'Celebrating Freedom' Series

The Many Faces of Love and How to Find Freedom From Fear


marty kleva

When things in my life get too frazzled and are run amok so to speak, I know it is time to regroup my faculties. One of the most profound teachings that I use to re-center comes from an old Native American elder story, which I first came across in the mid-nineties in David Whyte’s, Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul In Corporate America.

The name of it is Lost and I present it here. Picture, if you will, the voice and sound of a Native elder slowly and patiently speaking these words to you with the wisdom of his/her experience. And yourself, listening with your whole body, knowing that you are being given a teaching worth a lifetime.


Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you

Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,

And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,

Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,

I have made this place around you,

If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.

No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows

Where you are. You must let it find you.

Today, I feel that my country is lost, totally run off its moorings. At this very moment, as I write, and as you read this, there are religious groups of people; Christian, Muslim and Jew, who are engaged in profound combat. Face to face — so frenzied in their zealous ownership of something each calls God, each will righteously strike down anything and anyone in their path — all in the name of God, Jesus, Mohammed, Allah, Yahweh, and Jehovah.

They use their fists, personal weapons, twisted speeches and press releases, depleted uranium-tipped bombs and artillery, chemical weapons containing phosphorus, and add even greater threats to use nuclear bombs to obliterate whole cities and whole nations of people.

We are now so out-of-control that reason no longer has its name, and we are witness to pure unbridled genocide.

If it were the case of two people or two groups equally matched with their natural wits and weapons, then I could perhaps handle that better; it would be a ‘fair fight’. But when a third party covertly inserts itself using its position of greater power, and aligns itself with one side and against the other, the real problem begins to proliferate into a never ending distortion of lies and violence.

This is what we have today; a self-replicating twisted quagmire of truths that are no longer recognizable for what they once were. Now, there are too many hidden deals that have been brokered by countries such as mine to really know what the original offense was ever about.

The forest has been set ablaze with so many fires that it has become the living conflagration of Hell.

For now, there is far more involved than what began with disagreement between two people, or two groups. It has now evolved into an outright global involvement where there is hardly any country that is not touched by the threat of global war where original causes have degraded into brokered deals and escalating violence upon innocent civilian people.

The brokers cannot allow the fighting to stop. They already have too much invested in both sides to have this come to a peaceful end. Beside being paid to develop weapons, and then to sell them, they also need to have them delivered so that they can reap more profits by selling more. And they cannot allow the fighting to stop until enough destruction has been accomplished so they can pick up the government contracts to reconstruct the very country's infrastructure their bombs destroyed.

The established policy is, Pay Me Now, and Pay Me Later.

They do not value individual human life. We have ready-made victims in our so-considered 'overpopulated' situation of the world.

This is not the prelude to WW3; it is WW3!

Many are looking to the dropping of a nuclear bomb to call it so. Do they forget in their short-sightedness, that just one nuclear bomb will end it all; not just for those who are beneath it, but also for those who are downwind and downstream — and for those at the end of the descent of nuclear dust clouds, riding like the Valkyries on the back of a jet-stream.

This entire picture of the Middle East is so convoluted that to run back and forth to Kabul, Bagdad, Tehran, Beruit, Ramallah, and Tel Aviv is futile, for to do so is to accept the illusion that has been brokered by third party agendas for their own benefits — that of keeping the fires stoked, lighting new ones, using one side against the other, all the while purporting to be a friend.

Deals are brokered one after the other, setting up a leader or group as a friend and providing them with the most modern armament, manipulating them into doing a third party’s dirty work. All the while, the third party is paid extravagant amounts of money to provide the arms to both sides because this month the group is a friend, next month they are the enemy. Governments give approval for the military corporatists to sell the latest technology that has also been subsidized by the government to develop, and which is paid for by the taxpayers.

Where can a person go to regain the equilibrium necessary to stay centered, when such deceit and camoflague is all around?

When I find myself here at such a place, I “Stand still” so that I can find myself once again, and call back the pieces that others have so violently ripped asunder. Like being unable to see the trees for the forest and vice versa, I take heed of what the elders say and I “Stand still.” I let the trees and bushes, that are not lost, that are rooted to their places in the forest maze and amidst the conflagration, provide me with true bearings. I listen and wait until I hear what they speak.

I listen with the ears of a stranger, like the greatest explorer and anchor myself according to the feedback of the elements around me; the trees, the bushes, the raven, the plants and the butterflies, the light and the dark, the heaven and the hell. I learn what they are, how they smell and what they sound like, what forms they take, and distinguish the parts that can assist me, and most importantly, determine which of these actually comes from me.

I let the forest find me as I ‘Stand still.”

For when we are a country lost as deeply and profoundly as I believe we are now, to attempt anything else is simply to create more havoc and bury ourselves and the rest of the world in further destruction.

During my own ‘lost time’, in the year after my auto accident, I instinctively knew I was dying. I could literally feel my chi, my life force, leaving my body. Because my auric field had been shattered by the violent force of the accident, I was not able to handle living in the ultra-electrical and violent forces of the modern world. If I were to stay in Santa Fe, I knew I would die within the year.

I am reminded of that same scenario now; that to continue along the same road as we are now, there is a real danger to the existence of our country, the country whose creation has inspired the people of the rest of the world to greater possibilities. Now those people are also shattered, but they have no place to go. Their forest is full of the fire and rockets and bombs that my country sold to their ‘enemy.’

I was fortunate, and the action that I took to save my life was to find a tiny and remote cabin inside the Ponderosa forest near Taos, New Mexico. The cabin had no running water, so I walked a distance each day to carry home two gallons for cooking, drinking, and bathing. There was a wood stove that provided me with my source for heat. I had to learn how much wood to load the stove with before I retired for the evening, and just how far to damp the flue to keep the wood burning, yet not be too hot, and not burn too fast, so that come morning, there would still be some heat coming from the stove and I wouldn’t wake up freezing.

I was alone in the middle of the forest, and yet I did not feel alone. It was a place of silence, yet I heard the many sounds of nature. One night in the middle of winter, after I had been there for over a month I decided to go out amongst the trees and beneath the night sky to just sit. I call the piece that wrote itself afterward, The Space Between.

The Space Between
is part of a future section of my book Soul Dancing which documents the natural healing process that took place with the forest and the earth at the foot of what Native Americans in the region call Basket Mountain.

The Space Between: written 12-31-01
marty kleva

At The Foot of Basket Mountain: Stories on the Way to Love

One evening
Sitting beneath the Mother of Ponderosas beside my cabin
in the deep dark twilight of the forest
I settle,
and begin to listen.

My breath draws in —
My chest rising and retreating,
Impatient to find a quiet mind, free from thinking
And the grasping of ego —
I breathe.

The blackening masses of trees stand still,
I sense the whiteness of the snow beneath my feet and chair —
the black tree-forms,
the deep stillness of the brilliant shining stars above
the canopy of stately pines.

Eyes open
Mind thinking — planning,
Body alert and on call
I sit —
And breathe in the slowly descending darkness
that surrounds me —
Eyes, softly closing

The wind gathering her sounds
sighs through the long dark slender needles.
Sighing too, past and through my mind
in the obscure sitting form of my body.

Which is more?
Which is less?
Are we?

Emerald orbs open in expanded awareness
of the more vague forms — now
seeing the space between me and the other.
Black becomes less so,
Transfigured into dove-colored waves.

The snow-mass moves beneath me,
Like the tides of sound whispering through the standing sentinels.
Now shades of grey —
White and black
Evaporate into each other.
Alive and vibrant!

The palette forms —
Shifting and changing the canvas before me.
As an artist’s arm and hand
paints the fleeting visions of the mind.
Like magic
only seen in the space between the forms.

How much is form?
How much is the space between?
One more evident than the other —
And one seldom realized.

Like the opening of a shadowy cave.
Like the pause between the breaths.

I sit —
In the space between.

In the present situation, I use the elder teaching to “Stand still.” Once found by the forest, I can recognize who I am, and where I am. I also know who others are, and I can know their true intent, made obvious by their actions.

Do not mistake that to “stand still” means to “do nothing.” When we are acting violently against other human beings, we are also acting violently against ourselves and we are truly lost.

Now however, I know that what remains undone is to take responsibility for my own part in what is happening, whether by thought, action, or intent. I learn to recognize my own violent inclinations and how to defuse them before they are out-of-hand.

By standing mute, I tacitly agree to all the violence, even if it is not my own physical hand that pushes the button to release the trigger on the bombs. My silence is agreement, and lends its powerful energy to the misguided, covert, and diabolical agenda of the third party involvement.

The violence that some dare to call ‘action for peace’ is truly an abomination of what each of the three religions call God, Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Yeshua — or by whatever name they invoke.

Seeing this is cause enough to make me feel outraged by it, and also ashamed, that I am a part of this simply by virtue of the fact that I am a human being; of the same species as is all humanity be they whatever they choose to be, and especially for me as also being an American.

I cannot agree with the violent actions of any of these groups and third parties. And yet, I suffer the pangs of grief that my fellow human beings are suffering, from the violence at the end of the projectiles of hatred and destruction so strong that the children are not seen as children, but as the Evil Other, rather than as a Child of God.

I too am a human being with connections to each of every other human being. I too am a Child of God, Allah, Jesus, and even Jehovah and Yahweh.

But what can I do when I see that the horrific result of hatred created out of fear is terrorizing the entire humanity of the world?

I can only stand still, saying over and over again to myself first, then to you my friends, and to each and every single being on this planet as I write what I am called to write:

“Please forgive me for all the injuries that I have brought you.”

“I am so sorry for my ignorance and violent thoughts and actions toward you.”

“Please accept that I love you with ‘walah’ — my love that carries sorrow within it; ‘hawa’ — my love that shares its name with the ‘air’; ‘shaghaf’ — the love that nests in the chambers of my heart; ‘gharam’ — my love that is willing to pay the price; and hayam’ — my love that wanders the earth."

Be gentle with yourself my friends, and stand inside the forest, to listen and be found.

con amore,

~ mek