What is action for the Earth? What is within our power to change during this time of great pain and peril for our world? I’ve spent 30 years struggling with this question: through great throes of pain, fear, activism, study, contemplation, prayer, hope, visioning, writing, teaching, and more and more often lying face down on the Earth begging for guidance.
What I’ve learned from this long and ongoing struggle—what the Earth teaches me—is that the power of love in community is greater than we can possibly imagine in the context of the global techno-industrial mindset. Though it can seem ridiculous to the “rational” mind, our usual guidance system in Western culture, one person sending love to all things in the world ripples and grows beyond what seems possible to us in “this” reality. How can we love the pain, the horror, the “bad actors” – in my longest and most quiet times of listening, my heart tells me that this is what the Earth asks of us now.
Many people sending love to all things in the world with commitment and shared intention is a re-evolution of consciousness. In these moments we connect with others across time and space, pulsing the thrumming rhythm from the center of the Earth across the plane of the human world. With each new dream that echoes from within our Earth-grounded heart-minds, we become the Healers of the Earth.
I invite you now to join with me: to commit each day to consciously give love and gratitude to the Earth. And, to give love to all things in the world if you can, or to whatever you can.
We take so much, consciously and unconsciously, from the planet. We are so often pulling from the Earth in ways that are completely out of our awareness. We want, we need, we crave, we draw from Earth sources with every breath. Shifting this orientation by actively focusing love and gratitude to the Earth, whenever and wherever we are able, shifts who we are, what we think and feel, how we know.
Our dominant human paradigm on the planet at this time may laugh at the simplicity of such acts; we may ourselves question the power of something so seemingly ephemeral in the face of so much destruction and madness. Yet love is a true and powerful path to finding our way back to our home within the Earth community.
As we take actions of love for the Earth, together in concentric circles of care for one another and all of life, we open channels to speak with Earth. As we enter into this communication that is always available to us, we can bring the questions that are aching within our hearts. Give the gift of your feelings, your questions, your dreams to the Earth, so that together we may grow our collective wisdom as dreamers of a healing dream.
Two lines, facing each other on a North Dakota highway. On one side, concrete barriers protect a row of armored vehicles and helmeted police with assault rifles. On the other, a young man rides a white horse whose legs are stained with blood. A woman, wearing a scarf to protect her lungs from tear gas, wafts sage smoke over a boy to give him strength, wash away hate, and remind him of his sacred purpose.
Here, on a highway stretching across trampled prairie grass, the fundamental contest of our time is playing out.
The fundamental contest of our time is playing out.
It’s a confrontation not only between two groups of people, but between two world views. The space between the lines vibrates with tensions of race, historical trauma, broken treaties, money and politics, love and fear. But the underlying issue that charges the air, mixing with the smells of tear gas and sage, is the global contest between two deeply different ideas about the true meaning of land.
On one side is the unquestioned assumption that land is merely a warehouse of lifeless materials that have been given to (some of) us by God or conquest, to use without constraint. On this view, human happiness is best served by whatever economy most efficiently transforms water, soils, minerals, wild lives, and human yearning into corporate wealth. And so it is possible to love the bottom line on a quarterly report so fiercely that you will call out the National Guard to protect it.
On the other side of the concrete barriers is a story that is so ancient it seems revolutionary. On this view, the land is a great and nourishing gift to all beings. The fertile soil, the fresh water, the clear air, the creatures, swift or rooted: they require gratitude and veneration. These gifts are not commodities, like scrap iron and sneakers. The land is sacred, a living breathing entity, for whom we must care, as she cares for us. And so it is possible to love land and water so fiercely you will live in a tent in a North Dakota winter to protect them.
It may turn out that the cracks in that stretch of two-lane highway mark a giant crack in time, when one set of assumptions about reality snaps and is replaced by another. This, like all times of paradigm shift, is an unsettled time, a time of shouting and police truncheons, as privileged people defend the assumptions that have served them royally.
What are they so afraid of out there in North Dakota, that they arrest journalists, set dogs on women and children, send prayerful protectors to jail and align para-military force against indigenous people on their own homelands?
Everyone can join the people of Standing Rock and say No.
Maybe they are afraid of the truth-telling power of the people at Standing Rock and their busloads of allies, who are making clear that we live in an era of profound error that we mistakenly believe is the only way we can live, an era of insanity that we believe is the only way we can think. But once people accept with heart and mind that land is our teacher, our mother, our garden, our pharmacy, our church, our cradle and our grave, it becomes unthinkable to destroy it. This vision threatens the industrial worldview more than anything else.
Indigenous people are saying, there are honorable and enduring lifeways that beckon to people who are weary of destruction.
Everyone can join the people of Standing Rock and say No. No more wrecked land. No more oil spills. No more poisoned wells. We don’t have to surrender the well-being of communities to the profit of a few. We can say Yes. Yes, we are all in this together. Yes, we can all stand on moral ground. Yes, we can all be protectors of the water and protectors of the silently watching future. The blockade on the highway is an invitation to remember and reclaim who we might be — just and joyous humans on a bountiful Earth. Right here, between the barricades, we are offered a choice.
On the highway, a warrior steps around the concrete barrier, offering a sage bundle that trails white smoke. Approaching a figure in riot gear, he extends the blessing to the officer, letting the smoke wash over him. To give him strength. To wash away hate. To remind him of his purpose.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, citizen Potawatomi Nation, is director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her most recent book is Braiding Sweetgrass.
Kathleen Dean Moore, the author of Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change and co-editor of Moral Ground, is Oregon State University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Emerita.
I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call “Turtle Island.” My words seek to unite the global community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our own ways of beliefs in the Creator.
We have been warned from ancient prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a very important message about a solution to turn these terrible times.
To understand the depth of this message you must recognize the importance of Sacred Sites and realize the interconnectedness of what is happening today, in reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.
I have been learning about these important issues since the age of 12 when I received the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and its teachings. Our people have strived to protect Sacred Sites from the beginning of time. These places have been violated for centuries and have brought us to the predicament that we are in at the global level.
Look around you. Our Mother Earth is very ill from these violations, and we are on the brink of destroying the possibility of a healthy and nurturing survival for generations to come, our children’s children.
Our ancestors have been trying to protect our Sacred Site called the Sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, “Heart of Everything That Is,” from continued violations. Our ancestors never saw a satellite view of this site, but now that those pictures are available, we see that it is in the shape of a heart and, when fast-forwarded, it looks like a heart pumping.
The Diné have been protecting Big Mountain, calling it the liver of the earth, and we are suffering and going to suffer more from the extraction of the coal there and the poisoning processes used in doing so.
The Aborigines have warned of the contaminating effects of global warming on the Coral Reefs, which they see as Mother Earth’s blood purifier.
The indigenous people of the rainforest say that the rainforests are the lungs of the planet and need protection.
The Gwich’in Nation in Alaska has had to face oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, also known to the Gwich’in as “Where life begins.”
The coastal plain is the birthplace of many life forms of the animal nations. The death of these animal nations will destroy indigenous nations in this territory.
As these destructive developments continue all over the world, we will witness many more extinct animal, plant, and human nations, because of mankind’s misuse of power and their lack of understanding of the “balance of life.”
The Indigenous people warn that these destructive developments will cause havoc globally. There are many, many more indigenous teachings and knowledge about Mother Earth’s Sacred Sites, her chakras, and connections to our spirit that will surely affect our future generations.
There needs to be a fast move toward other forms of energy that are safe for all nations upon Mother Earth. We need to understand the types of minds that are continuing to destroy the spirit of our whole global community. Unless we do this, the powers of destruction will overwhelm us.
Our Ancestors foretold that water would someday be for sale. Back then this was hard to believe, since the water was so plentiful, so pure, and so full of energy, nutrition and spirit. Today we have to buy pure water, and even then the nutritional minerals have been taken out; it’s just empty liquid. Someday water will be like gold, too expensive to afford.
Not everyone will have the right to drink safe water. We fail to appreciate and honor our Sacred Sites, ripping out the minerals and gifts that lay underneath them as if Mother Earth were simply a resource, instead of the source of life itself.
Attacking nations and using more resources to carry out destruction in the name of peace is not the answer! We need to understand how all these decisions affect the global nation; we will not be immune to its repercussions. Allowing continual contamination of our food and land is affecting the way we think.
A “disease of the mind” has set in world leaders and many members of our global community, with their belief that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring peace.
In our prophecies it is told that we are now at the crossroads: Either unite spiritually as a global nation, or be faced with chaos, disasters, diseases, and tears from our relatives’ eyes.
We are the only species that is destroying the source of life, meaning Mother Earth, in the name of power, mineral resources, and ownership of land. Using chemicals and methods of warfare that are doing irreversible damage, as Mother Earth is becoming tired and cannot sustain any more impacts of war.
I ask you to join me on this endeavor. Our vision is for the peoples of all continents, regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together as one at their Sacred Sites to pray and meditate and commune with one another, thus promoting an energy shift to heal our Mother Earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward attaining Peace.
As each day passes, I ask all nations to begin a global effort, and remember to give thanks for the sacred food that has been gifted to us by our Mother Earth, so the nutritional energy of medicine can be guided to heal our minds and spirits.
This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war, and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the great myth of progress and development that ruled the last millennium.
To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You yourself are the one who must decide.
You alone – and only you – can make this crucial choice, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World.
Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger?
Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse is the author of White Buffalo Teachings. A tireless advocate of maintaining traditional spiritual practices, Chief Looking Horse is a member of Big Foot Riders, which memorializes the massacre of Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee.
There is so much stuff out there nowadays that the only conclusion one can come to is confusion, and confusion is not a conclusion. It is the result of an Illusion. This Illusion is being perpetrated and perpetuated by those things and people around us that are looking to control by taking your power- the media, the electronics, the food, the pollution, the misery, the derision. Look around and it is pretty much patently obvious that the world as it is right now is on the edge.
The planet, beautiful Gaia, is crying, and people are not listening, not respecting, not opening. So she is moving, and that brings in weather related events. Areas need to be cleansed. People need to be awakened. But on the other hand, there are those who wish to create their own weather events and destroy the life for their own agendas.
There is a climax in the offing, and it is approaching ore quickly than one might wish, but there it is.
What can you do? Go within. Use your intuition. Look from the eyes of the heart. If something seems wrong, then it probably is. Trust your gut. If something looks wrong, it probably is. Observe the signs. If it does not seem right to take that road, turn around. If people you know seem somewhat strange, it is time for a new gathering.
Open to the energies of the Universal Consciousness that are all around you and turn away from the illusions that are being touted as THE reality. They have power over you only if you so choose.
Creed and Code are the essence of the standards our honored ancestors lived by. They are based on honesty, integrity, helping one another in work and play, making the best of things, being friendly and kind, respecting elders, and taking care of Mother Earth that gives us food and shelter needed to survive.
1. Each morning upon rising, and each evening before sleeping, give thanks for the life within you and for all life, for the good things the Creator has given you and for the opportunity to grow a little more each day. Consider your thoughts and actions of the past day and seek for the courage and strength to be a better person. Seek for the things that will benefit others (everyone).
2. Respect. Respect means “To feel or show honor or esteem for someone or something; to consider the well being of, or to treat someone or something with deference or courtesy”. Showing respect is a basic law of life.
3. Treat every person from the tiniest child to the oldest elder with respect at all times.
4. Special respect should be given to Elders, Parents, Teachers, and Community Leaders.
5. No person should be made to feel “put down” by you; avoid hurting other hearts as you would avoid a deadly poison.
6. Touch nothing that belongs to someone else (especially Sacred Objects) without permission, or an understanding between you.
7. Respect the privacy of every person, never intrude on a person’s quiet moment or personal space.
8. Never walk between people that are conversing.
9. Never interrupt people who are conversing.
10. Speak in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of Elders, strangers or others to whom special respect is due.
11. Do not speak unless invited to do so at gatherings where Elders are present (except to ask what is expected of you, should you be in doubt).
12. Never speak about others in a negative way, whether they are present or not.
13. Treat the earth and all of her aspects as your mother. Show deep respect for the mineral world, the plant world, and the animal world. Do nothing to pollute our Mother, rise up with wisdom to defend her.
14. Show deep respect for the beliefs and religion of others.
15. Listen with courtesy to what others say, even if you feel that what they are saying is worthless. Listen with your heart.
16. Respect the wisdom of the people in council. Once you give an idea to a council meeting it no longer belongs to you. It belongs to the people. Respect demands that you listen intently to the ideas of others in council and that you do not insist that your idea prevail. Indeed you should freely support the ideas of others if they are true and good, even if those ideas ideas are quite different from the ones you have contributed. The clash of ideas brings forth the Spark of Truth.
17. Once a council has decided something in unity, respect demands that no one speak secretly against what has been decided. If the council has made an error, that error will become apparent to everyone in its own time.
18. Be truthful at all times, and under all conditions.
19. Always treat your guests with honor and consideration. Give of your best food, your best blankets, the best part of your house, and your best service to your guests.
20. The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honor of one is the honor of all.
21. Receive strangers and outsiders with a loving heart and as members of the human family.
22. All the races and tribes in the world are like the different colored flowers of one meadow. All are beautiful. As children of the Creator they must all be respected.
23. To serve others, to be of some use to family, community, nation, and the world is one of the main purposes for which human beings have been created. Do not fill yourself with your own affairs and forget your most important talks. True happiness comes only to those who dedicate their lives to the service of others.
25. Know those things that lead to your well-being, and those things that lead to your destruction.
26. Listen to and follow the guidance given to your heart. Expect guidance to come in many forms; in prayer, in dreams, in times of quiet solitude, and in the words and deeds of wise Elders and friends.
We all know how intricate are the relationships between a single tree and the forms of life that live with it, and around it. But why are trees so important to human beings who are after all–as forms of life–so distinct and different from trees? Though distinctive and different, human beings are part of the same heritage of life.
Trees and forests are important for deep psychological reasons. In returning to the forest, we are returning to the womb not in psychological terms but in cosmological terms. We are returning to the source of our origin. We are entering communion with life at large. The existence of the forests is so important because they enable us to return to the source of our origin. They provide for us a niche in which our communion with all life can happen.
The unstructured environments which we need for our sanity and for our mental health, as well as for the moments of silent brooding without which we cannot truly reach our deeper selves, should not be limited to forests only. Rugged mountains and wilderness areas provide the same nexus for being at one with the glory of the elemental forces of life. Wilderness areas are live-giving in a fundamental sense, nourishing the core of our being. This core of our being is sometimes called the soul.
To understand the nature of the human being is ultimately a metaphysical journey; in the very least it is a transphysical journey. Transphysical translated into the Greek language means metaphysical. The metaphysical meaning of forests has to do with the quality of spaces the forests provide for the tranquility of our souls. Those are the spaces of silence, the spaces of sanity, the spaces of spiritual nourishment–within which our being is healed and at peace.
We all know how soul-destroying and destructive to our inner being modern cities can be; and actually are. The comparison alone between the modus of a technological city and the modus of a wilderness area informs us sufficiently about the metaphysical meaning of the spaces of forests, of the mountains, of the marshlands.
Though the trees are immensely important to our psychic well-being, not every tree possesses the same energy and meaning. The manicured French parks and the primordial Finnish forests are different entities. In the manicured French parks we witness the triumph of the Cartesian logic and of Euclidean geometry, while in the Finnish forests, immensely brooding and surrounded by irregular, female-like lakes we witness the triumph of natural geometry.
What is natural and what is artificial is nowadays difficult to determine. However, when we find ourselves among the plastic interiors of an airport, with its cold brutal walls and lifeless plastic fixtures surrounding us, on the one hand, and within the bosom of a big forest, on the other hand, we know exactly the difference without any ambiguity. In the forest our soul breathes, while in plastic environments our soul suffocates.
The idea that our soul breathes in natural unstructured environments should not be treated as a poetic metaphor. It is a palpable truth. This truth has been recognized on countless occasions, and in many contexts…although usually indirectly and semi-consciously.
Life wants to breathe. We breathe more freely when there are other forms of life which can breathe around us. Old beams made of oak in an old cottage breathe. Those panelings made of wood in the modern flat breathe. And we breathe with them. Those plastic interiors, and those concrete cubicles, and those tower blocks, and those rectilinear cities do not breathe. We find them ‘sterile,’ ‘repulsive,’ ‘depressing.’ Those very adjectives come straight from the core of our beings. And those are not just the reactions of some idosyncratic individuals, but the reactions of all of us, at least a great majority of us.
A plastic interior may be aesthetically pleasing. Yet after a while, our soul finds it uncomfortable, constraining, somewhat crippling. The primordial life in us responds quite unequivocally to our environments. We have to learn to listen carefully to the beat of the primordial life in us, whether we call it instinct, intuition, or the wholistic response. We do respond with great sensitivity to spaces, geometries and forms of life surrounding us. We respond positively to the forms which breathe life for these forms are life-enhancing. Life in us wants to be enhanced and nourished. Hence we want to be in the company of forms that breathe life.
It is therefore very important to dwell in surroundings in which there are forms that can breathe…the wooden beams, the wooden floors. Lucky are the nations that can build houses made of wood…inside and outside. For the wood breathes, changes, decays…as we do. It is also important to have flowers and plants in our living environment. For they breathe. To contemplate a flower for three seconds may be an important journey of solitude, a journey of return to original geometry…which is always renewing. We make these journeys actually rather often, whenever plants and flowers are in our surroundings. But we are rarely aware of what we are doing.
Forests and spirituality are intimately connected. Ancient people knew about this connection and cherished and cultivated it. Their spirit was nourished because their wisdom told them where the true sources of nourishment lay.
The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demand for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life’ s activity; it affords protection to all beings, offering shade even to the axeman who destroys it.
Towards a Spiritual Renewal
We are now reassessing the legacy of the entire technological civilization and what it has done to our souls and our forests. Our problem is no longer how to manage our forests and our lives more efficiently in order to achieve further material progress. We now ask ourselves more fundamental questions: How can we renew ourselves spiritually? What is the path to life that is whole? How can we survive as humane and compassionate beings? How can we maintain our spiritual and cultural heritage?
The wilderness areas, which I call life-giving areas, are important for three reasons, Firstly, they are important as sanctuaries. Various forms of life might not have survived without them.
Secondly, they are important as givers of timber that breathes and out of which will be made beautiful panels and beams that breathe life into our homes.
Thirdly, and most significantly, they are important as human sanctuaries, as places of spiritual, biological and psychological renewal. As the chariot of progress which is the demon of ecological destruction moves on, we wipe out more and more sanctuaries. They disappear under the axe of man, are polluted by plastic environments, are turned into Disneylands.
The rebuilding of sanctuaries is vital for the well-being of our body and the well-being of our soul, for the two act in unison. We have lost the meaning of the Temple (Templum) in now deserted churches.
We have to recreate this meaning from the foundations. We have to re-sacralize the world, for otherwise our existence will be sterile. We live in a disenchanted world. We have to embark on the journey of the re-enchantment of the world. We have to recreate rituals and special ceremonies through which most precious aspects of life are expressed and celebrated.
Forests still inspire us and infuse us with the sense of awe and mystery . . . that is when we have time and the quietness of mind to lose ourselves in them. And here is an important message. Forests may again become sacred enclosures where great rituals of life are performed, and where the celebration of the uniqueness and mystery of life and the universe is taking place. It depends on our wills to make the forests the places of the re-sacralization of the world. The first steps in this direction were taken when by the famous Polish director, Jerzy Grotowski, who has abandoned the theatre in order to make nature and particularly forests the sacred grounds for man’s new communion with the cosmos.We must develop a similar spirit of reverence and empathy for the trees and forests. For they are true sanctuaries.
The following article contains information about three short and powerful mantras—sacred sounds that may effectively be used individually or in groups for transformation: “OM”, “AH” and “HU”. These mantras are particularly useful sounds for projecting specific intentions. Please note that it does not seem to matter what pitch, frequency or keynote the mantra is chanted with regard to the effect of the mantra. The intention of the chanter, however, does seem to affect the power of the mantra and can amplify the energy even more. For this reason, you may find the article on “Intention” of interest.
Mantras are “words of power”. The word “mantra” is Sanskrit and may be translated as the “thoughts that liberate from samsara (the world of illusions)”. Mantras are listened to or recited by a practitioner for many different purposes; as a means of achieving different states of consciousness, to create resonance with specific attributes of divine energy, and to manifest different qualities, from resonating the chakras to embodying compassion.
Mantras are found in all the different sacred traditions including Judaism and Christianity—the “Hail Mary” or “Amen” in the Christian Tradition or the “Shema” or “Shalom” in the Hebrew tradition are the equivalent of mantras, as is any repetition of prayer, chant or sacred sound. The prayers, chants and sacred sounds of the Native American tradition or the Islamic tradition may also be considered mantras. In fact, there is virtually no spiritual tradition, including indigenous peoples, in which the recitation of sacred sound as mantra does not occur.
While there are many mantras that are quite long and complex, many people are often looking for short mantras that may be easily sounded when people meet together in a group. Within the context of mantra, the most famous of these mantras— the mantra that is considered the “first of all mantras” is the OM. For this reason, the “Om” is an excellent mantra to work with. In this writing, we will examine several such short mantras which may be used effectively.
Of all the sacred sounds on this planet, the one that is most often chanted is the “OM”. Undoubtedly, at any given moment, there is someone, somewhere chanting this sacred mantra. The “OM ” is considered one of the oldest vocal sounds in existence—many speculate that it has been chanted for untold thousands of years. It is considered to be the original, primordial sound—the mantra of creation.
OM is a mantra from the Hindu tradition. OM is a Sanskrit word, which is said to be the original primordial creative sound from which the universe and all of creation first manifested. While pronounced “OM”, certain Sanskrit scholars state that it is written as “AUM”. Many consider the two words to be interchangeable because of this. OM is said to be the sound that contains all sounds–it is the totality of all other sounds. Swami Sivananda Radha says, “The cosmic sound AUM, or its condensed form, OM, is the origin of all other sound. OM is everything. It is the name of God.”
OM is a multi-dimensional sound, and as such, may be understood a number of different ways. One understanding is that OM (or it’s written form “AUM”) represents attributes of the major trinity of Hindu gods; Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva. The sounding of the “A” represents the energy of Brahman, the creator and the creational process. The middle portion of the sound, the “U” represents the energy of Vishnu, the preserver and relates to the maintenance and preservation of what has been created. The final “M” represents the energy of Shiva, the transformer and relates to the vital transformational energy to shift and change that which has been created and preserved.
Another understanding of the OM (or “AUM”) is that the “A” represents the physical plane, the “U” the “mental and astral planes” and the “M, all that is beyond the reach of the intellect. “AUM” or OM is the initial syllable, which begins almost all mantras. Thus OM represents the Infinite, the One Mind, the all embracing consciousness—that which is the very essence of existence.
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the OM (“AUM”) represents different aspects of the trinity of the Body, Speech and Mind of the Buddha, or an enlightened being. The “A” represents the Body, the “U” represents Speech, and the “M” represents the Mind. Sounding the AUM in this manner puts one in resonance with these qualities of consciousness.
The OM is a Bija (or “seed”) mantra and may be utilized to resonate the third eye. However, it may also be chanted as a 3 syllable word “AUM” (and pronounced as “AH – OH – MMM”) to resonate the heart, the throat and the crown chakras. In fact, the OM can, through our intent, become a multi-purpose mantra with capabilities of resonating and aligning all the chakras—of cleansing imbalanced energies and purifying self. Sung with sincerity and devotion, vocalization of the OM can put the chanter in touch with the source of all creation, providing a bridge between the spiritual and physical dimensions and opening the way for inspirational contact with higher realms and beings.
Many people ask if there is indeed a correct pronunciation for the OM. Is it “OM” or “AUM” or something else? In reality, there does not seem to be a correct pronunciation. Depending upon the country, language and dialect, the OM can be pronounced “AUM, UM, UNG, ANG, ONG” and so on. Yet, the resonance and effects of this mantra seem to be very similar despite varied differences in pronunciation. Much depends upon the intention of the person creating the sound—where do they wish the “OM” to resonate—which chakra and for what purpose. .
OM as a sound symbolizes the supreme source. To many, the sound of OM is synonymous with the energy of peace. OM may be found as the root of many sacred words of different languages including our western “Amen” and the Hebrew “Shalom”, which has many meanings including “peace”. The OM initiates peace and tranquility when it is listened to, and particularly when it is chanted.
One of the most powerful mantras on this planet is the sound “AH”. This is an extremely powerful sound–particularly useful for generating compassion. I know you will agree that compassion is truly a key to transformation of consciousness on this planet.
The “AH” sound is a sacred seed syllable—a sacred mantras in many Eastern traditions including Tibetan Buddhism. It is also a vowel sound—a divinely inspired sound that is considered sacred in many different traditions including Hebrew Kabbalah.
The “AH” sound is found in most of the God and Goddess names on the planet (Tara, Buddha, Krishna, Yah, Yeheshua, Saraswati, Wakantanka, Quan Yin, etc.), as well as many of the sacred words (Amen, Alleluia, Aum). As a seed syllable, the “AH” is universal and may be utilized differently in different traditions, depending upon its purpose. In the Tibetan tradition, the “AH” is as a sacred mantra. In Western mystical traditions, it is a vowel sound
Most mystical traditions worldwide that work is the vowels sounds in relationship to the chakras find that the “AH” sound the sound of the heart chakra. This chakra, which is located in the center of the chest is the energy center associated with love and compassion. Indeed, when many people think about the energy of love, they express it as an “AH” sound. Many spiritual masters believe that the activation of this chakra is most helpful for achieving higher consciousness and enlightenment. Most agree that the energy of love and the heart is the primary, essential energy of the universe.
Many people believe that the “AH” sound is the primary sound that is created when we are born—the sound being birthed on the inhalation of the first breath. The “AH” sound is also the last sound we make, riding on the energy of our final exhalation. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a co-meditation technique which uses the “AH” sound. Chanting “AH” together (or even simply by just breathing together) allows people to attune and resonate with each other. It seems that the heart beat, respiration and brain waves of two people will entrain with each other through breathing or sounding “AH” together. This use of the “AH” sound may be particularly effective for those involved in hospice work. In this situation, the “AH” sound may once again be used as a sound of the heart chakra.
I often recommend the “AH” as a sound for people who want to work with short mantras in groups. The reason for this is that as has been discussed, “AH” is an extremely transformative sound. Yet, most people know of it only as a vowel sound, and thus it defies association with any spiritual denomination or description as a mantra. While other sounds such as “OM” might be rejected by certain audiences because they are recognized as Eastern mantras or coming from another spiritual traditions, the sounding of an “AH” is acceptable by everyone regardless of their background, culture or religion.
Here is an easy exercise with regard to working with the “AH” sound to generate the energy of compassion. All you do is have people sound an “AH” while they are generating the energy of compassion. Start first with yourself, then with someone you love, then with someone you have neutral energy with and finally with someone you have difficulty with. It is this last that provides the greatest opportunity for spiritual growth, since it’s easy to send love to someone you love and real hard to do it to someone you don’t.
Just as many traditions believe that the “OM” is the original creative sound, there are traditions that believe that this energy may be attributed to another sound—the “HU”. In the Shabd Yoga traditions, including Master Path and Eckankar and in the mystical Islamic path of Sufi, the “HU” is considered to be the highest vibratory mantra that can be sounded. Chanting the “HU” is said to lead one to transcendence—to God realization and enlightenment.
“HU” is believed to be the universal name of God, which is present in every existing language. The “HU” sound has been described as many things from the buzzing of bees to the rushing of wind to the flute of God. It is said to be present in the words we speak, in the sounds of animals; that it is the wind in the trees, the rushing of waters, the roaring of water falls, the beat of the sea against a beach—that it is everywhere, in every plane.
Like the “AH” and the “OM”, the “HU” may be perceived of as a seed syllable. Depending upon its pronunciation, it may also be perceived of as a vowel sound—the “U”. The “HU” creates extraordinary energy for balance and clearing. Many believe it activates both the heart and the crown chakras. When sounded together in a large group, it is extremely powerful and transformative.
Different spiritual paths seem to have very different ways of pronouncing the “HU”, the sacred name of God. Certain spiritual paths from the Shabd Yoga traditions will chant it as one would the word “you”. Other spiritual variants of Shabd Yoga, will chant it as the word “who” which is said to be good for clearing the crown chakra. In the Sufi Tradition, there is even a way of chanting the “HU”, doing it with lips barely touching and being the primary vibrator, so that this “HU” sound almost sounds like a motorboat or a buzzing insect. The Sufis perceive this “HU” is good for resonance of the throat chakra. Different groups may insist that their pronunciation of “HU” is the only correct pronunciation. However, regardless of the way it is chanted, continued, elongated sounding of “HU”, particularly with specific intention and visualization, will lead the reciter into an elevated state of consciousness.
“OM”, “AH” and “HU” are just a few of the one syllable mantras from different traditions—there are many others. These three have been described because of their recognition and power.
Interestingly, these one-syllable mantras combine quite easily. In fact, if one chants the “OM” or “AUM” as a three-syllable sound as suggested elsewhere—“AH OH MM”—you have one combination which contains at least two of these sounds. When pronounced in the way, the “OM” or “AUM” should be sounded on one breath. Project the 3 syllables as three separate sounds so that the “AH” resonates the heart center, the “OH” resonates the throat center and the “MM” resonates the third eye and crown. This way of sounding the “OM” is extremely effective in a group for bringing the energy of the people together.
The Tibetan Buddhist Chant of “OM AH HUM” also contains these sounds. The “OM AH HUM”, the Mantra of Blessing frequently precedes the recitation of other mantras. In this setting, when utilized as part of this mantra, the “AH” embodies the principle of creative sound and pure speech and is used to resonate the throat chakra (with the “OM” resonating the crown chakra and the “HUM” resonating the heart chakra).
In conclusion, these three mantras of “OM”, “AH” and “HUM” are particularly effective for working with a group in order to create and then project sacred sound for use to assist in planetary healing sound—using sound to assist the creation of peace and harmony on the earth. As always, it should be stated that the intent of the chanter is of great importance. In the article on “INTENTION” is much information on understanding this and in particular, the formula Vocalization + Visualization = Manifestation. By themselves, these mantras have their own extraordinary divine resonance. But through skillful means, one can project intention upon these sounds, amplifying and making even more extraordinary the great healing gifts they can bring.
Gaia’s psychic scream: why ecological destruction leads to human conflict
Thursday, August 07, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) Can you feel it? Something isn’t right with the world. Viral pandemics, wars, droughts, escalations of violence, irrational behavior, corporate greed gone wild, open border conflicts, media madness and more…
Clearly, something has shifted away from balance. At first, I thought these events were lining up just by coincidence, but now I’m convinced there’s a common cause behind it all. Something, in other words, is driving humanity into a state of madness. But what is it?
I’ve pondered this issue at great length, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we, the more sensitive members of the human species, are sensing and reflecting what might be called “Gaia’s psychic scream” — the reverberations of an intricate web of life experiencing extreme suffering as human civilization plunges the planet toward ecological collapse.
Pandemics, droughts and “natural” disasters are mere symptoms
All the superbugs and viral pandemics coming out of the woodwork are merely a symptom of that ecological collapse. The extreme droughts, earthquakes, floods and sudden sinkholes are yet more signs that humanity has pushed this global ecosystem beyond its natural limits.
Humanity has poisoned the oceans with mercury, blanketed the land with remnants of radiation, devastated genetic diversity with monoculture farming, strip-mined the hills and valleys for industrial metals, over-fished the oceans into a state of near-collapse, sprayed deadly chemicals on crops that have nearly wiped out honey bee pollinators, and bulldozed endless acres of rainforest to make way for GM soy fields.
The resources of the planet are dwindling. Fossil fuels, fossil water, old growth forests and natural artesian springs are all disappearing by the day. The shocking loss of living species has scientists declaring our planet to be in its “Sixth Great Extinction” event. Genetic pollution from biotech agriculture is now irreversible, and mysterious diseases are sweeping through banana crops, orange crops and even the horse populations of central Texas.
Because we are connected with nature, we feel this devastation in our hearts and minds
I believe we are all connected with nature. As nature suffers and dies, we feel the pain in our hearts and minds. We feel the suffering of the aquatic ecosystem as more agricultural chemicals are washed downstream and empty into the oceans. When life dies around us, those of us with empathy and compassion feel that pain.
It is my belief and observation that humans are becoming more agitated and frightened today precisely because the death and destruction of our natural world has reached a breaking point. The destruction being unleashed upon our world is sensed in our own hearts in the same way a pocket radio device can tune in and sense a broadcast station many miles away.
Gaia’s “psychic scream” is becoming so loud and so urgent that each day more people are affected by it. For some, they feel uncertainty and fear. Others feel anger and agitation. Still others experience sadness and depression. It is important for us all to recognize that because we are tuned in to nature, we are sometimes pained by its suffering. Yet the ability to feel compassion and empathy for the living world around us is a great gift… and a great burden. Having heard the desperate cries for survival, we are simultaneously burdened with doing our best to help protect Mother Nature from the poisoners of our world who are destroying her.
We cannot be at peace with each other unless we are first at peace with nature
Because the natural world is full of conscious, self-aware beings, their experience is ultimately inseparable from our own consciousness. When the natural world suffers pain and death, we feel an echo of that same pain and death. And it hurts us deeply if we dare to stay tuned in to the natural world around us. While some people can close their hearts and promote pesticides, GMOs, herbicides and other deadly chemicals, those people actually feel intense pain in their own hearts, and they quite literally seek the destruction of the world as a way to lash out from their own self-hatred.
That is why people who are not in balance with the natural world can never be in balance with themselves or others. In other words, we cannot be at peace with each other unless we are at peace with nature. The idea of attempting to achieve geopolitical peace while all our nations are waging aggressive chemical warfare against nature is ludicrous.
War between humans is a reflection of humanity’s war against nature. The kinetic weapons of human warfare are merely the physical counterparts of the chemical weapons deployed against Mother Nature each and every day.
Chemical agriculture is chemical warfare against Mother Nature
As it is practiced today, chemical agriculture is the aggressor against nature, poisoning her rivers and oceans while destroying that delicate ecological balance that once brought us “abundance” in the form of cheap food, free water and rich soils.
Now the price of food is skyrocketing, the water is disappearing and the soils have been chemically sterilized or nearly blown to dust. The abundance we once took for granted is rapidly evaporating, leaving behind a barren wasteland wholly unable to support sustainable human life. In desperation, we humans drill deeper for more water and oil, clear-cut more lands for increased profits and spray triple or quadruple the chemicals to combat the superweeds which have arisen from our foolish shortsightedness. Even in this, we utterly fail to realize the problem is not that we haven’t yet exploited enough natural resources; the problem is that we treat this planet as if we were an invading enemy force seeking to destroy it.
If we destroy our natural world, we will destroy ourselves. The process, in fact, is already well under way and may be too far along to reverse. Those who can hear Gaia’s psychic scream are very likely the last chance for human survival on an unimaginably rare and valuable planet that we have foolishly forsaken.
You might be feeling a strange sensation lately – like slipping into other realms of thought, perspective or consciousness. It can be manifest in very mundane incidents, and it can be very perceptually profound. It’s not easy to identify, much less classify.
Nevertheless, the shift is on and it’s hitting people in different ways, and most may not be fully aware of what’s going on.
While world events can make us feel so disempowered and degraded, something else is urging us on. It’s very strong, subtle and beautifully powerful. The energetic and information supply line we’re receiving is a huge boost, but more than that there’s a connectivity we’re each experiencing, a sense of not just awareness, but a collective desire to help bring about a shift in the world to which we’re being subjected. What we’re experiencing is deeply coupled with this innate hunger to be connected to each other, and to the wonderful spiritual and vibrational sources with which we’re aligned.
Intuitive connectivity with kindred souls, Gaia, and ultimately the wonderful, overarching Cosmic Universal Reality is what our hearts crave, however one may perceive or even explain it. Huge forces are at play and we’re in the midst of and participants in this changeover. Hence some of the forces you may be sensing.
Ear To The Ground
This is how the native Americans knew what was coming. Listen to the earth. She resonates. She does not lie. She is constant and trustworthy. She is honest, and when she shrugs there’s a purpose.
Such should be our attitude toward all true natural resources, both physical and spiritual. As well as our interactive relationship with these marvelous sources. This is a time to connect with what is trustworthy – family, true friends and trusted sources, and the true understandings we’re being given. Much of this is intuitive but it’s nevertheless just as, if not more, profound.
Listening is key to our spiritual strength. The encouragement available is almost overwhelming when you tap into it. Without that sense of trust and grounding we’re going to feel “lost at sea” and very confused and disoriented. Dig into it.
Forget The Past – Now Is All That Matters
If you’re suffering from personal condemnation from past failures or unconscious living, you’re not alone. None of us are up to the perfection level we innately sense should be our standard. However, it’s not meant to be that way. Nothing is expecting perfection or “attainment” of any sort. We are encased spirits in human form attempting to grasp the Universe. Parts of us get it, and other parts are digging their heels in. This conflict is our predicament and challenge.
It’s apparently meant to be part of our growing process.
We can only assume these events to be so because this is what we experience. While we realize we’re living in a contrived matrix of deceit, our rooting and budding within this earthbound form is a very natural process. As we grow, we leave previous forms behind. Letting these go can be a dilemma but it’s actually quite simple.
Let them go. Release them. New awarenesses and awakenings are budding and that’s all that matters. While we can always learn from the past, we must not be condemned by it. Time is a river, and it moves on, just as you are not the same person dipping your foot in the river now as you were before, nor is the river the same. It moves on.
All is in flux.
The Practical Application
While this all may seem somewhat esoteric, it’s not completely. The decisions we make, as well as personal resolutions, are what determine our current reality. Our next decision is based upon our current understanding. That’s how we grow.
When we find ourselves awakened in a hostile environment it’s only natural to want to escape. When we’re confronted with untruths that beg to be addressed, we do so naturally. Not to offend, but to inform. As well as stand our conscious ground.
It’s not always easy, I know that. My point is that to respond consciously is being true to our response-ability. It’s that simple. Those who do so will see their lives directed accordingly. Those who don’t also will – but with a much less enlightened outcome.
We Each Are The Difference
When you look at society today it’s important to realize it’s an accumulation of social and spiritual cause and effect. All built on individual responses. This of course explains the mass media; mass educational indoctrination drastically affects our current populace. Our separation from it also does.
We need to break free from these accumulated influences. And have confidence in doing so. There are lot of psycho-spiritual influences working on each of us, and they’re important to identify, but more importantly shun their current and after-effects. We are free conscious being here having an experience. Learn from everything, deal with what needs to be dealt with, but most of all we must affirm our absolute freedom.
Slip on by to the other side. It’s a fun ride. Unhook the hinderances and let it go!
Give it a go; now’s the time to do it as the winds pick up. Leave unneeded baggage behind now. You’ll be glad you did.
Contrary to the common belief that the Earth is simply a dense planet whose only function is a resource for its inhabitants, our planet is in fact a breathing, living organism. When we think of the Earth holistically, as one living entity of its own, instead of the sum of its parts, it takes on a new meaning. Our planet functions as a single organism that maintains conditions necessary for its survival.
James Lovelock published in a book in 1979 providing many useful lessons about the interaction of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes on Earth.
Throughout history, the concept of Mother Earth has been a part of human culture in one form or another. Everybody has heard of Mother Earth, but have you ever stopped to think who (or what) Mother Earth is?
What is Gaia?
Lovelock defined Gaia as “…a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.”
Through Gaia, the Earth sustains a kind of homeostasis, the maintenance of relatively constant conditions.
The truly startling component of the Gaia hypothesis is the idea that the Earth is a single living entity. This idea is certainly not new. James Hutton (1726-1797), the father of geology, once described the Earth as a kind of superorganism. And right before Lovelock, Lewis Thomas, a medical doctor and skilled writer, penned these words in his famous collection of essays, The Lives of a Cell:
“Viewed from the distance of the moon, the astonishing thing about the earth, catching the breath, is that it is alive. The photographs show the dry, pounded surface of the moon in the foreground, dry as an old bone. Aloft, floating free beneath the moist, gleaming, membrane of bright blue sky, is the rising earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos. If you could look long enough, you would see the swirling of the great drifts of white cloud, covering and uncovering the half-hidden masses of land. If you had been looking for a very long, geologic time, you could have seen the continents themselves in motion, drifting apart on their crustal plates, held afloat by the fire beneath. It has the organized, self-contained look of a live creature, full of information, marvelously skilled in handling the sun.”
John Nelson illustrated the “Breathing Earth,” (below) which are two animated GIFs he designed to visualize what a year’s worth of Earth’s seasonal transformations look like from outer space. Nelson–a data visualizer, stitched together from NASA’s website 12 cloud-free satellite photographs taken each month over the course of a year. Once the images were put together in a sequence, the mesmerizing animations showed what Nelson describes as “the annual pulse of vegetation and land ice.”
As the climate changes, the planet comes alive. Earth appears to breathe when ice cover grows and melts–in and out, in and out.
White frost radiates out from the top of the globe and creeps south in all directions. It travels through Siberia, Canada, and northern Europe, heading towards the equator located around the circle’s edge, but ends before the top of Africa. The Mediterranean Sea is the visible body of water on the top left hand side, and the Great Lakes make up a small network of dark blue shapes on the land mass to the right.
The Earth acts as a single system – it is a coherent, self-regulated, assemblage of physical, chemical, geological, and biological forces that interact to maintain a unified whole balanced between the input of energy from the sun and the thermal sink of energy into space.
In its most basic configuration, the Earth acts to regulate flows of energy and recycling of materials. The input of energy from the sun occurs at a constant rate and for all practical purposes is unlimited. This energy is captured by the Earth as heat or photosynthetic processes, and returned to space as long-wave radiation. On the other hand, the mass of the Earth, its material possessions, are limited (except for the occasional input of mass provided as meteors strike the planet). Thus, while energy flows through the Earth (sun to Earth to space), matter cycles within the Earth.
The idea of the Earth acting as a single system as put forth in the Gaia hypothesis has stimulated a new awareness of the connectedness of all things on our planet and the impact that man has on global processes. No longer can we think of separate components or parts of the Earth as distinct. No longer can we think of man’s actions in one part of the planet as independent. Everything that happens on the planet – the deforestation/reforestation of trees, the increase/decrease of emissions of carbon dioxide, the removal or planting of croplands – all have an affect on our planet. The most difficult part of this idea is how to qualify these effects, i.e. to determine whether these effects are positive or negative. If the Earth is indeed self-regulating, then it will adjust to the impacts of man. However, as we will see, these adjustments may act to exclude man, much as the introduction of oxygen into the atmosphere by photosynthetic bacteria acted to exclude anaerobic bacteria. This is the crux of the Gaia hypothesis.
One of the early predictions of this hypothesis was that there should be a sulfur compound made by organisms in the oceans that was stable enough against oxidation in water to allow its transfer to the air. Either the sulfur compound itself, or its atmospheric oxidation product, would have to return sulfur from the sea to the land surfaces. The most likely candidate for this role was deemed to be dimethyl sulfide.
Published work done at the University of Maryland by first author Harry Oduro, together with UMD geochemist James Farquhar and marine biologist Kathryn Van Alstyne of Western Washington University, provides a tool for tracing and measuring the movement of sulfur through ocean organisms, the atmosphere and the land in ways that may help prove or disprove the controversial Gaia theory. Their study appears in this week’s Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The Story of Water by Alick Bartholomew, is another unique publication in that it reflects the author’s deep knowledge of the principles of whole geophysical systems, which helps us understand the Earth as an integrated Gaia system that sustains us. The book begins by describing our usual view of water based on Western science and then deftly moves on to the frontier sciences that embrace water as the source of life in terms of biological systems, quantum energy fields, etheric fields, spirals, vortices, and as a medium for communications and memory. An understanding of these principles can lead to strategies for treating our water in ways that guarantee a sustainable future for humankind.
How Does Gaia Work?
The homeostasis regulated by the Earth is much like the internal maintenance of our own bodies; processes within our body insure a constant temperature, blood pH, electrochemical balance, etc. The inner workings of Gaia, therefore, can be viewed as a study of the physiology of the Earth, where the oceans and rivers are the Earth’s blood, the atmosphere is the Earth’s lungs, the land is the Earth’s bones, and the living organisms are the Earth’s senses. Lovelock calls this the science of geophysiology – the physiology of the Earth (or any other planet).
To understand how the Earth is living, let’s take a look at what defines life. Physicists define life as a system of locally reduced entropy (life is the battle against entropy). Molecular biologists view life as replicating strands of DNA that compete for survival and evolve to optimize their survival in changing surroundings. Physiologists might view life as a biochemical system that us able to use energy from external sources to grow and reproduce. According to Lovelock, the geophysiologist sees life as a system open to the flux of matter and energy but that maintains an internal steady-state.
Beyond the scientific importance of what we have discussed here, we might do well to consider some of the more poetical thoughts of the originator of the theory:
“If Gaia exists, the relationship between her and man, a dominant animal species in the complex living system, and the possibly shifting balance of power between them, are questions of obvious importance… The Gaia hypothesis is for those who like to walk or simply stand and stare, to wonder about the Earth and the life it bears, and to speculate about the consequences of our own presence here. It is an alternative to that pessimistic view which sees nature as a primitive force to be subdued and conquered. It is also an alternative to that equally depressing picture of our planet as a demented spaceship, forever traveling, driverless and purposeless, around an inner circle of the sun.”
The strong Gaia hypothesis states that life creates conditions on Earth to suit itself. Life created the planet Earth, not the other way around. As we explore the solar system and galaxies beyond, it may one day be possible to design an experiment to test whether life indeed manipulates planetary processes for its own purposes or whether life is just an evolutionary processes that occurs in response to changes in the non-living world.
About the Author
Liz Bentley is a graduate in geology, professional photographer and freelance journalist with an acute insight into fossil records and climatology.