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Shamanic meditation for healing separation

 Shamanic meditation for healing separation

Rio carnival costume - tantra4tigers

I was recently in Rio for carnival time and danced with the Mangueira  samba school, here is a picture of my costume. The bull traditionally symbolises the union of masculine and feminine, with the flowers on the horns said to be suggestive of ovaries, the crescent of the horns echoing the shape of the uterus – or perhaps the crescent moon of the Goddess. Very appropriate dress then, for a tantra practitioner 🙂

But what I wanted to talk about today was an unexpected teaching received walking in the rainforests of Serra dos Orgaos – a national park situated about an hours drive from Rio. We launched into the park from the beautiful nearby town of Petropolis, famous for its colonial architecture, museums and palaces.  After consulting park rangers, we set off on a 4 to 5 hour hike, taking in waterfalls and river crossings.

When we first began walking, I felt every bit the tourist: alien to the environment, enjoying it visually and intellectually but still not quite feeling into deeply being there through my heart or spirit. So I began practicing a shamanic merging technique taught by Kenneth-Ray Stubbs in which we “intend to become one” with whatever is the focus of our meditation.

Shamanic oneness meditation

At first I simply felt less alien and more present – “feeling” rather than “viewing” what was around me. I noticed the separation between “me” and “it” slowly dissolving and felt the rain forest calling me out from behind my armour, inviting me to completely empty out into its embrace. This deepened so that I began to feel really at home and in joyful relationship with the environment – experienced through simple things such as the rhythm of my step, scents, sounds and the exchange of vibrantly clean air through my breath.

After some hours I noticed I was no longer only experiencing my immediate environment – but had entered into “rainforest” as a global entity or being, possessing a tangible field of intelligence. This intelligence spoke to me of how it served the whole, through its healing properties and diverse medicines. It told me how its green lungs breathed the air clean, and how it was continually creating abundance through cycles of creation and decay, supporting vast interdependent webs of life. It spoke to me of how it was in service to beauty and healing – even whilst I felt cutting into this extraordinary life form, the trauma of deforestation.

Environmental change will come about not only through making wiser choices, but through cultivating a whole new (or very old…) depth relationship with earth, as the intelligence through which is birthed our own awareness. At the point I was most deeply immersed in this experience, a messenger came to speak to me in the form of two humming birds – one buzzing its wings for several seconds no more than a foot away from my face and looking directly into my eyes!

I felt thoroughly greeted, and welcomed into the heart of the forest, and wept with happiness at the beauty of life for some minutes.

A visit to New York, and the discovery of “potted humans”!

When talking with my walking companions afterwards, S commented that she noticed many plants she had previously only ever seen in garden centres in the UK. She commented that in the rainforest, she learnt how those plants were supposed to look and behave, as oppose to their potted cousins!

When returning home, we made a 12 hour stop off in New York. I enjoyed the city experience, but also noticed how my energy body shrunk, drawing in to preserve “personal space” in the face of so many intruding sights, smells and sounds. I reflected that I had in fact become, in a few short hours, a potted human being! So that I no longer radiated out, free from armour and intimately entwined with my environment. But that my energy roots were drawn closely into my body, contracted and contained – while my branches felt like they had received an over zealous pruning.

When I returned to London, I meditated on this experience. As potted humans, we require watering and feeding, and are dependent upon others to do this. And so we then have a tendency to dry up and get hungry if not fed! In this contracted state we need outside beings (our friends and partners perhaps) to water and feed us; too often we end up jealously guarding what we perceive as the “limited supplies” of nourishment available to us against loss or theft.

I enjoy cities and love London, so don’t propose that in order to avoid becoming potted humans we need to return to some romantic “natural state” in the countryside. That could be something of a disaster in fact, as keeping us all herded together in mega cities, allows for more of the countryside to remain free from our presence! But I do believe that the experiences awakened by outstanding natural beauty, can inform how we are often living by comparison, in our urban centres.

A different kind of messenger from the woods…

I began walking over my local Hampstead heath, practising the shamanic merging meditation, to see if such a vivid experience of oneness would reoccur.  And indeed on one walk after some hours, the subtle state of bliss recurred as I moved from a small separate “potted” self into the expanded whole.

Just as this experience was at its peak, a man walked abruptly up to me with a clumsily offered sexual proposal. I responded with a clear and precise boundary, and he quickly moved away. I shuddered briefly at the intrusion, but then dropped simply and easily back into to the experience of union, barely missing a breath.

Now this kind intrusive attention would usually push all my buttons. It might cause me to shake and become red with rage, to shout or experience anger for some time afterwards.

It was interesting that in this totally open state – rather than being “vulnerable” without my armour – I responded clearly and appropriately, so that the man was left in no doubt at all about the need to move on. And yet at the same time, my heart did not shut down: spontaneously I felt an expansive compassion arising rather than anger.

Like a potted plant hungry for water and to be fed, I believe something deep within drew him towards the experience I was in, as if to water. His potted human self then expressed thirst and need to drink, in the only way he knew how. The absence of union (in its deepest sense) is experienced as loss, then erroneously projects into insatiable need. The same emptiness drives over consumption quickening the pace of deforestation: in 100 years at current rates, there will be no existing rainforest left to walk in. More on this in my earlier article Tantra: an ecosexual revolution!

Finally to complete this article, I thought you might like to see something of the beautiful country I have been talking about. So here is a clip of me facing my fears (and believe me in the first moments I was TERRIFIED!) to leap into the void and hand-glide over the beautiful city of Rio: where mountains, forests, oceans and city, all intimately intertwine in the most beautifully chaotic way.

 

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