Friday, November 29, 2013

For Old Time's Sake

I still know Old Time
His ticks were silent and eternal
And no less were his tacks

He moved for us
and by us, through us and
Indeed in us

We felt for him
and by him, through him and
Indeed in him

We were all the one
A moment of space
An expanse of time

And nothing more can be!

Are you hungry?
    Yes! We need to leave this pond, we need to move down the creek, down the river!
Are you not mad? What gives them the right to make us suffer?
    There is no right or wrong in this. We will not suffer if we move. Tomorrow we will know new times

I do not want new times! This is my pond and my creek. I feel a master not a slave!
    But all that is follows the flow of Time. And Time is nothing without our being. Surely to detach you can no longer be all the one?
You can be the dust in the winds of Chaos. Henceforth I will be my own!

Old Time passed
He knew nothing else
We were nothing more

And only nothing more can be!

Who goes there!
    It is I, your brother! I heard of your droughts, your wars and your suffering and came to share my quarry and counsel. We have found a far away land of bounty. Will you not relinquish your mastership of this pond and join us in living with the Earth?
    I need not the pity of a savage! You have gained neither riches nor rewards in all your life of fleeing Chaos. Sure, I have known hardships on my path of glory but my war is holy indeed! You and yours will wander your precious Earth until that day I need it for me and mine!
    My riches and rewards are many and profound but they have no longer any meaning to your poisoned mind. I did not come in pity or contempt but it seems in pity I shall leave. May one day, Old Time willing, you find your time and peace o brother of mine.

New Time ticks
In relentless fury
Away the seconds
Of man's restless lives

He moves against us
and without us, behind us and
Indeed ahead of us

We suffer for him
and because of him, through him and
Indeed in him

We were all the one
A moment of space
An expanse of time

But we have no more time!

Who goes there!
    I am nobody you still know. I followed a river, a creek and a vision and it brought me here to this pond. Why? I do not know. If you want me to leave I will.
    No please! I am tired and sick. I am angry and alone. I have no peace in my heart and my spirit is weak. My own visions have perished in time. Just for once I long to hear something new. Old man, would you tell me of your vision?

My vision was of a small creek that trickled through a majestic land. Its water came from the humid air that rained on the leaves of this lush place. It came from the water running down the mountains and hills. This creek flowed out into a small river which flowed out in to a big river which flowed out into the ocean. In that ocean the stories of all of creation could be heard. The water evaporated and moved back in to rain out on all the lands of The Earth. For eons this was the case. The eons were created by the rhythms of this flow of life and life itself was created by the rhythms and cycles of The Earth. Until one day from a single river the color of the water changed. Within a tiny part of a single eon all the rivers starting pouring out a black ooze of despair stained with the blood of life into the ocean. Almost all the fish died of this pollution. One of the very last fish decided to see if there was anything it could do to save its kin. After a full year of swimming up the stench and garbage it finally arrived at a small little pond. It found a bitter, old and frail man. This man was crying and his tears, when they hit the water in the pond, turned the deepest black imaginable. "Why are you crying?" the fish asked of the man. "I cry because I have never done anything else. It seems that I need to cry and suffer to make sure that I do not suffer more the next day. Still every next day it is worse and every next day I cry more!". "What is it that makes you suffer old man?" the fish inquired. "Our suffering lies in the fact that what ever we try to create a living for ourselves it always gets disturbed and destroyed by Chaos. We have tried for ever to overcome this but we always fail. There is always something new. Most of the destruction is now directly caused by us trying to prevent it. Now we are almost extinct". The fish thought about this for a while.  The fish had only one answer to give: "You talk about creating a life. We never thought about that in that way. We always assumed a life was given  to us. For eons and eons we have accepted this life without question. There seemed no need. What we did was trying to find out what our lives meant to others. We found that the lives we were given were a direct result of the lives given to other creatures. We all lived our lives because all the other creatures lived theirs. We were both the beginning and the end of the flow of life. We were all the one! Suddenly, though, we started to die. I came up all the way to this pond to find out why before it is to late. On my journey I saw that all other life was dying too. Now I have found the reason. A creature who has forgotten the life he was given, who has forgotten the life he was giving. A creature who thought he could beat Old Time and master Chaos. For every tear you shed something dies and because they die you will never succeed in living either". "But", the old man said, "what can I do about it? I am but one man". "Just Stop" said the fish. "Stop crying, stop suffering and start living the life we all gave you so you can give us our lives back". The old man thought about this and finally said: "I do not know how to do that. We are not animals. We will all die of hunger and cold". The fish looked deep into the eyes of the old man as if it was making sure that something that should be there was there. "Follow your instincts" the fish said. "Find teachings in Nature itself. Ask an animal and ask a child!. The children of your race are not poisoned yet. Ask them to help you remember Old Time. When you have remembered, teach teachers and let them travel down this creek, down this river and along the ocean to teach their kind what it means to be all the one. Do it for Old Time's sake". The fish then disappeared into the depths of the pond. The old man watched with surprise at a small crystal clear patch of water spreading in the pond. "Just because I stopped crying for a while?" he thought, his gaze following the course of the creek. "Yes, I must leave this place and time".

We are all the one
A moment of space
An expanse of time

And nothing more can be!

Hello? Where are you going? You are welcome to stay as long as you like and tell me more about your vision!
     Thank you but my vision is over. Be well and remember, o brother of mine!

And we are all the one

Hello little girl, how come that squirrel is playing with you and not scared of you?
    Why should it be scared?
Little girl, will you and your friend teach me?

I met Old Time
His ticks are silent and eternal
And no less are his tacks

He moved for me
and by me, through me and
Indeed in me

I feel for him
and by him, through him and
Indeed in him

We were all the one
A moment of space
An expanse of time

And truly nothing more or less can be!

Peter Friebel

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Free Your Spirit

This month I am leading the on-line course Nature Awareness 1. During this course I teach nature observation skills and methods for waking up our natural awareness and the tracker inside us. We have loads of on-line discussions about philosophy, states of consciousness and much more. One of the concepts we cover is being in the heart or heartspace instead of being in the head or headspace.

In our modern culture people seem to be in the head most, if not all, of the time they are awake. In the head we are ready for physical action, in a constant state of stress. We go through the day in tunnel vision and are fairly closed off to subtle perceptions and our intuition. We pursue goals so far removed from our original function that we do not even notice that we are forgetting to experience the world around us. Time has taken the role of awareness. Instead of naturally being aware of our environment and the people around us we need a schedule to keep connected.

Anyways, yesterday we had another interesting group chat on these subjects. Today I got a question from Anna, one of the students in this course. The question was simple enough yet interesting but I could not in my wildest dreams have foreseen  the impact answering it was going to have on me. What happened was a bit the same as what I wrote about in a previous post called 'The Answer'. Here again, my answer contained another message. A much scarier message.

First, here is the summarized question: Do you think dogs live more in heartspace than in headspace?

As I believe that heartspace is the natural state of consciousness. I thought I had a short answer. I am pretty sure my own dogs are very much in heartspace when we are out mushing or in almost any other situation I interact with them. The only time I would say they are not in the heart is just before the start of a tour or if they are fighting. Predators, after the stalk, when they initiate the attack, will be pretty much in the head too. I started to falter a bit with my answer though.

If you are stuck with your foot in a railway track and you see a train approaching you are in a great deal of stress. I have read that people in mortal peril become ultra aware as all senses kick into overdrive and time perception changes to the point that a second can feel like an hour. I have no doubt animals experience the same things. This state is certainly headspace but in a very natural context. I started to see that the question must be about dogs being in an unnatural headspace.

The type of stress and flux of thoughts I associate with headspace is more like: pure logical reasoning, self gratification, anger and all other emotions, feeling insufficient at work or in your personal life, being unable to find the time to keep up with all your social media, feeling the pressure of having to earn money and many other worries.  The list is endless and you all know what I mean. It is all about chasing the trivia in life we call civilization and culture. Normally dogs do not do that. Yet, there are all sort of animals, including dogs, that have issues. I felt there was something I was missing.

I rephrased the question as follows: Do you have an example of animals behaving in the "headspace" way described above. I asked myself the question because I felt I had an answer. The problem was just that I did not see it yet. It took a bit of time but finally the answer came and it was an ugly one:

The only time I notice the type of behavior in animals that I feel is equivalent to what I describe to be 'being in the head' is when the are in captivity!

Technically our dogs are in captivity but they have learned to see their human captors just as their pack and are pretty happy with that. I mean more the tiger pacing his cage or the elephant neurotically shaking his head in the zoo. They display this behavior because they can not flee their fears, they have been deprived of there freedom and connection with the natural environment. They are cut off from the essence of being a wild animal.

Now for the scary bit. If that is true for the tiger and the elephant what about us? Are we living our so called modern lives in the head because we are in captivity? Are we denied our true purpose? If so, we have at least one advantage over the zoo animals. Our cage is only constructed by our own imagination or rather lack of it!

Free your spirit now!

Peter Friebel

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Can You Look Them In The Eyes?

I just had lunch and watched Cesar Millan do his "magic". It struck me that his methods, like my own when I deal with my own pack, are very much based in awareness.

Dogs are very interesting "subjects". They have a very strong social system (the pack). Because they are predators they have a mutual dependency not only for protection but also for successful hunts. Observing dogs and their highly subtle signals is incredibly inspiring. You can really tune in to their joy, sadness, tensions, worries and playfulness and you will notice they actually include you and communicate with you.

There are a few things that are pretty different with my own dogs compared to normal house dogs. Huskies have many signals more resembling those of a wolf pack. For instance if you approach an unknown husky and he/she does not look comfortable with it. Approach the dog sideways and crouching. This is less important in normal dogs but if you watch huskies or wolves you will see that showing the flank means avoiding aggression and problems.

I can recommend studying dogs (and wolves) interacting with each other. You will learn a lot from them! You will notice that dogs are optimally aware of their environment. They will sense your every thought, emotion and intent.

With huskies and wolves I always have the idea that if you look them in the eyes you see your own soul reflected in them. They are hard and soft, tender, caring but also ferocious, delicate and brutal. They are full of life, they are Spirit.

Sadly that spirit has faded a bit in many of our domestic dogs but it is never buried very deep and we love them for it! What is even more sad is that our culture hates wolves and by proxy we are that culture's ruthless and immoral  executioners. Brutally tortured and exterminated just because a few thousand years ago some thought it would be a great idea to till the earth instead of sharing it. Before, millions of years had passed without conflict. All the while they never hated us back and they never will. They just love life.

Can you look a wolf (or a dog) in the eyes and not feel very very sorry and very very guilty?

Peter Friebel

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ishmael, Take It Or Leave It!

Yesterday, I finished giving a 1 on 1 course cluster. The cluster consisted of Exploring Nature Awareness and Lifting The Veil (tracking and tracker philosophy) and some other primitive living skills. On the last day the student gave me a gift. It was a novel written by Daniel Quinn called Ishmael. When I came home I started to read the book just to get an idea of what it was about. It turned out I was unable to put it down and finished it at exactly 01:00 today. Now, that does not happen to me a lot.

I will tell you not what it is about, you need to experience every detail of the story (or rather stories) yourself except that it contains a very deep study and realization on the same subject as my first blog post "The Answer" and much, much more. To me the book is a source of inspiration and renewed affirmation because it reflects my own philosophy and goals so accurately. It touches all the reasons I have for teaching tracking, awareness and primitive living. It is the ultimate pep-talk for a "Leaver" teacher and the ultimate sales pitch to persuade the "Taker" pupil to sign up for the journey of cultural change that may well safe the world we belong to.

You may need to read the book to understand the full context of the following comments.

I was just so amazed that somebody else would write down thoughts so very much like my own. Of course, I never touch subjects like Genesis or "The Gods" but those concepts can easily be replaced with Nature or The Universe. Contrary to Ishmael, I do in fact believe that any "Taker" will start to see the "Leaver" story automatically by exposure to wilderness living, tracking and awareness. Also, in my own philosophy, Good and Evil is felt at the heart induced by the Spirit that moves in all things or as I simply call it: Nature. We have the knowledge of good and evil deep down. It manifest itself when you break the law of limited competition. We (all living entities) have this knowledge or rather feeling of unconditional connectedness and the intrinsic value of all things. We belong to the world, Nature, and indeed The Universe. "Belong" not as in a hierarchical relation but as in equating nature. We all constitute its very fabric. Our survival is based in diversity, redundancy and choice. Species will come and go and I do not logically, ethically or philosophically favor humans over any other species or the world as a whole. I do not feel we as humans need the elevated status of being the first to correct "The Fall". It is in our unfortunate culture (NOT NATURE!) to want to elevate our cosmological importance, to put ourselves on a pedestal, become our own gods. It is this same egocentric culture that may cause us to enact the destruction of the world we so need to live. If so, well, so be it. It's only Nature. But by actually learning the story of us, the "Takers", reevaluating the story of the "Leavers" and exposing our Mother Culture for the societal cancer she is, we may still avoid disaster and safe the world we all belong to.

Thanks Stefan.

Peter Friebel

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Large Presence Of A Small Blue Tit

On my nature awareness and tracking courses I teach how you can reorient your mind to stop you from pumping out a threatening presence that scares away all the animals in your environment. Animals are very good at sensing presence. You can compare it with throwing a stone in a pond. The rings create a disturbance on the surface of the pond. Likewise, If we are not tuned in to the local environment, we emit disturbances all the time and they will be picked up by all the animals in the vicinity. I use a number of exercises to help students to reduce their (negative) presence but also to become more sensitive to picking up the presence of others (both animals and humans). Obviously such techniques are valuable in tracking and observing wildlife but they are also important in a tactical sense and even in SAR (Search and Resque) tracking.

Today, I realized that the opposite can be equally important. With the opposite I mean to actually make your presence felt. Creating the ripples on purpose so to speak. I have been using it myself more or less subconsciously in certain situations but never really realized its importance. I do that during courses so the students can pick up on them and sometimes I have used it to make sure an animal notices me so I do not surprise it and cause a dangerous situation.

This morning, I was at my kennel finishing up feeding my 23 huskies. I picked up the container with what was left of the dog food and put it back in the shed. I closed and locked the shed doors and started to walk home. Almost immediately I had a very uneasy feeling. The same feeling I have that signifies "NO" in a body dowsing sense. I call it intuition, energy tracking or inner vision. I had no idea what was causing this and I started to look about me to see if something was wrong like an injured animal or something like that. I could not see anything so I continued. At the entrance to the kennel, about 70 meters from the shed, I still felt it and it was actually even stronger. Something was definitely wrong. All of a sudden I thought I heard the flutter of wings above my head so I quickly looked up to see what kind of bird was flying over. There was no bird. I realized the fluttering was part of the inner vision and without fully knowing why I turned and walked back towards the shed. I was suddenly certain that some bird was trapped in the shed. Before I opened the doors I listened if I could hear something inside but there was no sound at all. I unlocked the doors and opened them. Right in front of me, sitting on the handle bar of a dog sled, was a blue tit. It stared at me for a short while and then took off and flew away to perch in a nearby tree.

On the one hand I somehow knew there was a bird in there (for no easily explained reason). Yet, I was very surprised that such a small bird could put out such an enormous presence!

Every time things like this happen I wonder about all the important messages from nature I may have missed. I am glad I did not miss this one!

Peter Friebel

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Answer

Everything pointed in the direction of this day becoming a really bad one. I wasn't feeling great when I woke up and when I saw some posts on Facebook on the new proposed policy for "managing" predators here in Sweden, I was in an absolutely foul mood. Now, this situation was the whole reason that this day became a grand one instead!

I posted a rant on Facebook on the subject and a separate version of it in the VaraVild Scout Project group. When I read back the post in the group I was utterly gobsmacked. There, right in front of me, was the answer to a question that I have been tracking for years! Mostly subconsciously but since this spring actually consciously as the question came up during an awareness/tracking course I gave. The question is more sort of a conundrum and as this is the first blog post I probably need to explain some things about my courses.

VaraVild Bushcraft School teaches tracking, nature awareness and primitive living skills. We take the rather unique view that all primitive skills, including survival, can not be truly mastered without mastering tracking and raising ones natural awareness. There are only a hand full of schools in the world who adopt these aboriginal ways of thinking and teaching. One of them, btw, is my good friend Geoffrey McMullan's school Pathfinder-UK. It is quite amazing to see the difference between people who learned, for instance, the techniques of making fire with a bow drill and those who first have been taught tracking and awareness.

The conundrum is related to awareness. It is not uncommon to see people develop slightly animistic tendencies after they have raised their awareness. They start to really perceive the uniqueness of individual plants, trees animals etc. Which is great and entirely in keeping with our goals. Bushcraft (I call the entire set of primitive living skills bushcraft) is of course based on using natural resources in a responsible and sustainable way to create a living in the wilderness. Here lies the problem. I have noticed in myself and in students a growing resentment to destroy or kill living things and even inanimate natural objects. Obviously this is very unnatural if those resources are required for our own survival and living! Because these actions are so natural we do get over those feelings by applying reason but in our style of survival, being in the heart is of vital importance and if you feel something is wrong that naturally is not, you have a real and potentially dangerous problem.

Like I mentioned earlier, this problem has been nagging me for many years and most of the time I dismissed it as me becoming an old softy. But recently, as I started to teach tracking and awareness in all my courses, it became an issue I needed to resolve once and for all. As I will discuss in future posts, I solve such problems by 'tracking' the solutions. This basically means becoming mindful of something that enters your awareness. In this case I became mindful of the answer staring me right in the face from my own Facebook post. The sentence that contained the answer was:

 "There is no democracy in the beating of a creatures heart! On that level there is only good and evil."

These words were written in the context of the question if politics, democracy and we humans in general have the right to decide on the existence of another species but it magically contained the answer I was looking for so long! This little sentence simply told me that indeed politics and logic have no place in such decisions. Only what you feel in your heart can guide you and we all instinctively know if we do something that is good or evil! Cutting down a tree to make a shelter or hunting an animal to eat is not evil. It is life and all life is good and your heart will tell you so. Your empathy and feeling of connectedness will make you treat the natural world with respect and care.

No predator is evil, it just needs to live! This does not mean that there is no empathy in nature. Far from it! I have seen animals show genuine empathy. This further proves to me that the truth of this answer is very universal.

Once you become aware of the unconditional interconnectedness of all life and indeed all things, you just need to follow your heart and with it the flow of life. The danger lies in not feeling connected with or, even worse, feeling you are above nature. That surely is a road leading to evil! 

Cosmically, good and evil are just labels. What ever we do is universally natural. We can not be unnatural in anything we do. Still, just as this question was nagging me because reason was convoluting what I new to be true in my heart, I am sure those who do 'evil' are nagged because what they know to be wrong in their heart is convoluting their reasoning.

Peter Friebel