As the subtle tides of our world shift, this becomes a good time to practice awareness and meditation, to flow with life, rather than get caught in a riptide against one’s own nature. As the world slowly is being burned by the modern consumer culture it’s also creating a time where people want to reconnect to the living world around us. This means more people are getting curious what it means to be a shaman and how to reconnect to spirit.
Our inner spirit always contains a map that reflects the larger universe. So pay close attention and look inward to inner spirit. Looking outwards means to miss what is transitioning now… inside… within your heart. Take time to look inward and you can also connect with surety of self with the larger world.
Without awareness you cannot sense and work with spirit. Without a practice of awareness it isn’t possible to be a shaman.
Using awareness to move gracefully with our potentials.
I was once at the beach. It seemed calm. But in awareness, something didn’t feel “right” for me.
So I kept my awareness open to flow with life. A storm was far off the coast but not visible. I was patient and then suddenly I knew the moment. Running in to be with my daughter Mina just in time before a very large rogue wave came crashing in to hurt her. I didn’t know this was going to happen, I had no “idea” to think about a rogue wave since it was a sheltered cove that doesn’t have larger waves. I just had the sense I should be present and aware… then the wave came crashing in. If I wasn’t present and aware she would have been hurt. Yet together, since she also helped to spot the wave coming in, we shifted through it safely, and more importantly played with the wave instead. It shook her up a little since it was a huge rogue wave out the blue, but instead of shaping us by a collision we reversed the event and defined it by our play. A big difference.
Even in the best of times when we feel the waters of our life are calm enough… and normally we would be right… our awareness can still be engaged and extend further out than our normal senses. A shaman uses awareness to pick up on storms and events near our life and any potentials that could be crashing about in pretty random ways.
Awareness and Meditation
A common question many people ask is:
How do I meditate correctly?
People jump into meditation practices not knowing why most of the time. More times than not, people are trying to still their mind or are desperate to find inner peace.
So lets start here at the root of Meditation:
Meditation is awareness applied to practice.
So the real question a person must ask:
For what reason do you desire awareness?
After answering this, then ask yourself what practice creates a desired set of exercises to generate the awareness required to connect to these goals.
If people jump into Meditation for stilling the mind or for inner peace, then as a teacher I find the logical follow up question to be equally telling:
How does awareness lead to either of these states of being?
Awareness connects a person to options. As such it can be used in refining the navigational choices for the movement of one’s life.
A simplified example: Living to fear.
Fear causes a person to limit actions, which prevents a fuller life. I teach fear is a delusion and projection: it doesn’t truly exist, unless a person or society gives it power to exist. With awareness: fear goes away. Quite simply: awareness lets you stop channeling personal energy into fear. Awareness reveals the potentials in life. Fear represent a negative potential, with awareness it’s clearly seen as such and released. So awareness can guide actions that empower your nature, to gracefully move with potentials to avoid problems or help others before they entangle you with their problems. Instead of wasting energy to prevent non existent problems (fears) you enhance personal energy towards more fulfilling actions. Fear without awareness only neutralizes a person in wasted effort of creating additional personal problems. Fear tempered and examined by awareness allows a person to efficiently handle only the negative potentials that are real, empowered by others. In this manner it becomes possible to remove fear and also help others grow by teaching them how to remove their own fear.
Awareness as a result guides a person towards greater potential of being. With awareness actions can be precisely embraced towards supporting one’s life.
Strangely I can summarize most all the questions about Meditation I get to a single question:
How do I become a better person?
Again we need to back up: who defines what being a better person is? More importantly: Why should you define how to improve yourself on other outside standards?
Many mediation practices purposely don’t give an answer, since in reality, we each define that personally with actions of kindness to yourself and others. However: mediation opens up an awareness to how to work towards your personal answers in this goal.
The deeper question is really: how would you like to express your nature!
Awareness finally ties into that answer, as with awareness you then have the ability to sense the options on your path to better decide how to fulfill your nature.
This becomes a practice on how to best be yourself.
People have a habit of wanting shortcuts, to be told how to do this in a round about way, by being provided “keys” to secrets of meditation… but again as I said about secrets in my teaching: No secrets really exist, the answers are already present, but people make the path complicated to create a challenge. Without an open awareness, it isn’t possible to see the answers that are readily viable to explore.
Julie and I teach to make the shamanic path simple. To take the time to enjoy life… as that is where it all circles around eventually anyway.
Later in the shamanic teachings we will talk about release in meditation when talking about the empty space of our nature. As some people will confuse awareness to only be a focused process, which it can be… but most meditation practices tie awareness together with release… So we will tackle that issue later.
Awareness and Form
Shamanic students often think of awareness as “just” how to connect out and sense the world… but students initially don’t realize that awareness can have form…
We can shape our awareness, just as we can shape out any other aspect of our nature.
How a shaman shape’s awareness to take a form, directly affects how they can sense and connect to the world.
In traveling, it opens up the opportunity to play with this more. While on the island I let my awareness spread across on the winds. My awareness is normally diffuse and open to feeling the whole of the island. I also let my awareness take flight so I can check in with students and those I love to make sure all is flowing well to their potentials.
But while on the mainland I tighten up my awareness, I bundle it to be more “casey” shaped, far more focused. The mainland is so large, that to let my awareness be diffuse is not what feels right. Normally on the mainland I let my awareness wander only in special places such as the smith river. In part with such a huge population, there are so many knife edged personalities cutting all they pass through. People in their determination to get from point A to Point B focus their own awareness into bright little lasers that can blind others that cross their path. It’s a bit more distracting to let one’s essence, one’s awareness flow out as freely in cities like San Fransisco , when so many people in blind determination cut about all they pass through (without realizing they are doing so).
The first few days in a new place I always play with form of awareness. Initially pulling myself into a tighter form. Then trying on new shapes and seeing which I would like to be and what ones works best in the new environment I am within.
It is possible to play with many aspects of your nature, don’t limit yourself to only physical play. Be aware and in that awareness play with your form.
Don’t forget to be yourself, and don’t forget to release and connect to the larger world. In between are countless shapes and forms to explore, so play.
A shaman sees life as a larger mixture of mind, body and spirit. Depending on your shamanic heritage you will discover many levels of reality and forms of life. This larger view requires maintaining a balance. It means playing, it means working out: keeping the body in shape; movement and joy to fill the spirit; poking around angles and depths to explore for the mind.
However, the balancing of our activities also always requires awareness on our part. Awareness is the process that traces out our spark of life. Awareness allows us to witness a joy in being one with a larger universe while also allowing us to accept our distinctions amid all of our potentials to be.
Awareness is connection to all of our potentials. But at times, we lose focus, we become disconnected from everything, including ourselves. At moments of feeling disconnected, it is important to linger, to take extra time and say good morning to oneself, to pause in one’s life and savour being aware of mind, body and spirit.
Too much awareness and ego goes to town, to only see ourselves. Too little awareness and we are merely a sand grain lost, to the larger seas of the universe.
In depression or other negative moments of our life, It’s all too easy to focus too deeply on the disconnected feelings and then push one’s souls further away from a personal center: like pushing a raft out to sea and then losing oneself in greater storms of the ocean of life.
Detachment (Non Attachment really) and Disconnected are not the same thing.
Non Attachment is to not assign value nor judgment to that which you are aware of. Non Attachment still allows for us to dive totally into awareness but without the poking about to stir things up.
Never confuse feeling disconnected to the process of learning how to achieve clarity of non attachment. If you feel disconnected, then take a moment to be aware of life and live if even for a second in a manner to more fully to connect back to your heart.
The Shamanic Path
The first step of being a shaman is simply: learning how to expand your awareness.
Julie & Casey