Sunday, July 15, 2018


THIS IS THE SECOND BLOG ON THE ELEMENTS  
& THE FOUR BEINGS OF NATURE




Architects and all students of eco-psychology understand that nature gives restorative effects. Blues and greens are relaxing colors and are used in surgical environments to help stress. Sunlight is essential for mental health and the lack of it can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) Buildings are often designed to facilitate a restorative effect to prevent the "Sick Building Syndrome." Inmates of jails and hospital patients do better if they have a view of nature out of their windows and prisoners who work in gardens are more healthful. Research has shown that a nature walk is more restorative than an urban one and a backpack trip better than a short hike. Folks who have easy access to natural surroundings are happier if they have "accessible green" available to them. In Bhutan they have a minister of happiness who I'm sure also attends to the accessibility of all humans to the natural beauty of Bhutan's wilderness areas as part of his/her office.

Richard Louv has defined a condition which is real and increasing called the "Nature Deficit Disorder" in his book Last Child in the Woods. The younger generation is being separated from their birth rite by the allure of social media - I phones, I Pads and other enticing technology. Although not a recognized medical disorder it is becoming more and more prevalent. When we isolate ourselves from nature we get sick.
The Gaia hypothesis supposes that nature in all its glory deserves to exist for its own sake and not purely for what it can provide humanity. 
Also!


John Hendee a famous wilderness psychologist once stated that the key to successful tinkering was to keep all the parts. We are losing vital "parts" of the still, growing and wild beings day by day. We may soon be extinct even though nature will probably survive, though never be the same. 

Divine intelligence runs through all our humanly conceived secular parts of it and its ignorant to think we can get rid of one thing without it having a ripple affect. 
The Ancestors would agree that when it comes to the four beings of nature the others are just as important as we are; "we are all one though not the same." We coexist together. 
As Thich Nhat Hanh the Buddhist monk teaches; 
"we inter are."
and the Druids...

All beings are made of the same stuff and are "alive" but just imbued with a different vibration.

The Amazon rain forest is far more important than the possibility that it may carry in its growing beings the cure for cancer and that this alone is the reason to preserve it.

The Ancestors

Global warming or Climate change is overwhelmingly real. We have abused Gaia, ignored her consciousness and have been forgetful of her awesome powers which are now working against us. We may soon be rejected from our own planet by her "immune" defense mechanism because of our behavior. These effects are far more complex than we can imagine and may not be reversible - "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" - is manifesting more and more, day by day.
The Native Americans have warned against the "Red Skies" that are coming. The Mayan doomsday prediction for December 2012 did not manifest exactly then and people said it was another example of the many before predicting that the sky was going to fall when it wasn't. Maybe, however, it was the beginning of the manifestation of this "fall." 

There are also the affects of global warring not only against the different factions of humanity but also wild life such as rhinos and elephants which are in danger of becoming extinct. Lions in South Africa are developing T.B. and also dying.

“If all the beasts were gone,
men would die
from a great loneliness of spirit..."

"Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground they spit upon themselves. This we know. The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to earth. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
Chief Seattle

The maxim think globally but act locally is wise. Also we need above all to attend to our spiritual lives and get our spiritual house in order. This will have a global "Maharishi" like affect. Moreover, we each have a unique gift to help heal the planet. For some it is for the Still Beings, for others the Growing, or the Wild or the Talking. Find one or more of the four that suits your talents to help in some small way.
 The message in this first song from the Ancestors - We CANT do NOTHING, is a double negative so they insist we must do something
and RIGHT NOW!

Click to highlight then play








Sunday, July 8, 2018


THIS NEW SERIES OF BLOGS WILL BE ON THE ELEMENTS


The Ancestors

If we want to connect intimately with the elements we have to look to our primal roots and the hunter-gatherers - my experience has been with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari. This is how we began and indigenous wisdom can direct us back to what we used to know. However, we may have to leave our cognitive brains and the hypnosis of science behind us. In order to hunt and gather and survive in austere environments our ancestors had to go beyond the five senses and tap into their intuitive powers. They would glean information from dreams, trance states, divining techniques, and in the Americas, also mind altering plants which could expand  consciousness. This enabled them to connect with the elements in ways we cannot imagine.
The Ancestors differentiate between the 
Four Beings of Nature. 
Still (rocks, stones, mountains, planets)
Growing (plants and trees)
Wild 
and Talking or Human
Plant growth requires water and healthy soil and were essential to the San for body, mind and spirit.
Body; tools, shelter, food, medicine. 
Mind; the harmony that comes from Gaia in her pristine state,  balancing the challenging polarities of wilderness and connecting with the magic of Nature's "soft fascinations;"
scenes, sunsets/sunrises, moon sets/moon rises, aromas/scents, the mantra of the bush, the sounds of the wind and running water and the daily, monthly and yearly cycles.
The San Bushmen were "meditated" by the power of wild places and entrained to Her rhythms. This was their "scripture" and it lended an extraordinary mind set to people who had no written language. Everything was passed on orally, and in song and dance.
Whenever I visited them over the years I was always struck by their equanimity, lack of judgment of others, unconditional positive regard for each other, unconditional love for children as well as being able to live purely in the moment. Their environment demanded they attend to their needs and what the elements could provide. They also had uncanny psychic skills which clearly went beyond intellect alone.
Nature also provided relatively safe mind-altering entheogens (sacred plants used in ritual) for Native Americans - south and north - which helped them heal and informed them about non local, space time phenomena.
The wild beings provided meat which took second place to a plant based diet but was most desirable, especially fat which gave more energy gram for gram. Bee honey was a special treat.
The hunter gather cannot make fire, use a digging stick, craft a bow and arrow, or build a shelter without the Growing beings ability to provide the tools. These Sprouting beings also provided medicines and sacred plants.
This nature-bound primal being was able to communicate with all Four Beings and their elements in a unique way in line with the Ancestors teachings.



The Ancestors

The San Bushmen are amazing mimics of the animals around them. I have seen them imitate an ostrich or giraffe and after a while it seemed that by dancing ostrich or giraffe they almost became the animal which is also key to the magic of shape shifting. Although he had tuberculosis and was ill when I visited there was a lion shaman whom I was told could shape shift into a lion. The San are now forgetting many of these skills as they lose their habitat, as are other indigenous peoples. Shape shifting was never foreign to the Druids, Native Americans and other Aboriginal peoples. To do this one had to identify with that Being's vibration.
I am sure the San would agree with the Ancestors in so far as...
The Ancestors

 and the Zohar...

Each of the Four Beings of Nature are animated by the 
"Four Winds;"
(breath, spirit, prana, chi, Moya or life force) 
of the Creator, Each, however, has a different vibration. The hunter-gatherers needed to identify with these vibrations to survive using only the elements and these Beings.

The Zohar says; 
"A river arose out of Eden forming Four Rivers and Four Winds..."
The Four sacred rivers coming out of Eden were thought to be the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile and Ganges. Each was animated by 
Four Winds or the Breath of the Divine, 
each to its own particular Being with its own vibration and own nature. This Wind Spirit was in the waters or the consciousness or life force of these rivers - difficult to understand but so is the Creation story.

Click on the link to highlight then play ... more of the mystery described in the Zohar and the Ancestors.




Saturday, June 30, 2018


THIS IS THE LAST BLOG ON THE VARIETIES OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICE -
ENDING OFF WITH NATURE



We have covered the various forms of inner practice over the last several blogs including; 
Mind Meditative - Active or Passive 
Body Meditative - Active or Passive (might include Reiki or massage etc.) 
Breath or Prana 
Sound
Sensory based meditations such as gazing at a candle, using incense, drumming, dancing... 
Spirit Guide practice e.g. offerings, rituals etc. 
 Active forms that include art, writing or playing an instrument.

 Nature.

There is nothing wrong in having more than one practice especially for the Western mind that is so active and gets bored easily. Why not have a core practice but also use others that appeal to one rather than just doing the same meditation each time because of "tradition"? This is especially true for some folks who have difficulty with "sitting" like me. It is better to do a little bit of something inner directed than nothing at all.

For those interested in Wilderness Rapture there is more info. at www.davidcumes.com including a summary pdf of the book Inner Passages Outer Journeys which speaks to using nature as spiritual practice or if you like the "yoga of wild places." 
There are also two music driven, video sensory meditations.
Click on the links to highlight then view and play. 

Fire and Water

Earth and Sky


The Ancestors


For those interested here are some principles that have been extracted from my site regarding being "Inward Bound."

 The closer we can get to Gaia by emulating the hunter-gather archetype as much as possible, the more powerful the effect. Moreover, the greater the likelihood of rapturous experiences and tuning into nature's mystery.
When immersed in nature, and having as little between one and the wilderness as possible the following affects are commonly realized.
  1. Being or feeling more like one’s true Self.
  2. An appreciation of awe, oneness, wonder, transcendence or peak experiences (Maslow.)
  3. Humility and a realization that any control one thinks one has over nature is an illusion.
  4. Becoming more pleasant and affable with oneself and fellow trekkers.
  5. A connection with and a sense of comfort in wilderness.
  6. A sense of renewal, and aliveness, feeling less cluttered, more mindful and focused.
  7. An appreciation of alone time.
  8. Release from bad habits or even addictions.
Before one ventures into the wild outdoors there may be a sense of uneasiness which creates the need for much preparation. There is often a sense of duality. Luther Standing Bear said; 
“It was only when the white man came that wilderness existed.” 
To the Native American there was no such duality. We, however, often feel that we are “here” and wilderness is out “there.” Finally, we enter and imperceptibly become part of nature and a sense of oneness and harmony supervenes.
The experience of "WIlderness Rapture" also may cause a “re-entry depression,” 
which can be considered a manifestation of how potent the inner effect of the journey has been. Many participants experience a sense of loss when they return home. Paradoxically this depression occurs in the face of a demonstrable restorative effect. The re-entry depression seems to be a result of having been in an altered state of consciousness and upon the return there is a dramatic shift as one is propelled back into a normal state of awareness. The severity of the depression is directly related to the inner effect of the journey coupled with the resignation that one must now return to the frustrations of ordinary life. Often the harder the home and work circumstances, the greater the depression. The seeker understands that s/he has been meditated by the power of the Creator's masterpiece. Fortunately the depression is reactive and usually only lasts about three weeks. Intensifying one's spiritual practice on return helps, as does keeping busy.

If we analyze the mystical effect of the wilderness we see these reflect some of the principles of ancient wisdom - such as; being in the present moment, unconditional positive regard for one another, suspending judgment of fellow travelers, coming closer to one’s true sense of Self and being less egocentric and more humble. The ultimate goal of these philosophies is to leave the duality of everyday existence behind and reaching a more profound state of "oneness." It is easy to appreciate a sense of the interconnectedness with all beings - still, growing, wild and talking when one has been out in nature for some time. When we allow ego to subordinate to the real Self in nature “Wilderness Rapture” often occurs. 

The following principles should be kept in mind to facilitate the  journey along with an inner intention.
An attempt should be made to keep as little between one and the wild as is feasible, bearing in mind safety and comfort. The closer we get to the Earth Mother, the more powerful the healing. Nature being feminine can help us embrace the intuitive and creative aspects of ourselves. Endurance or survival-type experiences and time restraints are best avoided with careful planning. If one is a neophyte in nature it is wise to go with a like minded, more skilled group who can support any insecurities one may have.

In addition in summary;

Click on the link to highlight then play


Those that are interested in the phenomenal Bushman out of body Trance Dance and their chanting which facilitates the trance can also check out the short video link below. This experience is testament to the power or nature and their intimacy with Her. The Bushman do not use any mind-altering plants - only rattles around the dancers' ankles with the unique clapping and chanting of the clan!




Sunday, June 24, 2018


NATURE  
THE LAST OF THE BLOGS ON SPIRITUAL PRACTICE




Dave Cumes (Inner Passages Outer Journeys)

Because of the multiples polarities Nature and more especially wild places are rooms with many doors and windows to spirit that can facilitate an active form of sensory meditation.  The Buddha confirmed that spiritual transformation was about finding the middle way - the balancing of polarities and the forces around us - light and dark, positive and negative. 
 Nature has all of these; sun and moon, hot and cold, hungry and satisfied, thirsty and quenched,  invigorated and exhausted, terrified and tranquil.



And
The Ancestors

It is in the balancing of these forces that the magic exists.
Nature can meditate us by its sounds, sights, sunsets, sunrises, smells and rhythms of the moon cycles and seasons. Its with these and the "mantra" of the bush that we can entrain ourselves to the language of Gaia. 
However, many of us use nature as a platform for working out, excitement or performing; jogging, cycling, windsurfing, canyoneering, rock climbing, kite sailing etc. Although this can be stress busting and will sometimes lead to transcendent experiences this is more easily found with an inner intention - preferably alone or in silence. 
Even our language often has a militaristic or a macho tone to it. We bag peaks, run rivers, master our skills and conquer mountains... 
Connecting with the Earth Mother by default must be more of a feminine, intuitive experience.

A Oneness Experience occurs when 
The Knower, The Known and the process of Knowing
fuse into one thing - so called Unity Consciousness which could also be described as Maslow's Peak Experience or even as a mini-Samadhi. For instance this mystical encounter with Yosemite Valley described by Bunnell, one of the first non-natives to have ever seen it.



These experiences are common in nature.
Anyone interested in the concept of Wilderness Rapture and using nature as spiritual practice can download the summary pdf of Inner Passages Outer Journeys from my web site (now out of print) or borrow it from our office or even find it on Amazon. Nature is a powerful catalyst for spiritual transformation if entered with inner intent. My experience is that by going into wild places and being "Inward Bound" transcendent experiences are common - the longer one is out there the better - five days is ideal.


 We can also find the "Magic of the Ordinary" in nature that is all around us, walking on the beach, in a park or gardening but done 
for its own sake 
and not to look good or achieve anything at all.

This rapture is...
The Ancestors



It certainly helps to have awesome vistas

The Ancestors

Nature is the Creator's masterpiece and it is easy to find harmony, peace and equanimity in the Garden of Eden archetype.


Wilderness an amazing template for change.
So for the more adventurous among you; a backpacking experience, a cabin in the woods or anything that allows as little between you and nature or wilderness as possible is likely to have the greatest impact even if not necessarily being the most comfortable.
Click to highlight and the play
_-_MP3s/01_Waters.mp3









Sunday, June 10, 2018


ACTIVE MEDITATIONS ARE VERY MUCH ENDORSED BY THE ANCESTORS 
BUT WITH THE USE OF THE SENSES


The Ancestors 


Anything sensory goes with this type of meditation; reading poetry, eating a piece of chocolate and being in the moment with the taste or watching a lighted candle or a fire and maybe while listening to an inwardly directed musical vibration of your choice.
The Ancestors

 Equanimity can be ongoing in our day to day lives if we recognize the Creator in everything and are able to see the "Magic of the  Ordinary." We can have awe, reverence, gratitude and joy for the smallest things such as a spiders web or the structure in a leaf.
In other words an exquisite awareness is also a form of active meditation bound more to the sensory (often in nature) rather than the "noticing" in Vipassana or Mindfulness meditation which is also active.
There are also active physical inner practices such as Chi Gong, Yoga etc. but the focus is on the activity and not contemplation.
"Active meditation animates and intensifies inner thoughts to help concentration, reflection and contemplation. It engages metal faculties to a directed focus."
The Ancestors

Imagination is a form of active meditation and the songs below describe the qualities and benefits.
In the words of the Ancestors.

"We must conjour our thought with care both carefully and care-ingly.
Imagination allows the vision. Intent sustains its potential. Acting with trust manifest it. To think like God is to imagine. As you think it so it can be. As you imagine it also it can be. As you believe it so it will be! Imagination greatly affects our lives."

Poetic license had been used in order to fit their words to their song. The original prose is more beautiful but the tune makes up for it.

Click on the link to highlight then play


"You create your reality. You are as you imagine and believe yourself to be. 
Soul's intention is empowered with imagination. Whatever the heart yearns can be imagined. It is only for the will to activate. Imagination allows the vision. Intent sustains its potential. Acting with trust and surrender actualizes with faith, belief and love. Words and imaging are essential for the subconscious to act and are most effective around sleep. Imagination is dormant unless activated by love (feeling.) Intent is made real by imagining in detail. What is not imagined cannot be fulfilled. 
Soul imaging is best heard with the senses."


Click on the link to highlight then play



Saturday, June 2, 2018


 SOUND AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE



The vibration of the music is key. Music can be used for light of dark purpose. Soldiers have walked into battle to kill or be killed under the influence of a particular vibration of music. Other genres of music such as heavy metal and Rap can be violent. 
Sacred sound may reflect an essence of the so called
Music of the Spheres and also the Celtic Oran Mor - the sacred tune of the universe.
We will say more about this in a future blog regarding nature as meditative practice and especially in Africa - the mantra of the bush.
The Ancestors

The Ancestors teach that sensory driven inner practices can be extremely powerful - "the way to God is through the senses."

Sound can be a powerful form of meditation such as chanting the Ohm or sacred mantras. The words carry more power to the sound. Music enhances guided imagery and other forms of imaginary contemplations or imaginations used to achieve an objective, especially healing. Chanting in the form of a mantra or something simple and repetitive is more powerful than songs with lyrics which can divert our meditative focus. 
Research has shown that guided imagery of one's gymnastic routine is almost as effective as the physical practice in obtaining results and may be a way of assisting the athlete in getting into the "zone" - a meditative and profoundly functional state during performance. 




David the Psalmist once sang;
"from the sound of my sighing has my essence (my soul) cleaved onto my flesh (my body.)"
(No doubt his psalms were also sung rather than spoken.)

The Ancestors

With inner practice body and soul can be at one with one another - "... from the sound of my sighing ..."
The soul is pure and with "sex, drugs and rock and roll''  or the irresponsible immersion in sentient pleasures the soul separates from the body. If this is ongoing it causes soul sickness or worse still even soul loss. The soul which is pure and made in the image of the Divine - checks out and "leaves." Sacred sound is a way of bringing the soul back into one's body. This can be a horn (the shofar is especially piercing and shattering), a didgeridoo, Tibetan and crystal bowls, gongs, chanting, rattling, singing, drumming, whatever, as long as the intention is to connect with spirit and the vibration of the sound suits that intention.



The Ancestors


Click on the links to highlight and then play to see if these Chassidic chant vibrations suits you. Ohm and other Eastern chants can be sampled on line. Each of us to our own. You may prefer classical music or Gregorian chants.

_MP3s/16_Tzahal_Hashem.mp3




Sunday, May 27, 2018



 BREATH MEDITATION OR PRANAYAMA



One of the most profound and easiest form of Active Meditation is using the breath. In many forms of meditation one is told to follow the breath. Thich Nhat Hanh the Vietnamese Buddhist monk teaches;
"Breathing in I am following my in breath to the end. Breathing out I am following my out breath to the end."
However, this is really a passive form of breath meditation with a mantra. One can make it active with Yoga Ujjayi pranayama by actively creating sound. This form is commonly used in Yoga asana practice to fortify the movements. In expansion one usually breaths in and with contraction one breaths out in the poses. 
It can also be used at any time to invoke a relaxation or parasympathetic response and its effects can be immediate in times of stress. The active expression of making an "ocean" sound can be profound. Having practiced Asana Yoga for many years I have found this to be the easiest form of active meditation for me, especially when performing yoga postures and in stressful situations. The ocean or "Darth Vedar" sound is created during diaphragmatic breathing by constricting the glottis as air passes in and out. In the beginning it is easily done with the exhalation but with time can with time be managed during the inhalation as well. The calming and spiritual effects occur no matter how unskilled you are at first. It can be better explained by searching You Tube. Check it out and after 5-10 minutes of practice stop, open your eyes and see how the world looks? 
Eventually length and speed are controlled - longer is better and inhalation should be more or less equal to exhalation. It should be effortless without straining. Lamaze breathing used so commonly in childbirth more than likely is based on this ancient Yoga practice. Both also work during any surgical or medical procedures.

It is useful to look at some of the abnormal ways we breath at times which create tension and a sympathetic stress rather than a parasympathetic meditative relaxation response.

Reverse or Chest Breathing occurs when the abdomen moves in on the inhale and out on the exhale. With Diaphragmatic breathing which is more meditative the reverse should occur. By relaxing, lying on a flat surface and putting one's hand on the abdomen one can feel the hand rise on the inhale if one is using the diaphragm and fall on the exhale. Reverse or chest breathing occurs with restrictive clothing and when we are trying to look good with our posture by pulling in our abdominal muscles.
Hyperventilation can be present when we are stressed and can be very subtle. If severe it can cause one to blow off too much carbon dioxide and when this occurs in the blood stream the active calcium level drops leading to muscle spams, commonly tetany in the hands. It is corrected by rebreathing into a paper bag to the normalize ones blood CO2 and calcium .
Frequently when we are unaware and stressed we have a Collapsed breathing pattern where we are hardly breathing at all. This is easily remedied by invoking Ujjai. A more extreme form occurs with Frozen breathing for instance when we jump into cold water and the breath is suppressed from the sudden change in temperature.
Which one "happens" to you when you are stressed or very focused on a project? 
Ujjai rapidly over rides and corrects all of these.

The Ancestors 

There are numerous forms of Pranayama best learned with an experienced teacher but the two I recommend for non Yogis are Ujjai (or Victorious breath) and Alternative Nostril breathing. 
It is useful, however, to realize that there are three phases of breathing;
Puraka, Inhalation
Rechaka, Exhalation.
 And when the normal brief plateau in between is turned into breath holding this is called Kumbhaka. This phase is key to the deeper forms of Pranayamic experience. 
Pranayama is said to balance the sun and moon energy channels which spiral up the spine encompassing the chakras and the central channel. When these energy channels are balanced perfectly the feminine, Shakti, Kundalini, serpent power which resides at the base of the spine is awakened and can move up the spinal column energizing the chakras and creating polarity balance. If there is perfect balance and it reaches the crown chakra where the Shiva male principle resides the 
Oneness experience or Unity Consciousness is induced where the "Knower, the Known and the process of Knowing"
fuse into one thing. 
Alternative nostril breathing especially is supposed to balance the sun and moon. Check it out on line - it is also simple to do.
Below is an example of a oneness experience or what Maslow might have called a Peak experience written by Bunnell one of the party of pioneers who first entered Yosemite valley. In this instance nature was the yoga.


 The diaphragm is key to moving energy from the lower three chakras (representing earth, water, fire) into the upper chakras of air and eventually "ether." It also opens the fourth or heart chakra.
See figures below; the first shows the Sun and Moon channels spiraling up the central channel and ending in the nostrils - the second one is schematic.


"What is God? The breath within the breath." Kabir






Click on the link to highlight then play and focus on the breath

-_MP3s/06_Cosmic_Meditation.mp3