Shamanism?

My all-time favorite song is The Boy in the Bubble by Paul Simon. Maybe because in a way, we’re all living in our own private bubbles, wondering about days of miracle and wonder… or maybe it’s the masterful way in which Mr. Simon has weaved ancient tribal beats together with modern pop elements that has inspired me so much. It’s hard to say.

It deeply resonates with our Shamanic Perspective, of that I’m certain.

Going beyond fashions and trends, connecting worlds that seem to be apart. It is a gateway between a familiar ‘Here’ and an unknown ‘There’, which happen to be occupying the same space and time.ShamanismI am referring to Shamanism as a ‘perspective’ in order to emphasize that Shamanism (despite the ‘ism’) is not a religion or a strict set of rules. Rather, it is an open-ended system of principles with which we can see our reality for what it is and connect the dots between what’s “out there” and what’s “in here”. It’s a way of making sense of the endless flow of narratives and ideas that we’re constantly bombarded with.

Shamanism is a simple way to attain clarity!

At this point, it would make sense to give you some background and historical context regarding Shamanism. Wikipedia has already done a brilliant, in-depth job of scratching the surface of what the Shamanic Practices are. If you’re interested in what Shamanism looks like from the outside, you’re welcome to follow that link.

I, however, will continue where Wikipedia stops and dive into what we have come to recognize as the CORE principles of the Shamanic Perspective.

Shamanism and other spiritual traditions are nothing new to the West, but roughly 50 years ago, they started gaining popularity with the emergence of what came to be known as the “New Age Movement”. Millions of westerners were suddenly exposed to practices and philosophies that were relatively obscure till then.

ShamanismAs a result, “Spirituality” was all of sudden intimately associated with foreign and exotic teachings, and this notion became deeply rooted in the minds of millions, so much that numerous people came to believe that imitating the dress codes and rituals of tribal or eastern cultures, was the key to “Spiritual Enlightenment”.

This reminds me of a funny story…

A few years ago, I was watching a National Geographic series about a British anthropologist who was traveling the world and documenting indigenous tribes.

In one particular episode, he was visiting a Siberian nomadic tribe of reindeer herders. On the first evening of his arrival, they all set down for dinner and the host handed him a bowl filled with a traditional dish. Our brave explorer pointed at the dish and asked his translator: “What is it?” “Oh, we call it [enter exotic words]”, the translator replied.

Shamanism“Oh, that sounds so interesting! What does it mean?” – the anthropologist asked with obvious undertones of expectation. Slightly surprised by the question, the translator looked at him  and said: “It means rice with meat.”

The sweet, child-like embarrassment on his face was priceless…

The moral of the story is: Just because something is articulated in a language that you are not familiar with, doesn’t automatically make it exotically meaningful. Drawing inspiration from other cultures is one thing, but ascribing them with some sort of “spiritual superiority” on account of phonetic misunderstandings is a different story altogether.

“A cup of Yin-Yang anyone?”  “Yes please, black, with a spot of milk…” 🙂

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All cultures that ever existed have their own stories, meant to answer a simple yet profound question; “What the hell is going on here?” And if you look closely, you’ll discover that in essence, all these stories are amazingly similar…

They all mention the division of ‘One Thing’ into its two ‘Oppo-Same Polarities’ and use this narrative as a foundation to describe our entire reality. If it’s ‘Heaven and Earth’, ‘Spirit and Flesh’, ‘Energy and Matter’ or ‘The Great Serpent and the Mighty Eagle’, it doesn’t matter…

Same thing, different names, that’s all.

To sum up this narrative in our own words; our tangible day-to-day reality APPEARS to be dualistic, while in essence, it is completely UNIFIED.

What does it all mean for us? And what are the implications?

That’s what our seminars are for 😉

Another thing these cultures have in common, is that they all found unique ways to personify those ideas through Customs, Costumes and Ceremonies. And since most of them were immersed in nature, they were inspired by what they saw around them and used references from their habitat to express these principles. 

However, these principles are universal. They are not bound to the tropical jungle, the African planes or nature in general. Achieving the Shamanic state of consciousness is first and foremost an internal process. What you wear or how you dance is next to insignificant for developing your Shamanic or “spiritual” abilities!

And besides, have you ever seen a Westerner who can actually pull off a crown of feathers? 🙂

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                      A 1927 encounter between President Calvin Coolidge and some feathers.

The Shamanic Perspective is NOT the sole property of any specific group and has very little to do with our genetic heritage. Yes, there are conditions and locations that are more supportive of Shamanic work, but once you gather some experience, it becomes immaterial.

You may have noticed that up until this point, I’ve been mainly describing what the Shamanic Perspective is NOT – and for good reason. One of the key elements of the Shamanic Perspective is Reduction, or Refinement.

It means that attaining Shamanic abilities is much more about letting go of the things that hold us back, than about learning anything new. And the greatest weight that holds us back is none other than our own, usually self-imposed, inhibitions.

When we release our inhibitions, we discover that the most essential element for entering the shamanic state of consciousness is…

TRANCE

If I had to name one element that makes all the difference, Trance would be it. It is the key to unlocking the doors of our perception.

When you enter a building, you go through the entrance… do you think it’s a coincidence?

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But what does Trance actually mean?

We’ve been led to believe that being in Trance signifies complete loss of control and detachment from “reality”. There is a tiny grain of truth to it, but it only applies to very deep and rare states of Trance. Like everything else in this universe, it’s a continuum; there are infinite degrees of Trance that serve different purposes.

Being in Trance simply means that your brain is now operating on a different wavelength than it usually does and therefore can receive other types of input, that’s all… The old example of the radio scale comes to mind; going into Trance is like turning the knob and tuning to a different station. That station was already there, we just needed a little adjustment on our receiver…

Another misconception about Trance is that it must involve some special circumstances, preparations and accessories… While there is some truth to it, it’s just a personal preference, not a commandment. The goal is to use Trance in our daily lives and not to keep it on a pedestal; it’s a practical skill that can be applied at all times.  

A Trance can be wild and flamboyant – or it can be silent and introverted.

Artists who get carried away with inspiration are basically in Trance, writers sitting down for hours on end, typing like maniacs, are in Trance… Craftsmen who immerse themselves completely into their work, are in Trance… People having (good!) sex, are in Trance…ShamanismEver had the experience of talking to a friend or a colleague and the words just seemed to effortlessly come out of your mouth in a coherent stream and make perfect sense without you thinking about it? Guess what, you were in a short Trance!  

Dancing naked around the fire is just ONE approach to induce Trance – but not the ONLY one!

There is something in common to all approaches, though… the ultimate key for inducing Trance in yourself, is letting the fuck go of your inhibitions… the significance of this point cannot be overstated!

Too many people out there believe that getting into Trance will help them deal with their inhibitions, while in truth, it’s exactly the other way around… deal with your shit, let go of inhibitions and Trance will follow!

* To release inhibitions and enter trance, some people use psychedelics. We don’t!

Letting go of inhibitions isn’t a license to become an asshole! Most of our inhibitions boil down to small, “mundane” things. The fear of ridicule, of hurting others, of getting hurt, of being alone, of not being alone, of dying, of living, of failing and of succeeding… did I forget something? You can probably think of a few more…

This pile of little anxieties can become overwhelming if we let it, and can keep us stuck in a perpetual mode of self-analysis. Fuck that! Let it out…

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Think of it as going to the toilet… It feels good to release, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

Some would even say, Divine… 🙂

It doesn’t have to be dramatic. Test the water or jump right in, it’s up to you – but you must push your boundaries. If nothing else helps, keep this thought in mind; what’s the worst that can happen? Some dimwit will laugh at you? Some schmuck on the internet will write you a nasty comment?   

I can’t speak for you, but I’d rather face some potential ridicule than spend my time thinking about “what could have been”… and the good news are; the more you do it, the easier and more rewarding it becomes.

Are you starting to see how this “archaic” Shamanic Perspective is relevant to our modern, “sophisticated” life?

If the Pooping Pope wasn’t enough, maybe a technological analogy is just the thing for you…

Think of a computer… When it’s new, it runs perfectly without any delays. But then you install a couple of programs, updates start to arrive, you download dozens of images, movies and documents, not to mention viruses and malware. Before you know it, your computer is crippled with tons of useless information and it starts to perform more like an old piece of junk than a slick hi-tech gadget.

ShamanismSame goes for our brain; as children, it is free from opinions, beliefs and inhibitions, and it’s awesome! We are perpetually in Trance, acting according to our needs and reacting with pure honesty!

But as we grow up, social programs are being installed, we start getting updates about what’s acceptable and fashionable, we download all these ideas, concepts and philosophies, not to mention the accumulation of traumatic experiences. Before we know it, our brain is overloaded with contradictions and we wonder why we can’t have one single coherent thought to call our own…

Aren’t you tired of this mess? Aren’t you tired of this chaotic cacophony that keeps buzzing in your head?

Learning how to induce Trance in yourself, is the way to cut through all the bullshit and tap into an infinite source of inspiration that can be used for any purpose you wish, whether it’s creativity, clarity, confidence, healing  or whatever YOU feel is lacking in your life.

To conclude, the Shamanic Perspective is a set of simple principles for inducing a state of creative and usable Trance to navigate your Life while being Coherent, Present and Powerful.

Shamanism

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