Saturday, March 22, 2014

This weeks blog is on Primal, Primeval and Primitive Experience and Humility and Subordination of the Ego

“As you simplify your life the laws of the universe will be simpler. Solitude will not be solitude. Poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” Thoreau

1)  Receptivity and Intent 
2)  Fear and Stress 
3)  Sacred Space and Special Environment 
4)  Connection With Metaphors, Archetypes, and Signs 
5)  Primal, Primeval, and Primitive Experiences 
6)  Humility and Subordination of the Ego 
7)  Peeling Away The Levels of Consciousness Leading to Self Awareness, Peak Experiences, or Moments of Transcendence

Primal, Primeval and Primitive Experiences
Primal, primeval and primitive experiences can help us connect with our cellular memory and the inherited intelligence of our DNA. By tapping back into the primitive we can make contact with this long forgotten part of ourselves, and wilderness is the best place to do so. 

The analogy of the African weaver bird fits here. One can bring a weaver bird out of the wild into captivity and away from other weaver birds weaving their intricate nests. Subsequent generations of these birds will continue to know how to weave nests in spite of having no contact with other birds doing so. This is an expression of instinct residing in non-learned behavior. We have similar non-learned intuitions and instincts we can tap into in the wild if given the opportunity. It is not so long ago that we were all rooted in wilderness as hunter-gatherers. This is why spending time with the last surviving hunter gatherers and experiencing and feeling what we once knew and how we survived can be so life transforming. Making fire with two sticks can be a profound spiritual experience taking us back to our origins.
Since Africa is the cradle of man where we all originated, it is no coincidence that this is the most compelling place to tap into such a power. We are open to these intangible benefits by connecting with the primitive force in any wilderness environment, but it is particularly available on the African continent. Our being is imprinted with long forgotten instincts and this may be the reason that many people who travel to this vast continent feel a strong sense of connection and de ja vu.
The ability of the San Bushmen to dance and trance, control fire and leave their bodies to negotiate the spirit work is a testament to this power. It is the purity of the hunter gatherer life style that enables this phenomenon. This birthright can also be ours if we listen to the wisdom of Thoreau's words above.

Bushman healer in deep trance or what is also called the "little death." This particular shaman was in danger of not coming back from the spirit world..
Bushman shaman in trance immersing his head in the flames without later evidence of any burn

Humility and Subordination of the Ego
When the ego dissolves we can come into a greater appreciation of our true selves. For those without sophisticated esoteric techniques such as meditation, breath work and sensory withdrawal, wilderness is an easy way. Wild places "meditate you," whether you are aware of it or not. It makes us humble by bringing forth recognition of how insignificant we are. A feeling of having to control gives way to a feeling of letting things be. If one tries to control and conquer becoming an adversary to wilderness, it usually will show us in no uncertain terms who is boss. Ego is the single most dangerous factor leading to disaster situations in nature. It is pride that comes before the fall, which may turn out to be many thousands of feet. The complications of high altitude sickness, such as pulmonary and cerebral edema (an excess of fluid that can settle in the lungs or the brain) that can be lethal, are more common in a group setting. This is probably due to peer pressure and a reluctance of individuals to let the party know how they are feeling lest they hold everyone back or be perceived as not being able to "take it." In wilderness, discretion is the better part of valor and wisdom should supersede ego. The feminine approach is usually safer in wilderness, an aggressive macho attitude can lead to disaster. Humility and subordination of ego facilitate the inward journey into the transcendent, and it is this journey that is likely to be physically safer as well. Egomaniacal attitudes and machismo cause one to focus on goal-oriented behavior and achieving, which inhibit access to the transcendent and can be fraught with disaster. One only need listen to some of the stories on trail as well as read some of the best selling novels on survival situations, to realize it was often bad judgment and ego that got them there in the first place. Nevertheless, it is a tribute to the human spirit that, even though ego does get people into precarious situations, there are hidden forces that can help them get out again and this too can be transformational.

By tuning into nature we are able to glean crucial information that bubbles up in dreams, from our intuitive side, the "third eye," or from our guardian spirits that can keep us out of trouble. The critical thing is to pay attention to them since they often pop up only to be ignored.

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