When residents of Scottish spiritual community of Findhorn first encountered Pan in forest, Pan asked them to convey a message from Beings of Nature to rest of humanity. Pan said: “Tell them, ‘We never left—you did.’”
The colorful toucans squawked from within their tiny cage: “Why would any free spirit ever confine another free being?”
The incarceration had rendered once vibrant birds withdrawn and lifeless captives. Their eyes cried this piercing question just as same bewilderment echoes from dull gaze of every animal in every zoo:
“Why would any being with heart ever drive dagger of imprisonment into heart of another being?”
The answer is obvious. No being with heart would shackle another free being. No being whose spirit still lives would ever kill spirit of another being—by any means.
The beseeching toucans were on exhibit at country inn where I stayed in Costa Rica. The innkeeper explained he was building a huge cage around a tree so birds would have a whole tree around which to fly and live. But confined birds told me they didn’t want a larger enclosure. No cage would ever be big enough. Their spirits needed to be free. After a few days, I could no longer look into toucans’ eyes. Before long, I avoided going near their cage altogether.
Instead of focusing on plight of caged toucans, I was guided by my inner coach to explore free and untamed treasures of stunningly vibrant and beautiful country of Costa Rica. During my travels, I was blessed by direct encounters with wild animals, virgin forests, raging rivers and an erupting volcano. In their natural state, these diverse elements of life were undomesticated, unbridled, unfettered and unspoiled. Every cell of my body felt raw, free essence of each basic kingdom of nature: mammal, reptile, bird, plant, water and mineral.
I connected with a sloth hanging out in its jungle haunt, a tabor scouring forest carpet for grubs, a crocodile sunning in a sultry swamp and a very curious iguana checking me out through mist of a waterfall. I shuddered at primitive roar of jaguars too close for comfort. I witnessed reptiles called “Jesus lizards” with so much aliveness they literally walk on water, skimming across surface on webbed feet.
I reveled in unrestrained, exuberant expression of brilliant orchids, enticing mushrooms and outlandish fungi. The beauty and grace of exotic parrots, wild toucans and resplendent quetzal birds awed me. I was gratefully battered by uncontrollable strength of ocean surf. Standing at edge of an exploding volcanic cauldron, I exalted in undiluted rapture of fiery, flowing lava.
Soon I began to appreciate my soul’s purpose in sending me to this lush, virgin land. My spirit’s strategy was for me to encounter so many dynamic examples of exhilaration of raw nature that I would break through to other side of my rigid, conditioned, overly civilized state of being. And I did!
Through diverse outer appearances of vitality, I connected with inner source that animates all forms of life. I danced with deer riding waves of natural electricity over grassy hills. I soared with caracara hawks spiraling with wind currents above luxuriant valleys. I clamored with howler monkeys playing in rain forest canopy. I surrendered with meandering sea turtles to rhythmic tidal currents.
On surface, animals, plants, rocks and volcanoes appear to be solid forms. Through intimate contact, I discovered firsthand that what creates these seemingly immutable shapes is primal life force, basic essence generating and driving all forms of life.
A volcano in Costa Rica was natural element that shared this secret with me in most dramatic, effective and revealing way. When molecules of mountain granite are sped up by intense heat, true nature of this solid form is disclosed as being fluid, moving, alive energy. Universal life force is so fundamental and powerful, it melts granite. It transforms most condensed form of matter into molten lava, liquid rock. Primordial life force is so alive, pure, wild and basic that it’s potent enough to liberate most rigid crystallized matter into free-flowing life expression.
My soul arranged for me to “accidentally” stumble through dense fog onto an active lava flow for purpose of exposing me in a very palpable, tangible way to true nature of all reality. Walking on this semi-solid river of fire, I absorbed raw, innocent, spontaneous vital energy lying at core of all physical manifestations of life. I merged with alchemical power of basic life force—uncontrollable, undiluted and pristine.
The direct transmission I received from volcano and all other wild creatures of Costa Rica is that this fundamental life force energy is as available to us humans as it is to them! If we choose to unite with this energy and allow divine alchemy, we also can become one with pure, primal, passionate, undivided, unqualified, unlimited expression of life. This underlying flow is referred to by Chinese as Tao—the river of knowing, central stream of consciousness, God current that is our true nature and essence.
The harsh contrast between toucans in captivity and toucans in wild awakened me to magnitude of aliveness and connection we humans lost somewhere along way in our collective life journey. The fact that we cage toucans and other animals in zoos and homes around world is a clear indication of how far we have removed ourselves from natural vitality and joy of freedom—both our own and that of other inhabitants of Earth.
Our human quest for love, security and energy cannot be achieved as long as we remain in a state of consciousness in which we systematically seek to control freedom of our fellow beings—human and otherwise. In process of “civilizing” our species, we humans have become conditioned to not feel deep, dynamic passion and love for life. Our collective heart, world’s heart, has become so crystallized and armored that it is now as hard and cold as granite of a mountain. Our collective heart has turned to stone. Only a granite heart could do what we are doing to natural expression of life—within ourselves and on planet.
The original Old English meaning of word panic was “of nature of Pan: wild and free-flowing.” But now we humans are so shut down, controlling and cut off from nature—and from our own vital electric nature—that we experience “wild and free-flowing” energy as scary and threatening. Life’s creative enthusiasm sends us into a panic in modern sense. Most of us are terrified of living fully alive and free.
How can we humans reverse this process? How can we melt granite façades of our public institutions—and our own faces—that so starkly reflect state of our hardened soul? How can we re-light pilot light and stoke cosmic fire within us?