I enjoyed the story of you singing the Yawanawa hymn to your mother over the telephone. It seems like only yesterday when we were practicing singing from opposite ends of the boat. You’ve done so well opening your voice and I can see the courage this takes growing inside you. It’s amazing how powerful a teacher learning to sing can be.
Angelique, I really feel that something important has shifted. It feels to me like a lot of things that started back in October of 2015 finally came to completion during 2019, and that this process was wrapping up over the summer, and then finally ended around Thanksgiving when we had that beautiful conjunction of the Moon with Venus and Jupiter. I feel like we are now moving into an important period leading up to the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, 2020, which is almost exactly one year from today. I have a little chirping bird of a thought that I should write a journal entry each day for the full year leading up to the conjunction…and I have another one saying that I’m not any good at writing in journals and I never stick to it anyway so why start.
Wow. This reminds me of a conversation I was having with our good friend from Mapia after Mestre Irineu’s Birthday last Saturday (Happy Birthday Mestre Irineu). I’ve been working on a spiritist conception of the mind. Imagine that your physical skull is a bird cage, and your consciousness exists inside this space. We all have thoughts that come to our minds. Anyone with even the most basic practice of meditation is aware that our minds are full of thoughts and that our mind can only be quiet for maybe a few seconds at a time before more thoughts bubble up. We try to focus on the breath, we try to let our minds be like the surface of a lake, we try to focus on the feeling of cold air entering the left nostril, and we then think of the grocery list and then we think of a comeback that we could have used in an argument, and then we start arguing with an imaginary agent of the IRS about how you really did drive 82,000 miles for work last year, or whether that person likes me, or whether I’m a little fatter than I was last time I sat in meditation. You know them. Thoughts.
So consciousness level one – the intelligent material reductionist-says that these thoughts are created by our brains. These people are super super clever. They imagine that we are machines like a radio, and that these words that are produced from these thoughts come out of our mouth like music or talk shows come out the speaker of a radio. The hyper intelligent super genius material reductionist types cannot allow for the existence of god in their world view. Nor can they accept the regular presence of spirits, divine beings, guides, tricksters, addictions, obsessors, or other non-material entities. They insist that the only thing that produces thoughts are the chemical processes going on inside our brains that are produced basically by atoms that bang into each other like marbles in a way that produces consciousness. So we have this level one intelligent consciousness that insists that the words are produced by thoughts that our minds themselves generate.
That’s like saying that the radio show All Things Considered which airs on NPR and that comes out of a radio is produced by the radio itself. The model of consciousness that explains this is that it is the machine itself that produced words. And so they get out their screw drivers and break down the radio into the smallest possible bits while they look for the mechanism that produces NPR. Then they finally get down to the smallest parts they can see, and when they don’t find it, they simply say we need to see even smaller parts.
So a more advanced model would be that the radio actually picks up invisible signals that zoom through the air at the speed of light and produce a vibration inside the machine, and when you tune to the frequency of the vibration of that signal, then the radio picks up this vibration and produces sound and presto…we have All Things Considered. But there is no evidence of invisible rays coming through the walls at the speed of light! You know how the argument goes from there. Occam’s razor… Gag me with a spoon.
So back to consciousness. Level Two. Ok, the machine does not produce the thoughts, it only receives them. What generates the thoughts that bubble through our minds interrupting our meditations? Well in my bird cage model, it’s little birds. I was explaining this theory to Tier in the Santa Maria Terreiro. Our craniums are a bird cage and in it exist all these little birds, and they all sing their own songs. We have birds that say we look too fat to wear those pants, we have birds that say “keep going Angelique! You know you can do it!” Some birds sing true and some birds only cause us doubt and fear.
So now in meditation, look at the thoughts that bubble up in your mind. Trace them back. Where do they come from. Is there an insecurity that you have that comes from when you were excluded as a child that makes you think people don’t like you or that you are not worthy? Well that’s a little bird in your consciousness that would say something like “yes you feel sad, just go back to your room by yourself, nobody wants to be around you anyway.” Bad Birdie!!
So then we can go back and reconnect to that little child in us, or the person at whatever age we were that wounded us, and we can send compassion to ourselves back in time, and we can retrieve the little part of our soul that was left in that moment we were hurt, and we can repair this. And then we can shoo off this little bird. But if we don’t do the work, if we don’t fix the broken spot, another bird who sings that same kind of song will come back to the spot. That’s why when we do so much spiritual work it does not always stick. Like Allan Kardec says, bad spirits are attracted to wounds in the soul like flies are attracted to wounds in the skin. It is not enough to shoo them away. You must heal the wound to prevent maggots. So that’s why when we shoo these thoughts out of our minds during meditation, they just come right back. We have to do the work of finding where they come from.
But there is good news! Some of these birds sing very helpful songs! And we can grow these and foster them. They support our integrity. They support our relationships. They warn us of danger. They pick up signals about who we can trust and who we should avoid.
The biggest bird in the cage, of course, is our ego, which likes to be the biggest loudest most important bird. And so we all learn to chastise our egos. But the ego is the one we are trying to teach! You can’t have a good school that simply throws out all the students who don’t already know everything! The ego is some aspect of our spirit that is incarnated in this body that we call me. And this ego is attached in the Astral to our higher self, just like our “self” in a dream is attached through the astral to our “higher” self sleeping in bed. (Yes there is a higher you sleeping somewhere while you are incorporated here, but that’s not level two). I have two birds chirping right now. One says I should write in my journal and the other says I’m not any good at journaling.
As I shared these thoughts with Tier, he started to sing a hymn from Mestre Irineu called “Little Bird.” He said it came to him as soon as I had started talking about the head being a bird cage. They hymn goes like this:
Passarinho está cantando/Little bird is singingMestre Irineu number 69 Passarinho
Discorrendo o ABC/Reciting the ABC’s (the basics)
E eu discorro a tua vida/And I recite your whole life
Para todo mundo ver/For all the world to see
Passarinho está cantando/Little bird is singing
Canta na mata deserta/It sings in the empty forest
Dizendo para o caçador/saying to the hunter
Você atira e não acerta/you shoot but you don’t hit
Passarinho Verde canta/Little green bird sings
Bem pertinho para tu ver/very close for you to hear
Sou Passarinho e tenho dono/I am a little bird and I have an owner
E o meu dono tem poder/And my owner has power
Passarinho Verde canta/Little green bird sings
Com alegria e com amor/With happiness and love
Sou Passarinho e canto certo/I’m a little bird and I sing the truth
E com certeza aqui estou/and with certainty I am here
Tier told me this hymn came to him as soon as I said the mind was like a bird cage. So now let’s consider this hymn in light of this model. The little bird sings in the empty forest. When we quiet our mind of all the cacophony of noisy birds, and have just empty forest, the little green bird will be there singing. Saying to the “hunter” which is our ego “you keep shooting but you don’t hit.”
I always thought that the bird was teasing the hunter. Like neener neener you keep shooting at me, but you don’t hit. But then I saw the hunter is not trying to shoot the little green bird, the hunter is just hunting. This is a metaphor for the ego making it’s way in the world. The little green bird is our divine guide, or our higher self, or our connection to the divine. It’s an angel. It’s whatever works for you to help you identify and listen to this voice!
And so now the next strophe, the little bird sings very close for you to hear, that he comes bringing messages from the divine! He has an owner and his owner has power. Then in the last strophe, the little bird sings the truth with happiness and love, and with certainty is always there. We can always tune in to the voice of the divine within us.
I about fell out of my chair. I have sung this hymn probably 100 times, and I always imagined this dude walking in the forest trying to kill this green mocking bird. And then the code was revealed to me. The study that we have is to take care of the birds that inhabit our minds. We can try to teach birds to all sing well, but some we are just going to have to send out of the cage. We need to have discernment, but we really need to listen to that little divine green bird. That’s our conscience.
Angelique, we have all passed through so many big things in the last few years. It feels so good to have a lot of big projects wrapping up. It feels good to arrive in December free from those unhealthy relationships that we prayed to release in our prayer to 2019. Remember that? It’s amazing. Such freedom!
And so as we draw to the end of the year, I feel really at peace. We are through the dramatic upheavals. I feel in my heart a sincere prayer that all people involved may realize their most intimate aspirations. I feel free from any obligations related to these relationships that have been dissolved, and I feel free from any bad feelings around them.
I was going to start writing about some of the answers we received to our prayers in 2019, but think maybe that’s better left for another blog post. I can’t wait to see you next week!
See you soon!