The Shaman's Way: The Four-Fold Way by Angeles Arrien
Welcome to Part 2 of this article which deals with the wisdom and teachings of Angeles Arrien.
We left off in Part 1 exploring how the seven principles of shamanism help us to identify the path of healing required.
Once we have acknowledged and accepted the addictions we're suffering from, we're ready to take the first step.
Let’s just recap on the four addictions.
We could be suffering from the addiction of ‘knowing,’ wanting to always be in the loop, always know what’s going on, whether it’s our business or not. Fear of betrayal, insecurity, and lack of attention, could be causing this.
Alternatively, we could be suffering from the addiction to ‘perfection,’ that nothing is ever good enough. This is a painful place to be, where one is denied any peace of mind.
Just as painful, is the addiction to ‘intensity,’ where one is constantly seeking attention and can never get enough of it. This is often driven by deep-seated issues within the individual.
The addiction to ‘what is not working,’ likewise, keeps us in a negative frame of mind, where we focus and obsess over what could go wrong in our lives. Many people ‘thrive’ within this mindset, unfortunately to the detriment of their happiness and growth.
Let’s take a look at how Angeles Arrien recommends we deal with these addictions.
The Four-Fold Way
The Four-Fold Way contains four simple or, maybe not so simple, steps:
Being open to but detached from, the outcome
1. Showing Up
It's essential that one is open to healing. Showing up is about accepting the affliction you're suffering from and realizing that something needs to be done about it.
Healing is needed, and the most important part of it is that only you can make that healing happen. You have to be willing. Yes, professionals and practitioners will guide you, but the path is yours to walk.
Angeles Arrien calls this the Way of the Warrior.
2. Passion: Heart
If you're to heal, your heart must be in it. You must want it, without a doubt. You must be willing to put the effort into the healing process and be prepared to face some unpleasant truths.
The healing needs to take place with an open, gracious heart.
You need to give full attention to the healing in order for all the necessary components, such as love, gratitude, and acceptance, to come together for a successful process.
She calls this the Way of the Healer.
3. Meaning: Truth
All barriers to healing, most notably the ego, must be dropped. Only the truth, your own truth, must remain so that nothing gets in the way of healing.
If you battle with this, try and find one aspect of yourself you know to be true without a doubt, and hold onto that.
You must be open about yourself and willing to accept the roles that conditioning, past choices, and ego have played in the development of the addiction.
Only then can you become open to healing.
She calls this the Way of the Visionary.
4. Be Open To, and Detached from the Outcome
Let the healing process unfold without interference. It’s essential to be open to the outcome, but don’t be attached to a certain outcome, because it may not be what you need.
It’s easy to think that you want to become this or that when you have recovered from your ordeal or addiction. However, sometimes you may have false or inaccurate impressions of who you are and who you wish to become.
Being attached to a certain outcome may just land you in the same situation that led to the addiction in the first place.
Be open and unattached, because what you may become could be something you’ve never even contemplated, something beyond your wildest dreams, something that truly resonates with you: your complete truth.
She calls this the Way of the Teacher.
The Four Medicines
Walking the Path of the Warrior, the Healer, the Visionary and the Teacher is without a doubt a shamanic journey.
There are four important medicines, among others, which need to accompany you on your healing journey; the four ‘spiritual ointments,’ if you will:
Song, Music, Dance
Each and every part of the healing, whether it be counseling or psychotherapy with a professional, taking a retreat in nature, being prescribed pills, or any other alternative mode of healing, needs to be imbued with these four universal medicines.
1. Song, Dance, Music
In fact, any form of artistic creativity. Drawing, painting, writing, making something, whatever. Activities that contain an element of wildness and spontaneity. Let go and simply be amazed at the results.
Importantly, the activity must bring a degree of joy and fulfillment; it must complement the healing process.
There’s a danger of taking things literally and listening, for example, to your favorite Death Metal band with lyrics about suicide, incest, and so on. Don’t do that, it won’t help.
2. Story Telling
The essential talent of the Shaman. Be open to the story of your change and healing. Weave it according to your values and the truth that you carry with you through the process.
Shamans use storytelling as a mode of understanding, acceptance, and healing. The human condition is quite predictable. Don’t for a moment think that you're any different from another person who is going through the same ordeal as you.
Remember, countless people before you have experienced the same thing and countless will do so after you. Rather than setting yourself apart from these people, choose to identify with them, their pain, their learning, and their healing processes.
The Shaman knows that an understanding and acceptance of your fellow human’s plight is a powerful medicine for healing.
When healing from one of the four addictions, a certain degree of silence is necessary.
This can take place in many ways, from simply sitting doing nothing, to taking a walk in nature. You could just close your eyes and listen to the sounds you can hear, or you could observe the people and animals around you. A popular way to practice silence is through meditation.
Be careful of your thought patterns during these times of silence though. Always try and focus on the Four-Fold Way as your guiding principle.
And remember, be present, practice gratitude, even for the smallest things, and give thanks.
Laughter is extremely powerful medicine. I want to share three quotes with you from Osho, which I find to be very inspiring:
“God is always joking. Look at your own life; it is a joke. Look at other people's lives, and you will find jokes and jokes. Seriousness is an illness, it has nothing spiritual about it. Spirituality is laughter, spirituality is joy, spirituality is fun.” – Osho.
“Learn to laugh. Seriousness is a sin, and it is a disease. Laughter has a tremendous beauty and a lightness. It will bring lightness to you, and it will give you wings to fly.” – Osho.
“Nothing kills the ego like playfulness, like laughter. When you start taking life as fun, the ego has to die, it cannot exist anymore.” – Osho.
A good sense of humor is definitely an asset in this life.
OK, one can't always laugh. There are times to be serious, for example, at your Aunt’s funeral, but never miss the opportunity to find the humor, as long as it’s not at the expense of someone’s dignity.
it's true, though, that laughter can heal. Laughter in its purest form is joy, it is love. Never miss an opportunity to show love.
The Four Universal Medicines
These four universal medicines are based on the principle of energy movement, of shifting.
It’s important to be in a constant state of energy shifting while healing so that the old can move out and the new can move in.
If one looks at any mental, the social, spiritual, or emotional issue being faced by an individual, they all have their roots in one or more of the four addictions.
Many will say that a lot of physical issues experienced by people are also consequences of suffering from the four addictions. The Shaman certainly believes this.
I challenge you to come up with any incidence of debilitating suffering that doesn't have its roots in the four addictions. on
If you analyze the series of events, beliefs, and values that lead people to suffer, you'll always be led back to the four addictions.
The Four-Fold Way, together with the Four Medicines, is a very powerful perspective on achieving healing. I encourage anyone going through suffering at the moment to analyze their situation and start applying the principles discussed in this article.
Yes, for sure, take the tablets that are prescribed, follow the treatment laid out by your physician, physiotherapist, psychiatrist, alternative healer, whatever.
I’m not advocating the rejection of modern medicine in favor of the airy-fairy, coo-coo-land blabberings of the ‘spiritual healer,’ but go for integration.
Why does modern medicine fail some people, yet it works in others?
We have to look at the energy shifts, the application of positive mental, emotional and spiritual perspectives to healing, and the implementation of the Four-Fold Way.
I hope you have enjoyed these articles about Angeles Arrien. Please read up more about her, she was an inspiring Warrior, Healer, Visionary, and Teacher. Get her book from Amazon and learn more about the "Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Visionary, and Teacher."
This post was originally published on April 20th, 2021, and updated on April 25th, 2022.
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