The Shaman's Touch Part IV
This article is Part 4 in a series of articles entitled, The Shaman’s Touch. The series concerns the path of self mastery through covenant relationship with higher purpose. The Shaman’s Touch is aimed at people who have heard the call of their dream and answered. Click here to read Part 1 of this series, Invoking the Refining Fire of Your Destiny.
You experienced pain yesterday and you discovered that it led to pleasure. You experienced it today and found peace. That's why I'm telling you: Don't get used to it, because it's very easy to become habituated: it's a very powerful drug. It's in our daily lives, in our hidden sufferings, in the sacrifices we make, blaming love for the destruction of our dreams. Pain is frightening when it shows its real face, but it's seductive when it comes disguised as sacrifice or self-denial. Or cowardice. However much we may reject it, we human beings always find a way of being with pain, of flirting with it and making it part of our lives. ∞ Paulo Coelho
Is it possible to engage the Fire in such a way that it offers you nothing more than endless opportunities for pointless self immolation?
I believe it is.
The Fire can be as enticing as pleasure seeking.
We have the potential to become addicted to pain and the relief that comes when it subsides just as we have the capacity to become addicted to pleasurable stimuli. Some people are even more enticed by pain than by pleasure. They can relate to pain better because it is all they have ever known. They court the Fire.
Other people simply become addicted to processing.
These people begin their journey’s with a serious intention to understand what happened to them. They go searching in every undesirable experience for the explanation of their dysfunction. They search high and low for what is broken in them so they can fix it. And all their searching leads them into yet another round of searching. The promise of finally making themselves good enough entices them back into the endless rounds of birth, death, and rebirth as the patterns of their lives play out over and over again.
This path is not of the heart!
It is born of the intellectual desire to discover what is wrong with you and how it came to be. It is void of any connection to the deeper self. It is void of self love and compassion. This path is a trap. It is the killer of hope and of dreams.
In Part 2 of this series, I said that “reason alone will fail you in the Fire.” That is because reason seeks to solve a riddle.
The Fire is not really about solving riddles.
It is about gaining self mastery.
In order to make use of the Fire and obliterate the habits that bind up your life, you must move beyond reason and into knowing.
Knowing emanates from the belly and from the womb (testicles in men). It arises when you learn to connect with yourself deeply and to forge a bond with your own well being. Awareness is a function of self worth internalized. It thrives in a space of curiosity and neutrality.
Awareness withers and dies in the scorching glare of self hatred.
True Awareness arises from the deep desire to see yourself well and well cared for not from the desire to see yourself made right at last.
The Fire fosters awareness when you learn to work skillfully with what is rather than using whatever comes to prove your essential failings. Put another way, you will gain self mastery in the Fire when you are motivated by a strong desire to free yourself from the habitual patterns of your life rather than by the desire to fix what is wrong with you.
In Part 2 of this series I also offered a personal example. I told the story of trying to reconnect my heart with my sexuality. I related the tale of a one night stand that knitted my heart and my sexuality together in an interminable bond. The moment I described was a moment of profound anguish. Yet it healed me. I wasn’t motivated to prove my lack of worth or to cure myself of unchaste habits or to even understand the source of the problem. I was motived by a deep desire to feel again and to be free of a pattern that made it easier to give myself away for free than to ever risk being told I wasn’t worthy of connection - AGAIN.
I yearned to know the Genuine Worth of my sexuality and to see my heart as a precious gift.
The moment I described was a moment of intense connection that took place in a space of alienation. By bringing connection into that space, I awakened in myself a strong desire for more and a clear understanding that I could never turn back. It was profoundly heart rending and profoundly healing. It destroyed my ability to take solace in disconnection. It made it impossible for me to go on affirming my essential worthlessness with my own choices. Suddenly my behavior came unhinged from questions of worth and thereafter emanated from a place of deep knowing.
In that one single moment of anguish I knew the sacredness of my sexuality and of my heart. I reclaimed two essential parts of myself I had discarded long ago. The change in my behavior that followed didn’t come from sheer force of will, from self denial, or from self condemnation. It arose from the desire to affirm my own intrinsic value and the value of genuine love making.
In this example, I didn’t just flirt with the pain. I used it to set myself free. It was a moment without shame. In fact it erased decades of shame. I wasn’t making a place for pain in my life. I was blowing a goodbye kiss to the pain of sexual disconnection.
I was cutting it out at the root.
Pain was my scalpel.
This is what it means to work skillfully with what arises in the Fire. The skill I am referring to is the ability to harness a situation and to marshal it for the purpose of moving yourself towards greater fulfillment. Rather than living as a creature of habit restrained by the imperative of stimulus to enact a certain sequence of responses, you open to the endless possibilities for growth, change, and fulfillment. Before you know it, every moment opens a new door and you get to decide whether or not to walk through it.
Otherwise, you are just playing with Fire, enticing it’s flames, asking to be burned, and burned, and burned again. And the Inner Shaman will unleash the flames with ever increasing intensity. The Inner Shaman is in the service of the dream you asked to have fulfilled.
The Inner Shaman is the custodian of the dream covenant.
The Fire will do its best to awaken you, to wear you out, to inspire you to hold yourself with love and compassion at long last. It reflects the yearning of the Inner Shaman to see you whole, content, and fully available to the kind of life you truly desire. The Fire is neutral and unwavering in its service to the destiny you have claimed.
Only you can decide how to use it.