building a beautiful and bountiful world in collaboration with nature

Archive for March, 2012

The Infinite Breath

Inhalation.  Exhalation.  A matched pair, they drive every process in our bodies and most of those happening in the soil.  Have you ever taken a breath, exhaled, and then paused, holding your lungs empty for a moment?  When the next inhalation comes it feels so good, the flow of air in the nostrils, ribs and belly expanding, a delicious inner satisfaction.  I wonder if the soil feels this way when I fluff a compacted garden bed with my fork, a rush of oxygen suddenly available to a billion garden micro-creatures.

Air is the first essential ingredient our bodies, and the soil, require.  We can go a month without food, several days without water, but only minutes without air.  While food is by far the more popular topic, judging by the millions of cookbooks at work in the world and the amount of space in garden books dedicated to discussions of N-P-K, it is air and breathing that are the foundation of all biochemical reactions digesting those recipes and pumping that blood and sap.  The lungs in a soil (capillary space, soil structure) are built through the addition of humus, well-made compost, and the balancing of the calcium and magnesium nutrients.  Together these build that crumbly yet slightly sticky texture that reminds me of a certain stage in mixing butter into flour to make a pie dough.

I have been thinking about the lungs in the soil lately because of my own recent experiences learning to breathe.  I know this seems like something I would have had down for closing-in-on-half-a-century, but I learned otherwise a few weeks ago while taking a voice opening class with Dolli Melanie (www.voiceopening.net. Take one of her classes if you ever have the chance!).  I was lying on my back doing the breathing exercise she was teaching us when Dolli said something about the space inside being infinite.  I suddenly had this picture of an infinite fractal space, of miniature lungs inside each capillary of my lung, containing more miniature lungs, into infinity.  As that image settled in, the floodgates opened and the oxygen poured in.  Really good for the bloodstream!

Since then I step more gingerly on the garden and meadow paths.  I will be more conscientious this year and wait for the soil to dry enough to be worked without injuring that delicate lung space.  I will continue to revel in those spongy, air-holding textures that my plants love too.  I will lay down near my garden beds and together we will breathe, infinitely.

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Planting Seeds in March

I am planting seeds for the summer garden.  Tomatoes and peppers.  Some late leeks and cabbages.  Lettuces and other greens.  Some of these are old seeds that I’ve had for 6 or more years.  Others are new and fresh.  Some are seeds that I saved from favorite tomatoes or prolific arugula plants.  Most were purchased in packages.  All of them hold – somehow! – the template for a plant that will unfold in distinctive steps over the next few months.

For each variety of seed I am planting, I take these living beings and hold them in my hands close to my heart so that they can feel the electromagnetic resonance of this person who is asking them to wake up.  After a minute or so there, I imagine myself fully connected to the Wholeness embedded in this world, and I open my hands and breathe a breath of the Lifeforce circulating in me to them.  Next I hold them open to the sky (I do this in between rain storms) so they can get a sense of where and when they are, and I speak to them words that I hope will help them to orient themselves:  “Welcome to Wild Rose.  It is March in the western Sierra foothills and you are at 2400′ where the black oaks are just starting to give way to Ponderosa pines.  I am planting you in pots today, but in a month or two you will be planted in real soil in the garden here.  Thank you for sharing your energy with me and with my garden.”

I do not believe this ritual is “right” or “best”.  I feel good doing it.  It’s been cold the past 4 days and I see nothing springing quickly forth to green life, which is as it should be with these temperatures.  There are no miracles here, just a sense of keen connection, a long and slow conversation begun with measured tones.  I share it here to inspire you to find your own pathways, those things that can bring you that joyful feeling of participation in a Whole.

The Brainwave of Cooperative Creation

Earth emits a constant signal called the Schuman Resonance. Catriona MacGregor calls it “earthsong” in her book, Partnering with Nature.  Created by the difference in polarity of the solid earth and the atmosphere, especially the ionosphere, this resonance baths us in constant waves of 7.83 Hertz. (Hertz means cycles per second.)  7.83 Hertz lies at the threshold between alpha and theta brainwaves.  There is no firm agreement on where the line between the alpha and theta states lies because, of course, there is no line!  Most charts I’ve seen start the theta state at about 4 Hertz, then transition it to alpha at either 7, 8, or even 9 Hertz. This places the Earthsong of the Schuman Resonance at the deep end of the alpha state or the shallow end of the theta state.

Alpha is the meditative, relaxed yet alert state considered ideal for learning.  Theta is the dream state of rapid eye movement in sleep and the Dreamtime experiences of shamans and aborigines.  It is also considered a very creative state.

In our entangled, quantum world where nothing is a “coincidence”, isn’t it interesting that Earth would bathe us in the frequencies of this relaxed, light dream state?  No wonder so many cares and worries seem to melt away after an hour spent wandering in wilder places.  Left to the dominant frequency of the planet, we are instantly surrounded in the energy of relaxation, meditation, and visioning.  If we decide to take our cue from the planet and engage regularly in this mind state, what will unfold for us?  If we spend time outside practicing this mind state, what will we discover?  The Earth’s vibration is encouraging us to be visionaries and dreamers.  Why not try it?

Several months ago I began to create a place outside, near my home, where I could be in this alpha/theta state.  As I held the original intention for this, I saw in my mind’s eye a good general location.  A few minutes spent wandering in this area led me to the spot that felt – and feels – just right.  A friend suggested leaving some food for the Nature Spirits at this spot – goat milk, bread, honey – and said that it would take them 3 days to utilize all the energy available in the food.  It felt appropriate to me, so I began to bring food gifts with me several times a week.

It has surprised me how quickly the feeling, the energy, of this place has become one of peace and calm and love.  At first I avoided going there when I was in a bad mood because I didn’t want to be dumping those feelings there.  During one extended ugh-feeling period of several days, I felt the spot calling to me for a visit.  I took some food gifts and walked up to the spot, apologizing in my mind for my unstellar state of mind.  As I entered the area I felt so enveloped in loving care that I was able to drop a good chunk of my upset right there and see the situation in a completely new light.  Now, I head straight for help from the Earth and Nature Ones at any sign of an extended upset coming on.

Whether I’m in a good feeling or ugh-feeling state this place relaxes and grounds me.  I find myself connecting to insights and ideas that I’m not sure would otherwise come along.  As I sit, alternately opening up all my senses and following my breath in meditation, I ask the Earth’s advice on the little things.  Where would be the best place to move the electric fencing and have the goats or cows graze?  Sometimes I get answers that surprise me or that seem contrary to my own common sense.  Yet when I take the time to follow through, I have always found it to be good advice.

Am I really talking to Earth or the Nature Ones?  Am I really hearing a response?  Perhaps.  Perhaps I am simply tapping into those 10 billion or more bits of information per second that my other-than-conscious mind is constantly processing.  This is the right brain/subconscious/superconscious mind that by all accounts of those on the leading edge of neuroscience, psychology, and physics is fully capable of creating every element and particle of the world it inhabits.

Look at the busy human world and you will see what the beta brainwave-dominated mind creates. Rational, beta-style thinking is not without value, but the alpha/theta meditative/dream state is also a part of each of us.  Where is yours leading you?  What does it want you to create?  What entangled relationships are wanting to become a part of your life?

The Brainwave of Connection

I’ve had the feeling of being at a wedding for the past week.  I look out the living room window and see our 4-year-old pluot tree all decked out in white, beaming as brightly as any bride I’ve seen. (Pluots – in case you haven’t heard of them – are a cross between a plum and an apricot, and draw from the best of both parents.  The fruit is scrumptious!)  Today, she’s still at it, biophotons all ablaze, in spite of some snow and cold we had a few days ago.  I look at her and marvel at this ever repeating wedding of Sun and Earth, Warm and Cold, Light and Dark.  I watch the bees as they tickle the flowers.  Spring is here!

Looking at the question I’ve posed for this year, “What is the potential ecological role of humans on Earth?”, I’ve realized that this is really a relationship question.  What are the possibilities and potentials available to us in our relationships with the elements, the plants and animals, and the ecosystems we inhabit?  In looking at answers my reading of late has moved into more shamanic territory.  Which means that it’s moved in the direction of the theta brain waves.

There are four common brainwaves, delta, theta, alpha, and beta, and others that are less common such as gamma and epsilon.  Beta is considered normal for everyday activities, alpha and theta are associated with meditation and heightened creativity, delta is deep sleep.  The interesting thing is that our brains run all four of these waves all the time.  It’s just a question of which one is stronger at the moment.  When theta predominates we are in a state of deep meditation, dreaming, or travelling the roads of shamanic journeys.  I heard a rumor over the weekend that Albert Einstein had a trick for making use of his theta state.  He would sit in a chair holding a marble in each hand and then bring himself to a state of deep relaxation.  As he approached that threshold where theta deepens and moves into delta, his hand would relax, the marble would drop, waking him, and he would have a momentary opportunity to catch hold of a really fabulous idea. (I assume this means he had wooden floors with no rugs.)

My latest book, Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness, by Pam Montgomery draws on the information available to us through meditative or altered states as well as on the kind of research I’ve been talking about in this blog: the intelligent nature of plants, the perceptual abilities of our hearts, the information highways created by biophotons, etc.  She couples these to create an understanding of the reality of our connections to plants and plant spirits, a relationship that can be friendship, guidance, or serve to heal oneself or others.

Much of what Montgomery says matches my own experience over the past year.  The process of relating differently to plants and to Earth, the process of discovering our true potential here, begins with a process of relating differently to ourselves.  As I take the time each day (or most days!) to sit for a few minutes and tune in to each of my 5 physical senses in turn, then ask for a peek at what information my Jacobson’s organ has been delivering, and then notice the perceptions of my heart (all the feeling and emotion sensations), I notice myself changing.  I’m more aware of intuitive impulses throughout the day.  I’m more in love with my life than I have been in years.  I count a violet plant among my best friends now.

I enjoy discovering the many ways that science is validating and clarifying what mystics have said for millenia.  The world is composed of light and information (vibration).  It’s as though the Universe is one gigantic nervous system, transmitting huge amounts of information throughout itself each and every second.  Scientists are still squirming as they look consciousness in the face.  They are not yet prepared to go fully forward into the role of co-creators.  Yet all signs point in that direction.

For several months now I have had the sensation of being at the edge of two worlds.  Sometimes I am standing in my usual place, in a world that seems so full of crisis and shadow, yet I am looking at a picture of a world that is whole and magickal and beautiful.  In the next moment I find myself standing in that beautiful, powerful world, looking back at a picture of a world that simply doesn’t know itself, believing itself to be divided into parts.  I find myself taking that divided world less seriously.  The day will come when I will let it go altogether, embracing the wholeness of myself and seeing that reflected in everything I experience.  I suspect that is the wedding the pluot is really wanting to celebrate.  Give in, she tells me.  It’s inevitable, so let it be today.