The Seven Principles of Shamanism: Part 4
The Universe likes harmony. It's her constant mission to achieve harmony.
Now, it’s important for us to examine our understanding of the word harmony. Many people take it to indicate a positive experience.
“I want to achieve harmony in my life.”
“I need happiness and peace, and working towards harmony will achieve that.”
It's a misconception that harmony is only positive. Harmony is balance. To be in harmony with something means you're in sync with it, that your vibrations match it. The nature of the vibrations is immaterial.
So, sorry for you if your prevailing state of existence looks like a bomb blast site. If chaos is administered by a chaotic person, then the system is in perfect harmony.
If your life is a mess, you're more than likely in harmony with it, because your body, mind, and emotions will also be in a mess. And, your tortured soul will be looking on with clenched teeth with hands-on-head!
It’s no use looking for a solution outside of yourself. “Yes, if only I can have that spa weekend away everything will be just fine. I’ll come back on Monday and it’ll be a new me.” And by 11 am Monday morning you're back in perfect harmony with your chaos.
So, be careful how you use the word harmony. If you want peace and contentment, you have to create it, and the only way it can be created is from the inside out. Your surroundings will match your inner state of existence.
Who goes to a pizza take-out and orders Chinese food? Nobody, unless their ‘mental’ crayon box is lacking a few colors. Do you agree with me? A person that does that kind of thing needs that special kind of help.
So why do we think that it’s crazy to order Chinese food from a pizza take-out when we’re constantly trying to order peace and contentment from a bomb blast site?
OK, it’s a little bit simplistic, granted many of us are faced with the trauma of having to constantly enter a chaotic and unfriendly work or family environment. But we're armed with a very powerful tool that can help us make the most of the situation: the choice.
No, not the choice to tell your boss to ‘stick it,’ or to punch that nasty brother-in-law who keeps on putting you down. Although these would be satisfying.
We have a choice because instead of blindly reacting to the situation, we can choose how we are going to respond to it.
And the response should be to change the dynamics of the situation. If you're chaotic in a chaotic environment, no matter how much it disturbs you, it won't change, because you're in perfect harmony with your surroundings.
Most often it’s not possible to change the external situation. But we can change what’s going on inside us. If you do this, you'll start to see the change in your circumstances.
Dreading a situation results in your worst fear being realized. We discussed this in Part 3.
The point I’m making is that we need to be careful where we direct our thoughts, emotions, and actions. This leads me to the third principle of Shamanism.
Principle 3: Energy Goes Where Attention Flows
Where attention is given, that’s where the energy goes. This is a fairly simple principle, but it’s surprising how hard it is to implement; that misbehaving mind again!!
People tend to get bogged down by their stories. We become attached to our stories and hold onto them as if they're items of great value.
Now that’s fine, for sure, the memory of holding your newborn son is very valuable. Please never let go of that, let it stay with you forever.
The severe bullying you were exposed to at school…um…maybe not. That’s not such a great story, I wouldn’t keep that one.
“Yes, yes, I agree,” you say, “that was a terrible time, why would I want to hold onto that story.”
But you do. You have let that define you ever since.
“Rubbish!” you say, “I’ve moved on from that, it’s in the past, history.”
Hahaah! History, yes. Everyone that looks at you says it’s ‘his story.’
OK seriously. Your low self-esteem, non-existent self-confidence, high level of insecurity, anxiety, and depression are normal?! As you say “I’m ducked up and that’s the way it is.”
Well if you say so…
If you continue to say you’re ‘ducked’ up, then of course you are. If the most qualified and competent authority on the subject of ‘you’ (i.e. yourself), continues to proclaim that, who are we, mere mortals, to argue?
We may not realize it, but we are subconsciously holding on to our stories, no matter how painful, because they define us. We're often too scared to let them go because it terrifies us what we might find in its place.
Well, what you’ll find is a clean slate.
Change your Story
“What??!” you say, “are you mad, how can I do that. This is who I am. It's how the world has shaped me.”
Fear... the fear of change, we all experience it. Change is hard, it’s scary. But I’ll tell you something scarier: living your whole life as a slave to the wounds that you received when you were young; when you didn’t have the capacity to deal with them, respond to them, and process them.
But you have that capacity now.
“How? What’s changed?” you say.
In fact, what’s changed is that you have an open door. All your life you’ve convinced yourself that this is your lot. You had emotionally unavailable parents, you were bullied at school, you were trapped in a toxic relationship, nobody really cared about your two suicide attempts…
It’s a tough story.
But I’m saying to you now this doesn’t have to be your story. You have a choice. Let go of that person, that story that has held you back. Create a new one. I give you the freedom. No one’s stopping you, except yourself.
The book by Rita Louise, The Dysfunctional Dance of the Empath and Narcissist, is an insightful book for those who struggle with issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and emotional trauma that have resulted from toxic relationships.
Our ‘stories’ are more often than not shaped by the strategies of toxic people who come into our lives rather than unintentional and indirect experiences of neglect and abuse. Empaths are easy prey for the narcissists and manipulators out there.
Focus Your Attention
The talent required to change your story is FOCUS. We call it talent but anyone can do it. It just takes conviction and willingness.
By focusing on the old story, you're telling the Universe what you want. The old story produces feelings of shame, apathy, despair, grief, anger…and pride.
Yes, your suffering is a cross that you bear, a badge, and you're proud of the distrustful, cynical, streetwise person it has turned you into. A person who sees ghosts where there are none, a conspiracy in every news bulletin.
Pride is interesting. More often than not it's hailed as a virtue, but it's a double-edged sword.
Pride is vulnerable, and it presents itself as defensive. It's vulnerable because it depends on external successes and acknowledgments for its existence. If these are lacking, a feeling of pride will quickly devolve down to disappointment, rejection, and anger, or even grief and shame. One must be very careful with pride.
All of these above emotions are grounded in fear and so the Universe will serve up a nice helping of fear to you, again and again. You'll react to this with your ego in the form of pride, and the cycle will continue down to rejection, anger, and so on. And people tend to wallow in grief and shame.
Changing your story takes courage. The courage of the soul, not the mind. Courage is where your truth starts to emerge. It's hard to face your truth, but once you do you can't go back, you can’t 'unknow' it. You won't want to.
Focus on What You Want
Now. to let go of the old story, the events that shaped you into what you are now, you have to focus on what you want the new ‘you’ to be like.
Old, stale practices need to be dropped. Maybe you’ve been very judgmental and a gossiper because of your insecurities. Or you’ve been overly sarcastic and unpleasant because of your fear of being hurt. Possibly intolerant and controlling because of your anxiety. You could’ve even been a bully in your own way because of the pain you’ve held onto.
Courage means to start focusing on the change. Maybe you want to be kind, compassionate, show empathy. Maybe you want to be a good friend, tolerant and accepting, a helpful person who displays the values that are in harmony with his/her truth; those values that were buried beneath the old story.
You want to be grateful, for what you have been given in the past, and for the promise of becoming a changed person. It hasn’t happened yet, but if your intention and belief are true, it’s as good as ‘already happened.’
Because the Universe will give you what you ask for.
The Golden Rule
The golden rule is ‘never focus on the lack.’ It's very easy to find yourself focusing on the lack of something, all the while thinking that you were focusing on attracting it to you.
“I need money, darn how I need money, what can I do today to try and make myself some money.”
Listen to that! Its laced with hopelessness and desperation. And how does the Universe interpret hopelessness and desperation?
She hears FEAR! FEAR! FEAR! So, She'll give you what you ask for: your fear – having no money.
You have to focus on abundance. Show gratitude, set a clear intention for what you want, believe in it with all your heart, and then move onto the practical steps you have planned. Do not mull over it, you'll only get caught up in the lack. If you hit a barrier, don’t revert back to fear, it's merely guiding you towards your truth. Always move forward.
This is hard and it takes practice. Work towards it, it’s all any of us can ever do. Nobody’s a superhero.
Just to clarify something. Some readers might think what I am writing is relevant to those 'fortunate' few who are blessed with the ‘magic’ and ‘virtues’ to become a shaman. The rest of you can just read and dream.
Put that out of your head!
There is no special magic or virtue that makes one a shaman. It's a calling that requires an understanding character.
You don’t even have to have very high values. Believe me, there are some downright seedy shamans out there who will swindle you and you’ll still be saying thank you. Shamans are just people, like you and me.
Everything I've written about and will write about concerning shamanism is accessible to everyone, no matter who you are. Some people may be better at certain things than others, but that’s life. We all have our faults and virtues.
Each and every human being has the potential to bring shamanism into their lives at the highest level. For it is simple. It's ultimately unconditional love…for yourself and everything around you.
Like my teacher Lionel Berman says, “You don’t have to be a shaman when you can be a shamanist.”
Please join me for Part 5 of this article, where we focus on principle 4: Now is the moment of power.
NB! Thanks and gratitude to Serge Kahili King for sharing the principles of shamanism far and wide so we may all learn from his wisdom and love as a shaman. Read his book, "Urban Shaman" to find out more about these principles.
Discover how Joy R. Austen used these principles and other aspects of shamanism to change her personal stories so that she may grow into her True Self. Read her book, "Shattering the Illusions: A Shamanic Path to Self-Healing."
This post was originally published on January 23rd, 2021, and was updated on February, 7th 2022.
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