These days I let my mind and emotions run wild and free, but I remember a time in my life when I used to meditate constantly. I would sit on some sort of rug, and go deep. I would use ancient techniques and control my mind and body. I read books about meditation and spirituality, and they inspired me to meditate more, and be more spiritual. Not a lot of things bothered me, and I was high and mighty upon my throne of being a spiritual person.
It was pretty amazing though, because every once in a while, I would break through to those illuminated states sought after by many, yet rarely achieved. This happened to me in two short moments after much practice of meditation. The first time, I was so relaxed that I expanded outside of my body, and I felt like everything, literally every single thing was okay. It was as if I was far larger than my problems, and every single problem I ever had didn’t feel like a problem! It was one of the most peaceful feelings that I have ever felt to the point of tears running down my face. The second time I was meditating in a room of monks, and I happened to find a point of focus in my mind so finite that when I focused on it with such concentration, I broke through to another side. On the other side it felt like there were thousands of senses sensing thousands of things all at once. It felt like angels singing heavenly music and beaming golden light right at me. It was too intense, I couldn’t handle it, I quickly came right back to my body as my heart was beating like wild. I thought, “woah! I finally reached enlightenment!”, and after that experience I was faced with a terrible dilemma. I wanted to be there, and I didn’t want to be here. Besides having an interest in the expansiveness of consciousness and how cool it is, the real reason I wanted to reach enlightenment was because I wasn’t happy with where I was.
No matter how hard I meditated after that experience I couldn’t get back there. Life felt empty and pointless compared to that heavenly place. After about six years of meditation, it was no longer enjoyable, it became a chore. for some time, what I saw as life became torture. I had to find meaning, in my meaningless existence. I had to face the pain of emptiness, and however else I felt about my life. I even found that becoming a person who kept busy, and became fulfilled with passions and sports contributed to a happy life, yet were not an ultimate answer. Without those things, I was still empty, just like fleeting love.
I found though, that when I allowed my mind and emotions to run wild, I have never felt so full. I don’t feel empty anymore. To get angry, sad, depressed, anxious, feel fearful, without trying to get rid of it, and to feel love, excitement, creativity, and peace naturally without forcing them or pretending to create them with the bullshit façade of positive thinking, that is when I started to feel full. That is when I felt meaning that doesn’t fade, and a more honest and integrated type of enlightenment that has no end.
It is common for a shaman to go through the fires of a trial or initiation with which he is to learn to heal himself before he can begin his healing work with others. This initiation could be equated to going through a life crises, or anything that sends him into the dark depths of his soul. Although the crises can be circumstantial, it can reveal what was already there within. The Shaman learns his way through the darkness so that he can help guide others along in their own healing. He can be assisted with the use of plant medicines which can help him to become more aware of his self and whatever issues he may have buried deep down inside him. They are not a quick fix, are not always pleasant, and are quite different from suppressive effects of what I consider “drugs”. The three most common plant medicines you might hear about in the shamanic world are Ayahuasca, Peyote, and Iboga.
The Doctor and most of the world have a bag of labels and pills ready slap on anyone going through a “tough” time. Some people do have some pretty intense mental illnesses’s which should be handled by specialized professionals, but that is a very small percentage. Most of the world has a hidden crises within them. Some are ticking time bombs. They have buried something down so far that they can be triggered to snap and do something to act out on that energy like hurt other people, or even shoot them with guns and kill them. Others suffer in a silence and develop a cushion of addictions to numb their feelings. One of the most profound medicines you will ever find is that in a moment of difficulty, you do not reach for a bottle or pill. The temptation to escape the issue is strong, but hiding it is the very thing which will draw the shaman away from the completion of his healings. When he is ready he will experience each release to its full intensity.
I myself have eaten peyote in the sweatlodge and tipi meetings countless times over the past year, but I have found for myself lately that the plant medicines aren’t as necessary, and that in time and with increasing awareness they become less needed. Its kind of like moving on to an even greater source of medicine which is hidden within the self. It just takes some time, and a lot of courage. It takes bravery to allow the fires of transformation to burn you alive. Sometimes that’s exactly what it feels like when you go through healing. As much as you want to run away from the feelings you simply allow it to be there and observe it. Nothing to fix. You allow the issue to arise and open up into your awareness. Without putting a time limit on how long it will take, it begins lose its momentum, it loses its pull as it opens up into your space of awareness. You integrate the lesson, and you grow. You become fully alive, and experience the fullness of your being. You experience both joy and sadness, but you find the greatest value in the source of your awareness that experiences those feelings to their fullest, your self. Many of us are going through a shamanic initiation.
Alone in his basement, the artist develops his technique. He learns to express his deepest thoughts and feelings upon a canvas which he has archived, kept secret, and locked away in a stronghold for which a key has been suppressed into its dungeon by his fear.
The fear is the feeling of exposure. The feeling of a spotlight shining brightly upon the naked truth of the artist. He is a full spectrum human, and not everything in his experience is a summer meadow draped in the glorious warmth of the sun. He is real and has become aware of a treacherous field of blood drenched thorns dimly lit by the moon. He has come to learn the depth of his self in all directions through his experience in his life and he is afraid of what others will think of the dark side.
He knows that when he is witness to honesty, he can feel its beauty, its realism, whether its light or dark. It hits him with the most genuine effect, and he doesn’t want to accept anything else into his existence either than that pure authenticity. He feels uncomfortable in the presence of a mask, and he has learned the difference between the expression of truth, and the unconscious complaints or the praise of a plastic happiness. He now looks behind the surface he was once allured by.
He exposes him self, as he has found a deeper acceptance for who he really is. Without reckless abandon, and with self-respect, he feels ready to allow people to think how they want to of him , even if its rejection, judgement, or criticism, because he knows that is necessary in order to allow those that truly connect with him into his life. He is encouraged and utterly motivated by those people. Even if a thousand eyes cant understand him, that one person who can see his truth makes it all worth it, and in time, others begin to step out of the shadows and see each other for their true value and worth.