The Mystical Pump and the Rhythm in the Earth
This essay is #2 in the Charles Henry Mystical Teaching Series
Recently I had a dream:
Hillary and I arrived at a small country farm in the Midwest. A group of elders met us and provided a special tour of the property. It had a narrow road that wound around various hills. I was stunned at the beauty of the place with all its trees and varied landscape. The old house was a classic 1930s farmhouse design, painted white. The whole place appeared frozen in time. Though I did not know where we were, it all felt strangely familiar and I wondered what we were doing there. The elders were very serious about what was taking place and seemed to be performing an important duty.
We were finally led toward the barn. Nearby there was a square slab of concrete on the ground that looked like the base of something that had once been mounted to it. I walked over and stood on this concrete foundation and suddenly heard the sound of a loud, rhythmic pounding coming up from deep below the earth. It sounded like a pump buried directly below my feet. When I stepped off the concrete I could no longer hear the sound. The elders then circled around us and I noticed my mother was with them. It then dawned on me that we were being offered this house and land. Someone said, “It’s yours if you want it.” I could tell my mother was quite interested to see what decision Hillary and I would make.
Though we were impressed and humbled by the offer of such a beautiful home, I could not stop thinking about the sound beneath the earth. I again stood upon the patch of concrete and heard the rhythmic pumping from below. As I looked around the perimeter I remembered that I had seen this view before as a child. I suddenly recognized where we were—it was the country farm and home of the woman who originally taught me how to read music and play the piano. Mrs. Bea Sanders of Smithville, Missouri was the organist in my father’s church, and when I was a second grader she gave me my first music lessons.
When I realized where I was, I went inside the house and saw that their old upright piano was still in the same place it had been when I was a child. More importantly, I remembered that the mysterious concrete area outside was where the old windmill had stood that pumped water up from the earth. I was instantly flooded with emotion and overcome with gratitude for having learned music at this place. Then the pumping sound from beneath the ground became louder and louder until I could feel its pounding rhythm both within the earth and inside myself as it lifted and moved a pulsing current of pure life force.
In the visionary dream, a mystical farm was offered to us that had been the home of a childhood teacher who taught me to count the beat, make rhythm, and play music. Over the years this know-how was deeply instilled inside my body and now expresses itself automatically. In addition to being a musician, I have also become the embodiment of the windmill that pumps and lifts the holy water of n/om from deep inside the earth and carries it to others. When I stood on that mysterious spot on the farm, I was shown where I am meant to stand—the place where the holy wind above and the sacred fire below are in dynamic alignment with one another. Only when I stand upon this spot will the rhythmic pumping of spiritual current come forth.
I woke up weeping with wonder at the connection between the beat, rhythm, music, ecstatic pump, holy water, sacred wind, n/om, pipeline, turning wheel, rope to God, and all the changing forms of mystery. All of these are inseparable from the vertical line that goes deep down into the earth and high into the sky where the wind moves the wheel that pumps and circulates the numinous liquid fire, turning the farm into a blazing soulful body of praise.
N/om is found below the earth and it takes a n/om-kxao dancing and stomping to bring it up. Moved by the holy wind from high in the sky, the n/om-kxao is the wheel that turns, the pump that pulls, and the pipeline that delivers n/om. The n/om-kxao hosts the changing forms of the shape-shifting rope to God that, when fully activated, is also the musical baton waved by the heavenly conductor. Let us listen for, celebrate, and uphold the heartbeat that gives life to sacred experience—the n/om-pump-drum of mother earth.
Sacred Ecstatics emphasizes what many religions have either never experienced or have lost familiarity with—the ecstatic rhythmic body pump that lifts n/om from the earth. Without such a pump, n/om never arrives, the spiritual temperature never gets very hot, and spiritual cooking never gets started. Although some traditions may discuss “spiritual energy” and “vibration,” if a human body does not activate this internal, non-subtle ecstatic pump, there is no engine for syncopated transportation, soulful transformation, and musically-driven heavenly ascent.
In St. Vincent and Trinidad, among other places in the African diaspora, this pump is called ‘doption. It spontaneously comes on the human body and makes you feel like you have been adopted by the Big Holy to be used as a rhythm instrument. Its pulse and sound arise from a mysterious sacred energy located deep in the earth. This same energy, called n/om in the Kalahari, also is believed to arise from the earth and enters the feet and legs of the ecstatic dancer to bring forth trembling and shaking throughout the body.
True soul is earthy; it grabs hold of your flesh and turns you into a rhythm machine. This rhythm activates the pump that pulls up the n/om that wakes you up in an extraordinary way. N/om is never subtle or still; it never can be held in a frozen posture, can never be experienced without extraordinary emotion, and belongs to music rather than thoughts, words, or silence. N/om makes a joyful noise and brings the clang of a cymbal rather than the insight of a symbol. It is ecstatically sweaty rather spiritually pretty. Without it, dare we have the courage to say, your spirituality is simply dead on arrival.
It is time to welcome back the shaking, stomping, pumping n/om-kxaosi whose alignment with earth and sky gets the n/om circulating, making it available to all who get out of the way and allow its shaking medicine to doctor, its holy bread to feed, and its ecstatic fire to ignite your soul.
It is not enough to drum. You must be drummed by n/om.
It is not enough to dance. You must be danced by n/om.
It is not enough to sing. You must be sung by n/om.
It is not enough to shake. You must be shaken by n/om.
It is not enough to pump. You must be pumped by n/om.
It is not enough to pray, surrender, believe, have faith, or do good deeds. Above all else, you need n/om.
Without n/om, there is no pulse of life, no spiritual heat, and no hookup to divinity.
With n/om, everything is alive, on fire, and inseparable from the divine rope.
There is a vastly larger and hotter spiritual universe waiting for you. But only when you stand upon sacred ground can the rhythms and music be felt and heard. When you are aligned with the rope to God that runs high into the sky and deep into the earth, you will be pulsed, drummed, shaken, sung and made ready to receive n/om. You will be given exactly the amount you need, whether it is a splash on the surface of your face, a sip, a cupful, or a full baptism.
This experience alone is what you have been hunting all your life. At the First Creation farm is found the changing of deadbeats into live beats. With the sacred vibration, anything can happen. The pump is waiting to fill you with n/om. It is ready to instill a rhythm machine and jukebox inside your body. After that, there is no turning back. N/om will have a hold on you and never let go.
– Brad Keeney, May 14, 2017
Read our newest book of visions, Climbing the Rope to God
 N/om is a Ju/’hoan Bushman word that refers to the super-concentrated sacred vibration and life force from God. Difficult to describe in words, n/om is at once a current of spiritual electricity, a fire in the bones, and heightened sacred emotion. N/om is also the divine wind, water, and fire.
 The name of a doctor or healer among the Kalahari Bushmen. The term literally translates as owner or possessor of n/om.