A young man asked me recently: “Don’t you ever take a day off?”
I just shook my head, smiling. It seemed an odd concept to me, that I would take a day off from being who I am. Why would I want to do that? I’m having so much fun!
Shamanism is not something you do. it’s not a job, or a career. It is who you are. It is a way of life … and in that way of life, there is no separation between the spiritual and the non-spiritual.
Everything that is fired by the dance of spirit – by which I mean every piece of matter on the planet – is all grist to the mill of the shaman, whether they are painting it, writing it, singing it, dancing it, sculpting it … and so on.
Once the veil drops from our eyes, we realise that there is no such thing as ‘on the path’ or ‘off the path’. As soon as we emerge from our mother’s womb and draw that first lungful of air, we are on the Path, the Way, the Road Less Travelled of the spirit incarnating with the aim of having the human experience.
There is no false dichotomy of “work” and “play”, in which we do so much worthy spiritual work, we decide we jolly well deserve a day off! That’s just how religions have taught us to view the spiritual path. But everything is play, in this sand box, although I sometimes call it “shamanic work” just so people will take me seriously!
But I do empathise with the young man’s point of view, because it wasn’t always this way for me. I remember having to go to work, to boring jobs, where I would sit at my desk all day watching the hands of the clock moving as slow as glaciers, and musing about the great day when I could finally leave, to tread the spiritual path.
These days, when I look back on my life, I can see how each of those “boring jobs” taught me so much – about myself, yes, but also tons other stuff that I can, and do, bring into my teachings and writings today. Nothing was wasted.
However, the delusion or maya here can be so strong that we end up in a thick fog and searching for the path, the pilgrimage, that we are already on… and there are lots of so-called gurus who will take advantage of us in that hypnotised state.
It’s like the chap who rides his bike to the railway station and who, when the train arrives, gets on and put his bike in the guard van. But then he stays in the guard van, on his bike, and just keep pedalling.
The shaman, when they first come into human incarnation, is no different to the cyclist in the guard van. Then through the guidance of the shamanic spirits, they come to see that they are already on track, that their pedalling away is making no difference to how soon they will reach their destination, and that they might as well go and relax in the First Class section and enjoy the ride…which is anything but boring.
It’s joyful, it’s inspiring and, at times, it can get a little bizarre. Sometimes the train is moving so fast it seems to be standing still, like the fission blur of the hands and legs of the dancing Shiva, Nataraja.
As Jerry Garcia once sang: “What a long strange trip it’s been”. And it’s not over yet!
The true shaman joins that eternal dance as a co-creatrix, spinning and weaving the gifts and talents they have been born with, that they come into the human journey to share, to serve that dance that never stops.