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Shining Bear

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Winds Erase

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Fertile Lowlands

Extreme Simplicity

Daylight Savings

from CHRONICLES OF SHINING BEAR.......[now available in store]

By: Victor Woodenturtle


I had arrived early for a meeting with Shining Bear, and so I stood there at the entryway to what seemed like a retreat in the city, just standing there looking at the tall trees and breathing in the deep blue sky. I know I was seeking something, answers, direction, and yet I felt a familiar anxiety of wanting to live my dreams, but not knowing how to manifest those dreams in my day to day life. I felt as if my inner and outer life were in turmoil. I could not calm my mind. I wanted a certain knowingness, a certain certainty, and yet these eluded me. Though I dreamed of living on a farm and being wholly self-sufficient, I lived in a house and did some gardening out back. I dreamed of having a perfect relationship with a woman, having a family, being engaged in an ideal business enterprise that supported us all without contributing to the many ills that plague the planet.
I knew that part of my problem was that I was burdened with my many personal ignorances -those things I did not know, and those things I knew wrong. I was also burdened with the reality of needing to regularly produce income for the various necessities of everyday life. This required spending the majority of my time each day engrossed in making money for someone else so that I would receive an hourly wage, doing something that I did not regard as my highest occupation in life.
How was I to get from where I was to where I wanted to be? And was that really where I wanted to be - on an ideal farm living the good life? I had lived on a farm and found it less than stimulating in most regards. There was not a viable way for me to earn an income, by myself, though it was possible if I worked at it. And though I hated to admit it at the time, I was lonely on the farm. I was not living there all by myself, but there were not the number of social interactions possible when you live away from town.
So I was now back in the area where I was born, eager to spend a short time talking with a man who seemed to be spiritually inclined, who seemed to possess a knowingness, and from whom I felt I could find both answers and direction. I was also impatient. I could tell that I was impatient - I wanted a certain something in my life, and I felt I should not wait. I was simultaneously aware of the fact that what I really deeply wanted was a feeling deep inside, something that I would know when I was there, something that would transcend where I was living, who I was in a relationship with, how I earned my money. I knew instinctively that there was this state of being that people had achieved, and had pointed the way for others. I also knew, instinctively, that this way was both simple, and therefore elusive due to its utter simplicity. It was also hard and painful, in the sense that one has to make a choice to pursue The Way. The choice necessitates closing other doors and not going back to them. Then, a commitment to this Way is required since one had to be pursuing this with full intent, full purpose, and utter honesty.
I knew that a part of me wanted this way, but I also felt weak inside, and cowardly, and I noted my tendency to work at something for a while and then to drop it if it was not productive. Was I lazy also?
I was fixated by the tall trees surrounding what seemed to be a mini-forest in this hilly "forgotten" section of Los Angeles. I could see a few bird nests up in the tree branches, and I could hear many small birds who lived in those branches. I think they were sparrows. I walked a little more up the entryway, and in a private spot, I took off my shirt to feel the sun on my skin. It felt good, and I breathed in deeply the dark blue sky. How could such a place like this exist, I wondered. Who was this Shining Bear man? Was I just wasting another day when I should be at some job? At least at a job, I would be earning some money, regardless how boring it would be. But I felt compelled to be here, to at least attempt to learn a little more.
I knew there was a small group of others, but I really did not know what they all did. I was somewhat aware that they came together for discussions and meetings. Was this the answer I was seeking? Did answers exist for my questions, or was I simply caught up in my own youthful naivete about how the world operates? Was it just a matter of time before I would be forced by circumstances to plunge back into the hourly Mammon world of money, and salaries, and debts and loans and cars and rents and mortgages? I knew that I needed to master all those money matters and not to simply avoid them. But I also did not want them to be the controlling factor in my life.
My mind was swimming with my ideas of what my life would be about. I felt as if I were one particle in the whirlwind of thoughts and ideas that were swirling around my mental atmosphere. I did not identify that I wanted peace, but I knew I wanted a certain way of living life. I was not afraid of work, especially not work that brings one closer to these personal goals of self-sufficiency.
As I stared up into a brilliant green patch of wild cherry trees and the glowing new growth of the tall redgum trees, two large ravens flew by, doing that clicking sound they do. I first thought that they were crows, but they were too big to be crows. They seemed to be flying wing to wing and then they disappeared over the trees. My mind quickly reverted back to the preoccupation with my interests in life, and the type of life I wanted to live. I think I was what would be called a "full cup." I was so, so fully engrossed in my own hidden fears and worries and vague dreams and goals for which I could not see the path, that I was closed to the wonderousness of this moment. And it was such a stunning moment, in such a unique location, that if my mind were calm and alert, I could have experienced it more fully. I looked at my clock. Not much longer. I wanted to meet with Shining Bear and fully experience his presence. I wanted to stop the random flow of thoughts and worries about my life and where I would go with it all.
I jumped down on the gravel and began to do pushups. I'm not sure why I chose that, but I felt that some exercise would make me breathe, and make me stronger, and get me back in touch with the moment. When I could do no more, I again stood up, shirtless, with the sun on my back. I felt refreshed now, and a certain calmness came over me. I felt much more "in control," and "in the moment."
I watched a bumblebee for a long time in its erratic flight, moving slowly towards a dead tree stump. He flew in such a way that I thought he was swimming in thick water, and then he disappeared into a hole in the stump. Immediately a hummingbird appeared and alighted not far from my face. It hummed an electric hum, and its feathers glowed a phosphorescent green. I was dazzled. Its sound tickled my ear, and suddenly, as my inner rambling voice quieted down, I became aware of an entire spectrum of activity to which I'd previously been unaware. I could hear bees in the tree flowers, the sounds of distant car doors slamming, the hum of the car wheels on the road, children laughing, playing, crying in nearby backyards, coffeepots whistling in a home across the hill, a plane moving by, the soft sound of the breeze working the treetops, dogs barking. It did not last long, but for awhile, my sense of self was completely lost in the world around me. I entered into it and somehow experienced it all from the inside, for those brief moments. Something within me had changed.

It was time for my meeting, and I walked up the dirt road to the hilltop adobe. I experienced a sense of inner calmness now, even though none of my pressing questions were answered. I somehow managed to get into the now.
Shining Bear came to the door after I knocked and he greeted me with a coffee cup in his hand. I began to say "thank you," but he asked me, "Did you hear the sorcerers?" I was silent, not grasping what he was asking me. He led me into the area that later became known as the "cave."
In our short meeting, we did not talk about my life or my dreams or my goals or where I will live or my job or my relationship with anyone, or any of "my" concerns. He spoke about the meaning of symbols and correspondences, and suggested, because of my natural interest in botany, that I make a study of The Doctrine of Signatures. He said that there is a "language" to the world of symbols, if you but take the time to learn the meanings of the ordinary mundane things, and how they correlate to a spiritual or inner meaning. He explained that everything in nature has a deeper esoteric meaning, and those meanings can guide us in our daily choices, if we have studied them and if we are disciplined enough to abide by such messages when they are coming through.
He went on to explain that there were many symbols which pertained to our meeting, including the fact that an apparent "miscommunication" meant that one of our very first planned meetings did not occur. He explained that part of this "interference" was due to my own ignorance and preoccupation with "me," and part of it had to do with the thoughts and entities which control this world and do not wish to allow any exposures of what "living life on earth" is really all about. Needless to say, my new considerations about how and what to do were overwhelming, and some of my onerous concerns of an hour earlier now seemed trivial.
"The sorcerers talked when you arrived," he told me as our short meeting was coming to a close, "but you were unaware of who and what they are, and so you probably were not listening." I wanted to ask what these sorcerers were, and what he was referring to. He seemed to read my mind and said, "In time, if you study these recondite matters, you will learn to read the signs as easily as you read the signs on the streets and in the stores of Los Angeles." He smiled, and we said good bye.
This interaction seemed to typify the challenges I faced within myself as I continued to interact with Shining Bear.

But let's go back to the beginning and set the stage of who I was and where I thought I was going with my life when I met him during my high school years. This book will follow more or less chronologically over the following nearly 30 years, and will focus upon only those lessons we received that I believe have the widest universal appeal.