As our group, Approaching the Sacred, is taking the month of March to focus on the path of service, we used last night’s shamanic journeying session to find a way to serve this world. For some, it meant connecting with one’s self. For example, one woman connected in a powerful way – from her adult perspective, she found herself in a meadow, able to connect with various ages of her younger self. The adult woman felt that she was helping her younger selves understand some things during this journey, but the true gift, she realized, was when the 19-year-old self reminded her to have courage now. You have done so many courageous things, the 19-year-old self reminded her, why are you letting yourself stop now?
I often think that we are more courageous and more optimistic in our youth, and as we age, we become more and more careful and conservative. In fact, one of my goals is to always stay open-minded. What a gift to talk to your younger self and be reminded of the way you used to approach life!
Another participant journeyed to Japan. As is appropriate, she asked permission from the spirit of the land and the people to serve in some way (see this link to The Foundation of Shamanic Studies for more information on asking permission). She found herself at a stone temple, and a goddess acquiesced to her service. The goddess then gave her a sword – beautiful and ornate – ostensibly a samurai type sword. This woman did not know what to do with the sword, but she humbly took it. Then her power animal led her to another place of worship. Here she met a man and two women. One of the women was a survivor of the recent tsunami disaster. The other was a goddess figure. The sword, she realized, was the man’s, and she gave it to him, happy to have been able to serve as the deliverer. The goddess told her that to serve, she needed to use her feminine energy to “comfort and connect.” So, on her knees, she prayed there at the stone temple, and sent energy out to the people as if in the form of hugs and peace. An elderly woman came to her, and the journeyer, wanting to do something for this dignified, exhausted elder, carefully and kindly massaged her feet. It was a small gift, but one much appreciated as it seemed the elderly woman had been through what may have seemed unbearable, yet she had borne it with the dignity and strength with which she had always lived.
Others in the group had their own experiences, too, some more chaotic, some less understandable. The shamanic journeys show that you will always be guided to the highest path if you will surrender your will to the greater will. The first journeyer needed to strengthen herself, to grow a little closer to wholeness. The second journeyer learned that one can help in small but powerful ways. As one member of the group commented: to do something small, very well, seems an aspect of the Japanese culture worth emulating. It is a beautiful way to be – to remember that one need only do small things well in each moment of one’s life.
We cannot know if this type of thing helps in real time or not, but it is evident that on these journeys the rational, egoic mind is not in control. Rather, the heart, the soul, the unconscious is guiding, and one finds oneself in places that hitherto seemed unimaginable. The participants explanation that she felt herself “sending hugs” reminds me of distant energy healing. Many Reiki practitioners have commented on twitter to “send Reiki to Japan” or that they are “sending Reiki to Japan.” When I send distant Reiki in a general way, I often feel as if I am sending hugs. And again, as in the shamanic journeying, you always ask permission first – never force energy or spiritual assistance, for we are not wise enough to know what is for the greatest good.
We were grateful for the experience, overall, and the group, as a whole, intends to remember the words of the goddess, to use your feminine energy to connect and comfort. The actions that follow may be small – and weaponless; more importantly, however, they will be heartfelt. Sometimes the only thing you can do is one small act of kindness. Act in the way most appropriate for you, and please, do not hesitate, for each opportunity may tip the balance to bring our species that much closer to compassion and wholeness.