Who said humans were the wisest?

In conventional western thinking, it’s all about me. And if it’s not all about me, then it’s all about us humans.

I am conditioned to want to impress upon, or be impressed by, other human beings. This is normal, and it’s OK.

My own journeys are also teaching me that in the middle world, the level of reality beyond the physical level that is most intertwined with the physical level – the place in shamanism where the spirits of all that is manifest reside – some of the wisest beings are beings like trees, or even the ground itself.

These are aspects of manifest reality which, because they do not have language or synapses, we regard as dumb, lame, or even lifeless. A shaman would never agree that this is how reality is; it is only one layer of present reality. It is not a complete way of seeing.

A shaman might also say that it is our incomplete understanding of reality that is odd, not that it is odd to regard all manifest things as having spirit.

My latest journey showed me a tree that stands nearby. It is very wise. It pitied me with an old expression regarding my assumption that I mean something significant; that my life must mean something important; that I can ever be anything other than a body returning to the ground, feeding the maggots, and sending nutrients into the roots of plants not yet germinated.

In this way, I am reminded of impermanence. I am reminded that my ‘salvation projects’ (Richard Rohr) are mostly futile and mostly egotic. The life that is in Tree is the life that is in me is the life that brings life to my life.

Brother Ash Tree

One day during meditation, I looked out a window to an ash tree. I felt my own life energy reaching out to the tree. At first I felt nothing reciprocating. Then after a short while I felt being pushed away. Shoved off.

However, being curious, I reached out again more gently than the first time. Brother ash tree explained: leave me be. I am sleeping.

Of course. It was early February. He had no leaves, and hardly any catkins or shoots. Conserving energy. Dormant. Waiting.

On one other occasion, during late summer, the visit was much more fruitful. I was taken up into the core of the tree like a speeding bullet – a particle of water going right up from the roots into the uppermost branches.

From this experience, I have learned that when people say that everything that has life shares the same life force with you, they are speaking a great truth. Everything that has life is able to communicate with you. You just need to try it.

And ask permission first.

Brother Ground spirit (First meditation journey)

I had a journey with the spirit of the ground. The ground, of course, wraps the whole earth, but it is not the Earth. It is the layer where life is most abundant. The spirit of the ground showed me its full extent – wrapping the circumference of the Earth: ‘the Earth is a cycle. A circle. Join me!’

I then looked to myself, and realised that I was something of a pillar of pain and form. The spirit’s call was a frequency sending shock waves through the pillar. The pillar turned from stone to water: I melted into the ground – like Amelie.

I could then sense myself joining up with everything that has life. The worms, beetles, roots. Everything walking or resting on the ground; even the sea creatures resting in the sea resting on the ground.

Overwhelmed by the compassion I felt, my pain being carried like this, I did not need to carry a single burden. It was not a sharing of my load – it was complete removal of it. The compassion caused me to weep. There, still me, but weeping into the ground.

‘Tell me’, my brain began to stir, ‘What happens to my pain when it goes?’ such questions our minds want to know. Preoccupation with the details; overthinking our way into madness, missing the light of life.

But the grounding was powerful enough to hold me as I thought this and graced an answer: ‘The pain turns into water, and travels deep down. Then it feeds the living things bringing sustenance to life.’

Towards the end of the journey, it started to rain. It was raining on me and I felt it as though I am the ground spirit. Falling on my horizontal body. Beautiful, relentless, urgent.

Each drop was a small hand plucking out the pain. There I was – still me, but in the ground, with my pain being plucked out by thousands of meticulous hands.

Not until all the pain had been swiftly and meticulously plucked out did I experience the rain as a soothing blessing.

This happened in a dimension beyond words, and the words came later. since then, I have been able to join with brother ground spirit on a regular basis.

Brother ground spirit now reminds me, sometimes daily, that if I surrender my burdens to him, then there is less for us both to carry.