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REVIEWS FOR “THE DOUBTING SNAKE”

“In the tradition quickened by the Celestine Prophecy, Bob Klein takes us to places at once far away, intimate, strange and familiar. The beauty is in the lush regions, cultures and cosmologies it describes, and in the invisible realms it remarkably and simply illustrates. The warrior within each of us in invited to: Wake up; deeply see and listen; remember what reality is really made of; and honor, cultivate and harness our connectedness, consciousness, power, and history in order to reinvent our culture in a Golden Age.”

Michou Landon, Shasta Magazine

“The Doubting Snake depicts a colorful world full of wild animals that take an active part in guiding Steve to his truth.  Filled with mystery, laughter, and insight, this book is a pleasure to read as we accompany Steve on his incredible journey to self awareness.”

Karen Porter, Indicator Magazine

Note: See information on “The Doubting Snake” by clicking onto our “Online Store”.  You will see this book listed on the left side of the page.  It is also available as an Amazon Kindle download.

EXCERPT FROM “THE DOUBTING SNAKE”

The next morning at breakfast Kano took a small portion of his meal and threw it away.   He did this at every meal.   I always assumed there was dirt on that portion.   But his persistence in this behavior finally caught my curiosity.

“Kano, why do you do that?”

“So you have noticed me sacrificing my food.   The food is what builds our bodies.   One day we will have to sacrifice our bodies.   So it is good to sacrifice a piece of each meal.  This way, we are always ready to sacrifice things.

“Why think in such negative ways – death and sacrifice?”

“I am a happy man, am I not?”  I had to agree that if Kano was nothing else, he was happy.

“And look what I have sacrificed.   Do you know what I have sacrificed?  I have sacrificed my understanding.”

“What do you mean you’ve sacrificed your understanding?   Did you, yourself do that?”

“Yes.  I sacrificed my understanding just as last night you gave up trying to figure out how to get home.   I once understood things, like you.  And yet, I couldn’t find my way home.  Then I gave up my understanding and now come home with ease.   And I am happy.

“I have a place to sleep, food to eat and friends with whom to pass my time.   When the mood strikes me, I sing and at times, I cry.  I don’t know enough to do otherwise and I am happy.

“I am happy whether I laugh or cry, for even in sadness there is joy.  I am happy to be a man, to be a living creature and when I call out to the forest, she gives me what I need.

“She sends me a butterfly to hold, but when it decides to leave, I let it go.  She gives me food, but when I am finished with it, I let it go in the outhouse.

“When I see her beautiful sunset, I let it go and night arrives.  When I have enjoyed the dry season for half the year, I let it go so the rains may come and the plants will grow.

“And when this life comes to a close I will look back at all the wonderful things that have happened to me. I will know that my joy in life would not have been possible without knowing how to let go of just those very things which brought me joy.   And so it will be with joy that I die.”

THE DOUBTING SNAKE by Bob Klein is now available on our “Online Store”.  Click onto the link in the  right hand area of this page.  You will then find the novel on the left side set of links on our online store home page (www.movementsofmagic.com).

THE DOUBTING SNAKE – A NEW NOVEL

The new novel, The Doubting Snake, by Bob Klein has just been finished.  It is based on the adventures of the author in the jungles of Central America and on his decades of training in healing by teachers of traditional healing.  While this book can be read as a light-hearted adventure novel, it also contains the full depth of Mr. Klein’s teachings you find here on the “Community” site. Following is a summary of The Doubting Snake.  It is available from the “Online Store”. A tab for the novel is on the left side of the home page.

An ecological adventure into the jungles of Central America.  The allegiance and sanity of Steve, an American scientist, are tested after he is lured into a conspiracy to destroy modern civilization.  Romance, martial arts and jungle survival all reveal the perspective of tribal cultures trying to survive in the modern world.

Steve’s perception of the world around him and of who he really is, turns inside out as he is initiated into the tribal world.  Now, armed with the knowledge of their power to destroy the modern world, does Steve help the tribe or destroy them?

The Doubting Snake explores how we have separated ourselves from nature, from each other and from our own hearts.  It teaches us how to recover our earliest hopes and dreams and bring them back into our lives to empower and heal ourselves and the planet.

WAKING UP THE BODY

More about my trips to Central America… 

We had to go into the town of Chepo because someone had brought me a dead margay.  The margay is a small wild cat and the fellow had heard I was interested in animals.  He thought I wanted them for the skin.  I explained that I was looking for live animals but he got very angry and insisted that I buy the cat.  Carlos had heard about this and came to town.  He started arguing with the guy but in the end suggested that I buy it as long as the man understood that I didn’t want any more dead animals.

Carlos then brought me to Chepo in the canoe taxi because he knew someone who would buy the dead margay from me.  We landed at Capitano where we took the little bus (pick up truck with side rails) to Chepo.  The bus left us off at the center of town where the main road from the capital ended.  While Carlos went off to sell the cat I wandered around that area. 

I had been used to the slow pace and quiet of our little jungle town and had forgotten how busy and noisy the city was.  I was overwhelmed.  Yet this was nothing like New York.  Compared to my original home Chepo was a little hick town.  I noticed that the personalities of the people were very strong and they spoke loudly.  Everyone wanted to voice their opinion about everything.

I wandered by the auction house where cattle was displayed and auctioned off.  I liked the smell of cattle and horses.  Every few minutes a car would speed by raising a huge cloud of dust.  None of the roads were paved and it was still the dry season.  I couldn’t understand why they drove so fast when they could drive through the whole “city” in a few minutes.

Carlos found me and after buying some supplies, we had some fried chicken at a roadside eating place.  Carlos commented on how busy the city was.  He made a motion with his hands like the wind of a tornado and then opened and closed his fingers to imitate people talking so much.  I told him that all this commotion was making me feel bad and I felt bad already because of the margay incident.

We went back to Capitano but the tide wasn’t in enough for the taxi to leave the dock.  Carlos argued with the boatman for a while and then paid him some money to bring us back anyway.  Within a few minutes of the trip we had to disembark and pull the canoe over the rocky small river leading to Rio Chepo.  The water was too shallow. The stones on the river floor were killing my feet.  We had to pull the canoe about a half mile and had to hold on tightly because the small rapids were trying to pull the canoe away from us.   

By that time the tide had come in enough so we could get back in the boat and we returned home.  Carlos had me follow him back to his hut up in the hills and I must have complained a lot about my feet.  That just made him laugh.  When we got to the hut he made a small fire and we both stood by the fire, warming our feet.

Suddenly he said, “That was some workout for our feet!” and he slapped me hard on the back.  I felt as if I were passing out but had the unusual sensation that I was in my feet and ankles.  I was in the parts of me that were in pain and were being warmed up by the fire.  The rest of me seemed “up there”.  I thought of “getting back up” as that seemed were I should be but I had no means to do so.  There was no one left up in the mother ship to beam me up.  Yet I was able to stand upright and not fall. 

After a while Carlos helped me to sit down and gradually I came back into my head.  Carlos then slapped my feet as if to wake them up and my attention jumped back down.  He turned to look at me and my attention went back up into my eyes. 

Carlos asked me, “Where is your home?” and I automatically said, “Long Island”.  He laughed.  “Where are you now?” he asked and I replied, “Panama”.  He laughed again as if I were an entertainer keeping him amused. 

Carlos asked, “Are you in your head or in your feet right now?”  I understood what he meant and told him I was all right.  “I didn’t ask you if you were all right, I asked you where you were.”  I felt myself about to sink back down into my feet again but fought to stay “up”.  Half of me fell down and half of me stayed up.  I was in my feet and ankles and in my head at the same time.  This confused me so much that I just didn’t know what to do. 

Carlos looked at me up and down.  A small dog came over and also looked at me up and down.  Carlos looked at the dog and the dog barked in such a way that he seemed to shrug his shoulders.  He sniffed me, looked at me in the eyes, walked away and I would swear that he shook his head in confusion and grumbled.

Then Carlos started rubbing my belly which I thought was an inappropriate thing to do, but only half of me thought that.  The half that was in my feet started moving up to where I was being rubbed and when “it” got there, Carlos slapped my belly once. 

At that point I recalled the hustle and bustle of Chepo.  That scene superimposed itself on my whole body.  I understood that there was a lot of hustle and bustle within my body and mind and immediately felt uncomfortable, like I wanted all that busyness to stop immediately.  

Carlos laid me down near the fire and my body warmed up.  I could feel the air on the other side of the fire starting to cool down for the evening.  At this point the part of “me” that was in my feet and ankles and that had spread to my belly, also filled my torso and joined the head part of my attention.  My awareness was now in the whole of my body, and my body quieted down.  It felt like the busyness had been absorbed by the earth.

The smell of dinner soon absorbed all of my attention and I very slowly got up.  I felt as if I were breathing into every cell of my body, that the air and the earth merged and created me at every moment.  I breathed in very deeply as the smells were wonderful.

Tree frogs began singing all around us and I could feel their songs inside of me, as when you feel the vibrations of music when you sit in front of a large speaker.  The frog songs were very delicate and yet I could feel them as if each part of my body were like a tuning fork being vibrated by them. 

When I finally sat down to eat, the smells and taste of the food were overwhelmingly satisfying. Yet it seemed to be the same beans & rice, chicken and chopped vegetables that were the usual fare here. 

I thought that it would be hard to go home to Long Island, to face the busyness and have my body vibrate to the hustle and bustle.  I understood how the environment outside duplicates itself inside of our bodies and hearts. And I began to understand how the forces of nature merge to create you. 

We suddenly heard the howler monkeys begin to howl.  The people at this hut and in several others along the trails shouted in unison.  Then we went back to eating.

LEARNING TO FEEL

Another episode of my experiences learning from the people of the jungle forests of Central America:

Carlos came down from the hills to our little “town” early in the morning.  Eduardo handed him a cup of coffee and we all waited for the cow to be milked for the cream.  When Eduardo’s son came running over with a bowl of cream, he spilled a little into each of our cups.  Carlos told me that he wanted me to come with him to his cousin up the river so as soon as the coffee was finished we began to walk up the trail alongside Rio Chepo.

A couple of hours later I asked Carlos how long it would take to get there.  He asked, “What difference does it make how long?”  I suggested that we could get there quicker by taking the canoe taxi which was a dugout canoe powered by a motor that took people up and down the river.  He said, “So?”  I explained that back home in the U.S. we tried to find the quickest ways to do things.  He turned and kept walking and reminded me that I was not home anymore.

On the way we met a troupe of howler monkeys in a tree.  Carlos extended his arm and several of the monkeys came over to him and they patted each other on the back.  I was surprised.  He motioned to them to pat me on the back and two of the monkeys actually shook their heads, “No” as if that was out of the question.  But Carlos convinced two of them to climb over to me and pat me.  They then quickly retreated into the tree as if they had just survived a daredevil act.

We then went up a trail away from the river and into the hills.  I was a little worried.  I knew that there was a little store along the river trail and I was hungry.  I asked Carlos if there was a store along this new trail.  He assured me that this was not a shopping trip.  When I told him I was hungry he simply said we would have something when we got there and that was that.

We passed a few huts along the way and they were starting their evening cooking fires.  When we stopped at one hut I could see a little stream about fifty feet away.  Carlos sat down and began talking to the people, two men, two women and a few children.  They were not speaking Spanish but I understood that Carlos was explaining who I was – a zoologist from America who came to study reptiles. 

One of the men came over to me and started speaking but I didn’t understand him until he asked, “Don’t you speak English?”  I told him I wasn’t expecting anyone to speak English so I wasn’t prepared to hear it.  He told Carlos what I had said but Carlos said he knew enough English to understand me.  They both looked at each other and nodded and Carlos told me to just sit by the fire and relax.

An hour later both men came back and told me they had bought some cold soda from a nearby store that had a gas powered refrigerator.  They mixed it with some juice and gave me the mixture.  “You said you were hungry,” said Carlos.  I didn’t feel they were very good hosts.  A glass of juice and soda after a whole day’s walk?

They then brought me about ten minutes up the little stream and told me to sit on the earth.  Carlos said that Hector was good at explaining things.  That’s why he brought me here.  “Hector can explain things in English,” he said.  I asked Carlos why they use Spanish names for themselves when they are Indians.  He explained that they were “modern” Indians and needed modern names. 

Hector told me that I have to learn to hear the “old” language of the forest.  I am expecting to hear a “modern” language from the forest.  I told Hector that I don’t expect to hear any language from the forest, unless he means the noises of the animals.   He told me to just sit there and remember that I couldn’t hear his English because I wasn’t expecting to hear English.  There was some type of communication that I could hear or feel from the jungle that I wasn’t expecting.  He then left.

I was still hungry and the juice and soda didn’t satisfy me much.  In fact it was making me a little sick.  I must have fallen asleep and when I woke up I was still sitting on the earth.  It was very dark and I didn’t see Carlos or Hector.  I began to worry that a jaguar or other animal could attack me.  My specialty is the reptiles and I certainly wouldn’t mind a big boa crawling nearby.  But I wasn’t that familiar with jaguars.

The sounds of tree frogs and howler monkeys began to die down and all that was left was the sound of many insects.  It was an intricate orchestra of sounds and became louder and louder. 

Suddenly I became aware of the presence of an animal off towards the right about fifty feet away.  I couldn’t see it but my whole body responded to its presence.  My whole attention was focused on where I thought it was and dared not to move or I would give myself away.  But I somehow realized that it knew I was there.  My belly began to ache and pound.  My fear grew to such proportions that it became a huge presence of its own right in front of me.  I could not help but concentrate on that fear.  I forgot about the animal I thought was there and felt that I would be consumed by the fear itself.  Sharp pains and aches filled by belly.

When I heard a branch break I suddenly remembered the animal and realized that the fear had become a separate issue from the animal.  Fear fed the pain in my body and the pain fed the fear.  The two became partners against me.  Now the animal itself, which triggered the fear, didn’t seem so threatening.

I realized the idiocy of allowing fear to grow out of proportion, as if it were a real thing and I was able to let it go.  The pain in my belly subsided.  All that was left was the feeling of strong connection from my belly to some unseen animal in the forest.  There was no fear left.  I thought that there may actually not be any animal there but soon heard twigs breaking as the animal moved away and our “connection” broke. 

My experiences seemed very odd and then I fully understood the problem.  For some reason I was afraid that I experienced a communication with the animal that I could not see.  It was as if my sight needed to identify the animal that my “belly” felt and my sight itself became afraid. 

I now felt a very complex interaction of the forest with the center of my body.  Slowly my body became warmer until it felt as though I had no skin and was completely connected to the forest and aware of every part of it.  I didn’t need to see because the information coming in was, if anything, more detailed than what I could know with my sight. 

Hector suddenly appeared, pulled me up by the arm and walked me back to the hut, where everyone was sleeping.  He explained that I was afraid of the “old” parts of me, the parts that could “hear” the forest.  I asked him what those parts were and he replied, “The parts that can hear the forest”.  I wanted to know what specific parts of the body he was talking about but he shook his head and said, “Even when you know I am speaking in English, you can’t hear me!  You felt those parts tonight.  I sat behind you the whole time.  I could see you speaking to the jaguar.”

I asked him if it were a jaguar why it didn’t eat me.  “He was talking to you.  It wouldn’t be polite to eat you.”  He laughed and then said that jaguars don’t eat people.  Hector suggested that I pay attention to how my whole body felt the forest so that I could be as comfortable with the night as with the day.  “We have senses for both the night and the day.  People fear what they can’t see because they can’t feel.  They have been taught that feeling is the devil.  So they have a battle inside themselves.  What they see fights with what they feel.  Silly, isn’t it?”

He pointed to a plate of chicken, plantain, rice and vegetables on the table and finally let me eat.  Before going to bed he said, “Carlos wants you to stop fighting against yourself.”  I stayed up a couple of hours more because I didn’t want to lose the feeling of the forest.  The next morning I awoke on the patio floor.  The feeling of connection was gone and I was extremely tired.  Over the next month, more lessons would drive home this new sense of talking to the forest so that the feeling would never leave me again.

BEING HEALED AT RIO CHEPO

This is an episode of my experiences traveling the jungles of Central America.  If you would be interested in reading more such episodes, please let me know in the comments for this article.  I will be happy to write more.  (Note: These experiences formed the basis of my novel, “The Doubting Snake”).

A heavy rain danced on the swollen River Chepo.  I huddled under a bean pod tree in my dugout canoe, basically a long log carved into a canoe.  Once in a while, I grabbed a bean pod, opened it up to reveal the beans covered with fuzz and popped the sugary, fuzzy beans into my mouth, sucking out the juice. 

Suddenly Miguel appeared on the shore, walking along what appeared to be a trail along the river.  He grabbed a branch, leaned out over my canoe and asked, “Are you hiding from the rain?  It is good to get wet.”

I realized how ridiculous it was to hide from the rain when the temperature in this Panama jungle was over eighty degrees.  I saw other people paddling up and down the river in the rain.  So I returned to town (a group of about six stick huts). 

Miguel was already there and had apparently told people that I had hidden from the rain.  A few children ran up to me holding pieces of paper above my head (to protect me from the rain) and they laughed. 

Back on Long Island, my home, I hid from the rain and from the cold and from the traffic, etc.  It seemed that a large part of my life was hiding from things.  Here in the jungle, the mood of the people was to connect with the environment and with each other.  When I realized this difference, it was startling.  Hiding was the theme of my life up North and connecting was the theme here in Central America. 

Carlos was visiting and asked me to come back to his stick house up in the hills about three miles away.  He would answer the question I asked him yesterday about healing.  Carlos was an approximation of his Indian name.  The Spanish people of the town couldn’t (or didn’t want to) pronounce his real name.  Carlos was around seventy years old, wiry and vibrant and lived alone.  He was the best know healer of the area.

I had asked him, “When you heal, what do you feel?”

Carlos brought me into his hut.  After walking all those hills (and after having paddled up River from Chepo City to get supplies) I was ready to go to sleep.  But I was anxious to hear his answer to my question.  Carlos built a fire and kept adding wood to it.  Yet he didn’t seem to be preparing a meal.  Usually meals are cooked on a stone table.  Several sticks are laid on the table like spokes of a wheel and they are burned.  The pot is placed on top of the burning sticks.

But Carlos made a fire in the ground in the middle of his hut.  After a couple of hours there was a large pile of burning coals in the fire and it had gotten dark outside.  I was still waiting for him to answer my question but knew not to rush him.  Everything to him was a ritual.  He threw some herbs on the fire.  I can only describe their smell as “friendly” or “delightful”. 

We both continued to stare into the coals until I realized that it was morning.  I don’t believe I slept at all.  I remember either a sensation or perhaps, it was a dream.  The coals were burning away an army of what I would call “antagonists” which “lived” in my back.  I could only interpret this as the tension in my back (probably caused by sitting in one position all night).  The coals seemed to burn away these antagonists or bad feelings and my back was filled with warmth. 

Then my sternum seemed to split open and I felt another “army of antagonists” living in the front of my body also burn away (again probably tension).  As the front and back of my body seemed to melt and open, the “friendly” smell of the burning herbs filled my body as if to take the place of the bad feelings.  I felt very happy and positive as if I didn’t need to know anything else. 

My concentration was broken as a woman started talking outside and I smelled breakfast of eggs, rice and beans.  Carlos said something to her in an Indian language and she brought the food inside.  He told me to go outside before eating.  I looked at him wondering why I needed to go outside, especially since it was raining.  Then I remembered that I shouldn’t be afraid of the rain.  I went out expecting him to follow but Carlos stayed inside.  The cynical thought came to me that he was going to eat all the breakfast.

Suddenly that thought felt like one of those antagonistic feelings living in my back.  As the rain poured down my body, this feeling was quickly washed away.  Little by little, a lot of feelings inside of me were washed away.  Soon, there was little of me left, as if the coals had burned me up and now the rain was washing away the cinders. 

Carlos called me back in and I sat down.  The woman, middle aged with a hint of a little girl still inside of her, gave me a plate of breakfast.  As I began to eat, Carlos told me to look outside (the door was just a big opening in the hut).   The rain had stopped and the sun was bright.  Butterflies and birds began to visit the plants around the hut and every plant was glistening.

“Like that!” Carlos said.  I said, “What?” 

“I feel like that when I heal,” and he nodded out the doorway.  I continued to watch the flurry of wildlife activity against the glistening plants as I finished my breakfast. Perhaps I understood what he meant or there was just too little left of me to care.  I wanted to go out and be in the hills.  As I looked back at Carlos, he poked his chin towards the door as if to say, “I answered you so now go home.” 

As I walked the hills back to the little “town”, there was less of me than before and more of the jungle.