Letters to Apprentices
Letters to Apprentices
The following are a selection of letters that have been written to shamanic apprentices and others. These letters are offered here as introductions and descriptions of shamanic thinking.
From a letter to a young apprentice.I have identified a couple of patterns that I want to break, that I don't have time for myself, don't have time to do the things that I want to do, I cant say no to people or jobs even if I don't have the time or don't want to do them. And if I entertain the thought of saying no to someone, I get this feeling of guilt and "they wont like me if I don't do what they want," and also expect to be punished in some sort of way, and then I get upset and angry because I don't get to do what is important for myself.
Let's look at this bit by bit.
I make myself so busy .
What drives you here? Is it that extended time by yourself is not only unwelcome, but somehow challenges you. Are you good company fro yourself. why not schedule a half day a week simply to be by yourself, no busy work, no surfing, instead sitting in a chair, relaxing in a hammock, listening to gentle music, and seeing what happens. Watch the clouds, go where the ocean comes in and the beach is deserted, walk by yourself, and watch, and enjoy. For that time become a disciple of the ancient shamanic art of laziness. Some of my apprentices I continually have to kick up the bum in order to get them to do things. You however my lad, practice this art.
don't have time to do the things that I want to do.
Donate another half day a week just for the things you want to do. Schedule this time in your dairy, try it on for an experiment for a month, see what happens as you move to do this, and if you break it start again.
I cant say no to people or jobs even if I don't have the time or don't want to do them.
Ask yourself,"Do I want to do this? And breathe. And feel what you want to do, And answer from that space. This is about bringing awareness to the process of giving a reply and making that process conscious. Make sure that you give the answer from the place you are in when you answer the question and note the sense of liberation you will feel when you do that. Additionally, discriminate between when you don't have the time, because time activities can often be rescheduled, and give people a time a couple of weeks or months away and let them make the choice, and those activities that you don't want to do. And bite the bullet. practise saying no. Get Sarah to play a game with you where she makes requests and you say "no". Have clear parameters here, do it for 2 0r 3 minutes initially, then a little longer, and notice how you feel when you say "no" and watch the past move through you. If you are in a men's group invite the men to use this activity in the group and go from one to another doing this. Make sure that it does not become mechanical. hear the request, breathe, feel and say "no".
if I entertain the thought of saying no to someone, I get this feeling of guilt and "they wont like me if I don't do what they want.
How beautiful to see this so clearly. Break it down exquisitely.
if I entertain the thought of saying no to someone, I get this feeling of guilt
Follow the guilt,
see where it comes from.
You can do this by feeling the guilt,
and then seeing and feeling when else you felt like this,
and keep on following the feeling,
going down the causal chain,
link by link,
until you reach the initial undischarged feeling.
Then welcome the feeling.
remember the Sedona method.
What type of feeling is it?
Ask yourself the questions,
Could I let it go?
Would I let it go?
If you answer "NOW", then let it go.
And run the feeling through this process each time it comes.
each time welcoming the feeling as you continue the process of surrender.
also expect to be punished in some sort of way,
Keep remembering that these feelings are from the past and when they emerge again be like a detective," Ah Ha, know you, you're from the past: got you, you're not going to get me again. Once again in your reflective times follow these feelings back to their origin, release and forgive all concerned.
and then I get upset and angry because I don't get to do what is important for myself.
If you follow the processes outlined above and undertake the experiments this will turn into self appreciation as you see how you are remaking your emotional belief structure.
Sitting With our Hearts.
Why not sit both with, and in, your heart at various times. No thought , no analysis, not trying to work it out, simply your heart and your breath. Each breath arising in your heart and leaving from there as well.
>From what you are writing it seems to me that you are using your mind too much.
Recent research shows that over 60% of the cells in the heart are the same as brain cells, they have neurological structures and function. By sitting with our hearts we can tap into the part of us that is connected to the One Heart, and come to know in quite a different way.
I know that you know how to do this, and simply want to keep bringing you back to the part that simply knows and can sit quietly in that unstated knowing.
There is a truth beyond words, a truth beyond feelings, where the emptiness of Spirit carries us to our home. In this void, this emptiness, we see, come to know, experience, that which we are.
We are the One, the emptiness, the void; the eternal emptiness, out of which all things arise. We are both eternally full and eternally empty, and simultaneously everything and no-thing. This is as close and as distant to us as the next breath and the awareness that slips into us when we are not looking. This is our Godliness, the face of us before we were born, the answer to every question we have ever had; and every Zen koan that has ever been asked.
This awareness never comes because we are looking for it, or because we asked for it , or because we prayed. It is the Eternal, that is us, that is wanting to be known for itself, in the expression of itself that is us. It is wanting to be known in you as you, to bless you as itself, to take you into the heart of the mystery which is your own true being.
My prayer for you, that is not different from the prayer for myself, and for all others who seek the truth of things, is that this, the simple and elusive obvious, will make it's way into your heart and bring an even greater blessing into your life.
Love to you,
Hearing Spirit in the wind
An apprentice writes:
I have been listening to Father Thomas Berry today as I drove around in the car. I was particularly touched by his exhortation to listen to the trees, to the birds, to the clouds, to the wind, to nature, instead of going to books etc. I went for a walk up into a nearby conservation park and sat on the rocks next to some blackboys. There was a she-oak with the wind moving through it. I asked the wind to speak to me... and I heard the wind, but I didn't know exactly what it was saying.... like I couldn't translate wind language. I had some nice feelings, and felt touched in that place, and I appreciate that experience.. it's just that I would like to be able to be informed by spirit by listening to nature. hmm.
This is a matter of learning to hear and trust the voice of Spirit. You write:
I had some nice feelings, and felt touched in that place,
and I appreciate that experience..
There is a deeper step to be taken here.
You have the first part of the process.
I had some nice feelings.
and the second part as well,
and felt touched in that place,
Now comes the next part to learn.
This will come to you in one of several ways.
Spirit communicates through our feeling body, and at the beginning this can be problematic because the feeling body can be filled with all sorts of wishes, wants, desires, projections, and distortions. However there is no other way to begin than to begin where we are, and then to refine our perception as we go through the process of receptivity and doubt.
We have to put ourselves in the way of the voice communicating with us.
and you did this.
I went for a
walk up into a nearby conservation park and sat on the rocks next to
some blackboys. There was a she-oak with the wind moving through it.
I asked the wind to speak to me...
It is absolutely necessary to get into natural environments when you are learning this, because then the spirits of the elements can also communicate with you and be the doorway into the more profound, pure voice of Spirit. And it is important to directly address ( as you did in this case), the spirit of the wind.
and I heard the wind, but I didn't know exactly what it was saying.... like I couldn't translate wind language.
Good. You heard the wind. But you didn't know exactly what it was saying.
At this point you have to move from the analytic part of the brain which deals in language, time,sequence etc, and into the feeling part of the brain which deals with metaphor and symbol, analogy and patterns etc.
In popular brain science at these times you need
to move from the left hemisphere to the right hemisphere.
In tantric terms from the male side
to the feminine side of our brain,
into our receptivity and
away from our analysis.
From the intellectual mind
to the organic mind,
from "word language"
to "feeling language",
from "mind words"
to "heart words."
In your experience, thus far in your training, the best way to understand this is from your encounter with "speaking in tongues", in that particular shamanic experiment in "Returning to the Source". Remember how for some of the participants in this experience, they knew directly in their heart, what was being said, and could translate, while others "knew" the language but couldn't give an English translation. Still others, of course, were bamboozled by the experience.
Initially you may not know "exactly what it is saying," however you will feel something, and that feeling is the gateway to the knowledge. The feeling cannot be grasped, it has to be wooed gently, like a nervous lover: too much attention and things freeze.
"like I couldn't translate wind language. "
How wonderful your description of your process is. It is not a matter of translating, but of learning to be at home in the extended perception that is happening in that moment. If you can relax into that moment and be attentive to your experience, and sit with the feelings that you have, and instead of trying to translate into the language that you know, which would take you back into the analytic brain; feel the "knowing in the moment " that your own being will present to you.
(Quite a sentence, and quite a task. Read this below several times, and slowly.)
It works better if I format it this way.
It is not a matter of translating,
but of learning to be at home
in the extended perception
that is happening in that moment.
If you can relax into that moment
and be attentive to your experience,
and sit with the feelings that you have,
and instead of trying to translate
into the language that you know,
which would take you back into the analytic brain;
feel the "knowing in the moment "
that your own being will present to you.
Sometimes the knowing will present itself as a "direct apprehension" of things. By this I mean,
an enveloping knowing,
a sudden and direct insight,
a direct understanding,
an intuitive knowing.
Here I am using several ways to point to the type of experience that is possible at such times.
At moments such as this,
the information comes to us
via direct encounter with
the energy of the wind spirit,
and it shapes the information
as knowing in us,
if we are available,
Other times the information may be "downloaded" into us,
and we will be swept by exquisite feelings,
knowing that we have come
to know something,
have been touched by Grace
and carry in us
something from the experience,
but as yet we don't know
what is or was.
Sometimes at a later date
we will come to know
in a conscious way
what it is we were given
in those moments.
The Inner Voice.
An even more challenging, and for me, profound experience, is when we hear the
This is the most problematic and troublesome part of these types of experiences, as inner voices have not received a good press in western rationalist cultures.
Yet, Socrates, who through Plato, helped formulate the rational tradition in Western thought, was guided by his inner voice. Additionally, Rene Descartes, whose work, "Discourse on Scientific Method," provided the methodological basis for foundations of modern science, writes of how the text was dictated to him by an angel.
This mind you occurred when he was hiding by day in a large chimney, being hunted by the religious forces of the Queen of Holland. Wanted for heresy, and no wonder.
Most psychiatrists in this culture would see the experience of the inner voice as sure signs of schizophrenic or psychotic episodes in the making. And we need to be aware of the many forces that can be at work in the human organism that can provide material such as this. Inhabitation by other spirit forces is well recognised as being involved in such processes.
But it is useful to also remember
that the inner voice forms
an important part
of the Quaker religion,
plays a major part
in the mystical tradition
and is a continuing aspect
of many of the great shamanic traditions.
For me the inner voice is the most reliable contact with Spirit that I have. Having written that I realise that both Ecstasy and Grace, as well as Love also come in that category, so take that into account as well.
I have found that it is the quiet voice that is self regarding and gently guiding that is the one to trust. Anything that is self-aggrandizing, that marks you out as "special", that tells you have a great message for the world, or recommends great or rash feats, is best considered with a most sceptical attitude.( Keep your doubt, it will eventually lead to the truth)
Learning to listen to the wind,
and come to know its teachings,
to come to know
and understand its ways,
to accept it as an ally,
is a very profound aspect
of the shamanic path.
As you know the wind is one of my allies, it is just now visiting outside the open window of where I am writing this, overlooking a bay on Sydney Harbour.
As you come to honour the teachings of the wind, it may well take you deeper to the voice of Spirit. It is not by accident that in the New Testament, the visitation of the Holy Spirit was often preceded by the wind.
The Hammer and Anvil teachings
Sometimes, just as in the Zen meditative tradition, when a student goes to sleep, the master hits them with a stick to wake up. The Hammer and Anvil teachings are the metaphor for teaching at that level in the tradition of Zen Tantric Shamanism.
A communication to a former apprentice
Initiation, Invitation, Imitation and Invocation
You speak of how the gathering represented another leap (-your word,- "initiation") in your leadership.
I find there is far too much loose talk using the word initiation. Across 25 years there are 6 or 7 events in my life to which I would give that term. They were all powerful, cellularly encoding, life re-orienting, energetic events. In two cases, they were so powerful that the very possibility of me continuing in incarnated form was severely called into question.
I believe it is best in the shamanic context to keep the word initiation for events such as these. Anything less than this dilutes, confuses and devalues the experiences of genuine initiation as well as those who travel the path.
For me, initiation is either when Spirit scoops us up in its hands and takes us deeply into the Mystery, far beyond where we ever could have imagined our consciousness and existence dancing together or when we enter, always surprisingly, into another dimension of existence previously hidden from us (those areas that I delineate as 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, etc, dimensions of consciousness where the relation between time, space, existence, consciousness and perhaps a miniscule thread of the memory of our incarnation go into the spin dry cycle of the cosmic washing machine).
Another aspect of experience to which I will give the description initiatory are those times when Spirit both reveals and implants, at cellular and genetic levels, a whole range of vibratory informational frequencies that are personally and incarnationally transformative. In some of these events people may be out of their bodies for days, sometimes even a week or two and the event may take years to assimilate into the person’s life. So it is for these extra-ordinary events that I wish to claim the term 'initiation'. Anything less than these may be described in any way the speaker wishes but as the carrier of an initiatory tradition and initiatory knowledge I have to speak to remind you of these things.
You might ponder, if you regard your teaching as shamanic, by what authority you teach shamanically.
What was the event or events where as a result of your total surrender of your life to Spirit's purpose you are authorised directly by Spirit to teach her ways? (his ways, its ways, which ever ways).
If this has not yet happened in your life may I counsel you to think hard and long before you claim the awesome responsibility of guiding people in the ways of Spirit. Nothing less than total surrender of one's life as in the biblical situation; "Here I am Lord, use me in whatever way you will," can really count unless it is direct authorisation from a teacher within a lineage who has him or herself gone through the initiatory/surrender process and authorised you to teach to a certain level. I suspect that this may be why when you tried to incorporate vision work deliberately into the gathering.... this was the most difficult part to achieve clearly. In vision work we are working with the energy of the soul coming to know how the soul works in the incarnatory journey and structuring events and processes to bring the soul further into embodiment and the knowledge of the soul's force into the egoic mind.
The Dying to Live program is structured to bring individuals closer to the clear light of their soul's insight and all who attend are invited consciously on that journey. To take a part of that process and "lay it on" the participants is likely to lead precisely to what you term the "resistance to 'us telling them' what they needed to do, from some of the old hands in the business." The men's movement like the women's movement is a process of gender politics. At times a healing one, but gender politics nevertheless. As the soul has no gender, many men might rightfully be confused by having someone attempting soul work in a gender political situation and I believe you should take the censure of your critics to heart for there is much to learn from their comments.
The above constitutes my comments on the invitation and imitation aspects of the title of this communication.
In shamanic work and in perhaps most areas of spiritual teaching a certain reluctance and dread as one approaches a teaching time serves us well. If dread seems a little harsh might I refer you to one of the great contemporary planetary shamans, the guru of the mushroom, Terence McKenna, who speaks of how one might approach the nouminous with a certain fear as one never knew if one's sails might be ripped and the vessel dismasted.
What is it that he knows that you are yet to learn?
Finally, to invocation. In working shamanically, one invokes the presence of unseen energies of Spirit. One does this through ones own surrender to them and through making one's body, feelings, mind and soul available for them to work through. This is a precious, demanding, compelling, uplifting, overpowering and extraordinarily responsible function.
Is this what you are called to do?
And are you prepared for the next level of discipline, demands and surrender that are absolutely necessary to be able to clearly work at the level that you seem to wish to do.
Are you ready for the transformational process that may demand you to let go of your career, your children, your name and your identity as you currently understand it
Sometimes, Spirit asks for no less than this if we are to be a vessel and a channel for her (him, it, etc).
Blessings on the journey, Daricha
A copy of prior communication to an former apprentice.
You really don't get it do you? In spite of our lengthy correspondence last year, "Initiation, Imitation, etc", you are planning to take the men at the men's gathering through what you term an "initiation/rebaptism much along the lines of the water breath initiation you conducted at 'Shaman's Doorway.' "
Into what do you imagine you are initiating these men?
After all, initiation is always into something; a mode of knowledge, a way of life, a new dimension of consciousness, a different way of being. The activity of which you speak, the water breath initiation, was presented as part of a carefully crafted entrance to enable entry into the shamanic world and that whole process (the Shaman's Doorway) needed five days to invite and encourage the shift. Shaman's Doorway is a shamanic initiatory process, is advertised as such and the participants who come are aware of this, although probably not aware of how it will happen. You may remember that the water breath initiation was part of a series of initiations into the elements; water, fire, earth and air, and additionally was designed to enable men to release fears deeply held in their body. Once having done that, to announce to the assembled witnesses the claiming of their shamanic name, and should Spirit have its way with them, experience the inrush of the Spirit of that name. Other activities which followed this, were designed to give them the chance to begin to live in and from that part of themselves.
By what authority would you consider conducting (your words) "an initiation"
You never really answered the really substantive issues that I raised last year. You are an apprentice treading the shamanic path and it seems are eager to teach that path. You are also a leader in the Men's movement and teach in that. Because you have failed to exhaustively examine the excellent reasons for distinguishing between the men's movement and your shamanic path you continue to wish to conflate the two and the simple truth is that you are not yet ready to teach as a shaman. If you had developed a systematic functioning link with your own being it would be giving you the processes you need for your teaching and you wouldn't need to constantly be borrowing from the work of others, because Spirit would constantly be downloading "that which it is your's to teach."
To reach this space would require that you undergo a series of initiations and allow Spirit to have its way with you, extend you, take you past your known limits to where the Mystery confronts you, face to face; to experience the absolute possibility of your literal and metaphoric death; to touch into places of unimaginable beauty; to have the operations of your mind transformed, so that it no longer works through its learnt intellectual functions but rather the intellect is simply the servant of the heartful organic mind; to see how contingent most of what is claimed as knowledge is; to feel the essential fabric of the subtle mists of beauty which are the uppermost reaches of your soul; and to go beyond them into the Source of your own Spirit; to surrender your life, totally, wholly and unconditionally now and for ever to be the servant of the forces of the evolution of the Divine on this planet..... then you would be ready to teach and have something to teach as well.
Hubris and Nemesis.
The ancient Greeks through their Mystery traditions developed a fine understanding of many aspects of human beings and the ones that come to mind at the moment are those of human folly where humans insulted or challenged the gods by their foolish pride. This was hubris. The definition that stays most in my mind and seems apposite here is "overweening pride and ambition," or in the tragedies it was excessive pride towards, or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis. Nemesis was distributive justice, personified by the goddess of retribution.
In the early stages of one's shamanic career there is a tendency to "show off ", to display how many tools we have in our medicine bag, to contend for the position of number one nungcari. I know this well for I have been there and seen others of my apprentices go there as well. When one is learning to travel this path a certain modesty even decorum about one's work serves us well. For then, should Spirit challenge us, we have something in reserve and can go that extra mile to enable us to get through.
Men's Work and Shamanic Work.
You mention that you are "wary of our different views on mixing men's and shamanic work". And well you might be. You never replied to my elucidation concerning this, and blithely continue on as if I never attempted to give you guidance on this. Given that you are still in the stage of your unfolding where you process information through the cognitive structures of the intellectual mind rather than the feeling structures of the organic mind, your capacity to "see" the nature of the shamanic enterprise is still limited. However if you use those cognitive structures, write your arguments down, use your intelligence to read in the world wide literature of shamanism, develop your ideas, then certain conclusions will emerge. Just saying, basically, 'We have different points of view," simply echoes the worst excesses of the modernist world view.
I am wanting you to grapple with the reality that many shamanic cultures, distinguish between the initiation into manhood including full tribal participatory membership, and initiation into the ways of Spirit and the "medicine way." In these cultures initiation into adulthood is a spiritual process, and the calling into the shamanic way is a specialised set of procedures and preparations. Is your refusal to see the difference simply a product of your shamanic ignorance?
This lineage also makes that distinction? What part of your desperate need for recognition and positions of power won't allow you to also see this? The fact that a member may have shared some shamanic practices with your men's group, most of whom had done work with Rachana and me, simply indicates the special nature of that group, it doesn't mean that you should attempt to take shamanic initiatory practices into the Men's movement. Additionally it seems that your teaching skills in those situations are still developing.
Humility in the Face of Spirit.
I invite you to reflect on this.
You indicate that a woman has approached you to be your apprentice. This would certainly be an odd situation where the apprentice has an apprentice. I notice that you gave it some consideration, which fits in with the perspective on hubris that I outlined above.
What is your medicine? What type of shaman are you? What are your predilections? What knowledge has Spirit given you to teach? When did your receive the calling from Spirit to share with others, that which It has given you to teach? What is the lineage within which you have been formed? Do you have the authority of that lineage to teach its ways? In what way did that authority come to you? If it hasn't been given to you how could you even consider sharing this knowledge with another?
Shamanism is a sacred path, not a collection of techniques, processes, skills, knacks, abilities, bits and pieces of a jigsaw that can be pulled apart, and used in any other context that it is thought fitting. On the other hand an eclectic approach to contemporary therapy is just that. Learn to tell the difference.
A Proposal for Your Consideration.
You conclude your e-mail by writing," I will always be grateful for your guidance along this path... in pragmatic terms, what is next." You might well keep this gratefulness in mind as you process your reactions to this communication.
In terms of what is next I would suggest the following. 1.Release yourself from all ideas of teaching 'shamanically," until you have completed your apprenticeship. (Note the feelings that this evokes, as they will be a clue to what is driving you in your current situation.)
2.Find other outlets that can meet your needs to feel important and be acknowledged.
3.Resist your wishes to cannibalise your shamanic training to present pieces of it in "men's work."
4.Undertake "Returning to the Source" later this year, and learn a whole new set of ways of accessing deeply altered states of awareness. This will enable you to access realms where original strategies for working with men can be received.
5.Undertake a guided reading program to extend your knowledge of the world's shamanic traditions, Transpersonal Psychology and Philosophy. I am prepared to guide and communicate with you on this.
6.Keep your sense of humour!
I reckon you are doing pretty well judging from your letter, although its probably a month since you sent it . Your approach of developing a hypothesis and looking to see what evidence there is to support it is in accord with the strategies I teach, and over the years will serve you well. It's great that you have access to seeming past life memories in hypnotic states; just be aware that you may also access genetic memories in that state and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.
The way I have come to tell the difference is by what I term "feeling tone", that is that past life and genetic or ancestral memories actually feel different. How that difference manifests for you, is for you to learn to discriminate. The way I did it was to gather a collection of "Internal Memory Stories" over time and then see which ones had the most personal feeling about them. By that I mean that they felt part of my evolutionary story and the connection with those stories felt more wistful or emotional, or fitted the jigsaw of my past incarnational stories better than the others. What I mean here is that when we explore our past incarnations, say over 1, 00o years or longer, we can start to observe the patterns of karmas that emerge and re-emerge as we try to deal with them.
It's also fascinating to see the way in which a life time of one particular type, can be followed by a life of reaction trying to balance out forces that are threatening to overwhelm the equilibrium of our soul. For instance a life of sexual excess may be followed by a life of inhibition or chastity as we seek to sail the ship of our soul to calmer waters. Sometimes a life of a warrior's excess may be followed by a life of withdrawal into contemplation. On the other hand, some beings choose to continue along a particular path for several incarnations, almost it would seem until they have exhausted all the possibilities of that particular incarnational game and then try another one.
This fitting together of the jigsaw needs to take time and be done in a contemplative way so that we don't draw hasty conclusions that throw us away from our understanding. Connecting all of these stories there will be a thread of feeling that is the story of our soul's evolution on this planet. This thread of feeling is very precious for it will reveal much of our own true nature to us if we allow it to both guide us and reveal the truth of our being to us.
You are obviously onto this by the way in which you followed the thread of feeling that connected you to the memory of that incarnation in Vietnam. Does this help you to understand what I mean?
Most people don't know that these two different types of stories exist in our personal data banks, and as a consequence don't distinguish between them. This is a significant tragedy. Firstly it means that much teaching in this area in incorrect, invalid and misleading. Secondly, people become confused by the myriad of "Internal Stories" that exist and basically give up, or never try to make sense of them. Finally, the failure to distinguish between these types of memories holds back our personal and cultural understanding of these matters.
In time it becomes possible to access these types of memories and virtually immediately know where any particular story is coming from and what type of memory it is.
Additionally many other stories exist within us; race memory and transpersonal stories that transcend time and place (eg. I felt the pain of all mother's that have ever given birth,) as well as stories that seem to hint of an origin that transcends time and space, and locates our origins in the stars. These stories, when we come across them, because of the longing that they bring and the ecstatic, blissful, mysterious realizations that accompany them can be among the most amazing that Spirit ever reveals to us. Still, more of this when you reach that stage of unfolding.
So young fella, the best guidance that I can give you at this moment is to keep trusting the deepest part of you and where it wishes to lead you. Keep me up to date on your internal adventures and I'll stay in touch. From your e-mail I can tell that you are treading the path with integrity and although you may be a cheeky young fella face to face I can sense your serious intent.
Blessings on the journey,
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The following is an edited communication concerning these phenomena, to a man who was experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks when he would address a group of people. There are several things that can be said about what you are experiencing.
Firstly, let go of calling the events 'panic attacks' and begin to see them as information from the organic mind; that evolutionary intelligence that lives in the cells, organs, tissues, muscles, neurons, blood, bones etc. and hooks us up to the galactic and cosmic parts of our being. Pay exquisite attention to every little part of these events. Use them to come to know more about the intersection of consciousness and embodiment and particularly how information manifests as symptoms in your body.
What do I mean by this?
Notice the structure of these bodily events. Do they begin with an increase in heartbeat, or sweat massively increasing in your body? Is there muscular tightness or specifically localised pain in the body? Is the pain always in the same place or does it move from time to time? Does the pain move during one of these events, if so in what direction? Is the sequence always the same? What happens to your breath? Does its rapidity increase? Does it become harder to breathe? If so, which parts of your body are constricted? Throat, chest, belly? What happens to your legs? Do you feel unsteady on your feet, do your legs begin to shake? Does your mouth become dry, does your vision blur, do you have difficulty hearing or is your capacity to process sound diminished? What happens emotionally? What specifically do you feel at these times? Not what do you think about what you feel, but simply the unalloyed feeling.
Then; when have you previously had these feelings, and what comes to mind when you reflect on these feelings? Notice that I am saying reflect and not think. It is the difference between contemplation and cogitation. You are not trying to "work out " what these events mean, but going into a space where the organic mind can communicate with you.
The organic mind, the mind of the body, does not communicate through the conscious mind, but rather through bodily symptom, metaphor, allusion, dream, co-incidence, jokes, and slips of the tongue. Also there is what the ancient Greeks called "cledon", those events when you are talking or pondering a particular issue and another conversation is heard that fits right into the conversation you are having. Through these means, and others along with a meditative openness, you can become aware of the multiplicity of meanings which these events in your body portend, and enter into a dialogue with your organic mind and gradually address the layers of healing the need for which your body's mind is bringing to your awareness.,
When did these events first begin? Where were you in the guiding process with your deceased mother? What else was happening in your life when they first began?
How might we now begin to see these events in the body?
Sometimes shamanic initiations increase the amount of light that the body is processing and as a consequence flush deep karmas out of the biological memory banks up onto the "operating screen "and suddenly all hell begins to break loose. These embedded events from the past, where the feelings and body memories have not been realised, remembered, released and forgiven, can totally disorganise our body / mind / emotional base and our consciousness cannot express itself clearly into the third dimension because previously repressed material is now operating like a virus in the human bio-computer.
These karmas often exist in temporal layers, with events from several different time frames being released and operating simultaneously especially when events have the same "Feeling tone" ; that is a similar quality like a thread or family resemblance that runs through events. The "feeling tone' may connect events as diverse as a recent event, one from a decade ago, something that happened during your birth, a foetal experience, a past life memory trace along with an ancestral memory released out of the DNA.
So, for instance your mother's death may have triggered an unresolved body memory of a time in the army when you were close to dying, that in turn may have triggered a birth memory connected to a past life death. This is the type of structure that we have found not only through our own internal journeys but in our work with people over two decades.
It's certainly a very useful model and we have found that operating within it and taking people "into the feeling" using breath, bodywork, regression or active meditation allows the feeling script controlling the body's symptomology to flush into awareness and the repressed memories and energies to be released.
As you know from having read something of my own journey, the initiation process can take an enormous toll on the body. It is important to nourish the body with the best available nutritional supplements to help in the cellular rewiring and cleansing process. I, along with most of our old apprentices (distinguished from the new ones) have utilised such allies for many years.
If you don't already have such assistance let me know and I shall make some recommendations.
Finally, a word or two from Martin Prechel, whose insight I admire, "Fully recovering from the shamanic initiation was like recovering from the physical impact of being hit by spirit lightning."
You had the good fortune to be hit. The next step is to learn to cope with the consequences.
The following was written to a psychiatrist who was seeking comments on a client's situation.
It's good to be in touch. The symptoms that you outline, would generally come under the heading of Spiritual Emergence, a category developed in the eighties by Transpersonal psychologists and psychiatrists to describe symptoms in the body, mind and feelings that are indicative of Kundalini awakening. Kundalini is a Sanskrit term to describe the evolutionary life force that within the Tantric disciplines is imaged as a coiled serpent slumbering in the first Chakra.
The aim of many Yoga disciplines: and here let us include Tantra; is the awakening of the serpent power so that it moves through the body in a controlled way, gradually working its way through the various energy centres until it reaches the brain and imaginatively bites it. At this point the body is filled with unimaginable bliss as the neuro-chemicals of higher consciousness are released and the consciousness is transported into transcendent realms, one perceives the living face of God, and life is never the same. The flying serpent of Meso-American tradition best expresses this elevation of consciousness as the kundalini opens the frontal lobes of the brain into their evolutionary destiny.
This is considered to be a natural process that spiritual disciplines can assist and hasten, and students are warned not only to be diligent in their practice, but also that like the path of true love, the process of awakening seldom proceeds smoothly. Along the way as the Kundalini moves through the Chakras (energetic centres that are located in regions of the endocrine glands) various memories of the past , this lifetime, past incarnatory, and ancestral or genetic memories will also surface , and often manifest as symptoms in either the body, feeling life or various layers of mind.
These symptoms are considered to be karmas working their way out of the consciousness of the being who is having the experience. Here the word karma denotes a memory of a past experience that is manifesting as symptom in present time. For instance, the blood coming from your client's penis could be related to either a past life or genetic memory of an event such as torture or removal of this part of the body. Interestingly the collapsed lung is manifesting in the area of the fourth chakra.
In my experience I have found that independently of whether the client or practitioner accepts the model that is being presented here, the body presents symptoms in this way as if the model was valid.
As well as karmas being released, teachers also speak of Siddhis or spiritual powers that are seductive in their powers and capacity. I use seductive here because we can become so overawed by them that we forget that the Siddhis are essentially a sideshow produced by the rising of the kundali as part of expansion of consciousness which is inexorably leading to unified consciousness and spiritual integration. The speaking in alien tongues and the drawings that you mentioned would both fit into this category. Other Siddhis would include visions, the capacity to prophesise, seeing into other dimensions of reality, greatly enhanced amounts of bodily energy, awareness of all time and history and so it goes. All fairly stock standard stuff of certifiable madness within the normal western psychiatric paradigm.
Indeed one of the challenges for those who work professionally in this area is to learn to be able to distinguish genuine cases of kundalini awakening from other less benign forms of disorder.
As the awakening of the kundalini is a natural process that can happen outside of the practise of a spiritual discipline it often manifests unexpectedly into "ordinary" life unbidden, unexpected and with the recipient unprepared. Surrounded by friends, relatives and professionals with virtually no understanding of the phenomena, it is often an incredible disruption in one's life that can lead to quite harsh psychiatric intervention. Incarceration, sedation, electro-convgulsive therapy, have all been experienced by some people going through this stage of spiritual emergence.
Kundalini can be activated in a variety of ways. My first awakening occurred whilst making love in 1974. At that time there was virtually no information available on these subjects. My next one occurred in a Holonomic breath training with Dr.Stanislav Grof in 1981. Each of these openings was a life changing event as they put me in touch with a level of grace, beauty, energy and information that I had always sensed was available but had not encountered before. Each subsequent opening made even greater demands on my body, my ability to navigate in altered states of awareness, to process huge amounts of trans-dimensional information, and to integrate the experiences into a 21st century perspective. Rachana was an invaluable help to me in this and it is my sincere analysis that without her assistance I would most likely have died.
Other ways in which kundalini can be awoken include; the process of giving birth, a visit to a sacred site, direct transmission of 'Shaktipat" from a master; strangely enough this process can emerge even through a photograph, accidents that threaten one's life, near death experiences, usage of drugs, particularly the psychedelics, although mushrooms and high quality hashish can also produce an awakening. Unfortunately in these cases it is generally thought that the substance was the cause rather than the trigger.
We have worked with people who have experienced awakenings triggered by each of these events.
I shan't attempt to outline all the symptoms of this awakening but instead refer you to the literature on the subject. A good place to start is Dr. Stanislav and Christina Grof," Spiritual Emergency". Grof has virtually mapped out the discipline of Transpersonal Psychiatry and will be as important to this century as Freud was to the last one.
Simultaneously you might undertake a web search on that topic.. The Spiritual Emergency Network(SEN) is quite active in the USA with a smattering of others throughout the world, and there is a good chance that you might find some professional colleagues listed.
Finally your client's sense that he controls shooting stars fits the mould of classical delusions which often accompany the other awakening symptoms. Although a more profound way of understanding this would be to see that during these times the client has slipped out of the flow of linear time into what I call "synchronic time", where everything is connected, but he is modelling the explanation of his experience according to the common sense of linear experience, where if our thought precedes an event, in expanded states of awareness we often think that we are the cause of the event that comes after our thought, rather than seeing that they are synchronistically connected. when time and thought no longer flow in a linear way, maybe the shooting star causes the thought that precedes its occurrence. Or, of course, maybe everything is connected in ways that we can only vaguely comprehend.
Please feel at ease to communicate further as it is a challenging, profound and little known area and I enjoy communicating about this. Your client would also be quite welcome to communicate with me about this.
Blessings to both you and your client,
P.S. On the area of communicating with alien forms inhabiting human beings you would find "The Natural Depth in Man " by Wilson van Deusen, a psychologist in a US mental Hospital, has some invaluable insights.