The World of the Shaman
By Roel Crabbé
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust
Shamanism is ancient. It is the oldest form of healing, problem-solving, and transformation that exists. In the world of the shaman, everything is animated, the stones, plants, animals, and people. It is a world where everything is connected. And it is the same world in which we all live.
The shaman or shamanic practitioner makes contact with the spirit world, or the soul world, through the use of rituals and trance. This condition is characterized by a broadened consciousness, a strong focus and high, relaxed alertness that, if experienced, can be consciously evoked.
Contrary to what most people suspect, trance is something that all people in different degrees experience regularly. Just think of moments when you were lying in the bath dreaming away, or lying on the beach in an almost sleepy state, floating on the sound of the waves. Or on the train, you missed your stop because you dreamed away on the cadence of the journey. It is a state in which your rational mind gets more into the background and can be compared to the moments just before you fall asleep.
At the level of your brain, it means that the beta waves (the brain waves of your waking consciousness) become weaker and the waves of expanded perception, information recording, and creativity (alpha) and the dream state (theta) become stronger.
The big difference between dreaming away on the beach and the shamanic trance is that the shamanic trance is entered consciously, with a clear intention. It is that intention that forms the basis of the shamanic work.
Both the traditional shaman and the practitioner of contemporary shamanism work with great focus. The journeys, rituals, or creative processes are characterized by a strong intention and focus, and at the same time a relaxed openness to what is coming at him. The shaman considers the experience himself as his teacher and is guided by what is inspired by him and corresponds to his or her intention. In this sense, the practitioner of shamanism is a “listener” par excellence. He listens to what surrounds him. He listens with all his senses. Shamanism teaches the practitioner, from his own experience, that everything is animated and connected.
He learns to make the mind receptive to the voices of the soul, to the singing of life, to the messages and inspirations that come to him. The shaman listens constantly. He listens with all his senses and is guided by the information that comes to him. He has learned to find the radiant core in every situation and is fully focused on it in his work. Experience teaches him or her that openness, trust and a clear focus on the radiant core are the basis from which everything is given to him or her.
Shamanism is a path with only one rule that says there are no rules. Shamanism is a path of surrender. Surrender to inspiration and growth. Surrender to the flow of life. Everything in the world of the shaman is permeated with this. And when we look carefully inside and around ourselves, you will also see that the flow is everywhere, radiant and constantly growing.
© Roel Crabbé – 2008