One of the most frequent questions I am asked in reference to my work as a shaman is "what technique do you use to go into trance states?" I suspect that many people are somewhat disappointed when I tell them that, though I also use drums, dance/movement, voice and others, I generally rely on simply moving into a deeply meditative state I call Stillness. Just like the Stillness we use in Sheya, this provides me with a very effective doorway to move into whatever trance state I choose.
Just this morning, in Temple, I went into stillness and then used that as a doorway to move into Lodge and speak with Grandfather. I've been experiencing a drought of clients recently and I was beginning to wonder if I had fallen out of favor with my ancestors or some other spirits. (I have also been working at moving into shamanic body without my hat. That's another whole entry on its own.) I entered the Tree and spiraled my way down into the Lower World and then sat with Grandfather for awhile trying to determine whether I might be in a bad place with anyone.
In his zen way, GF assured me that I was okay, but that I needed to reconnect with my ancestors here in the Lower World. We went to where most of my Dad's people are hanging out - looks rather like a mix between Kentucky and County Clare - and left them some more offerings. Gave them my thanks. Got hugs from Mom and Dad. Then came on back.
All that began with being able to move deeply enough into Stillness to find and use the doorway at my center. This makes the rest of the journey possible. And the way to get to that doorway is by regular meditation practice. This doesn't mean listening to a tape with pretty music and a guided visualization to take you to your "happy place." It means sitting with your spine erect and allowing your thoughts to release, letting your attention settle into your center until everything else moves away and you can go deeper.
This is not exactly an exciting process. In fact, the boredom is one of the layers of resistance that we have to move through in order to reach the goal. You need to be willing to sit through all the clamor of inner voices telling you that you have "better things to do than sit here wasting time." You need to be able to release your thoughts and the attachment to your thoughts until they gradually drop away. This takes time. Practice. Discipline. And no one can do it for you - except you.