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Shamanism is a very practical spirituality. A modern-day shaman could live next door to you and the only clues you might have are that they get along well with people and animals and have a green thumb with plants. Also, shamans have a knack for putting people at ease and for saying and doing the right thing at the right time. In his book, Urban Shaman, Serge Kahili King defines a shaman as “a healer of relationships, between mind and body, between people, between people and circumstances, between humans and Nature and between matter and spirit.”
Currently across the planet, the sacred knowledge of the shaman or wizard is being translated into everyday street language in order to create more healthy, harmonious and enriching lives for people. The spirit of shamanism is more of an open, flexible attitude and approach to living than a rigid set of rules, formulas and techniques. Applying the basic principles of shamanism opens people to new possibilities and options for dealing with modern daily challenges.
Following Omens and Signs
The shaman relates to every form of life as being alive, filled with energy and always communicating something to us. The key is in learning how to receive the communication. “Omens are a way Spirit communicates with us in the physical world,” states shaman Ken Eagle Feather in Traveling with Power. “You can decipher omens from virtually anything, but pay special attention to unusual occurrences, whether it’s the strange behavior of birds, or conversations in which someone says something that catches your attention, or when a book falls off a shelf in front of you. You might find that messages on billboards change right in front of you, so that while others are reading an ordinary advertisement, you end up reading a message from Spirit.”
Using personal experience as the means through which wisdom is gleaned (rather than through reading, thinking or analyzing), the shaman presents opportunities where people begin to sense a real, interactive connection with everything else that exists, even those things believed to be inanimate such as rocks, plastic, glass or metal. Everything is Energy
The basis of shamanistic creation, healing and transformation has always been the knowledge that the essential nature of everything is energy. Modern science, specifically quantum physics, has only recently concluded that every living thing is made of energy. The reason that walls and rocks appear solid is because they vibrate at a low, dense rate. We know that pictures travel invisibly through the air and arrive on our TV screens. Is it such a stretch to open to the possibility that everything has an invisible energy within it? And that communication can be transmitted through this energy?
Shamans utilize the knowledge that everything is energy to create in their world by using their conscious attention to direct the flow of energy within all forms of life. Energy flows where attention goes. Indeed, scientists are now reporting that the outcome of their experiments are significantly affected by the beliefs and thoughts of the person conducting the experiment.
When shaman use their ability to “see” the underlying energy dynamics of situations and relationships, they are able to “see” cause and effect connections and forces that are not visible when viewing the circumstances superficially, i.e., looking only at the outer form.
A shaman would “see,” for example, that the anger of a supermarket clerk resulted from the clerk’s inability to express their feelings. The shaman could “see” how this emotional energy was adversely affecting not only the clerk, but also the people in line. Consequently, a shaman may choose to engage the angry clerk in a friendly, relaxing conversation in order to shift the situation into flow and harmony.
We have many powers within us that we can learn to use for our own benefit and for the benefit of others. From the shamanistic point of view, all power comes from within. Power comes from authorship (authority). Shamans become the authors of the creations in their world by freeing themselves of programmed and conditioned perceptions. In moving beyond customs, manners, rules and techniques, the shaman embraces the practicality of “What works, works.” The shaman has little concern for how something works, only that it produces the results that one intends. Shamans are the most flexible, utilitarian and efficient authors of their world. They take the shortest, quickest route to their goals, even if the path tramples on their own concepts or beliefs.
One way people can experience this power is to look for proof in their own lives. Take love, for example. One way to increase the presence and power of love in a person’s life is to decrease the presence and power of judgment. Shamans notice that their attention cannot be in both places at the same time, and, therefore choose where they want to spend their energy. To spend energy judging that they harmed someone or that another person caused them harm, would be a misdirection and waste of energy for a shaman.
A shaman is a bridge between this world and the invisible world of the spirit. A shaman is very anchored, very present, in this world. Being so centered and grounded, a shaman can assist a person to travel into dimensions and see things from a much bigger perspective. Then people can heal because there is more room for them to expand and open to fresh new realities.
Shaman Frederick Wolf concurs. “People really know how to heal themselves. It’s an illusion to think that someone is going to come and heal them. But what will happen is, when they feel the support and safety that the shaman can hold for them, they will have faith enough to go into that place inside of them that knows how to heal. It’s not some magical thing that happens. It’s very natural.”
A Vibrant Way of Living
Shamanism is a way of living on the altar of Mother Earth. It’s a way to live in balance on the earth, a way of finding not only peace with yourself personally, but peace with nature and your environment. Shamanism is bringing the two worlds together: your inner world—“your heart”—with your outer world. It’s important to be balanced, to be grounded in both worlds. We should be able to go anywhere and be at home, whether it’s in a cave or a big city.
About the Author
A vibrant film maker in college, at the tender age of 19, Keith Varnum went totally blind before he could launch out on his own. The prognosis of Western doctors that Keith would be blind for the rest of his life catapulted him into the adventure of his life! On this journey he studied with medicine men, shaman, Hawaii Kahuna and Eastern spiritual masters, regained his eyesight, and discovered the secrets of all healing, transformation and success. Keith has tested these practical secrets in his 35-year career as an author, Certified Matrix Energetics Practitioner, Life Coach, Vision Quest guide, acupuncturist, sound healer, radio host, and vice-president of a multi-million dollar company. When not exploring consciousness in the canyons of Arizona, Keith travels around the world assisting people to open to life’s wonders and surprises in his Dream Workshops.
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