Heart of the Dreaming

Uluru - Mother

Dear Seamus,

I have read a lot about the nature of duality. How the contrasts of experience afford us perspective which creates desires. If you don’t have a lot of money you usually desire to have more. If you feel tired and sick you want to be energetic and well. When I was going through chemotherapy treatment six years I spent a lot of time in bed feeling ill. Two things kept coming to my mind again and again. One was jogging. Yes, jogging. When I lived in Coogee on Sydney’s beautiful eastern beaches, I took up jogging for the first time ever. I marvelled at how with each passing day I could run that little bit further.

When you run, your whole body is engaged. I felt strong and fit and healthy. I even enjoyed the aches and pains in my knees and calf muscles. The physical evidence of my achievement earlier in the day. That was the last time I felt really healthy and my mind had bookmarked it. When you are on chemotherapy treatment your body becomes highly sensitive. My eyes could not tolerate too much light so my room was always dark. As I lay in my bed I saw the sunlight edging the blinds. I yearned for the feeling of the sun on my head and shoulders and to hear the heavy intake of my breath as I ran beside the ocean.

The other image that kept coming to me repeatedly was not an experience I had had. I saw a vast red desert, spotted with salt bushes and scrubs. In the centre of that flat landscape was the great monolith of Uluru. A rust coloured titan, steeped in a powerful spiritual endowment. This sacred place was calling me. I never knew how much my heart wanted to be there, until that moment.

From that point it was always in the back of my mind, a knowing that I would go there. The years went by and a few possibilities to travel fizzled out for one reason or another. The yearning however, did not. Last October your Father and I found ourselves frazzled and exhausted by the daily grind of life. Our relating had become strained and we acknowledged the need for some time out. Time to go somewhere together for an adventure and a well-earned rest. Time to enjoy each other without the distraction of running a household. He asked where I wanted to go and I answered before he even finished the question!

Finally I was going to Uluru. The beauty of the fact that I had waited so long was that I got to experience it with your Father. Perfect timing. When everything had been booked and all the dates locked in, we sat back and marvelled at the wonderful plans we had made!

Your Daddy has given me many first time experiences. I have also opened him to new things and I was pleased to be with him for his first ever plane flight! I spent much of my adult life on planes and in airports so to me, getting on a plane was just like boarding a bus. I watched his mixture of excitement and nerves and it delighted me!

The captain announced that we were about to make the descent to the Ayers Rock Resort airport and I closed the book I was reading. Your Fathers fear of heights meant he needed to close the blind on the window so I was craning my head towards the other side of the plane in case I should catch a glimpse. Everything was flat and the colour of the earth was amazing, so rich.

Suddenly Uluru came into view. I became overwhelmed with emotion and felt my hand go to the base of my throat.

There she was, the great Mother that had been calling me. She had enveloped me with visions when I was helpless, giving me strength and showing me the future when I would come home to her. There I was making my descent, like a little bird on the wing, returning to the protection of the tree.

Getting off the plane we were greeted by a wall of heat. After we checked into our room we quickly made our way to the pool. It was so refreshing as I bobbed around in the water with your Dad. I kissed him and smiled “We’re here”.

We attended a dinner that evening, where we sat in the desert under the stars. It was late afternoon when we arrived at the viewing platform. We enjoyed a glass of bubbly and took turns with other tourists to pose for a photo with Uluru in the background. The heat was oppressive and I felt for the wait staff who wore black outfits while they offered us refills and canapés.

As the sun hit the horizon near Kata Tjuta in the distance, we were invited to the dining area. Last in line because of my juggling a camera and the video, we actually ended up with what I thought were the best seats. With only one other couple at our table we enjoyed an unrestricted view of the desert and the rock, all the other tables were behind us. We enjoyed a delicious meal as the sun set and before we knew it, the sky was dotted with stars. Just before dessert was served a large storm rolled in. Watching the lightning bolts reach across the sky and hearing the thunder throbbing was the pure opulence of nature. However it soon became clear that the storm had a lot of ferocity so we were evacuated from the site.

The next morning I discovered that my camera didn’t work anymore. While looking for a replacement in one of the tourist shops the assistant told me it was a frequent occurrence. It seemed that this space, this place, was so powerful that it rendered equipment useless. The other thing your Daddy and I noticed was a complete inability to comprehend time. There appeared to be a ripple in the space-time continuum.

While reading the details of our morning tours, we noted the pick-up time was 4:15am. We groaned at the thought of it but the excitement of seeing Uluru and Kata Tjuta at sunrise outweighed the pain of such an early start.

The guide and your Dad got along like a house on fire. Both Bushmen with substantial beards, they nattered on like long lost friends while the rest of us helped ourselves to a hot drink and an egg and bacon damper roll at the viewing platform. We all fell quiet just before the sunrise. The smell of the desert and the fragrance of the native plants seemed to permeate me. As the colours changed in the sky, Uluru was no longer a shadowy outline. I saw the changing palette of the rock as many have described. Grey, brown and then red as she welcomed the new day.

Back on the bus we drove the 25km kilometres to Uluru. There is a road that circles the rock and as we drove around it, she changed constantly. Because of the formation of the rock sediment and how she was birthed from the earth at an angle, one side of Uluru is 50,000 years older than the other side. The Great Mother has many stories and secrets that she has kept for longer than we can possibly comprehend.

Uluru is a significant place for the Anangu women. Many rituals and ceremonies were, and still are to a lesser degree, conducted there. My favourite part of the rock was a large cave that was used for birthing. The shape of the cave is the same as a Kangaroo pouch and is named as such.

When we walked closer to the rock we were able to touch her. There was a small area at the base of the rock that we were invited to sit on by the guide. I stepped up onto the rock with all the grace of a fish out of water, under the watchful eye of your Father.

As I sat there I ran my hands across the surface and wondered about the many people and animals that had touched that same place on the rock. I thought about all the sun that had shone upon her and all the rain that had washed over her.

A friend of mine shared my excitement at the impending trip to Uluru. He said he was certain that I would be aware of all the threads of the Universe converging in that sacred place. He was right. There is something deeply religious, something so hallowed that words really cannot accurately describe my experience. Silence is the only way for me to return to that feeling.

Uluru bonded me more firmly with your Father. Uluru ate my camera. Uluru inspired me to write you the longest letter so far even though words seem so flimsy as I try to tell you the story.

Uluru has no eyes but she has seen. Uluru has no ears but she has heard. Uluru never sleeps yet she made me part of her dreaming.

She came to me so that I would go to her. I listened to her and I returned to myself, in a future that had already happened.

Uluru is like God. Constant. Unmoving. Ever present. Indescribable and only to be experienced.

If you ever get the chance to go Seamus, go to her. More importantly, go wherever you are called. What awaits you are the most glorious of gifts. Gifts only your heart can know. That is the only knowledge you will ever need.

 

“ That shift from body identification to spirit identification, that is the meaning of enlightenment. And that is the same thing as saying ‘going from the perceptions of the mind to the knowledge of the heart’ ”Marianne Williamson

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Faith

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Dear Seamus,

It seems that no sooner had I written a letter to you about the topic of surrender, I was required to activate it in my own life. You see, I have been tested by an experience and I believe the lesson was that of faith.

I had been feeling breathless and unwell for a few days and thought somehow I had managed to get a dose of pneumonia again. The GP ordered a chest x-ray and within a day I was in the Canberra Hospital Oncology wing getting treatment for fluid on my lungs. Five separate attempts by a doctor to tap the pleural effusion with a large needle resulted in nothing but my distress. A Cardiothoracic Surgeon was consulted and he came to see me on the ward. His calm manner allayed my anxiety and he assured me his approach would work. He gowned up at my bedside and with the swift ease of years of experience, inserted a drain through my ribcage and removed almost 1 ½ litres of fluid. The pain of my compressed lung expanding was outweighed by the relief I felt that he had got the job done.

My Oncologist dropped by on his rounds to let me know I would now be monitored closely again because the build-up of fluid was a sure sign that the cancer was once again, uncontrolled.
I endured a very uncomfortable 24 hours with the drain attached and after it was removed I was so exhausted I slept on and off all day. The next day when I felt better, I decided to go for a walk. I found myself alone in the hospital chapel. So many thoughts were racing through my mind. The one thought that was the loudest and most persistent was the question I had not asked. It had been five years since I was originally diagnosed and yet I had never once asked this question. The question that is probably the most poignant and desperate when we are faced with great challenge.

I asked, “WHY ME”?

Then I felt it coming over me like a tsunami. Before I knew it I was engulfed by anger. I was overcome with a fury so powerful I wanted to cry out. I sat in that chapel and cried while I tried to make sense out of my situation. Had I not been doing all the right things? I changed my diet, I meditate regularly, I look at vision boards on my bedroom wall filled with pictures of health and healing. I had been feeling fantastically well and my blood work had been reflecting positive results. I am living my joy with a beautiful family of which I feel intense gratitude for.
So what was it? What was I doing wrong?

An answer was not forthcoming.

I then began to feel resentment for others who I judged as living selfish lives. They were in perfectly good health and with plenty of energy to spread negativity, spite and even self-harm. Why do they get to be healthy and I don’t? I had been so committed with my actions yet why was I not seeing the glorious fruits of my labour?

I again awaited a response but the only sound in the chapel was that of my sniffily nose.

When the burn of my angry ego subsided, I felt weakened. The anger was only hurting me. It was cathartic to express it, but it did not serve me to hang onto it. Back in my bed on the ward I listened to a man in the next room having a violent reaction to his chemotherapy treatment and I felt awash with the fear that I would die when I all I wanted was to live. I was battle weary and couldn’t find even a spark that I could fan into my usual determination.

Then I remembered something. On the last night of the Gawler Foundation Retreat, a young man called Scott Stephens came to speak to us about his healing experience. He had been diagnosed with melanoma in his early twenties. He told us about the secondaries that showed up in his pelvis and chest and the many surgeries and treatments he endured. However the one comment he made that struck me, was when he was explaining his test results after he made sweeping changes to his life. Tests were showing he still had serious tumours even though he felt he was doing all the right things. He recalled it was at that time he knew he needed to keep doing what he was doing even though all he had to go on, was faith. His body did heal from cancer and eight years later he remains cancer free.

A common concept that has been coming up again and again in books I have been reading, is the idea that if we are to embrace being creators of our own experience, we must relinquish the idea that seeing is believing. Instead we must understand that believing is seeing. That is where faith comes in.

In A Course in Miracles it states; “Blessed are those who have faith who cannot see”.

Nelson Mandela died a few days ago. I pondered on his twenty seven year incarceration and realised that he must have had such strong faith to have endured that. I wonder how many nights he strayed from his deep convictions, only to return with the upmost faith that his destiny was unfurling as it should. He inspired me.

Seamus, let me tell you my conclusion about faith. Faith is desiring something, then matching your belief with your desire, then surrendering the outcome. There is a bigger picture that we are not privy to and it is in our interest to allow it to expand and show itself, while we recognise how we can contribute to it. The result may not always be exactly what you have imagined.
This is one of the great dichotomies of life.

I believe the greatest understanding I now have of faith, is that its power is not simply in wanting to realise our own desires and agendas. The true potential is in placing your faith in the divine plan which extends far beyond what our egos can dream up, or more importantly, control.

So through my new understanding of faith, I continue to desire wellness and believe in healing yet I know that in the hands of god, all will unfold in divine right order. I have given my anger and my fear to god and replaced them with complete trust. If I am caught in the potential of outcome I am not being present. Being in the moment is when we are in the presence of such incredible love that there is no need for future or past and faith itself, extends all known boundaries.

“Faith means we are open to the possibility of miracles, knowing that when we stand on the ground of love, within the space of holiness, then all material forces are automatically programmed to work on our behalf” Marianne Williamson – The Gift of Change