In the last week of March, 2018, under the influence of a brilliant full moon, my world as I knew it shifted.
In the couple of weeks preceding the full moon, and a couple of weeks post that, I experienced things that I never knew existed. Ofcourse I had read about similar experiences, but largely discarded them as something not meant for ordinary people like me. In the magical, inter-connected ways of life, I was led to experience Himalayan Shamanism because in my tumultuous journey as a truth-seeker, I had long rejected religions and ritualistic practices as mere eye-wash.
Shamanism is a term given by modern anthropologists and ethnographers to describe a way of living and belief systems followed by ancient tribes across the world. Evidence of such practices has been recorded which is atleast 20,000-year-old, and anthropologists believe that such practices could be much older. In ancient communities, a Shaman was a very important person who not only cured people of illnesses, but also led the community to food, shelter, and away from harm’s way. He/She had the ability to communicate with spirits of nature, and find cure for illnesses, taking not even a leaf more than was required. Even today, the Shamans of the Amazon region are known to accurately identify more than 10 sub-species of a single plant, something which even seasoned botanists find difficult to do.
But the Shamanic way of life and belief systems are much deeper than just this, and it’s the same across the world whether it’s the native American tradition, the amazon tribes, the aborigines of Australia, the tribes of Siberia and Mongolia, or the Himalayas. It’s so deep that it’s often called the ‘path of direct revelation’. Some of its core beliefs (or values) are that everything in the world is manifestation of the same energy/Spirit, and hence is alive. Therefore everything on Earth, especially our Earth has to be treated with as much respect, love, and compassion.
|Ink Doodling by me for a friend - Element Earth|
We, humans, are the physical manifestation of the energetic experiences or memories of our ancestors, past lives, and also our current lives. And we are all connected, in magical extra-ordinary ways, to each other as well as to the past and the future. I am as connected to blade of grass in Siberia, as I am connected to my mother. How I conduct myself now can impact not only the blade of grass in Siberia, but also generations in the future as well (much like the movie Butterfly Effect). Hence, we all should live consciously and with gratitude. And if we can let go of our baggage and heavy energies that we have been carrying for centuries, and connect with our hearts and allow life to flow, each of us can experience this amazing inter-connectedness, immense compassion, communicate with plants, trees, rivers, and mountains, and even reach out to higher beings who are there to guide us.
Earlier, each community had their own Shamans, and traditional practices exclusive to their community. But the current state of the world has forced many Shamans to open their ancient wisdom to people outside their community. I was similarly initiated into a Shamanic way of living by a Himalayan Shaman who is using modern technology to help people heal and find their own truths.
The insights that I got during my medicine journey were numerous, some of which I have already mentioned in my blog post here. However, some of my key learnings from the journey are: 1) Healing is a long process – emotionally, physically, mentally, and energetically. It starts with acknowledging that we are all flawed and hurting, seeking out our truths consciously, getting rid of all our baggage and memory blocks, and finding our true Spirit or “Buddha nature”. For me, I have barely just begun; 2) Ancient wisdom is not simple superstitions, its remarkable how well they understood nature, the order of the cosmos and our place in it; 3) We can crib and cry that the world is going from bad to worse in every possible way, but the only true contribution that you can make right now to help make it a better place is to change yourself and find your true Spirit.
Note: People interested to know more can write to me directly. For all others, I highly recommend the Nalanda Diploma course in Buddhist Philosophy from Tibet House.