Thursday, September 02, 2010

Shamanic Meditation Article

Under An August CloudImage by Shamanic Shift via Flickr

I wrote these thoughts for another website that has fallen off the Web. I am re-purposing the notes here.

There are many powerful ways of shamanic meditation! Many people who find eastern self-regulatory styles of meditation (where one focuses attention on the background of reality or on a single object, thought, or action) to be difficult, or next to impossible, often take readily to shamanizing, which can be considered to be an active way of meditating, though it is much more than that.

Shamans shift consciousness to shift reality and then they act out the changes they desire.Shamans enter aware, ecstatic trances called shamanic states of consciousness on purpose in order to shamanize. They quest for visions of beneficial changes alone in a wilderness sanctuary or in their rooms in the city or in group-consciousness shifting performances during community circle ceremonies.

The trances of shamanic meditation are easily and naturally induced through continuous (often monotonous) pulsing or droning sounds such as rattling, drumming, piping, chanting, or singing. Dancing and posture changes are other ways.

Many shamans use all of the above, and there are many more.

Some shamans use entheogenic (so named as "divine-experience generating") plant or chemical substances, or "teacher" plants and chemicals, to enter much deeper and longer trances. This kind of psychedelic shamanism receives a lot of attention these days but, really, it is one of the more unusual ways of shamanic meditation.

There are many ways to shamanize that do not involve the use of hallucinogenic plants or chemicals, that are safe and effective for almost everyone. I will list and describe some favorites.

Experiencing wilderness is natural way to shamanize. Urban shamans connect to life spirit in and as Nature by keeping company with trees, rocks, birds, and other city wild life for healing and transforming purposes.

Opening a shamanic circle: Shamans create a circle around themselves and situations in need of transformation. They use mental and physical symbols and act out through many expressive arts in individualistic rituals, that are also performances, to open the circle and connect with spirit or spirits.

The power symbols and objects used in opening and keeping a shamanic circle can be imaginary or material, tiny or huge. Usually it is a mix of both. The sacred circle might be painted on the shaman's drum or costume or spread out upon a cloth or blanket which then becomes a portable altar.

Non-ordinary non-journeys: Some shamans meditate into shamanic states of consciousness and non-ordinary reality through drumming or chanting or any of the other ways mentioned above that shamans use to shift themselves, or even sleep. They are then visited right where they are by spirit and spirits given gifts of knowledge and healing for the situation at hand, without any sense of soul-traveling through other realms.

Shamanic dreaming is another way of shamanic meditation. There are many methods and techniques of shamanizing through dreams. Lucid dreaming is only one method. Simply offering dreaming and sleeping to spirit for healing and transforming purposes before lying down for a night's rest works well for me, whether or not I remember any specifics.

Always, the overall goal of shamanizing is to bring helping knowledge and healing power from spirit and/or spirits, as the shaman understands these concepts, back to one's everyday life and family, community, and the situations that are calling out for healing or other change for the better. Shamans do not seek to transcend ordinary reality permanently, in contrast with the goal - or at least a major goal - of most religions and spiritual traditions.

It is not necessary to believe that life spirit and the spirits of life are supernatural in any way or divine at all in order to shamanize. Shamanic shifting may be most effective when practitioners let shamanism happen aside from theology and dogma and just call it by what they find themselves doing in the process, in the moment - dreaming, imagining, storytelling, expressive and creative arts, performing, or a dynamic synergy of several or all of the above.

Shamanic meditation involves body as much as psyche and soul - all levels of living and being are interconnected and one in the ways of shamans. Everyone is material, psychic, and spiritual at once and none of these is valued over the others.

Shamanic meditation begins and ends here and now on earth. Also, even though shamanic meditation can be fun and exciting, it is never undertaken for entertainment purposes only, or as a substitute for ordinary reality, in contrast to the more popular "astral travel" and recreational drug use.

There is always a purpose for shamaniziing, related to self, community, and world healing. I constructed my Shamanic Meditation lens on Squidoo to go with this article.

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