The other part of learning is practice. Mastery is a long game. A discipline of repetitive behavior and actions that stimulates neuronal activity and functions that also build communication with other parts of the brain. The more challenging the learning the stronger and more effective the brain/neural growth. This can vary from person to person in it’s affects on the physiological structures of the brain and the length of the timeline for change; ie, some practices will take weeks to master and years for others.
I tell my students, ” All great magic requires sacrifice.”
When offering a practice for developing a shamanic experience, I have to drive home the idea that you get out of it what you put in. Practice is your friend and you will progress at your own pace. There is no magic herb, or ceremony that will get you to see or experience the magic of navigating ordinary and non-ordinary reality. They can give you a glimpse. There are plants and such that can open you up to see the possibility yet, these are the not practice methodologies for success. The over use will lead to addiction and dependency on these plants and ceremonies. The experiences they offer are the gift of the plant opening a door for you. After that you need to do the work of practicing and taking right actions.
Sound is an affective tool for shamanic practice. Drums, rattles, singing/chanting, droning all create a trance state in the brain that taps into the flow state. The balance between being fully aware of this world and connected to the non-ordinary world is the essence of the practice. It is supported through a disciplined study of the world around us. This includes Biology, Earth science, Cosmology, Physics, Anatomy, Art, Sociology, etc… These sciences give us context for what we are looking at, what we are seeking and what to do with the information gleaned.
Everything in this universe has a story with a beginning, middle and an end. It’s the job of the shaman to listen to that story and find out how it fits into the bigger story. Fix the broken places, change the dreams in the story when necessary and weave it back into its place of belonging.
In a very general sense we can say that spiritual disease is the disconnection from feeling connected to people places and things. Often this is misinterpreted as seeking “abundance” which it is not. This is the biggest challenge faced in most communities and spiritual groups. In recent years the commodification of spiritual by-pass techniques as a methods for growth and connection have severely damaged people and their trust in themselves.
Some of the most damaging language around this is, “We the have all the answers inside us…”, “trust your intuition…”, “Believe….” …. etc…. there are shelves in bookstores devoted to this kind of thinking. These kinds of suggestions set people up for failure.
Humans learn through a visceral, exploratory experiences and communication. Progress is seen in success and failure. Humans don’t learn or grow in a vacuum. If that were true mothers and mothering wouldn’t be needed after being born. Humans need exchanges of information to gather and process as well as time to assimilate and respond….
In my work I seek to make sure practices are ways to stimulate curiousity. How to move deeper in to the senses and how to use them. How to push beyond what we automatically expect and process. Drawing from real life is a good practice of this.
The simple act of practicing something everyday is where the magic starts.