Tuesday, April 21........Turrialba, Costa Rica
The rain is falling gently outside. It is making a sound I fell in love with nearly thirty years ago. I had been hiking that part of the Appalachian Trail that winds through the Great Smoky Mountains of Virginia. It rained many of the days that I walked across those forested hills. Because I had no schedules or agendas to meet, it was easy for me to hang out here and there in the wilderness. I spent three weeks in those mountains and saw other hikers on only a few of the days. It was as if the spirits of the mountains took me into a secret place where humans had never been before; I was utterly alone. One day, lying on a wooden bunk bed in one of the mountain shelters, I found myself listening deeply to the rain. Looking back on that experience now, I must say that the rain actually introduced itself to me and I heard it, really heard it, for the first time in my life. It was falling through the branches of trees upon the corrugated steel roof of my mountain hut. The sound it made was like an archaic shaman beating a strange rhythm upon a rustic drum. I became entranced. Time suspended itself and my spirit traveled to rare and mystic realms. Occasionally I hear that exact sound again - the pace of the falling of the rain and the angle of the roof must be just right - and I am once again transported to that enchanted time.
If one studies shamanism, either archaic or contemporary, one will find copious evidence of humans traveling to other dimensions of time and space. Most scientists studying shamanic cultures dont really understand what this means and so report upon it in a categorizing and academic way. Having no personal experience of any dimension other than their own life and work situations, they cannot even conceive of other realms. But the fact remains that there are a great many examples of humans - all over the world and since the dawn of time - who have made non-physical journeys to other dimensions. Dimensions where it is possible to communicate with nature spirits, animal powers, and ancestors. One thing I find particularly interesting about this matter are the different methods that shamans have used to induce the trance states which functioned as doorways into these realms. In prehistoric times of the long ago Paleolithic it seems that humans were first able to make shamanic journeys through the agency of psychotropic plant substances (the teacher plants of marijuana, peyote, ayahuasca, and amanita for example) and the rhythmic sounds of water falling from forest leaves. Different sizes of leaves, with different surface textures, and angled at different degrees of incline produced a syncopated symphony of falling water drops. Our great, great, great ancestors lived in wet forests, heard these rhythmic dripping waters, and traveled upon those sonic waves to places far beyond the rational mind.
Now the rain has stopped and a multitude of crickets have begun to sing . If one listens deeply, very deeply, to this sound, it too will usher consciousness to places magical and profound.