Thursday, July 31, 2008

Serialization of Sacred Vow: Tea Ceremony

photo by FredArmitage

The most significant event of your life calls to you, from barely beyond your perception…both imminent and impossible… a call of the heart, of the spirit, and of yourself to which you have not yet been introduced.

Sacred Vow is a metaphysical novel about a man who responds to the mysterious call of a woman, opening the way to redefinition of both himself and his understanding of the world around him. He takes his first steps on a journey to accept the world around him as a place to live, not simply a place to survive day-to-day. Sacred Vow is both a narrative and the means for the author to communicate a positive message about life and fully integrating the most into each moment. Highly Recommended—Midwest Book Review

Installment 3 of 22 Sacred Vow (Dragon's Beard Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9774271-4-7, paperback, Fiction: Visionary/Metaphysical).

Tea Ceremony

In all of his fifty-three years, few pleasures consistently satisfied Ian Sarin like fully focusing on a hot cup of tea, especially in the familiar comfort of his home on a New England winter evening. At the end of workdays in the frighteningly specious world of logic—computer logic—Ian loved reentering this personal sanctuary, and making a ceremony out of preparing his tea. The simple motions brought Ian a serenity he couldn’t explain. Of course, he occasionally made changes in the ritual. There were always new teas to try, and he periodically used a different teapot, cup, or other trimming. But the unhurried, predictable routine invariably took him from the intensity of his toil to the calmness of his center.

Ian would lean back in his favorite old chair, placing the hot teacup on the wide wooden armrest. The antique recliner had cracked red leather cushions. A dear couple in their nineties had given him the chair, for some reason unknown to him. It had belonged to the woman’s grandfather. Like its former owners, that old chair was ever welcoming. Without fail, it soothed Ian to sit in it.

Whether it came immediately after work or followed drinks and dinner with friends, separation from his labor was never complete until Ian had the day’s closing cup of tea. The rising steam from the cup celebrated a shift into the more genuine side of his life, of himself. Single, living alone, quietude was his guidepost.

Withdrawn from the activities of the day, Ian would focus on a favorite teapot or some other object within the room, absorbed in aimless wonder until he achieved something he called a sense of “presence” or expanded awareness. The tea’s warmth and flavor never failed to lull him into the anticipated meditation. With palm and fingers wrapped around his cup, Ian would take his time and lingered over every sip, staring blankly, unintentionally, into the room before him . . . looking outward, peering inward.

One winter evening, while in this unmindful passage, Ian slipped into a path that he could not have previously imagined. At first, the experience appeared to be no more than some mild visual distortion, not unlike the onset of one of his occasional migraines. In this hyper-relaxed state, Ian ignored the blurring edges of the images. He knew that the best way to avoid the onslaught of the potential headache was to relax more deeply and allow the storm to flow through.

Without becoming attached to or analyzing the experience, Ian allowed the sensations to draw him where they would. A ghost image of an outdoor scene began to display itself before him. Surprised by the specificity of the evolving scene, Ian tensed up, straining to resist the unexplainable sensory imposition. This caused a mild nausea. Ian took the nausea to be added evidence that he was developing a migraine. So he again focused on relaxation.

He could not completely convince himself that the relaxation that ensued was solely due to the conscious effort he made, rather than the mere seduction of the experience. The infrequent migraines had never before provoked anything remotely suggestive of a hallucination.

With a distinct sense of motion, Ian felt himself transported from his New England home, winter outside, to the edge of a forest in spring—who knew where? The shift from ordinary consciousness to the extraordinary state of deep meditation was stronger and quicker than any previously experienced. It was so exhilarating it almost caused him to faint. As the two contrasting scenes before him continued to transpose, Ian’s familiar room became the more ethereal of the two.

Then he felt an abrupt snap to his nervous system. Both the nausea and psychological elation disappeared. The result was even harder for Ian to remain detached from.

Ian became enchanted by what his senses were reporting, and even more so by the novelty of the transformation. His room had been redefined to a path within an evergreen forest. Yet he knew he was still sitting in his recliner. The smell of evergreen needles and pungent wild plants overwhelmed that of his ginger pu-erh tea. It was all so real that he could even feel the moisture of the lush forest environment. Odd, however, was the utter silence of the place.

Then Ian realized there was another person in this woodland scene. The woman seemed a little more imaginary than her surroundings and she had the radiance and movement usually reserved for dreams and fantasy. Rather than something separate, moving across the landscape, she flowed as part of the scene, from point to point. She made no abrupt movements or gestures. Ian wondered why she seemed so familiar, though he was certain that he had never seen her before.

Her hair was a deep, rich auburn, very long and braided into a single strand. The style of her clothes was unusual. She wore a long-sleeved, full-length gown. Over the dress was an open-sided tunic, not quite as long as the gown, loosely tied at the waist with a woven belt. Both garments appeared to be handmade from a thick but loosely woven natural fiber. The gown was off-white, probably the natural color of the fabric. The tunic was light green, heavily embroidered with symbols that Ian did not recognize. The ordered placement of the symbols, however, gave him the impression that her attire was a uniform of some sort. One thing he could not help but notice: the soft cloth of her clothing flowed as smoothly over her form as she moved through her environment.

Fully focused on the wildflowers that she was collecting and adding to her basket, the woman walked to Ian’s right, completely unaware of him. She moved her lips as if talking to herself, or to the birds that flew about and perched near the ground on the lower branches of the trees. Then the woman finally noticed Ian. She stopped in surprise, but only for a second. Her eyes went wide and her mouth dropped open . . . just before she gave him a full, welcoming smile.

It was as if she knew who he was but had not expected to see him just then or there. She spread her arms and moved quickly toward him, laughing and talking as she came. To his dismay, Ian could hear nothing of what she said to him.

Ian had initially taken this lissome woman to be much younger than he. But as she drew nearer, he saw that she was about his age. She seemed much fuller of life than Ian had been in years, even though he considered himself quite youthful for his age. Her skin was smooth and fair in color, and it had a healthy, even glow. Equally beautiful to him were the soft lines around her eyes.

Ian was drawn to the woman; he sensed that some kind of intimacy existed between them. She apparently felt the same way, for she leaned over to kiss him without hesitation. Her scent was of delicate flowers over an exotic wood. Ian felt anticipation of her touch—much more than just a mere physical response of an unattached man being kissed by a lovely woman.

Ian’s anticipation was denied. He never felt the touch of her lips. As she stood upright, returning slowly into focus, Ian could not take in enough of her striking face. Now he wondered why she wore that quizzical expression, head tilted and brow knitted. Perhaps she, too, could not understand what had happened to the sensation of the kiss.

Ian was even more overcome by the rapidly expanding emotion that he felt for this woman, from deep within—and, somehow, being near her gave him an almost exaggerated sense of satisfaction with himself. Ian was totally absorbed in his passionate response to her. I am truly blessed, he thought in almost perfect contentment.

It was about then that Ian’s logical mind regained its ability for rationalizing and seized full control. I am sitting in my study, it proclaimed forcefully. This is an illusion!

Abruptly, the woman and her surroundings dematerialized, going from tangible form to ghost image to her absence, merely a blurred perception of Ian’s study. His body and mind convulsed when the last traces of the illusion retreated into the precise forms of the study. A rush of confusing emotions was forcibly fused into his conscious perception of himself and his reality.

Gripping the arms of the recliner, Ian sat rigidly upright, distraught. As unnerving as the physical stimulation had been, the emotions that churned within him now were worse. For a brief moment during the woman’s visit, he had possessed an incontestable sense of purpose and wholeness. Now he felt devoid. The sharp contrast wounded him deeply.

Had something precious slipped away? More than that, why did he feel so certain that this woman’s departure meant a loss of more than he’d known he was missing from life? In his many years of meditation, guided imagery, and similar experiences, Ian had never felt such stirring sensations.

Now that the brunt of the experience had passed, his mind rapidly alternated between supreme elation at “meeting” this remarkable woman and a full rational denial of this little vision, or whatever one might call it. What had just transpired? For all the world, it had felt that in a matter of seconds the tangible world before Ian had completely redefined itself as he remained the only constant. But he was not ready to accept an explanation quite that extreme.

“What a powerful vision,” Ian said to himself, confining the account to something within the comfort zone of his conscious mind.

Step by step, Ian retraced the experience. He had been enjoying the fragrant aroma of his ginger pu-erh tea while his eyes ran over the bamboo-like designs on his recently acquired, handmade ceramic teapot. Obviously, he had finished the tea and set the cup in his lap . . .

Perhaps,” Ian thought, “I suddenly lost consciousness.” No, he knew he had not slept or blacked out!

In fact, Ian reminded himself, the change started as he was looking at the teapot, just finishing his cup of tea. He had been thinking of nothing in particular, allowing himself to drift free from any thoughts. The next thing he knew, the relaxation was moving quickly into a mysterious domain.

The loss of that enchanting woman called Ian back. Despite the evidence to the contrary, he knew she was somehow real. And the emotions she had provoked in him were certainly so.

Quickly getting up from the chair, he walked across the room.

After taking a few steps, Ian turned and stared at the recliner as if it were some unknown object. Then, as if to reassure himself that he was indeed in his study, he slowly let his attention drift around the room. There was the makeshift stereo cabinet, a faux antique armoire—on which an untalented amateur had sought to express an imagined skill. His eyes fell to the worn pine floor and traced a path back to the side table, on which sat the muted green teapot with its bamboo design. Each familiar item was a comfort.

What had the woman in the forest been? He was certain it was not a dream! The experience had been far too lifelike.

Ian felt compelled to classify the experience as some sort of visual aberration, like a mirage. A mirage, however, is something caused by the environment external to the seer. But, what were the conditions that caused this aberration?

In the case of a vision, the controlling conditions are more defined within the seer, within his or her mind . . . or life. That put the weight of the explanation of this occurrence on him. What about Ian or his life had recently changed, allowing this peculiar experience to take place?

Ian consoled himself with the conclusion that if he had had some sort of vision, at least it was pleasant and non-threatening. Or rather, it had been pleasant until he “awoke” and found that his visitor was chimerical.

Continuing to tell himself that he was distressed over nothing, a mere reverie—though elaborate—Ian sat back down in the recliner. Could he recreate the experience at will?

Trying to relax, he reached over to touch the teapot. Such a short time had passed since Ian poured his first cup of tea that the pot was still hot.

He picked the teapot up and tilted the spout over his cup. Steam rose as the stream of hot tea fell into the cup. Ian half expected that something else might escape from the teapot. When the cup was full, he set the teapot down and settled back into his chair. For a short while, he tried to think of nothing, just stare without purpose at the teapot and cup.

Ian made every effort not to think of the woman in the forest and his experience with her, but he failed. He had no better success for the next couple of weeks. Almost all he could think about was related to his encounter with the woman in the forest. Over and over, Ian tried to determine exactly what had happened that night. He considered how it had happened, analyzed why it had happened, and how it was different from any vaguely similar experiences he had had previously.

Despite the fact that his visit that night was always on his mind, he spoke to no one about it. He didn’t need anyone else questioning his mental stability.

During that time of assessment, Ian did not have tea in his study, or go through his tea ritual at all. Once in a while, he would sit in the study—but not in the recliner—and consider the scene of the event that occurred that night. He convinced himself that the vision was more interesting than disturbing. His response was to study it as an “experiential aberration,” some anomaly of perception.

Such things as visions or visitations were not completely incomprehensible to him—in concept, anyway. Ian had done a little reading concerning metaphysical, indigenous, and East Asian beliefs, though he did not consider himself knowledgeable, not by any means. Now and again, he had attended a spiritual workshop or a retreat. Such diversions were interesting, and occasionally vital—along with art, music, and poetry—to balance out his left-brain-centric career. Before the woman’s arrival, Ian had never experienced anything that threatened to cross the threshold between the expanded perception of deep meditation and the preternatural. Even though he had come to believe such things were possible, he had always been comfortable that there was generally a wide margin of safety between the possible and the probable.

All this analysis did little to placate Ian’s ruffled logical mind, and offered absolutely no comfortable answers. The least of the rationally objectionable labels considered during his scrutinization was “vision”—“dream” remained utterly insufficient for what he had experienced—Trying to define the encounter as a mere hallucination, however, caused an upwelling of resistance within his depths. Though he struggled to avoid giving credence to the idea, Ian knew that he was not completely convinced that the experience had been merely visual.

From the moment he had first experienced the woman with the auburn hair, Ian had felt something new evolving in him. It seemed that much about him was transforming.

The change was physical. Certain parts of his body, internal and external, seemed to vibrate in response to some unexplainable stimuli outside the range of his conscious perceptions. The change was spiritual. He had acquired some deep undeniable connection to this woman that he could not rationally understand. The change was psychological, some kind of redefinition of self that he could not grasp consciously, as if his mind and feelings were opening or expanding. The redefinition included expanding his identity as a segmented awareness and bonding with something larger than himself . . .

None of this evolution greatly disturbed Ian. He did not personally know anyone knowledgeable about such things as visions. But from what he had read, he knew he was displaying normal symptoms after a numinous experience, which he also reminded himself was defined as any experience that defies explanation within the scope of one’s current view of reality. For Ian, a personally experienced vision, as opposed to theoretical visions, qualified as such an experience.

Ian tried to respond to the sensory aspects of the vision as an adventure, a particular bit of good fortune. He hoped to repeat the experience once he understood more about what was going on. There was just one remnant of that evening that Ian was not comfortable with. In fact, he would have sought another vision the following day if not for the residual emotions he possessed . . . or that possessed him. Ian was compelled to understand these emotions before allowing the chance of another vision.

He could accept the possibility of a lingering emotional ecstasy resulting from any strong supersensual experience such as his vision . . . similar to a religious rapture. But the emotion that Ian was feeling was directly associated with a single element of the vision, with the woman in the forest. The total intimacy he felt with her was more than Ian had ever known with any person. And he could not believe such an impassioned connection could be instantaneous. Yet, he had to believe . . . or accept that the bond had existed even before he had the vision.

That unguarded assessment troubled Ian. His yearning to return to the woman of his vision had the remarkable force of an addiction. For that reason most of all, Ian resisted the urge to pursue another encounter. He was not willing to let anyone or anything have such power over his destiny.

copyright 2006 CG Walters

Tea Ceremony
continued next week

last week, Searching

C.G. Walters primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives.

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Sacred Vow are available from the author– or purchase as ebook or the Amazon Kindle version

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guest Blogger 31 July 08: John Wolfe

Today I am beginning what I aspire to become a weekly addition of a guest blogger (or repost of another’s work that I have found inspiring). There are many talented creators sharing inspired work, and I would like thank a few of them for their works in making our world a more wondrous place.

Effortless Passionate Creativity

by John Wolfe

I’ve been referencing the importance of following our passion a lot recently. It intrigues me to ponder and explore the underlying spiritual ingredients, which make up fruitful, passionate, creative experiences. Once we can identify them more clearly and how they’re evoked, we can intentionally bring these same ingredients into our lives.

I’ve often read if we want to make specific changes in our life experience or accomplish something, we should look to others who have achieved the same thing. By emulating their methods for acquiring success, and applying them to our own unique experiences we too can accomplish our desires.

If this emulation theory works for action based activities, why can’t we apply the same principles for studying and implementing the energetic inspiration behind successful transformations and creations (no matter what they entail)? It’s this energy that gets the ball rolling in the first place. If we are going to start anywhere, it should be at the source of the inspiration- with the type of energy that propelled the eager action.

By far and away, the people that have made major life changes (which actually stick) and are experiencing consistent joy in their lives, are the ones who have found ways to follow their bliss. But what is it about following such pursuits that seems to tap us into an expanded state of awareness?

Why, when we are enthusiastic and raring to go, are we more expansive and full of a zest for life? Why do we feel unstoppable and on fire during such endeavors and why do the results make all other attempts pale in comparison? Of course these activities fuel our juices, but there’s something else responsible for the amazing outcomes produced from residing in these states of being.

I believe it’s the sheer act of creating from a place of effortlessness that brings us into the close proximity of our full power. When we passionately create, without over thinking and managing, we become a conduit for the most positive aspects of Universal energy. To be completely submersed in the moment of creation is to be the full embodied essence of who we are.

To be consciously, enthusiastically aware of what we are sculpting or molding, while simultaneously allowing it to naturally flow forth is such an ideal state of being. I would wager that most of the world’s greatest ideas and creations have sprung forth from this exact place within the minds that formulated them. Experiences like these are the true meaning of passion. In fact, this is the place where the brilliance within each of us emerges from. We’re all capable of it.

However, the manner I’m describing is actually far less common than the traditional way of creating. Most create while simultaneously being in a place of critique and judgment. They are usually doing it during the entire experience or are concerned about others doing it for them after they present their creation.

It’s a process of letting go and unlearning our old ideas of attaching our self worth and value to what we build. This doesn’t mean we don’t allow ourselves to feel while we create. It means we don’t over think the process. If we are constantly in our heads, our creative passion along with the end product suffers.

I believe the main ingredient (when combined with balance between thought and action) resides in the passionate emotions of the free flowing creative process. This isn’t about forcing ourselves to make something happen. And it’s definitely not about forcing ourselves to do something we aren’t fired up about. It’s about feeling for it. If we can’t feel it, it won’t seem effortless and free flowing. If it’s not effortless, then it’s not evoking our passion and we won’t make a change.

“Effort less” doesn’t mean zero effort; it only means less of it. It means dropping the attitude of trying and adopting the attitude of doing, but doing only because not doing seems like missing such an amazing opportunity and experience of creating. In other words, it will take effort, but if you’re following something you love, the effort will seem like so much less. It’s from this state that your hands appear to be guided by an automatic power.

Passion and creativity are not about tricking ourselves into pursuing something for the sake of doing it and assuming the results will show. In fact, that’s the opposite of passion. It’s about feeling so in tune with what we are doing and the path we are pursuing, everything becomes automatic. Automatic is a lot like “effort less.” It too means action may be required, but we won’t moan or groan when it comes time to take that action. We just automatically do it and thrive on continuing to do it.

This illustrates why many people are receiving mediocre results in life even though they are taking tons of action. It’s because they’re taking passionless “effort full” action, which has no meaning or value to them. It’s because their action is out of tune with what they care about. It bares no semblance to the free flowing movements and motions of someone that’s creating in tune with their desires. The Universal energy is still there, but it’s extremely stifled in an individual that’s operating at a no passion, “effort full” level of existence.

While I fully believe we come forth to experience life in whatever way we each see fit to create it- we can only see fit as far as our beliefs allow us to see. We can only allow into our life experience that which reaches as far as our most limiting belief in ourselves. If we believe life is about struggle and doing something we hate, simply because “that’s just how things are”, the “effort full” experience will persist for us.

If we begin to remodel our view on life, reality, and how we interact with it, then it becomes easier to understand the importance of following our bliss and what we personally value. And not only the importance, but the knowledge that this is the route to all the things we find more desirable.

George Burns once said, “I’d rather be a failure at something I love, than a success at something I hate.” While I agree with the sentiment in his statement, I have to say I don’t agree with his measure of success.

Once we’ve found a way to consistently pursue something we are in love with, we are already a phenomenal success. All of the material things our society associates with success can only come, in a meaningful manner, once we are pursuing our bliss. While others may achieve material success doing something they hate, it won’t be the type of creation (I spoke of earlier) that sticks. It’s a fleeting, hollow form of success. And hollow forms soon collapse because they lack the feeling of effortless, passionate creativity.

John Wolfe blogs Winds of the Soul. He believes in helping others get in tune with their own personal wisdom; allowing them to find peace and discover their natural abilities for living the way they've always wanted to live.

Visit Winds of the Soul for more of his inspiring blogs a podcasts.

Thank you, John!

Who most inspires you?

I am inspired by those who are considerate and kind to others not because of some holy writ, a governing god or learned belief, but simply because they would wish to treat no one otherwise.

I am uplifted by the accomplishment of those who are at peace with their surroundings and their place in life not because they have achieved their most desired dreams, but because they are too grateful in living to worry about what more them might have.

I am grateful for the one, without training, who never lost contact with their inner self or has regained that contact. The one in whom you can see that communion in their walk and the look in their eye.

And I ask continued blessings for the one who allows themself to stumble without self-judgment, who is fully human in all their foibles, yet remains undeniably holy without pretension or elevation, whose heart is open, eyes twinkle, takes pleasure in the joys and achievements of others (even more than those of their own), and who laughs unreservedly.

Please bless us with examples of those who inspire you and make our world a better place.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Conventional Truth: Reality or a Crutch?

Usually we manage to navigate through our interactions with others via casually (if not unconsciously) accepted collective truths (and definitions of reality). These come in the form of the explicit and/or implicit belief systems, laws or conventions of our country, culture, online communities, workplace, or group of friends and family. We accept the consequential confines of our experience and do our best (most times unknowingly) to ensure that others do so as well. We speak of these truths as guidelines to a more harmonious society or a common ground from which to relate.

Despite the benefits of passively accepted—as opposed to purposely chosen—belief systems and realities, there are often-unrecognized repercussions. We are rarely aware of the restrictions this creedal contract has imposed on us. In the fine print, we may have given up our wings, merely for the guarantee that we would never fall from the skies. Another possible problem is that these tacit conventions give us some distance from the responsibility of our actions performed in compliance. Where would it leave us if we were to find that we are not actually complying with objective truths and realities, but rather using these precepts as a convenient alibi or excuse?

From my perspective, ones beliefs are merely a symbolic focal point for our actions. Such a belief system does not dictate or define our actions, but we often use it as an explanation or justification, sometimes even when we intuitively recognize that our deeds are either dubious or we know our choices could be more compatible to our higher self. The best of our behaviors do not require dogma to validate them. It does not require a divine mandate to warrant kindness to another; such an action stands on its own. We are also inherently equipped with the definition of kindness as an action that simultaneously gladdens both the heart of another and our own.

Even with our best active choices focused as much as we are able on our higher nature, our actions sometimes fall into areas that our conscious minds find to be uncomfortably gray—and not surprisingly. We occasionally find ourselves trying to understand our position or choice with one foot in either world of the rational and the divine ethic.

How can this be so? In the mind of the Absolute, every truth is true, false, both true and false simultaneously, neither true nor false, all and none of the above at the very same time. In an understanding so vast as to be able to create the expansive and varied beauty of nature, I do not believe one could dare imagine the working of that intelligence to be limited to an 'either/or' definition. It is in the human mind that these concepts of conflict are manifest and divided into subjective categories like truth and non-truth. Such distinctions can only be validated by the individual and the context of their experience and need at any given time, for the division does not exist outside human perception.

Now, on a practical mode, I most certainly chose between what I consider to be desired and undesired in what I support, the company I keep, the actions I will partake--or support others taking. However, I know any of these choices are only justifiable as being compatible to my egoic self at this time. Today's "right" might be tomorrow’s wrong. As a result of my belief in this variable nature of truth, the one thing that I seek to avoid is to ever imagine that what I do or chose is because that choice is inherently right for me--and definitely not for anyone else-- in any sense of the eternal, sacred, or objective reality. Things like good and evil are subjective, not eternal constants.

Does accepting my perception make my commitment to any of my allied beliefs any less? No. In fact, I would say that my dedication to the choices I make are all the stronger. For I know they are completely my own choice, not something that I had imposed on me from the outside myself. In that, some might consider this full responsibility of personal choice to be a downside of my perspective, since I cannot offer myself the luxury of being merely complicit or divinely directed. I have no excuse for myself for previously having chosen something that is no longer right for me.

This responsibility makes me fully consider my choices. True, I will have become a different person if I later find my choice today unfathomable tomorrow. But in this world I will still have to live with the consequences of that past choice, not because of an undeniable truth but because of a collective agreement including myself at a higher level.

I try not to be too harsh when I realize that I have been using a truth that has now turned false on me. Truth is not a rigid eternal thing but rather it is an ever-progressing horizon. With each step forward we are afforded a view one step further beyond that which we saw a moment before. My truths today could not come into being, except by the preceding perspectives that they have replaced.

Despite knowing that, I usually can’t help deluding myself with the idea of being more prescient next time. I know that it is very likely that I will find my perceived reality outpacing today’s truth, sooner or later. In the same sense, I must offer that kindness also to those I encounter whose choices have now fallen from their favor or proven itself unworthy of them.

copyright 2009 CG Walters

Words do not contain truth, but may reflect the truth that you hold within.
This is my truth. Only you can determine if there is any value in it for you.

Strike a Chord of Silence is CG's new book of metaphysical maxims and essays. Also available in Kindle and other eBook formats. Other International and US print sales, should be available upon request from your bookstore

C.G. Walters’s current novel, Sacred Vow is a metaphysical novel about a man who responds to the mysterious call of a woman, opening the way to redefinition of both himself and his understanding of the world around him…Highly recommended. —Midwest Book Review.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Share an older relation that has added meaning to your lifeLife

The “older” (in physical years only) friend that has had the most impact on my life was called Kitty. She was in her 80's, a potter and the muse of many. She was a genteel, Southern (US) lady, yet Bohemian, laughed hardily aloud, and loved to drink Jack Daniels. She wore her wedding ring and dearly loved her husband 20+ years after his death. It was hard to know much about her, because she would always say, " I know about me, Sweetie. I want to know about you."

Quite often, I stopped by and had tea and speculation with this dear friend. I like most people felt special in Kitty’s presence, all because of the undivided attention that she gave for a short period of time—each time, every time. And she did this with friends, neighbors, people on the street, the sangha that met at her home, the prison sangha, troubled school kids, anyone and everyone.

Kitty took a major trip somewhere in the world every year...and her form of travel was never easy, luxurious--though she could afford it. She wanted to experience, not be buffeted from experience. She died in a car accident one winter in Vietnam, traveling to a Buddhist monastery. Many people grieved, and still do, at the loss the physical loss of this gentle heart. She is still a muse.

I wrote about Kitty in “Compassion so Subtle It’s Sublime.”

Now it’s your turn. What older friend or relation has had the most positive effect on your life?

copyright 2008 CG Walters

C.G. Walters’s current novel, Sacred Vow is a metaphysical novel about a man who responds to the mysterious call of a woman, opening the way to redefinition of both himself and his understanding of the world around him…Highly recommended. —Midwest Book Review.

In celebration of CG’s upcoming non-fiction book, **Strike a Chord of Silence, for a limited time autographed/signed copies of Sacred Vow are available for $4.00US plus shipping!– or purchase as ebook or the Amazon Kindle version

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Serialization of Sacred Vow: Searching

photo by h.koppdelaney

The most significant event of your life calls to you, from barely beyond your perception…both imminent and impossible… a call of the heart, of the spirit, and of yourself to which you have not yet been introduced.

Sacred Vow is visionary fiction of a journey toward our one true love…in its infinite expressions…bringing together two individuals from disparate realities—but one spirit—to heal the rift in the Collective Consciousness…a breach that threatens us all.

Sacred Vow is a metaphysical novel about a man who responds to the mysterious call of a woman, opening the way to redefinition of both himself and his understanding of the world around him. He takes his first steps on a journey to accept the world around him as a place to live, not simply a place to survive day-to-day. Sacred Vow is both a narrative and the means for the author to communicate a positive message about life and fully integrating the most into each moment. Highly recommended—Midwest Book Review

Installment 2 of 22 Sacred Vow (Dragon's Beard Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9774271-4-7, paperback, Fiction: Visionary/Metaphysical).


No longer confined to material experience, Katerina crossed into the dimly lit room, invisible to its inhabitants. She had never visited this world before, never laid eyes on this person, yet Katerina’s bond to the lean, gray-haired man seated at the wooden table was so intense and immediate that she barely managed to suppress the impulse to reach out and embrace him.

He rested a forearm on either side of the tattered book at which he stared, completely absorbed. In a few moments, he began to read aloud to himself, in a gentle voice.

“So long have we been sharing our experience, our becoming, that it no longer makes sense to imagine such a thing as either of us wholly divisible from the other . . . if it ever did make sense.”

Slowly he sat upright, eyes staring in Katerina’s direction, though completely unaware of her, staring through her formless presence and beyond her. A smile spread over his weathered face. Mesmerized, Katerina watched the man’s bright eyes as he began to move his head to the left. The moment his attention came to rest, an undeniable serenity radiated from his face, drawing Katerina to turn and seek out its inspiration.

He was looking into the face of a woman sitting in a large, upholstered chair, motionless, silent, and eyes closed. Upon first recognition of that face, Katerina’s intimacy with it involuntarily pulled her nearer. It was her own face on which Katerina was gazing, many years older, but indisputably her face. Katerina wanted to linger and rest her spirit, weary from all the traveling today, to just take in the simplicity of their life together in this place. But she knew that would be unwise.

Though only an observer, Katerina felt herself beginning to fuse into this life, making it her own. And this reality was progressively laying claim to her. Synthesis into the visited environment was a known problem with this manner of searching. She had been cautioned against becoming too tired and being seduced into idling.

She took one last look at her partner in this alternate life—at the partner of this parallel self. Katerina forced herself to continue the search elsewhere. This man was surely a manifestation of the one she sought, but this was not “him.”

Then she released her hold on this life. The tangibility of another facet of reality dissolved around her, as it had so many times before that day.

When letting go of a visited life, Katerina often had a sense of rapid movement—somewhat unnerving. It was similar to the dream sensation of falling when on the brink of sleep. Except this movement went in all directions simultaneously, including inward.

As Katerina removed herself from this life of hers, she retained traces of it. Though she had visited the place for only moments, that reality had been thoroughly integrated into Katerina’s definition of self, her emotions, and her mind. The same thing had happened with each parallel life that she had visited today. The resulting assimilation of parallel self-definitions was proving to be the hardest part of this task. Katerina could feel something similar to layers of simultaneous lifetime awarenesses building within her consciousness. With each new layer, Katerina’s definition-of-self expanded, but the primary identity receded a little. The more the tether to her prime personality weakened, the more dangerous the next visit became.

These dangers to the visitant were why this ritual was so rarely performed. Only by forcing acknowledgment of her exceptional skills had Katerina been able to persuade The Nine to consent to, and assist in, her searches. With each passing in and out of these parallel lives, Katerina became progressively more understanding of the Crones’ concerns.

Good fortune and bad awaited Katerina at the next location she tried to visit. For whatever reason, she was blocked from entering the environment. This meant the spirit of the very person she had come to visit denied her access—so she had been taught. The barrier was good because of the respite it afforded her, even momentarily. It was bad because this failed attempt was an opportunity lost and she had no time to waste. Katerina could feel her subconscious becoming overwhelmed. She would have to abandon the search very soon.

As though she had been slammed into a wall, Katerina rebounded. With no time to prepare, she entered into another parallel life. The quickness of the transfer had a severe impact on her already depleted energies.

Hazy images began to take form before her eyes. As in every other visit today, what Katerina saw and felt was as real to her as the life in the world of her physical form. These people, her lives in parallel realities, always existed right before her eyes. They were as real as any member of her order that she interacted with day in and day out. In this process, Katerina merely opened her awareness to the otherwise unacknowledged doorway between the infinite realities.

Memories that were hidden from her a moment before—memories belonging exclusively to this parallel life—began to introduce themselves into her consciousness. A flood of previously inaccessible senses, personal to this life, began to send their messages to her brain. Emotions without history for the traveling Katerina of a moment before began to structure in her mind the network of associations that gave them consequence. It was becoming almost impossible to fully open herself to yet another mind, another life, and still retain her distinction from them.

“Maintain the focus,” she reminded herself. “Where is the Union?”

Psychically, she searched the structure in which she stood for evidence of his presence. She knew he had been in this room only a moment before. Scanning one room after another with her mind, her senses met him returning up the stairs from a lower floor.

Perceptive of subtle energies, he stopped, and turned his head as if trying to catch the sound or sight that had fleetingly stirred his attention. Though her presence was centered in another room, Katerina held her mental focus on him, just outside of his range of perception. There was something very special about this one, and she took time to enjoy that uniqueness.

But he is not the Union, her mind cried out.

“Suen?” he called.

“What is it, Yeetar?” his partner replied from a room at the back of the top floor.

Yeetar looked around, curious. It was obvious that he had perceived an unfamiliar intrusion into his world. He seemed to be reaching out with something more than his five senses, trying to locate her. So Katerina cautiously began to withdraw her presence.

Significant, she thought. But, still not the Union.

Katerina heard Yeetar reply, uncertainly, “Nothing, Suen,” as the last of Katerina’s foreign essence departed from his world.

Katerina knew she could not attempt another visit. Her need to return to the Motherworld was too great. As soon as she pulled herself back into the mortal form that was her own, every member of The Nine instantaneously received her request for termination of the rite. The gurgling song of streams that surrounded the circle of Crones aided her return.

Though Katerina felt her spirit fully identify with the body of her home reality, her mind was overwhelmed with the competing identities she had integrated into her awareness during the searches. Still in the seated meditation posture, Katerina slumped forward, reaching her hands to the ground for reconnection, pressing her palms to the soft, living moss that covered the ground below her. Her breathing was deep and slow. With each inhalation, the scent of the evergreen forest strengthened her connection to this place, her primary home.

Surges of energy began to run through her muscles, making them twitch. Katerina strove to suppress these involuntary movements. Undoubtedly, out of need for its own survival, Katerina’s conscious mind was feverishly sweeping through the queue of her recent experiences and vanquishing all contending identities to the subdued recesses of her subconscious.

Katerina had no way of telling how long the hand had been on her shoulder. Still unable to withdraw her concentration from the processes of recovery, she wasn’t yet able to perceive whose hand it was. A minute later, unaware of who stood above her, Katerina began to realize that sympathetic energy flowed into her through the supportive hand, assisting Katerina in her efforts to integrate.

She had not wanted anyone to know how much impact the ceremony had had on her. She had been bold in her claims of being able to handle the process.

“You have done well, dear heart, and we are glad you are back with us.”

Katerina knew the voice. Head hanging down, eyes still closed, her sensory perception becoming exclusive to the world of her body, she replied, “I could not find him, Holiness. So many manifestations of him, but none of them were the Union.”

“That is both auspicious and unfortunate. With so many connections, the bond between you and him is exceptionally strong. It does, however, complicate finding the appropriate manifestation when seeking him without some assistance on his part.

“You have been remarkable in your effort, Katerina. No one would have asked so much of you. Care for yourself now, my child. This is a demanding task that you have undertaken.”

“I am certain something is not as we expect this time,” Katerina said.

“We may not understand why things are proceeding as they are, Katerina, but the Collective Consciousness cannot be wrong. We must carry out our practice as it has been handed down to us. The method has always served the need, and will again . . . in its own time.”

“Yes, Mother. But when I received the visions, it seemed he was not within an order. Is it possible?”

“The images you saw must be coincidental, not indicative of his full person, Katerina.”

“How can he refrain from replying?” Katerina asked, finally regaining enough strength to rise to her feet, though slowly. “Perhaps he cannot, or does not understand the Call.”

The old Matriarch wrapped an arm around Katerina’s back and helped the younger woman to steady her wobbly legs. Katerinalooked into the concerned, almost teary eyes of her superior and said, “I truly feel that something is unique to this occurrence of the rift.”

“I know you do, and I respect that belief. But you must accept that no matter the situation, it is perfection, as it has always been.”

A tear rolled down the wrinkled cheek before the elder continued.

“I would not have had you suffer this burden, Katerina, if I had such power to decide. And I must accept that this charge is yours to bear, in your own way.”

Despite the Matriarch’s compassionate tone, Katerina took her words as a reprimand.

“I will not fail my duties. Until I find the Union, I will search without cease.”

Rubbing Katerina’s back, the old woman said, “You have always surpassed your duties, dear girl, and are doing so now. You will not fail, cannot fail. It is we who must not fail you.”

Continued next week, Tea Ceremony

previously, Prologue

copyright 2006 CG Walters

C.G. Walters primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives.

Autographed/signed copies of Sacred Vow are available from the author– or purchase as ebook or from Amazon as Kindle version or printed copy.

Please join me as a friend at any of my other favorite hangouts:
, Gaia, Myspace, StumbleUpon, Friendfeed, Twitter, Plurk,
or Digg

Whose life would you like to be living?

I would choose no one else's life over mine.

Better a known devil.....

Sure, I—like most people, I suppose—have things about my life that I would like to change. I cannot say that all my grandest dreams have come to pass just yet, however, when we are envious of other's lives or achievements/possessions, we often are only wishing that we could have "a portion" of their lives--what we may see as outer successes or glory. We are never aware of any suffering it took to get to that point, the inner fears that they might have, or the "current cost" of those successes.

Take on the garment of another and you cannot go unaffected by their ways.**

I heard a story some time ago about a spiritual leader that got so tired of her flock arguing about whose sufferings was worst. Week after week, not only did they proclaim the supremacy of their own suffering, but they demeaned their neighbors as not being justified in their personal suffering. “If my pain was as little as theirs, I could laugh and be joyous, rather than be forced to go about with this pained look in my eye.

The leader called her flock together around a gnarly little tree one winter day and handed each person a pencil and an envelope with a string through a hole in the corner, and a blank piece of paper inside.

“I have been very troubled that many of you feel that Spirit has given you a more severe burden to carry than your neighbors. I took this heartfelt concern to prayer with me, and Spirit has offered a solution.

“We will each take the blank paper out of the envelope, write down our personal suffering, and put the paper back in the envelope. Write your name on the front of the envelope and find a limb to tie your envelope on.

“This is our suffering tree. When you tie your envelope, your suffering, onto the tree, Spirit has promised that you will be free of it. However, as you have left a suffering on the tree, you must take one from the tree. Every person will be allowed to exchange their suffering for any other that they pick off this tree as we walk around it. Once all the sufferings have been taken back from this tree, we will be done—and Spirit promises that each of us will then be more content with the suffering we bear.”

It took quite a long time of walking around the tree before anyone took any suffering to be their own. But eventually, the first envelope was claimed. Little by little, every envelope came off the tree, each person claiming the suffering of their choice.

And each person claimed the very same suffering they had hung on the tree...but Spirit was correct. Each one was more content with what was theirs to bear.

Whose life would you like to be living?

copyright 2008 CG Walters

Words do not contain truth, but may reflect the truth that you hold within.
This is my truth. Only you can determine if there is any value in it for you.

C.G. Walters
primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives. His current novel, Sacred Vow is a metaphysical novel about a man who responds to the mysterious call of [his soulmate], opening the way to redefinition of both
himself and his understanding of the world around him…Highly recommended. —Midwest Book Review.

Receive new editions of Into the Mist through a reader

In celebration of CG’s upcoming non-fiction book, **Strike a Chord of Silence, for a limited time autographed/signed copies of Sacred Vow are available!

Purchase a signed paperback copy from – or buy from your favorite brick and mortar, or online store ( ). Purchase Sacred Vow as ebook
or the Amazon Kindle version

Thank to Anand Dhillon at Carnival of Self-Mastery - July 29, 2008 , and to Pinkblock at Blog Carnival on Personal Power September 28, 2008 for featuring this article.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What have you learned from other animals?

Not only learned, but am learning. Little Carolina Wrens seem to stay close by me, supporting me, reminding me (as Ted Andrews’ Animal Speaks book says) to believe in myself and “to be bold.”

Wrens are a small bird with a big voice, and a daring spirit. It’s hard to believe that such a loud song can come from such a small body. And, they dance while they sing, swinging side to side, throwing that voice the widest arc possible. Carolina Wrens are rust brown, and they can be seen hopping all over anything where they might find bugs and spiders. I used to have a tractor, and every time I stopped that tractor in front of the house after mowing the property a pair of little wrens would cover that thing—underside, topside, tires, seat—picking up all the bugs that had hitched a ride.

Carolina wrens will build a nest of moss and fibrous strings that look like what could be imagined as a fairy bed. Perhaps this is why some pagan traditions consider the wren sacred to the earth gods and goddesses. If you are lucky, a little wren will grace you with its nest in a mailbox, a bucket, or even an unmoving vehicle.

The Animal Speaks book says of Wren, “The wren is a bold and resourceful bird. One Native American tale speaks of a time when the wren tricked the boasting eagle into carrying it far into the heavens, until the eagle could go no higher. At that point the wren hopped off eagle’s back and flew beyond the clouds, laughing at how much higher it was flying than the eagle ever would.”

For some particular blessings, wrens have always been very tolerant of my presence. They will come very close and sing, and watch me, turning their head and listening to me speak in response to their song. There was even a particularly trying time when an almost all white (very rare) male wren showed up around my bird feeders. The first couple of times I saw it, I thought it was a trick of light. However, in time, this white wren came close to sing to me and let me be certain that I was seeing accurately.

Though wrens have a special significance to me, I believe watching any animal (or any thing) in nature can teach us, remind us. We align ourselves to what we give our attention, so watching something that is in accordance to the rhythm of nature starts to bring that remembrance back from the depth of our subconscious.

Is there a particular animal that's taught you a lesson, be it a pet or an entire species?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Serialization of Sacred Vow—Prologue

photo by by h.koppdelaney

This is the introduction chapter from the novel, Sacred Vow (Dragon's Beard Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9774271-4-7, paperback, Fiction: Visionary/Metaphysical).

Over the next couple of months, three times per week I intend to serialize installments of the first 15 chapters of Sacred Vow. For those of you who have already read Sacred Vow, I beg your patience, and welcome any comments that you remember from when you read the chapter.

For those of you who have not read Sacred Vow, may it bring you many blessings. And, please comment if you are so moved.


There is a rift in the Collective Consciousness of the Universe because people are not bonding one to another. The primary female character, Katerina, lives in another dimension, in a culture structured around the Sisterhood of Crones (a description of the order, not their name–as their name is without word). The Sisterhood are about to perform a ritual to allow Katerina to rapidly visit a multitude of worlds and dimensions,
searching for her spirit mate (soulmate or twin flame). The Sisterhood has become aware that the connection between Katerina and her spirit mate is vital to heal the rift in the Collective Consciousness.


Choice of the ritual location was dictated by nature just days before. Hundreds of people had roamed hill and field, dowsing for the place possessing the energy necessary for their purpose. The intended process could not take place on one of their customary ceremonial sites, but only the spot identified as radiating the strongest flow of earth energy at the anticipated time of the rite.

Three ley lines, channels of the land’s energy, crossed a wooded hillside in a small patch of flat ground. Two ancient hardwood trees, one standing on either side of the rear of the opening, leaned forward before the rocky slope that bordered the backside of the level area. Their leaves filtered what little light could make its way from above.

Between the trees, at the base of the slope, there was a large greenish-gray stone. Its jagged face rose some twenty feet in the air. Three small streams, swollen with recent rains, flowed down the slope, marking the perimeter of the flat plot of land in front of the stone, before converging and flowing downward over a small waterfall. The stream-encircled ground was carpeted with a thick, soft moss.

Once the location had been identified and verified, the holy women who would use that place and its energy consecrated it. On the appointed evening, shortly after midnight, a ceremonial procession of The Nine—which consisted of the Crone Mother, leader of their mystic order, and eight more of the wisest women of their society—Katerina, understudy to the Crone Mother, and their considerable entourage made their way to the location. For several hours, from their village to the south, those who remained behind could see the winding line of torches, and hear the repetitive chants as the group made their way to the anointed site.

Once the group arrived, still in the dark of the night, attendants placed
torches around the perimeter of the chosen site. Then they spread seating mats in a large circle on the ground for those who would perform the ritual, with the Crone Mother’s back to the large boulder at the head of the flat ground. Katerina took her position, in the center of the circle, facing the Crone Mother. Once the members of the ceremony were seated, their retinue withdrew some distance from the site, in order not to disrupt the proceedings.

A time of silence then passed among those women remaining on the holy site, Katerina and The Nine. When no more sound of those traveling back down the hill could be heard, The Nine began a unified chant. Katerina remained silent, yielding to the trance induced by their voices. As planned, the light of dawn had just begun to make its way through the canopy of leaves.

Within a very short time, the chanting ended, but Katerina was not aware of the change. Where she had gone, The Nine could not follow, could not see what Katerina saw. Their task was now to assist Katerina in a search through her parallel lives, and to wait until she chose to return.

Hours passed as Katerina moved through the many complementary realities surrounding her—now made apparent to her by this expanded awareness—searching more than any of The Nine had anticipated as possible. The light of dawn, noon, and now late evening had filtered through the tree cover above the seated women.

Despite her travels, Katerina remained attuned to every mind and spirit involved in the ritual. She was well aware that several of the wise ones had long been wishing for her to conclude her efforts, worried not for themselves but for Katerina and the conceivable limits of her stamina. Katerina knew they would stay with her as long as she could convey assurance that she was not in any danger.

Being surrounded by the Council of Nine evoked such power and information that it was almost too much for her mortal body to endure. Each of The Nine was unequaled in her individual expertise. And all that power was being focused into a narrow beam, directly at Katerina. Fortunately, the most illuminated teachers in their culture had trained Katerina all her life for such a passage.

The collective life force of The Nine permeated every cell of Katerina’s body, which resonated with an enhanced energy, supporting and shielding her from much of the impact of her transitions. Alone, she would not have been able to investigate so much, so quickly. Conversely, being assailed by their concentrated radiance was having a brutal impact on her physical form.

Katerina was always able to enter her parallel lives without the help of The Nine. In fact, she had entered into many parallel lives since being made aware of “him” a few months ago. In those unassisted visits, she could visit only one location per session, and then had to return home, resting for some extended period before traveling again. That process had proven to take far too long. It did, however, have its benefits.

Returning home between visits was necessary for Katerina’s mind and spirit to filter the visited life back into the generally unperceivable background of her unconscious mind. Interim filtering wasn’t happening today. This ritual was allowing Katerina to open up to alternate lives, giving each life predominance in her consciousness, just long enough to allow her to seek out what she needed to know, and then pull away from that place. Full disconnection from these lives would have to take place when she finally returned home at the end of the ritual. Today she pushed herself forward as she never had before. More than just her life and her world depended on the outcome.

Continued next, Searching
copyright 2006 CG Walters

C.G. Walters
primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives.

Autographed/signed copies of
Sacred Vow are available from the author– or purchase as ebook or the Amazon Kindle version

Please join me as a friend at any of my other favorite hangouts:
, Gaia, Myspace, StumbleUpon, Friendfeed, Twitter, Plurk, or Digg