Musical Family Tradition

About

Our family has been blessed by having a living folk music tradition. By that, I mean that we have songs that have been memorized and handed down, that a central aspect of our family gatherings is singing and music. It is expected that persons in our extended family will learn an instrument and sing. This can happen at any point in life.

Reynolds family at the Reynolds Ranch, Porterville, Mississippi

Reynolds family at the Reynolds Ranch, Porterville, Mississippi

The Reynolds cousins at Pea Stock, 2017, in Door County, Wi.

The Reynolds cousins at Pea Stock, 2017, in Door County, Wi.

All of my mentors, all of my family members, my father, my mother, aunts, uncles, brother, sister, my cousins, grandmothers, grandfathers, my students during 30 years of teaching high school, undergraduate, post-graduate, all of my closest friends, colleagues, conference attendees, teachers, veterans, doctors, lawyers, musicians, psychologists, artists, dancers, philosophers that I know – and I mean All, have suffered because of the awe of mystical experiences and psychological symptoms mis-understood, distorted and mis-valued, mis-diagnosed.

All of our cultural institutions I have experienced in my lifetime perpetuate that suffering. It occurs through chronic mis-appropriation of our attention and intention. Our voices and all the voices of nature are silenced. Our receptivity is dumbed down and numbed. The symptom is a collective feeling of powerlessness and profound underestimation of our full potential as human beings.

about Christopher Reynolds, singer, teacher, shaman CLE OH

about Christopher Reynolds, singer, teacher, shaman CLE OH

I am F. Christopher Reynolds, M.Ed., a singer-songwriter, teacher and community shaman from Cleveland, Ohio.

(contact: spiriman@aim.com)

My mission is to sing the dream of Peace on Earth onward by inviting, welcoming and empowering as many as possible to share in the Third Great Awakening now occurring in Western culture. All of my songs, chants, No Man’s Folk, writings, art, workshops and ceremonies encourage waking up together and participating fully in this Awakening.

For Americans, we are called to expand our founding American Declaration and dare to devote our personal pursuit of happiness to the pursuit of the happiness and benefit of all beings.

Our time of The Third Great Awakening is period of Western Renaissance. The rebirth is a cultural rite of passage out of the modern and late-modern world views, and into an emerging, participatory, holistic, and quantum worldview. We are being invited to courageously participate in tending a sacred relationship with the land and with the Ancestors so that literally, spiritually and metaphorically, the Earth takes its place as the most life-giving of celestial bodies we know, in a galactic consciousness in an ever-expanding cosmos of more than 2,000,000,000,000 galaxies. It has been unfolding now for more than 170 years.

Both world views that are passing away share a rare form of soul-famine. Just one example among hundreds of our lack is, we are barely able to wonder if a human being is capable of more than a single lifetime. In the late-modern world view, our personality is an illusion that dies with our brain. In modern and patriarchal forms of monotheism, our personalities are degraded as “ego” and our immortal soul gets one chance at a life that ends in a redeemed or damned Eternity. Both late-modern scientific materialism and modern patriarchal monotheism are unable to imagine that we live in a profoundly kind universe when it comes to survival of consciousness.

Our collective poverty of imagination is similar in scale to the poverty you find in what cosmologists call the Great Debate of 1929 between Shapely and Curtis. Shapely, a leading cosmologist of his time, argued that there is one galaxy in the universe. Curtis argued that there are many. Our current estimate nearly a century later is that there are some 2 trillion galaxies.

Nasa Deep Field Image
Source: Nasa.gov

A similar lack in imagination was the cause for rejection of the Copernican solar system. Using the science of the time, leaders in thought, while they were able to accept that our planet orbited the sun, they could not accept the Copernican stars. If Copernicus was right, the stars had to be immense beyond belief and located at distances of unimaginable (for the times) distances.

I think it’s a fair comparison to consider for the threshold we together face. Imagining that we live only a single lifetime compared to our true nature is like, in an ever-expanding universe of more than 2 trillion galaxies, insisting that stars could not be immense and light years away or that the entire universe could never be more than one galaxy.

With current ontological (what it is to be human) undervelopment is a coinciding loss of the sustaining relationships, the warmth, love, humor, and help that come from our loved ones who have died, yet who continue to care about our lives — Ancestors. In the Indigenous world view, the modern and late-modern insistence of life without Ancestors is known as living at the suicide level

Much of American culture appears to be consuming in order to make the suicide level comfortable.

To be alive now and be unable to distinguish between the suicide level of the modern and late-modern world views, and the delight of the emerging participatory world view is a form of personal and community soul-neglect. It is a soul-neglect that impoverishes our children and grandchildren most of all.

Humanity, for the most part, has lived with wealthy traditions of continuity of soul that care deeply for the future. There is wisdom in welcoming each child’s birth as a sacred re-birth. There is wisdom in educating each adolescent in such a way that helps connect them to the reason of his/her/their birth. There is wisdom in welcoming a sustainable awareness of soul that encourages living, savoring of the adventure of life, of all lives, of all that live. There is wisdom in singing each soul back to its place of origin at the end of life.

The First Great Awakening occurred in the 13 colonies and Britain in the 1730’s and 1740’s. It was a Protestant movement that emphasized experiences of transformation through conversion and knowledge of being saved by Christ whose Second Coming was not far off. The Second Great Awakening occurred in the United States from 1790-1820. It, too, was a Protestant movement that encouraged life and cultural reform, salvation, and, once again, the immanent return of Christ in the Second Coming.

The Third Great Awakening, also calls to a re-birth, an ecological conversion, life and cultural reforms, not for an Apocalypse but for an integration of essential love and compassion for all beings — a conscious return to the Tao. Our ‘salvational’ knowledge is to be found at the growing edges in new and unexpected cultural ways for the West. The awakening we are experiencing can come as a sudden stroke of awareness, lightning strike or flip, yet also may come as a slow, methodical development in lives that dismantle old conceptual structures.

Together we are creating a way for a new sense of “home” where we know from direct experience survival and evolution of soul over many lifetimes.

Walt Whitman in his 1855 Leaves of Grass, prophesied:

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

Here is William James reflecting in 1890:

“The result of Mr. Myer’s learned and ingenious studies in hypnotism, hallucinations, automatic writing, mediumship, and the whole series of allied phenomena is a conviction that he expresses in the following terms:

Each of us is in reality an abiding psychical entity far more extensive than he knows–an individuality which can never express itself completely through any corporeal manifestation. The self manifests itself through the organism; but there is always, as it seems, some part of the self unmanifested, and always, as it seems, some power of organic expression in abeyance or reserve.

The ordinary consciousness Mr. Myers likens to the visible part of the solar spectrum; the total consciousness is like that spectrum prolonged by the ultra-red and ultra-violet rays. In the psychic spectrum the “ultra” parts may embrace a far wider range, both of physiological and of psychical activity, than is open to our ordinary consciousness and memory. “

Nearly 130 years later, in 2018, the book, Changed in a Flash: One Woman’s Near-Death Experience and Why a Scholar Thinks It Empowers Us All, by Elizabeth Krohn and Jeffrey Kripal, Kripal reflects on Krohn’s experience, developing further William James’ and Frederic Myer’s participatory world view:

It is difficult to avoid the obvious next step here: the brain is more of a filter or reducer of reality than a total perceiver. It keeps out far more information that it lets in. But what would happen if this filtering mechanism temporarily shut down?…whatever Elizabeth was seeing, smelling, and hearing in the Garden (in her Near-Death Experience) was deeply informed by the human sensory system, since “seeing,” “smelling,” and “hearing” are all sensory capacities. And yet these events also went well beyond the ordinary limits of these particular sensory capacities. (p. 189)

The above affirms what William James presciently underlined, the psychic spectrum the “ultra” parts may embrace a far wider range, both of physiological and of psychical activity, than is open to our ordinary consciousness and memory. Kripal names how ordinary consciousness and memory and the wider range that they can embrace, Human as Two.

Richard Tarnas in Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View offered wonderful language for what we face together:

The Western mind must be willing to open itself to a reality the nature of which could shatter its most established beliefs about itself and about the world. This is where the real act of heroism is going to be. A threshold must now be crossed, a threshold demanding a courageous act of faith, of imagination, of trust in a larger, more complex reality; a threshold, moreover, demanding an act of unflinching self-discernment. And this is the great challenge of our time, the evolutionary imperative for the masculine to see through its one-sidedness, to own its unconscious shadow, to choose to enter into a fundamentally new relationship of mutuality with the feminine in all its forms. The feminine then becomes not that which must be controlled, denied and exploited, but rather fully acknowledged, respected and responded to for itself. (p. 444)

Michael Murphy’s 1992 (!) book, The Future of the Body, invites readers into how it feels to cross Tarnas’ threshold. Future of the Body offers 150 years of academically hard-earned information for recognizing the delight on Earth that makes a human lifetime a worthy adventure. We are long overdue to wake up from our forgetting. Here is a partial list of the 12 categories he calls, The Metanormalities of Everyday Life. 

As I sing in The Magnification music clip above:

Come out now people from wherever you been!

Perception of External Events:

Synaesthesias, or crossing of the senses (“seeing” sounds, for example, or “hearing” flowers), in which a numinous beauty is revealed or an extrasensory perception is dramatized.

“Feeling” people in a house though you cannot see or hear them.

Feeling someone is watching you, after which you turn and meet his or her gaze.

Correctly guessing the location of water or other materials by extrasensory processes.

Spontaneous, unexpected perceptions of distant events.

Hearing music or other sounds for which there is no discoverable source, that enliven particular thoughts or emotions.

Opening books to the exact page you are looking for.

Sensing a numinous presence during meditation, intimate conversations, or other circumstances.

Seeing lights around people or inanimate objects for which there are no apparent sources.

Spontaneously apprehending the presence of someone physically distant or dead, bit direct and vivid contact.

Somatic Awareness and Self-Regulation:

Experiencing vivid images or arteries, capillaries, or other bodily structures that immediately seem to be your own, and sensing they may be damaged or in a process of recovery from an injury.Picturing what appear to be chakras or other entities depicted in esoteric teachings.

Hearing melodies that seem to reflect you physical condition

Communication Abilities:

Correctly intuiting someone’s (negative or positive) feelings or thoughts about you are a third party.

Telpepathically stimulating loving or hateful, serene or agitated moods in another person.

Sensing correctly who is calling on the telephone, even though the caller hasn’t communicated for a long time, or thinking about someone who then calls you.

Feeling no separation at all from your lover during sexual intercourse.

Feeling the pains of a distant friend, then discovering he or she is ill or injured.

Sharing sensations of well-being with friends though there is no physical communication between you.

“Feeling” what someone else is thinking.

Having the same dream that a friend does.

Accurately sensing someone’s prayers in your behalf.

Vitality:

Feeling great warmth on cold days, without benefit of extra clothing.

Experiencing immense energy, sometimes frightening in its intensity, for which there is no apparent cause.

Sensing a rush of electricity up the spine, or radiatin out from the abdomen, accompanied by mental illuminations or great strength.

Remaining free from infection in spite of contagious disease among those around you.

Movement Abilities:

Executing moves in sports beyond your normal ability while sensing a new power or “self.”

Sensing physical levitation during strenuous physical exercise, prayer or love-making.

Experiencing flight as if in a subtle body, during an especially vivid dream or state of creative absorption.

Out-of-body experience (during which you may see your own body) after which you report events that could not be known to you in ordinary circumstances.

Experiencing an extraordinary pleasure in movement accompanied by an apparent release of new energies in particular body parts.

Abilities to Alter the Environment Directly:

Appearing to correct a machine’s malfunction by mental intention alone.

Appearing to alter the flight of a ball by mental intention.

Promoting or inhibiting plant growth in extraordinary fashion, as if by some sort of green thumb.

Experiencing a powerful mood or image while taking a photograph, then finding an unexplainable object or light on the picture you have taken.

Pain and Pleasure:

Eliminating pain by simply willing it away.

Feeling inexplicable pleasure, or a stream of vitality that seems localized in the spine, the solar plexus or some other body part.

Experiencing sudden shivers of ecstasy that arise without apparent stimulation.

Experiencing profound joy during a routine task or in the midst of pain or discomfort, joy that does not seem to depend of the satisfaction of a particular need or desire. This state may be attributed simply to the “joy of living,” and may have a contagious effect on others .

Cognition:

Correctly sensing unexpected danger.

Correctly anticipating a melody before it comes on the radio, or a dramatic event before it happens, or a sentence before a companion says it.

Apprehending a situation or place as if you had experienced it before.

Apprehending an exceptionally complex and original set of ideas all at once, in conjunction with great excitement and joy.

Remembering extremely complex material with perfect detail.

Correctly determining historical events connected with a particular location or object, as if by some sort of clairvoyance.

Experiencing a sense of mystical contact with G-d, perhaps at work or during a festive event, or while engaged in intimate conversation or in the midst of suffering.

Volition:

Waking from sleep at a designated moment without assistance from an alarm.

Spontaneously throwing off the effects of injury or disease or (on the darker side) psychokinetically triggering some affliction in others.

Accomplishing some deed requiring strength and endurance beyond your usual capacity, in a crisis, perhaps, during a sports competition or to inflict punishment on others.

Spontaneously adapting to great heat, cold, or other adverse conditions.

Deliberately rising above thirst or hunger, with no apparent loss of strength.

Spontaneously exerting subliminal influence on others in such was as harmonizing conflicting parties, bringing peace to potentially violent situations, — or conversely, causing discord and suffering.

Individuation and Sense of Self:

Awakening to a witness self that is fundamentally distinct from particular thoughts, impulses, feelings, or sensations.

Feeling for a moment as if your body is only a small part of your self, or that it is located at a specific point in the field of awareness.

Feeling a new substantiality, as if you are somehow larger, stronger, and more solid.

Spontaneously realizing a new and profound self-confidence that adverse criticism does not affect.

Feeling as if you are suddenly more real, more authentic, more truly yourself.

Momentarily apprehending all objects of perception as if they are contained within you.

Experiencing an identity that self-evidently existed before your birth and that will outlast your body’s death.

Love:

Seeking new beauty and possibilities for growth in someone of long acquaintance.

Experiencing a love that allows you to feel a friend’s suffering, deep intentions, or personal conflicts.\

Experiencing love that removes all sense of boundaries between you and a loved one, as if you and the other were a single person or body.

Experiencing a love for someone who is physically distant that appears to elevate that person’s self-esteem and sense of well-being.

Body Structures, States, and Processes:

Pleasurable streaming sensations that envelop the body and seem to involve a significant enhancement of health.

A subtle effervescence from head to toes during sleep, through which you feel your bodily processes are being altered.

Sensing an opening in the body–located perhaps between the eyes, around the heart, near the navel or at the base of the spine– through which energy is flowing.

Spontaneous rushes of energy up and down the spine, spiraling around the torso, or rising from the soles of the feet.

Sensing an extraordinary lightness while moving or at rest, or a sense of elevation from the ground.

Agility beyond your ordinary range of movement that seems to related to a new and extraordinary elasticity of tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

Radical alterations of body image, as if you are much taller or shorter, for example, or shaped like a sphere, column, diamond or point.

Extraordinary ability to withstand blows, in sports or other circumstances, as if you are suddenly heavier and harder.

The protests at Standing Rock in 2016 marked the largest gathering of Indigenous peoples in United States’ History. A re-birth, a re-claiming of their traditions rooted in ecological wisdom for an integration of essential love and compassion for all beings is awakened and proceeding. Environmental respect is a foundation of traditional Earth-based spirituality. Besides the cry, Mni Wiconi! (Water is Life!), a common statement heard was, Don’t let them fool you, our ways are sacred.

Knowing through direct experience of the emerging participatory world view generally includes a profound feeling of being connected to all that is, a deep reverence for Earth, experiential relationships with Ancestors, and an embodied appreciation for the beauty and vulnerability of life for future generations.

As we awaken to the direction of change, life becomes richer and wiser. By richer, I mean that life deepens as regards direct personal experience of the awe, also known as the numinous, that makes life worth living. By wiser, I mean that when we are mentally oriented so that the modern and late-modern world views are released, our “heart’s horizon” of the numinous becomes a central, guiding element in waking, dreaming, and creative life – especially in times of greatest suffering.

I am currently performing my new release, The Immanent Function.

Immanent Function is a way to heal the centuries-old split between consciousness and matter/energy. Eternity and space/time are best imagined as cooperative, loving partners, even Beloveds. The spirit worlds can influence what happens in the sensual and the sensual can influence the spiritual worlds. Rice University’s J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought Jeffrey J. Kripal, likes to write, Human as Two. 

We are at a time of side by side,

Here is my working definition:

Immanent Function: Synchronistic, embodied becoming together when two or more choose to gather for the happiness of all beings. The immanent function is the partner to C. G. Jung’s transcendent function. Individual consciousness participates in communion with the collective ecological conscious and unconscious. When in partnership, the immanent and transcendent functions make manifest the awe that opens the human heart to the Mystery of life. Their intermingling is recognized by an ensouled, living atmosphere of warmth, love, surprise and humor that makes life-cycles worth living in enduring planetary and interplanetary relationships. Anomalous, synesthetic, paranormal, psychokinetic, miraculous, prophetic, numinous, aesthetic arrest experiences that are immanent to the transcendent occur in the midst of their union. Written by F. Christopher Reynolds, M.Ed. on October 7, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio

Contact: spiriman@aim.com