Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One Center - everywhere

It would be easy to assume that a shaman is necessarily a dualist - that if you see more than one world, then you also see things in terms of black & white; good & bad. 

At least in my case, this is not true. At least on some days of the week, I am an animist, like many shamans. If you take animism to its natural conclusion, this becomes clear: All is One. If we honor the divine in trees and rocks and animals - even humans - then we are seeing the One in every reflection of that One. 

Perhaps the most important lesson Grandfather ever taught me is simply this: There is only One Center. It just happens to be everywhere. 

This is completely consistent with the idea of the holographic or fractal nature of the universe: That you can see the whole in any part, and that by altering one part, you change the whole. 

If we take this further we discover a doorway to infinity. The One Center is set into an infinite source of energy/Qi and leads to anywhere you want to go. Mind you, I've not figured out how to take my physical body with me on these journeys - yet. The One Center is the doorway between the inner and the outer; the upper and the lower; the One and the Other. It is that which both manifests and divides the One - through what we experience as consciousness. 

The shamanic perspective is at one fundamentally pragmatic and practical while still being intimately connected with the spiritual world of the ancestors and the numinous. What gives this perspective such power is the realization that these are two ends of the same perspective. They are not opposites but rather different views of the very same thing. 

The things is, this unity that we experience as a duality can seem quite complex at times. It can be confusing to the senses, the mind, even to the soul, which can yearn for the illusion and for the real at the same time - perhaps because they are truly one and the same. We can talk about escaping from samsara, but it is here - in the heart of what we know to be illusion - that the real is most immediately available in all it's variety and wondrous chaotic magnificence. 

As a shaman, I see many worlds, and yet, each of these worlds is a reflection of the One. This world I'm typing in is another reflection - or emanation - of the One. It is up to us to chose which reflection we experience. We do this by awakening - manifesting the gift of consciousness - to the realization that we can live in heaven or hell. We can be hungry ghosts or gods. The choice is ours. If only we know it. 



Aaron said...

I think one of the things I appreciated about the Asian internal martial arts was that there was a way to somehow physically express chi, whether push hands in Tai Chi, or the various exercises in Aikido. It's probably just where I'm at, but I really appreciate spiritual practice that feels grounded in something tangible. Sometimes it seems that spirituality can seem to go off the rails when people go further into their own visions and further away from the world we share. That doesn't just apply to meditative or trance practices; academic-religious spirituality can get caught up in deep readings of old spiritual texts and end up completely ignoring the world beyond the prescriptions of how it ought to be.

Interesting stuff Ken!

Post Tribal Shaman said...

Yes - it's easy to get caught up in philosophizing and forget to Live!