I have grown to love the desert. In my last lifetime in the Old 3rd Dimension I had enjoyed looking at the desert scenery — driving past it or driving through it — but I did not quite resonate with the heat, the dryness or the animals who inhabited that environment to spend any length of time there. So I am one of those citizens for whom the “Desert Project” was created.
Our Environmental Planning Council (with input from Aurora’s Collective) chose to dedicate one fourth of our surrounding landscape (the entire southern quadrant) to remain as desert. As I explained earlier, we decided this for a number of reasons: to restore honor to desert environments and practice stewarding that which had gone unloved by so many; to cultivate new, equal and respectful relationships with desert animals, that we might interact and learn from one another; to cultivate an honoring relationship with the mineral kingdom, which we had considered “dead dirt and rock” in our previous life in 3D.
To promote our ability to accomplish these goals, we co-created “The Desert Project.” The project has many aspects and no one is required to participate. However, the Environmental Planning Council (EPC) actively encourages all citizens and visitors to come and experience desert life for any length of time that one chooses. Thus, one can get his/her “toe in the sand” on a day trip or spend a month or more in one of the many desert retreats/sanctuaries learning, growing, communing with the plants, the minerals, the animals and the land. There are so many opportunities for participation in this project that I will confine my description to a recent experience I had when I spent a week (we refer to time loosely here) in one of the more stark and undeveloped areas of the Southern Desert.
Now WHY, you might ask, would I choose to go to the most desolate part of the Southern Desert for my first experience in the Desert Project? A valid question. It took me several moon cycles and much pondering to make this decision. I deliberately chose this point of entry for my participation with the Project in order to acquaint myself with the subtle landscapes and the smaller forms of life represented in the plant, animal, insect and reptile kingdoms. In this environment nothing grows very large. Nothing is very brightly colored. Sounds are quiet. Colors are quiet. Minds tend to become quiet in these surroundings. So one of the immediate advantages I saw was the opportunity to make a base camp at the amazing Desert Hermitage, take very few belongings, keep my food choices and preparation minimal and embark on a Fast/ Pray/Learn retreat of my own creation.
I arrived by hovercraft at the Hermitage just as dusk was settling over the desert. The mesas in the distance glowed garnet with a purplish glaze marking the border of the Southern Desert and Echadon. To the west the sky was putting on its nightly display of blazing colors as the Great Helios lowered Himself closer and closer to the horizon over the Lemurian Sea. Although I could not see the sun or the ocean, I let my imagination take me for a moment back to Aurora and up to the Observation Deck. I sent a quick telepathic message to Alai letting him know I had reached my destination safely and wishing him a beautiful evening. His reply came back instantly that he was watching the sunset from the Observation Deck with some dear friends. They all wished me a beautiful and profound retreat.
The hovercraft left and I entered the room at the Hermitage that would be my home for the duration of my stay in the Southern Desert. I stowed my belongings and poured myself a tall glass of fruit and vegetable juice (dinner) found a lounge chair outside to relax in and watched the purple glaze deepen on the Mesa, as night descended and the stars and planets introduced themselves to me, individually and in groups. I made a few stellar “friends” that first evening. The lights of Aurora mask many of the stars. It is only when we leave the city and venture into the surrounding land that we receive the full impact of our galactic neighbors. The moon rise over the Mesa dimmed the brilliance of the stars somewhat but brought its own enchantment to my evening. Suddenly, I realized that I had been serenaded for a while. The desert insects were making quite a chorus, joined by sporadic croaks, chirps and way in the distance a larger animal howled. I had been so spellbound by the stars and the moon; I hadn’t really opened my awareness to the sounds of the night. I sat and felt deeply this new and unfamiliar environment. I felt so welcomed by the desert. What a warm and friendly place, I found myself thinking. So different than I had imagined! My head bobbed and I realized I had fallen asleep. Time to take my body inside for the night. There would be so much to discover in the morning but my arrival was a rich experience of sensuous consumption.
There were only a couple of other guests staying at the Hermitage, so I was truly on retreat, in my own rhythm and following my impulses. During the days I enjoyed long leisurely walks through the low growing plants, taking note of the plentiful varieties of cacti, small flowering bushes and grasses of all kinds. The air was hot and arid; often well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I thought back to my desert experiences in 3D and how I used to suffer in the heat. Not anymore! In the higher dimensions we have the ability to control our body temperatures no matter what the external environment might be. So I traverse the desert on foot at a comfortable 75 – 80 degrees F. I do take plenty of water with me and some light food. However, after only a couple of “days” I have begun to become familiar with those plants that provide food and those that supply moisture (not water, exactly, but something that quenches thirst.) When I first discovered this, I was quite surprised to say the least. It happened as I walked calmly, meditatively, as has become my custom. As I approached a low shrub with pale blue flowers on it, the plant spoke to me. Even though I had heard that this might happen, I was still caught off guard. I stopped and looked at the plant. “Hello” I said silently. “Did you just address me?”
“Yes,” replied the plant. “I want to introduce myself and my fellows to you. We are a community of plants that love the dry, desert climate. We share resources – nutrients, water, light and soil. We are connected over long distances and communicate continually as one being, although you may see us as individual plants or groups of plants. This is how we THRIVE in such harsh conditions. We share, we appreciate, we radiate our essence unconditionally. This is the key to our health and the continuance of our community. We have always known this; it was not learned by us. It is a knowing within us that by these means we maintain our glory and pristine nature. We are happy that you have stopped by to meet and learn with us. We have so much to share with you and we know that you have much to gift to us in return. There is always a balance, you understand. Nothing goes only one way.”
“Wow!” I thought. That was a lot to receive from a plant. Well, I came here to learn, to grow, to expand my understanding of life in other forms than my human one. So how could I best use this opportunity, I wondered? “What would you like me to know?” I asked. “I came here to expand my understanding of all life forms. What is your gift, your contribution to the Whole?”
“We are happy you have asked that question, as it allows us to share many things with you. First, we are very blessed by this interaction with a human, for you have a consciousness that travels cosmic distances and therefore, our interaction will be transmitted to destinations beyond what our community is ordinarily capable of. For this we are extremely grateful. Through the human consciousness, our consciousness is amplified and extended to places we might not venture, if such an interaction did not take place. But let us answer your question about our gift, our contribution to Oneness. One of our gifts is to provide food for desert animals. Our flowers are edible for small reptiles and mammals. The pollinators are attracted to our nectar and carry away our pollen to other members of our community. You may eat us, you see. Our pollen is quite a substantial food, even for humans. We are beautiful, fragrant and edible. That in itself is a wonderful contribution, is it not?”
I found myself smiling broadly and noted that I did not think I could ever eat a plant that had spoken to me. I had seen the thousands of bees, butterflies and other winged insects hovering, landing and sipping from these flowering shrubs as I walked between them on my daily treks. I hadn’t realized how valuable they were, to what extent they provided a base of nourishment for so many beings.
“We see that you have absorbed the understanding of our purpose, our gift to Life,” remarked the bush. “We cannot ask for more than that, as this understanding is now a part of the human collective and thus will be broadcast throughout all eternity, as that is what the humans do – you broadcast your understanding, however great or small – unconditionally, omni-directionally, forever.”
“Thank you for speaking with me,” I responded. “I feel blessed to carry this understanding and broadcast it near and far. I am grateful to meet you and learn with you. You have given me much to integrate. I will take your leave for now, although I see you are everywhere. You are One being, no matter how far I walk or how sparse the vegetation becomes. I understand your connection as One. I also see your generosity, as you provide food for so many here. There is great abundance in a place that at first glance appears desolate but is actually teeming with vitality. I wish you Good Life.”
“Good Life to you also,” the plant replied. “We give you a parting gift. In this part of the desert, there is a plant that grows close to the ground like a vine. It spreads out in all directions. It is a succulent with small, flat, round nodules. These nodules contain a liquid that refreshes physical bodies and balances the moisture in the cells. It is not water, as you know it, but it will re-hydrate the tissues of your body. Look for these plants as you cross the land. Ask permission before you take from the plant. It will joyfully give you its liquid; that is its purpose. You may notice other animals making use of this plant, biting on its foliage. The animals return their droppings to the ground, nourishing the plants in return. There is always an exchange. As we said before, the gift of the human is the broadcasting of their understanding. That is a great gift and we are so very grateful when this exchange takes place.”
I bowed and thanked the community. The Mesa beckoned in the distance. Tonight I would sleep under the stars in the mineral kingdom of the red rocks.
Continued . . . “A Grand Picnic in the Echadon Valley”
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