The cottage There

I sat cross legged on my yoga mat for meditation. This is how I start every day. I had a window open and I could hear robins singing. The sun was just beginning to break the horizon and was a lovely orange globe. I breathed in deeply, held my breath for a few second, then exhaled. I cleared my mind. I imagined sitting in a sphere made of golden mosquito net. Any errant thoughts like, “What’s for dinner tonight?” or “Did I pay the bill yet?” or “I wonder how warm it will get today” hit my magical golden mosquito net sphere with their little mosquito “beaks” and then bounce off. I am ready.

Sri appeared in front of me in my imagination. He appeared to be sitting on a tree stump on the edge of the woods, right where the last bits of bright sunlight hit before the deep shade begins. “Today I want you to start sharing your dreams about There.”

I knew it was coming. I had had recurring dreams about a place so unlike yet similar to the world I and over seven billion individuals live in today. At first, the dreams were just snippets, like a preview to something grander. Lacking a term to describe just where this place was, I called it There.

This is my earliest dream of There from a few years ago.

I found myself standing on a lovely grassy hill that gently sloped up. I wore a free flowing cream colored woven tunic down to my calves. I wore comfortable walking sandals. I had golden hair that hung down almost to my waist. I was on a narrow path that could have a deer trail as easily as it was a people trail. I felt guided to continue up the path.

After walking for a little while, I saw a small stone cottage. It seemed to be familiar to me. There were wild flowers growing near the front door, which looked inviting. The cottage seemed to blend into nature. The front door opened to see who was coming up the path and the rear was just feet from the woods. I just now recognized those woods as those I imagined in an earlier blog entry.

The roof was thatched and natural and smelled sweet and organic. Everything looked natural. The stones were smooth and soft. River stones came to mind as I stroked one. I could see speckles of quartz shimmering in the stones.

I went to the front door and turned the doorknob. I didn’t feel I was intruding on someone or should knock first. This place felt like home, even though I didn’t remember it.

I walked in to a modest room with a few comfortable chairs and a large stone fireplace. The floor was stone, with hand woven rugs scattered about. Beyond this room, I could see a large kitchen area. To my left as I entered I saw what looked like a sleeping area. I went straight to the kitchen and set my basket on a large wooden table. I had been carrying a basket of fresh fruit like apples, pears, and strawberries, which I just noticed now. I looked around and the kitchen was what I would call in my waking world “rustic.” There was just one bank of hand carved cupboards over a sink. The counter appeared to be a piece of stone. Beautiful warm sunlight poured in through an open window.

What caught my eye next was what looked like a touch screen console. I had not seen any technology mind you until this point. No cell phone towers. No TV or stereo systems in the living room. No outlets on the walls or light switches. But here was something incredibly more advanced than anything I had seen before. There was a short center platform which four people could stand on comfortably, surrounded by three curved big screens of clear glass.

I stepped up to the platform and the screen in front of me came to life somehow. I heard, “where would you like to go?” in my head. On the screen were moving images of several places. One was on the edge of an ocean, with beautiful white sandy beaches and brilliant blue waters with a welcoming surf. I touched that image and I could smell the salty water and feel the pounding surf on the beach as I stood there. The breeze made my hair dance and float around my face. I discovered these screens were much much grander than TV screens from my waking world. Here, all the senses were engaged.

I went back to the center screen and looked at the other images of places. I remember seeing a place high in the trees, such as a network of bridges, platforms, and tree houses wrapped around the Sequoias of the U.S. West coast. In another image, I saw tall snow-capped mountains and a series of huge timber and stone buildings nestled at the base of the mountains. In yet another image, I saw a technology city in the sky with flying ships going in and around it.

There were many, many other images of places. I immediately understood that I could pick an image, be surrounded by it on all sides, and then get transported to that space. I stepped back down from the platform and the three monitors all went dark, or rather turned back to looking like three pieces of clear glass. I thought to myself, “What a curious piece of technology in this stone house on the edge of the woods.” I knew it wasn’t just for me though.

Turning back to look around the kitchen some more, I noticed a back door and opened it. I found myself standing on a huge back porch that could hold a big picnic bench and several rocking chairs or porch swings. Just past this porch were the woods, maybe twenty feet away. I could hear water from a waterfall in the distance. Just feet from the porch, a rabbit hopped by and then two deer, one still with spots on its back, came by to graze on some colorful wild flowers.

I walked back through the house and went out the front door. This was all so beautiful, so bucolic. It raised more questions on where I was and what I was doing there. I stood outside the front door and took in the beauty around me. There was a slight breeze coming up the path where I had walked earlier, and the wind went through the huge evergreens next to my home. (Oh my, I wrote MY HOME. So this is indeed my home.) The wind in the evergreens whistled in gentle whispers.

I then woke up from that dream, refreshed and invigorated.

Sri looked at me and hopped down from his perch. “Very good,” he spoke to me silently. “We will continue this tomorrow. There is much more to share about There.”

I got up from my yoga mat and stretched. “There” feels much more real the more I think about There.

The adventure continues…

Trust and Bog Walking

I wondered what I would write about today while swimming laps in the pool. Just one word popped in my head. Trust. I thought about how lack of trust leads to isolation, which leads to judgment.

The word “trust” is found on the dollar bill, “In God we Trust.” What does that really mean? I posed the question to Sri.

“First you need to feel God. Notice I didn’t say,’understand God.’ For understanding is really standing under, and being separate from, and using the brain and not the heart. It is impossible to know except for just a little scratches on the surface or as a reflection. People have been studying God for millennia, yet that does not necessarily bring them closer to feeling and experiencing God.”

The image of dry, dusty theology books which were purely heady with no room for heart or feelings formed in my imagination. Several have written discourses on things like sacerdotilization, which is a twenty dollar word for seeing the sacred in all life. They unfortunately wrote from a heady, academic perspective so the writings didn’t help me to feel the sacredness, the love, and the beauty of seeing God in everything and everyone. Some might write that it’s seeing God’s hand in everything, but that makes God external to all creation, as if God was someplace “up there” on a cloud with a tinker toy set and water colors and then had a hand in creating everything and everyone.

Personally I find that limits God. God is in everything and everyone. God is. When I look out my window and see beautiful trees and hear the birds and chipmunks, I know deep in my gut that everything is perfect and created in love. Everything is connected. Everything is alive. Maybe not with a heart beat, but still conscious and connected to God because all is God. As God made everything, everything is part of God and is God. There is no separation.

In my imagination I saw an ocean, filled with fish, aquatic life, mammals, plant life, rock formations, corral, sand, and of course a lot of water with many minerals and components in it. God made everything. I can’t look at just one part of this and say that is the ocean. The ocean is much more than just a lot of water with fish in it. It would be incredibly limiting to try to describe the ocean in a sentence or two. The same is with God.

Because “God” is a term that often is restricted by cultures and religious beliefs to be someone out there, separate, on a cloud, maybe in a white tunic and sandals and a long white beard, that I choose to use the word “Source” because no matter how much I expand my imagination, God is far more than that.

So back to the phrase “In God we Trust.”

Sri looked at me with his deep green eyes and asked, “What does ‘trust’ mean to you?”

I immediately imagined rock climbing. I am a rank beginner in that as I tried it twice with an all women’s camping group some years ago. The camping guides were nimble going up on the rocks and hooking the very heavy rope to a hook high on the rock face. It seemed so easy watching other members of the camping group don the harness then slowly climb up the wall.

When it was my turn, once I got about ten feet off the ground I started to get sweaty palms, my breathing got shallow, and my heart raced. I heard the camping guide with the ropes down behind me on the ground saying, “Trust me! Relax!” but it was so hard to trust anything except the law of gravity which I felt pulling at me with every step. Technically, it was impossible for me to come crashing to my death when I was safely secured in the harness. But at that moment, I was face to face with a belief I had slowly nurtured my entire life: Trust no one.

From childhood I learned to do things on my own. In my adult life, I learned to do very complicated equations and develop complex spreadsheets for calculating costs and risks. I enjoyed working on my own more than on a team, because on my own I knew I could get the job done. I could trust myself to complete the complex job ahead of me. In one very demanding position, I had an assistant assigned to help me with my spreadsheets and calculations, but unfortunately she had neither the skill nor desire to do the assignments I presented. I ended up having to go behind her and do her work. It reinforced my belief that I could not trust her to do the work.

Rock climbing forced me to trust the rope handler at the bottom of the stone wall. I learned to trust. The belief “trust no one” began to crumble as I continued to climb the rock face and glanced down at the rope handler.

Sri asked me a new question. “What does trust feel like?”

I responded, “It feels good, like being wrapped in a warm cozy blanket in front of a fire. It’s knowing and feeling the fire will burn and warm me and my surroundings. It feels peaceful because it means I don’t have to worry about anything. I can just be.”

“Very good. Now what color is trust to you?”

This felt like a very strange question to me. I had never associated a color to trust before. I closed my eyes. I saw green. Then the image of a shallow lake with thick grassy growth floating on top emerged. I recognized this as a bog, which I discovered on the lakes of Minnesota. The thick grassy part is about twelve to twenty inches thick, and the roots are so tightly woven that you can walk out on the grass. This is then called, ‘bog walking’.

Bog walking feels like stepping on a water bed. The tall grasses sink down several inches with each step you make, but your feet never get wet. It is an incredible experience. So trust is the varied green grasses colors of bog walking.

“Now, put all this together,” Sri began. “What does ‘In God we Trust’ feel like?”

“It feels peaceful. It feels stress-free. It feels even playful. It feels like I could do or create anything.”

“Ah,” said Sri with a smile. “Now we are getting somewhere. Reflect on the ability to create anything, or to manifest. More on that at another time.”