We hear a good deal about “being awake” and “being present” and “being enlightened” and “mindfulness” — or at least I do. In places where my mind hangs out (books, twitter, facebook and forums) people toss those terms around a lot — they’re prevalent. I contemplate this a lot since like most everyone else the outer world (samsara) keeps stimulating my own inner drama and all I want is peace and happiness like everyone else.
I have to keep coming back to it. To what? I’m talking about that sense of well-being that comes from mindfulness and presence.
I love that sense of well-being! That wakeful contentment! I call it “contented happiness” because that state of being seems to be core or the baseline state once layers of mental ‘this and that’ thin and create an opening for that state to shine through. Its there, it’s always been there–just like the quote on mind training from Ajahn Chah (quote below) states.
And just like Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche says, “We are so familiar with the tumultuous reactivity of our mind that mental chaos feels quite normal. Opposing that or the opposite polarity to that mental chaos is joy, that profound sense of well-being that comes from being in a completely wakeful state.
You know this state, right? You must have had moments like I’m going to describe and hopefully days, weeks or months–perhaps years or a lifetime if we’re really on the path.
We drop the anxious chatter in our mind. We release a big sigh and think, “Wow, everything is really OK: me, my situation, the world.”
This becomes my new goal, my new mantra and a feeling that I intend to expand and send out to the world. I actually read those words that are in quotes above in a book and every level of body and mind did cartwheels and acrobatics across the room!
YES! I know this feeling! this truth! Until now, I’ve called it “contented happiness” but I do like the way it is expressed simply and recognizably: “Wow, everything is really OK–me, my situation, the world.”
The Quote:Training this mind… actually there’s nothing much to this mind. It’s simply radiant in and of itself. It’s naturally peaceful.
Why the mind doesn’t feel peaceful right now is because it gets lost in its own moods. There’s nothing to mind itself. It simply abides in its natural state, that’s all. That sometimes the mind feels peaceful and other times not peaceful is because it has been tricked by these moods. The untrained mind lacks wisdom. It’s foolish. Moods come and trick it into feeling pleasure one minute and suffering the next. Happiness then sadness. But the natural state of a person’s mind isn’t one of happiness or sadness.
This experience of happiness and sadness is not the actual mind itself, but just these moods which have tricked it. The mind gets lost, carried away by these moods with no idea what’s happening. And as a result, we experience pleasure and pain accordingly, because the mind has not been trained yet. It still isn’t very clever. And we go on thinking that it’s our mind which is suffering or our mind which is happy, when actually it’s just lost in its various moods.
The point is that really this mind of ours is naturally peaceful. It’s still and calm like a leaf that is not being blown about by the wind. But if the wind blows then it flutters. It does that because of the wind. And so with the mind it’s because of these moods – getting caught up with thoughts. If the mind didn’t get lost in these moods it wouldn’t flutter about. If it understood the nature of thoughts it would just stay still. This is called the natural state of the mind.
— (Ajahn Chah, Training This Mind)
The Law of Attraction and The Secret have there place, BUT….. there is, I feel, greater accomplishment in enhancing a state of acceptance of things just as they are. We stop reaching for what we want. We stop trying to control our comfort zone. This letting go leaves us feeling peaceful and optimistic. We have not strategized to attain this state. It’s more like the absence of trying to manipulate or influence our circumstance.
PS — currently transiting Saturn is conjunct natal Jupiter in my 4th house. I’m waiting for word about an apartment to open up for me. It could be any time but waiting is challenging. I can see how Saturn right on Jupiter is creating a delay (Saturn often is though to carry with it the archetype of ‘delay’). The 4th house of course is about home –THE home. This blog post is like … well, physician heal thyself. LOL Accepting things as they are while I wrestle with the strong inner desire to move. I trust astrology and that Saturn delay is beneficial/Jupiter for my future housing situation. Meanwhile, everything is really OK–me, my situation, the world. 🙂
Could I possibly have ancient shamen buried with the local tribe just above my house? (Correction; the house I rent.)
The world’s oldest profession is the shaman!! The ancient shaman is the ancestor to the modern-day doctor and the priest.
The oldest religion of which we have any secure knowledge is shamanism.
Ahhh, and to think one or more may be buried here upon this property… no wonder the crows circle above that area and nowhere else. And no wonder the crowd of deer come and go from that very place. More on that later… but first…
Inserted Later: I’ve just learned that in the archaeologically termed “Woodland Period”, the Cherokee in this area actually did create their burial mounds on the top of mountain ridges or “high up” —this according to a Cherokee Archeologist from Cherokee, NC. —More on this below
(This has nothing to do with anything but if I could have a “DO OVER”, I’d have studied archeology in college instead of physical therapy…. Note to Soul: next time!)
That’s twice now! Yes, I know that posting something like this is risking appearing crazy to some; so be it— I’m used to it. I just have to blog this quickly because it happened AGAIN and after this weekend… well, you’ll see what I mean.
I’m taking a bit of a break from outdoor work, mowing and raking all those things that make landlord’s happy. A few weeks ago (and if you are a regular follower of this blog, you may recall this), I found a “mounds” candy bar wrapper in my yard when I was mowing. I live on a country road two-lane curvy highway in the mountains of North Carolina and many people are of the habit of tossing their litter and it ends up in the yard now and again.
And today was no exception, there were some papers in the yard and as the mower and I came across from one, upon picking it up I nearly froze in my tracks! There it was again! A MOUNDS candy wrapper (coconut filled dark chocolate). So what you might say and I’d agree. Apparently someone who likes Mounds candy tosses their wrapper when they come around this particular bend—and it happened twice. So what! Right? But there’s more to it–there always IS with me!
The first time it reminded me that the landlady told me that there is a Native American Mound (burial place—mound of earth—ceremonial ground for Cherokee) here high on the ridge. I’d been meaning to investigate that for years but the timing was never right and I wasn’t about to mountain climb the steep ridge alone. I’ve also been waiting for the right weather and when the overgrowth wasn’t so dense to make the ascent. Well, my grandson got up there a few weeks ago and reported a headstone of some kind. Hmmmm, no mound? A headstone? Yeah, he said, adding that it wasn’t raised up, bur ‘sunken in’ and the headstone had some strange writing on it. He got up there to have a look before I had time to explain what a Mound actually is; so he didn’t recognize it. The ‘sunken in’ graves, according to him, sounded strange to me. (My grandson is 13 years old.)
So this past weekend my daughter, granddaughter and I, attempted to repeat the feat. My grandson warning me that I’d never make it up there which is all I needed to hear in order to vow that I’d get there! O, really? Watch me!
It wasn’t easy; but we made it up after doing some honest to goodness vertical rock climbing (like the real-deal ‘where do I put my foot next and where to I put my hand’–that kind of thing). It was quite THE adventure! Any tree root, protruding rock or nearby limbs were grips for hands and feet. Anyway, the point is that we got there! Eventually!
The mound plus two christian graves off to the side of it were obvious. Bingo! LOL My grandson only found one christian grave and the strange writing that he reported actually could be made out with some effort. My daughter had to put her fingers over the letters to ‘feel’ what she couldn’t make out with her eyes. This was carved with a rough tool; perhaps a stick when the cement was wet. We’re talking the 1800’s. It read this way… her first name (omitted out of respect) and then the words “wife of” and the first initials and last name of the husband. Beneath that it said, born (month/day) 1831, died (month/year) 1893. It appeared ‘sunken in’ to my grandson because it wa directly next to the native american mound.
Next to headstone was another. That one said FATHER (_______) [last name intentionally omitted for privacy purposes], died 1907.
Why do I say they are christian graves? On the wife’s headstone it says, “Blessed are they who trust in the lord”. Strange trivia–the date of her death as indicated on the hand-marked grave stone happens to be the same month and day as my own mother’s crossing.
Here is a general image of a Native American Mound if you’ve never seen what one looks like; I just took this image below off google as an example of what a mounds looks like for readers who don’t know.
Very Unusual Green Vine Growing Over the Top of the Native American Mound and Surrounding the Two Christian Graves that are Off to the Side of the Mound and a Circle of Trees Surround the Entire Magical, Sacred Area <p>
And all along the ground where the headstones were and the Cherokee Mound itself was the greenest thickest vine type of growth. It was only there and nowhere else–you can see it in the images below. I’m going back up there to take more pictures of the mound and surrounding area. After I found the mound, I read online that mounds are good places to meditate and after being up there, I can see why!
The general location of the property that I rent and thus the mound is very close to the V-fork (or the Y) of where two creeks merged–the Cherokee, it is said, believed that places where water meet to be sacred and often burial mounds are to be founds where 2 or 3 bodies of water merge as it does right at this location. (Across the street is a creek that merges in a V with a creek on the other side of the property here.)
The energy up there was quite sacred and peaceful and the trees around the area seemed to be protecting the spot–yeah, I know I’m repeating myself now but it deserves that emphasis. This spot, by the way, cannot be seen by any human from any direction and there are huge rocks upon which to sit and meditate nearby. And these huge rocks are up against trees.
Anyway, the whole time I’m mowing the lawn today, I’m thinking about going back up there if I can find a safer way up than yesterday’s adventure. Do I risk it at my ripe old age of 64? Maybe if I take my cell phone along with me!? Yeah, I’d bring the phone and also what I forgot to take up there with me yesterday, which is CORNMEAL to make an offering to the earth. I can’t get over the vine covering the ground up there just in those specific burial areas. It’s fall (autumn) now and there’s nothing much that is green and fresh looking growing right now; I’ve not seen that vine anywhere else. It’s as if mother earth covered that area with the vine to honor the contents beneath.
Yeah, so anyway, I’m waiting to get a call back from the Cherokee Nation. I called them today; they may not call back but it seemed right to reach out to them for some reason.
So I pick up this stray paper as I mowed the lawn today and there it is a second time–a mounds candy wrapper!
I brought it in and snapped a photo of it just for me to remember—the universe is recognizing the connection with the Native American Mound and that I went up there yesterday. I saw that same wrapper weeks ago which reminded me about the mound to start with.
After all, I didn’t find the mounds candy paper any other day. It was today!
Today–the day after I hiked up there with my daughter and granddaughter!
And whoever tossed the wrapper had no idea he or she was working in such harmony with the happenings here!
Photos of the christian grave markers; I have whited out the names out of respect and for privacy purposes….
Notice the green vine?
it is only present around the graves and the mound ONLY!
PS — Intuitively, I feel the Cherokee buried in the Native American Mound next to these graves are from the Deer Clan. (I’ve read there are four major clans in the Cherokee.)
There are many deer on this property and they can often be seen coming down from the top of the ridge there (sometimes 10 or 20 at a time) and returning to the place where the mound is up there.
I read online that the sacred wood of the Deer Clan is OAK and there is a huge old Oak Tree growing on the edge of the mound itself, seeming to be guarding it. One more thing and then I have to get back outside to finish my work; it must be done today, for tomorrow the rains come.
I’ve always seen big black crows circling the top of the ridge in the area of the mound! Rather spontaneously I call them the guardians or ‘the watchers’ and will catch myself saying aloud to myself, Oh, the guardians are back. Funny how you just say things like that without knowing why, isn’t it?
Lately, I’ve been finding crow feathers–a single feather here or there–around my back door or the side of the house. I’d like to believe these are the crows and Cherokee ancestor spirits acknowledging me. These feathers are (to me) magical and sacred.
Congratulations if you haven’t shaken your head, rolled your eyes and clicked off this blog post up until now and made this far! Maybe you and I are a “relation”! 🙂
ADDENDUM ~ I just spoke to a few Native American experts from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and they said that the Mound is likely from what they call (in archeology terms) the “Woodland Period” and when I asked what that meant, he said that the natives buried there were from the 1,000 BC to 800 AD timeframe. Wow! We’re talking pre-European, pre Columbus! In that time period is (according to archeology studies) is when the Cherokee in this area would bury their dead high up on mountain ridges as the case here.
So obviously Mr. and Mrs. christian people from the 1800’s had no way of knowing the Cherokee buried in the Mound next to them–the mound is from some 2 or 3 thousand years before they were even born!
It was very interesting talking to both of the Cherokee men from Cherokee, NC today; they told me how to enter the mound from the East (the doorway) and offered other ceremonial information, etc.
Just as a side note, if anyone in North Carolina or Tennessee who finds a mound on their property comes across this blog post, apparently many (not all) of the Mounds were documented during the time of the “Thompson Project” and one could call the State Historic Preservation Office to find out more.
And one more thing–color me crazy but I think that the spirits of the crows and deer around here are connected to the natives buried on the ridge. Shaman of that period would shape shift or it is thought ‘turn into’ an animal — as in merge with the animal’s consciousness. These ideas are not at all foreign to me or my soul, especially because of the work that I do–that concept is not strange to me at all. Although, I realize that for some readers, this would seem incredulous. When one realizes (as shaman do/did) that everything is energy and consciousness… well, that’s a whole other topic for another day.
I found some drawings of what the Cherokee natives living here thousands of years ago would have looked like, including their homes. Here’s one below. I’m having all these imaginings and fantasies of how they walked this very same ground as I am today–they would probably scratch their heads and laugh at my lawn mowing! And at the idea that I could “rent” the land or even the house that is upon it.
I’m suddenly (by looking at the image to the left) being whisked away in my memory now to being back up there like I was yesterday…. my gosh, the energy up there is totally amazingly serene and peaceful and sacred. They must have done many ceremonies up there!
I was just thinking how they probably washed things in the creek across the street.
Today I am waiting for a washing machine that the landlady is having delivered — what a comparison! One wonders if life was really as happy and simple as it looked in this image. I wonder what they’d think of a washing machine.
I have clear soul memories of living on the land that way and being connected to… well, a time of living simply and being One With The Earth. And those memories always make me feel so grateful for the walls and roof and my warm bed and being to a certain extent protected from ‘the elements’ as they call it now.
If you want to know what ‘the message’ that I mention in the subject line of this post actually is — in case you haven’t put it together by now. I’ve learned that to me what is obvious is not to others. So let me spell it out. The Universal Intelligence or ‘Universal Harmony Energy of Divine Guidance and Acknowledgment’ directed me (or reminded me) to follow-up on a desire that I’ve held for many years but not acted upon and had nearly forgotten which was to go looking for that Indian Mound that the landlord said was here up on the ridge. How? Via the “Mounds” candy wrapper in the yard that I came across while mowing weeks ago.
It took me a matter of weeks to actually get up there. The day after I did (today, the date of this post), I come across another Mounds candy wrapper–this being the acknowledgment that the mission was accomplished, a sign of the recognition that I had just come down from the ridge top where I saw the mount the day previous!
And (obviously) now I cannot get this whole thing out of my mind and feel that this is a lead to something else and I trust that I’ll be guided to that too.
I’ve always thought that we (you and me) are ‘our own ancestors’…. what do you think?
When I came to the mountains, the certain feeling of being back home again was (and still is) overwhelming.
ADDENDUM: I keep remembering the day that I first looked at this rental home where I now live. The elderly landlady was struggling with her key in the back door to get us inside to show me the home and directly behind us within less than 10 feet at was a curving 6-foot high retaining wall. That detail will be more important in a moment.
Generally, at that time of my life, I wanted to move from my previous rental because they were cutting down all the trees and they filled in a deep crater in the ground where the deer lived down in and under. Surrounding this crater were a number of saplings bent over and covering them were various vines and berry bushes. Perfect natural home for the deer!
The deer went down below ground there under the convenient hideaway year round. It was cool in the summer and warm in the winter being protective from the weather conditions. I could watch them come and go from my living room. They were my friends and I’d give them apples and corn and often I’d catch them looking into my window as I worked. I am not making this up! Many times there’d be three of them just outside my window looking in at me. Very magical!
When the humans tore down their home and clearcut all the trees, I was heartbroken and wanted to leave too… just the way the deer actually did; they had to… their home was destroyed. Late in the day when the human tree butchers had gone, I’d see them looking around confused and I’d cry for them and … well, if you want to know the truth, I really wanted to leave the planet back then. Anything to get away from humans! But back to my other story…
When the landlady fumbled with the key at the back door, something caught my eye and I turned to look behind me.
And there just at the curving retaining wall, which at that point was less than 10 feet away (so close I could reach out and touch him), was a huge deer with antlers–large enough to be an elk!
He stood there so majestically holding a pose looking right at me. It took my breath away.
” A deer”, I murmured. I was in such awe that I could hardly get the words out of my mouth.
I knew it was a sign and that deer were welcoming me to this new home–she hadn’t agreed to rent to me and I had no idea how much the rent was; nor had I even walked inside to have a look. Yet, I already knew that this was going to be my new home. How could I pull off a move? I had not a nickel saved or even a whisper of a hope of any sudden influx of money to provide for the relocation financially. You may be wondering why I was looking at a rental when I could not afford to move–that too is a whole other story for a whole other day! Suffice it to say that I was definitely divinely guided to that moment. But back to the deer…
I knew that it was no accident that this deer was standing so close to the back door at that moment looking right at me!
The lady seemed to glance my way to ask me to repeat what I’d said. “Look, a deer–right here, see?” and she barely glanced in that direction and went back to struggling to get the key in the door.
I’ve always wondered if she actually even saw the deer–she surely didn’t act like she did.
And I can’t ask her now because I don’t see her anymore. (I deal with her daughter with any rental issues.)
Since I’ve lived here and it’s getting close to 9 years now, I’ve never had a deer that large with antlers that huge stand that close to the back door or to me personally in that way since. This only further validates the special-ness of that moment.
I’ve tried to make good friends with them (the deer), and they will look to me and let me come somewhat near but never as close as my old friends did where I lived before. Those other deer would eat apples out of my hand. These deer move around me almost like ghosts. Anyway, I digress.
I’ve often wondered if the animal that I saw that night was a spirit animal or perhaps a Cherokee shaman ancestor in animal form.
I think they know that I love this place. Yesterday, I looked up at the autumn beauty as the trees above on the ridge sent down their leaves in the wind that circled around me and said aloud with tears in my eyes, “I love all of you! I love you!” (a state of joy of course).
An essential aspect of Cherokee spirituality, philosophy, cosmology and NATURAL LAW is the belief that everything on Earth is the reflection of a star.
This includes not only people and animals but also trees, rivers, stones, and mountains–all are sentient (alive!) beings to the Cherokee.
They said on the local news station that deer hunting season starts November 14th (in just over a month). As you begin to think about Thanksgiving this year which may be around the 14th, will you keep our dear deer brothers in your heart? Perhaps take a moment to see them surrounded by light?
May you run fast and swift deer brothers! May you hide well from the hunters! I love you! and my heart breaks again as I type these words and am crying without reserve. Excuse me, sorry 😥
Many people here are baptist christians and therefore through their own admission and preaching, they clearly articulate that they do not know how to connect with nature in the ways in which I am communicating here. And, as they will readily and with glee tell you themselves, they do not equate nature with divinity in any way whatsoever. And thusly do not treat the earth and the animals as sacred.
They will not hesitate to inform you of your error in thinking should you suggest otherwise and will lecture you with great assurance, righteous and fervor. I’ve been ‘preached to’ several times from the religious locals who affirm with great conviction that trees, rocks and the mountains themselves have nothing whatsoever to do with god or divinity. They quickly add these comments too–they will say… and by the way, there is only one god (theirs–the white bearded one on the throne and you know the rest) and that there is only one life and this one is IT (sad) and THEN afterward it’s either heaven or hell (that’s it) and any second now, the rapture. And they’re going to be raptured and you’re not. Yeah. Okay, whatever! Things are slow to change in the Appalachians; and the consciousness of many of the fundamentalist religious locals seems to be like 13th to 14th century consciousness or twisted puritanism. It is well-known that the preachers in the churches have no formal religious training or have not studied theology or probably not even world civilization in any way. Formal education is not necessarily highly valued from what I can tell and the community college is filled with young women who are fearful that their husbands or fathers will find out they are in school. You get the idea.
Some days, when I am feeling my most cynical or discouraged (something I try to avoid), I’d have to admit to thinking that most folks around here may as well be called Muggles who live in Muggleville! A little humor helps us get by sometimes!
Anyway, about the deer and hunting season…if you could hold them in protective light in your thoughts…
One last thing, the last 2 trees standing across the street that I asked (via cyber request to readers) for protective light around are still standing–so far, so good. I’d like to thank readers for honoring my cyber request for protection for them. It did help! (Or so I’d like to believe) So anyway, Thank You
Remember the deer during hunting season… well, O well, here’s a kicker! the chart for deer huting dates for North Carolina all state SUNDAY RESTRICTIONS! Hmmmmmm…. I wonder if the hunters have made any connections with that one! No killing of animals on Sunday but the rest of he week, have at it? I can’t look at those websites because my stomach ties up in knots, but as far as I can tell, it looks like mid January is when hunters have to stop killing deer–by law.
Maybe if we say it this way,
May all deer and all other sentient beings (including but in not way limited to humans) be protected from killers and hunters. May all intentional killing and hunting for sport or religion or terror purposes be ended and may we all live peacefully together Now and Forever.