Recently, I had a morning conversation with my New Republic of the Heart dyad partner about prayer and finding we-space even if alone. Terry Patten, author of the book by the same name, says that “we-space work shifts the foundational assumptions of human relationship and culture from separation (‘We are each individuals who seek to find relatedness with one another’) to connection (‘We are participants in and expressions of a larger field of consciousness, which can uplift us, work through us, and itself evolve’). We-space practices are essentially transpersonal practices of wholeness.”
In considering such a practice, my dyad partner asked if I drum. I replied that drumming and other instruments move me deeply when I am with a group. By myself, though, the right groove doesn’t seem to arise, and I tend toward distraction. My partner spontaneously asked if calling on my ancestors to join me might make a difference? During the rest of the day that question remained with me. I felt deeply attracted to entering into prayer this way.
Since I don’t currently have a drum, I called a friend who has access to all sorts of drums and inquired if I might borrow one. By 2:00 PM the next day I had a small drum! I noticed that I felt joy in pursuing this and in the thought of inviting my ancestors to join me in prayer. In the evening I decided on a simple drumbeat, and before going to sleep, I readied my prayer space for the early morning, my usual prayer time.
As I reflect back on the experience of the next morning, one word consistently comes to mind – luscious! I cannot easily describe or analyze this except to say that I was at the edge of the Sacred and deeply connected.
Afterwards, awareness of my prehistoric ancestors sat at the edge of my consciousness and I wondered if this awareness might take me further into the we-space I wanted to cultivate. Was there more newness waiting to be perceived through this presence and seeming ongoing encounter?
The ancestors I am referring to are pre-Celtic Stone Age people of Ireland. The place where I felt most connected to them in the past was at Carrowmore, County Sligo, in a burial site that dates back 5,000 years. Here there are dolmen type passage tombs, with a large rock balanced on smaller stones. To me, the creation of these markers indicate that those who created them were Earth Literate. They were in attunement with Earth’s natural engineering forces. They used this knowledge to commemorate two elements of evolutionary awakening: the stark and permanent reality of death and the discovery of the future. They did this over the course of hundreds of years.
I currently live in a place with impressive boulders that are remnants of the glaciers that moved through this area thousands of years ago. I recalled reading about a 60-ton granite rock located in North Salem, Westchester County, close to the Connecticut line, about 30 miles northeast of my home. Mysteriously, the rock is balanced on five small stones at its base. It is labeled as an erratic because it is entirely unlike the local rock formation and was most probably transported from far away by a glacier during the last Ice Age. In recent years, some people have wondered if the rock could have been placed in its current position by ancient people as a burial site monument. I decided it was time to make a pilgrimage to see the rock, investigate its surroundings, and sense its meaning and challenge. I did some background reading and lined up my trip. The distance to be traveled was not great but I wasn’t familiar with the route, so careful planning was necessary. I decided to go alone; it felt right to be setting off by myself. I hoped finding my way in itself would have meaning.
It took me about 50 minutes to locate the rock, which is actually in someone’s yard. There was no sign along the road. I had pulled the car off the pavement and was walking back to see if I could spot it, when suddenly it started to come into view. Absolutely wonderful!
Everything felt right and beautiful. It had been raining but the sky soon cleared, and the sun appeared. The air seemed purified. I didn’t need to understand anything – it was simply enough to feel awed.
However, I stayed long enough to consider the we-space dimension of what I was experiencing and what I might do after this. First, I thought of Earth Literacy. Since the Earth in this area is formed by glaciers, it would be important to know more about the current rapid pace of glacial melting and what it could mean for the land and life here in the Hudson River Valley Bioregion. Secondly, I would like to take visitors and friends to see the rock and let it serve as an entryway into a deeper conversation about topics that really matter, and to help me be more attentive to new ideas that might arise.
Since my visit, my thoughts have gone to the more evolutionary question of what is coming into view now in our time and how might we commemorate it. The most significant thing I see that we can contribute is to consciously bring forth a new phase of our species, going beyond where we are now as Homo Sapiens Sapiens to our next more mutually caring phase. I admire the way Barbara Marx Hubbard described this transformation as being characterized by care for the health and well-being of the Planet. Perhaps unlike the monuments of the past, the artistic expressions of this new period would not be of stone, but just as great nevertheless; in music, in dance, in poetry, in theater, in all types of art, including Earth art and installation art, and in other forms yet to appear.
This brings me full circle to my deepest prayer – that we do all that we can personally and together to honor every spiritual intuition that is aligned with the mystery, depth, and potential of life. The great work we are engaging now requires ongoing encouragement from each other, attunement to what is happening and continual refinement according to the perceptions that flow from our holy endeavors in prayer and meditation. We are pressed to do this for, unlike the time of our Stone-Age ancestors, our time is changing rapidly, and our Planet is losing its regenerative power at a very alarming rate. Urgency and largeness of spirit is required.
Our ancestors engaged in colossal undertakings. We can do the same. Together we can be great souls and do amazing things for humanity, for the future and for the Earth. We carry this power in our genes and in our psyches. As Terry often says, It’s time.