"....There's a spot where you go every day to get out of your head...."

Joe Paulik - Power of Place

Joe Paulik Sacred Area

Essays | Original Song Videos Download

The essays and songs presented here come from experiences and teachings which have jumped out at me over the years, as if they were an urgent message. My ability to understand and express their meaning results directly from the hours spent daily in my Sacred Area over many years. I could not have recognized, understood, or articulated these messages without having put in that sacred time.

 I am well versed in the ritual and ceremony of going to the Sacred Area. Putting miraculous occurrences and enlightening discoveries into words and songs is a calling of mine made fertile by the contemplation and introspection that happens there. The audio files on the Baseline Symphony page are often recorded during morning or evening visits to a Sacred Area. Visiting the Sacred area regularly becomes a way of beginning the profound healing that this Earth so desperately needs.

The Sacred Area

I highly recommend books and field guides on survival, tracking, awareness and philosophy written by Tom Brown Jr. For those with a passion for nature and survival, classes at the Tracker School are a peerless intensive study of healing, survival, tracking, awareness, and the life and philosophy of the Ancient Scouts. In all skills taught there, the spiritual aspects are considered just as important as the physical, often receiving even more focus. From 1957 to 1967 Tom was taught by the Apache elder and shaman Stalking Wolf to flourish, to heal and stay hidden anywhere in Nature without the tools of society. It is the inclusion of the spiritual wisdom in all these skills, which comes from Stalking Wolf's lifetime of wandering and dedication to living as One with the Earth, which always draws me back to the school.

Like all of us, Tom Brown Jr. has been entrusted with certain gifts and knowledge. Like some of us, he is dedicating his life to honoring what he has been entrusted with. The ability to survive, heal, stay hidden, and flourish in harsh conditions, through earth upheavals and social collapse without the tools of man is part of the knowledge he has been entrusted with. It is a rare and crucial piece of knowledge in a world that is quickly falling apart, but that ability is only part of its purpose. To me, the main purpose of this wisdom is the way of life it sets before us. To live in full communion with the Earth, unshackled by the need for tools made by others, is to live in the Garden of Eden. I believe that all of us, at some place deep in our foundations, crave a return to the Garden, to being caretakers.

My purpose for saying this is not to promote the Tracker School or Tom, but to lay a foundation so that I can tell you about the Sacred Area. Tom often says that in all his years with Stalking Wolf it was an unwritten rule that each day at sunrise and sunset, time in a Sacred Area was set aside for meditation, introspection, and thanksgiving. I have also heard him say a number of times that if he could only have us do one thing, if there was only one...

X Close action he could ask us to perform, it would be to go to our Sacred Area for introspection, contemplation, and thanksgiving around sunrise and sunset each day.

In that special sacred place we would stop moving for a while and allow ourselves to slow down, to pause. We would relax all the muscles of the body. (I recommend researching tension and release muscle relaxation techniques). We would allow a sense of timelessness to wash over us until we experienced nature in the glorious Now, unfettered by thoughts, tattered emotions, and worries. After all, the worries will still be there for us when we come back. They do not serve us, so it's okay to not focus on them, to forget about them completely for a while. From that fertile place of Now, of simply enjoying Nature on its own terms for a while, we would then allow the pure mind to slowly come back in, now with more awareness of its real purpose. Feeling thankful comes naturally at this point, which prepares fertile ground from which to readjust and plan for our life's Vision as it stands today, knowing that the Vision changes daily. We would think of other people and the help or healing they may need. We might drift back over last night's dreams, or the previous day's activities and see what we missed. Perhaps we judged someone as a bad person when it was really a cry for help. Maybe we overlooked a miracle. All the while we would retain awareness of nature in the Now as it responds to our contemplations. Allowing this type of pure contemplation while simultaneously experiencing nature and the Now on its own terms synchronizes the physical mind with the heart and with the rest of creation. It enlivens the spirit and soul. It honors the Creator each day by implying that we are aware of the offered teachings, even if we were too busy in the rush and chaos to catch them at first.
The rest of creation is everything that is not you. By synchronizing with all the non human elements which we are all dependant on, we reinstate to its rightful place a vital missing piece of the actual purpose and driving force behind our lives. Subsequently we then more easily synchronize and harmonize with other humans and become aware of their disconnections and thus their needs. So in turn, human relationships improve. Society has largely left this vital and indispensible element of synchronization with nature out, regarding it as useless and a deterrent to economic growth.
All the earth is sacred. A personal Sacred Area doesn't mean it is more sacred than another area. It means that it fits your personal uniqueness and feels personally more perfect, more sacred to you. For those living in an inner city, the Sacred Area may be a small corner of the house reserved for special items, good energy, and perfection. Or it may be a certain area in the yard that feels really good. Given a large yard or natural area to choose from, our unique personal gifts usually lead each of us to choose an area different than the next person would choose. It is nice to be able to have a Sacred Area out of doors to allow connection to the feel of breezes, the taste of the air and the smells of plants, the sights and sounds of various natural entities which change continually and respond to our every mood.
I have many Sacred Areas in the various locations I travel to for work and other activities. I often perform music at the Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais Minnesota. Outside the restaurant, across the street in Beartree Park on Lake Superior is a Northern Mountain Ash tree which was my Sacred Area decades ago when the area contained an adjacent gas station. That Northern Mountain Ash tree is now one of the only surviving trees after the park renovation which eliminated the gas station. Before a gig I often go to that Sacred Area to pause, to redefine and reaffirm my purpose. I think about the shade it offered while I attended concerts in the park. I wonder at how it happened to survive the decisions of man when so many others did not. I feel deep thanks that the tree I had chosen so many years ago was one that was spared.
To find your sacred area, simply wander without time or destination. When you come to a place that just feels good and where your body simply seems to want to stop moving, you may have found it. It is important to have such an area near your home that you can easily get to at least at the beginning of each day. As the days pass, the baseline symphony of that area will become more and more familiar. Awareness of the baseline symphony is vital for the awareness and understanding of messages and communications from the world around us.
This one daily activity allows the earth and creation to be your teachers, reinstating them to their rightful places. If only one person who reads this does it, their life will be transformed and the world will change for the better as result. It is like having a free top notch psychologist at your fingertips at all times. It can be a stellar backup or replacement for conventional forms of therapy, and reduce or eliminate the need for depression medication. It can cure Nature Deficit Disorder. It can cure us of the temptation to idolize and see others as above or below us, because we are introduced daily to the ultimate teacher and life itself. Instead of seeing better or worse people, we see that there are those who are doing, and those who are not. We find some people who have found a purpose synchronized with their own hearts and creation, others struggling to find that synchronization, and some who disregard their hearts and creation altogether.
It is wonderful to have plenty of time like 30 or 60 minutes or more of sacred time each morning and evening in your area. That amount of time can be necessary at first, at least in the morning. However, with time and practice the amount of time needed can be greatly reduced. I can go to my Northern Mountain Ash tree in Beartree Park and reap the synchronization benefits in a moment or two. A common lament I hear is that people lack the time to set aside. My experience is the opposite. I would lose time by not doing it. Going to the sacred area daily frees up vast amounts of time and energy used up by persistent stress, unclear thinking, and desperate choices. At the scene of an accident I'll put more stock in a clear calm thinker before a stressed out anxious one. Doing so saves time, energy, and lives. Synchronizing the mind and heart with Nature also facilitates good physical health which can save time and money on doctor bills and hospital stays, add extra years, and improve the general quality of life.
For a detailed description of meditation techniques which can make the sacred time experience even more productive, I recommend the book Awakening Spirits by Tom Brown Jr. The techniques presented there are extremely effective and are like the ones he taught at my philosophy 1 class at the Tracker School. I used them especially in the earlier years of my learning and I return to them from time to time in order to reinforce the power and effectiveness of my meditations, to control my thoughts and keep them as allies to myself and everyone else. X Close
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