Review of the "The Bushman's Bible" by Robert Long of Beansprout.

Dr Dave's enthusiasm precedes him like a bow wave, a twinkle in his eye along with a hearty handshake , a hug and pat on the back.

It is a brave man who stands up against the current secular social and political climate, that aims to relegate any sense of faith or reason beyond the material, to the dustbin of insignificance.

Dave's courage to raise his head above the pulpit allows our spirits to explore the essential critical elements of our existence in this life and the unknown beyond.  His literary passion aims to raise our consciousness above the physical ailments that pester us and now look towards a greater meaning outward ,upwards and inwards.

Perhaps this is all a folly but so much more than an off switch at the end of our lives. Unfortunately the heavy and powerful hands of the churches have turned us away from the knowledge of our prophets and spiritual leaders. Dave points out, since  largely rejecting this control, we can now collectively or personally search for greater meaning of our mystical and transcendant experiences.

Before heading away on a possum line that I would be travesing the next day, I can already be imagining the feeling of elation on reaching the upper end of the ridges.  Already my spirit would be  out there uplifted by the stunning sense of altitude and views over the ocean. The anticipation of once again being joined with the mountain air ,the smell of beech , rata and the spikey tortora leaves dragging at my clothing. Like a climb to a heavenly domain ,the sense of known and unknown keeping the manchild sharpened and chiseled with wonder and mystery.

Dave points out we have the beauty of our wilderness so nearby for most of us, to give us a  religious experience in a straight forward practical way.We can develop a relationship with the spiritual nature of the wild places, feeling part of a scheme of things much greater to ourselves. At the same time this belonging to a bigger picture gives us an identity, character and strength enhancing our energy, resilence and goodwill towards the known and unknown.

The awareness of greater self beyond the drone of everyday exisitence enables us to feel compassion for others along with the plant and animal kingdoms within these realms.During the first half of his book ,Dave is drawing us out to find a valuable common thread that defines human spiritual experience.

It is like all these people are facing a void. My dad had fought a terminal illness for a number of years. He had been a loyal family man but his life was based on material wealth and the status therein. He had no sense of the afterlife even though he always admired the work of the clergy. As his latter days loomed in front of him ,his eyes dimmed and his ever present optimism wanned since he felt his existence was all coming to an end. If I was that close to death my excitement would be contagious.  It is anyone's guess as to what actually happens after bodily death but it will be the ultimate adventure to find out.

I thank you Dave for the chance to explore my own life and try to make sense of the world today which seems so focused on the material now. Perhaps more relevant than asking if someone is religious is instead  whether you are spiritual, believe in the  survival of your personality and character once your body whithers away. You don't actually have to tie these beliefs to any prescribed system .It is more of a gut feeling. Don't take Dave's effort too lightly since he has the courage to bring these considerations to light. They are incredibly important since our lives are a mere blink in endless time.

While gazing at the starlight night sky at the age of three,I came to the inevitability of having a forever life. Endless time was a concept that I grasped with all my might..An endless universe a place to explore. From then on I sensed my personality  could leave my physical behind and continue to survive.

I sit there on a rock by the windswept sea. Totally exhausted, breathing, absorbing energy for the last stretch to hearth and home.Gazing to the West is a cloudy dark horizon, upwards the brilliant stars and constellations of the moonless sky.  Back  where my possum line had drawn me, the ridgeline from ocean to mountain top is highlighted by the last traces of twilight .Below in the inky black  where my last adventure through forest and jungle has lured me, I have reaped rewards and hope for tomorrow. Where in this great vista will I explore, perhaps the belt of Orion , each countless star with its' own signiture of colour and intensity . Where will this endless journey take me.

Sunlight off the top of a wave , mountains unassailable, a massiveness beyond our comphrehension. Through all of this we find a place, a  meaning.

Dave is doing us a favour by scratching and chipping away at our complacency, the systemic cultural numbness solidifying us amongst the concrete of regulation , stipulation and computation.

He is drawing us outwards and upwards as philosophers before and after  search for meaning through the prophets and celestial masters who have left collectives of devotees looking for a pathway.. Those who have dwelt with the prophets have been influenced by their power and essential teachings.

Whether we like it or not our lives usually come to an end on this material plane . Whether we find new life or completely dissolve with our flesh and bones  is  unanswered question. A great aspect in todays' life is that we can choose which ever level of involvement suits us. This is the freedom the world offers.

You have to admire Dave's love of the mountains and his persistant desire to have us off our backsides and shake off our emotional stupor .Any one who does this is a risk taker, but maybe he has seen the consequences of emotional shutdown and lack spiritual drive upon our health and wellbeing. To face ridicule for standing for a cause in New Zealand  is real. Most of us cower ,rather than express, we search for comfort and safety . Dave has a vision , he could have sat back towards the end of a successful career but instead is  trying to uplift us

The prophets existed on earth. They inspried people to connect with a universal presence to enhance their sense of well being and be part of a safety net. No one has all the answers but we should be given the space to explore. In recent times the hierachial spell of the churches has been broken ,but the teachers and prophets left us jewels of wisdom well worth considering.

Personally I feel the spiritual family of the universe is supporting me on a daily basis. As long as I am prepared to do the work ,my needs will be meet. This gives me confidence and optimism to live with out fear.

From my experinece we are all very different. Many of us have no feelings of God or spiritual afterlife . Others are completely the opposite and a host sit somewhere in between .Where ever we sit there is little actual proof but is more of an instinctive gut feeling.  The main thing is we respect each others views and remain connected with each other and our suroundings.

All the Best from Robert Long , Beansprout.

Sunday, 22 December 2019