- Paul Lawrence
The Seven Principles of Shamanism: Part 8
the whole truth;
the truth according to…;
the relative truth;
true in light of…;
a deeper truth;
the real story;
what really happened;
What is the Truth?
For something that’s supposed to be true, truth goes by many different, and often ambiguous, names and guises; some fairly transparent and others somewhat questionable.
Truth is a very unpredictable character. He hides out in dark corners and jumps out when we least expect him, like a drunk soccer fan streaking across the field.
And like the other fans watching, we're thoroughly entertained in the knowledge that he's guilty and will be judged so.
We all have been known to piously utter things like, “the truth hurts, doesn’t it,” or “sooner or later, the truth will come out.”
It’s quite satisfying to say these kinds of things, isn’t it? You can appear learned and holy, and in the process, contribute to an honorable and upstanding conversation without too much qualification.
You don’t have to be a subject matter expert, but if you’re seen to uphold ‘the truth,’ then you automatically occupy a noble seat in the courts of judgment…or kangaroos.
It’s all nice and convenient...until the chickens come home to roost. Then it’s no longer the truth; those hypocrites out there are just calling it that. It then becomes lies, twisted stories, smear campaigns, framing, and so on; ‘the truth according to…’
The truth is that the truth is not always the truth.
And nowhere is that more evident than in our own personal stories.
You’ve all heard the sayings, ‘live your truth,’ ‘be true to yourself,’ and ‘be in your integrity.’ If not then you haven’t read the previous seven parts of this article.
Those words (or similar) are part of our lives and appear inevitably and predictably like the MsC, PhD, Hon.DG, CEO, MBPsS, MD, etc, after distinguished and honorable people’s names.
You know they’re important, but you’re not sure quite what they mean.
We need to take a more in-depth look at what ‘your personal truth’ actually means.
But before that, it’s necessary for us to recap on what we've encountered so far in the previous six principles.
Let’s look at what we've learned. I would say we’ll work backward, but there's no such thing as backward or forwards when you’re dealing with a cycle such as this. Remember, linear time is an illusion.
So, the previous principle told us how to recognize and claim our power, the power that comes from within us, the only true power. To do this we have to empower ourselves. It requires a choice.
It also requires a realization and is more often than not a response to a challenge in our lives. A need for change.
Before that, we looked at love. We discussed what love is, what it isn’t, its role in the universe, and our daily lives. We learned that love is about blessings, to bless, and to be blessed. To be grateful for the gifts we receive.
And to ignite love, joy is needed. Love is to be in joy with something/someone.
We learned also the importance of being present in the moment. NOW! This moment; because ‘now’ is all we have. If we're not present in the moment, we've no power to make that moment count.
And every moment should count. Life is a gift and we shouldn’t miss one moment of it…I know, that’s sometimes hard to take.
Focus Our Attention
The third principle taught us about focusing our attention on abundance, on what we want, and not on the lack. Energy flows where attention goes.
This requires a degree of awareness that's difficult to maintain all the time. We often find ourselves focusing on what we don’t have, it's only natural.
However, in order to achieve this, we need to take as much opportunity as possible to:
Bring ourselves into the moment
Be grateful for our blessings
Respond from our place of personal power
Clearing and Healing
Principle two dealt with identifying, accepting, and clearing the limitations that our souls place upon us. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow, to move closer to the ‘authentic you,’ the true you;’ healing, to become ‘whole.’
Once we understand our limitations, we can work with them. We can show them, love, thank them for the role they've played in your lives, integrate them or, if necessary, send them on their way.
We started off with the ‘talent’ of intuition, seeing the deeper story. We call them talents, but they're accessible to everyone. Like I said previously, some of us are better at certain things than others, but we're all good at something.
Intuition is about seeing the world the way you think it is. We all have the choice to view the world according to our own perspectives.
Having said this, it's important that we acknowledge a consensual reality, otherwise, existence would be a madhouse.
“I see a car there and it's red. You agree with me.”
A certain amount of this is essential to a well-functioning system.
But beyond the consensual reality, we're free to believe what we want to. It makes the world a colorful place.
We create our own realities. It is essential for us to be content within this reality.
This leads me to the seventh principle of shamanism.
Effectiveness is the Measure of Truth
The first time I heard this it was like, “wow! that makes so much sense.”
The more I thought about it, I realized that at the same time as being such a powerful statement, it’s a ridiculously simple one as well.
Effectiveness is the measure of truth. If it’s not working for you, then it’s not your truth.
Ever tried hammering a nail in with a water balloon? Of course not! You see, the consensual reality is useful in teaching us certain things.
However, this is where the personal reality kicks in…
“sigh…this fence needs fixing; the hammer is in the toolbox in the garage, I’ll just use this brick lying here. It’ll do the same job…”
It might. It might also shatter and in the process result in your bare hand hammering the nail, which would be disagreeable in the least.
“C@$p!” you swear at the pain…and frustration that your plan didn’t work. But you’re determined, so you pick up the biggest half of the brick to try again.
The Universe watches this and thinks, “Ah, I see what he is asking for,” and so grants it… before you can try again, the half-brick breaks in your hand, and the larger part lands square on your big toe, bringing more pain and irritation.
You scream out your Maker's name and throw the remaining piece of brick with all your might…alas, straight through the neighbor’s window.
Your Maker shouts back in despair, “But it’s what you asked for. Your intention is chaos, I’m just giving you more.”
“So, what does this have to do with truth?” you ask.
Well, a lot.
You see, the hammer is true to the nail, it's true to the job of the nail holding the fence together.
Yes, there are other ways to get the nail in, but, they're not very effective.
Effectiveness is the measure of truth.
Your soul sent you to this planet. You have a purpose. Now we all have differing views of what our purpose should be, but I say to you that your purpose is to grow love. Nothing more.
Nothing more...there’s a lot less, though, that needs to be achieved. You have to grow up, make friends, study, start a family, earn a living by doing a job of work; or run your own business, maybe becoming a billionaire, lucky you.
Or maybe you’ll be a hobo, down and out, scrounging a living from the waste of others.
It depends on the experiences your soul plans for you in order to grow spiritual awareness and consciousness. You might not think you’re growing it, but unbeknownst to you, your spirit is taking note.
But ultimately, your purpose is to grow love.
Now your body, mind, and emotions are tools that you have in your toolbox. You, as a spirit, a part of your soul community, have been given this toolbox to achieve a purpose.
Let’s take an example. Your soul decides, in its bid to grow consciousness and love, to expose you, as a spirit, to the experience of a cruel betrayal. To maximize growth, it gives you an outgoing personality with a healthy regard for your own appearance and capabilities.
In other words, a not unpleasant, but rather egotistical individual who is born into a privileged situation.
Now you grow up getting straight A’s, always finding good opportunities, and inevitably, you manage to land the handsome owner of a multitude of lucrative businesses.
You fall in love with him. You have everything you could ever wish for. He’s charming, attentive, and makes you feel special.
But sooner or later the fairy tale fades and you settle into the mundane life of shoes, credit cards, and high teas.
Then you discover the truth behind the illusion. He’s an international criminal, has many women (even another family in Guatemala), and doesn’t really love you. He tells you so. It all ends in a mess of tears, trauma, and betrayal.
What you don’t realize is that you never really loved him either. You fell in love with the idea of you being attached to a person like him. It boosted your ego.
Understanding Your Tools
Now up until then, you were using your tools all wrong.
Honey! you were using the washing machine to mix your smoothies, the electric sander to shave your legs, and the hedge trimmer to cut your hair!
It's fine, you didn’t really know any better. The consensual reality had recommended the food blender for your smoothies, but the universe didn’t really expect you to go along with that, especially with the personality she’d given you.
So, for a while, you mope around, disillusioned and broken, bitter and blaming. But this time around you’re lucky. You’re not destined to go back for more. You seek the right kind of help and soon you start to learn what your tools are for.
You realize you have a body that actually likes hard work. Digging in the vegetable garden brings you joy.
You have a heart that can be very kind and bring hope to those who are less fortunate. You have a mind that is methodical and patient.
You understand why you completed that ‘useless’ teaching diploma after you left school...you remember, the one that was so uncool. Thanks, Dad!
You understand because you know you must teach, you know you must make a difference in people’s lives. You get a job as a teacher at a school for special-needs children. And finally, you start to feel at home.
“Yes! This is where I’m meant to be, this is my truth.”
Now you're using your tools effectively. So effectively that you're living your truth. And in the process, as the universe intended, you're doing a great job at growing love.
“Hey man! You burst my bubble. Why’d you bring in such an ‘un-spiritual’ word when I’m basking in the light of that amazing spiritual transformation?”
Unfortunately, within the context of spiritual growth and the path to ‘Enlightenment,’ the concept of ‘ego’ has taken a battering. Its often seen as a hindrance to spiritual growth, something that should be shunned because it’s ‘selfish, proud and unpleasant.’
There's actually no problem with ego. Ego is what drives us. It's what motivates us to get up in the morning and go out and do what we do.
I’m sure even Gandhi had his mornings where he’d have preferred to stay plastered to his pillow and stink in bed.
It's when the ego is flaunted with the intention of putting down or harming others, that it becomes unpleasant, nauseating, and downright ugly. Those with enough awareness, however, are able to see it for what it is: the masking of pain, inadequacies, and insecurities.
But when the ego is aligned with its truth, its purpose, it's a different story. This is the display of ego within the context of spiritual growth, and that's not a problem.
It's alright for one to feel fulfilled and proud if they managed to make an abused child smile or to feel ecstatic if they won a race. The healthy display of ego, when it's not used to harm others, is what keeps us motivated.
There’s a fine line though. Always be aware of that.
It's easy to find out if you're living your truth. Just ask the simple questions, “is my life working? Is it giving me what I want?”
Obviously, our lives are complex and we can be fulfilled in some aspects and not others. Maybe you're happy in your relationship, you enjoy your comfortable home, you have happy holidays, you have enough money, but your job is draining you.
You just don’t enjoy it. It's a mindless, unrewarding slog. But you need it...it brings in the money.
Now when aligning with your truth, you have to be realistic and ask the question, “Can I change it?”
For example, if the thought of the ‘Illuminati’ controlling you and everything you do is making you unhappy, sooner or later you have to realize something: “That ‘ain't gonna change. So what must happen?... I must change.”
Yes, often the only thing that needs to change is YOU.
But if you can change something, and that change will align you more with your truth, then you owe it yourself to take the steps to change it.
The first thing the shaman will say to you is, “start weaving it.”
Create it. Dream-weaving is about creating the reality you want.
Like Credo Mutwa said, “If you want that beautiful cow, climb the hill every day, lie down on the grass and see yourself having it. Picture yourself being the owner of that cow, believe it is yours. Do this over and over and that cow will be yours.”
OK, it went something like that, don’t quote me exactly. It’s been a long time since I read that book. If you’re interested, it's an interesting read, the work of a true shaman. Just have an open mind. Check it out: Indaba, my Children: African Tribal History, Legends, Customs and Religious Beliefs, by Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa.
You, only you, have the power to achieve what you want.
But you have to be practical. You have to be methodical. Of course, you can’t just go and lie on a hill and picture yourself having a Lamborghini and a private jet, and then expect them to land in your lap.
Action is required. Hard work is required. Some risk-taking might also be required. But if you integrate the shamanic talent of dream-weaving, you'll be guaranteed of getting what you want. Only you can decide if something is meant for you.
Firstly, you have to ‘see’ it. Go within and make it so, create the world as you think it is. A world where you own that beautiful cow.
You know this: the world is what you think it is.
Secondly, you have to identify and integrate any limitations. They're your fears. Speak to your fears, work with them, plan how you can neutralize them, banish any negative thinking (I’m not good enough to own such a beautiful cow).
You know this: there are no limitations.
Then you have to focus on abundance. Focus on receiving, focus on achieving. Remember, a shaman sees you as healed the moment you walk through their door to ask for healing. Receive the cow, be grateful for it.
You know this: energy flows where attention goes.
Be aware. Keep your attention in the present moment. Don’t relinquish your power. ‘Now’ is where your power is, ensure you maintain your belief in the present moment.
You know this: NOW is the moment of power.
Be grateful. For what you have received and what you will receive. Be grateful for that beautiful cow. Know you will love and treasure it, for it is a blessing.
You know: love is to be in joy with something.
Believe that you can do this; only you can do this; you are the key that fits the lock; you have the power within you to do this.
You know this: all power comes from within.
Receive your truth. Live it. Love it.
You know this: effectiveness is the measure of truth.
The seven principles of shamanism are not pillars standing alone, a list of commandments telling us how to live our lives. They're alive, like a flaming, writhing, serpent constantly moving in and out of balance in its cosmic dance with the stars.
They're one thing. They're movement, integration, growth. Like our lives. We're constantly moving in a spiral, learning, laughing, crying, creating, destroying, loving, fearing, embracing, hating, building, breaking down, finding, losing, giving, taking, blessing, receiving.
As we ascend on this spiral, acknowledge that we also descend, accept that we're made of love and fear, and honor the purpose of the Universe, the glory of God.
For the Universe is reflected in your eyes.
"You are not a drop in the ocean,
you the entire ocean in a drop" – Rumi.
I thank you humbly for reading this article on the seven principles of shamanism. I hope you enjoyed it and got something out of it.
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 explore more about the principles of shamanism.
This post was originally published on February 11th, 2021, and updated on March 7th, 2022.
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