Our shaman ancestors understood that everything around us is alive. Of course, it is easy for us to see that the plants, animals and birds are living. Yet, the rocks, the river, the clouds, the rain and the winds are as inspirited as you and I. Every aspect of our world is humming with enlivening energy. This indefinable “something” that continually breathes everything into existence is described in many ways. Physicists talk about infinitely tiny, vibrating Super Strings creating the particles of matter from which the visible world is formed while we shamanic practitioners honor that everything is filled with spirit. Whatever unique language we use to try and explain it, it is clear that we all are part of a marvelously interconnected fabric of Life. Each of us is enfolded by and in constant interaction with it. Our actions, thoughts and feelings create ripples that impact the others in the fabric.
In family systems therapy, the family is described like a group of people held together by an enormous rubber band. When one member of a family makes a move forward, the band that connects them naturally pulls the other members of the group forward as well. Initially, this produces a kind of chaotic rumble of movement that is a series of actions and reactions bouncing the family back and forth. This uncomfortable jostling prompts the family to initially fall into chaos. If the members of the family unit are willing to look at what is changing, shift the relational dynamics and then work out their issues–the entire group can begin moving in the same direction.
A similar process is going on in our larger family of human beings. As some of us change and move forward, the rest of our human family is feeling shaken up. Some people will resist the shifts and create chaos. In the face of this turmoil, the individuals in the group have a choice. They can either choose to succumb to the turbulence around them and stay in that anarchic state or they can choose to work on their own inner resistances and wounds. In family systems work, as individuals in the group attend to their inner environment and experience their own healing, the benefits impact every member. Eventually, through the irresistible force of connection, everyone is moved forward.
It is clear from the daily news that our human family is deeply immersed in the chaotic phase of change. While we are experiencing the pandemonium that is occurring in our larger family, we have a choice. We can contribute to the agitation by being resistant, remaining polarized and staying stuck in our old dramas or we can refocus our attention to our own inner healing. The latter choice is the one that can contribute to a more rapid and positive shift in the outer world.
If we are honest with ourselves, each of us can see places inside that need loving attention. Perhaps we have old wounds that have caused us to believe that we aren’t as good or as important as others. In our early life, we may have been taught that we weren’t loveable. Perhaps we are feeling controlled by the fears of being abandoned or being unworthy. Maybe we have tried to cover over our wounds with alcohol, too much work or other addictions.
As we have the courage to unpack the old, unbeneficial perceptions and behaviors we have lived with for years, we have an opportunity to not only free our selves, but to unleash a powerful series of vibrations across the energetic web that unites us. These changes contribute to all the waves being made by other people of courage. Eventually, there is an irresistible upwelling of transformation that carries all of us to a new, higher way of being. While that sounds like an impossibly huge shift, all each of us needs to do is our own part.
Often, the hardest part of the shift is to recognize that each of us is a precious and remarkable aspect of the divine Wholeness. No part of the All That Is can possibly be more or less important than any other. My Nepalese shaman friend, Bhola always greets people with a shallow bow. While bowing, his hands are pressed together with his palms touching and his fingers pointed upwards, in front of his chest. This namaste gesture literally means that, “I bow to your form.” When two people greet each other in this manner, it is both a recognition and a reminder that each one is a transcendent, sacred being clothed in human form.
This understanding of our divinity is grounded in traditions that are hundreds of centuries old. While in their shamanic trances, our ancient ancestors were able to see that every aspect of the inspirited world is connected by a numinous radiance. In reaching beyond the ordinary way of perceiving the world, those early explorers beyond the realm of the senses grasped the nature of reality that is only now being discussed by the discipline of higher physics. That is, everything that is or ever existed, is first and foremost Light. Everything we understand as physical, is simply a standing wave pattern in that Light.
Those early shamans who called that radiance “spirit,” also learned that each of us impacts this Light as we are irrevocably connected in it. Physicists, too know that our connections interact with the Light of all potential. How we think and feel produce different vibrations and those vibrations have a direct impact upon how Light “crystallizes” into matter. Our thoughts, feelings and the actions that flow from them change the nature of our physical reality. While this may seem hard for our minds to grasp, it implies that you and I are participating in creating and recreating the world. Right now. This also means that we have the ability to impact the wellbeing of our selves and this planet. We just need to remember our inherent magnificent power–stepping out of the false illusions that keep us feeling small.
It is only our ordinary mind /personality that sees us as anything less than powerful creator beings. This is because we have believed the limited perspectives spun by our senses. Our sensory organs can only perceive the smallest aspect of the suite of vibrations that constitute All That Is. We can only see visible light and hear audible sound. This is a tiny portion of reality and even less that what many insects, birds and animals can perceive. Yet, we have based our fundamental foundations about what is real or true wholly upon our sensory input. As a result, we have fallen completely under the spell of illusion.
This illusionary world creates the belief that we are separate. It is the illusion that contributes to our belief that we are small, powerless and without value. This misunderstanding does not serve us nor does it serve All That Is.
When a shaman is initiated, they often experience a kind of tearing away or destruction of their old self. The ordinary person with limited perception must fall away so that the initiate sees her or him self as a person of power. During a spiritual dismemberment ritual the person would see their body burned or eaten away. This often times terrifying experience helped the initiate to understand that the true self was eternal and existed both in and beyond the ordinary world. In essence, the initiate was liberated from the perceptions of their limitations while experiencing that everything in the surrounding world–including him or herself–is radiant with spiritual light. Rather than creating a longing for the world of “no form” it helped the shaman to see that, since that light pervades everything, all of life is inherently precious.
This same kind of understanding underlies the Medicine for the Earth work of Sandra Ingerman. Grounded in the most ancient practices of shamanism, it is a method that helps a person understand that—like the tribal initiate—he or she is a being of light. In addition, each of us can use our heart-felt intentions and focus to alter physical reality through experiencing ourselves as that radiance. In other words, when we bring our consciousness into the full experience of our Light, we create a harmony that transcends the limitations held by our ordinary mental state.
In our Medicine for the Earth monthly gathering, we have witnessed water that was poisoned with a strong alkali become completely harmless. The water came back into a balance in the presence of a small group of people who released themselves of the illusion of their ordinary perceptions and then experienced them selves as pure, radiant Light. No one focused on or touched the water.
As the people remember their true nature, their inner harmony supports the beaker of water, to remember its harmonious wholeness and balance. Amazingly, this happens in just a few minutes of ordinary time. This process is completely unexplainable by using scientific means. Ordinarily, the same this shift in Ph would only be possible if the polluted beaker of water was placed outdoors in sunlight for several days. It is scientifically “impossible” for it to happen in minutes. Yet, perhaps this is the very way that the shamans of old were able to perform the miraculous healings and transformations that are attributed to them.
When we are experiencing our true nature and the nature of All That Is, we are transcending our ordinary limited self. In this transfigured state, we naturally generate healing and harmony. You see, our ordinary, limited perception produce disruption. The consciousness that functions from limited beliefs is in constant opposition to the true nature of reality. When we shed that old, unbenefical way of being, the world around us returns to harmony.
The analogy of a swimming pool works well to help understand this idea. Every person in the pool disturbs the water as they move. When a group of individuals are each moving around, their waves crash into the next person’s waves and the water quickly begins sloshing around in a disorganized and turbulent manner. Once the people in the pool become still, allowing them selves to be upheld by their natural buoyancy, the water quickly returns to calmness.
When we think about the fabric of reality, the chaotic patterns we see around us a result of people acting from a place of illusion. In their feelings of separateness and smallness, they “splash around the pool” causing turbulence. When even a small a group of people remember that they are radiant beings who are upheld by and part of the radiant “waters” of reality, everything returns to its most harmonious state. That is because the group that is transfigured transforms everything and every being around them. This change occurs because harmony is not only conductive to creation it is the natural state of All That Is.
At no place in our long, human history has their been so much support for us to be able to live from this understanding. There has also never been so much riding on our being able to “get it” and remember our place as divine, creator stewards of this beautiful world.
Autumn is a perfect time to allow the illusions that keep us small to fall away like the dying leaves. As those unbeneficial patterns go away, we allow the energy of growth to flood back. We are able to experience life around us changing for the better. In dismembering our selves of those limiting beliefs or behaviors that keep us small and re-membering our place as divine co-creators, we not only step back into the flow of creativity, we co-participate in creation. We “calm the waves” and finally begin to manifest a better world for our selves and all beings.
© 2011 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is http://www.spiritpassages.com.