W.O.R.D.S.: Divine (or why do the crickets sing)

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): A weekly alphabetical search for questions.*

Divinity humming in the trees and throbbing

In the mud;

Vibrating through earth’s veins and pulsing

In my blood.

No one, no thing is apart from deity,

Every life is a part of the whole entity.

Di/De= root meaning “apart” or “separate”/”off” or “from”
Div/Dei= root from deus, meaning “god” or “god-like”
Divine/Deity = “god,” “god-like” or to perceive by intuition (not sight)
In = root meaning “not”
Therefore… Individual = NOT divine, not god, apart from god or not being able to perceive through intuition.
Jung’s concept of Individuation = psychological integration, i.e. the bringing together of divided parts of ourselves, all our senses, memories, disassociated parts of self (due to trauma or cultural training), and our conscious, unconscious, and higher and collective conscious.

Without going into Jungian psychology (that’s a rabbit hole I’m not fully capable of scaling), I’m going to briefly share my understanding of divinity, which I am still questioning and tweaking as I go along.

The very language we speak reflects the separateness of “god-ness.” But our language originated in cultures that also separated mind from body, men from women, the mortals from immortals, and humans from nature.

But this concept of Otherness has not always been in the human consciousness.

At one time, Earth and Nature was the only consciousness. Her rhythms, her vibrations, and her energy in the form of the seasons, the life-death cycles, the very workings of our body and the bodies of every creature and oxygen-breathing form was what brought the All together as one. The idea of “apart” did not exist.The All was a Whole of which All were parts.

Earth hasn’t changed, only our story of how it works has. Let’s change that story.

Like an orchestra playing a symphony, each instrument produces its own vibration, which when played together create a perfectly cohesive sound: one tune as a sum of its parts.

It has been found that every single thing on this planet (nay, in the universe) emits its own vibration (and we can entrain to the rhythm of others, both human and otherwise). This is its inDIVidual energy.

But all those energetic vibrations pulsing together make up the DIVine – the “god-experience” which we sometimes can tap into. You know, those “mountain-top” moments of transcending Self, when we suddenly know that we are not alone and that all is one.

All world religions acknowledge that one must transcend to know/experience “god.” It is no coincidence that drumming, chanting, singing, intoning, dancing, and other rhythmic/vibrational activities have been used as ways to access the sacred, i.e. to integrate that which has been apart from us.

To be inDIVidualized in the process of inDIViduation is to bring together in harmony all the parts of our Self that have caused us personal dissonance. And once we are in tune (intuition?) with our whole self, we can get in tune with the All: transcend ego and connect with a higher consciousness.

The Divine/Deity is the energy/life-force with which we all vibrate and sing, like a symphony of crickets.

Cricket Symphony

Prompt: I acknowledge divinity in myself…

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*This project is an off-shoot of the work I did for my graduate degree where I used Words to help heal from my negative indoctrination from “The Word.” Words are powerful agents for transformation! (Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice.)

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W.O.R.D.S.: A new project

maa-saraswati

Saraswati, Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts (including writing) and science.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saraswati)

Can I tell you how much I miss blogging? When I began this strange – as I saw it at the time – new form of writing over five years ago, I was quickly (as in, instantly) hooked. I loved the freedom of my own forum, the informality, the brevity, and above all, that lovely button that says “publish.”

Click! Yes, I’m published. Click! Published again. Click, Click. Click.

I’ve never really been concerned that my readership is low, I truly write for myself (but that doesn’t mean I don’t check my statistics page like a hawk and get all excited when someone comments). I love the tippity-tap of my thoughts manifesting on screen, the words a reflection of my inner knowledge that many times I did not know I knew.

I didn’t blog much while I was in grad school and even less now that I am back in the “real” world learning to make a living doing what I love. But it has become very clear to me that part of what I love IS blogging.

And I have so many things I want to share from my graduate research and memoir-writing.* So many things from that experience that I still need to process. So many words I have still inside me.

It is as a storyteller-writer-scholar, I want to introduce a new blogging project. Through it I will look at women’s studies, myth, psychology, spirituality, embodiment, goddess-consciousness, creativity, and of course, transformational/expressive writing.

And I am giving myself self-inflcited -imposed deadlines. If I am to do what I love successfully, I must have deadlines. As my friend, author Burnham Holmes said yesterday in his presentation at the Horace Greeley Writers’ Symposium: Deadlines are your friends.

So, introducing…

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): A weekly alphabetical search for questions. Including writing prompts. Starting next week.

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*Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice

Authentic Voice Project: U is for Union

For redefinition, I was thrown back to myself, to my inner knowing… Marilyn Sewell, Cries of the Spirit

The Authentic Voice Project: Week 22 (New Moon)

U is for Union

Union = bring together, connect, to make one

Yoga = from sanskrit word meaning union

Religion = from Latin root ligare, meaning to bind together, a union

Spirit = from Latin root spirare, meaning to breathe (the act of which brings psyche and soma (mind-body) together as one)

Modern religion, based on hierarchical and dualistic paradigms, fosters the exact opposite of its root meaning. God over Man, Man over Woman and Nature, Mind over Matter (Body). Spirit vs. Flesh, Us vs. Them, Good vs. Evil. True Union – Oneness – cannot be achieved in this concertized pyramid.

But this is not the nature of nature – human or mother. The world – the earth – is not a pyramid; it is a circle. It has no edge, or top or bottom, left or right. It is a delicate balance of all. There are only interconnected circles of existence, continuums of being, webs of connection between nature, all humans, all cells.

There is Union between continents when the tides inhale on one shore and exhale on the opposite. There is Connection between peoples when we feel sadness draping over our communal shoulders in the aftermath of disaster. There is Oneness when a man and a woman come  together in sacred union. There is Religion when, standing atop a mountain or in a dense forest, the body seems so small yet so big, and the air is your spirit, your breath is the air, and you are One with it all.

True Religion is Spirit. It is the connection between all the things. It is the oxygen that you take in, the same oxygen breathed by every creature and plant surrounding you. It is the breath bringing life to all cells, all organs so your mind-body may operate in balanced harmony with itself. It is the vibration of one entity’s life force resonating against another, like a drum pulsing with the beat of another. A web’s every strand shimmying in the breeze.

Religion = Union with the Divine, with the divinity within each of us, the “God Within” – the Self that is our whole, holy, unified mind-body, fully in spirit with Mother Earth.

Authentic Voice Project: C is for Christ

I realized with discomfort that my last Authentic Voice Project post was in itself Inauthentic. I chose a safe word to explore. I shied away from tackling a true “trigger” word. I again silenced my voice out of fear of rocking the boat. I realized the hypocrisy of this and now I must fix it by writing about a “C” word is controversial (in some circles). But isn’t that what creates change? Controversy is just another word for “fear of change.” In this case it is me who needs change – transformation – towards self-acceptance and healing. It is the language that was etched into my cells and has caused me to deny my own potential, and it is, therefore, this internal language that must change. Authentic Voice knows my own truth.

C is for Christ

Society (i.e. Tradition) says (with slight alternations according to particular doctrines): Christ is the son of God who was born here on earth as Jesus of Nazareth, preached to the people of the Kingdom of Heaven, was crucified, rose to life and ascended to heaven. He died for our sins and is the mediator between humans and God and through whom we might one day also be with God.

I say: Christ, the divine, is a symbol. Spiritually, it is a symbol of our own divinity, psychologically it represents our personal individuation or actualization. It is a symbol of Self, the center, the highest aspect of our human-ness: “the inner image of god… which resides in every person.” (Jung)

Christ and Self both describe something beyond human or ego, something that is divine, spiritual, reconciling, and gives meaning. – Jean Shinoda Bolen, The Tao of Psychology

To be “Christ-like” is to symbolically “wake up Christ within” in order to engage ‘the deeper levels of the soul… to live our individual lives as fully, as authentically, and as obediently [i.e. true to our True Self] as Jesus lived his.” His death and resurrection are symbols of our repeated struggles to discover our unique potential by “crucifying” the myths we have been told and have told ourselves about ourselves (the “sin” of not recognizing our potential and/or purpose), and to arise anew. With each self-discovery we “ascend” towards our own divinity – i.e. be with God/Godde/Goddess/Spirit now and in every moment.

Instead of focusing on the horrific death of a man on a cross (symbol of Union of Opposites, i.e. Wholeness), I choose to see the Christ story as one of Life, Healing, and Wholeness: “discovering the meaning of one’s own unique, individual life and participating in life’s larger purposes… discovering one’s vocation and one’s own myth, that story which helps to make meaning out of the mystery of existence.” (Wright, Christ a Symbol of the Self) Jesus was human, and a beautiful one at that, who preached love and equality (but never called himself Christ), a deeply spiritual man who must have known that once one has experienced “the spirituality of the Self or inner Christ, it would have the power to heal.” (Bolen, Crossing to Avalon)

Prompt: What other religious/spiritual myths or symbols speak to you and your psychological growth towards Wholeness?

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Jung’s diagnosis of modern men and women was a spiritual malnutrition bought on by a starvation of symbols. He called for a recovery of the symbolic life which had been abandoned to a one-sided literal, rational approach to religious matters… Without a symbolic appreciation of Christ, or any other religious figure or leader, religious concerns are made small by literalism. This in turn is the spawning ground for fundamentalism which, in spiritual matters, is tantamount to the death of the soul. In addressing Christ as a symbol of the Self, Jung challenged the Church to recover its symbolic life. Failing to do that, the Church will remain a minor voice in speaking to the deep spiritual longings of modern men and women. Furthermore, it may unwittingly undermine the reconciliatory and peace-making processes it desires to promote in the world. (http://www.jungatlanta.com/ChristSelf.html)


Hallelujah!

Copyright © 2011 Darren Hester

It would be a stretch to say that all Christmas music is beautiful. Every year when turkey-leftover soup is still very much on the menu and I find myself in a store singing along with some ear-gnawing song, I cringe with self-derision. But the Christmas carols, the ones I have heard and sung since birth, they are beautiful, if only for their warm familiarity.

Growing up in England where Christian music was sung in school and the Christmas concert was often sung in church, these carols are in my blood. When I was twelve I was the soloist for “Once in Royal David’s City” in my town’s big Anglican church. I can’t hear that carol today without feeling a rush of emotion. I love to sing these songs, but unless I attend church I don’t have the opportunity to have my heart soar. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, in general, some of the most powerful choral music ever written is religious.

But music is my “religion.” Singing powerful choruses in a large group – which I have been fortunate enough to do with various choirs – or being in the audience wrapped in a blanket of sound is when I leave my monkey-mind and become closer to whatever that higher-ness is. It bothers me that, other than Broadway,  there are few other places than church where I can experience this (and Broadway ain’t exactly free or as convenient as the church on the corner). To feel the magic of music I must visit a place  that for me represents centuries of domination to listen to words that do not speak to me as a woman. (I write this with hesitation because the church with whose choir I do sing with occasionally – to get my fix-  is an extremely open and welcoming place where I have never been told I was damned for having the audacity to be be born so very imperfectly human.)

Frankly, it frustrates me that God holds a monopoly over “my” music. But I will continue to sing in Handel’s Messiah at Christmas and listen to Lessons and Carols from King’s College on NPR each year because at the end of the day beautiful music is beautiful music. The voices and the strings swelling, grabbing my heart, the timpani beating in my stomach, and the majestic horns making me feel things very little else has the capability to do. And until Winter Solstice songs are as familiar to us as “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem” I will just have to sing with those choirs of angels.

Prompt: When I _____ I feel closest to God(dess), Spirit, the Universe, etc.

The Word vs. my words

You know that feeling when a connection suddenly clicks in your mind? It is enlightening, almost joyful. I have even experienced it to be mind-boggling. Connections can be and are made all the time, connections that weave our world and those in it together. Connections – like the strands of a spider’s web – bond together for strength and bring us sustenance. When a new connection is made it is like a door opens:  To understanding. To healing.

About a year ago I had coffee with a successful author (Pulitzer/Emmy kind of successful) at a local cafe. He is a lovely grandfatherly man; he made me laugh and feel confident about my little aspiring-writer-self. I was just starting graduate school and he was interested in hearing about my studies. I told him about my fundamentalist religious upbringing and how I planned to write a memoir. As I explained to him my hopes for Transformative Language Arts to release me from the grip of the negative self-beliefs that religious dogma and tunnel-vision has the potential to instill,  Mr. Pultizer quipped, “The Word.” I laughed at his pun but  immediately understood he had just said something very significant.

Yes, how ironic that I would be using words to release myself from The Word! But the deeper meaning I couldn’t quite place. It nagged at me. I pondered it, I mind-mapped it, I played with more word association, but still I couldn’t quite make the connection I felt was hidden there.

One year later, I am lying in bed after waking from a particularly symbolic dream, trying to wrap my head around all its meanings. Suddenly, the connection between “The Word” and my writing of words clicked into place. I don’t know if the answer lay in the dream – which on the surface appeared completely unrelated – or if my dreamy state of mind had allowed meanings from deeper depths to float up. Either way, the connection was made.

And It has to do with Authority (Author-ity).  And Knowing. And Voice. And Balance of inner and outer, left and right, rules and compassion, body and mind… everything my thesis studies have been focused on but which I hadn’t quite pieced together coherently.

And so, while my intuition knew that my author friend’s off-the-cuff pun was important, it took a whole year to percolate into something of substance. Our unconscious knows more than we know we know, but give it time and the pieces will eventually develop into a whole picture. One man, one conversation, one word – The Word – and a new door opened (albeit very slowly!) to connection, to new understanding.

Prompt: “I never made the connection until…”


Trust the process, pt 7 (Everything is connected, 2)

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credit: Robin Russell

In my Yoga ‘n’ Write class this week I talked of the need for balance between our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. We wrote about where we were at this moment in each of these areas and where we want to be.* Our yoga teacher told us about the Sheaths: Physical Body, Mental Body, Energy Body, Intelligence Body, and Soul. She said that Yogacharya Iyengar teaches that it is the Breath (prana) that integrates (balances) them all. We talked about paying attention to the breath and especially that moment just in between inhalation and  exhalation.

A month ago I co-presented a De-Stress workshop where my partner emphasized the importance of breathing as a way to calm. She talked about the “sweet spot” just before you exhale. Acknowledging this moment helps us stop and pay attention to the moment – to the vitality and wisdom of NOW.

In my studies of the Goddess, I came across Lilith whose name derives from the word Breath/Air, and who is associated with Wisdom(1). In the Bible, God breathes the breath of life and the Holy Spirit was received through Jesus’ breath. Breath and Spirit have the same Hebrew meaning (ruah) and it is a feminine noun(2). According to Isaiah, God’s Breath or Spirit means Wisdom and Understanding. Breath is life. Breath is spirit. Spirit is Wisdom. Wisdom is Female (Sophia). Female (=Eve) is Life. Life is Breath (is God(dess)?)

In our womb room at Goddard College we sang together… “Breathe In, Breathe Out…Breathe In, Breathe Out…” A circle room, a circle of Wise Women (self-named The Goddesses or Goddardesses), singing a circular song, and the breath circulated our bodies and connected us all.

Breath connecting it all. Everything connecting.

Prompt: Breath is…

 

* Also visit here for another post on writing and making goals with the Four Bodies.

Sources: (1) http://www.suite101.com/content/lilith-the-original-woman-created-a79725 (2) Chevalier, Jean & Alain Gheerbrant. Dictionary of Symbols. Penguin, 1994.

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