This was the frontispiece of the Whole Earth Catalog that did much to alter consciousness in 1969. I remember coming across a newer version of it at Okanagan college in the 90’s and it did its part in expanding my consciousness as well. From there i read about Lloyd Kahn’s wonderful book Shelter and after finding it at a used book store the seed had been planted for my journey into building natural healthy shelter.
This article is not about the physical shelter directly but more about the meta-physical shelter of the idea of spirit or soul
If you want the nuts and bolts of this article scroll down to the red text. If you want my intro then read on…
I can readily grasp the idea of body and with a bit of calm, deep breathing to oxygenate the brain I can readily grasp the more abstract concept of mind. But what of this idea of spirit or soul? Most, if not all, wars and premature deaths are fought on the physical plane in light of this meta-physical plane either due to a complete disconnect from our spirit/soul or due to an argument about what it is and is not.
It is obviously of concern and one way i can start to understand it is if i consider that we are not humans having a spiritual experience but spirit having a human experience. We have lost our way and one of the main goals here, if not the main goal, is to find our way once again.
Which leads me to this idea that there are at least 100 ways to bow and great the Earth and its creator. I would like to share one refreshing way with you. I hope it refreshes you as it has me. May your path be blessed and full of wonder, peace, love, and harmony as you find your way…
I have been swept by the music of kirtan. Kirtan means ‘to repeat’ the word of God, to repeat the highest praises of that which is holy, blissful, peaceful, loving and beautiful of this creation. I came by it in the oddest way. Last summer i was timber framing with the team i work with and, as usual, we were listening to the local radio station at work. For a week i had a couple rock and roll songs repeating through my head like a broken record. The lyrics and jingle were like hooks in my mind and i couldn’t seem to get them to stop repeating in my mind. I realized that the lyrics were negative, sexist, violent and outright dismal and here i was chanting them for days on end. As the song was replayed every day several times a day, i was getting frustrated.
Driving home that day i blurted out loud to the universe or the truck radio, ‘if i’m going to be brainwashed with words and melody, could they please be ones of uplifting positivity, peace, joy and harmony!’ The next week a friend of the family dropped off a kirtan cd by a woman that is american but trained in the vocal tradition of kirtan. It was for children but the lyrics were completely positive and uplifting and i guess the child in me awoke and took to it immediately. My wife and i listened to it more than our kids LOL.
Anyways, her name is Snatam Kaur. She is from Oregon and has a truly beautiful voice that uplifts. We had the honor of taking our children to hear her sing last week in Vancouver on her world tour.
Snatam’s guru is Yogi Bhajan. A guru is someone who sheds light upon the darkness. There is a yoga school in Kitsilano, Vancouver called Yoga West that teaches his form of yoga called Kundalini. Kundalini means coil and refers to the latent/dormant energy that lays coiled at the base of the spine. This dormant energy is universal consciousness (paramatma) and is obviously dormant in some and awakened in others. This yoga is meant to awaken and harness this energy.
Here is an excerpt from Yogi Bhajan’s book ‘The Mind’ which i highly recommend for anyone awakening to universal consciousness.
Chapter 10: Recognize Your Reality (i am only quoting parts of this chapter that impressed upon me)
Sadhana. That is where you sit, dwell in the thoughts and words of the soul, and peel away all your non-reality with the vastness of your spirit (aka meditation/contemplation my words). If you train your mind this way, then you will discover something for your self. If you live i absolute fearlessness, God will live in you because fear and truth cannot go together.
…Rise in the (early) morning (the nectar hours), clean yourself, exercise, and direct your mind to Infinity. Simple. But the mind knows, it is definitely aware of your effort and even the intentions of the effort. The mind is above time and space. It calculates the impact and consequence. That little act of sadhana will contain your mind and make your consciousness the ruler. Your mind through its own nature forms a self-concept of you within the mind. It is an identical identity which is not the real you (Eckhart Tolle is onto the same thing here). Sadhana puts you with you. The soul which is Infinite is also above time and space. Your mind knows it. It (ego) reacts against that touch of consciousness because it will lose the control, the leverage of the fears.
As soon as you do a sadhana you will automatically begin to live more righteously and sensitively. The first sign of that practice is that your “friends” will begin to leave you. Why? Because who are your friends? Normally, your friends are there by fate and circumstance, not by consciousness and commitment. They are friends of your habits. When you become a friend of your consciousness and dwell with God, you do not need friends. You may have many friends. But how could you be lonely? How could you feel needy and form connections out of emotions and temperamental reflexes? That is the truth. Can you confront that truth? Can you realize and live the truth? Yes! Because it is all in you, and sadhana can bring your mind to your refinement and reality.
Every human being is by nature very honest. All that dishonesty you see displayed is done out of fear….You live like a bunch of Mr. Fears and Ms. Fears. All your actions and friendships form out of fear, fear, and more fear. You are not creating from your truth, out of relaxation, and out of love…
When you read and listen to the words of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (It is a collection of hymns or shabad, which describe the qualities of God and why one should meditate on God’s name.), it is nothing but your own infinite personality. Your mind dwells in your consciousness. When you read and recite it you always hear the truth, and hear it regardless of the state and strategies of your mind (ego). It is beyond time and space. When you begin and you read the words, Ek ong kaar, there is one Infinite consciousness in all creation, it is your presence (Eckhart Tolle). The Siri Guru Granth Sahib is your infinite presence. It reads like this:
There is one Creator and this is the gift of that One True Guru.
The Creator of all is One, Truth is His (Her/Its) Name, He (She/It) is the doer of everything,
fearless and revengeless, undying, unborn, and self-illumined.
This is revealed through the True Guru’s Grace. Meditate!
True in the beginning, True through all the ages, True even now,
O Nanak, He (She/It) shall ever be true.
By thinking and thinking upon the nature of God,
no knowledge of Him (Her/It) is ever attained…
…There is no conflict with any other person. There is no personality to confront. Then the reality of you within you is in reach. It is that core personality of you, your consciousness that you must recognize. Then the mind will not amplify and manipulate your fears. The moment you have no fear, when you are fearless and revengeless, you are the living God. God does not live off in some heavens. God lives in every heart. In hearts where there is fear, the God is in trouble, and non-reality brings a lot of pain…
The story of the soul’s journey goes something like this. As the soul was told to go, it hesitated. It asked God, “What if i need you immediately and ther is no time at all? What can i do?” It was then that God gave the first lesson of the soul. God said, “Just recognize me. Say to your self, ‘I am the God’.” There is no real separation between you and God. You are only now seeking to understand and experience your self as part of God with a sole proprietorship on the soul (this is the shift we are now experiencing this past 40 years from one 2000 year cycle to the next, from Piscean to Aquarian, see here for the Vedic understanding of time which is also in harmony with the Mayan http://www.sanskritmantra.com/brahma.htm). In stead you still want to be recognized for your hairdo, your car, your this and your that. You act like you are blind and emotional jerks. The the soul asked, “I am part of You and You are part of me. But what if all that time and space get in between us? What can i do?” God said, “Don’t worry. I have given you the mind. It is faster than time and space. You can reach me no matter where you are. The mind will serve you three ways. When it is neutral it will recognize the truth (this is observing or witnessing the observer or observing without judgement or ego (Eckhart Tolle)). When it is positive it will tell you the right direction to go and what good can be done. When it is negative it will warn you and protect you from harm and badness.”
The mind is your servant to master time and space and to always find a way to connect with the Infinite (universal consciousness, the field of infinite potentiality (physics)). To tap this intelligence in the mind say to your self: “I am Thee. Thou is me. Me is Though. I am thee.” Play with it. Repeat it in rhythm. It has the naad. It penetrates the subconscious and reminds you that you are neither alone nor separated (rabid individuals, ego driven). Then the soul wondered, “What if I have forgotten all this? How can i remember?” Close your eyes and speak truthfully, and for God’s sake feel it. Speak it fearlessly and with your whole heart. When you are caught in time and space say, “God and Me, Me and God are One.” Every layman can say it. Put your mind and emotion in it.
You are never separated from God or your soul. You come to this planet not to seek anything. You come to recognize God and realize your soul. That is where y0ur training and the religions have failed you. You were brainwashed to believe you had to seek God or seek Truth, as if you were not part of that and did not have it (Qi Gong practice teaches that there is an inherent truth and wisdom in the present moment if you can focus your mind there). I know this may seem against every tradition: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and even Buddhism. But that is only how you have learned…
[The function of a Guru is] to dispel the darkness.And what is your darkness? Fear. When you act out of fear you try to draw attention to yourself out of any insanity you can create. Seeking the attention comes from your darkness and insanity. Creativity and love come from your sensitivity. A developed sensitivity in character gives you commitment. Commitment in turn gives you more sensitivity of character. They are interrelated. That is how this planet runs. No matter how many millions of suns rise and moons come, there will still be darkness without the touch of the Guru.
I know this can be hard to hear. Some people are afraid to speak with me or any truthful person. But i am not against anybody. People are afraid, because when you hear truth, you also get exposed to your own lies. You don’t want to hear that. All right, it is a choice. Don’t hear it now. ONe day time will tell you in another way. That will be very painful. I serve the House of the Guru. I will still be here, sitting and serving. Why won’t you be as God made you to be? Why won’t you just go and be who you are? Why not recognize your reality rather than pretend and project differently than you are?
Which brings us back to sadhana (meditation/contemplation).
Yogi Bhajan ‘The Mind’ Chapter 10