“People who hear the call to conscience follow what they know inwardly—what they know in consciousness or at higher levels of awareness. I call this irresistible knowing. It is a form of divinely transcendent memory…”
—Carlton D. Pearson, God Is Not a Christian, Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu…: God Dwells with Us, in Us, Around Us, as Us
Qalawun Complex, Cairo, Egypt
Timofei Stepanov (Sakha artist) - Dissecting (1990)
A typical element of Siberian shaman beliefs is the dissection of the shaman by the spirits before he can start practising.The shaman is usually born with extra features - extra souls, an extra bone or extra teeth - as a sign of being chosen by the spirits for this special role.
The spirits are looking for this extra bone when they dissect the future shaman, so that they can verify he indeed is a chosen one. This also symbolises the shaman’s rebirth to his new role.
The Sakha have a particularly interesting belief pertaining to the dissection of the shaman: the shaman’s flesh is shared between the spirits of illnesses. But sometimes the shaman’s flesh is depleted before all the spirits can taste him — in this case the shaman will be incapable of curing the illness represented by the spirit which couldn’t taste him.
We often feel that it is someone else who is making us unhappy, and we can become very resentful. If we look at the situation carefully, however, we will find that it is always our own mental attitude that is responsible for our unhappiness. Another person’s actions make us unhappy only if we allow them to stimulate a negative response in us. Criticism, for example, has no power from its own side to hurt us; we are hurt only because of our self-cherishing. With self-cherishing we are so dependent on the opinions and approval of others that we lose our freedom to respond and act in the most constructive way.
“The Fall of Man,” by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Nature is amazing
My greatest spiritual guru has always been discomfort. Just sitting with pain or discomfort, without trying to escape in any way, without expectation, without a goal in mind, without seeking anything - that’s the juicy place, the place of creative transformation, the place where mud turns to gold. For many years, I would just sit with grief, frustration, anger, fear, pain, just resting in that bubbling, burning mess for hours and hours, without trying to escape or fix my experience, without hope, without a dream… until peace was discovered even in the midst of that storm, the unshakeable, non-conceptual, ever-present peace that I am, and have always been. Instead of trying to escape discomfort, we let discomfort reveal its deeper secrets.
We sit with discomfort and watch all boundaries between ‘me’ and ‘discomfort’ melt away, until it is no longer ‘me sitting with my discomfort’ at all, and never was. We sit with frustration in the place where it has not yet coagulated into ‘I am frustrated’. We sit with fear prior to the resurrection of the image ‘I am the one who is afraid’. We sit with anger before the birth of our identity as ‘the angry one’. We know ourselves as the vast open space, the boundless and identity-less ocean that welcomes all of these waves as its beloved children, returned home at last, home at last.
For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.
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