Archive for the 'soul retrieval' Category

Re-establishing the status quo

September 6, 2013

Nowadays we can get tracking information for our packages so we can monitor the progress of their transit.  At first this seemed to be a gain.

But now I feel that I’m back at square one.

Jordan ordered coursebooks from his campus bookstore.  He commutes and having them delivered here isn’t actually very expensive and in his case makes sense.

Some came.  Some didn’t.  But all were issued tracking labels.  Some never progressed in the system beyond that.  The bookstore says, “They must have fallen off the truck” (sic).  Jordan took an hour yesterday to get replacement copies from the store, in person.

This morning I was checking the status of a different package, and again, we’ve got a shipping label acknowledgement by the carrier.  I called the vendor, and they assured me this was normal, that the package was actually in transit with the carrier, and will indeed arrive next week.  I asked them how they could be sure, and cited by way of example the recent experience of Jordan’s books.  The customer service agent said that the lack of information that the package has made it into the carrier’s system is normal.

So tracking information has now become somewhat random.  Maybe it gives one real information, maybe it is misleading.  It is not dependable, does not give us a basis for a realistic expectation of whether the package will arrive.  It does not seem to me that it leaves us better off than we were before we had access to it, at least when the tracking information gets stuck at this stage of “label created, not yet with carrier.”

But there’s always, for me, the possibility of an analogy.  There’s always a lesson I can find in my circumstances.  The situation is not a useless exercise in frustration or in unmet expectations from what technology purports to do (and maybe even did for a time).

Here it could be how psychism interferes with faith.

For example, there’s a spiritual story about a person who “tracks” other people with some sort of supernatural powers we might call psychic.  They eavesdrop and insert messages on a frequency most people don’t notice because they don’t have enough awareness to pick out within their thoughts and emotions these intruded thoughts and emotions as not being their own.

During a subsequent incarnation, these psychic people have that same ability, but without the quality of discernment as to which individual they are communicating with.

They eventually figure this out and are quite indignant.  They think they’ve got defective machinery.

But they don’t.  They have machinery helpful for a different task and helpful for teaching them not to rely on psychism to navigate their lives.  The “different task” is empathic healing, in which it is quite helpful not to know the identity of the person being healed.  And not being able to triangulate and strategize about what move to make based on inside information forces the person back onto faith and reliance on internal guidance from their core.  They can’t track the package, or even know it will get there, they can only do their part and then wait and see, until they receive feedback actually addressed to them; and in the meantime, they can (only) do what their guidance suggests.

But they cry out and complain and sit down and refuse to participate.  Or they demand extra help to compensate for their inability to untangle the strands of what they hear and attribute them accurately to individuals.  Because in addition to being able to undertake empathetic healing, the person in the story is also capable of being one of those “mixing bowls” (like Plato mentions somewhere), and can mix various strands of energy or information in a way that forms a new whole, but they don’t realize that’s what that talent is for, either — they see it, again, as a defective device for manipulating people.  They don’t understand their function, probably because it isn’t part of the belief system of their culture.

Along comes the IT support, the spiritual geek squad, and they check out the equipment (by trying it out themselves).  And they report that it works just fine, it’s just not meant for tracking other people or manipulating them or building social relationships, it’s meant for healing shattered souls, including by creating pieces that may be missing and lost.

I have no idea whether I will receive my package.  I have no idea where it is.  I can only wait.  While I wait, I can stop scouring my external environment for clues and listen to what I hear within.

The package in question is a representation of Kwan Yin.  She would not be who she is through means of trying manipulate on the basis of pieces of external information or trying to manipulate other people.  She hears the cries of others as cries welling up within her, she navigates and heals by means of looking deep within herself and connecting with those forces.

“The Point”

October 13, 2012

Having written most of this, I’ve come back to the beginning to mark this with a warning that what follows is my equivalent of what is currently being called “wonky” — it gets deep into the details of a particular discipline or point of view.


I’m listening to Harry Nilsson singing “This is the town and these are the people, This is the town where the people all stay, This is the town where the people all have one, That’s the way they wanted it and That’s the way it’s going to stay …”

I don’t remember how the story goes, and that’s my point — having (or not) a point is the issue, not the action storyline — it’s the theme and not the plot that is important.

We get so caught up in the idea that the action part of our lives is the significant part of life.  I don’t think it is.  But that’s the way we — most of us — want it.

In my elementary school, we wrote a lot of book reports.  We learned about features in a book to look for — setting, theme, characterizations, plot, are what I’m recalling.

My fifth grade teacher, Mr. G. (that’s what we actually called him — his name was Mr. Gianatiempo, and he was a really good teacher, one of the most effective I’ve ever had — so it was interesting when his personal life — he abandoned his first family and married a former student — became an issue — proving once again that flawed human beings can help others make their own progress), required that we spend most of the book report on character analysis.  There was a strict limitation on how long our summary of the plot could be (one paragraph, half a page) and we were forbidden to use the word “interesting” in our appraisal of the book.

I think life is about learning how to “drive our cars,” how, as a mahout, to merge with the elephant, to fly like a butterfly once our consciousness merges with our subconscious while something else in us observes.  When we learn how to interface this way with the universe while we’re physical human beings, we have learned how to operate our vehicle, to fully become who we are.

While we’re learning to reach our full potential as human beings, we have adventures and we experience them as part of a storyline.  We often get caught up in the storyline, thinking particular outcomes and details are important and necessary.  I think the plot is primarily in service to the goal of learning who we are and how we relate to the universe.   Even our relationships with other human beings are in service to this, in my opinion — they may be healthier ways to experience pleasure, but experiencing that kind of pleasure is still experiencing that kind of pleasure, and not, in my view, the be-all and end-all of life.  I think being able to merge with the world through living enough in the part of us that exists also in everything else, and hence allows for exchange between us and all else, is what we’re working towards.

Maybe, to go back to my book report analogy, we could see a parallel in a book’s theme.  Discerning the theme of a book I think comes harder to students.  I remember being taught it largely through examples: man vs. man, man vs. nature, for starters.  I think we as humans have trouble “identifying theme” in our lives, which in this case is not the same sort of cohesive dynamic in a book, but rather the patterns in our lives that we get caught up in in ways that prevent us from seeing clearly.  The underlying issues could be things like vanity, greed, being overly dependent on others’ opinions of us, and we notice this in how we keep repeating the same patterns of behavior or interactions with others over and over.

I think repetition indicates being stuck.  Unfortunately, I think being stuck in something perceived as pleasurable keeps us stuck sometimes.

A lot of what happens in our lives I think is there to help us see ourselves more clearly.  One of the ways this happens is through “mirroring.”  It is done unto us what we have done unto others.  Eventually.  We can accumulate a lot of debits on our accounts, so to speak, through our interactions with others, without having experienced the inverse, and when that happens, some people become even more resistant to experiencing the other roles.  Some people even shatter the mirror.

I think eventually the gears of human society seize up when too many people individually get stuck.  Quite frankly, addiction seems to be one of the pitfalls that keeps people stuck.  I think it can be a means to an end of self-discovery, and hence useful, but I think many people get stuck in the “means.”  Another pitfall is experiencing more than the conscious self can process at its level of connection with the rest of the self, and when that happens, people shatter.

I speculate that an alien life form visiting us might say something like, “Who designed this game?  What were they thinking?  They didn’t debug the software very well and the players are getting stuck and distorting the dynamic and destroying the hardware in the process.”  And then I think those aliens would try to set an example of how the game is played in a way so that it works, and in the process of doing this, they would be also be making it easier for others to do so, by correcting some of the distortion.  I don’t think these “aliens” would be like ETs in a science fiction story, I think they would be more like what we call angels and demigods and such in religious texts.


And now I’m listening to Nilsson’s “Without You.”

And now

Stimulus and response

September 21, 2012

I know a few people who want to substitute being told exactly what to do for developing their own way of figuring out an appropriate response through understanding the impact of their behavior on others (the self-awareness and walk-a-mile-in-your-moccasins tools).  “Just tell me what to do, I want to be a good person,” one of them said to me a couple of weeks ago.

I actually can’t see what they’re supposed to do;  I can discern what I am supposed to do at such a point as they’re at if I pick up their stuff through my experience of them as an empath.  I can also mirror back to them their own behavior.

In one case what I could see I was being called upon to do with their stuff in my place was to locate and shower on them a deep and charitable love, so I suspect that’s what they were supposed to do for me, but maybe not.  In any case, I got coldness, literally (the room became inexplicably very cold — it was a topic of discussion in the ladies room afterwards) and socially.  I was surprised.  The person didn’t recognize me from previous communication (or lives), didn’t want to get to know me based on what I presented, either, and I accepted that.  I accepted that the coldness was the best they could do and I found myself doing my mirroring thing and leaving and then afterwards pursuing what looked like unvirtuous professional conduct (I’m going to guess that’s one of their m.o.’s).  I reflected back to them their own conduct so they could experience its impact, but then it’s up to them to decide what to do next, I don’t furnish a set of follow-up directions — they need to analyze their reaction to the experience and go from there.  If there’s a different reaction going on within them from what they presented to me, maybe part of the issue for them is to connect the inner and outer selves in a different way.  I suspect, though, that it’s really that they want to act one way but want to incur a set of responses from others as if they had engaged in different behavior.

In another case I found myself eventually actually telling the person that becoming the “good person” they claim they want to be is developed by the person themselves through a process involving increasing self-awareness.  This person seems to prefer asking for detailed instructions from others and then finding fault with them and rationalizations for not following them — of course, thus they do their part to demonstrate the limits of what another person can do for somebody else, which is helpful for me to learn from.

I know that some of these “I want to be a good person but I don’t actually want to do what it takes” sometimes resort to shattering the mirror (that would be me) either intentionally or inadvertently.  I have helped restore shattered mirrors — if I hadn’t learned myself from them, I’d probably be one myself.

Shattering falls

August 14, 2012

I was reading a Richard Rohr Daily Meditation, and I was struck by something he said about needing to let our children fall in order to allow them to find their balance.

In large measure I agree, but I think the universe is a little more complicated than that.  I think just as we realize that young children will be harmed by having sex before they are ready, some falls will wreak havoc on a person of whatever age if they are not sufficiently developed spiritually for the challenge.

It happens, people occasionally do experience falls that not only open up their ego structures but go much further and shatter their souls.  Shamans and others who engage in soul retrieval can testify that while it’s not the end of the world and healing is always possible, redressing this kind of situation is not easy or a matter of the person just getting back up on their own.

Sister Maria and detours and phases

July 19, 2012

The Sister Maria I have in mind is the main character in Richard Shindell’s song “Transit,” which I know I’ve mentioned here before.  This nun is on her way to her calling, and she ends up having to change a tire on her van before she can get to the main event.  The song starts off with the very clever and moves into the extremely fantastical and finally ends up in the very moving.

Richard Rohr writes about two halves of our lives, and in my own I’ve noticed phases.  (I maybe should note that while I finished The Naked Now, I’ve only read a small part of his Falling Upward,about the different halves of our lives.)

For me, the image of Sister Maria changing that tire resonates with a phase in my life that corresponds roughly with my involvement with legal history.  That “phase” includes over ten years during which I didn’t work in the field at all but was home with kids.  It felt, in retrospect, like two forays (it took two tries) into some old unfinished business, like I went back twice to beard an old lion in his den and resolve an old karmic problem.  The unresolved problem had made progress impossible, as if, when people tried, they slipped into an unseen sink hole.  In my own life, I think it meant that what I might have done in my twenties as Plan A didn’t come together.

The good news is that I resolved the problem.  It was complicated and complex.  During it I experienced a spiritual life that in retrospect was probably pretty adventuresome.  It also blew a pretty large crater in my life.

Having done all that, I think I sort of got back into the van, like Sister Maria in Richard Shindell’s song, and proceeded on to the main event.  I think I’ve been in some sort of transitional phase, doing that proceeding, for a while.  It feels like when you realize you’re done doing the research for a paper because you now find yourself reading the same stuff over and over again in new sources.

I don’t know exactly what this new phase entails.

My marriage to Willy was wrapped up in the resolving-the-old-karmic-problem phase of my life.  That second go-round within that phase came after his death and, I think, needed to be done alone.

As I said, I don’t know exactly what this new phase entails.  Gita suggested that I have more leeway at this time of my life.  That certainly feels like that’s the case in some ways, although in other ways I feel constrained.  We’ll see.

Coming out, in a sense

March 5, 2012

So my old friend Jesse asked me a question that prompted this reply.  He invited me to share my response privately, via email, but I put it in some sort of Facebook conversation, which I’m going to assume is at least semi-public.  And then I got to thinking that in the course of trying to answer his question, I had come up with a way of expressing where I’m coming from that I’m not too uncomfortable with making somewhat public.  I think it had to do with the audience to whom I was immediately addressing it that it came out in a way I’m okay with.

So, I thought I’d post it here, in case anyone’s curious, even though talking about these things creates the risk of being perhaps misunderstood or having people head for the exits:

I’m not sure where to begin. In retrospect I can see how my heart, as they say, got opened up, maybe cracked open (as a friend of mine likes to say of her own experience). I would say that after a bunch of stuff over many years, I had this sort of spiritual experience back in 2000, and I found myself connecting with faith, joy, hope. Then I went through a really rough period, including Willy’s death and how it has affected our kids and what’s happened with them. But at the same time, I became aware of a lot of other things, and I guess I would say I did some sort of past-life regression and soul retrieval work. I think I discovered I am, in some way, what people call an empath. But in this particular life, I have no formal training — what is kind of interesting is that I can do spiritual work, wind up in a bookstore looking at a book that locates what I did in some old and traditional religious practice, and then have some sense of clarification, of “Oh, that’s what that was about.” I think my understandings and abilities come from a diverse number of traditions, since I find what I do consonant with bits and pieces of lots of them. There’s a strand of mysticism involved, also a strand of healing. It all seems to predicated on a willingness to serve [the greater good] — something like that.


I might add in this post that I’ve never been clear whether I’ve been doing this work for myself or someone else, but I think that for an empath that distinction doesn’t make much sense.

Shamans and the speed of light

September 25, 2011

I’m kind of relieved that maybe scientists have found that the speed of light is not as ultimate a bound as they thought.

I read the piece on the PBS NewsHour’s blog and the article in the NYTimes to which it links, and my reaction is, “Well, yes, sending telegrams back in time, or even the plumber or a tow truck back to help out, that’s what shamans do.”  And it would be nice for scientists to be on that same page.

I wonder what, if anything, will happen when they do.

I sometimes think scientists could use a shaman or someone similar to help direct where fruitful paths for research might lie, but we’re all too busy tending to our separate magisteria or attending our own conferences or otherwise keeping ourselves in our separate camps.

The quest for fusion

August 12, 2011

I’m not sure what the current status is of science’s quest for nuclear fusion.  But I am pretty sure it has a spiritual analog, the attempt to unite pieces of a unified whole.

Plato, I think, was getting at something similar in the Parmenides, with its discussion of the one, the many, the all — I don’t have it in front of me, and my recollection is that the ideas in the dialogue are even more obscure in translation into English than they are in the Greek  — the grammatical structure of the Greek helps elucidate the concept.

I tend to experience spiritual understandings with “homey” metaphors, I’m not sure why.  For me, the concept of fusion has been about a shattered soul whose shards have been scattered.  They became embedded in others’ psyches, and the project is to retrieve them and put them together, like pieces to a shattered ceramic cup.  This is done in a sort of incubating vessel, a kind of spiritual womb (Plato seems to have had a similar concept too, in the Timaeus — I think I’ve mentioned this before); and where shards have been pulverized, this mothering force supplies what is missing, like improvising where some bars to a piece of music have been lost.

So, when all is said and done, and the fusion is complete, what do we get?  (I kind of feel like when we all worked an arithmetic problem back at our seats in about the third grade, and then the teacher went around the room asking, “What did you get for the answer?”)  I got a very young and seemingly disabled female child who couldn’t tell me much but kept repeating, as if she had been trained to do so in order to remember an important message for when someone should come along and have the understanding to ask, that she was the true one, not the other who was posing as such.

For me it came across as what I refer to here as a “spiritual story” (in other contexts, I suspect it would be called a past life regression, in others a fantasy — I’m sure there are even more ways to understand it).  But if I take my ego out of the way, and stop looking at it from a point of view as a character within the story, such as a heroic shaman coming to the rescue of and healing a damaged soul, it starts sounding as if I am trying to perceive my most authentic self, my spiritual core, to get back to my original self.

I often see lost pacifiers along the sidewalks and paths where I walk, and I’ve never had a clear idea of how to interpret that (beyond the obvious fact that somebody in a stroller or something similar probably passed by earlier).  Maybe it’s about spiritual rebirth, about being born again in the sense of rediscovering who we are.  Because in getting to the point of hearing that mantra of a small child who was difficult to reach, who could communicate through emotional exchanges more than verbal ones and who was so vulnerable beneath an outer layer of mistrust and fear, I had located in myself that kind of nurturing love that allows flow to occur between self and soul, self and others, self and the universe, I think.