Half-way into the six-month Integral Shamanics Training Program I've come to realize deeply and fully why I waited so very long to launch it. I have an abhorrence of guruship, of being set up as cosmic teacher, of telling people what to do. It's a visceral reaction, an acknowledgement that the only teacher is an internal one, even as it uses outside sources as a mirror to reflect possibilities of growth, awareness, leaps in consciousness.
Early in 2011, I became obsessed with the program's vision. I could see its simplicity, its practical application. It was a stripped down, clarified version of the tools I use to do shamanic and psychic sessions for people, tools I'd honed from some 30 years of study and practice with shamans, energyworkers, psychics, yogic masters. The program structure was taken directly from the architecture of my Master's degree in Public Health with its concentration in Social Behavior and Community Health. The philosophic underpinnings were what I'd come to see as human culture circa the new millennium, what the false belief systems were, how entrenched they were in the human mind, body, heart, spirit, and how painful and arduous the process was likely to be as a person set about freeing themselves from them. And how simple, though not easy, the process to freedom was.
I knew the program wasn't about enlightenment, couldn't be about Waking Up. And not only because I myself wasn't enlightened (whatever the frak that is) but also because I understood so very clearly that enlightenment can't be pursued, much less taught. What the program would be was an introduction to a small but comprehensive set of tools, tools for accessing the energetic data stream that runs underneath, behind this thing we call "world".
The tools would be straightforward - shamanic, psychic, energywork. Participants would learn how to shamanic journey, build a medicine bag, connect with guides and power beings. They'd access the psychic flow of data using the psychic channels present inside of themselves. They'd clear and balance the energybody using sound, movement and repatterning techniques, tune chakras. They'd bring all of these skills into practical applications in their everyday living.
A personal development component was also added to help people navigate the ass-kickings the body-mind-heart-spirit go through as they attempt to peel away the beliefs they hold at a deep level. These false beliefs say that the keys to their freedom lie in another's hands, that anything not observed with the five senses is imagination or mental illness, that the only reality is the one that media, friends, technology, family, government, health practitioners and mainstream educators say is real. And they aren't real, only a mass consensus, layered over and over, a hundred thousand layers deep, until the layers appear as a solid ground. But they're not. Yet the trick is to unpeel the layers, allow them to fall away, even while navigating the fear that arises as what was once believed to be a solid floor to stand on is in fact merely wisps of thought, feeling, projection.
The vision of the program hinged on levels of awareness: Access the data stream while lying down with eyes closed to enter shamanic reality (journeying), then access the stream sitting up with eyes open (psychic reading), then bring it all together while standing and moving the body (energywork). The three levels of access each hold a key to the free and easy access that is inherent in the stream.
Shamanic journeying requires surrender and acceptance of the flow of data - a kind of passive release into the universal energyfield, to interact with the healers and guides and beings that can be met with there. This softens the hold the mind has on controlling and shaping what is allowed into consciousness enough so that the prison walls that are our current culture's human mindstate can be dissolved enough to be seen through.
Psychic reading is acceptance of the fact that we have the ability to know what's going on, and that accessing this knowledge is as easy as pulling a book off the shelf or net, and then reading it. This breaks through the belief that psychic info can only be accessed by people who have "the gift", or that it's something that is mystical or spiritual. It shows that it's simply another way to read, to gather information, like surfing a universal google portal.
Energywork is acknowledgement of the energyfield that flows through body heart and mind, that moves through environments, all of it setting the stage for how human consciousness is experienced. If there is dis-ease in the body, mind or heart, there is also imbalance in the energyfield, and by working with this powerful underpinning of the material world, the body, mind and heart can be healed.
And so it goes.
It's now three months into the inaugural six-month program, and folks are beginning to find their sea legs in the shifting currents of their expanding awareness. There's less fear and more excitement in the exploration. And most of them finally get that I'm not a guru, just a fellow explorer who is passing on identification of the tools, sharing some ways to use them, encouraging them to find their own way, their own method of incorporating them into their own storyline.
Because I'm not a guru. And the past three months have held some very intense moments where some of these nine folks got upset or angry when they came to me for The Recipe To Fix The Unhappy, and I gently or not so gently, handed it back to them. One person quit the program, then a few days later, rejoined, in many ways still wanting to quit, but willing to keep showing up, because the expansions being experienced ultimately surpassed the fear arising. Three people almost quit - I watched them descend into something awful inside of themselves, where they saw that all they wanted was the happy and the joyful and the funk arising was certainly not that. And then each one of them got it: the awful, the funk, was only the barrier, the block, the one they'd been banging their heads against for years. And each one of them faced it straight on, and passed through the wall as if it weren't there, like the collection of layers, of false beliefs that it was.
For over a decade, I set myself up as a spiritual teacher, with the goal to project an image of perfection, of radiant light and sweetness, of Having Arrived At Healed. But I've learned that one of the most valuable things I can show to others is that this swirl of living can be faced and swum in without drowning, no matter how dark or light the waters appear. Transparency is more valuable than the projection of another layer, no matter how shimmery that layer appears. And that until I get my own sea legs with this new way of showing up, I'll be facing my own walls until they dissolve into mist.
We all have walls to walk through. I plan to keep orchestrating this training program reflecting that. Showing my process. Letting them see what goes on behind the curtain, even when someone has mastered all the tools they're just learning to use.
And so I'm not a guru, or even a teacher. Just a guide, a shamanic cartographer. A flicker of their false belief system made manifest, so that they can see through, and then let me go when their hearts, minds, bodies, spirits are clear enough, strong enough to let go of the image projected out of this being called Katherine.
Why? Why Not?
The dirt nap is coming for us all . . . a conscious dance of shiva is a good way to go . . .