Domesticated and Undomesticated Mind

Living between town and mountain presents challenges at nearly every step, impossible to anticipate before I stepped into this adventure a few weeks ago. For the past many years while living on the mountain, most of the dreamwork I did with people took place in telephone sessions or during retreats, where I had more full access to the spirits that inhabit that place. As people told me their dreams I would look out the window at vast uninhabited spaces. Trees, clouds, winds, forest and silence supported my musings. I walked into the dreamtime landscapes almost without obstruction.

In my office in Weaverville much of the work that I do is still on the telephone as I build up a base of interested dreamers to come for sessions personally. I sit at my desk and look out at trees in a lovely landscaped garden while taking in the dream reports. Zoom, a car goes by. Joggers run through. Wafting sounds of people talking. I haven’t had these sights or sounds around me while doing this work for 7 years. They startle me out of the dreamspace, but I am learning to hold the dreaming mind as steady as possible. This is a learning curve.

I take walks from here and see carefully landscaped outdoor spaces. On the mountain all of my walks are taken in wild places. Undomesticated. The trillium are now blooming on the forest floors, soon will be blue bells, then the rhododendrons. These present every year not because any human cared to plant or arrange them. They just come. I look at in-town gardens that are gorgeously designed by human minds and LOVE them, but they make me feel confused. I have maybe been away too long.

I have been remembering terms used by French social anthropolgist Claude Levi-Strauss, the scientist who foresaw human doom through culture’s stripping of the mind from it’s primary or primitive sites. He described what he called Domesticated Mind vs. the Savage Mind, and thought culture’s demands for training the mind are moving us rapidly toward extinction. He was accused of severe pessimism, and did not think our species was headed in a sustainable direction. I know that Buckminster Fuller died with concerns about the Critical Path (his book title) humans are on. Jung wrote a brilliant essay entitled “Two Kinds of Thinking” elaborating on the advancement of “directed” thinking over mythic and dream states of thought. Heidegger called the inclination “technological thinking,” which he saw as manipulation of mind.

I have been using the term “the indigenous mind” to describe what I believe to be capabilities of mind excluded in our thrust toward modernization, to the demise of human and planetary balance. My coming down from the mountain now after living for nearly 7 years as a near hermit, my mind given freedom to live in an intentionally undomesticated way as largely as possible, presents me with challenges for real integration of these states of mind.

I believe that these worlds can and must be bridged. I do not believe one state should be demonized or eradicated by the other. I am seeing this is a mountain to climb for us. Difficult, but I truly believe, doable.

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