Shamanic work in the modern age.


I’ve been spending time recently reflecting on my shamanic practice and how
the spiritual world engages with us in today’s modern age.

I feel that today’s world is very different from that of indigenous tribes,
which is where the shamanic techniques tend to come from. The spiritual world
is full of myths and metaphors, that give insight into ourselves, but I find it
difficult to relate all this beautiful imagery into meaningful difference in
normal life. In this modern age, I exist in a world that is dominated by rational thought and is focused on what I can touch and what I can test to see if it is real. I
hesitate to move out of that testing, as if I can’t prove what I say is true,
how can I be certain that it is helping you or me.

This very rational framework of thinking is not part of most indigenous
tribes, and I feel it creates a block between myself and the spiritual. It’s
like trying to understand Shakespeare when it is just said to you rather than
acted out, you sort of know what’s being said but can’t really understand it.
There is then a disconnect between the two. Sometimes the metaphors strike home
and make a difference but I find it a bit hit and miss. There is a sense of not
fully appreciating all that is be communicated.

Another aspect that I’m aware of is how the metaphors and language vary so
much from person to person. I’ve spent many hours listen to both my own
journeys and those of others. Each person has a very different experience and
language, the metaphors being very unique to that person. It’s like the
communication is being filtered through the experience and unconscious mind of
each of us. What strikes me from this thought is one of the key areas of
influence is my own unconscious mind and how much I am aware of what is going
on internally for me, which could filter / bias what is being communicated. I
feel like it is important for me to appreciate what is in the depths of my mind
that may influence what I’m receiving and communicating. I feel like I need to
be aware of what is in my shadow so that I can see if it is having a
detrimental effect on how I communicate with the spiritual.

Now I’m not removing all influence, as I can never be fully aware of
everything, but I am working on being more aware of my own internal influences
and potential bias. The shape of my unconscious
mind and what lies beneath the surface does influence the areas that are
interesting in my work. I am deeply interested in healing and how we work on
healing ourselves and being an authentic expression of ourselves. There are
many reasons that my unconscious self is like that, and awareness of that is
not about taking that away, but awareness helps me to keep a balance so that
I’m not pushing my internal issues on to others.

I am finding that this is an additional challenge to working on spiritual
matters, I need to do inner work on myself, so that I can better understand
myself. Self-awareness helps to bring a balance and to separate what the
spiritual message maybe from myself. My
work on the unconscious helps me to integrate the different elements of
shamanic work into myself. I feel like this is an important part of my healing
process. My ability to be able to hold different parts of myself, which may be
in the shadows, and acknowledge them helps me to focus on the spiritual
message.

I suppose what I’m trying to say in all these words is that in our modern
world we are less used to communicating with our unconscious and being at one
with that part of ourselves. I know I have spent a lot of time in analytical
thought rather than spending time just in the present. In this modern age, our life traumas are
often not dealt with at the time but sit and fester, pushed to the side. I know
that in order to avoid the pain my mind has pushed these feelings to one side.
Yet in doing shamanic work, I found that they kept coming to the surface.
Looking back sometimes I feel that I was reflecting the inner work that I
needed to do and seeing that in others. My concern is that my stuff would then
become a barrier to the true spiritual work that needed to be done.

I feel that I am not alone in the disconnect between my mind and my unconscious
self, and I feel that it is very much part of our modern world, in the way we
are educated and in the frame in which we live as part of a wider society. For
me the exploration of the inner world and its healing process is part of the
spiritual work. In the past few weeks I have spent time reviewing my notes from
my vision quest and can see quite clearly the flags for the inner work I needed
to do, but at the time I was not aware of them. All of the different aspects of
my inner work feel like part of my path.

To summarise in our modern age today spiritual work needs to include inner
work and exploration of the unconscious to fully realise the healing we can receive
from shamanic work.

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