Recently, an intern here at Homestead and I spent some ceremonial time in our Medicine Wheel….a large, sacred wheel of stones that represents the Circle of Life. Each of the 36 stones in The Wheel represent some quality, or aspect of life, and each stone has an animal, plant, and mineral spirit helper associated with it who can offer deep guidance to you.
As you silently and reverently enter the Wheel, you allow yourself to be guided to the stone, or place that calls to you. When you feel that call, you sit or lie by your stone and open yourself up to whatever messages may come. It is a powerful time.
This time, as I slowly walked around the Wheel, I was drawn to a stone in the direction of the West, the Experience Stone. The spirit totem associated with this stone is the olive tree. The animal totem is the whale, and the mineral totem is hematite. All of these totems have to do with bringing the spiritual aspect of life into physical reality – the teaching is to be able to be fully present and to value any and all experiences that one may go through. The next day, I promptly got myself a large-ish hematite stone that I now carry around in my pocket, to bring my dreams into full manifestation, and to stay present with any experience I may have. It feels very comforting and solid. Whales and olive trees are some of the most ancient beings on the planet, and they have experienced a great deal, each in their own way. Indeed, whales are often considered to be the Record Keepers of the planet, and olive trees, due to their great maturity, have the ability to teach us about patience and the value of being without doing.
After our intern and I completed our Medicine Wheel journey, we entered into a discussion about Immortality. For a long time in my life, I was enthralled by the idea of finding a way to be immortal – to keep my body youthful and beautiful, and to continue on in this way. However, like the olive tree, with maturity comes greater wisdom, and I now realize why things have been designed the way that they are. If I were to always have this same body, my experiences in life would be limited. I would lessen my ability to have different experiences ( and thus the reason I was guided to the Experience stone – to further understand this ). As Spirit having a human experience, there needs to be many ways to learn and grow- and we do this through having different bodies, new incarnations, and new experiences, with new strengths and abilities. As I told our intern, in truth we ARE immortal already! Immortality isn’t something that we need to seek after. We already have it!
When we come to understand that we are Spirit having a human experience – when we identify as that Spirit Being rather than solely with this particular body we now inhabit, and this particular lifetime we are having, we come to understand that we are an Immortal Being…. and we can then value all of the myriad and varied experiences we may have. Like a great tree, we add another ring of experiences to the record of our being.
I remember a teaching story I heard: Once there was a man who received an emergency call that his wife and children were caught in a terrible flood, and as he races to try to save them, panic and anguish stricken, he, too, is swept away in the flood, and dies. When he awakens, he finds himself in a spectacular palace, and at once remembers that he is the God Krishna. While living that life and being so caught up in it, loving his family, he had forgotten who he was. When he remembered he was Krishna, that life – that experience – as profound as it was – was like a dream, and he was relieved to remember who he really was.
Just as we have dreams and can get very caught up in them while we are in them, when we wake up, we are usually very relieved to be back to who we are. This is even more true when we remember, on the super conscious level, who we really are.
Although it is so important to be fully present to whatever life experience we are having, it is a fine dance to also remember who we really are. This can be tricky to do: to live one’s present life fully and magnificently, but to also know that there will be many more experiences and lives to live – to remember that we already have the immortality we may so deeply desire.