The Call Of The Wild Within
As humans our individual characters can be seen as our
response to the world we live in. That response can be rational and
reasoned from the developed part of our brain or instinctual and intuitive from the
unconscious levels of ourselves. Often when something happens to us we have no idea where
our response comes from.
My own idea of personal growth is to try to understand which part of me is responding in any situation and to accept and integrate the different levels of myself. The unconscious parts I see as being from the different times of my development; the various stages of my childhood that still exist inside me forming parts of my personality, and the different animal levels that humans have evolved through. Lastly the parts of me that resonate with the elements - earth, air, fire and water.
It is these evolutionary parts that I would like to focus on.
I believe that our brain and nervous system still contain the natures of the animals we evolved from. This is true physically, as we develop in the womb we go through evolutionary stages from single cell, to fish, to mammal, to man. These different levels of being are still to be seen in our brain development. These are our inner animals, each with its own response to the world.
Our inner animals are immensely useful. In the world each animal has evolved its own unique skill to survive in its environment. Those expert responses are available to us if we don't block them.
Fish have developed the ability to flow, its in their nature. A cow can accept levels of inactivity and physical discomfort (wet, cold) that humans would find intolerable. Carnivores have a natural fierceness that we might shrink from. All these natural abilities fit the animal to its particular niche in the scheme of things and if available to us give a wide choice of action whatever our situation.
The existence of the elemental and animal parts of ourselves gives us the ability to empathise and connect with the natural world. As we open to the earlier evolutionary parts of ourselves we gain access to the archetypal spirit of the those parts. The native Americans called the nature of the animal archetype its medicine, they believed that humans could learn and heal themselves by noticing animal medicine.
Our challenge is how to make space in our lives for the wisdom and understanding of say - a fish, or a wolf. You might say, well, why should we? I believe it serves us because some of us is them, we have the fish, the tree, the wolf, in us in some form. Because some of our power is held in the animal levels of ourselves. Because we are the sum of our parts, if we split bits of us off as useless we are soon in big trouble. By accepting the natural wisdom of our inner animals we increase our personal power to achieve our full potential.
We live in a culture that often tries to separate from our animal nature, and our cultures internal split is mirrored now in the state of the environment. The extinction of species and destruction and pollution of natural world mirrors and flows from our ignoring the elemental parts of ourselves. The same process creates disease in our own inner ecology as new cancers and viruses attack us.
By being more in contact with nature and animals outside we strengthen our acceptance of those inner parts of ourselves and let their wisdom through. As we become more at ease with our inner nature we can be better at respecting our natural environment.
If we want to receive information from the unconscious levels of ourselves we have to find the appropriate way to do it. Those parts don't communicate easily with the rational developed level of us so our knowledge of them must come in ways that are less verbal more physical .
These are some of the approaches that have worked for me:
By moving our body in a way that corresponds to the nature of the archetypal animal or element we can gain insight and connection. Some forms such as The Five Rhythms are specially good for connecting to the energy of elements. Trance Dance and Authentic Movement make a space for what ever movement or sound the body needs to express.
When done as a ritual process with care given to intention and safety this is a very powerful way to connect to the four elements and the life force that connects everything.
Inner Journeying To The Drum
This a method used throughout our human history to connect with our animal spirits. Journeying into our unconscious in a waking dream supported by the drum we can communicate with our inner animals.
Mindfulness Of The Natural World
Keeping an awareness of the state of the natural world around us. Noticing whatever animals we see, the moons, the seasons. Watching for the presence of animals in our life either in the flesh or as pictures, in books or even on TV.
Being aware of the animals in our dreams. Noting our dreams down, meditating on them.
Mask Work and Ritual Drama
An ancient and powerful way of letting our unconscious show itself when done with care and safety. Creating a mask in a ritual space and letting the drama create itself. Our hidden natures can manifest themselves and be integrated.
Within all of us there is power waiting to be used. From the elemental strengths of earth, fire, air and water, our evolutionary animal natures and the younger parts of ourselves. It only takes the will to accept all of ourselves without judgment and the decision to give time and energy to developing our relationship with those parts. In healing ourselves we heal the earth.
Maps To Ecstasy; Gabrielle Roth
Recovery Of Your Inner Child; Lucia Capacchione
Principles of Shamanism; Leo Rutherford
Impro; Keith Johnston
Where The Spirits Ride The Wind; Felicitas Goldman
Ritual; Malidoma Patrice Some
Workshop and music CDs Interactive drumming tutorial Build a dome tent
Descriptions of: Trance
dance Shamanic drumming & dance
Articles on : Holding our inner Child Animal Medicine
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