Module 3 – Fierce Compassion

1.0 Welcome

Last Night As I Was Sleeping
— Antonio Machado (translated by Robert Bly)

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvellous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvellous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvellous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvellous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

2.0 Preferential Shapes Test


This test was created by a Basque woman Angeles Arrien after a 7 year cross-cultural study in libraries and from traveling around the world. She discovered that five basic shapes appear in the art of all world cultures: the circle, the square, the triangle, the cross, and the spiral. The study also confirmed that people in different cultures do give similar meanings to these shapes. The test is an effective tool that can be used to determine the connection between a person’s preferences for certain shapes and the same person’s inner, subjective states. In the book Signs of Life she writes:

“In my research with myths and fairy tales, I noticed that characters in these stories often had to make a life or death choice involving objects, people, riddles, questions, animals and other items. I discovered that no matter how many or how few objects were available to choose among, the obvious choices are rarely correct. I also learned that there is one particular choice that is the fairy-tale-character’s key to transformation and liberation.

I used the information I had found in this research to determine the meanings of the positions in the Preferential Shapes Test. These positional meanings correspond with what is archetypally found in fairy tales when characters are faced with life-changing choices.

It is my belief that when people take the Preferential Shapes Test, they will repeat the similar archetypal process of choice-making used by characters in myths and fairy tales, that they will make a certain predictable preferential choice which will be the key to their current growth process.”

Here is the test: Draw each of the five shapes once a piece of paper in your order of preference from most to least preferred.

Once complete you can visit this page for an explanation of what the shapes and the positions mean. I will also offer some suggestions for integrating the results.

3.0 Karma

the alchemist

I will dive in deeper here and say more but I want to communicate the main points now. Perhaps you think of karma as something you accumulate when you do something bad or wrong. This is part of it. You can also accumulate good karma. Think of it like record grooves. The record that is you was not born as a blank record. Already etched into this record are samskaras, or grooves, from past lives and you ancestral lineage. If you do not believe in past lives or reincarnation that is fine. Just ponder what I am sharing. These grooves effect how you perceive reality and the actions you take. By paying attention through meditation, shamanic journeying, the practices offered in the Purpose Discovery Program, and even moments in your life, you can become aware of these patterns. Having someone “push your buttons” is an example. But where do these buttons come from? Did you choose them? 

There is a Jewish story that when you are about to be born, God takes you to a field covered with bundles. Each bundle represents a particular set of troubles. You can choose any bundle, but the one you choose you have to take to Earth with you. The rabbis say that if, at the moment of death, God were to take you back to that field and let you choose another bundle with which to relive your life, you would always pick the same one. Sri Nisardatta says “The mind creates the abyss, and the heart crosses it.” Many of the great sorrows of the world arise when the mind is disconnected from the heart. Most often, opening the heart begins by opening to a lifetime’s accumulation of unacknowledged sorrow, both our personal sorrows and the universal sorrows of warfare, hunger, old age, illness and death. At times we may experience this sorrow physically, as contractions and barriers around the heart, but more often we feel the depth of our wounds, our abandonment, our pain, as unshed tears. The Buddhists describe this as an ocean of human tears larger than the four great oceans.

For now I will leave this discussion with saying that one of the beautiful gifts of this human life is the opportunity to work on you karmic patterns.

3.0 Divination With Found Objects in Nature

cats in garden

Divination is a method of using objects to derive an understanding or further questions by asking a question and then tossing a group of objects. In the fall there is a pattern that can be analysed for meaning. There are systems such as the I Ching or Norse runes. You will build your own set of objects. While out communing in nature gather 10 objects. You will want to be able to gently toss these objects from a basket or bow, so take that into consideration.

First you may journey to find a divination guide in the upper or lower worlds. You may also practice with one of your existing guides. Play the drumming track from Module 2 and as you hold each object determine its meaning. There is no fixed set of meanings.

One example of assigned meanings is: beauty, gift, home, resilience, hidden connection, listen / inner guidance, natural response, and time (past, present, future). 

Another example is: the curve / bending / adjusting, night / rest, the map, circle including, yummy taste / delight, completion of a cycle, making a choice, egg of new possibilities, decision / ripples in a pond, and time (past, present, future). 

In Module 2 you were introduced to asking a question for dream work or journey work. Now you will ask a single question and then let the objects fall from the basket or bowl.  How to read the throw? You may have meanings for the directions (north, south, east and west). You will primarily look at the relationship between the objects.

Questions you have accumulated from the Purpose Discovery Program and questions you are having now as you practice integration are welcome.