I have decided that it is clearly more important to start getting this book out to the world for people to read than to delay any further searching for the right self publishing deal or the right opportunity in some other way. It is April 1st 2012 and so I step out as the Fool on this venture and start presenting here complete chapters from my book 'Waking the Monkey'. The true story of a shamanic journey I took at the Hundredth Monkey Camp in 1995, which changed my world forever. I hope that it may be perhaps a featherweight in the balance of change that the world is currently undergoing.
“Well now can I walk beside you?
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel like I’m a cog
In something turning”
Joni Mitchell “Woodstock” 1969
I first became aware of the magical experiment known as Hundredth Monkeying in early 1995 when I received a flyer through the post from Palden Jenkins, the editor of the first edition of “The Only Planet of Choice”, a book which purported to be channelled from archetypal beings and which discussed the difficult problems we face on Earth from a spiritual perspective.
Archetypal thought beings may be seriously outside the box for most people in the West, but until comparatively recently a belief in angelic and divine beings was universal, and the magical, animistic universe was a part of that worldview, still surviving in religions to this day.
I had met Palden on November 4th 1993, when I attended a talk that he gave at a Friends’ Meeting House in north Leeds on the subject of extra-terrestrials, having been interested in the subject of ET contact and channelling for some years; but I had only read about it, and not had first hand experience of the phenomenon, or so I thought. I had pretty much forgotten Carl Jung’s later work in which he argues that the UFO phenomenon could be modern humanity’s interpretation of deeper spiritual realities, putting them into a contemporary frame. Palden began to join the dots of depth psychology, spirituality and animism into a coherent gestalt of a larger universe beyond the materialist reductionism that is frankly responsible for much of the present world crisis.
I must have left my name and address on a mailing list when I bought a copy of “Only Planet” on that occasion. I certainly didn’t expect any follow-ups other than information about new books from the publisher, Gateway Books, and by the time that 1995 came around I had entirely forgotten about that anyway. Right from the start the universe was showing me how small things can lead to incredible developments given time. The metaphor of the grain of mustard seed is apparent here, and indeed the potential for the evolution of the smallest of energies into something significant has for me probably been the most important insight of the whole experience. It is no surprise that the ancients envisioned the paths of our lives as being woven by the fates from threads, representing the diverse influences which act upon us, and which we choose between or integrate into the fabric of our lives.
The ‘Hundredth Monkey’ principle is a concept that has been around for quite a while, based on the work of Ken Keyes, an ethologist who studied the behaviour of primates on islands off the coast of Japan in the 1950’s. Keyes apparently observed a young female washing sweet potatoes in water to clean the dirt off them, and in a similar way separated mixed rice and sand which the scientists gave to them, by throwing it in water and eating the rice which floated. This behaviour was transmitted first to her peers, and then most of the adults on the island through observation, imitation and the reinforcement of finding that this improved the food. The interesting and controversial point which followed is that this behaviour was then observed in primates on other local islands which had not had any contact with the ‘founding’ troupe. This led to the hypothesis that an idea could be transmitted through the collective unconscious if a critical mass of those holding the original idea were to be achieved, the hypothetical number of one hundred monkeys thereby symbolizing this threshold.
This is the basis on which ‘Morphogenetic Field Theory’ or ‘Morphic Resonance’, as proposed by Rupert Sheldrake, is founded. Essentially, once a particular pattern of behaviour has been established in the world, it becomes more likely to manifest elsewhere, through resonance in the Collective Unconscious. This has been shown to happen even with such material level events as crystallization of compounds in laboratories. Once this has been achieved in one place, other scientists mysteriously find it easier to do so elsewhere. Apparently the Universe is capable of learning…
The introductory flyer for ‘Hundredth Monkeying’ invited one to attend a week long meditation camp dedicated to world healing which attempted to use this concept to create a morphic field which would encourage healing in some of the world’s most intractable conflicts. I still remember well the opening words of that leaflet, beginning “It was a chronic sense of impasse about the Bosnian situation ..” which led to the instigation of this meditation work. It was something that I could relate to immediately. I had been in an absent healing meditation group with the White Eagle lodge, a mystical Christian denomination, for about eighteen months and had been trying to use some of the visualizations for the aid of people suffering in the Bosnian war at the time. I, along with many others, had been holding a protective circle of light around Sarajevo for some. Who can say whether we were having any effect, but seen as prayer many might believe it possible. It was certainly an interesting connection that the universe had given me an opportunity to develop the work or assistance that I had been attempting to give on behalf of the beleaguered citizens of Sarajevo. This city seemed to have particularly resonances in that not only was it the place where the Great War had been ignited, but also it was renowned as a multi-cultural city famous for its inter-ethnic tolerance, and it was being hammered under the blows of ruthless Serbian nationalists who seemed determined to bring that city to a destruction of the very values which made it the cultural example to the world that it was.
The stated purpose of the meditation retreat was to help heal cancers and running sores like this by meditating on them, and assisting the movement of psychic and spiritual energies through our meditations. In “Only Planet” the beings that called themselves “The Nine” had explained that situations like those in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Palestine/Israel were caused by bottlenecking of karma, whereby more karma and conflict were being created than was being resolved, and that this was spilling out all over the world so that the whole world was blocked and backing up with conflict. One didn’t need cosmic beings to relate to such an explanation of the world at the end of the twentieth century, but the proposed way of dealing with it did add a cosmic dimension to how one might relate to such situations; the classic western consumerist attitude of the nineties being one of mixed embarrassment, guilt, helplessness and avoidance of really considering what was going on in these places, who could say what might happen if we truly did engage with these issues?
In the commentary to “Only Planet” Palden had made mention of the concept of ‘turning the wheel of the Buddha-nature’. The awakening of the seed within of desire for enlightenment. How this may be achieved is a matter of endless debate, from Zen koans, cosmic riddles that are designed to make us see the world in new ways, through meditational discipline, to pure grace. Could we turn that wheel within ourselves, could we set up a morphic resonance that might help others in the world beyond?
A structure was offered for the meditations, although not obligatory. The three stages were; tuning in to the situation, being with it, and watching to see if anything changed. Who can say if any of the imagined scenarios existed objectively in the material world? If anything was changed or affected beyond the limits of our minds and the camp? Of course there could be no way of telling what psychic ripples of change we might send out by our meditations, but I was reminded of some very interesting work on Transcendental Meditation that I had come across while in the USA many years before, that had indicated significant differences in crime rates in high crime districts when groups of meditators had sat anonymously in these areas. A fairly basic mechanism could be imagined for such an effect if one allowed the existence of psychic vibrations of some kind, as yet undetected, as radiation used to be. A group of meditators could be postulated to set up a standing wave of tranquillity, or a vibration that opened doors of possibility in consciousness, to go beyond hostility and conflict.
What was to be attempted at the Hundredth Monkey camp took this concept to a further level, a logical development. If the psychic harmony field could be focused onto the areas of protracted conflict, then perhaps we might be able to facilitate those in such situations to find constructive ways out of them by offering a different reference point to that in which they were trapped; one of compassion and acceptance of their own and others’ experience ~ ‘inner aid’. This was cutting edge stuff for the time: transpersonal spirituality meets the collective unconscious.
The process of earthing and sharing these meditations would take place in the collective circle in what was to be known as “Allting”, a Norse word meaning a meeting in which all things may be considered and spoken of, using a Talking Stick. We were invited to bring whatever truth we might have or find, either before camp, or in our meditations and speak it in the Allting.
The second information sheet for those who replied to the flyer gave many details of the camp and its structure; obviously a hundred or so people in a field for a week would need some sort of organization, and I was impressed with the amount of forethought about what would be necessary for such a venture. Catering would be vegetarian. We were requested to commit for the entire week and disengage from outside commitments, and advised that we might meet with unexpected last minute obstacles to our attendance, whether from external interference or our own unconscious. I had heard of the Oak Dragon camps of the eighties, which had aimed to create sacred space in which the participants could find healing of self through reverence for the universe within that space, and Hundredth Monkeying had drawn on that organizational experience; the ‘crew’ and most of the support staff had been involved in those earlier camps, giving, if not exactly a professional feel to the venture, at least the confidence that things of this nature could be pulled off in logistical terms.
It would be well-nigh impossible to exaggerate the impact that this had on me. Since I had developed M.E. after an acute viral attack at Christmastime 1991 I had evolved my interest in meditation and related phenomena. When I was laid up in bed for considerable lengths of time there seemed little else to do except perhaps go crazy, especially as the relationship that I was in at the time was not withstanding the strains that my illness placed on it, and I was looking for a way forward.
For most of my life I had had a feeling or intuition that there would be something that I would be involved with in my life which would be of value in helping the world in its present precarious condition and that this would give me meaning. Part of me has also regarded this as a fantasy, wishful thinking, or perhaps simply the manifestation of my need to project structure onto an uncertain world. Just as the patch of damp on the ceiling becomes the shape of your dreams and nightmares, so perhaps I was grasping at straws at a time when my own life had itself reached a sort of chronic impasse.
Or could it actually have been the case that my meditation practice bore fruit in bringing me into an orbit where I would connect with others who shared the same aspirations? The White Eagle Lodge is quite emphatic that trusting the power of the Holy Spirit to arrange things for the absolute best of all beings in the Universe is the key to all wisdom and happiness, and the willingness to recognise this in everyday events enables one to go forward. Synchronicity is a large part of this, and it can even happen in such a way that it goes unrecognized, when apparently chance contacts can lead to great developments at a much later stage. Indeed all reality is like this perpetually, as each moment we create our own world, deciding which way to turn, what to choose to make real and what to discard; and despite all this, great things still grow, like the acorn which escapes the squirrel and becomes a huge tree that affects the world for many hundreds of years, even though at one time it might have been no more than a meal for a small animal.
Yet despite the apparently chance nature of the way that many connections in our lives are made, these are only the clothes that fate has chosen to wear; the underlying movement is the response that the Universe gives to the questions that we ask, the goals that we seek, the reality that we strive for.
It was very exciting to find that the Universe had finally answered my call for a purpose, but even at that early stage with this new energy I knew that I would not have connected with it had I not been prepared to work with what was already there in the world, and my life, at a higher level than was current in our world dream at the time. A slightly different way of looking at it might be that I was ready to move on to further levels myself. I guess I must have known that. I have always strained at the leash when it came to new experiences on the spiritual pathway, but I certainly had not the slightest conception of what I was entering into in terms of the degree to which the authenticity of purpose that had led me to this pathway would be challenged; how I would be forced to question the very foundations upon which this world healing initiative was based and not least my own motivation...
Waking The Monkey © Claire Rae Randall 2011, 2012