In Support of Animism


 

When I sent the above picture to a friend…

…she told me she didn’t believe primates have auras.

In my reply, I skipped the fact that we humans are also primates…

Instead, I told her that I see auras not only on primates, but also on dogs, cats, raccoons, rivers, rocks, trees—you name it.

I’m not saying I actually see a glowing ring around these things…

But if I look long enough, deep enough, I will begin to appreciate their beauty, their spirituality…

If I look long enough, even the rocks come alive.

And maybe they are.  Hasn’t modern physics shown us how all the things of this world buzz with intense energy?  They buzz just as we buzz.

Carlos Castaneda, the author of The Teachings of Don Juan, learned to see life in all sort of objects…

One time, boulders chased Castaneda through a night desert.  Another time, a hat lying on the floor came alive with a menacing energy.

His world seemed too paranoid to me.  Nonetheless, I have sometimes sensed a shadowy side to the life of this Earth…

I have felt the mystery of the woods, of the desert, of the lake shore.  Trees may not talk, but they don’t need to—they say plenty with their silence.

Perhaps we try to destroy such places—or at least, ignore them—because we secretly fear their life.

Unlike us, our distant ancestors could not partition themselves off from that world—what we now refer to as “nature”.

Their world was a world of mystery, a world alive.  In becoming human, they began to see beauty in the Earth.  When you see beauty, you feel love, you find spirituality.

And yet, their world was also a threatening world, a dangerous world.  The creatures they worshipped could also kill them.

Imagine: to find love, danger, spirituality all in the same source—not from some distant unknown god, but from something right there, alive in your midst.

I think we seek the same intensity of experience, but usually, we look elsewhere, not in nature.  Nature, for most of us, remains “out there”.

But it’s not really.  The things of nature can be found in even the most urbanized areas.

However, trees, like people, can become “citified”.  A tree in front of a skyscraper seems to lack the mystery of a tree found in a deep, dark forest.

I think the concept of animism can help us here.  If we really try to see that citified tree, perhaps it can become alive for us—can become spiritual…

For that matter, maybe the skyscraper can too.  After all, its molecules are also buzzing with energy.

In any case, when I really stop to consider this buzzing world, I can’t help but think, “What a strange place.  What a cruel place.  What a wonderful place.”

Yes, we have reason to fear it.  But if we can show some respect to those boulders, maybe their shadows won’t chase us…

Maybe instead, those boulders will share their secrets—not all, but some.

And maybe in the sharing, they’ll tell us about our own spiritual nature.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry

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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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