Kundalini Splendor

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Diane's Mystical Journey with the Whales 

Diane Knoll is my wonderful friend who journeys frequently to Argentina where she "talks with the whales." Her ongoing narration has now become her doctoral dissertation at what was until recently the "University of Creation Spirituality," which was founded by Matt Fox some years ago in Oakland. Because her story is so moving and so beautifully written, I asked for permission to post it on this blogsite. It has yet to undergo a final editing (and thus may contain a few typos) but I felt that her powerful description of mystical communion should be shared with as many as possible, and she has kindly agreed. I will continue to post later sections of her book along the way.

Today I give special thanks to Diane for being in my life



You wake up in the morning consumed by an urge to get on with it. What “it” is, you do not know, but it is barking at your heels like the Hounds of Heaven. Something unknown is calling you, and you know you will cross continents, oceans-realities even- to discover it. (Houston 2004, 7)

My soul filled with a yearning, a longing for wholeness, for meaning, for God. It could not be stopped. It could not be ignored. I was pulled by an intensity that demanded an answer. Agreeing with Victor Frankel that “striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man [sic].”(1962, 97), I came to cherish Matthew Fox’s statement that “What is needed in overdeveloped peoples is a liberation of the mystic.” (1991, 75) I said “yes” to a search for meaning by entering into the mysteries, experiencing God, and discovering liberation. I have indeed crossed continents, oceans and realities.

The mystic’s journey, pilgrimage, call to awaken, requires letting go of structures, beliefs and behaviors that have formed a safe cocoon and often a prison for the soul. The courage to step outside of the known, predictable and linear mechanical world view is essential. The poets and saints, the sacred scriptures, legends and myths proclaim the necessity of this surrender. Our soul’s cry is to be heard, seen, loved and useful. When it seems that the way has been lost, stepping into the unknown is an opening to grace.
The call of the whales became my step into the unknown.



A part of the world that seems to resist domestication, Patagonia is on good terms with the wind, whales, penguins and waves, but puts the endurance of the human spirit to the test. It may be considered as one of the uttermost parts of the Earth, or, perhaps, as the origin of an adventure. (Lichter and Campagna 2000, 7)

Invited to the whales in South America, I begin an adventure that will change my life. Becoming Hildegard’s “a feather on the breath of God” (Durka 1991, 32) I travel to Patagonia to be with the Southern Right Whales, Eubalaena australis, who come to the Peninsula Valdes in Argentina from May until December to mate, give birth and nurse their calves. I will go, not as a binocular holding voyeur but in an indigenous way of respect and listening. Told that the whales have much wisdom if we will only listen, I take a step on a pilgrimage to Creation and transformation.
I began my life journey as a proper robot conforming with excellence and precision to society’s expectations. Becoming empty and exhausted I collapsed inward. The nutrients were missing. I could not survive. Something bigger, something deeper was pulling me. I knew it involved the sacred but I had no idea where to find it. I looked around my conventional upper class world of power and material success and it was not there. If not there, where? After a long period of darkness, a power grasped me, leading me, cajoling me in a dance choreographed with exquisite beauty. The steps have been unexpected and unknown, containing swoops, turns and spins. Each step, even though sometimes dark, painful or silent has in retrospect been guided by grace and has contained a beautiful rhythm, the rhythm of the universe.
The moment my certain and predictable life broke open I could never return to who I had been before. I was exposed to something real that seemed totally unknown to me. It wasn’t unknown, of course, only forgotten. It is as if my education had shut me down rather than open me up, even though with a Phi Beta Kappa key, by most western standards I would be considered quite educated.

Perhaps therein lies the problem. I am educated in western standards. My true education was just beginning. If I, who epitomize what the western technological world is, can be exploded open by Creation, it is indeed possible for the western collective to open and become whole.



We come to understand that what is reflected by nature is not just who we are now but also who we could become. And so we begin entering nature as a pilgrim in search of his true home, a wanderer with an intimation of communion, a solitary with a suspicion of salvation. (Plotkin 2003, 237)

Pulling, throbbing, insistent and unrelenting, a power called and I surrendered, calling me to authenticity, immersing me in nature. The power of the Earth, lost for so long in our culture began my healing. I learned to celebrate, seeing my spiritual journey woven with the same magnificent numinous threads as the cosmos. Nature became my lover and my teacher awakening me to participation in the grand adventure of Creation. .

Living in the Pacific Northwest I am surrounded by mountains, trees and water, truly glorious and abundant Creation, yet I had become so busy, so linear and literal that I could not see the beauty around me. I was asked to go to the opposite end of the earth, so that I could become removed from all that was keeping me blind and closed. I would open to awe on the Patagonian Coast of Argentina.
This removal from the known to the unknown, from civilization to the wilderness, from noise to quiet, allows the soul the space of contemplation, creativity and transformation. Nature embraces, teaches and supports the exhausted, floundering heart, showing a different rhythm and an expanded home. Walking in the luminous power and beingness of Creation we become free to be.
It is a surprise to discover how very far away from our being we have been living. Most humans live as if they are not part of the ecosystem. The folly of human dominance has kept us separate and undernourished. Attempting to fill our hunger and emptiness, humans began a relentless cycle of production and consumption, greed and exploitation.

When we meet ourselves in nature, we can begin the adventure of discovering who we really are, who we can become. We can learn to discard what we no longer need, just as the trees lose their leaves and the flowers their petals, we discover that the possibility of letting go exists for us too. We can grow. Change is possible. We do not need to stay struck by hanging on to what has deadened us. Mutation can be. It is the way of Creation and the hope for us.

We are not a machine in a cosmic world only able to look longingly at the fluidity and splendor of nature. We belong. We are not alone. We are not separate. We are part of the elegant unfolding of the universe.



Surrender, even to the divine, is something our culture does not encourage. Surrender to the divine means crossing over from our well – defined roles and worlds into the realm of the gods, where everything is possible and nothing is explained. We have no idea what to expect and so we are afraid.
(Johnson 1989, 24)

How much of life is spent hiding, hiding behind a composed mask of partial life. A body that is doing one thing, a mind another and emotions another, all the while the exterior is plastic and false as it serenely hides the interior activities. Hiding has become a way of life. The pretense of calm, the pretense of charm, the pretense of love is showing, all the while our interior simmers, a cauldron bubbling with action. We are so often numb that we do not even know this powerful interior exists and we live a life of dull imitation of what can be.

Why do we hide? We are in control. It feels safer. It is all we know. Nothing much excites us so we do as we are told. We follow the rules. We are good people, industrious hard working people. It does not occur to us, at least very often, to even question if the rules make sense, if the industrious hard work is important or making a difference. So the deadening complacency and boredom creeps in, covering us with seemingly impenetrable layers. We slog along, trying to make the best of life in the only way we know how. What can overturn this hiding? How can the interior passion emerge to be felt, seen and lived?

This is the purpose of a sacred encounter. A shell is shattered and the pulsating interior radiates outward, free and uncontained. A throbbing joy, hither to unknown emerges connecting to the Divine in radiant wholeness, radiant holiness.
Sacred encounters are often unexpected. Creation offers an invitation and something deep inside says yes before the mind can plan, organize, wonder and worry. The longing for wholeness resoundingly says yes, and probably also says it’s about time. Sacred encounters come in a myriad of ways, the key is to follow through with the yes, not to smother it with logic, fear and practicality. For me it was the whales, another culture, another language, incredibly far from my home. I was a pilgrim on a pilgrimage. Something was waiting to be broken open. The Divine called.
In the presence of the power, energy and magnificence of a whale the hiding dissolves. It is no longer possible to hold up the screen, the armor, the covering. The sacred thrusts through, uniting with our own divinity, exploding, penetrating the separation. This has been the experience of many of us with the whales, no longer able to hide, we are both vulnerable and expansively powerful. Energetically zapped and charged, we have been changed.

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