The World of the Mystic and Shaman
Once we understand this basic concept, that the mind and consciousness transcend normal boundaries and spread beyond four-dimensional space-time, we can begin to understand more fully the world of the mystic, the world of nonordinary reality and the world of the shaman. Traditional cultures, unencumbered by the weightiness of analytical thinking, have always accepted these worlds. Westerners are just coming around.
Yet at the same time, taking these traditional worldviews and synthesizing them with progressive scientific thinking can only bode well for all. We can start to get a better understanding of how the shaman operates and how he or she effects a cure.
I have undergone shamanic journeying and have been awed by the insights gained from them. Are my insights mere fragments from a fertile imagination? I don’t think so. I tend to believe that I am tapping into the larger universal field of consciousness. All it takes to reach into that field is a shifting of the mind.
The shifting of the mind in shamanism and mysticism is generally achieved through some sort of trance ritual. Drumming, dancing, chanting, singing, meditating and other modalities are often used.
A Bar Mitzvah. I remember a few years ago, attending my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. As the service went on, the rabbi and his assistants started speaking faster and faster, repeating the same phrases over and over, building the energy in the room into a crescendo.
At a certain point, as they continued with their ritual, there was a certain shift in energy and consciousness. A few people sighed and started crying; I could feel in myself my heart opening up and a sense of lightness within. Shortly after, the ceremony ended and the rabbi declared my nephew to be blessed.
Excitation of electrons
I believe that ceremony was a trance ritual. It worked up to a feverish pitch whereby the energy in the room palpably shifted. I have speculated that what they did was excite the vibrations of the electrons in the room until they were moving at a rate that allowed them to resonate more effectively with the quantum state. Since the quantum state is akin to the state of Spirit, in essence through the ritual they were able to make us closely connected to Spirit; or perhaps for a moment we became Spirit.
Perhaps this is the key to entering nonordinary states of reality. If one excites their electrons in whatever way one deems appropriate, they will then be further aligned with the quantum world. By being aligned with the quantum world, they will transition from the world of everyday reality to the quantum world of nonordinary reality, a reality that exists everywhere and anywhere, at a panoramic setting of 360 degrees.
The Path of the Shaman
Technicians of the Sacred
The ability to enter a nonordinary reality is the hallmark of the mystic. A shaman fits into this definition of a mystic, for a shaman readily traverses through various worlds as a great specialist in the human soul. The path the shaman takes is first and foremost spiritual; they are technicians of the sacred.
Shamanism is the oldest and most widespread method of healing with the imagination – over 20,000 years old. Shamans induce a state of mind that transcends ordinary reality, allowing them to access inner intuitive wisdom and bring it back for the benefit of others.
The Lama as Shaman
In Tibetan Buddhism, the Lama is the shaman, the psychic healer and guide of souls. Reciting chants from ritual texts from the secret books of Guru Rinpoche, this allows the Lama to enter into an altered state of consciousness, leaving his body behind to seek passage into other worlds, the hidden lands. He returns with treasures of knowledge and power and thus is able to restore lost souls to wholeness.
Maintaining a Foot in Both Worlds
Yet at the same time, just as quantum reality and everyday reality together form the entire panoramic view of reality; the shaman must keep a foot in both worlds to understand the fullness of human existence. The shamans who completely go off, who can’t keep operating in this world while they’re in an altered state, are considered fools or incompetents, or neophytes. The shamans in the Amazon who take ayahuasca and other extremely powerful hallucinogens can actually do surgery under the influence.
Speaking of performing surgery while in an altered state (this reminds me of a story I was recently told by a retired nurse about doctors in the hospital she used to work in who performed surgery while inebriated), in Brazil there are people who perform what is called trance surgery. To perform surgery while in a trance state is a very concrete representation of maintaining a foot in both worlds. Within a manner of minutes, the surgeon (who is generally not someone trained in Western medicine or surgical techniques) goes into a trance state in which their body is used by a possessing spirit or intelligent entity as a vehicle for its own medical purposes. Healing skills supposedly unknown to the healer are manifested during trance behaviors. These trance surgeons usually perform no rituals; they work with their eyes open, conversing with those present.
One of the most incredible aspects of these phenomena is that the surgical instruments are not sterilized, nor are the patients anesthetized. Yet accounts of infection and inflammation are rare, and patients generally appear to experience little or no pain and minimal bleeding. And furthermore, many patients experience either temporary or permanent cures of their ailments.
A trance surgeon who practices in England, a man by the name of Stephen Turoff, claims that his inspiration comes from the Indian mystic Sai Baba. Sai Baba is considered a “national treasure of India” and at age 13 declared himself an avatar, an incarnation of God on earth. He has performed many miracles, which he calls mere calling cards, toys and tricks to gain our interest and to demonstrate the illusion of our physical bodies and the material world to which we are all so attached.
A psychiatrist who has witnessed Sai Baba first hand reports that Sai Baba has manifested objects out of thin air, resurrected the dead, and healed people of cancer. He writes, “there is no miracle known to humankind that Sai Baba has not performed.”
To the Westerner, these stories seem preposterous. There is just no way something like this can be true, as it eludes rational and linear common sense.
Phillip John Neimark is one person who can vouch for the illusion of rationality and the sanctity of the sacred. A white, Jewish middle-age businessman who lives in Chicago, he made his first million at the age of 30; now he is also a high priest, or babalawo, in the Ifa religion. As Neimark tells it, “I was totally committed to the Cartesian, Newtonian universe and I lived my life absolutely on that basis. If you couldn’t prove God, He didn’t exist. In fact, I militantly attacked and dismissed any other paradigm.” His antique Jaguar had a license plate bearing Aristotle’s empirical dictum, A is A.
Through a series of life and spiritual crises, Neimark found himself inducted into the Ifa religion and became a high priest of the religion. Now he says “I don’t care how you do it. I don’t care how anybody does it. Just connect to that divine energy. Otherwise you will not get out of this lifetime nearly what you should.”
As Phillip John Neimark has shown, one doesn’t have to be of a particular culture or background to live the life of the shaman or mystic. All it takes is an innate understanding that the world is full of Spirit, and that Spirit controls the invisible forces of nature.
Who knows the mysterious ways of the invisible forces that control our lives? This is what the shaman, the mystic and the forward thinking scientist are all trying to ascertain.