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      Soaring Spirit with Tears: How I Got my Medicine Name  










Sitting under a tree overlooking a vast meadow, my mind drifted. In the valleys below, I saw thousands of people scurrying about. I wondered if to the Sun the people looked as busy bees do to us? I tried to imagine what these people were doing and why. I tried to feel what I thought they were feeling. As I opened up to my imagination, I felt that many were bored, some were frustrated, some were angry. Some were happily in love. Some people were afraid; some tried to hide their fear in actions that distracted them. Some people were ill and fearing pain and death. Others were confronting feelings of failure, dread of loss, or just more boring days like yesterday. I let my mind drift. In an instant I never really noticed, my mind seemed to separate from my body. It floated ever upwards, closer and closer to the Sun. As it floated, I felt totally detached from my body. My body was safely leaning with its back against the big tree. While it rested in the shade, I soared higher and higher. I felt light and free. Moreover, as I allowed myself to enjoy these feelings, I realized I could see more and feel more than when I was under the tree. I began to feel more knowing, even wise and strong. I surveyed the valley that I had been watching before. Now, I felt sad that the people were so preoccupied with their daily affairs. I wanted them to be sharing my feeling of joy.

From my place in the Sky, I could see that a part of each person is always in the Sky, and a part is on the ground. I realized that this separation feels painful and that it produces confusion about who we really are. As I allowed myself to feel these feelings, I was flooded with tears. The tears made me heavy. The weight made me fall downwards. In but a moment, I was back in my body, rubbing my eyes, wondering whether I had been sleeping and dreaming. Feeling my body again was a shock. It felt heavy, slow. I asked myself, "When you were asleep, you dreamed you were free and wise. Now, you are awake. Are you a Spirit dreaming you are a woman sitting under a tree watching the movements in the valley or are you really a woman?"

I stood up and began the long trek down the mountain towards the valley where I lived. While I was climbing ever downwards, the dream of the Soaring Spirit kept nagging me. I walked very slowly, trying to observe everything along the trail. I saw beautiful flowers facing the Sun, little dew drops on their petals. I remembered the tears. It was tears that caused me to come back to my body. It was then that I woke up; but when I awakened, I felt smaller than before. I felt limited, compressed into a tiny space. I felt I had lost something that I loved. I longed to return to Sky. When I was in the Sky, I felt real. Now, I am on the ground, but the feeling is not as expansive -- is it real? I couldn’t suppress the noise in my mind that somehow what I had experienced in the Sky was no less real than what I had believed was real before I fell asleep. So, I wondered, "Where does the Soaring Spirit go when I wake up?" When I was in the Sky, I could still see my resting body under the tree. It was nearly motionless, but it was there. "Ha," I paused. "I get it. I am the Life. When I was in the Sky, my body was sleeping because I was gone. Sleeping Woman held no more thoughts and barely moved because it requires Soaring Spirit to make her feel alive."

Now, my footsteps became faster, more excited. I felt that I was not actually separated after all from Soaring Spirit. We were one. I started skipping and doing a little polka-like dance on my way home. I was happy to know that Soaring Spirit and Sleeping Woman were one.

Then, doubt grabbed me. It felt horrible. Soaring Spirit was bright, light, blissful; Sleeping Woman is nothing without Soaring Spirit. "What if I lose the feeling I had? What if it fades in my memory the way dreams become harder and harder to remember after you wake from them?" I had a panic attack. I didn’t want to be separate from Soaring Spirit ever again. Suddenly, I felt a jolt. "Ingrid, I said to myself, if you look, you will see that Sleeping Woman is gone, too. When you rubbed your eyes and looked down into the valley, Sleeping Woman awakened. You have been Ingrid ever since you came down from the Sky and woke up from your dream."

My footsteps were no longer so dance-like. They were slow and serious. "So, I am three and yet one." I paused. I was no longer in a hurry to get home. I stopped by a big rock and just sat for a while. My mind, still remembering the dream, soared for a moment. I saw golden light flashing before my mind’s eye. Anxious for a moment, I felt my arm. I could feel it. That meant that Soaring Spirit was still present. Sleeping Woman had not been aware of her body any more than Soaring Spirit had felt presence there. But now I knew, Sleeping Woman had no consciousness and only a little movement without Soaring Spirit. I felt a cool wave of peacefulness pass through my mind and flood my body. I had not really lost anything. We three were all together, but with limitation. Why did I have to experience this dimness, this narrow focus? Soaring Spirit had a vast awareness.

I didn’t want to move until I had answers to my seemingly endless questions. I let myself relax a bit, leaned against the rock, replayed my dream. Soaring Spirit lifted into the air, kept an eye on Sleeping Woman who barely moved. Soaring Spirit had a feeling of intense blissfulness . . . and freedom. Suddenly, Soaring Spirit felt filled with tears. How could Soaring Spirit shift so fast from joy to tears? "Ingrid," I said to myself, "Go over that scene again. See what you are missing." I felt the lifting, the joy. Then, Soaring Spirit looked at Sleeping Woman. It was then that the tears welled up. So, Soaring Spirit had taken Sleeping Woman up into the Sky. So, it was only Ingrid under the tree.

"Now, who caused the movement," I wondered. Who woke up? I decided to try the whole review again, this time watching even more closely. Ingrid leaned against the tree, looked down into the valley, began to ask questions, felt many feelings, let her mind drift. She fell asleep, Mind floated upwards. "Where had the feelings gone?" That’s what I hadn’t noticed before. I squinted a bit as if that would somehow help me to see better. As I did so, I could see a sort of filmy light around myself. "Ha, this is the clue," I said to myself.

Now, Ingrid, this time, watch really closely to see what happens. I already feel a little separation and start to think of myself in the third person. Ingrid leans against the tree, feels a kind of vague drifting away from herself. She surveys the valley. She does so first with her mind, but then she asks what people are feeling. She then feels more and more drifting. I stop. "Who was seeing Ingrid as separate? How did ‘I’ and ‘she’ get juxtaposed? I don’t know, but my plan was simply to watch really closely so that’s what I’m going to do." This time, I saw something more that I had missed before, as Ingrid fell asleep, there was a sort of faint mist that moved upwards. At first, I had only felt Mind floating. Now, I saw that some essence moved with mind. "Keep squinting," I told myself.

As I looked really closely, I could see that the mist was neither light nor vapor but both. I squinted more and more, convinced that all this peering through little slats was somehow helping me to be more observant. Now, I could see that there were several colors in the mist. There was a feeling of clear light, just light, colorless light, but when I looked more closely, I could see that the light seemed to illumine the vapor. When I saw light and vapor together, I could see opalescent pastel shades of color, mostly aquamarine but with tiny hints of other colors.

I just watched quietly for a while and when I was convinced that the mist was really lifting into the Sky, I let my mind connect with the light and vapor. At first, I had the same experience as before, I felt lighter, clearer, happier, and more expansive. I now knew this was Soaring Spirit. I decided to look really closely at Soaring Spirit to see what Soaring Spirit was like. As I did so, I noticed that Soaring Spirit was holding Sleeping Woman. I squinted. "Ha, I see. Soaring Spirit is clear light. Sleeping Woman is vapor that reflects light like a shimmering pastel rainbow. They move together."

My concentration broke for a moment, and I saw that I had been leaning so hard against the rock that there were impressions of rock on my back. The Sun was setting, but I was still in no hurry to get home. This day was turning out to be a very special day, and I didn’t want it to end.

As I leaned against the rock, I asked what relationship Soaring Spirit and Sleeping Woman had to Ingrid. As this question passed before my mind, there was a flash of dazzling colors on the horizon as the Sun sank from view. "Sank from view!"

Why did I think "sank from view?" My mind began to float again. I realized that Soaring Spirit also appeared to disappear, but did Soaring Spirit really go anywhere? I sat, my mind drifted. "The Sun doesn’t really go anywhere. Why do I think it disappears?" I felt the rock jabbing my back and decided to move towards home, but not to rush. I wanted to remain observant -- and I still didn’t want this day to end.

I got home. It had become dark fast. The Moon was very tiny. It was a warm summer night so I opened windows, but I didn’t like the feeling of being in a house. I had been so free in the Sky and even in the mountains. I didn’t want to feel boxed up after such a wonderful day. I felt I wanted to do everything in a leisurely way, not to pressure myself with anything. I ignored the flashing lights on my answering machine. I looked in the refrigerator to see what would be simple for dinner. I decided to steam an artichoke. Suddenly, the artichoke fascinated me. I felt it contained a mystery that might be similar to my own. Since the artichoke seemed to be so important to me, I decided to ask its permission to be eaten. I melted some butter, grated some ginger into the butter, added a little nutritional yeast and salt and carried my dinner onto the upstairs balcony where I could see the sliver of a Moon and millions of sparkling stars.

Slowly and very mindfully, I dipped the leaves into the butter and savored the elegant simplicity of my dinner. It took me forty-five minutes to finish my dinner. I was still brooding over my adventure earlier in the day. I was reluctant to let go of the experiences. I took a blanket from the house and then moved over to a deck chair on the balcony, resolved to allow the memories of the day to pass through my mind over and over again like a film.

I snuggled under my blanket, looked into the Sky, and in a moment that I once more failed to notice, I was floating upwards. However, this time, I was floating into darkness, not light. I surrendered completely to the feelings that were coming over me. This time, I noticed that it was peaceful rather than exhilarating. The darkness was restful, quiet, not as busy as the daytime Sky. I didn’t feel like Soaring Spirit. I felt quieter than Soaring Spirit. Soaring Spirit was vibrant, alert, intense. I tried not to intrude thoughts into the space I was exploring. I decided not to worry about what happened to Soaring Spirit and just float until something happened to arrest my attention. Darkness felt cooling, soothing. The summer had been warm, but up here, it was cool, like a welcome shade tree in a desert.

I stopped. Something had grabbed my attention. "Why did I think ‘desert’?" I allowed my question to float but as I looked at it, it had feelers, grabbing for answers. "I see," I said to myself. "Questions radiate. They project." I kept watching the question. It moved with intensity. Then it fell into something. I tried really hard to see where it fell, but it moved into darkness where I could not see because of the dimness. I kept very quiet, still observing. In the darkness, there was a feeling. I remained very still as I wanted to feel where the question had gone. In the darkness, I heard, "I need light, but I need to be understood for who I am, too. The desert is hot and dry, bright and searing, but it is too hot, too dry, too bright, and too demanding." I remained still, waiting to hear what the darkness had to tell me. "Your mind has light. It feels intense to me. I like the stimulation, but I feel expectation. I feel your mind requires a response. As I feel your mind, it feels like it is pushing on me. This makes me move, but I feel your mind wants me to give form to its idea. This feels like pressure to me. I need to rest in the darkness to escape overstimulation." I kept listening. I was curious, and the curiosity kept me very open and alert.

I asked what it felt like to be pressured. Darkness answered, "Expectation. Your light has so much expectation, so much excitement, so many projects and directions. You jump from this to that. I can’t keep up. I often need to escape." I kept listening. As I listened, I realized that darkness enjoyed being heard. Darkness was quiet, she didn’t talk unless you asked her a question and listened for the answer. Sometimes, when you asked her a question, she didn’t answer the question. She just reflected back the question, "What do you think?" As I stayed quiet in the darkness, I realized how often I had had the experience of watching my noisy mind bounce around as if agitated by its own energy. Now, I saw that this happened when darkness reflected the light back to light without taking it in.

I was very curious. This time, my questions were being answered. I stayed very, very still, as still as I could ever remember being. I was utterly captivated by the simplicity of darkness. Whatever she said made sense. I realized that I enjoyed being with her as much as I had enjoyed soaring in the day Sky. Suddenly, I realized, this is Sleeping Woman. It is Sleeping Woman who talks in the night. I was suddenly feeling a thrill moving throughout my entire being.

I started to ask a question, but the moment I framed my question, I heard the answer. My question was "What does light look like to you?" I never asked the question, I just felt the answer. "Light is enchanted with itself." I was a little hurt, then I heard a slow, careful answer, "I love the light. I love your questions, too, but unless you to listen to the answers to the questions, it doesn’t feel good to me. You need to listen to what it feels like to be me, not merely what you recognize as you."

"Ha, darkness is mysterious," I thought to myself. She likes to play games. She likes to entice by peeking curiosity. She lures you to see whether you will come to her or not. She speaks in riddles until you begin to question yourself. She is fascinating, but indirect. Still, I couldn’t resist. She seemed to know something I did not know, to understand what I did not understand. I wanted to be with her, to feel what she felt and to know what she felt. Then, I realized, she knew what I was thinking and feeling. How did she know what I had not openly shown her? I felt that I was once more thrown back upon myself. Then, I realized that I only saw what happened in the light; I knew nothing of what happened in darkness.

I felt something I could not quite describe. I allowed myself to keep feeling what I felt. I realized it was love, but it was a quiet, receptive feeling, not an excited, eager feeling. I was listening, feeling, waiting. Sleeping Woman began to reveal herself, but she chose not to use words. She showed me pictures. She showed me a peacefulness such as I have never known before. She took my hand and showed me little birds in a nest. I felt she wanted me to look closely at these birds. They were very young, very fragile. We stayed by the nest for a long, long time. I realized that Sleeping Woman was never in a hurry. This felt peaceful to me. In time, the parents came to feed the little birds. Then, Sleeping Woman looked at me, "You don’t understand, do you?" "Don’t understand what?" I said. "You don’t understand that these are our birds, do you?" I realized I was no longer seeming to be bright and dazzling; I felt like a dolt to Sleeping Woman. Still, I stayed quiet, receptive.

Sleeping Woman continued, "These birds are a reflection of your Soaring Spirit, but I have to take care of them until they are strong enough to fly." I still felt stupid, but I stayed receptive. The quieter I was, the more Sleeping Woman spoke, "The ideas you project have to take form in me. I have to build them into the shape you project towards me. I have to nurture them until they are mature." I was starting to understand. I became even quieter, almost ashamed of my ignorance. There was a long, long silence. Sleeping Woman held my hand ever so gently, "I have waited a long time for this day, the day you would begin to understand." I was all ears. I felt a flooding of my being. I was totally enchanted with Sleeping Woman. I adored her with an admiration I had never felt before except for my own Soaring Spirit. I caught myself thinking those thoughts and immediately felt a little embarrassed and wondered what Sleeping Woman was going to reflect back to me. I saw her chuckle. She felt warm, tender, patient. I once more realized that to her I was very slow on the uptake.

She felt my new found modesty, and this made her more open with me. She took me on a little journey. "These are the people in the valley," she said. She stood very quietly, holding my hand as we walked in the valley with the people. "They are suffering," she said. As she spoke, I looked at her, a tear came from her eye. I was beginning to understand, it was Sleeping Woman’s tears that brought me back into my body. It was Sleeping Woman who pulled Soaring Spirit down from the Sky. In the Sky, she could not show me what she was showing me now. I remained very quiet.

"They are afraid," she said. "They fear separation and suffering. They fear neglect, abandonment, and fates they cannot control. They fear expectation, failure, and misunderstanding. They do not know you care." I began to feel even more ashamed. I started to feel weak and even more stupid. I sat down, as close to Sleeping Woman as I could. My face fell in her lap; I grabbed her as tightly as I could. In a dry, crackling voice, I muttered, "I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry." She stroked my hair which no longer felt as luminous as it had during the day when I was in the Sky.

Then, very softly, very gently, she said once more, "I have waited so long for this moment." I looked up, into her eyes. They were like deep pools, crater lakes. I stared into these fathomless eyes. Then, I saw sparkle. Stars were shining in her eyes. I tried to understand. She was revealing more and more to my knowing, but I still felt so ignorant. "We are one." There was silence again. I kept looking into her eyes, the light seemed to brighten as I looked deeper. "We have always been one." I kept looking. I still felt weak, stupid, and blind. I was not hiding anything, but I kept looking into her. "From the beginning of Time, we have been one. You reign by day, I by night." It was starting to make sense to me. Suddenly, I asked, "Who is Ingrid?"

"She is our child," Sleeping Woman answered. "She is our creation. You created her Mind; I gave her her feelings."

I was starting to feel a little understanding creeping into my blindness, but I couldn’t speak. Sleeping Woman understood. "We are her parents. You gave her purpose; I gave her responsiveness." It was very quiet, then I said, "And the other people?" Sleeping Woman spoke, "It is the same with all of them. From you, they receive life, purpose, ideas, and destiny. From you, they receive the impulse to create the future you envision. From me, they learn from experience, give shape to reality, and develop understanding." I was very quiet, humbled, awed. For the first time in my existence, I realized without a shadow of a doubt that the self I knew as Soaring Spirit was the eternal and equal partner of Sleeping Woman. It took until today to realize that my ideas were not true knowing, that they required Sleeping Woman to develop and explain them. I was also deeply ashamed. I had been pressuring Sleeping Woman so much for so long to move faster with my ideas than was realistic. She held the key to perfecting my ideas in Time. I held her, knowing that from this moment forward, we would be one -- and that I would never forget this again.

The Sun started to rise. Ingrid had been asleep all night. I rubbed my eyes as I had done the day before when awaking under the tree. The dish with the artichoke was still on the table beside the deck chair. I had fallen asleep before finishing it. The heart remained. I understood the mystery the artichoke had prophesied: when Soaring Spirit approaches Sleeping Woman with love and humility, she will reveal everything. I ate the heart of the artichoke, with extreme gratitude that as the leaves which hide its heart were peeled away that the mysteries of my own being were also revealed. I knew myself to be the child of Soaring Spirit and Sleeping Woman. I knew they were united by a powerful love that was reaching out to all Creation. I felt very safe, very content, very alive. I knew I would never be the same again. I knew I would greet the day with eagerness to fulfill my part of Soaring Spirit’s plan and that I would rest at night listening for words of wisdom from Sleeping Woman whom I now loved with all my heart.

Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2000


Psychology and Spirituality || Venus-Mars
Acute vs. Chronic Diseases || Monastic Moon || Fire: The Power to Change
Laboratory vs. Clinical Medicine || Weight || Lunar Herbs
Constitutional Type || Soaring Spirit with Tears
Sleeping Woman || Ego Light and Loving Light
|| Medicine Name


Poulsbo, Washington