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Interfaith Voices: Shamanism, and the importance of letting go

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Community, our common unity, the way we share the same world. It’s us and we are it. What do we share in common? We are all together here on this isolated planet among a sea of stars within a galaxy in the midst of galaxies untold, yet everywhere “out there” we find the same elementary building blocks, drawn together by the same natural laws.

In Shamanic traditions we find people discovering their unity with the earth and the rain, or the corn and the deer, even the ants and the trees. Seeing as Shamans do, the natural world is all a sacred creation of which we humans are merely a part, albeit an active co-creative part.

Within the human sphere we have circles of commonality, our jobs, our neighbors, our families, our nations, our loyalties, our practices, our beliefs, our dreams and so on. For all of these to function as one, each person must give up some of their autonomous control in order to gain a common objective; to be fed, to be safe, to be in accord with one another we make accommodations.

One is a Shaman when one reaches certain internal attainments. One of those inner attainments is sometimes referred to as reaching Unity Consciousness. Unity Consciousness may be described as the awareness of the unity of all things.

This is where it gets tricky with descriptions. Since unity is by definition beyond duality, isolating it implies a necessary consciousness that is not unified. We have to settle for the fact that while one is experiencing Unity Consciousness, it cannot at that time be described lest it break the unity. So it is that this overwhelming oneness can only be described after the fact and as such is a second-hand version, ergo the many and varied descriptions of that state.

Shamans consider this a fundamental state to their experience of the divine nature of all things. For Shamans it is an attainment, and not all reach it. Yet for those who reach Unity Consciousness, it becomes available to be returned to repeatedly.

Unity Consciousness is a divine state, where if one is so inclined, one may feel a unity with God, or the Lord, or the Buddha, or the Goddess, or Mother Nature or Father Time. Shamans find that we put on the imprints we come with and only as these dissolve away do we enter the full clarity (and ecstasy) of the divine awareness.

It seems at times that we do not share the same divinity owing to the proliferation of religions and the multifaceted interpretations of their advocates. From the position of clear unimprinted consciousness one can see that each point of view is doing its best to describe the very same thing yet it is the imprints that people carry that blind them to that commonality.

That little bit of egotism, that insignificant rah-rah loyalty to school or city or team or company, that seemingly small indulgence, the one that seems so innocent, the one that seems to make so much sense, is the very thing that starts small yet leads to so much immeasurable misery among humans.

Shamans simply let go of that attachment. For sure Shamans can and often do play along, yet it is with humor, freedom and joy. Shamans are humble people because spirit draws them from the ranks of everyday people. In truth, all are called by spirit, Shamans answer by dropping their egoic concerns, allowing the creator’s world to pour through, all the while laughing or dancing or singing or crying or praying and above all always loving.

Will Bradley is a lifelong mid-valley resident, currently living in Albany. He works as a consultant with Transformational providing support for sensitive and intuitive people with an emphasis on transformative color therapy tools.


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