Category: The Inner Shaman Written by Alberto Villoldo PhD
When your mind starts crafting a story about how you’ve been wronged, or thinking about what our lives could be like if you could only find the perfect partner or situation, or if you could only avoid getting ill, you need to slam on the brakes! We do this through the shaman’s practice of “no-mind.”
One of the classical ways to practice “no-mind” is when faced with the fear of death or loss — whether death of the body, a way of thinking, a relationship, a job, or a dream. “No-mind” allows you to experience that our nature is transcendent and undying– infinite.
The knowledge of your infinite essence must be visceral for it to be true. In shamanic societies around the world there is a symbolic encounter with death in which the initiate experiences the seamless continuity of life beyond their physical existence.
How to Taste Infinity
In the West, we no longer remember how to die with grace. Many die in fear, disconnected from their transcendental essence, not having said “I love you” and “I forgive you,” to their loved ones – words that would be so healing for them and their families. We try to make death invisible, thinking that if we ignore it for long enough, it will simply go away, that it only happens to others.
I recently led an online course called The Deathless Elixir of Immortality with Bob Thurman, the eminent Buddhist scholar and professor at Columbia University . We shared the Tibetan and Andean practices for bounding into infinity before you die. In the course I shared the tale of a shaman who died after a long illness and how she appeared during her wake and whispered from the invisible world – “Why are you sad? I am not dead. I haven’t felt so alive in years!” WAKE UP she intoned with that soft voice that spirits use.
My favorite exercise to turn death into an ally – what the Himalayan masters call the teachings of impermanence – is the breathing meditation I AM MY BREATH. You repeat silently I AM on the inhale, and MY BREATH on the exhale. Three minutes a day.
The origin of the word spirit is breath. And we have all heard how “In the beginning there was the breath…and the breath was God”! The word inspire and expire have the same root. Practice this meditation of “no mind” early in the morning until you attain your infinite nature with every cell in your being.
Alberto Villoldo PhD is a medical anthropologist who has spent the last 30 years investigating the healing practices of the shamans of the Amazon and the Andes. He is the founder and director of the Four Winds Society, and author of Shaman, Healer, Sage, Mending the Past and Healing the Future with Soul Retrieval, The Four Insights and Yoga, Power and Spirit. Alberto is founder of the world-renowned Four Winds Society and of the Light Body School. In his teachings and writings, he shares the experience of infinity and its ability to heal and transform us, to free us from the temporal chains that keep us fettered to illness, old age and disease.
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