Postcards from the Shadows

Excerpts from conversations on shamanism with Niteshad

generic postcard with text 75dpi dear reader1

Why do you say my brain is trying to kill me?

Your brain is a wonderful thing, an amazing piece of engineering and a marvel of perceptual sensitivity.  The only problem is -- it lies to you on a regular basis.  It does this as a matter of survival, not because it doesn't like you.  Human beings developed reason and perhaps, most importantly, language, during the course of their evolution.  The ability to conceptualize and communicate those concepts through language meant survival when other species were perishing. Most people, though not all, consider this a good thing.  Our sense of reason protects us from the vagaries of thought, reality and actions which might be dangerous to our survival.  Human reason has advanced science, cured diseases and helped create art and entertainment.  But, we have paid a price.  There is always a catch.

Why do you say my brain is trying to kill me postcard

Reason is wonderful.  We need it; we absolutely must have it in order to maintain the world we live in.  Without it, everything becomes chaos.  But when it comes to anything outside our normal mundane realities, it isn't worth two farts in a bucket.  Your reason is in charge of everything with one exception, dreaming.  Even there it makes inroads and "tells" you what you are seeing.  Reason functions by narrowing and ordering your worldview.  If you are trying to impress your employer or professor, that's a good thing.  If, however, you are trying to merge, examine and do an energetic healing a continent away on someone you've never met -- reason is going to be a problem.  Let's face it, you can't do that.  It's impossible; it's insane to even think you or anyone might be able to do that.

I know, my reason told me so.

So now you have this reason thing going and, of course, language, which is its primary tool.  Your worldview seems really big.  You can think about anything you want and, whatever you perceive, your reason fits right in to that worldview.  Now you can conceptualize, execute and function in "reality".  Hmmm . . . "How do we test this marvelous thing we call reason?"  It should be a simple matter really.  After all, it has all the bases covered, nothing can escape it.  Let's try an experiment. Pick up any small object on your desk, just one, no fair cheating.  It can be a pencil, pen, stapler or whatever.  Look at it carefully.  Now tell yourself what it is outloud, softly, don't scare the neighbors.  Go ahead, we'll wait.

(Tapping toe softly)

Done?  Okay, good.  Hmmm . . . there seems to be a problem here.  You said the name outloud . . . hmm.  You even thought it in your head.  But I still don't know what it is.  Oh, I see the problem now.  Whatever word you uttered outloud was just a noise you make with your vocal chords.  If you only thought it, it's just a noise in your head.  Look again and tell yourself just what that object "IS".

Oopsie . . . your reason is roadkill.

I guess our worldview, according to reason, isn't so big after all.  This is why shamans say to people who feel like they are losing their sanity on the path: "If you lose your mind, you really haven't lost much".



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