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A Model of a Human

 with a Shamanic Eye

Shamanic practice is, in many ways, first an art of observation; seeing what is really there.

To consider this point fully, an illustration is needed.  When a Shaman looks at a person, a descriptive model of what is seen is similar to the concept of a soap bubble floating in the sunlight with myriad colours swirling and combining; each colour representing different aspects of that person's physical, mental, spiritual, energetic, psychic etc. makeup.

The first thing to note in this model is that tension and opposition is an integral part of this model.  The membrane of this bubble can not be with too much or too little tension, otherwise it bursts.  There are no voids in the membrane, but neither is there significant asymmetrical aggregation unbalancing the same bubble.

This is the Shamanic Gestalt.  All aspects of a person considered as a whole.  This way of seeing is critical to understanding that a Shaman might talk to a person of their emotions rather than addressing their sore back directly; they are addressing the cause of the symptom cascade, not just a part which is obvious [symptoms].

The Shaman recognises that there are also many aspects of ourselves that we do not want to even admit to, much less embrace.  Within every person is the capacity for works and attitudes of both great good and great harm.  Within all of us lies the potential for kindness and baseness; in effect we all have within us the priest and the prostitute, the sinner and saint, the comforter, the victim and the perpetrator.

The concept of Gestalt teaches us to acknowledge and embrace all aspects of ourselves, just as the Shaman does.  Only when we stop trying to disavow or deny a part of who we are can we then make a conscious and clear decision of how much energy we choose to give to that acknowledged aspect of ourselves.

To use another illustration, trying to suppress or deny an aspect of ourselves is like holding a ball under-water in a pool.  The more it is held, the greater it seems to try to surface. 

Example: The rational adult who is losing a parent tries to be 'adult' about it, accepting and dealing with their adult concepts and reactions.  They deny their inner child feeling resentful and scared at mummy 'deserting' them.  The adult feels shamed or lessened by this resentment which manifests as guilt,.. stacks of mind-draining, emotion-numbing guilt; all over a natural and consistent process.

When this suppressed part is embraced and comforted (the child), the whole person can then choose how much energy to give this aspect.  In most cases, it is enough to be reassured that these 'shameful' feelings are not petty and small, but rather are a natural part of the cycle.  My experience in this shows once a person can embrace this part of themselves, they no longer are ruled by it.

In the upcoming discussion of good and evil, we will examine the nature of right and wrong.  We, all of us, are born with an innate sense of what is right and what is wrong.  The child covers their mouth with their first lie.  The thief hides from the eyes of others when stealing.  The bully blusters and gets louder in an effort to drown out their own sense of inequity.  The 'abuser' proclaims excuses rather than admitting to being a person of little personal command and control.

These same potentials lie within all of us.  Recognising that we could be a murderer is the first step in controlling that aspect.  Recognising that we have an abuser within us allows us to take energy from that aspect and channel it into an aspect we prefer to exhibit and the person we choose to be.

The Shamanic model of a person protests a person saying that it is 'their lower back that hurts' when it is actually THEM that hurts, not a named and separate thing called 'a lower back'.  Owning and admitting ownership of a thing is the first step in resolving a thing. 

A person may say that they are frustrated and stressed because of a work-mate, but this is not true; a person is stressed and frustrated.  They probably feel anger at themselves also for their inability to distance themselves emotionally from their circumstances and a heap of other things.  The Shaman tells us that how a person feels is their own responsibility.

There is no syringe full of pain, anger, hate or joy, love or anything else like this.  A whole person deals with their responses to a scenario, not blaming others for how they respond, but owning their response as a part of themselves. 

Once a person can see the difference between internal responsibility and external blame and excuse, they are a major step closer to wholeness.

The Shaman seeks to help all that require it to see their own self, the whole self, admitting all aspects, and choosing where their energy will actually go.  The Shaman also recognises the imperative that they too see themselves and their own motivations in the same light, for their position has great potential for abuse, regardless of intention.

This is probably an excellent time to introduce another hot topic, the illusion of good and evil,...




Craig Berry - 1996 - 2010, All rights reserved - reproduction without written permission prohibited.