The assumption is that with the passing of time we get cleverer. The assumption is wrong. Plato – the great philosopher to some and the great mathematician to others, happened to live over 400 years before the birth of Christ. Leonardo da Vinci – painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer and geologist was born in 1452. Let’s not even think about the geezer known as William Shakespeare. Is there any writer or scriptwriter or filmmaker today that comes anywhere near the power or invention of this bloke? In 1991 two German tourists walking in the Austrian Alps discovered the mummified body of a hunter that dated back 3,300 years or so. Otzi, as he came to be known, was dressed in clothes of extraordinary sophistication – his shoes were waterproof and wide, designed for walking across the snow; they were constructed using bearskin for the soles, deer hide for top panels, and a netting made of tree bark. Soft grass went around the foot and in the shoe and functioned like warm socks. But it doesn’t stop there, his bow and arrows were highly complex, and he had 57 tattoos on his body, which as it happens did not include his girlfriend’s name or that of his favourite football club, but identified various energy points – acupuncture points. Presumably in normal circumstances he was able to do a certain amount of self-healing. With the passage of time we are not any cleverer than our antecedents, but we like to think we are.In the past our forbears had powerful connections with nature. They could read the impending weather from cloud formations, identify the healing or poison content of a plant by communing with the spirit of that plant, and connect with time using various methods either oracular or by changes in consciousness. Above all, our forbears related to the spirits of nature in plants, animals, birds, the weather and music of life going on around them. We have pretty well lost all of this.
When I warble on about spirit, I have a request… please don’t confuse spirit with religion – as I mentioned before (in another blog) I wrote that spirit is cosmic – religion is manmade. Spirit is nothing to do with spiritualists either, which I never understand, apart from some bloke in a shell suit standing on a platform yelling “is there anybody in the room connected to Blackpool?” When I write about spirit, I think of the energy, the nature, the noise and the unexpected music and movement of the wind, which whether it comes from the North, the South, the East or the West, is as diverse as any four people you might come across – only more so. We are pretty well oblivious to that kind of spirit, unless we find ourselves living with a tribe of people in the Amazon jungle… or dying. Now this is an interesting one. Many people who experience near death experiences – NDEs – come back with a complete fascination with the beauty and poetry of life in all its forms – from butterflies to whales – and not only this, they come back believing and often saying that we need to take much greater care of our planet. Why? It’s all about connection – the environment is about us, our connection with birds, bees, bears and beetles. So long as we close our eyes and ears to the music, the beauty, the harmony and the inspiration that goes with nature, we will close our minds to the damage we do by poisoning the soil, contaminating the water, fouling the air and filling our planet with the garbage of our materialistic life style. It’s about time we made friends with the spirit of the West wind. It could take a lifetime, but I promise you… if you succeed it will be worth it.