• Eric "Aspen" Marley

Mortality: A Visioning Ceremony

Imagine yourself in a beautiful field of tall, green grass. Imagine yourself in your prime, the picture of health, radiant. Imagine a blue sky and a sun that inhabits it like a benevolent, all-powerful priest. A single oak stands in the center of this field at the apex of a great rise. It’s the tallest point in the area, and you’re walking towards it.

As you progress, you see in the far distance – at the bottom of this substantial hill - a city that appears to be made of crystal. It hums; not with electronics or with mechanized wonders, but with peace. With contentment. With that feeling that comes at the bottom of a breath during deep meditation.

This is your home. This is your home, and today is to be your birthday.

You’ve prepared eons for this day. You’re able to do this because you’re immortal. You look like you do now, except you’re wearing the kind of clothing immortal people wear. I don’t know what it is; you’re going to have to imagine it for yourself.

Take a second and do this. Imagine yourself in this setting. The tree. The hill. The city. The sky.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Smile. This is your natural setting. If the truth were known, really known, you’d know that whatever our human life presents, however complete the time and space illusions we experience as "people," you’ve never really left the place you're imagining now.

Here’s how it happened. Indeed, how it is happening.

You’re now standing under the tree on top of the hill. Let's make it an oak. Solitary. Ancient. Sacred. And, what about it? This is no ordinary oak. For one, its trunk is larger than any forty oak tree trunks you’ve ever seen, put together. For another, it’s taller than any forty oaks stacked atop one another. You can’t even see the top of this tree. And the roots, they say, go twice as deep as the tree is tall. At night – for there is a night in this place in accordance with the unanimous wishes of the people of the City – the Tree can be seen softly glowing in the distance. The tree, daylight or night, is so breathtakingly beautiful that if you were to see it in its entirety in the place you are in now, you would starve to death rather than leave its presence.

Can you see it?

I’m here to tell you that you can’t imagine it completely, but do your best. Do you have it? Can you see her swaying slightly, as if in the lightest of breezes? Her leaves shimmer a welcome to you. The gifted among us can see it this clearly; leaves so dark green they appear wet, trunk cinematically striking, pocked and curious like the history of civilizations, yet laughing like a young and innocent child. It shimmers. It breathes.

You love this tree, and you’re sure it loves you back.

As I mentioned, today is your birthday. But this is not to celebrate an event in the past, but a journey deep, deep, deep into the present. This is to be a ceremonial visioning with others like you, inhabitants of the Great City. This visioning is the purpose for the City - and it’s your purpose.

Leaning against the tree like a child might against her father’s legs, you look toward the city I described, and you see them coming. It’s the appointed time and they are coming as promised. Now, it’s kind of a misnomer in this instance, “time,” but this vision I’m presenting to you is supposed to be a short illustration of an event, not a tome. So, for our purposes, they are coming on time. Or “as expected,” if you like. On the other hand, they’ve never been anywhere but “here,” but this would be going off the rails entirely, and there’s no point in that. We’d best keep to the point and merely ask who’s coming.

The short and dry answer to that is, “your fellow ceremonial participants.” These are to assist you in your birthday ceremony; it’s a manifestation of their love for you, a love as certain as yours for the tree, the hill and the city, the sky and the sun. Their love for you means that they’d not miss this chance to sit in ceremony with you. Not this one.

The first few that arrive, you know by name and familiar face. When I say, “few,” I mean several hundred. You know a lot of people, relative to the life you live now. By the time they all arrive there are more than that – far more, maybe stretching into the tens of thousands – but you don’t know all their names. They’ve heard of you, so they came. Or they know your friend, so they came. Or they love the ceremony and the tree, the sun and the hill… so they came. You welcome them all to the ceremony of the day of your birth.

Animals, too, appear – domestic and wild – smiling in a way that’s less recognizable here in earth. More about them later.

Surveying the great throng, you select two that you know very, very well. You’ve been in ceremony with these two so many times you can’t even count the number. Picture them now. They can be any gender, but there’s always two; no more and no less.

Can you see them? Take ten or fifteen seconds and see them in your mind’s eye. Got them? Ok, then we’ll proceed.

Now, who are they – aside from two of the several hundred whose names you know? I’ll tell you later. No complaining now! It’s just not time.

What I will tell you is that you take their hands, one at either side of you, and the three of you smile at one another with such angelic adoring that it would be embarrassing if you were seen looking at one another like this in public, here on earth. But you can’t help it, nor does it occur to you to mask any feelings that arise here, for that is not how things are done in this place. Besides, these two are such close allies, so incredibly beloved by you – and you by them – that you can’t imagine life without them.

The best thing is that these two are not the only ones for whom your feelings run this deep. Nor are they even the ones for whom you feel most deep; but you don’t think in those terms, in terms of “better/worse” or “more/less”, for those are the words of lack, the language of want. Those things simply don’t exist here. I just tell you this so you know that there is no lack of love for you, my friend.

No lack at all.

Not to beat you over the head with it, but I have to say it almost makes me laugh how much love you bathe in. It’s excessive, if there were such a thing as “excessive” love. I’m seeing it now… it’s almost ridiculous - like watching a movie that shows two people in so much love you can barely identify with it so you walk out of the theater like you’ve missed the point of your very life. Except this love is coursing through all the members of this great gathering - towards you, towards each other, towards Life.

That’s what I see for you. I would say more about this, too, but it’s unnecessary. I hope it tickles just the faintest awareness in you, however, because it hasn’t gone anywhere. Love like that doesn’t go away – not ever. You may not feel it, but that has no bearing on its existence. Frankly, if we don’t feel it, that’s because we’ve identified with a series of messages that have no relationship to reality.

So, you take the hands of these two and you face the Tree.

What thrilling murmur there was, now drops away. The three of you, hands held, stand in front of the tree and face the great wall of Life in front of you. You look up and regard her, and she regards you, in her Tree way. The whole crowd sees this. The entire body of soulful beings feels it, too, takes part of this sacrament of Presence, this celebration of mobility, of journey, of exploration, of connection.

No words are spoken. No words are thought. There is no need for anything so extraneous as these. If I could use a metaphor, I would say the Tree absorbs you into her, and you do the same for the Tree. You are at One. This produces a metaphorical light that engulfs and blesses the whole company at once. There is no division as this happens. It’s all God. It’s all One. It’s the most beautiful unification you can imagine where you now sit…times about a million.

The three of you now turn and face the crowd, radiant yet nearly transparent.

You smile. “These two friends,” you say, “are to be my mother and father this time.”

Now, wait a second. Didn’t I just say somewhere back there that you could pick two friends, and gender didn’t matter? Yes. And thank you for paying attention.

Keep in mind that what I’m describing, this whole scene, doesn’t quite translate directly into our experience in this place and plane, this earth. And, I would add, beware any soulful doctrine that does. What happens there in Reality is not to be fully understood here on earth in the Dream. Like the language the Tree speaks, it can only be felt, not spoken. We can try – and we should try for there are many benefits to doing so – but we must keep in mind that whatever words we speak are not to be fully trusted when speaking the language of the Soulful Light. They are merely pointers. Partial symbols. Not the Entirety.

So, when I say you have two friends of any gender that can be your parents, keep in mind that in the place I am describing, they can appear to favor either gender, given the day, given the mood, given the situation. As you’ve experienced these and other soulmates as either and any gender countless times, how they choose to appear at your birthday gathering is of no more consequence than what kind of nail clippers you might choose to use on any particular day here on earth. It just doesn’t matter. If it’s easier for you to imagine a man and a woman, you are free to do that. Just keep in mind that it may or may not be so in the place of the Tree, the Ceremony and the Gathering.

Get it? OK, no more on that.

The three of you sit on the ground, now. Your back is to the tree, while those who will play your “mother” and “father” are facing you at right angles (gazing at either side of your face, if you will), for this is how it’s done. The company also sits, facing you, falling slightly away with the landscape down the incline, hundreds or thousands of adoring, excited and adventurous faces looking at you.

Now, looking up at the expansive sky, you whisper, “It is time.”

All at once, each person in the great gathering places a hand on the shoulders of those nearest to them. There’s no particular order to this; some have hands on two in front of them, others to either side. Since the throng goes around the Tree as well, many have their hands on Her, too.

What’s important to observe is that this gathering, already in deep unity, is now illustrating that unity physically through touch. This is not to get more unity; that would be basically impossible. What they’re doing is for you – to implant into the memory of your soul the fact of the matter: that you are Loved and that you are Connected. If you were to see this from above, you would see the Tree, the three of you, and then, connected to both would be a great web, a human net. The animals that have chosen to show up – because they do so consciously – orbit the field in a clockwise manner, celebrating You, celebrating their love of Life.

All know what to do, and all do it without a word. And this is what they do.

In the presence of the great Tree, all present close their eyes to disengage from the world they know, just as you might do when you meditate or pray. It’s important to note that this is not a shutting out or pushing away, but an acknowledgement that what we are all doing requires a certain visioning that is frankly more difficult, if not impossible, if eyes were kept open. The view is too grand, where we sit in this grassy field. It’s too expansive, too glorious.

So, eyes closed, hands on shoulders, the great web at once begins a meditation. It would be a perceptual error to think that all breathe simultaneously, although in this life when we think of unity we often experience or imagine this. It’s unnecessary there, for two reasons. First, the unity is self-evident. Second, none of the life in this place requires oxygen. Everything here, simply is.

We’ve come to the place in this story where I need to tell you about the nature of the ceremony, so you know what’s happening here, although you may suspect it already.

As we know, this is your birthday. Since you already exist, I need to explain what I mean. In order to do that, I have to tell you about the group meditation in which the massive gathering is participating. It is a guided meditation. Guided by whom? The answer is, “the Tree.”

The Tree is the embodiment of the knowledge and love of God. It was created on this hill so as to be in full view of the City. The same might be said of the sky, but God desired this particular symbol to be more accessible than the sky, more touchable, if you will. God has imbued this Tree with all the necessary attributes to allow any member of the City to feel it. To say the Tree knows and loves you would be too trite. It would conjure up an incorrect, earthly image of hippies, pagans and new-agers – none of which matters there, but might here (to the reader). However, this is the shortcoming I referenced earlier when I was talking about speaking the soulful language. Things can be only partially communicated. The concept of “sentient, holy Tree” is problematic, but necessary. So, take a second and get your heart around it.

Got it? Ok, let’s continue.

The Ceremony is always in the presence of the Tree because the Tree, as the embodiment of the knowledge and love of God here in this place and plane is able to See the totality of your Self, the depth of your travels, the Who of who you are. It’s both a creator of the reality we now experience, and a mirror for what we choose to create. Shamans would see this tree as similar to the Axis Mundi, the Central Pillar or the World Tree – or maybe exactly that.

Let’s pause here to consider your own walk through this life, your mortality. Have you noticed that the longer it takes for you to learn certain lessons, the more intense the situations around them arise? Prisons are full of people who were unable, for whatever reason, to listen to their own inner voice about concepts that might include the inner-outer nature of integrity, or the idea that whenever we take, there is a karmically-enforced and pre-agreed-upon responsibility to give in return, or any number of similar ideas along these lines? The lessons for all of us get increasingly intense until we find our freedoms taken away in one way or another. This is not to say that all incarcerated persons are guilty, or that justice has decreed the incarceration of all people that are in prison, or that they are all there because they didn’t learn small lessons so they’re compelled to suffer big consequences; it’s just an example, but I think a prolific one.

So, pause here. Consider your life, your finances, your living situation, your work and family. Do you see any patterns?

The Tree has stored within it all your adventures. It, as an embodiment of God, knows your prayers for growth and understanding. Those prayers cannot be un-prayed, and they are never forgotten. So, what happens during your “birthday celebration/meditation” is that an illusion is formed to give you ample opportunity to experience a lifetime of situations to clean the wounds of unknowing; to clean and pack gauze into them, to stop the bleeding and fill them with knowledge, light and wisdom.

This Illusion is so complete that it fools almost every one of us into believing that it’s real, and that the vast group in the Field is a nice daydream. Nothing could be further from the truth, which is the opposite.

What’s more, the Tree has stored within it the memories and collective dreams of all of humanity. Have you noticed how things are increasingly tenuous in the world these days? Can you see how one uninformed, unwise decision by one in power has the potential to end life on earth in these times, and how wars and rumors of war and general unrest are everywhere? Can you see how these days are the fulfillment of prophesies in multiple spiritual traditions? The reason for this is the same as that experienced by a justly imprisoned man: the stakes of the teaching for our communal humanity have been raised to this level because we’ve so far refused to accept the present and take wisdom from the past. It’s that simple.

So, what happens during the ceremony I’ve described is that, on your ceremonial and mortal birthday, you are once again inserted into the Collective Dream. The whole of this ceremony is to give you opportunity to learn experientially what it means to be, in this case, human. Every person that takes part in it will have an impact on your life. That man whose eyes you met and instantly recognized? He’s in the field meditating with you. Your first girlfriend? She’s in there, too, four rows back, near the Tree. Your favorite dog, and the cat that stayed with you for nearly two decades are happily orbiting at this very instant. And what about the homeless man that you passed that one time and just felt you had to go back there and tell him he was ok, and give him money for a sandwich -or drugs, his choice – but it was just critical for some unknown reason that you delivered that message?

He’s at about 4 o’clock from where you sit this very instant, the picture of health, radiant.

The Tree fills all the meditating company with the same vision, which is transmitted to the great gathering via the hands of those who are sitting next to the Tree. In your lifetime, these appear as your spiritual teachers; the real guides that influence the healing strength of your walk. They glow with a certain undiluted Knowing. Again, considering your life, you can probably pick out who they are for you when you’ve crossed their paths. The vision for you courses from the Tree through them and then into the great web of Souls Who Love You. From them, the Dream and patchwork of your human experience comes to you through important strangers, acquaintances, schoolmates, friends, close friends, extended family, birth family and, most directly, your mother and father.

Of course, your world is larger than this, but it comes to you via the Tree through the hands of the Sacred Teachers and all those who touch your life. It is an extensive illusion with one purpose… to help you grow.

What’s remarkable to consider in this reality is that… at this moment, at this very instant… a far deeper “You” is sitting... a field view of a heavenly city the shade of a Tree

...surrounded by soulful friends

who love you.

This is a true story.

--Eric Marley

August 17, 2017

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