It has now been over one year since I started A Shamanic Practitioner course in the North West of Scotland in the city of Inverness. The retreat center where I do this course is called Anam Cara. Anam Cara is situated just at the top of Inverness at 600 ft above sea level. The views from Anam Cara are more than stunning at night you can see all of the city lights below that strangely look like little stars but of course just an eye glance above are the real glimmering stars above. Anam Cara has almost no lights on the grounds so always handy to keep a torch unless it is summer of course where it almost never gets dark. The feeling that Anam Cara emits I’m sure can only be described as ‘coming home’ it really does have that real heart energy feel to it which is a feeling that not just any land can replicate. The land has been expertly crafted into the land to create a real organic feel to it. The land boasts the amazing Tufty Top which is an eco-building with glass panels that look over onto the land far far away when you are within the Tufty it feels like you are looking at the whole of Inverness… You probably are. The land also provides basic accommodation with a series of caravans and chalets which, to say the least are pretty monastic and as a person who truly does like to live to the minimum it just feels right.
How I Found Shamanism
I found Shamanism at my front door… actually, even before my front door, it has been in my home since around 2014 when my Mum embarked on her own spiritual journey which also consisted of the same Shamanic Practitioners course facilitated by the same spiritual teacher. When I was a teenager I did not understand shamanism in fact my Mum hardly spoke of it for reasons I do not know all I know is I was not to touch anything that looked shiny, shaped like a skull or drums everything seemed to have this sacredness as if I touched anything the essence could be lost. Whilst that isn’t necessarily true because we are all sacred and not impure as so many spiritualities put upon us everything is sacred to that person and that truly was the reason of why not to touch another’s sacred object because we don’t understand to their consciousness we can only understand to the extent of our own. However many things began to change when my Mum did her own training for reasons I did not understand but have now been doing the course for one year now I can pretty much understand why. If you are not changing your life within this course I would probably say just let go a little bit more… in fact let go until your sitting with either £17.50 per week or a bowl of potatoes because that’s right this course will blow your life out of the water but don’t worry you will get it all back and with added investment of happiness.
When the time is right you will go
As I have mentioned before I used to live in London being a ‘normal’ human being. Then my curiosity got the better of me and I started to look into Buddhism I have always felt at home in the Buddhist thought for reasons I do not know nor can explain at this particular moment. However, I did want to let go of absolutely everything and no not just my couch, my job and my paycheck but quite literally everything. In the winter of 2017, I decided that I had, had enough of the life I was living that I looked into how I could go and become a monastic at Plum Village in South West France and yes that is a monastery held by the leader of Engaged Buddhism Thich Nhat Hanh. I conversed with my Mum and well she told me that it was not the first time I had asked if I could become a Monk but that at even before my tenth birthday I wanted to be a monk. However, my Mum was able to stop this thought from becoming a reality by offering the idea of going to a Shamanic Practitioner course at Anam Cara. As they say, the rest is history.
Just over two years ago I sent away my application to go on the 2018 October course and so I sent the application to the spiritual teacher Twobirds. The teacher happily arranged for me to be on the next course and it was quite strange when the teacher found out who my Mum was it was widely welcomed with open arms. Anam Cara is like a true family all of its community has the widest of arms and their hearts filled with love. When I went to the first gathering it was like meeting my Mum for the first time. It was the strangest feeling in my entire life I felt like my Mum was just a friend who spoke of these things but I had not experienced any of the land, the community and of course the teachings I felt very odd but in the nicest way possible. I got to meet people who knew my Mum better than it seemed like I knew her. In the first gathering I learned about shamanic healing through extraction of Energy that has essentially clung or been given to that person that is not naturally there. This can be known as firing arrows in the west we do this very often when we gossip or speak ill of another person or even if a person swears or shouts in front of us there energy can easily cling to our auric field. The course is very intense and emotions do run high as it can be easily said that it is the stripping away of the conditioning that we all have that is nobody’s fault at all its just life. The Buddha had conditioning, we have conditioning and so do Shamans of the Rainforest nobody is to blame. We can strip this conditioning away however if we choose to do so all we need is the correct settings and teacher who will allow us the time and the space to do this stripping away. In shamanism, it is known as becoming the hollow bone so that spirit can easily come in and out of the practitioner’s earthly body, this is only at our acceptance of spirit.
How Have I Found Change
It is without debate that I have seen a change that I believe would definitely not have happened if I had not embarked on this truly unique path. I have for the most part become so much more disciplined in life and have been editing the parts that I do not want in my life and getting rid of those parts for new doors to open. I had quit my job, gone to Peru and have now more than ever focused on what I want to achieve through this course and have welcomed back many parts of myself that I had rejected or did not even know that I have missing. I remember during my second gathering at this course I was standing doing a fire ceremony and I had cut off my hair for commitment to the Shamanic life and also to give up everything that I had within my life. When I had gone home within a month I had left my job and began setting plans to become a volunteer in Peru. I have found this course has brought me toa place where the world is not just about me it is about everyone who lives on this Earth and how can I help those people I have found a true humanitarian side to myself that I know I would not have ever have had. I have now been able to look past people like almost as though they are translucent and see what it is that they truly are and for many people, they are like a ball of hurt, people seem like they were dealt the wrong hand and that life was too hard for them to participate within. It is without a doubt that life is hard and even harder when you feel like you are special in a world that does not honor that special but seeks to make you feel indifferent. I know that I could not keep going on with this lie that everyone seems to be going along with this buy to be happy. This quick-fix will save you its a lie and you come to this when you have seen the face of suffering.
The Face Of Suffering
There is a face that we know all so well. Many of us deny this face exists and many cannot recognize that we have ever seen such a face. It is those people that can keep going on when they are hurting all too much. I have seen many people and I look at them and I wonder why do they not change? It recently came to light within myself of why they cannot change it is because they do not recognize or cannot admit that there is something really wrong. Many people I do believe find it hard to keep going but it is until you recognize the face of suffering that is the face that will change your life. Once you see that suffering is real we see that suffering is all around us it is also deep within us. We see that in today’s world so many people are suffering many people in the world are suffering from physical ailments such as disease like HIV, Cholera, Cancers dehydration and malnutrition to say but a few many of these exist within Africa for example but in the West where we have eradicated so much of these problems we still are not ‘enlightently’ happy we have the highest rates of depression, anxiety and suicide rates which are out of the roof also we find it okay to destroy the planet for produce. We call War normal we call all of this normal but it is psychotic and the reason behind all of this is because we have not seen suffering we are blind to it its the same as a multi-billionaire not ever thinking to stop making money they just keep going because it is unawareness of everything. This course showed me that face and familiarised me with that face that I see it every day but because I see it every day and remind myself of the truth of it I can deal with it much easier and it will only heighten so that I a ‘normal’ persons suffering becomes minuscule. That is to say that nobody’s suffering is any more or any less than another’s it cannot be judged someone losing their car keys could feel just as traumatic as losing a loved one it cannot be judged because we all have different levels of discipline the undisciplined mind sees everything as bad and the disciplined mind recognizes the bad but searches for a solution.
One More Year
I still have one more year until I complete my training and so far I see so much as an illusion I can only describe it as unreal but at the same time I have been recognizing the spirit within all things and this is a very beautiful aspect of life that I am so lucky to have been so graced to be able to see in my daily life. I no longer see a no use for older people but actually love spending time with older people especially those who consider themselves as elders not old because there is a difference an elder imparts wisdom for they have the wisdom that they will not live forever but the old are still in belief that they are immortal and that death will not come to them. Just last week I had my fourth gathering and it was on death, dying and beyond it was the most beautiful experience that I might have in my life we will not live forever and having a great relationship with this concept will make life all the better. In the West, we fear death to the point it almost doesn’t happen. If you wish to die before you die and have your eyes open then the gift to yourself should be a spiritual course like the one I have embarked upon otherwise we have seen nothing at all. I had no intention of ever thinking that I would ever ‘believe in’ shamanism but it is a spiritual practice exempt of belief I see Shamanism as nothing but a gift to myself. I never understood how much of a gift it has been. There is no belief in Shamanism there is only your own unique experience and nobody will ever nor should they ever tramp on that experience to do so would not be shamanism. I cannot be grateful to all of those who I share my experiences with and who encourage such experiences. I welcome all experiences that I will have in the future and to where this path will take me after the year is over it will never end and I know this for sure. I feel so blessed to live this life from young I find it very hard and very strange to understand what life could be like in my thirties and forties or even seventies of what life I would be living even now if I did not begin to honor life itself.
“The reason for the emphasis on shamanism and on other techniques is, you will need techniques if you go into the deep water. And they can make your life very simple and save you from unecessary suffering. Not all suffering is necessary. Maybe no suffering is necessary.~Terrance Mckenna