Nose Breathing & the Lungs

nose breathing example

The Benefits of Nasal Breathing

Ventilation and The Sympathetic Nervous System

Breathing is a fundamental act of life. In humans, breath represents the gateway between the mind and the body. Also called ventilation, it is the first action we take when we are born, and the last before we die. The lungs are the primary mover of energy within the body; when stressed, the breathing rate elevates. Yogis and practitioners of meditation are particularly interested in breathing as a way of becoming more aware of the body.

Ideally, a yogi can breath in and out through their nostrils ceaselessly. Some people have physical limitations in their ability to do this, so as always, consideration must be taken the unique deviations of an individual skeleton. The physiological difference between breathing through your nose and through your mouth is tremendous. Clearing your nasal and air passageways can be a simple part of daily maintenance, or caring for the body’s optimal organic function. Yoga is the exercise of “stilling the mind” through the restricted the flow of breath. Using the nostrils is key to that restriction.

The “Energy” Organ

The lungs are a primary source of our energy level. They extract oxygen from the air we breath primarily on the exhale. About 5% more of the oxygen in the air is extracted into our lungs when we exhale through the nostrils as well (air has been measure to enter ~21% and leave ~12% while breathing through the nose | ~21% and leaves at 16% through the mouth).

“When you exercise, carbon dioxide levels increase significantly which alert the chemoreceptors, which subsequently notify the brain’s respiratory center to increase the speed and depth of breathing. This elevated respiration rids the body of excess carbon dioxide and supplies the body with more oxygen, which are needed during aerobic exercise.” (Sarah Novotny and Len Kravitz, Ph.D, UNM, “The Science of Breathing”)

Nose Breathing and the Diaphragm

Because the nostrils are smaller then the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates back flow of oxygen during the exhale. It slows the air escape so the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from them. They also increase the humidity of the air that travels into the lungs and Similar to closing the end of a teapot, breathing this way creates pressure in the diaphram and allows for a deeper exhale. A more complete exhale activates accessory breathing muscles to the fullest capacity which includes all of the abdominal muscles. All of this occurs muscularly while the sustained, increased oxygen level affect the muscles and nervous system regenerating it and allow the yogi to continue practicing. The key is slowing down the pacing so that the body can sustain its oxygen level.

Let’s look at the different parts of the anatomy involved with breathing.

Muscles involved with Breathing

  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Scalenes (neck)
  • TrapeziusMuscles of Respiration
  • Latissimus Dorsi (upper back)
  • Pectoralis
  • Diaphragm – primary breathing muscle
  • Rectus
  • Internal Obliques
  • External Obliques
  • Transverse Abdominus
  • Serratus Muscles (ribs)
  • Illiocostalis
  • QL (lower back)

The bottom of the diaphragm is extremely important as it separates the upper portion of the torso from the lower and assists in the ventilation process. ThisThoracic Organs is key to understanding why full capacity respiration is so important to the human body. Most of the organs lie within the Thorax, or chest cavity, so the lungs have a very complex and interesting relationship to the rest of the organs, especially the organs of the digestive tract.

How your Lungs Affect your Organ Anatomy

Because the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates a back flow of air (and oxygen) into the lungs. And because we exhale more slowly through the nose than we do though the mouth, the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from the air we’ve already taken in. This affects the vital nervous system connections to your lungs and heart. Not breathing well through your nose can alter your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also increase the intensity and frequency of the human stress response. Many researchers have said that mouth breathing can also be misdiagnosed as ADHD. This is why yoga can be extremely important and useful for children and to alleviate the negative aspects of stress response (cortisol release).

That about does it for the known effects of respiration through the nose, although I’m sure the benefits to the organs, specifically the digestive tract are understated. Share what you know below!

References:

  1. Physiopedia
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Association
  3. Fitbit Blog- 3 Reasons
  4. IFL Science – Increase memory and Recall
  5. Science Direct – Article Aggregate
  6. Rhythm of Breathing Affects Emotions
  7. Pre-frontal and Mouth Breath
  8. Harvard Health
  9. Conscious Health

Modern Electronic Music Creation

modern electronic music studio

Falling in love with EDM production

modern electronic music logo

It was almost 4 years ago in India, when I first started learning to write melodies and drum loops. I had downloaded a trial version of Ableton Live, top of the line, modern electronic music production software. At least in little ways,  I think I’ve worked on my music each day since I got into my first groove in India. Many times, there isn’t always a computer to write my thoughts down. However, I am almost thinking of some melody or baseline. I also have a deep passion for EDM; I am always listening actively to the music that is around me. Some days I would spend 16 hours in front of the computer making a track, including this one I made in Kathmandu on my 26th birthday (back when I first start producing, this track is over 3 years old!

Electronic Synthesis Techniques

I got into making electronic music because I enjoy the avant-garde nature of modern synthesis and the revolution that is taking place in the music industry as technology evolves. My music evolves with the technology 🙂

Ableton Live

Creating modern electronic music with the best tool.

The best example of why Ableton is the top of the line for production is the release of Ableton Live 10 earlier this year. This release drastically changed my production process, as well as added a bunch of new tools to my belt for mixing audio and sound design. It also tremendously increased my efficiency. I also use various virtual synthesizers and analog modeled software to achieve a professional from my computer including Zebra 2, Serum, Sylenth1, Waves plugins, the Izotope Mixing Suite, and the newly acquired Spire. I also use Splice‘s sample libraries for a lot of drum samples and most of my vocals. I am hoping to upgrade to a new computer relatively soon though and start working with more vocalists ASAP! 😀

Make sure you download a free trial from their website to try it out!

3 Finished Albums and counting

I have produced 3 quality albums now that I consider to be good pieces of artwork. I’ve written a lot of singles in between the albums as well and I’m really just trying to continually improve my ability to produce and mix sound, while releasing a decent amount of what I am making. However, my released music is small fraction of what I make; most of the sound design and mixing that I do gets thrown away. Recently I reformatted my computer so all of the sounds from EROS and before are now lost to time. So remember that all of my tracks are pretty highly curated and that I have spent a lot of time browsing through samples to find the ones that resonate.

Other Artists Inspire Me

Modern artists constantly uplift me and inspire me; especially underground artists that are busy making their own sound and their own styles of music. Of the Trees, ToadFace, and G Jones are just a few examples of this kind of unique individuality represented in their music. All three have brand spanking new albums coming out right now, so check em out. Its almost as if they’ve put their personalities into their music.

I very recently released 2 singles

And I am really happy with them. Turn the volume up and play with a subwoofer! They are house/dubstep hybrids, so I hope you are too concerned with genre. My sounds continue to evolve and so does my mixing knowledge and ability to create cool shit! But my mixing ability has drastically improved over the years, which truly makes the difference you can hear as my ability to make modern electronic music has progressed.

I now have a complete virtual studio and pretty much all of the mixing tools that I need for a professional sound!

Check out the latest modern electronic music track that I have mixed and mastered with Izotope plugins:

the E.T. – Blaster [Bass-House]

the E.T. – Current – [Dubstep]

Onward with More Art!

I am learning Adobe Illustrator and will get into after-effects to make music videos. ‘the E.T.’ is on a mission to express some art! This is only the beginning! I have a lot of visuals coming out with my next album, EROS, Part 2, and plan on doing a lot more with my visuals as I get better the modern software used to make them.

Make sure you subscribe to ‘the E.T.’ on Youtube!

Youtube is where I update all of my visuals, so make sure you subscribe to stay updated!

Reggae on the River 2017

Reggae on the river 2017

Reggae on the River 2017 Experience

The Overall experience on Reggae on the River 2017 was that of an extremely chilled out group of hippies partying away their summers on the river. Almost no fights to be seen. A dab bar in the VIP section and enough ganja to kill small cats. Plenty of food from all over the world, and the blazing hot 100 degree Humboldt sunshine.

The Vibe – (check out a video here)

The river was flowing solidly this year which was great because the sun was extremely hot. The festival takes place in a river basin so finding shade is a must to survive the hot sun of mid-day. Lots of ages, families, and diversity within the community at Reggae.

The Lineup

The Headliners slayed their sets, especially the Friday and Saturday crew including Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure, J Boog, Cherine Anderson, and Sly and Robbie, who were the primary acts of the festival. Each of the artists brought their own unique vibe which is important because the reggae begins to get repetitious usually on the first day. But this only highlighted the talents of Bands like Slightly Stoopid and Stick Figure, both of whom stood out from the crowd, followed closely by J Boog and Cherine.

Cherine Anderson had a voice not soon to be forgotten…

Look for big things coming from this entertainer in the future, especially at Reggae on the River, her voice and personality were unique, provocative, and extremely fun. One of the top performers at Reggae on the River 2017

J Boog takes Hawaiian Reggae to the next level…

From love songs to songs about meeting strangers, I’d imagine that J Boog’s music is for everyone. The full band smashed on the main stage, and J Boogs voice was a fantastic, so were his back up singers.

Slightly Stoopid takes technical to the next level

From switching over basses, guitars, playing various instruments on stage seems to be the norm for these guys. Expect huge things from their performance, they are highly professional and their sound is undeniably unique and recognizably better live.

Stick Figure Blew my Mind

These guys are a band to watch. They already have some major hits from their last album including “Fire on the Horizon which I think is their best track yet.” They also have collaborations with Slightly Stoopid and Rebellution, so make sure you check these up and comers out!

Camping

Camping is all about shade and placement on hillsides. Bring your own shade and get their early to avoid getting stuck in the middle of the river bed.

After Parties and Late Night

The after party is pretty dope, but ultimately uneventful. The DJs take over the stage and the vibe is just okay really, the music on certain nights is decent, but the inability to step away from Reggae kinda hurts this part. Would be nice to hear some house music down there, or at least some more experimental bass type stuff, and a better lights show.

Conclusions

The show at Reggae is dope, but traditional. Expect the headliners to be the main party and the after party to be kind of weird. The bathrooms are typical of festivals, the food is pretty good actually, and the headliners blow up the main stage for a ton of fun. Luckily, I get to work back stage, so check out some of the pictures from the festival!

Personal Notes

I had a great time and enjoyed working the festival. But its actually really tiring to stand in the same spot for 10 hours straight. I’ve been before, but this is the first year I’ve written about it. Working kinda makes the festival less enjoyable, especially when compared to LIB in 2014. I got to see some of my favorite artists live though, so that was great!! The people there are awesome. Late night isn’t too great, so don’t expect much from it, but the music is incredible.

Elliot’s Wednesday Flow Yoga Class (Duration:1H 30M, Date: 5/31/2017)

Today I taught my flow yoga class that I sequenced and also used last night (which I actually won’t do anymore, cause some people back in the morning ;p), it was a pretty intense, there is warrior 3 and some lunging but extremely fun and rewarding sequence with lots of abdominals. The playlist is at the bottom of this page as well.

The flow began with breath cueing and ends with a bit of time for Savasana, the recording lasts about 90 minutes. There are a few sun salutation As and Bs and some great yogic exercises that I have come up with on my own and adapted from other people that I have studied with.

I hope the quality of the recording is acceptable, feel free to comment!

Please enjoy a Free Download of this challenging yoga class below

Here is the Spotify Playlist

Humbled Hero’s Flow 1:30 Yoga Sequence

Recording from 4-11-2016, 7pm Flow Yoga Class at East Wind Yoga

Download the recoding from class below. I have created a detailed description of the sequencing and the postures/variations that you can use to deviate from the sequence seamlessly.

Humbled Hero’s Yoga Flow

Posture 1: Hero’s pose w/ alternate nostril breathing

Posture 2: Child’s Pose with side-body stretching

Posture 3: Side plank extensions

Posture 4: Dolphin – Turbo Dog warm-up

Posture 5: 3 Legged Dog

Posture 6: Low Lunge>Cat>Airplane with arm under thigh

Posture 7: 3 Legged Dog squeezes>Dancing Shiva>3 legged dog>low lunge with backbend>pyramid>flamingo

Posture 8: Half lifts x3 – couple sun salutes

Posture 9: Crow Pose 5 Breathes

Posture 10: Standing Splits>Warrior 1

Posture 11: San Salutation B

Posture 12: Warrior 1>Humble Warrior> Bound Warrior 3

Posture 13: SS-Lunge-twist-W2 – 40 breathe

Posture 14: Padanghustasana>Warrior3 Transitions 5,4,3,2,1,

Posture 15: Chair+Twists

Posture 16: Wide Legged fold

Posture 17: Warrior 2>ext.Side Angle>ext.Half moon 30 reaches

Posture 18: Half Moon>Triangle>Splits>Upright hero>Eka-Pada-Virasana

Posture 19: Abs – elbows to knees – 10 breathes

Posture 20: Abs – stretch wide thigh to floor – 10 breathes

Posture 21: Abs – chop wood V-Ups hold at the end, cross ankle under, lift chest

Posture 22: Spinal twist 5 each side

Posture 23: windshield wiper up to bridge

Posture 24: Abs – Scuba Steves, Alternate Legs up and down

Posture 25: Bridge/Wheel

Posture 26: Abs – 20 V-ups lower back on floor

Posture 27: Wheel, leg extension

Posture 28: Supta Baddha konasana

Posture 29: 60 Supta Baddha pulse crunches

Posture 30: Reverse tabletop

Posture 31: Vertical hamstring stretch

Posture 32: Hip-opener

Posture 33: Single Legged Spinal Twist

That about does it for the sequence. There are some variations that I will bring in as well, but this is the core of the sequence. The main parts are the Warrior 1 to Warrior 3  transition through humble warrior, and the Padangusthasana to Warrior 3 transitions.

Back to Blogging (why I’ve been away from the blog)

back to the blog

Thanks for sticking with me…

I am continuing this blog for the foreseeable future. For those of you who follow this blog, thanks you so much for your support! I am definitely not one to give up on things and this blog is no exception. For the next few months, I am going to try and post an article every day; sometimes, hopefully, more.

The reason for my temporary hiatus was my focus on music; producing music came as a very unexpected change in the direction that I want to take my life and I am honestly still adjusting my goals to figure out where I want to go with my music. But it definitely involves big events, visuals, and all kinds of interesting stories surrounding the music itself. It’s one more medium for me to express myself and its certainly my favorite.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to spend time blogging because I like making music so much. Writing is great, but there is something special about making music for me; I can spend hours and hours on a song without even really noticing. On my 26th birthday, I spent the entire day making music and loved it.

New Ventures

This blog is going to transform into more of a resource for your yoga practice. I plan on uploading as many recordings from my classes as I can, as well as adding photos of poses and making videos about sequences, advanced variations, and general tips for practicing yoga away from the studio. Ideally, this blog can be a resource for you as you practice. If you want to know anything specific, you can always feel free to ask or comment on a post.

I am still writing a book and plan on continuing to post it on the site; currently, I am very focused on music, but soon I should be finishing it up and getting it edited. I have a few more fiction stories that I am working on, but The Wanderer will be finished kinda soon, I promise!

Staying Focused on the Blog

As much as I would love to post about politics right now, I am avoiding the subject completely. I prefer not to think about politics in my personal life, so I will just extend that into my blog world. Yoga is and has always been my first priority. Someday, I do hope to open a studio in Sacramento, but that day seems kind of far off right now. Music is a close second priority. Honestly, there’s just nothing I’d rather do than make melodies and bass lines. Writing comes third, then painting and the other things that I do in my free time like painting, or taking pictures, etc.

Ultimately, I hope to make this blog my home base for delivering my message of yoga to the world. So expect some youtube videos soon, check back for more class recordings, and get excited for some cool, very free, exercises that you can do while you travel or whenever you want really. All you need is some space.

 

The Wanderer, Part 27

dark_mountains the wanderer, part 27

The Wanderer, Part 27

This story is part of a series, this is the twenty-seventh part.

You can read the first story here: The Wanderer, Part 1

and the most recent story here: The Wanderer, Part 26

 

Tas woke with the creeping light of dawn, his furs were disheveled and Yao was already awake, making tea and preparing his wool and fur coats near the fire. Tas yawned heartily, he was finally sleeping regularly, without any dream-walking, nightmares, or intruders. His meditations were also becoming more powerful, the night before he slid into sleep without even noticing.

Yao was moving much faster than usual, his arms were racing to pack everything into this larger wool sac that Yaina was holding for him. He was fully dressed and was packing smaller weapons and some of the left-over jerky and filling his water sacs to full. Tas got up quickly and dressed adorning the furs and leathers that Yaina provided to protect against the bitter cold that he knew waited for him outside. Both Yao and Yaina helped him to rapidly set the leather straps of his leathers, then moved onto the thicker furs that would cover his shoulders, back, head, thighs, and torso. By the end, Tas felt as though he must look like a bear because he was completely covered in white and grey furs. Yao held a spear, a longbow and two swords; one longer and thinner and a second that was more blunted and smaller. He holstered the weapons outside, waiting for Yaina to finish strapping the heavy furs to Tas shoulders.

Tas swaddled outside; he had never felt so heavy and over-encumbered in his life. But as he walked into the cold, he realized that he wanted every pound of extra warmth that he could get; the wind was wailing and the cold pierced through his layers of thick cloth. Yao looked unhappy as well, though Yaina looked perfectly acclimated. She would hunt in the morning, then return at night as many women in the village would. The men usually stayed out later, sometimes not returning at all if they didn’t have anything to present to their partner. Yao had told him the night before that they would likely stay out until dark each night, when the cold was too much to handle. Tas was going to be trained properly.

It took Tas the entire walk to the hunting group to get comfortable in his clothes. He altered his face mask several times against the howling wind and finally settled with his mouth uncovered and cold, but able to breath deeply. He warmed as he walked.

As Yao arrived first, he got several stares of disbelief from the hunters and huntresses. Several laughed, as though they couldn’t believe their eyes and were trying to wake themselves. But Yao stood firmly and silently, ignoring them all. He waited for Tas, who received different stares as he arrived; stares of confusion and questioning. He felt like an outsider here, more than he had felt it anywhere else. Everyone seemed to be grouped up and huddling around their horses or packs, but Tas and Yao were alone. Several darker skinned men and women seemed to be carrying more and standing at the outskirts of the fire, but Tas didn’t understand why. Then he saw Yao’s cousins enter the circle with what could only be a large group of their personal slaves. The brothers were fully armored and carried nothing, not even a weapon.

A mammoth walked behind their group, an animal larger than any Tas had ever seen. It made the earth tremble with its footsteps causing Tas to crouch to maintain his balance he wondered how such a huge animal could come to exist in this cold and hard world. But he saw the scars and the half of a missing tusk and re-estimated; this mammoth had seen its share of battle and hardships. It was heavily armored and fully prepared for its human riders to mount; spears were located at each of the giant quadruped’s 4 corners and it was mounted by one of the darkest men Tas had ever seen with full control over the beasts movement.

Tas and Yao stayed where they were for a time and let the others pass. The light of the sun began to peak over the horizon as they began their walk, to the right and what must have been south since the sun rose in the East. They walked for hours until the sun was high and they were both fatigued from climbing rock faces and hiking quickly over the treacherous and snowy terrain. Tas drank slowly from his half-full waterskin and continued his climb, looking for animals that they could claim as their supper.

Yao seemed to know already where to go and Tas could help but gasp at the cold air; he was higher than he’d ever been and breathing was as hard as Yao warned it would be. After another 15 minutes of climbing, Tas began to feel light-headed and his legs were growing heavier and heavier. Yao didn’t notice, but Tas had to stop and gasp for air; he couldn’t continue.

He sat for several minutes, regaining his breath, until Yao returned down the hill, looking angry at first, but then as he approached saw the pain that Tas was in.

Yao helped Tas to his feet after what seemed to be just another moment and they began to walk horizontally on the mountainside. The snow was thick and the weather was uncooperative; Tas nearly felt like he would be thrown from his feet and had to wrap his arms around his fur coat to feel secure. He and Yao stayed low as they crossed over the mountainside, still in search for something to claim as their hunting trophy.

Tas noticed that two men below them were traveling in the same direction and wondered if they were going somewhere specific. Yao was not speaking to him, but he felt much better after they had lowered their altitude several hundred feet.

Everyone moved in silence towards a forest, where Tas could see another was headed quickly with his two hounds; huge dogs that had vicious teeth and showed them and they pulled violently against their master’s grip.

“Something powerful in there!” one below yelled as the trudged through the snow, speed increasing. Yao began to grunt with the effort and Tas went as fast as he could; he was falling behind quickly.

With a earth-shattering roar, a bear stomped through a thicket of brush charging the two men below. This bear was far larger than any creature Tas had ever seen and he crouched low to hide in the snow, peeking over the ledge to watch the bear impale the first man with while the man lodged his spear in the bear’s shoulder. The second swipe from the bear decapitated the man. The second man began to run but the bear sprinted not 25 meters then caught the man by the near. She ripped the back of his neck open, then looked across the valley at the third hunter; his spear was over his shoulder, ready to be thrown. He waited another few moments, then heaved his spear at the bear.

Immediately the bear started forward, an unstoppable force that seemed unafflicted by the heavy thud of the spear. The bear ran into the second man and swiped him to the ground, giving him no room to run away. The bear looked up the hill, but seemed to be uninterested in Yao and Tas. Tas stared at the bear as it seemed to size him up, then grabbed the corpses of the two men that he had killed and began to drag them back to what Tas assumed must be a den.

Yao and Tas continued in the snow, looking for game that was a bit more reasonable than what they had seen with the comrades.

The Wanderer, Part 13

wanderer_first-dream

This story can be read alone, or as the 13th story of the wanderer series.

Please see the first story here: The Wanderer, Part 1

or the latest story here: The Wanderer, Part 12

The sky was very dark and hazy, at first Tas was just walking along a lonely road, but he could recognize it. He continued to stare at the ground, mesmerized, he felt like he had been here a thousand times. He could see the tracks and the signs along the way and he knew them all, but he couldn’t remember where. The journey seemed to last forever, but he finally arrived at the entrance gate to his parents village.

Tas was so excited, but was careful to keep his breathing steady and pushed his thoughts back and exhaled, dropping back in.

Now he was with his mother in the kitchen, waiting for his father to finish cooking a fresh chicken. Come to think of it, he was famished, so he was happy to eat a bit of chicken with his parents in their small house. An eternity felt like a breath and Tas soon found himself at the hearth, sitting against his father’s chair, alone again in the dark night, the only light was flickering from the dying fire. He looked up at the stars as the ceiling dissolved; he felt himself falling and startled awake.

Tas woke up with a grin, his dream was a clear vision of his family and he could see all that they had been doing for the day. He sat for a moment, enjoying his own success. The night before, he had aligned himself with Jupiter, and because of the full moon, he was able to use the full extent of Jupiter’s power to see his family. Paj taught him this trick, though it could only be done on the full moon and only when Jupiter was high in the sky. Tas felt very satisfied as he woke to dress for the day, not to mention his peace of mind at being able to see his mother and father happily moving homes because of the success of the harvest in the past few months.

Paj and Tas made incredible progress in their nightly sessions, sometimes talking and reading and practicing certain meditations far into the morning. Tas had completely memorized the movement of the planets and their visible satellites in the sky with the telescope. They had bowls and cups of metal to make sounds to induce meditation and Tas had deepened his ability to perceive the his world. The moon’s cycles were becoming more and more familiar to Tas, but the moon’s powers were ever elusive and Paj was slow to teach him anything truly significant. Last week was the first exception, Paj told Tas that the full moon granted a sight while sleeping. Combined with Jupiter’s ability to travel outside of the body, it made for a powerful combination for dreamwalking, as he called it. Tas spent the night facing the direction of Jupiter in the Northwest and Paj hesitantly used the alloy synced with Jupiter’s frequencies. And he had succeeded.

Tas tested it by passively meditating into sleep, as Paj had instructed, then found himself awake in the dream. He continued to smile as he washed, groomed, and dressed himself, preparing for his morning meditations. He joined the sea of monks again, as he did every morning and after the morning’s invocation, went down to the forest to meet Shu and continue. Each day was a little different, the powerful meditations seemed to come in waves. Some days were torturous, but made him feel so great afterwards, some where easy, but made the rest of the day difficult. He had grown frustrated in the first weeks, but now he had stopped caring. Tas just tried not to think about it and it seemed to be working out so far.

He was keen to continue exploring his mind in the energy of the circle of monks. He had come to realize that there was something special about the trees, or perhaps the ground that allowed them to meditate for so long. He asked Shu a few days ago and he only responded that there was indeed something special about it, but he didn’t know what.

Shu had begun to meditate with Tas, teaching him techniques to still his breathing and slow his heart. Tas could feel so much, Shu said constantly, “you must become more sensitive. Only when you become more sensitive, more detached and able to feel your senses will you be free of their grasp. Then you will be free to feel as the true you wishes.”

Tas knew there was more than this from Yao, but he was sure that Shu was also correct in his teaching. Tas was starting to feel a nothingness, a sensation of pure bliss in his meditation, but he could only caught small glimpses of it. It was similar to how he felt with Yao, but less potent. He often remembered the night where he was starving and forced to wait and felt a sea of immeasurable pleasure and himself floating inside of its immensely overwhelming nothingness.

He spent a couple of hours in pure silence, scanning his thoughts and letting go of the night before; after he went to lunch and enjoyed his time alone. He asked for two extra servings, much to the dismay of the cook, but he needed the food. His stomach was rumbling for the past few days and he had already ignored it for too long. The meditations and lessons were exhausting.

After he finished his third bowl of rice soup, he took a few breaths and began to walk upstairs to the tower.

As he walked through the heavy, wooden door, Tas could tell that things were arranged differently than usual. Immediately he asked himself what the old man could be up to, until his shoulder was grabbed forcefully and he was turned to face Paj; the old man’s eyes were lined with fatigue.

“Last night, you prepared to travel with Jupiter, didn’t you?” Paj asked impatiently, his eyes never leaving Tas’. He already knew.

“Yes, I went to see my family.” Tas turned his eyes down to the floor.

“it was…” he sighed, returning to his mother’s laugh and his father’s confident grin.

“powerful and..” he looked up again to see Paj’s eyes reflecting his own.

“reassuring.” he said the last work slowly, letting it sink in so he could hear it himself. His family was healthy and happy.

Paj smiled suddenly, Tas could tell that he was not happy when he walked into the room. “Good, I am glad that your family is safe. Have you experienced any side effects?”

“I don’t think so…” Tas said slowly, trying to think back.

“Good. You would know.” Paj changed his manner and his brow darkened, a contrast to his white beard. “But there is something of a larger scale that is happening. The stars reflect a chaos surfacing in the West. Something is returning that is very, very old, and more powerful than you want to know.” Paj’s eyes glared and he slowed as he said them, obviously thinking back to another time. Tas was patient, but he already had so many questions.

“What is it?” Tas asked, hesitant to ask a question at all.

“Well, straight to the point aren’t we? Let’s find out.” Paj said, his gaze icy and cold, resigned, hardened. Tas felt his body begin to tremble in anticipation, he learnt of great sages who shared dreams in the manuals, but hadn’t even seen mention of techniques. Was he about to do this with Paj? He was sure that the ancient techniques were far advanced to his own elementary knowledge; at least for now.

Paj began to scuffled around, grabbing particular bowls and preparing tea for Tas with ginger, hibiscus, eucalyptus, and rosemary. “We will align with the moon again tonight, there is still small remaining power for sight. The tea will augment that power and…” he paused for long enough to look at Tas very seriously, one eyebrow rose as he finished, “will greatly enhance our sensitivity.”

Tas knew what this meant. The dream would be powerful; more powerful than anything he had ever experienced. But he was ready, his mind was empty and he was not scared.

“We will align our minds with Saturn’s rings, using the silver and iron alloyed bowls. Jupiter will also be in the sky, so we can share with Saturn’s energies and travel with Jupiter’s. and…” now he paused for a moment.

“we will smoke this.” He held up a small paper full of tobacco, some greenweed, and some other black substance that Tas didn’t know. But Tas was ready; he knew that this would be another step towards his ultimate goal and he wasn’t worried; Paj wouldn’t lead him astray.

He drank the tea, slowly, meditating as he did, saying nothing and letting Paj use the signing bowls. They both began to smoke the small rolled joint. Paj instructed Tas to inhale, but after the first one, he couldn’t stop coughing. Each time afterwords, he still coughed, but a bit less. Paj continued to play the bowls and Tas could feel himself fading into sleep; he could do nothing to stop it. Paj continued to play the bowls and create the vibrations, but was now sitting in his chair and Tas could tell that he was dozing off as well. Tas could feel himself leaving his body in the depths of the vibrations, the huge sea of vast nothingness was returning. Tas sat back on his mat in the room, faced towards Saturn and fell deeply into a sleeping meditation, where he couldn’t tell if he was awake, or asleep, until he finally succumbed to the dark of his mind.

 

 

The Wanderer, Part 8

village wanderer part 8

Please read the first parts of the story here:
The Wanderer, Part 1
The Wanderer, Part 2
The Wanderer, Part 3
The Wanderer, Part 4
The Wanderer, Part 5
The Wanderer, Part 6
The Wanderer, Part 7

Tas rolled over; his pain returned in full force. His head was throbbing and his mind was lost. He opened his eyes sometimes, but would shut them immediately because of the throbbing pain shooting from the side of his head. In the depths of his agony, he could see the smile of the man with the razor teeth grinning in between bursts of pain from his spine and head. His body was useless.

For two-days, he simply sat and recovered in a small hut, the village women brought him food and water and they arranged for a few new cloths for him to wear. Occasionally, they would bring him a coconut and it seemed to make everything feel a bit better.

He didn’t leave the small space that was allotted to him; he didn’t think he could even if he wanted to. The pain in his head was overwhelming.

Tas was happy to eat and drink his fill after a few days of nearly starving in the jungle. The women brought him bowls of rice and noodles and vegetables and some fruit to match. But their tea was absolutely intoxicating, Tas must have had 6 full cups throughout the day. He also had a bowl of soup each night for dinner, which was a delightful mix of squash and lentils. He slept on a soft fur that one of the women had given to him and as he recovered, he couldn’t help but feel very lucky to be where he was.

On the third day he woke with his spine still in pain, but his head felt better. It was still a bit hard to breath because his ribs were bruised, but he could stand without too much pain. There was still a dull throbbing, but he soon found himself stretching his spine. It was painful at first, but as he warmed his body slightly, the tension faded. He was still very sore, but he was ready to be out and about.

He walked out of his little hut and immediately was surrounded by people. The villagers acted like they had never seen an outsider before and their eyes were on him everywhere he walked. He was pulled this way and that by a small crowd of children, until one of the women shoo’ed them away. Her body was tattooed, but her face was relatively free from ornamentation.

She took him by the arm to an older man; on his head was a crown of feathers and carved wood and his face was painted to look very important, red bolts of lightning on his cheeks and vertical lines of white on his forehead. His eyes didn’t leave Tas as the boy approached. He seemed to look at him like the old wandering man did, piercing through his skin to something deeper. Only this man had spear surrounding his chair, long knives and arrows laced the background menacingly.

The old man looked at Tas for a moment, then called him closer. The woman pushed Tas so that the older man could examine him. He spent several long minutes examining Tas’ skin, then his head, then his ribs and spine. He looked at Tas in the eyes and seemed to have decided something. He called out in a loud voice to the entire villages and they roared and applauded as one in response. Tas wasn’t sure what was happening, but the entire village seemed to come alive at the old man’s words. The men began to organize to leave, grabbing weapons and painting each other with face paint. The women began to prepare food, Tas began to hear them chatter and heard sizzling in the background and could smell their fires being lit. In 20 seconds, the entire village had roared to life.

The woman took Tas back to his tent, where he remembered his throbbing head again. The pain had come back, though not as strong as the day before. He spent the rest of the day resting and listening to the village prepare, but had no idea what for.

When the shadows of the afternoon became longer, Tas was yelled at to come outside by the woman who was tending to him. He couldn’t quite figure out what they were saying at first, but once he had left his hut, three women grabbed him and pulled him towards a fire that was roaring in the center of the village. The men had returned with various game, a few chickens, but most notably a boar that was being skinned by the vicious man who had struck Tas. He felt his blood boil as he watched the man tearing through the boar’s flesh with his knife.

The women led him to a seat beside the old man, then began to feed him. All kinds of drinks and different vegetables were placed before him and he couldn’t help but devour them. He had never eaten so well as the past few days, but this was different. He felt like a king with servants that were continually arranging his food for him to eat, bringing new dishes until he couldn’t eat anymore. Once he was done, he realized that the entire village was waiting for him to finish.

Something was very wrong here, Tas thought to himself. The words from the villainous man days before rung in his ears ‘no friends here’. He couldn’t help but feel that this was not in his honor, but for something else entirely, but he had no idea what.

After everyone had finished eating, the sun began to set. The men began to pull out pipes and pass them between each other, before passing them to the women and even some of the older children. Tas had smelled tobacco before, but this was different, a skunkier smell. He felt a bit disoriented after a while and could tell that the smoke was strong. The villager’s eyes turned a dark red as they digested and smoked. Finally, Tas was offered a pipe, but after one pull found himself coughing uncontrollably. He felt a strange peace begin to settle over him and he almost felt as he had with the old man in the last days in the desert. He thought back grimly at the old man’s final prank.

The men began to scuffle about and soon a big wooden bowl that was cured for fire was brought into the center of the fire. The old man rose from his chair to the silence of the village and began to put ingredients into the bowl, some that Tas could see, some that he couldn’t. He could make out various roots and leaves and other plants of various sizes and shapes. He added some dark green and black liquid into the mix and set it over the fire.

A few minutes later, when the sun was just setting down on the horizon, Tas was led to the bowl. He was given a ladle and told to drink and he did. It was a nasty taste, but they gave him a bit of fruit afterwards. The old man drank longly from the bowl, as if relishing the taste, which Tas found unbelievable. It tasted like a mix of cow dung and overcooked vegetables.

Once the old man was done, the other men in the tribe took smaller portions of the strange liquid then the remains were passed to the women and finally, a few of the eldest children.

Tas returned to his seat and after a time, began to feel very weird. He started to see lights that couldn’t be there and the whole world seemed to come more alive. He couldn’t stop staring at the stars and the setting sun and felt his entire being start to melt away. The entire world melted away and all he could feel was the nothingness inside of himself, a void that grew larger and larger until it was overwhelming and he felt a burst of light come forth from his chest and illuminate the entire village. He saw his mother and sisters dancing at their own village fire and felt an intense longing, time seemed to pass so slowly. He opened his eyes to look at the stars again and found himself floating amongst them, a light inside of him was burning bright. He felt as if the stars were his brothers, though he had forgotten them. His vision became more and more in control and suddenly, he re-realized where he was. The old man was right beside him and he seemed to be inoculated, looking up at the sky with closed eyes.

Suddenly, seemingly in response to Tas’ gaze, the old man looked over at Tas and yelled loudly, so the entire village erupted. He took Tas by the arm and then slapped him to the floor. Pain flared in Tas, though it seemed to be distant in a way. He could still see the old man in perfect detail, his skin seemed to hang like a bag around his body and it swirled and magnified as he stared. He was brought to his feet again, and was bound to a tall pole. Tas finally knew that this was a tribe of the sort that were in children’s stories in his village. He knew immediately that these men planned to eat him. As if in response to his thoughts, the grim man who had injured him before came to the fire, licking his lips. Tas began to struggle, but it was too late.

They brought him to the fire and he knew it was over. He thought back to the old man and wondered how he could have gotten so lost. He walked slowly with the men surrounding him until they dropped him with a yell, close to the fire. Tas fell on his face, but could hear the cries of the villagers, screaming. Hell itself seemed to break loose from the lips of the women..

Tas tried to roll over, but couldn’t and found a rock to untie his hands from the pole. As he finally was able to look up, he saw a flash of darkness moving against the fire, seeming to dance with its flames. He finally broke the bindings of his hands and used them to raise his head to see what was happening.

A group of villagers were backed up against one of the larger huts, one shorter looking man with a large spear threatened them. Tas would have found this comical in any other situation, but the villagers seemed terrified. He smelt burning flesh and turned to the fire to see the body of a headless man singing in the flames. He looked on the floor to see more bodies, at least a dozen men, most of the them dead. The rest would be within minutes because of their wounds. Gashes, cuts, and blood decorated their bodies, giving signs of the battle that was continuing now.

The fire just barely illuminated the short attacker, who seemed to fly through the villagers while tearing through their flesh. The cries of the villagers grew less and less until only a dark silence remained. The fire was growing softer and Tas was still having visions of his family, of the old man, and of the stars and the life around him. But this was interrupted by his thoughts of the attacker that he watched flow like a swan with his movement. Who was this godly man who could kill a dozen ferocious villagers at once?

As if on cue, the attacker approached Tas and to Tas’ surprise, gently untied his feet from the pole and sat him up to look at him. When Tas could finally see the man’s face, he gasped.

It was the old man from the desert. He seemed to know that Tas was out of his mind and left him for the time being, but Tas sputtered and tried to speak to no avail. He was amongst the stars now, feeling the eternal energies of the cosmos flowing through him as a stream through a valley. He wondered if the old man was a hallucination and if perhaps he was dead. What a curious thing, life. Tas thought to himself.

He came back down for a moment to see the old man again, whose gaze hadn’t left Tas’ face. He helped Tas to his feet and brought him to a nice place to sleep. Tas cried the whole way, not knowing if he was alive or dead, but knew that this man, who had saved his life and viciously slaughtered 20 men in the process was a part of god. He felt it as strongly as he had ever felt anything in his life. As the visions began to fade, so Tas faded into sleep, the world forgotten and blackness overtook him.