Tuesday 9 December 2014

Be Your Own Shaman!

"The core of the earth is made out of the stuff of black magic." Rudolf Steiner (paraphrased in the book 'Breaking Open The Head' by Daniel Pinchbeck).

Reading this out loud this morning as I lounged about on a rare day off, here began a small exploration of the nature of 'self', of gender and of the dualistic notion of separation. I've been working with this quite intensively for the last few months, with it all coming to a head about two weeks ago in sacred dharmakaya ceremony.

Steiner, it turns out (I never knew much beyond his great schooling principles; my son went to a Steiner nursery when he was little and it was a blessed relief after mainstream schooling but that's another post), was an occultist, freemason and student of self mastery. I'm not going to say much more on this here as I don't know enough yet, so my words would be ill informed, save to say that I enjoy meandering down unexpected paths and it has indeed been the process of much of my life.

When I first heard the quote at the top earlier today, I immediately began to think of it in terms of gender; the dark, moist, cavernous centre of the beast, the belly and womb of the planet, referred to as the container for all 'dark magic' - the up above perhaps being perceived as masculine, outward, light? In this context however, it seemingly referred to the place where we 'bury' our rage, fear, shame, anger and other shady stuff, both consciously and unconsciously. To bring it therefore to light, we need to be able to first identify it, secondly, to challenge it, and thirdly, to transform it.

As a society we have become conditioned into shunning the intuitive (feminine), and the instinctive (neutral), and fearing the mystical - pastures of the insane or accessible only those with direct links via for example, religion. Instead, we have come to favour the rational (masculine), logical (masculine) and scientific (atheist or perhaps agnostic) explanations for things. We began to split, not only in terms of gender, but in terms of our core inner being; we became dualistic.

In becoming dualistic in our thinking we lost great parts of ourselves, and began to hide those parts that did not seem to fit with the acceptable mainstream view of how we are supposed to be, feel and think. What becomes even more confusing is that with social and political evolution, we aren't even sure any more what those dual roles are meant to be, and so we become even more and more dispossessed of our intuitive understanding, even further away from the idea of oneness and unity, and even more alienated from both ourselves and from others. 

"Because we deny our intuition, because we don't believe in spirits or listen to our dreams, because we have banished our potential shamans to mental institutions and homeless shelters, because we have imprisoned ourselves within virtual shells of technology, it may be pathetically easy for ambiguous, super sensible entities (-) to continually operate on our minds, filling the vacuum we have created with sludge, anaesthetising us to deeper levels of wisdom." (From Breaking Open The Head). I find this sentence to be quite profound. What's worse is that we have become our own prison guards. We have successfully imprisoned ourselves by limiting all that we can be through fear, doubt and mindless projection! The great news is, we can transform that. We can turn our suffering into gold, our stories into healing and our separation into unity. 

Pinchbeck goes on to assert that we live between 'egocentric materialism and spiritual nihilism', and for many this is true. However, there is a rising tide of evolution in my view and it is growing fast. There is a new paradigm birthing and people are waking up! In switching off the television, the Revolution will indeed not be televised! 

But how can we cultivate and maintain a feeling of non-duality within ourselves? Are we going to sit and wait for "shamans powerful enough to suck the spiritual poison from our social body and vomit it out for us? Wizards who can tame these demons? Visionaries who can paint the way forward?"(Pinchbeck) 

Here I'm inclined to agree with Pinchbeck in his summary, for he asserts that we must all become our own shamans, wizards and seers, and if "as spiritual warriors, we must take responsibility for the plight of our species" then we must indeed begin to understand the nature of this separation; it's what I would refer to as the 'original sin'. It's not that we were cast out from the Garden of Eden for having curiosity, but that we lost sight of the beauty for believing in the separation as a result. Evolution or God's Creation…it doesn't matter as long as the separation is banished.

Steiner's Rosicrucian philosophies were founded on the principle of self mastery. In this self mastery there are two forms: firstly mastery of the lower self in the form of everyday mirroring and awareness of our day-to-day self - how it functions, what it believes, and how this limits us. Secondly the higher form of self knowledge born of self renunciation; not so easy I hear you cry!

To discover self renunciation, we must first overcome ego. Of course we all have them, they cannot really be escaped but they can most certainly be tamed. A powerful driving force, each of us has the tendency/habit to believe that our own personal version of life is the best, is the 'right' one and to disown, move away from, or become extremely uncomfortable when that version is challenged too hard. Yet for me, my greatest knowing is coming from beginning to move away from this idea of right and wrong, and to move back into balance, into harmony with life, with the 'other' and with myself. When we balance our characteristics, we start to understand from the perspective of 'otherness', from contrast, from true equality. In this point of stillness, there cannot exist conflict, only flow and acceptance of the 'is-ness' of life. And in this lies freedom. In this lies the true heart of LOVE, and who indeed would not want to return to that place? 

To get there, to return to love, we must look for guides, look for mentors, look for teachers and trust ourselves and our own discernment. We also need to recognise the mirrors, and then, we must call ourselves out! I find humour a fantastic tool for taking myself down when my ego is over inflated. Before we can truly laugh at our own shortcomings and misconceptions though, we first need to find them. Dig deep, dream hard and love well, and with those intentions we will surely all start to find our way 'home'. 

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