Difficult Initiations

When things go wrong we have a tendency to blame others, blame circumstances, blame ourselves, or slip into denial that anything is wrong, bad, unwanted or unpleasant. That is part of being human. But, what if the thing that is going wrong is actually the right thing for you at this time?  In shamanism, we call these unwanted life events “initiations.” Is that a cop out or is there some value to seeing unwanted events as an initiation or life lesson from which our immortal soul will grow?

In the practice of shamanism there are two ways we perceive or experience initiations; one way is intended and the other is not planned or anticipated. I want to speak here about the unplanned or unintended initiations. These are things that we consciously would prefer not to experience…accidents, illness, heartbreak, mishaps, or an inexplicable, mysterious, or unwanted change in the course of life. 

Truly practicing shamanism is about being in the experience and practice of this spiritual tradition every moment of every day…it is not about being a serial workshop attendee or about being “cool.” It is about being spiritually present for every event in your life…the good, the bad and the ugly. That means looking beyond the obvious. It requires diligent and consistent spiritual exploration about all trials and tribulations, as well as joys and pleasant happenings.   And…it is not easy…just like any devoted spiritual tradition is not the course of “zoning out” on life.

While trapped in our human suffering whether physical, emotional, spiritual or mental we most often do not and cannot believe that anything about this suffering could possibly be good for us. In the practice of shamanism, by connecting with our own divine nature and the wisdom of our helping spirits, we hopefully and eventually come to see that an unwanted event was truly for our highest good despite the lack of immediate evidence to that truth. Given the passage of time and deep spiritual attention what frequently unfolds is the hidden element that our highest good was being served by what, at first glance, was the complete opposite of our desire.  

Is it easy to walk this path of shamanism?  No! Is it worth it? Yes! Because a life lived with spiritual attention and intention is infused with the depth our soul deserves and the fruits of being fully and spiritually attentive cannot be measured; they are the gifts of life in a body!