The Poetics of Light #8



Chapter Four

Human Separation


The beginning of this series starts here


          In the introduction to this narrative, I have been sharing my own responses while engaging in the dialogues as I piece together my reflections and attempt to integrate all I experienced. As you may have gathered, it is an ongoing practice. The dialogues themselves meandered without any seeming pattern. It was common for certain ideas to be introduced without context and then the dialogues would move on to something else.

            I’m finding that in writing this narrative as I work my way through them I am choosing to present their content in a narrative that makes sense to me. With this said, you may have already noticed that the narrative wanders and circles around itself in order to incorporate its many facets.

          In bold contrast, the very beginning of the dialogues, which I haven’t spoken of, began with material that was a linear accounting of a cyclical dystopian view of history, our dominant relationship with nature and its destructive consequences. The rules of procedure had not yet been established. I can only guess that this beginning was a test to see how and in what ways I might react when confronted with this linear recounting. Perhaps it was a test to see what heroics, or alternately, what paranoid drama I might be inclined towards? Was I feeling singled out for some important reason? I can only guess. So many “facts” were being presented. It was rather like a relentless barrage of information that I waded through with head spinning and energetic exhaustion. I must have passed this first test because I never again experienced a linear approach in the dialogues.

          After this we stayed with more personal topics and concerns. These were the early years in the dialogues and our procedures were not as strict as they became later on, although the rules were introduced and remained the same. In the early days I was presented with the opportunity, with less formality, of being able to ask questions within certain limits and receive answers.

         It was easy to become confused. Very little was conclusive, since I still tended to wander off enthusiastically into my own scenarios. I was often left with the feeling that I was missing something. I’d stop engaging for long periods and would open in Resonance only when I had a health concern or when I had a new question. Although I remained drawn to Contemplative Resonance, I was somewhat unsettled by the ambiguity I often felt. And although I trusted the Source, I often wondered what the point of this unusual relationship could be.

          Then one day the dialogues took a turn and became more focused. We shifted to a broader discussion of the collective with the introduction of the term human separation. There was no initial explanation of what human separation might refer to, or where we might be going with it, but now I felt there was substance and purpose. As the discussions wound round and round we dove deeper. When the material was too tightly woven, we loosened. When too complicated, we diverted. The topics were random, this time lacking any sense of linear order. I began to keep a sketch book finding that doodling helped me formulate my responses.

          It has taken many years to organize my thoughts about these first discussions. They seemed simple at the time, similar to a subject one might study in school. I had no idea how hard it would be to integrate all I learned.

           And so it is here, with considerations of Time and Culture, that we also begin our explorations. Here we find the vehicle and the fuel to continue exploring. As to the map we’re using? I think the map is continually being drawn……

        We began with the introduction of the term human separation with no immediate explanation of what the term might refer to. Instead we discussed the cyclical nature of cultural hierarchy and revolutions, the ebb and flow of acquiescence and dissent. We discussed how cultural archetypes are formed and utilized, such as the hero, the savior and the scapegoat.

          This led to considerations of the effects on us personally of collective consensus, where reality is formulated by agreement. Of the role hierarchy, vulnerability, and time play in the structure of our consensus realities. Of how this is mediated by our myths and stories. And then it was seeded into the dialogues that empathy, whatever it may be, is solely human and inappropriate. With this discussion we had begun opening the tightly sealed box…

          Of how we collectively cultivated a linear time orientation as we “advanced” creating our own progressive perceptual time continuum. Since this was a singular endeavor, not necessarily concerned with incorporating a relationship with the rest of life, (except as to how it was possible to fulfill our needs), it became based primarily on our own organized and singularly protective assumptions. This gradually altered our own collective perception separate from the natural order.

          We have centuries of our own recorded history to document various civilizations, both past and present. However, the real question is….what are we comparing it with? What is the natural order? To answer this, to reconnect with our native intelligence, we have looked to the creative visionaries of every age.

          We search our own hearts and look into the eyes of our children. We immerse ourselves in nature, in finding and creating beauty. We call the paradigm of creation the unknowable, give it the various names of God, or the Ineffable which can not be named. We search for this source within ourselves despite our culturally conditioned perceptual separateness, but also because of the peak moments, the a-ha moments, that remind us of the deeper understanding of our inherent belonging.

         In all actuality, because we are physical beings, it is impossible to be separate from what we are intrinsically a part of, despite the human inclination to consider ourselves in singularity, supposedly exhibiting a mental and emotional superiority over other forms of life. Or on the other hand, feeling cast off and discarded within the machinations of hierarchy.

         It is also impossible to be anywhere else physically but in the present moment, despite our inclination to mentally and emotionally slide back and forth on the progressive perceptual time continuum we have created.

        All of which introduces the consideration that we may be living collectively in two perceptual paradigms which define awareness. Within a time continuum we are perceptually held subject to the cyclical workings of cause and effect. And within the Continuum of Life?


“Peering through the keyhole

opening the door”


Artist: Mark Rothko

The Poetics of Light #7


Boot Camp… continued


The spaces in between


 The beginning of this series starts here

          And so the early days of the dialogues were primarily training. I found myself adjusting to my unusual circumstances, even to the point of forming an emotional bond with one of the teachers I was working with most often. I suppose my attachment was similar to having feelings of love towards any teacher. It was a confusing time, in the first days of the dialogues. I began receiving repeated instructions or “guidance” to do certain things. I wasn’t sure what to make of this. The requests didn’t make sense to me. Why would I be asked to do something so obviously random?

                   Giving it further consideration, I understood this as another test. It was an easy one considering… but all of the tests held layers of learning.

                 I was participating in a perceptual reality where trust and action is based on a mutual and reciprocal relationship that is insightful and creative directly in each moment.

                I was working with this favored teacher while comprehending these early differences. I greatly appreciated a certain playfulness and humor, which gave me the much needed opportunity to relax and hone my instincts. I was better able to move a little closer in understanding how to function and communicate in this most unusual relationship.

              However, shortly after this initial period, I was also asked to refrain from personifying Divinity by name. This may be initially challenging to those who derive spiritual nourishment from a more defined devotion. However, this is a narrative about perception and its consequences. It was said often in the dialogues that prayer, especially the communal coming together in prayer, is an important aspect of spiritual relationship and that all faiths, all spiritual paths hold the seeds of truth.

            Personally I felt I was already initiated in navigating in spiritual relationship without a defined structure of Divinity to draw from. It was clear that I was exploring territory that was entirely new to me, placing everything I’ve ever considered into question. However, this request also included the teachers I was working with. I wondered if the request was because of my growing attachment to this favored teacher and I puzzled over the request. I had just been presented with something totally out of my ordinary experience and I was beginning to find a level of familiarity with it.           

            By complying with this new request I was being challenged to not only learn a different level of trust but also to open to an even more seemingly indefinable relationship with… I didn’t know really. However, more importantly, I was becoming acquainted with the expansive equality inherent in this perceptual paradigm, where no is singled out or separated from the whole.

          When asked to stop personifying my teachers by name I also began to realize that, aside from the need to personalize our experiences, we name as a way of understanding. We are observers. We think in terms of nouns, defining the object of our observation.

            These considerations became less and less of an abstraction as I began to be aware of the immediacy of this relationship… and of all relationship. What occurs in any given moment is multi-layered and relevant to that exact moment of actual experience. Linguistically, nouns became the activity of verbs in a mutual experience with the possibility of creating anything… depending on what is brought to that moment. Instead of two separate observers in relationship with each other, the active fluidity of the relationship itself, the space in between, became the focus. I was experiencing a new level of trust, of vulnerability in relationship and my responsibility in it.

           And so… in this preliminary introduction I have attempted to give some idea of my own responses to the material in the dialogues in hopes that it might lend some insight as to how to approach all we are about to explore, for we have only just begun our work here…

          Ultimately we are being given tools, tools for the illumination and understanding of our personal and collective perception and its effect on ourselves as human beings and on our world. If my own experience is indicative, even the attempt at understanding is to radically change. This seems no small thing as it becomes no less than the most intimate personal revolution. All one can do then… is bloom.


is poetry without words

a poem about suffering the song of self

Each person carries their own harmony or dissonance

In the Continuum

it is all the same song



artist: Max Ernst




The Poetics of Light #6



Boot Camp

Testing testing….one, two, three


The beginning of this series starts here….

     One of the more interesting aspects of the dialogues was the continual testing which came in many guises. At times I was prompted with information that in itself broke a rule challenging an ingrained way of perception. Other times a statement might incite an immediate emotional reaction, which elicited more sensitivity to the sometimes subtle differences between reaction and response.

          The tests, enervating as they were, helped me to grasp that the dialogues were also an open creative relationship. Although I was primarily receptive, I wasn’t only gathering information. I was also consciously accepting what transpired. There is a discernible difference, and I was learning to recognize a clarity to our communication that was physically identifiable. I began building a sense for when I broke a rule or when I was being prompted with a test and I welcomed the challenge. Not only was I to determine when a rule was broken or when I was being tested, but I was expected to understand the meaning or relevance behind each incident. I was slowly learning to physically attune and recognize energetic resonance.

          Eventually I was to find that this training was for a specific purpose. There was a need for accuracy, presence and an acute awareness of the necessity of maintaining a mental and emotional balancing. It was essential that my skills be finely honed in order to handle the material under discussion, which I more or less accomplished depending on what was going on in my life. Our exploration of our perceptual relationship with time was a preliminary for the more difficult work to come.

          The testing remained in place throughout the dialogues, becoming more subtle and unexpected in every challenging context. During each session, breaking any of the rules, and it happened often, was cause for stopping and acknowledging exactly what I had done that was inappropriate. Again, I was not alerted when this happened. I was expected to stop, catch my mistake and explain what I had done in detail. Then our procedure was to say the appropriate prayer asking for forgiveness.

         I usually think of asking forgiveness for a conscious transgression, but I’m not sure it was meant this way. It’s one of the many aspects of the dialogues that remain a mystery to me. And I haven’t spoken of the love and acceptance in learning, which was all ways present and made the testing a challenge to reach further… with deeper understanding. There were a few times when a test completely slipped by me unrecognized. I would be puzzled for days until able to wind back and recount the trail of every error. It amazed me how, first of all, that I remembered the sequence of everything that had transpired, since other than when I broke the rules, I often left a dialogue having only a small grasp or memory of what had been conveyed, especially when exposed to a new concept or delving deeper into its complications.

            More importantly each time this happened, each time a referenced thought or an emotion influenced my understanding. Each time I depended on a linear progressive interpretation of the information being presented or I went off into my own scenarios…. how this progressive, self-absorbed or emotionally ingrained way of understanding had the distinct probability of spreading out in alternate directions with the possibility of creating its own separate reality. This made the idea of “reality” very fluid and arbitrary. I understood that the prerequisite for continuing with creative dialogue was to perfectly understand each test. It could be no other way. Work remained at a standstill until there was exacting resolution.

          This general tendency was addressed one day in the dialogues. Of how the mentally promoted need to know and the emotionally promoted need to save obscure truth. If these dialogues had bumper stickers, this one would be flashing in bright neon. I began to see that we have been conditioned to apply new information in linear patterns. How could it be any other way, since we are prompted by our adherence to a perception of a progressive time continuum? Without personally being present and effecting a personal perceptual shift centered in the immediacy of relationship, we run the risk of searching for corroborating evidence to substantiate the inevitable assumptions that linear thinking creates.

          Or the temptation is to take action, even when altruistic, saddling ourselves with self-ordained responsibility without balancing the active and passive aspects of all creative endeavors when based in relationship. So many challenges. So many questions. This applies not only within the human community, but in respectful relationship with the rest of the world we live and interact with. As the dialogues moved into deeper territory I found both circumstances influencing me in obvious, but also in inscrutable ways. The following is another of the poems from the dialogues….

Geese flying

Grass growing

All the “knowledge” in books is alive only in the mind

And the “mind” is alive only in books

The ground of truth is obscured by the need to know


to be continued…..

Artist: Max Ernst

Poetics of Light #5


 Birth of a galaxy


 Chapter Three…Part 2

Boot Camp ….  Rules are rules


The beginning of this series starts here….


         Since I was engaged in the dialogues for over a decade, they became less like a spiritual event and simply became an ongoing relationship in my life. In their beginning I was immersed in family life. We are a fairly close knit family and this unusual relationship was accommodated within my day to day routines. “Where’s Mom”? “She’s talking with those guys”. And so it was that those guys became more or less part of the immediate family. 

         During these first few years I would sense an intuitive prompting or a desire to engage. Later when our work in the dialogues had been established (although not exactly defined) and I was living on my own, the dialogues became almost daily work and I initiated contact commensurate with my ability and schedule. However, each time I opened in dialogue I was directed whether it was appropriate in that moment to engage.

          These two inquiries… Do I have permission? and Is it appropriate?… were actually the two questions I had asked that immediately preceded the beginning of the dialogues. In their simplicity and respectful acknowledgement, they became the foundation of our relationship and prefaced each prayer required during any given part of a dialogue, formalizing the relationship and keeping me ever mindful of every shift in conversation.

          I was expected to have thoughts related only to the subject at hand and that I used language entirely descriptive of the present moment, since references to a possible future were inappropriate and cause for stopping and acknowledging that I had done so. Specific references to the past were allowed, but only within context and they had to be relevant to personal experience. I was to be careful to respond with balanced emotion no matter what occurred. I was never to make a verbal reference, or even have a mental thought of another living person, their ideas, or their work. This was by far the most difficult rule to maintain.

          There were formal prayers required when ever a rule was broken. When I had a question of my own I was instructed to verbally formulate it before engaging which I found difficult to remember in my early enthusiasm or long disregard of formality and of strictly following rules. Then beginning a session I was to ask if it was appropriate and if I had permission to ask my question.

          Aside from the continual practice of deep and responsive listening, I began to see that the discipline requirements, the rules of Contemplative Resonance itself, required me to be consistently mindful of the language I was using, since it was required that I speak primarily in the present tense and never relative to anything in the future. This inevitably led to a deeper consideration of my regard of both the past and the future. The past just is. The future, though not certain, is a distinct possibility. So it wasn’t the existence of either but how I regarded them. Was I reading circumstances solely through the filter of the past? Or was I only seeing what would provide me with what I desired, or keep me from what I feared, in a projected future?

          The inability to reference other living human beings or their ideas showed how fluidly other people’s concerns and ideas passed through my thoughts almost unbidden, of how much I relied on all human relationship for validation of simply being and belonging. I came to see that every relationship, even the most simple, acts as a cord anchoring or grounding me in the world I live in.

          I also could clearly see how alive ideas are in the mind and how I automatically build my own concepts by referencing the thoughts of others. It was not easy to understand why referencing others was inappropriate. When the material in the dialogues was the most difficult, the most challenging to witness and integrate, having to hold to this rule often made me feel very alone. I was told it was a matter of respect but it wasn’t until well into the dialogues that I was to understand that all relationship is profoundly creative and immediate. We may inevitably build on the ideas of others but our own response in relationship must come from the solid ground of our own being. We may also care deeply for the welfare of those we love and care about, but without their explicit permission and the express permission to do so, it was a disrespectful interference to make reference to anyone besides myself in Contemplative Resonance. Since thoughts are usually able to roam freely and even my thoughts were known, this rule was extraordinarily difficult to hold to.

          But there was something else, something that was being slowly uncovered. As I held to the rules in this relationship I was to personally witness another deeper, more hidden side of human perception. Perhaps it was possible for me to witness only within the dialogues…and of necessity entirely alone. Despite my trusting, the rules of relationship felt like a tenuous cord holding me in place and enabling me to withstand the riggers of witnessing and recording the human archetypal perception of trauma, denial and indifference.

          However the “boot camp” I am describing here was early in the dialogues and I was learning that it also became essential to closely investigate how I regard new or challenging information, how to venture into unfamiliar territory that may not be expressed in references I was more familiar with. The rules pointedly showed that I habitually connected new ideas with a full personal mental reference library collected over a lifetime. I used these stored references automatically for connecting bits of information and for confirmation or judgement of the value of new information. It was also challenging to remain open when concepts that I was familiar with, consider possible but had already more or less dismissed as irrelevant, were being introduced into context.

          It became apparent to what extent I relied on the world of thought… a vast landscape of memory, acquired knowledge, collective agreement and relationship. This thought patterning of continual referencing was so natural, so pervasive, that in order to hold to the strict discipline, I eventually found it necessary to refrain from any research or reading other than factually relative to the content of the dialogues.

          I was aware that there was also the distinct possibility that in following my own “referenced” trails I would fail to see the complexity of the perceptual paradigm being introduced, especially when confronted with a small part that I didn’t understand or had already previously dismissed. It also became a hindrance to seek comparison with any structured belief or philosophical system to validate my experience. I came to appreciate this offered poem…

Imponderables measured falsely are delusions

Each moment has no measure

          So as simple as the rules were, like keys in a locked box they have become essential tools for perceptual comparisons and deeper, and then deeper again, considering…..



To be continued…..on Sunday, October 2nd after a short hiatus. Off to the Coast  on the 24th!!!!


Artist: Max Ernst

The Poetics of Light #4

Max Ernst

Chapter Three…Part 1

Boot Camp


The beginning of this series starts here….

         While engaging in the dialogues, I was held responsible for balancing my own thoughts and emotions and expressing myself in a fully integrated physical presence. However, I was assisted in my attempts to function in this alternate perception by adhering strictly to the rules of procedure. Since I was occupied with simply comprehending that the dialogues were actually occurring, I wasn’t at all aware that these rules would be helpful for this when the dialogues began.

           However, the rules afforded me a thin perceptual veneer from reverting back to the perceptual familiarity of expressing my thoughts and responses from the linear perspective of a time oriented continuum. Rules were rules, and because I was strictly required to follow them, they instigated a deep consideration of how they might apply in my everyday life.

          The dialogues themselves were also not communicated in the linguistic patterns of language I was accustomed to. The immediate challenge was of stretching my ability to communicate in a resonant body centered language. I eventually learned to use my entire body as a resonating aperture for fine tuning the shades and accuracies of meaning in order to communicate. I was immersed in an intricate learning curve.

          The challenge was of learning how to physically translate the immediacy of complete thought, or whole insight, into a sensory language of hearing, feeling and seeing. As I gained competency I was better able to query whether I’d understood what was being communicated and then was reciprocally answered somatically. I literally felt, saw or heard the response resonating in my body which was exhilarating and extraordinary in every sense, especially the visual language. I visualize easily and normally I’d say that a screen “opens up” before my eyes. While in the dialogues I was inside the visuals. It is rather like dreaming in the sense of being immersed in the visual itself. I would then ask questions about what I experienced, or witnessed, which is quite different than describing what I saw.

          Hearing had a variety of expressions. It is not quite accurate to say “I heard” a voice speaking. Most often I’d catch words or phrases. They would just be there and worked as keys or clues, which were a prelude to whole concepts conveyed all at once. Sometimes there were poems… most often in the form of puzzles. I’m still working on this one…

Consequences of actions understood

resemble the opening of a flower

Flowers themselves open because they do

Birds fly because they do

Bees collect pollen because this is their work

Knowing the difference is spiritual maturity

Becoming the difference is life

          Now and again there would be a bodily sensation. I would feel a great weight pressing on me or perhaps my vision would dim. These signaled preparation as we headed into more difficult territory. Eventually the ever shifting variety of subtle body centered expressions developed into a sensory language of communication that was effective even for abstract concepts.

          This way of communicating may seem complicated but I can assure you, it was very effective. In imagining the possibility, perhaps consider the moments of insight that you have experienced and how different each one of them has been. Sometimes insight is simply there… whole and entire, resonating as a knowing accompanied by a heightened sense of physical clarity.

          Other times it comes in smaller insights fostered by synchronicities… something you have heard, seen, dreamed? We piece these layered insights together like a three dimensional puzzle, again accompanied by physical clarity or knowing. Can you actually pin point where this body knowledge is received though? Where these impressions are actually felt in the body? Are they visual? Something you hear? Feel? Dream?

          By participating in the dialogues my appreciation of insight deepened and I gradually developed a tangible recognition of the many physical ways I am personally receptive to it. So although the dialogues were ultimately in words, the words were conveyed in a variety of somatic physical expressions which greatly expanded the possibilities of language.

          As I learned the rules, it was established that I work in absolute solitude without possible interruption for however long each session would take. Sometimes a few minutes, but more often many hours. My personal life was in yet another transition and for the last three years of the dialogues I had the opportunity to give much of my day to this spiritual discipline. I was able to open in resonant communication at regular hours of the day, which aided immeasurably in my abilities to concentrate and hold to the rules.

          The physical guidelines were similar to meditation except that I was to keep my eyes open. Otherwise I tended to float off into my own thinking. Even with my eyes open, I focused on an object in order to keep my mind from wandering or being distracted. Hearing my own voice speaking in normal conversation also helped maintain a body centered focus. It wasn’t until well into the dialogues that I was able to work silently in my own mind without speaking and even then I rarely employed this way of communicating. With practice I slowly became more or less adept at the sensory, animal-like alertness that is necessary for receptive concentration.

          We all have moments of entrainment and there are many known forms. Here are a few examples from Wikipedia….

Brainwave entrainment, the practice of entraining one’s brainwaves to a desired frequency. Entrainment (biomusicology), the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm. Entrainment (chronobiology), the alignment of a circadian system’s period and phase to the period and phase of an external rhythm.

         I would say it was the norm while engaged in the dialogues, which were purposeful and held within relationship. I’ve since made it a part of my day to consciously drop or center my awareness into the whole of myself….to be aware in my body. I wish I could say it comes naturally but it is not always possible to move awareness into my whole body when it is too strongly focused in my thoughts or particularly my emotions. Then I know I have work to do. When my awareness is physically oriented it feels like a quiet permeable immersion…. and is a matter of grounding in place with my eyes open, physically sensing the movement within as well as without. By doing this my thoughts calm and are relevant to the moment, my awareness is fluid…inside, outside…I become a kind of tuning fork. I am aligning myself in place as well as within.

          I believe it is a traveler’s skill. Perhaps the beauty of it is what keeps some people on the road. It is also useful for sensing potential interference of any kind, but I am not talking here about being “on guard”. I’ve recognized this state of physical awareness since well before the dialogues but never understood the elements of consciously actualizing it.

          By adding this to my daily spiritual practice and working to maintain an element of emotional and mental balance, since it is conscious work, I find that I more easily move from the position of an observer as the distinction between myself and others, myself and my environment changes, becoming more immediate, more direct. When I accomplish entrainment I am more able to discern relevance. Communication is unguarded even if it is just a passing acknowledgement of existence. I feel centered in the province of trust.

 To be continued…..


Artist: Max Ernst

The Poetics of Light #3

Truls Espedal


Chapter Two



(The beginning of this series starts here)

           This summer I spent a few days with my brother and sister-in-law who live a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Mexico. The trip was their gift to me. We hadn’t seen each other in many years and had only a few days together. We spent our days in deep and quiet conversation. They also shared the abundance of the natural world that speaks to them and which gives them their connection and sense of place.

          Each of us has lived a life of wide and varied experience. Listening, as we each spoke of navigating in these often turbulent waters, I understood the beauty in transparency. It allows the light to shine through…


        The way in which the dialogues began was relatively subtle. There was nothing dramatic to announce their beginning. The opportunity for dialogue slipped in one day as if I’d asked a question that could be answered. What preceded the advent of the dialogues however, was a circuitous route through a serpentine path of personal healing.

        For ten years prior to the dialogues, I had been homesteading on a densely wooded piece of land in the Finger Lakes Area of Western New York State. It was rough, riddled with springs, deep woods, and had never been developed due to its difficult and varied terrain. While homesteading I had been in intimate daily relationship with nature as I worked the land. It was a place of opportunity and safety for me as I began to open and begin to heal the sublimated wounds of a violent rape I had experienced twelve years earlier while living in the California Bay Area.

          A serial rape, I was one of many. The rapist was never caught and although not named, I was in the news a number of times since I was the only one of his “victims” with children. I learned what it is like to become a cultural statistic. Perhaps it was the time. Perhaps it was the place. Perhaps it was a matter of circumstance or all of these, but I was immediately confronted with the stigma of rape. I didn’t know whether to be more stunned by the rapist or at nearly everyone’s surprising reaction. Though confusing, it was an eye opener. It became apparent that being vulnerable, or showing vulnerability, was similar to having a contagious disease no one wanted to catch, so I held tight and carried on. My daughters had both been toddlers with the needs of small children, my family lived thousands of miles away, and the crime had repercussions in my marriage and among our friends and neighbors. Life was complicated and I made the choice to give these concerns my attention. I felt that I had navigated my own response to the rape privately and well.

          While living on the land however, I began having chronic respiratory problems. A wisdom tooth had been surgically extracted from my sinus cavity and wasn’t healing properly which then led to a chronic low grade infection. Simultaneously I also began having the symptoms of PTSD, which wasn’t clearly understood yet, and information about it was not readily available. I often had lucid dreams that began to feel invasive, and was disturbed and disconcerted one afternoon to experience a fever induced trance state which I knew was connected to the dreams. Even though I was seeing both dentists and specialists, this wasn’t something I felt comfortable taking to the medical profession and I was at a loss as to how to navigate in these unexpected and confusing realms, or understand their connection or significance. I knew a bit about transpersonal psychology though and recognized my PTSD symptoms were a spiritual crisis. Instinctively I knew that I needed somewhere I would be able to address this spiritually. However, I hadn’t yet connected any of this with the incident in California.

          I read about a Native American Elder in our local paper and, considering that he might be more spiritually open to the combination of things I was experiencing, had sought his assistance. Through the Native American ceremony of the sweat lodge, I finally understood that my sublimated feelings concerning the experience of rape and its cultural repercussions was the cause of my spiritual crisis and I was able to address the range of emotions I carried from having experienced sexual trauma. Having retreated to the land with agoraphobic tendencies, in retrospect I think I also knew that I needed to be able to allow myself to be vulnerable once again while in the company of others.

          Among the many personal lessons learned through the physicalities of ceremony, chronic illness and working with the land, I understood the necessity of becoming responsive to my own body’s signals in order to find and then maintain an emotional balancing in myself. I learned to follow the pathways of emotion as they physically manifested, energetically opening the wounds to be acknowledged and find their place in my life. Within ceremony, and as my day to day life became a spiritual acknowledgement of my relationship with nature, I learned to connect with a richer, deeper, more intimate Source that inspired healing. After a number of years of ceremony, and although grateful for all his help, I knew I had gone as far in understanding as I was able with the guidance of the Elder.

          Living in an ongoing relationship with this piece of land was an extraordinary decade of learning for me. At the bottom of the page I’ve left a few poetic links about these experiences if you are interested in reading more.

          Families grow and circumstances shift and when the dialogues began we had moved to more southern climes. I was now living in a small mountain city in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Although surrounded by nature, I was not in the same intimate daily contact. In some ways I welcomed the move. Homesteading is hard on the body and I had reached a definitive physical impasse. I no longer experienced bouts of PTSD and felt I had reached a level of health and healing I could maintain. Still, I wanted to find ways to further explore the spiritual relationship I had been building with the deeper Source I had recognized while working in nature.

          It was a considerable change, now that I was living closely among people again, and it left me more open to experiencing new things. One day I was introduced to a woman who was training in shamanic practice who freely shared her experience with me. There was much she shared that seemed at least promising. I knew that shamanic practice was based in a relationship with nature and I was curious and remained interested in cultures that incorporated alternative spiritual states into their worldview, so I initiated an apprenticeship with a shamanic teacher who was attempting to integrate non drug induced shamanic practices with western medical and psychological modalities.

          While working with the practices I was being taught, I again experienced an acceleration of altered states but I found I was personally accessing realms I felt no grounding in. It wasn’t long before these experiences led me from pursuing shamanism further. I was grateful for the experience but my answers were not to be found here either.

          Continuing to follow the path of the intimate Source that I had recognized while working the land and through the sweat lodge ceremony, I began to feel that I was being drawn towards what I thought of as the responsive feminine mysteries, mysterious because I had no clear definition in mind. The symbology that kept recurring was feminine in that the feeling was responsive and supportive although I didn’t attach a gender in a human sense.

          I knew my relationship with this intimate Source had led to my physical and emotional healing. I had yet to understand or clarify the difference between the altered or the inspired states I was experiencing, but I was now making a distinction and becoming more discerning. If all of this sounds confusing in its lack of definition…Well, in a way it was. I was finding myself continually in unknown terrain and navigating with a compass that was more intuitive than anything else.

          There were life experiences I could call on for guidance though. Following the experience of giving birth to two children myself, I felt spiritually compelled to explore the originative mysteries of birthing in every aspect of life. Of how a seed, whether of a person, a living plant or an abstract idea is formed, birthed and then continues to grow. While working with plants as food and medicine, while propagating and raising hundreds of seedlings, I had experienced a commonality and responsiveness with nature facilitating these creative energies. I finally came to the conclusion that instead of looking for an already established spiritual approach to answer my questions, I would best find direction by placing my trust directly in Nature.

          With little preamble, the dialogues began one afternoon while I was engaged in these considerations. I don’t remember having any cohesive thoughts or emotions initially. The experience was too improbable, too out of the ordinary for immediate reflection. I simply accepted the dialogues as I was led through the initial apprenticeship.

          We traversed the fog of my own preconceived ideas of spiritual relationship, religious prejudices and conditioning, and any spiritual ideas or taboos I’d been attracted to or had adopted. While addressing my life long accumulation of spiritual persuasions, I gained practice in this more physical way of communicating. I was also introduced to the rules that were required for engagement. The rules themselves were uncompromising, and in their simplicity, oddly difficult to follow. However, by following the rules I was learning what is required to be present and responsive in the spiritual practice I learned to call Contemplative Resonance.

          A distinct feature of the dialogues was their startling intimacy. I became accustomed to the understanding that everything about me was known in the deepest way, beyond even what I clearly understood myself. There was a flow and a naturalness to the communication that immediately engendered my trust. Who exactly was I in dialogue with? Who knew me so intimately? As they individually introduced themselves, I was informed they were the Divine Angelic Denomination of Light, although I was to learn later that designations themselves, that “naming” is a human inclination utilized and relied on in order to observe and categorize as a prelude to comprehension. Of those that I personally worked with, some were Masters that had been human but the majority I worked with were Beings responsible for overseeing elements of nature. I was given specific training to ensure that I was communicating with only these Beings in their realm of Spirit. This was also reassuring since I had no mystical tradition or human teacher to lean on for guidance and I had had enough of disconcerting experiences navigating on my own in unknown realms I felt no grounding in.

          Ultimately, I was made aware that I was in dialogue with the Divinity of Nature but I didn’t know what to make of this. Within the context of the dialogues whenever I tried formulating an image or an idea of the Divinity of Nature I felt an unimaginable vastness. A velvet dark so boundless, so deeply without beginning or end… I experienced a very visceral response and the feeling this elicited was overwhelming.

          Perhaps this is why we began slowly. As unparalleled teachers, understanding was built upon understanding tailored to my level of comprehension. It was a slow process of experiential integration. Various teachers introduced and named themselves as I was passed from one teacher to another. In this most improbable of situations, I held on to any familiarity I gained from their humor, their strict procedures, the tricks they played on me, which were all tests to discern if I was able to hold my own. For I was finding that this was a mutually co-creative way of communicating. I was expected to be physically discerning no matter what they should tell me. I needed to be able to recognize a reciprocal clarity beyond my own thoughts or emotional responses and I eventually gained ground in the practice of Contemplative Resonance. I learned to be physically resonant by literally making hundreds of mistakes, but more importantly, by being aware and understanding each one of them.

          How did I encompass all of this? I was in totally unfamiliar territory, without familiar references of any kind to explain the experience. Demanding in every way imaginable, the dialogues were far from a blissfully transcendent experience. The absolute intimacy though, was undeniable and encouraging. The challenges of communication completely held my attention as nothing else ever had. Yes, it was an overwhelming experience but I felt extraordinarily alive.

to be continued…


Ceremony ….. The Deep has always loved me ….. One note


Artist: Truls Espedal


The Poetics of Light #2

Casey Braugh


Chapter One

Out of the Ordinary into the Real…. continued

The beginning of this series starts here


          Once upon a time…. the beloved opening of story that incites our imaginations transporting us to imagined times and other worlds. We have the ability to live within story using all our senses. And then we put the book down or walk away from the movie and there we are… in our heads and mentally checking the time to see where we need to be or what we need to do.

          In the dialogues I learned that our regard of time is ingrained and acts as the basic mechanics of human perception. Because of this it has the possibility of qualifying a great deal of what we perceive… especially in our day to day functioning since we are all continually engaging in it.  

        We are encouraged through cultural consensus to organize a view of what is valid to incorporate both a past and a future in a seamless linear progression. We become accustomed to thinking in terms of a past and a future. Because of this linear perception, however, patterns of cause and effect are established due to continually viewing events through the lens of a time progression, where the past can be assessed and a possible future projected or manipulated by our desires, our needs or our fears. The general tendency is to not only live within these patterns of cause and effect, consciously or unconsciously, but to evaluate and judge what is possible or “real” according to their parameters.

          This formed the basis of the initial puzzle I was presented, since through engagement in the dialogues it was also made clear that this time oriented progressive continuum is a solely human way of perceiving and by natural extension, it creates its own “reality”. This in turn becomes a problem because this ingrained way of perception, creating a “reality” based on cause and effect, operates separate from the natural order. Since it is inherently impossible to be separate from the world we exist in, this raises the possibility that we are literally living in two different perceptual paradigms! Many of us have known or sensed this, incorporating our understanding into our spiritual practices, our creative work and most often in our relationships with nature. 

          The questions inevitably arise though. What is the natural order? Are these two systems of creation compatible? Do they function symbiotically? Do they work at odds with one another? What conditions are promoted if one becomes dominant over the other? What effect does this have on us personally and collectively? It makes the head spin and the heart ache…

          The dialogues covered material that I found increasingly difficult, not only to comprehend in their complexity, but to assimilate. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, we are being introduced to another view of the workings of our world. In many ways I entered a heart of darkness, but darkness can also be seen as creatively deconstructive and a source of all fertility.

          In navigating the complications of how to write this narrative I found I was tempered by and tossed between both involvement and a certain uncomfortable resistance. The resistance permeated my understanding of how to approach this narrative when confronted with the challenge of representing the implications of two different operating paradigms in a linear written format. Is it even possible? At times I also felt as if I was a Pandora character letting all manner of chaos out of a carefully sealed box. There was the probability of anything I shared being viewed with the familiar linear logic of a progressive cause and effect. Hadn’t I fallen into this predicament myself often enough?

          The puzzle we are being presented however, can not be understood, let alone assimilated, by a progressive logic or even simple observation using our ordinary way of looking at things! It becomes overwhelming, and personally I have found it a veritable slippery slope, until I am able to enter or engage a perception based upon immediate relationship with the spiritual intelligence of Nature, our creative counterpart. I am finding that here lie the seeds of trust with the possibility of effective compassionate action. At the very least it has been a catalyst for personal change. This may seem a little abstract…perhaps just noble sounding words on a page. However, we are not alone in our attempts at understanding. Life in relationship is by nature responsive affording each of us opportunities to find our own way to these insights in ways tailored to our own comprehension and within the realms of our personal experience.

     We are being given an interactive map of what has been created due to our collective perception. Collective being the operative word here. It is true that while working in the dialogues, although ideas were introduced, I was never simply handed information. In order to genuinely understand what was being conveyed, to personally acquire a grasp of the material, it was necessary that I make the attempt to communicate solely in the perception that was being introduced. The exploration became an entirely experiential one… one which is impossible to reproduce here. The dialogues however, were based in relationship and this leads me to consider that relationship itself is an essential key to understanding. My experience also leads me to consider that in sharing this narrative here in an open, ongoing format, could we possibly be continuing what has only begun?

To be continued…


Drawing… Casey Baugh

The Poetics of Light



Chapter One

Out of the Ordinary and into the Real


     What do I know of time? The measuring of days, the phases of the moon, the changing seasons, the cycles of history, aging and the natural rhythms of life, they all interweave in my considerations. Memory and possibility play their hands.

         During the days before the turn of the 20st century when the idea of time was prominent in the collective mind, the “timing” was oddly perfect that I was challenged with a puzzle. The puzzle was to understand my relationship with time. The challenge was to become experientially aware of my perceptual relationship with time.

         In the reflective quiet of an afternoon I was prompted to engage in a series of spiritual dialogues with intelligent Beings responsible for various aspects of the natural world, who were well versed in the history of humanity and who surprisingly knew me intimately. When I asked who they were, I was told they were the Divine Angelic Denomination of Light and I admit I went through all my references of angelic visitations and guardian angels until I realized… I was in entirely un-referenced territory. The dialogue that began that afternoon developed into an extended series of dialogues which lasted for many years. The puzzle is something I continue to work on every day.

         I have learned a great deal in my life about persistence, endurance and a flexible kind of continuity since whenever I am finally settled somewhere, something inevitably uproots me, keeping me continually on the move. I have become accustomed to creating a kind of order in these chaotic situations, situations which prevent me from becoming more firmly rooted in place. I find stability in family, in friendship, in being a mother, in nature and even though I am now on my own, in partnership. I will also be eternally grateful that I have two daughters, great friends now they are grown and mothers themselves, who have blessed me with four creatively inquisitive grandchildren. I’ve worked any number of odd and interesting jobs but my energies have remained centered within my family, whether it’s my family by blood or ones created by work or circumstance.

         For the most part from a young age Nature has been my constant spiritual companion. I was raised Catholic, gravitated towards Indigenous and Eastern spiritual traditions, although like the rest of my life, none has firmly taken root. I’m naturally introverted and unabashed by the need for solitude and I enjoy working with my hands. I have only begun writing in recent years in order to understand and share this experience. In trying my hand at writing I very quickly discovered a love for writing poetry, which for me is the most natural language.

         The dialogues themselves were often in poetic voice, a welcome break from the usual strict formality. I would have been happy translating this experience solely in poetry but in writing this narrative I am following the path taken in the dialogues, convincing me that to the best of my ability this narrative necessitates a specific unambiguous clarity. Finally, I am of the persuasion that it is useless to question why I was asked to engage in the dialogues. Perhaps it is just that I had the space in my life to listen.

         In writing this account of my experience I’ve also come to understand the impossibility of describing perception itself in language, since I’ve learned that perception is by nature experiential. In order to acquire a grasp of my perceptual relationship with time however, I was challenged to dialogue in an alternate perception, affording me ample opportunity for comparison. In writing this account I find it difficult, but not entirely impossible, to give an account of engaging in an alternate perception by describing the responses I had in my attempts.

         In my search for vocabulary to describe an experience difficult to describe, I have developed a huge respect for shared dialogue. As I’ve been writing my way to my own understanding and sharing my attempts along the way, I’ve experienced that words have the possibility of becoming more than ink on a page when there is shared dialogue. As in oral culture before we developed and began to depend on the written word in order to communicate, by openly encouraging this sharing I am hoping the ideas presented in the dialogues have the opportunity to stay current, to remain alive, and most importantly to find context in as many personal ways as possible.

         In all honesty, on a day by day basis, my own experiential understanding of perception comes and goes. Living in our world is complicated and I’ve learned that, although we entertain the idea of enlightenment, there is no such thing as static accomplishment. It requires continual participation, continual acknowledgement to navigate the borderlines of awareness and perception. It is also very clear to me that although we may all be in this life together, our spiritual approaches are inevitably unique even when following a common path.

         However, my experience also leads me to acknowledge that even though we are unique in our spirituality, consciousness is relationship and is all inclusive. A door has been opened. When a door opens, it opens for us all.   

To be continued….


Artist credit: Michal Lukasiewicz



An Invitation…



I started this blog on an inspired whim because I needed to learn how to write. I had experienced something unusual and wanted to talk about it… to share it. Learning how to write needed to fit within the crazy parameters of my chaotic life so blogging seemed portable and perfect. I’m a disciplined creative, having taught myself any number of things and so I considered there was a good chance I would learn how to write by simply working at it. Directly publishing whatever I was working on would be nerve wracking enough, I felt, to keep the momentum going. All of this has proved productive with the great impetus of being in the company of so many truly creative people.

Early on I discovered that it is the connections between us that is decidedly the warp drive behind momentum. Although we may be communicating through a virtual medium, the depth of communication is deeply and responsively immediate, often uncannily synchronistic. Which is pretty amazing. We must be arcing on a frontier out here in cyber space…or in here….(hand on heart) because this is where I feel the connections.

At the same time as I have been here blogging, I have simultaneously been working on a separate long term writing project. With this project I’ve experienced that the process is similar to all the aspects of birthing. There’s the initial conception, the long gestation, the transitional period when the intensity is at its peak and I go a little crazy and then the project is ready to take on a life of its own.

I have been working out many of my ideas for this “long term project” here on this blog. It was the reason I started this blog in the first place, so in many respects I recognize that this separate project has been a collaboration from the beginning. I can not imagine I would have found my way through the complicated labyrinth of this project without the many relationships that have inspired me here. I am truly deeply grateful…

I am finally full to bursting with this “baby”. It only seems natural to continue this extraordinary relationship by birthing this project here. So I’m trying an experiment. I am serializing it and every Sunday morning you’ll find a new mini-chapter in your Reader. I hope you’ll continue to join me as the project grows and continues to morph.

Who knows? Perhaps publishing what I’ve written in this way is giving it the opportunity of growing into a new kind of creative form where words stay alive and have the opportunity for continued growth instead of remaining singular and static on a page. I’d like that….See you Sunday!


Photo credit:


Collage collaboration!



It’s been a steamy tropical summer here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. At odd moments errant cloud bursts are signaled by the booming of thunder and zig-zag flashes of light. Just as suddenly the clouds part and the air radiates with the returning intense heat of the sun and everything changes color. I’ve become accustomed to waiting out the impenetrable sheets of rain. They rarely last long. It’s as if someone is having fun with the on/off switch. Makes me wonder what the birds and bees are doing during these drenching interludes.

And I’ve been traveling a bit…the bath tub waters of the Gulf Coast and a retreat on the southern Atlantic coast with alligators and jellyfish. My most recent trip was a road trip to upstate NY to celebrate with my Father on his 94th birthday!

Upon my return, I was delighted to find a request from fellow blogger, Marcy Erb. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in allowing her to post my poem “I dream of being a weed…” with a collage she was creating inspired by the poem. What a great idea Marcy! Another weed lover…and so much more! If you aren’t familiar with Marcy’s blog,  head right over there. She has begun designing a Major Arcana with birds as the focus. Her alignment of archetypal symbology is so unique, relevant and beautiful, I’ve become completely captivated. The links are below….

“I dream of being a weed…”

The Emperor

The Tower

The Wheel of Fortune   …. and my favorite!


pastel: j h white