How many times have you asked yourself “Am I really seeing this?” or “How can I trust myself…”? It is invaluable to ask yourself questions to stir your own consciousness to be, as much as one can be, objective when pursuing a relationship to Self and the Spirit World.
We all bump up against our own limitations, biases, and preconceived notions of how connected or open-minded we are. We only bump up against ourselves, when we are truly pushing against our own limitations. How does one move from one state of consciousness to another? How does one know when an authentic spiritual connection has occurred? How does one know when they are blocking their own journeys?
In my experience, exploring our psyche is not always an easy exercise. We have very effective and well-honed skills of deflection, self-deception, and blindness to our own biases. It is much easier, and for some even preferable, to stay outside of oneself, rather than doing the hard and painful internal work of bumping up against yourself. It takes courage and a desire to change, to examine what it is that actually keeps us trapped inside. I get it, I really do, looking inward does not always provide us with a very pretty picture, and often we do not like what we see.
When I journey I want to practice my own form of mind medicine. Journeys take us to the source of our wounds. We use healing and tracking journeys to seek the source of a wound, & dig out rancid infectious thoughts which can lead to self-sabotage, self-hatred, among other unhealthy thought patterns. My intention is to bring awareness to the areas that need change, careful tending, and care.
I admit it can be much easier to watch other people reflect on themselves. I am inspired by the written and recorded messages of spiritual leaders who have done the hard work, leading me to, perhaps naively, believe by the magic of osmosis I too have done the “work”. It’s far more difficult to turn my gaze inward.
One of the first questions I asked “how can we trust ourselves”, really comes into sharp focus if we are unwilling to dig deeply into our own psyche because we are afraid of, or are discouraged by, what we see. If we are uncomfortable with our state of mental and spiritual health we are likely to block our own journeys. Perhaps we fear there’s no cure for what ails us, and therefore nothing will really ever change.
Learning how to shift our consciousness from one state to another employs a certain level of trust. I have encountered many newcomers to shamanism, that is true, but I have yet to discover a magical formula to ensure a positive outcome or even an experience. I can say through years of observation, trust is important in our explorations of self. How can we tell if an experience is authentic if we do not trust the spirits whom we encounter? Deeper than that, how can we trust our Spirits if we do not trust, at least somewhat, ourselves.
Mind Medicine is an integral part of my shamanic walk, learnings, and teachings. Exploring the inner dimensions & depth of our minds has been invaluable to our own evolution. If it were not, we would not have entire spiritual communities devoted to it or countless essays, books, websites, etc. dedicated to explaining the value of self-reflection, self-awareness, and soul full exploration. If we do not see how it can help, we will never pursue it.
In writing this I am aware the question of “where to begin” can be daunting. Entering my very first yoga class was very daunting. I am short, overweight, and had no faith in my mind and body connection. It took courage for me to step through those doors, eying the lithe young humans already on their mats, awaiting the beginning of class. Self-doubt was my constant companion. Over time, and many hours of classes, I have grown to love yoga. I now, although still not lithe and certainly not young, can pick out a newcomer. I try to catch their eye and smile encouragingly. I try, through simply staying present, to convey – You too can do this. Mind Medicine can be daunting if we don’t know where to begin. It can be daunting to walk into a class or a circle and feel uneasy and unsure.
Through trial and error, we can each find a path to understanding our internal impulses, thoughts, and actions. Through trial and error, we will get to a place where we question less and accept more. The common phrase “the only way out is through” easily applies to shamanism and your journey to wherever spirit takes you!!