “Feel” it. To soak it all in. And to travel inward for clarity. A view from our Internal Light. Our Heart.
May we all be so bold.
BTW: I stole this quote from my blogging friend, Victoria Ray. You should really check out her blog. I love her writing.
I left you all at a juncture in my story “The Club 66.” So, it’s time to circle back a little. If you don’t remember, check out the last couple of paragraphs.
Disclaimer: I don’t recommend that anyone participate in such a ceremony without proper guidance, intent, and knowledge. Also, since we are all individuals, creatures with complex chemical-electrical systems, there is no way to predict how ingestion of any substance might affect someone. To either their benefit or detriment.
Nor can I offer any guidance in how to interpret such an experience. Words fall far short.