One summer afternoon, I was with Ty at his home, where we were seated around a table and chairs on his verandah. There are a lot of trees around the verandah with plenty of cover for a variety of birds. A pair of crows had taken up residence in one of the trees, while lorikeets, kookaburras, butcher birds, miner birds frequented this green retreat in suburbia. This particular day, as we were talking, there was a commotion and then a butcher bird landed on the verandah rail. Immediately, more butcher birds landed on the rail and two birds perched on the chair and table at the far end of the table from where we were sitting. They were very young, one was very quiet, while the other was very vocal. It would look at us and sound out in a panicked voice. I turned away from the young birds to see there were now around 12 miner birds sitting on the rail and although the young bird was very vocal, the others didn't seem to be concerned that it was in danger with us. It blew me away how many birds had appeared on the rail and so quietly.
Ty whispered to be still and quiet and experience the connection with the birds. The vocal one then proceeded to move down the table towards me, seated at the end of the table, calling all the time, then jumping down to the floor and moving under my chair. The bird continued to call, until one of the birds flew away then the rest followed. All together, 15 minutes had passed since the first bird had landed and I was on a high having experienced the young one so close to me.
After coming down from this high, Ty thought that a predator may have appeared and that had provoked the commotion and the birds coming to the verandah. We discussed the fact that the adult birds including its mother, didn't seem concerned for the safety of the young ones. In fact, it was clear that they trusted us, as we didn't move, speak loudly or panic with fear. Being quiet and relaxed, allowed the birds to show their true selves as they felt unthreatened.
This was a good lesson about how to be when going into the bush. By staying still, no quick movements, not talking and allowing animals to come to you, will give you a closer connection to Nature, experience that animal's power or possibly a message for you. Animals do come to you to pass on messages, so when this happens, sit quietly, start meditating and connect with the animal. Ask, " If it has a message for you?" and let the animal speak to you. That is a special moment! Try it next time you go into the bush or want to connect with an animal.
It was a summer night and we had gathered at Ty's home for our regular meditation night, looking forward to what the night would bring. Would I receive a message tonight that would show me some important step in my journey, to find my Truth, to deeply connect to Spirit, to experience something that would amaze me, provoke me, take me to another state of consciousness, to another dimension where Ty would shapeshift into a myriad of images, faces that looked at me with such intensity and caring. As with every meditation with Ty, they are never the same, always different from the last one, so I was excited to be meditating in the group dynamic, creating a group consciousness that can be very powerful.
At first, we all gathered outside on a patio at the back of the house, sitting around a table and chairs, catching up on everyone's life and what is happening in the news. It is always enjoyable to be together with like-minded people, having a 'cuppa' of tea and conversation flowed easily amongst us. As the night went on, Ty would become quiet and somewhat distant, which was a sign for us that he was getting ready for the meditation, and when he indicated to us that the meditation was going to start, we would walk into the house and find our position to sit in the room.
This particular night I was still sitting in the recliner chair (hadn't moved to the floor at this stage) and I made myself comfortable, relaxing my body with some deep breathing to get into that trance state. Everyone was quiet, doing the same to relax and prepare for the start of the meditation. The glow of the light from the candles, incense burning its fragrant smoke, the darkness apart from the light of the candles, while slow, rhythmic music played in the background, all added to the atmosphere in the gathering of people that night. So we were all ready when Ty sat down and began the meditation by drumming. It's a powerful feeling to be swept along by the beat of the drumming, and sometimes you will have visions as you connect to every beat of the drum and you begin journeying. This happened to me and I was totally flying over countryside, my whole body was vibrating to the beat of the drum. It would play softly at first and gradually build up to a stronger and faster pace, you are totally with the drum, riding the drum beat when it softens or sounds louder, it is a wonderful experience to be had.
Whilst Ty was playing, I became aware of a mosquito flying around my ear with that familiar noise. I ignored it, hoping that it would leave me alone and move on to someone else for a snack. And as the drumming stopped, I was in the zone not allowing one pesky mosquito to stop my reaching a deep state of meditation. Ty started playing a singing bowl, when guess what? That pesky mossie re-appeared to disrupt my best endeavours to reach a deep state of connectedness. The noise of the mossie seemed to get louder and louder. It became my only focus, all I wanted to do was to move my arm to wave it away, but I knew this was a test of my ability to meditate no matter what distraction happens around you. You should be able to meditate no matter what noise or distraction occurs around you. In fact, later in another meditation Ty and I proved that right by meditating while outside people were mowing the lawn, whipper-snippering and finally a chainsaw roared, still we managed to disregard these distractions and go deep in our meditation.
But this was a time when my mind had a lot of power and chatter to distract me, so I struggled with the idea of not doing anything but to ignore the sound and put it into the background. That mosquito was determined. It flew close to my face and it was with all my will that I didn't swat it. I can remember saying to myself that I was actually willing it to hurry up and take a bite, so that it would be all over after that one bite. It would be full and it wouldn't bother me again. At least that was what I thought! The mosquito had other thoughts. My mind was going into overdrive, the more I tried to ignore the noise the louder it became. I hadn't learnt how to let go. Finally, I didn't hear any more noise, it's gone to annoy someone else, to ruin their meditation but I could resume mine in peace, when 'Oh no!' I felt something land on my arm. Guess who? Yes, it was that pesky mossie back to do the deed that it had threatened to do the whole time. It was as though time had stopped still, while I waited for it to start feeding. The feeling I felt as it pushed its proboscis into me is something I'll always remember. I don't know if it was because of my heightened state or not, but I literally could feel the probe going into my skin and it felt like a jackhammer had broken through my skin. Of course, my initial response was to crush the little 'sucker' with all my might, but that would be going against all that I stood for, so I generously donated my blood to the mossie blood bank and felt the blood being drawn out of me while my friend fed. That would be the most amazing thing, how my senses were so heightened during the mossie escapade, especially when feeding.
I'm pleased to say, both mossie and I survived the event and although we haven't seen each other again, I thank her for the lesson that she gave me. I go back to that event whenever I am doing meditation and something comes along, it could be an outside noise or an inner thought, and I can go back to my mossie friend and remind myself how I remained disciplined, and ignored all those outside distractions of her flying around my face and feeding on my arm, and that distraction quickly disappears into the background.
Little did I know that my lesson for that night would come from a tiny little mossie.
Coming Back To Country
A few years ago, Ty led a small group of us to visit the Red Centre of Australia, going to Uluru, Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Kings Canyon. Afterwards, we would be doing a vision quest over 3 days, somewhere in the desert but that was all we knew. Ty would let us know when and where we would be doing the vision quest so we had to trust in Ty completely. In total, there were 5 of us who would be experiencing all that the Red Centre could offer. We were all part of Ty's meditation group and got on well. The feeling was of excitement, to be at Uluru and witnessing the grandeur and beauty of this part of Australia, with it's colours, landscape and the scale of these monoliths,left us impatient for the trip to begin.
It was June and the days were beautiful and sunny but the nights were freezing cold, getting down to minus temperatures daily. We arrived on the Sunday and that night we went to " Dinner in the Desert", that transported us to the desert, where we would be able to witness sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta before making our way to a full dining experience in the open under the night sky. Well sunset in the desert was stunning! The colours that were displayed with the last rays of sunlight were something that needs to experienced by everyone at least once in their lifetime. It went from a red colour to a purple then a dark blue before being enveloped in the darkness of the desert. Incredible! After that experience we proceeded down to our restaurant under the stars to enjoy dinner. The stars were out in force but the clear sky gave way to a very cold night. As the night progressed, enjoying our meal, so did the chill factor continue to drop to an uncomfortable level. It was a struggle just to keep warm, let alone be able to hold a glass or knife and fork without shivering. That cold desert wind just cut through you! Mist from everyone's breath around the tables gave the night an eerie appearance, whilst everyone scrambled to get warm around the heaters or the bonfire but the atmosphere didn't prevent us from enjoying the evening. The night sky was amazing with stars shining from all directions, giving us a fantastic show of light. The night came to an end and we were transported back to the warmth of our accommodation by bus in preparation for our next day at Uluru.
The next morning, we were up early to catch the bus to Uluru and be taken to witness sunrise over this monolith. As we entered the national park, I felt my body being swept up in emotion. My chest was pounding and my breathing became laboured as I felt this choking sensation restrict my breathing. It came out of the blue-I had no idea what was happening to me. Then tears started to form and run down my face. "What was happening?" I said to myself. Luckily, I was at the back of the bus so no-one could see what was happening to me. I spoke to Ty about what I was experiencing, hoping for an answer to my condition as it continued to unfold. He said that it wasn't anything to worry about, he would explain to me what was occurring to me at the end of the week. That made me more puzzled than before. Sitting at the back of the bus with tears streaming down my face, I closed my eyes to give them a rest when I saw a vision. It began with me flying into a valley which looked like the countryside around Uluru, then I saw an eagle flying below me. We flew a way in this formation before I realized that I had become the eagle, flying further in the valley. Whilst flying I was swept with this strange feeling of coming home but it was a mixture of joy and tears. In fact, I caught myself smiling as I looked out from the bus at the landscape, being transported back to another time in the past when I walked this place. That was the experience I had as we pulled up at Uluru in the dark. It was to be only a small example of what was to come in my week in this amazing place!
The Wisdom of Trees
One day when visiting Ty, he asked me to follow him down to the back of his home. In the back of the property there were many old trees with impressive stature, and as we stood in the middle of them he said, “Today you are going to connect with a tree. I want you to find a tree that you feel drawn to and hug that tree. And I mean really hug the tree. Put your arms around it as though you’re embracing the tree. Let every part of your body, from your head to your legs be in contact with the tree. Be very still, no movement as you allow yourself to become at one with this gentle giant. You will need to be in a comfortable position as you will be like that for a considerable time, so it is important that you are relaxed to be able to connect and become one with it. Go now and choose the tree that you will approach. Remember that each tree has its own unique energy, and you will connect to some more than others, so be aware how you feel and move on to another tree if it doesn’t feel right. Off you go now and I’ll check in on you later.”
Well, my immediate thought was to query the idea of hugging a tree. Isn’t that what hippies only do? Not me! I don’t need to do this. How embarrassing if someone saw me hugging a tree. What would they think of me? All these thoughts came rushing through my mind to try and stop me from truly connecting with my woody friends. I trusted the methods of Ty but at times I was truly tested and this was one of these moments. As I approached the trees, I was drawn to a tree in the corner of the property that had a different bark to the others and was a bit away from the other trees. This was my tree. It felt right to approach the tree. I asked permission to approach the tree and lay my hands on it. I was immediately given permission by the tree and proceeded to connect. At first, I was restless and distracted, trying to get comfortable in my stance and letting myself become at one with the tree and it its energy. The mind came in and I glanced around the base of the tree for any movement in the bark and leaves at the base of the tree and checking the bark on the tree in case there were ants or spiders lurking where I was embracing the tree. Yes, my mind was in overdrive at this stage and there was no way that I would be relaxed enough to engage with the tree. Ty appeared again, sensing my difficulties and encouraged me to let my thoughts go and solely concentrate on the tree. Feel the bark, the movement of the tree, the noises it makes as it sways in the breeze, feel the sun warming the bark and gradually I let go all my distractions, not worried about being seen in this position embracing a tree but allowing myself to be drawn into the very being of the tree and all of a sudden I was there. My hands starting to lose feeling as I became part of the tree. It was as though they could reach inside the tree and the contact with my body became the same, sinking into the centre of the tree. I was completely oblivious to my outside environment, only focused on being at one with the tree. Then the most amazing thing happened. I started hearing noises coming from within the tree. Then I saw the inside of the tree. It resembled the internal organs of a human, in that, I could see liquid being drawn upwards through the tree just like blood, I felt the pulse of the tree, same as a heartbeat, and respiration trough the trunk of the tree. To add to these revelations, I saw the inside of the tree in colour. It so resembled the internal systems of a human being that I couldn’t help see the connection between the two.
I have no idea the length of time that passed whilst I became at one with the tree, but I kept feeling a warm energy coming from the tree and eventually, the tree started to talk to me. Yes, I said talk to me. It took me by surprise at first, but a part of me was so excited to communicate with it. The feeling I felt was overpowering. It swept over me like a wave, like two best friends reconnecting again after being apart for a long time, it was as though this was always the way. I sensed that the tree was giving me some of its energy to heal me, help me reach deeper levels in meditation and to deepen my connection to Nature and all around me. I definitely was absorbing all that the tree offered in wisdom, knowledge and healing.It was in this state that I heard Ty’s voice bringing me back to reality, but I was as light as a feather and not wanting to release my hold on my best friend. I had no idea how long I had been in this position-time had stood still for me. I walked quietly with Ty back to the house, after thanking the tree for imparting its wisdom with me and opening a totally new perspective for me. I would not look at trees in the same light again. I had felt that connection that trees can give, the wisdom they possess, as they have witnessed many events, many people have passed under their branches over the time, camped under them, stood the test of time and now I was part of that consciousness. Over the years I have connected with many trees, felt that wisdom, been shown many things, been healed by some, felt the inter-connectedness of all trees and their surroundings and I feel honoured that I have experienced this wisdom. So I suggest that you give it a try to connect with these wonderful giants and feel that connection, be opened to the many possibilities and be at one with all that is around us. Because without trees we cease to exist, so allow a little time for your new-found friends and respect their part in our lives.
Icy Waters Ahead
It was during a stay with Ty when I was working on healing my eyes of cataracts, that in one of my meditations I saw myself being led to a rock pool by an American Indian. He had come to me before so I was completely trusting and relaxed in his company. Sometimes, he would be dressed in all his magnificent glory, with a head dress that continued to his knees, full of eagle feather that danced as he walked. Other times, he would appear without any adornments, only a cloth for modesty, but there was nothing modest in the way he carried himself. His stature reflected the power and knowledge he possessed but always he communicated to me with respect.
In the vision, he pointed to the rock pools and we walked over rocks , passing other pools until we came to the one that he indicated I would be sitting in. There were numerous pools, with the water connecting them together and in my pool there was a little waterfall at one end, depositing it’s icy waters. He motioned for me to enter the pool. I took off my clothing and bathed in the icy waters. It was breath taking, as you could imagine but I stayed with a relaxed mind, not allowing the cold to persuade me to get out, that it was too cold. Then in a moment of clarity, I began washing my face, in particular my eyes, and each handful of the miraculous water seemed to help my eyes heal and my vision started to come back. It was so real, I was feeling euphoric with my vision returning. My Indian friend stood by the waters edge, smiling with every moment I bathed myself. I had completely forgotten about the cold, I was in the moment experiencing the joy of being able to see again. After a while, he indicated for me to come out of the water, my whole body was energised. An electric sensation was buzzing through my body and I felt that the water had washed away all my worries, fears and left me with a new me that could take on the world. What a feeling! My good friend left me then, but I was convinced that I had to re-enact this experience for real. I sensed that there was a real rock pool that I had to sit in and be cleansed.
I retold my
vision to Ty and he listened intently to what I recounted. He said that I need
to follow this through, and he knew of rock pools that were nearby. We would go
there the following day. I became excited by the thought that I would be
plunging myself in icy waters, as this was in the middle of winter, and it was
a given that the water would have a chill in it. It would be a good test, to
see if I could go past my mind, ignore the cold of the water and be able to
meditate. The next day, we set out for the rock pools. When we arrived, we had
to negotiate boulders and rocks to find our way to the right rock pool. Ty had
mentioned that I would decide which pool I would sit in, as it was my vision.
Let me tell you it was difficult to step my way over the rocks as I had no
depth of vision, so I would put my foot out feeling for the rock but I would
always be about 6 inches away from the rock I was about to stand on. It was
frustrating and dangerous but I was determined that it wouldn’t stop me from
doing this. It was slow going but eventually I came upon a pool that spoke to
me and that was the one. Amazingly, it was very similar to the one in my
vision, with a small waterfall at the entrance of the pool. I didn’t waste time
deliberating about doing it, I stripped off and entered the water. That initial
entry into the water will be indelibly etched into my mind. It was soooo cold.
In fact, it took my breath away. I was blowing as my heart tried to keep
beating and the cold embraced my body. It took a good few minutes before I
composed myself enough to concentrate on my breathing, then going past the mind
to embrace the experience. I was fortunate that the day was sunny and I was in
a position where the sun was shining on my face and I used that to focus on
that warmth, imagining it going throughout my body keeping me warm. This
worked, my breathing slowed and I was in the zone and didn’t feel the cold. It
was blissful, listening to the water running over the waterfall, the birds were
chatting and the sun giving me its blessing. After 25 minutes, having totally
immersed myself in the water, every now and then I would put my head completely
under water as to wash away and cleanse myself of my cataract problem, I felt I
could leave my icy bath but Ty insisted I stay for a bit longer. He motioned to
me to move closer to the waterfall, where I could feel the current of the water
against my back quickly chilling any feeling I had. It was torturous! I just
couldn’t get back into that zone where I didn’t feel the cold and the extra
chill from the waterfall was becoming unbearable. Every part of my body began
shivering, my teeth were chattering and
it was very uncomfortable. This shaking uncontrollably continued until I heard
Ty say those wonderful words, “you can get out now”. What relief! Only problem
was, my muscles had stiffened so much, I couldn’t stand. They refused to
loosen, so I dragged myself out and remained on all fours as my body and
muscles began to warm and become flexible again. I was amazed how long it took
to be able to stand and it was still precarious at best. My body was tingling
with warmth as it tried to heat my body. I felt totally cleansed, fresh, that I
had been cleansed on all levels, physically, mentally and spiritually. I had put
myself to the test and had experienced what it feels like to be totally in the
moment, ignoring the mind and it’s sabotage tactics, to the other extreme of
insufferable cold, letting my mind take over how I was feeling and taking me
away from my purpose. It was a good lesson. These lessons have far more meaning
for me. Shamanism is all about the experience. Have enough experiences, then
your mind cannot persuade you to listen to it and the fears that it uses, to
take you away from your purpose in life. As you do these experiences, the
confidence in yourself and the deep connection to Spirit and your Higher Self,
as you come past what you thought was impossible, allows you to go deeper
within yourself with belief and trust. I left that rock pool grateful that I had
experienced both sides of the mind, understanding what can be achieved if we
remain in the moment and not pay attention to the mind and its
Power of the Mind
Ty had always talked to me about how powerful The Mind was and at that time I had no full comprehension of the capacity of it to be able to lead us away from our life purpose. Obviously, I had some knowledge of its control when doing ceremonies, vision quests and in healings, where I would be challenged by what I would experience and want to come out of what was happening in front of my eyes. Other times, I would be addressing an issue, looking for the source of these thoughts and I would find myself enjoying an exhilarating vision but then having to muster up all my intent to return to the issue at hand. These are but a few ways that the Mind can sway you away from your Path.
At the time I was struggling with my eyes, I had developed cataracts in both eyes, especially my left eye which had limited vision. Ty and I had been working on the eyes with healings that took me back in time to my childhood, to find the source of fears that were holding me back from my spiritual progress and deal with them, to let them have no hold on me anymore. Over the last few days, I reported to Ty that I kept seeing myself as a toddler and in the vision, I am running towards an old timber garage to open the doors. I recognized the garage as being at my grandparent’s home but whenever I went to open the doors to the garage, I was filled with this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and a resistance to open the door. I would stop the vision and move to other visions, but it kept returning and placing me in front of those doors.
I was determined to get to the bottom of what was making me feel this way. I felt I was blocking something from my childhood that obviously I didn’t want to go there. I was to find out later how powerful that fear was. That night we did a meditation and talked about the Mind and how it would challenge me that night, but I had to be strong and not be swayed by anything from the Mind. To be aware always what my purpose was, of opening that door and discovering what was behind it. After starting with the meditation, I lay down to journey through the night and I would not give up till I had an answer. I pictured myself through various ages till I came to myself as a toddler, the one I kept seeing in my grandparents back yard and began approaching the garage to open those doors. As I reached out to grab hold of the door handle and put my hands on it, I was immediately transported to myself flying over the jungle, looking down to observe a sea of green that kept changing before my eyes. The jungle became more bushland, with its majestic gum trees, their white trunks shining in the light, in contrast to the red soil and faded grasslands. I remember being overcome with this vision but a part of me recognized what was happening, that I was being taken away from my goal to see what was behind the garage doors and with great intent I brought myself back to face the doors once again. I saw myself as the toddler and approached the doors. As soon as I touched the doors again, I was once more journeying on a wonderful visit over water, seeing the aqua blue of the water, birds were flying around me, in fact I realised that I was an eagle flying high, looking down from my vantage point at the world moving. I was a little bit savvier this time and realized that The Mind had taken me away from those doors again. The night became very long, as I battled with my Mind. I would put my hand on the door handle and away I would go on another journey and this pattern continued endlessly throughout the night. It was daybreak and I was totally spent, as I had given my all to remain in front of that garage and open the doors, but it had eluded me so far. It was a battle royal, trying to be not persuaded with all that was offered by my Mind and I was exhausted.
I talked to Ty about what had happened the previous night and he offered that he could have told me numerous times about the ability of the Mind to distract, change, divert and many other ways, from our path and it wasn’t until I faced that power would I be able to understand the magnitude and scope it could wield. I had to agree with that. I had presumed that I had experienced the might of the Mind, but, I had only an idea of its ability but not an understanding of the depths and measures it would take to keep in control. This is why it fought so hard to maintain control, as the closer to dealing with the cause of our fears we come, the more the Mind will try to weaken your resolve such as what I had experienced the night before.
I would rest that day and had the resolve to go back to the garage doors, only this time I would open it! I was ready to battle like I had never done before. There was conviction in my voice and I was determined to overcome my Mind and see what was on the other side of those doors and deal with whatever was behind them. I’m pleased to say that I did open those mongrel doors and found a part of me that I didn’t know existed but that is another story to be told.