1) Are there any areas of your life where you want to inflict your own beliefs on others? Do you try and control others? For instance, do you think the path of the shaman is the way for everyone? It isn’t. Other people are on their own paths and moving through life in their own time and at their own pace.
2) One of the hallmarks of a shaman is that rather than adopting the beliefs of others, the shaman looks inside herself for the answers that are already there.
3) The shaman follows her own path, not one that was laid out by others.
4) The story of our initiation also demonstrates how some shamans can commune with nature in a way that cannot be explained.
5) Despite the great interest in these miraculous occurrences, my father has never let these phenomena distract from the primary message of shamanism and his teachings: find your own personal freedom, heal yourself from the addiction to suffering, be of service to others.
6) A power object, or what could also be called a totem, is a sacred object or symbol that a shaman forms a relationship with, which enables her to call upon the power of whatever the object represents.
7) Animals live in complete awareness of the present moment without mitote or the parasite, and therefore they have direct access to silent wisdom.
8) As I have been driving home throughout this book, the path of the shaman is about following your own truth, and yours will be different from mine.
9) Am I honoring my own personal truth, or am I trying to live up to someone else’s ideals?
10) For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, self-domestication occurs when you take the beliefs of others and punish or otherwise coerce yourself into following them, even when they go against your own personal truth. With self-domestication, you no longer need the domesticator to be in your life, as you have taken over that role.
11) Finally, when he looked deep within himself and admitted his own personal truth, a massive weight lifted from his shoulders. All the internal struggle of trying to be something that he wasn’t disappeared.
12) I don’t know if my grandmother knew any of these similar stories, but I do know that she was clear about one thing, and that is that God, the Great Spirit, the nagual, or whatever word you use to describe the Divine, resides in all of us.
13) While we can’t do anything to change the dream of others, our own dream is entirely within our power.
14) For instance, how do you treat people who don’t share your political or spiritual beliefs or other viewpoints you consider important? Do you try and subjugate them to your own perspective? Do you try to domesticate them to your way of thinking? By attempting to domesticate others, we feed our own addiction to suffering.
15) One practice to reverse this within yourself is to consciously focus on the divinity in the human sitting in front of you, respecting their choices and point of view, and acting toward them from a place of love.
16) If you want to have a sacred interaction with another, the first step is to really listen to them.
17) Listen without judging; listen without thinking about what you will say next. Just listen. By doing so, you will find out what this person’s message is for you and experience the sacredness of that connection in the process.
18) …After many years, on the anniversary of his death, the woman began to make her customary pilgrimage, but this time, when she reached the top there was a great shaman sitting next to the waterfall. The shaman said to her, “It is wonderful to honor the dead, but who is it that you are honoring?”
The young woman was confused.
The shaman continued, “If you want to honor the dead, you honor the wrong person. Look in the mirror. It is you who are dead. You aren’t allowing yourself to go on with your life. Anyone who lives chained to the past lives in fear and grief. Regret isn’t living; it is dying.”
19) During the Day of the Dead, we imagine a loved one coming from beyond the grave. They see how you are suffering, and they tell you, “Hey, you are alive! You are not dead, you are alive! C’mon, wake up and celebrate life! Stop being dead.”
20) So often we search for our own personal freedom with such diligence and seriousness that we forget that the shamanic path is also about having fun.We can get so devoted to our inner and outer work that we forget that a strong belly laugh is one of the best cures for the mind’s addiction to suffering.
21) Enjoying life and doing things for no other reason than to have fun is a part of maintaining balance.
22) In shamanism, celebrating life means having an open and grateful heart for all that life brings us. This open heart is what allows you to see beyond what the mind typically labels as “good” or “evil,” enough or not enough, even happy and sad. When you reside in the nagual that exists in all things, you find that you are able to keep your heart open even in the face of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or any other nightmare in the Dream of the Planet.
23) The alternative is to let these situations draw you back into the addiction of suffering, and that’s how the cycle of negativity continues.
24) Celebrating life doesn’t mean you won’t experience the normal human emotions of sadness and grief. One of the beautiful things about being human is that we can have multiple emotions, positive and negative, at the same time. It means you feel those emotions without fighting them, without turning them into the emotional poisons of anger, a desire for revenge, or hatred. Embracing tragedies with an open heart is one of the most difficult practices to undertake. It takes great courage even to attempt to live in this way.
25) So often we hold on to those old ideas of vice and virtue, enough or not enough. This is one of the things that cause us to live as though we were dead. In order to celebrate our perfection, we must give up the idea that we are a project waiting to be fixed or a goal that needs to be obtained. You are not damaged goods. You are perfect just as you are.
26) There is nothing wrong with you, and this includes when you are in suffering or creating suffering. Suffering does not mean that you are in any way deficient or not enough or incapable.
27) Here is what is important to remember, a message directly from my heart to yours, truth to truth: You are perfect, my friend, exactly as you are. Celebrate it!