Monday, April 13, 2009

The Millet Seed sermon


In the very early hours of Easter Sunday, I woke with delight from a dream in which I was lecturing and demonstrating a simple ritual centered on millet seed. It seemed like I was giving a sermon in a light-filled space with honey-colored wood, standing at a very simple pulpit. I spoke of this tiny seed as a symbol of creation, of death and rebirth, and of the growth of the very big from the very small.

Later that day, at our Easter dinner, I told my Millet Sermon dreamlet to a dear friend who, as a Dominican sister, is quite accustomed to giving as well as hearing sermons.

When I said. "I dreamed I gave a sermon on millet seed" she thought I meant that in the dream I gave a sermon while standing on top of a millet seed. Laughing, she described the vivid mental image of me as a tiny figure in a micro-world using a millet seed as my pulpit.

I loved this mental painting, which transported us into one of my favorite themes involving the multiverse: how we may be living in one of many nested worlds, and that the universe we think is so large may be one in which the furnishings of our lives are the size of millet seeds (or vastly smaller) in proportion to universes that contain ours.

11 comments:

Nancy said...

Robert,
This reminds me of all the parables referring to a mustard seed in the Bible, another tiny seed which grows to a large plant. I'm thinking of "The kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed..." or "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed...", very powerful images.

The picture of you giving a sermon on top of a millet seed made me laugh too. Quite a contrast to a sermon from a
mountain top!
Nancy

Donna K said...

Ahh, Millett. For starters, a Wonderful cooked breakfast cereal, as long as your Health Food Store (unlike mine) uses a supplier that’s good at Hulling the stuff. Otherwise, Very much like eating Birdseed - which I would daresay is the primary end-use in the US! Anyhow, in our house it’s People food, and much enjoyed. Appearance-wise very similar in size & shape to the Mustard Seed, so I quite agree with that analogy. There are taxonomically several different plants which go by the common name Millet, and it’s an Ancient plant - some say it preceded Rice in the Far East.

If this were my dream, in addition to the Great things from the Very Small (this from a woman who always carries an Acorn in her pocket!), I would also note the Nourishing potential of that one small grain of millet. It’s my understanding that it’s a plant that grows well in ‘difficult’ areas (read: poor soil conditions), so it can provide nutrition where there was little potential before.
Cool dream, Robert!

Leanne said...

Hi Robert, Your post made me think of the first dream I remember having. I was close on 3 years of age and very sick. My dreams that night were of very very tiny things becoming so large I could not contain them in my mind. From a small seed to enormous size. Then they would reverse back the other way. I would have similar dream experiences throughout my childhood and early adulthood - the image would change but the feeling of the dream from tiny to enormous would be present. These dreams for me always meant something big was coming. I also found myself thinking of that great song by Paul Kelly written regarding aboriginal land rights during the time of Gough Whitlam. The song is "From Little Things Big Things Grow". One of my favourites.
Regards,
Leanne.

Robert Moss said...

Nancy, Yes, I had strong associations with those Bible references to mustard seed - though this was very clearly millet - and also to the theme that unless the seed die, it cannot be reborn (relevant to the story of the dying god/sacred king/god-man who dies and comes again, of which there are many versions).

Donna, Thanks so much for the breakfast-botanical tutorial! This is great.

Leanne, How interesting that you recall that dream theme of a radical shift of scale from so early in your life. I notice across the years that some of my biggest visionary experiences (in dreams and in liminal states and in conscious journeys) have unfolded after I have had the sense of becoming inconceivably small and whizzing between subatimic particles into another universe. A bit like Alice with the Drink Me bottle. The shift can of course go the other way. Such radical changes in the persception of scale are associated in legend and mythology (eg the Celtic immrama, or "voyage tales") with leaving ordinary reality. When you see ants as big as cattle (in one of the immrama) for example, you know you're not in Ireland (or Kansas, or Sydney) any more...

Tracy said...

Robert, I learned about your blogspot from your interview on Shrink Rap Radio. I am really enjoying reading it. How often do you usually post? Thanks Tracy

Robert Moss said...

Welcome, Tracy - If you go back over the archive, you'll find your answer. I generally post an essay 3-4 times a week, and respond to comments much more frequently.

Nicola said...

Hi Leanne and Robert
I have had the big- little feelings all my life, but at simultaneous moments, feeling both as big as the universe as well as tiny as a seed. It would often feel as if it was out of my control as if my aura had lost its normal boundaries and was attempting to enter all states of being all at once. I was actually quite distressing. I still sometimes experience this sensation, though not so often as an adult.

Leanne said...

Hi Nicola, I can understand the feeling of distress as reality starts to move in different ways. I have found that my initial tiny to big has shifted over the years and certainly decreased as I have gotten older. I am finding now some experiences with spatial dimensions a little confronting. I have suffered vertigo for many years and after having verified there was no medical reason for it, I now view it much more as a prelude to a reality shift or possible message on something that may be happening in this reality emotionally for me. When I do experience vertigo the boundaries around me move and I am unaligned so to speak. I am out of sync with this space! I have found that in the last year or so it is shifting to be a more pleasant experience. I am finding rooms changing size. I walk into a room and perceive it as small and the next time I walk in it has shifted and is much bigger. I walked into my lounge room the other day and caught it changing size on me! I too shift in size. Most of the time I am tall (5' 12" or 182 cm) yet lately I am finding that I feel myself much smaller at times and it is a nice feeling. I have over the years had a number of alternate reality experiences since an early age and I think I attribute some of what happens to me now as having a propensity for spatial shifts. I am not sure if this will be of much help but I wanted to share how my experiences of shifting sizes and dimensions has and continues to move and change. Regards, Leanne.

Savannah said...

When opened this page the verification word under the comment box just happened to be "millat" :-). Too much of a coincidence to leave alone... "Millat" turns out to be an Arabic word for "creed" or "path". It's also the name of a company manufacturing agricultural tractors, and of a bilingual Gujurati/Urdu newspaper -- both based out of Pakistan. Being drought resistant, millet is an important grain crop in Pakistan. The carpets furnishing a certain Eastern restaurant in my home town also happen to be imported from Pakistan. One of its regular customers is fighting a major illness and millet (being highly alkaline) has recently become a staple of his diet. His faith has been shaken a little, so now I wonder if all this free associating is for him too... It's like the dream seed that just keeps on giving -- thanks Robert :-)!

Savannah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wanda said...

I was reading the comments on Robert's story of the millet seed sermon. Like Nancy, in my own dreamlife, my mind went to a mustard seed story, a personal story from my childhood. My father gave me a mustard seed necklace when I was just a little girl. The mustard seed was encased in a small crystal drop [its own "nested" world], and I cherished it because its "strength" arrived at a vulnerable period in my life. I still have the necklace.

I was reminded of the strength I received from such a tiny gift and the energy of its symbolism. That energy and symbolism is so precious and so "now" when it is given to us at the right moment.