This is an ongoing US and global project to help enthusiasts, scholars, practitioners, and curious parties learn more about shamanic living in a contemporary culture. The space here is devoted to sharing info, experiences and opinions about all forms of shamanic expression covering shamanism's multiple permutations. Among subjects explored are traditions, techniques, insights, definitions, events, artists, authors, and creativity. You are invited to draw from your own experiences and contribute.

What is a SHAMAN?

MAYAN: "a technichian of the Holy, a lover of the Sacred." CELTIC: "Empower the people...by changing the way we think." MEXICAN APACHE: "Someone who has simply learned to give freely of themselves..." AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL: "...a teacher or healer, a wisdom keeper of knowledge... (who) takes people to a door and encourages them to enter." W. AFRICAN DIAGRA: "views every event in life within a spiritual context." HAWAIIAN: "...human bridges to the spiritual world and its laws and the material world and its trials..." QUECHUA INDIAN: "embodies all experience." AMAZON: "...willing to engage the forces of the Universe...in a beneficial end for self, people, and for life in general."

-- from Travelers, Magicians and Shamans (Danny Paradise)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Observations as a Healer

There are many aspects of training in the healing arts that came up for me lately. They have allowed me to reflect more deeply about what it means to fill the role of a healer. I have only had a limited number of years experience as a trainee, but I already can feel that the value of the healer is in raising consciousness by knowing, managing, and balancing what lies inside the entire human experience. It starts with the healer’s own consciousness, so here are a few observations and challenges in relation to my in-progress Tama-Do Academy training:

Set a Boundary—“Being open to receive” is a message that is consistent with practitioner and receiver and there is a fine art to trusting your intuition, knowing your protocols, inviting your guides in to your space to support you, and opening another person to receive your gifts. This work may involve opening your field to a person’s trauma and wounds and it will inevitably take some awareness to avoid getting caught in someone’s story or “stuff.” This has been a common theme in all the trainings I have received, and it sounds perfectly clear enough on paper. What I hadn’t noticed was that even when I consciously set the intention of not becoming involved that inevitably part of me could get unstuck if I was not careful, especially if there was a detection of what might be described as stagnant or heavy energy.

At Tama Do, we are advised to shower after each session, to remain physically clean and mentally present and to keep the conversation light. I would add that taking the time at the end of the day to check in with your body, your energy centers, and your guides to “feel” if there is anything unwanted that has unnecessarily stayed with you for release is worthwhile. Grounding through daily Chi Gong practice and sounding are methods used by Tama-Do trainees to help with this.

Beware of Doing Too Much—The feeling of being too involved can lead to feeling the need to do too much or to produce a miracle on demand with each healing given. This is the biggest impediment to remaining present with the person seeking help and remaining aligned—both are needed if I am to be effective. If a practitioner isn’t careful I believe they can get stuck in the idea of fixing a person and will burn themselves out on the healing work. The fact remains that no matter how well or poorly trained you are, some people may not respond or be open to the treatment—especially when it is more rooted in raising vibrations and not routine hands-on bodywork.

I have tried to close my eyes and go deeper within to find stillness during moments of doubt when I question my skills; when I need to impress the receiver or when I have an urge to do more unnecessarily. Daily affirmations/prayers in a ritualistic setting help me flow more freely, faithfully and effortlessly into my role.

Remaining Detached—The power of the work being done can be easy to get lost in. I have felt the receiver experience emotional reactions to the treatments and some of the places you take the receiver of the treatment can be quite intense or overwhelming for them. The Tama-Do practice is meant to remain light and let the waves come and go on their own, making sure that the practitioner doesn’t get overcooked.

Checking in—This is related to remaining present, although it is more along the lines of opening and maintaining the energy field to whatever may be happening. There can be a tendency to zone out while working on someone and getting lost in thought or surroundings. Sometimes I get too narrowly stuck in my head about the protocols or the way I am holding a tuning fork. I have to have faith in the training and just do what I can in the moment. One way to remain present is to open a window and just call in the energy of any outdoor natural setting into the room (even a plant’s chi will do). Or send any tension out through your feet into the core of the earth with an exhale.

Creativity—There is usually space for creative work within protocols and structure you are given in your field, after all we are dealing with the healing arts. Once you have begun to master the underlying work, try developing your own healer’s signature and consider what you look and feel like as a healer. I believe I am developing an individual expression based on what my personal field creates and how it interacts with others.

Developing relationships with my guides (see below) is part of establishing a stronger capacity to be creative in my own right without giving up the given structure and guidelines. It might be compared to delivering a solo during a jazz performance. This takes time and practice, of course. Once you can tune in to your healer’s energetic signature, you can invite this special unique energy in and let it flow into the practice.

Check Your Energy Levels—If you’re working other jobs to make money or are living in a challenging or unhealthy environment, there is a danger that your work will be impeded. The healer does not function with a working professional’s mindset. Further, toxicity on any level can have a negative impact on the ability to reach and read others. The added sensitivity from my daily training improve my energy and heighten my perception. I am reminded to honor my body first and to make sure that I am being nourished physically, nutritionally, and spiritually. Meditation and Chi Gong are great for improving energy levels. Still, I may feel like I need a solid chunk of time prior to any session to shift into the space of a healer and to further ground my energy levels. Jumping from one activity (or receiver) to the next is not optimal.

Create Sacred Space—Clearing the work space prior to the start of a session can help with the process of relaxation for the receiver. Sound and burning sage can effectively provide this. Let your space be inviting and allow it to carry your safety and comfort. I would not advise doing too many healings in other people’s spaces, especially if you have not inspected the space first.

Facilitate Openings- Inspiration works best when there is a certain emptiness and freedom involved. This is again where the word arts comes into play. There is more than just physical interaction when a healer and receiver connect, there are hidden energy field subtleties making themselves available to both participants and what some would call guides-- subtle energy entities—that are invited into the circle to facilitate action. In order to make the experience a dance, the practitioner’s energy is best off being drawn to his/her back and all other thoughts that prevent the ability to be present should be sent into the earth.

Build Relationships with Guides –Asking to be guided by your highest guides is not something that can happen overnight. In Tama Do, there are colors and essences involved, as well as personal guides. Each one carries energy and vibration and this energy can be called in more effectively when the practitioner has a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the energy itself. Poems, prayers, blessings, paintings, sketches, visual representations of the energy that is being invoked can all allow you to build a relationship with your guides over time. Call in your highest guides to know more about them and feel how they want to speak/work through you. If you feel a block between you and your guides, try to understand what it is rooted in. What does this energy want?

For more information about Tama-Do practitioner training, visit http://www.tama-do.com/

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