gateways

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In my adventures with the Zhouyi I have learned a little about it ~ though not
a fraction as much as Confucius, who in his old age famously commented:
"If some years were added to my life, I would give fifty to the
study of the Yî, and might then escape falling into great errors."

Far from turning me into a rarified and learned Yi scholar, though,
the Zhouyi has been a gateway which, as I followed my heart-filled
path through it, led to many other worlds, which would seem at first ~
or even second ~ glance to be unrelated to the ancient oracle.

I make no apology for that, as sharing the delight and liberation
of following this unplanned path with you is what it's all about.

So here are a few links to some wild, wonderful and cosmic virtual worlds.

Enter the name for this tabbed section:

art

Enter the name for this tabbed section: sacred land art



using earth as a canvas for spirit



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I had planned for several weeks to release this website on the summer solstice,
but as June 21st dawned, I became aware that I now wouldn’t be able to do this for
an indefinite length of time ~ til Google’s ‘spiders’ next crawled over the web and
removed an incomplete version of this site which was still accessible.

So, from having a huge plan projected onto the day, I went to being in
a kind of limbo, within which I came upon this intriguing video:

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Backwards
Forwards


I was fascinated by the beautiful, radiant mandala depicted, which was unusual
in being carved into crusted earth rather than being revealed by flattened grasses.

Having been in a crop circle myself where I found an ear of wheat with a burn hole
caused by the explosive release of its pressurised contents, I do also believe many
crop circles aren’t formed by people, so was open to the possibility of a Sri Yantra
having somehow formed itself on a remote Oregonian lake bed.

But, searching again, I soon found that it had been human, not alien-made.

Rather than this being a disappointment, though, the magic
and mystery of the mandala was unexpectedly magnified for me
as I found myself transfixed to an extraordinary account
of the inscribing of the Yantra: it had not been
constructed as a hoax to try to trick people,
but as a holy offering.

This offering was clearly graciously received by the earth, as
attested to by subsequent profound changes, both subtle and dramatic.

The chronicle continued with descriptions of other artworks, which
“...functioned as a device or space where we would not only
experience Nature more deeply but also where Nature would speak out,
where we might come to better understand the language of Nature.” (p9)

Reading the piece was a profoundly mind-opening
and moving transmission for me, outlining in a very accessible way how
“by constructing specific geometric structures that correspond to specific forces
or intelligences of Nature and by giving them focused attention through honoring
or “worship” of these forces or laws of Nature, a field can be created and strengthened.
Then by means of entrainment with the amplified field, these same forces
become more strongly expressed in the lives of the individuals
and in all local expressions of Nature.”
(p.16, put into the present tense)

For me, the simple beauty of helping latent energies to unfold
brings to mind the thirteenth saying of The Gospel of Thomas:

His disciples said to him: "On what day will the Kingdom come?"
"It will not come when it is expected. No one will say: 'See, it is here!' or:
'Look, it is there!' Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is
spread over the earth but people do not see it."

I managed to contact the artist to share how much his understandings had resonated
with me, and to ask if I could link his piece to this site. He responded that this
would be difficult, as there was nowhere online that he’d approved to host it...
but did, then, agree to let returntotheway.org be that host.

So, thanks to Bill Witherspoon, here’s a downloadable pdf of ‘Art as Technology’:

(x) Downloads
http://www.returntotheway.org/


Here are some photos of the artworks
described in the pdf
, all © to Bill Witherspoon.


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Sri Yantra from 12000 feet




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Sri Yantra from 9000 feet.



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Sri Yantra from 7000 feet.

A peculiarity of the design is the instantaneous transformation of the space
and the generation of "new" planes when the observer moves off the planes
when the observer moves about five degrees off the axis of symmetry.


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Northern outer gate of the Sri Yantra seen looking East before completion of gates.




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Section of Sri Yantra Bindu (central circle of nine feet in diameter)
photographed in November 1991, fifteen months after construction.

The naturally occurring pattern of hexagonal close-packing that developed in the Sri Yantra
design is evident in this photograph. This pattern is the most efficient way for a bounded
material that is undergoing internal expansion to accommodate that expansion.
This is the kind of expansion that would be expected to occur if dense, layered
alkaline silt began to be infiltrated with rapidly growing soil microorganisms.
Such a proliferation of soil microorganisms would add organic matter, dramatically
modify tilth and enhance water retention, resulting in a less compact and looser soil.
This pattern appeared only inside the boundaries of the Sri Yantra design.
It reached its peak after about two years.


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1991 desert design from 8,500 feet.


Here and here are two links to a documentary made by Iowa Public Television in the '90's
about the making of the Sri Yantra and the 1991 Desert Design, which gives a deeper insight
into the spirit underlying Bill' Witherspoon's work as well as the practicalities of its construction.

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1992 Desert Design from 8000 feet.



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1992 desert design looking Southeast.

To see the 'shadow' of the 1992 desert design,
put the coordinates 42.601442,-118.44053
into Google Earth and zoom in.

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1994 Durga Yantra forest plantation.



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The Durga Yantra in 2003.

The image at the top of this page shows the Durga Yantra in around September 2012.


Here’s another link to an artist, B. Witham,
whose works are similarly infused with the vastness
of the desert. Last summer he completed a beautiful project of
engraving sacred texts onto obsidian nodules and placing them in the earth.

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A completed nodule ready for planting.

“What are we in our deepest nature? 
What is the stuff of our soul?  Aren’t we huge, immense,
without boundary or limitation, even infinite?  Aren’t we the fullness
of love and at the same time love’s infinite emptiness?  Aren’t we utter silence?
  But, being honest, do we truly know this, do we fully experience who we are? 
Do we have the capacity to live our inner nature as the reality of our
day-to-day life?  And, if not, isn’t it our job on earth to do so? 
To live what we really are in each moment; to know
ourselves to be God? If this is not our practical
day-to-day life, then where do we
live our lives?”

From ‘The High Desert’

Enter the name for this tabbed section:

living creatively

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...and some inspiring suggestions on how not
to be an anguished genius from Elizabeth Gilbert.

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Clue: It's identifying with the 'ist' part of 'artist' that's the problem.
Letting that go frees you up to be a clear channel for art flowing
through you.

As the Bellamy Brothers sang (if you change one crucial word, that is:)

Let your art flow like a mountain stream
And let your art grow with the smallest of dreams
And let your art show and you'll know what I mean,
It's the season...

(Fantastically cheesy video here!)

Enter the name for this tabbed section: inspiring creativity


I feel one of the most powerful ways
to get the creative juices flowing is to get your hands dirty,
experimenting with different materials like paint and clay and relishing
the fact that you're an adult, and therefore can make as much of a mess as you like.

But in the meantime here's a great site which lets you create virtual chaos, with
a guaranteed zero possibility of spattering your keyboard with paint.

Try playing with it with no guidelines, as it's actually very simple...
but if you're really stuck, instructions are at the bottom of the page.

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...and here's another tool which lets you instantly create drawings with a
sophisticated scribbly style: one of many interactive creative toys on zefrank.com

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(Instructions for the Jackson pollock-inspired website link at the top: click anywhere to make a mark.
Keep clicking to change your ink colour. Move fast for thin lines, slowly for blobby ones.)

want a copy of your image?

If you're on a mac, to take a screenshot of an area and save it
as a file on the desktop press Command-Shift-4, then select an area.

Enter the name for this tabbed section: sketchbook
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Enter the name for this tabbed section:

healing

Enter the name for this tabbed section: The Great Bell Chant


I believe listening to this profoundly beautiful chant by Thich Nath Hanh
and his brother Phap Niem helps us to entrain ourselves to the
higher consciousness being birthed on our earth.

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Backwards
Forwards
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Mahamritunjaya mantra


When I first came across this recording, I was told it was of the Dalai Lama.
Though the voice has a very similar resonance to that of His Holiness, however, I now
know the singer to be Dutch yogi Hein Braat. This in no way diminishes the exceptional
resonance and heart-felt emotion of the chant, which is infused with healing energy,
as is the mantra itself. A 'maha mantra' is one considered particularly great
and powerful, and the Mahamritunjaya translates as Great (maha)
Death (Mritu) Conquering (Jaya).
It is also a 'moksha mantra',
one which guides us towards freedom.
The words of the mantra are:

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

Let us revere the three-eyed reality
Which permeates and nourishes all like a fragrance.
Just as the ripe cucumber is released from its attachment to the creeper,
may we be liberated from (identification with) death and be granted
(realisation of our) innate immortality,


Reciting the Mahamritunjaya with sincerity is said to bring healing
to the mind, body and spirit while purifying karma and calling the soul to enlightenment.
To take this on as a practise, it's important to understand the meaning of the Sanskrit words:


Aum/Om
The original holy vibration of creation; all-embracing reflection of absolute reality.
As A-U-M, divine energy in its unified triplicate nature of creation, existence and liberation.

त्र्यम्बकम्
Tryambakam
The three eyes of the Absolute, these being the trinity of A-U-M
experienced from the all-pervasive elevated vantage point of the Absolute.

यजामहे
Yajamahe
We rejoice in adoration and reverence.
***
सुगन्धिम्
Sugandhim
A sweet, sacred fragrance permeating the whole of existence.

पुष्टि वर्धनम्
Pushti-vardhanam
Well-nourished, all-sustaining, full and complete.
A good gardener who brings increase, abundance and joy to all.
***
उर्वारुकमिव
Urvarukamiva
A creeper which bears cucumber-like fruits, symbolising dis-ease and attachment.

बन्धनान्
Bandhanan
Bound down to ignorance and untruth, as to the stem of the creeper.
***
मृत्योर्मुक्षीय
Mrityor~Mukshiya
Emancipation from the bondage of ignorance and death.

मामृतात्
Maamrita
Let me realise the nectar-like immortal Reality within all which brings liberation from death.
***

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Backwards
Forwards
Enter the name for this tabbed section: body wisdom
Enter the name for this tabbed section: yoga with ayala
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Here’s the website of accomplished Yogini
and dear friend Ayala Gill, who teaches in London
and also runs retreats. (And, if you happen to be
expecting, she’s also created a pregnancy yoga app.)

As she says, “I am passionate about a lifelong
exploration of yoga and meditation as paths of awakening,
and equally passionate about the possibility of relationships,
pregnancy, birth, motherhood and daily life as all equally vibrant
practices to bring us alive and awake to our full potential.”

Ayala is a highly skilled teacher, and embodies
the calm joy of somebody who truly lives their truth.