One lumen is approximately equal to the amount of light put out by one birthday candle that’s one foot away from you. My Huawei P30 Pro can take a clear photo of a scene lit by one lumen. This fact let’s me assume no scene is beyond its low light capability. Nothing is uncapturable.
When unlit outdoor darkness prevails, however, I return to recall my west Wales country nightwalk in November.
The effect of placing one foot in front of another in pitch dark is to strip away all conscious processing of visual input, and enter that un-modern, uncivilised, unlit, unvectored, primordial space.
Here all mental activity is reduced to one cause and two effects, just as it is for all life in survival mode. Base animal instinct reactions take over.
Alone in the dark countryside there is only either no trigger, or one trigger which releases an Either Or response. These bypass thought. These occupy 360 degrees of visceral attention – hairs raised, breath bated.
When I was walking round Ysbyty Ystwyth, the slightest sound carried this message. On it all military training is built. I rejoiced to recognise it as belonging to me and my kin from well before I ever was born! Clear and loud and deep in my body it is, “Either it eats me; or I eat it!”
Become animal then, I am returned to my origin, forever changed. Respect is due to the universal drivers of survival
Whenever I hear someone’s story of their 360° round trip on these rivers of tears, I feel a mix of compassionate pain and frustration at their unnecessary journey.
My gut says, “It ain’t necessarily so!”, because it puts me in mind of those circular journeys of solitary despair I knew so well.
I am a soul filled with a joyful heart. I am blessed with this grace because my heart has beat to its own time, while I lived and breathed through suffering.
I must state my position.
Many years I spent with my heart uncomprehendingly engaged in a mood of gloom. I lived close to the edge of the world. I could only grieve for the beautiful security of how things were, because I had lost contact with that most natural of gifts that all sentient beings share – to love to live in the flow of the present moment.
This flow of the lived living moment is the dance of life we can watch on any street corner all the world over, where children play, yell, and enjoy their own company.
The will to live – that resource of legendary power – knows no past or future. If I live in the fullness of this present moment, I know nothing of any “threat” to my existence, because a threat can only exist in the context of the future-in-the-past.
Similarly, if all I am is joy-of-present, I shall have no care for the past. The reality available to innocent babies and to all young sentient living beings is reality both all-encompassing and intensely personal, exactly as the Universe is both personal and vast.
This reality is a self-awareness welded to and bonded with the will to live.
For the new-born, so for our grosser adult selves – we have an imperative to survive. Survival is the expression of our dependence on billions of iterations of our ancient genes in the moment-to-moment.
Mercifully, survival is maintained by autonomous life systems. The “test” – that all-out awful emergency – is rarely handed over to us that we shall be obliged to take full responsibility for our survival.
The continuum between life and death, the fulcrum of existence, is as a magnificence. A magnificence removed from the tick-tock of time, contained in and available to us in the Grace of Present Here-and-Now.
In my late teens, before I ‘dropped out’, I searched for and found a precious union. I cleaved to “haeceity”, to the THISNESS of things. It hardly matters here what association this had to mainstream thought, the important fact is that this understanding of the essential nature of reality remains with me still today.
This found communion with the simplicity of “What is” is my bedrock, my source of strength, healthy well-being, and healing. It is also my ever-available portal to the most sacred space in the heart containing the source of endless peace and love, present in us all and available to us all, from which we come and to which we all return.
The ability to approach and become contiguous with the uncomplicated bliss of “What is” literally saved my sanity and on occasion my life.
After this, in my lost years (20 to 25) I became troubled with abnormal mood fluctuations, and was dependent on pharmaceutical and hospital support. My withdrawal from society caused much anxiety and pain to my family and friends. My parents did all they could to help me, though at times they feared for my safe future.
Arguably there have been several early-life traumas which predisposed me to this. I have been privileged to revisit my Inner Child, and I spent invaluable hours – under direction of my Shamanic Healer here in Bournemouth where I live now – in precious, if at times painful, discovery of the selfless love of that little boy.
The small boy-child I was took it on his own advisement to loyally support me during my early years trauma. I see now I owe a sacred debt of gratitude for his compassionate and unconditional love which ultimately made possible my release from early trauma.
With the dominance of low mood during those years, I lost my former ability to connect to the flow of the present moment. It felt like a bitter-sweetness, a sorry addiction to sorrow, much like a drug. For extended periods of time, probably prolonged by tranquillisers, this was my emotional home.
Mental states at unnatural levels of modulation had determined that I ascribed meaning to both thoughts and situations which in “logical reality” hold no more significance than the superficiality of the fleeting moment.
Here is my understanding of something central to the way we can lose our firm hold on the balance of our mental health.
An enormous burden of energy is required to deal with the trivia of day-to-day living as if they are issues of crucial importance. We maintain a healthy working equilibrium most of the time without much conscious thought.
We can be well served if we can be made to see from an early age the value of living “in the moment”. With the knowledge of these practices (living mindfully) comes the ability to apply personal choice to the management of an individual’s state of mind.
If we have prior understanding about how much importance to give to our thought patterns, we may be equipped to make choices in good time, when we are still inclined to seek help.
The starting-point when a person begins to regard the trivia of day-to-day living and their accompanying thoughts as if they are issues of critical importance, could be a jumping-off point into spiral, nonlinear thinking and decision-making.
From this superposition of the minutia of trivial thoughts on the conscious mind it is not far to go to arrive in the insoluble confusion of the unknown.
Then comes Chaos – a total loss of the ability to assume responsibility for one’s thought and actions.
The problem that got to be crippling for me was that for a time I lost the objective ability to recognise superficiality for the extraordinary gift it is – the delightful sparkling flow of the fleeting moment.
This led to overwhelming feelings of banishment from the world of other people, who I observed as enjoying superficial speech and actions unperturbed by states of hyper self-consciousness.
I now believe that there is a common denominator underlying the pain and helplessness of mental health sufferers. It is a common factor also for those who have tried with all their might to reunite with their sense of belonging in the world.
Without co-ownership of self, and without some sort of recognition of the THISNESS of the existence we all share in common – from the state of being of the humble Lacewing, to the imperturbably powerful outpouring of electromagnetic radiation in the Cosmos – peace of mind, communion with one’s own heart can seem constantly unattainable.
It is a vital life-affirming truth that the only constant is transience.
We all rely on the unconditional acceptance of the flow of the fleeting moment for our conscious awareness to stabilise on a Single-point of unquestioned reference so that we can make moment-to-moment judgements and take necessary decisions at a most elementary level at the prompting of humdrum and fluctuating local circumstances.
Our innate condition is predicated on nothing more than our existence in physical form and our awareness in the Universe of objects and sentience. These are the fundamental reasons we are alive and we remain alive.
Life in us begins without our conscious volition, but we risk everything, the disturbance of our balance, even our sanity, if we continue in life as if life were external to us.
A life fully lived is lived in the passionate and impassioned understanding of life’s array of power and beauty.
Visions of beauty and power are instantly available to those who make the effort to recognise themselves as transient bearers of their portion of brilliance in the array.
Key to the recognition of their own beauty and power is the acceptance of the moment – the EveryNow – as life’s vessel and array.
I coined the word EveryNow in early 2016 to denote a cherished elevated state of being. The word has its roots in the understanding of the illusory nature of clinging to this or that, be it mood, perception, mode of thought, or time itself!
Mine is a story of 50 years of redemption and salvation. No other response than humility and continuous gratitude will do.
I devote much of my time and energy to show how immediate, powerful and freely available is the juicy goodness of the force that some call the life force, others, the will to live, and still more know by words like love, hope, peace, heart, spirit. Alas! So few take the trouble to step over the threshold of words and… love to live!
Here and there grows a noisiness, a rowdiness, a clamour of intimacy when rambling along such country footpaths.
So much is going on, it’s like I’m straying onto a major sports arena in full cry, or a merry musical gathering of the clans.
Along the verdant corridors of spring and summer, smells, sounds, sunlight and shadow build the atmosphere into a fairground, like a local village fair.
I slow down, I stroll through. I am an animal, welcome to enter their vegetable world.
I animal, and they vegetable, we are engaged in crunching numbers, each in our way arriving at new results by recombinant synergies.
The insects I know are here, I cannot quite see. They are sweetly intent on survival.
Two paces in front of me, something in the way giant me disturbs the air around their tiny selves compels them into instant propulsion.
Zero-to-Cheerio in less than the blink of my eye. Gone. Undiscoverable except to their own kind!
When the busy enclosed path opens out at last, the sounds of silence simply reappear, I and my awareness are thrown back to bump up against each other again, a Great Bell Chant leading me from my heart.
My feet take up the beat and the starship of my body is alone again in the vast unknown mysterious reaches of the Big Green
The more I find out about myself, the less I need to try to be me, because I see I am everyone. Everyone is a Pixel of Humanity.
We are born out of love, with our share from birth of the mysteries of the creative power of peace.
All individuals arrive with the fabulous history of our birth. We are all formed by the essences of peace and love, which are the foundations of continuing primitive survival.
From the time we can conceive of our own truth, those truths are understood as elemented by peace and love.
What are those powerful moments of our earliest understanding of some essential shared truth about our condition, if they are not moments of powerful peace?
Ah, the beauty of our very first rainbow? The first reveals of the answer to “am I alone?”
There are ways to find myself. It can be like mining for treasure. The essential nature of the individual is Peace and Love. When I see these as starting points for finding my truths, then the truths of myself are seen as the same as the truths of all others. This is the basis of the compassionate view.
The amazing thing that comes from the compassionate view is that we all suffer through the time of our birth and on from there for all our days.
The will to search for the ways to remove that suffering is powered by our will to survive hand-in-hand with original will to live.
The common values we share are seeded by our ‘birth-day’ gifts of peace and love which we protect and nourish with our instincts of survival.
How we choose to do this throughout life is what can add value throughout our time alive for ourselves and most importantly for others.
Our choices can make us amazing. Our choices can also lead us into a living death, as with acts of savage barbary.
We all have unlimited potential for realising our value through compassionate action.
Choose to discover your heart. It is no speleological expedition! Simply smile towards your heart, and your heart will smile back at you with all the disarming heat of the first smile of recognition between lovers!
Wear your heart on your sleeve.
The more I know about my heart, the more I love how my heart loves me, and the more I know myself to be everyone.
Since March 2014, out of curiosity more than from an acknowledged need, I started working with a wonderful shamanic healer.
I had no inkling I had endured ‘that childhood’ until it appeared clearly in front of me.
These traumatic strata, though buried and covered by scar tissue, I know now from my own experiences, can be identified, visualized in an adult context, lifted out of ancient hiding and, when seen in the bright light of my adult recognition, taken in both hands and dissolved forever.
This is hard work. It demands courage and determination to confront emotions which are painful and at first not easy to identify or understand.
Some who are shaken by the rise to the surface of fears and sadness, long forgotten or long since buried out of conscious sight, may not be ready to continue the work of bringing them into the open.
Their life journey has not yet reached those stations where the refreshments of friends and family have bolstered their understanding. Some may never, in their whole life, begin or accomplish the work of healing.
The work sometimes summons up nameless distress from within myself, like a child’s nightmare.
I carry my child inside me, but the difference is that it is I myself who has to show myself compassion. I have to be the one to cup my own distressed heart in my own healing hands and guide myself out into the openness of ever-present light.
At the time I began this work, the presence of “EveryNow” was becoming more familiar to me by the day. EveryNow fills me with the absence of longing, because it is a state which contains all sufficiency and all fulfilment. My way of characterising this is in the phrase, “No question; Answer is before”.
I recognised that the state of EveryNow represented the place of sanctuary, the changeless place of ultimate trust and reconciliation.
Had I not already gained an understanding of the over-arching and underlying principle that all existence is a reality not objective but encompassing both itself and me as the experiencer, I could not have successfully continued this Shamanic work.
With my Shaman close to me and questioning and inviting me to place myself in close touch – literally – with my previous selves all through the years of my life, I use a combination of two skills to power myself on with this work.
I exercise my curiosity to discover more about where I have hidden my painful past, and why, and with what ‘devices’ my former self so deliberately interred the pain.
With my intellectual reason I try to find out how effectively I can use my analytical skills to make valid connections between my adult autonomous self and my younger, unformed dependent self.
I seek out and befriend again the little person I was, who constructed all kinds of protective defences in the face of major hurt of which I as a child could have had no objective understanding and over which I had no control.
I can do all of this seeking, confronting, refriending and healing of myself because I can trust and completely rely on my guide, my Shaman, to be at my side every fraction of an inch of the way.
I continue with this work for the simple reason that it works. It is swift, effective, and the major immediate result is that it gives me is of lightness of heart.
I begin see my way of developing survival techniques to negotiate unknown fears is not unique to me and my life journey. I see clearly and with great relief that none of my difficulties, not one of my traumas is unique to me. I am not alone, not stuck on some lonely summit, or wandering in dark places. Suddenly, very suddenly, I am able to look around at last, and I see we are all beautiful doves in a flock of humanity.
One valuable certainty I have discovered from this guided work is that my body holds all the answers. If I want to know the answer, I directly address this physical repository of wisdom.
It is easier to enter and explore the body’s frames of reference while hearing the steady, quiet rhythmic beat of the Shamanic spirit drum.
There are two extremes our bodies are not naturally made to tolerate. One is to be afflicted by violence. While the other is to be afflicted by loneliness.
The strict limitations on the reach of my self healing are imposed by the needs I have as a human for other meaningful loving human contact, because my survival is all bound up with my gregarious, even tribal nature.
I willingly acknowledge with gratitude that it takes a person of rare quality to show such love as to dedicate a life to becoming a Healer in this way.
Shamanic Healing has been and continues to prove to be for me a uniquely valid and valuable vehicle for releasing and empowering a life of more abundance every day.