I have been a student/teacher of shamanism for over 60 years. The shamanic cosmologically that focuses on a clear and unfiltered experience of reality, has always matched my ongoing experiences of life. Without being filtered through a personal point of view, everything that appears in the world exists simultaneously as infinite presence and relative expressions of that same presence. I am well aware that the tension between the familiarity of personal identity, and the unsettling aspects of life beyond a personal perspective, is a battle zone for the mind, where its conditioned response to an inflow of undifferentiated or formless energy is to tighten up and hold on to painfully conditioned patterns of behavior. My developing relationship with silence exposes the simple truth that the aperture of awareness is a fluid and adaptive dial, rather than a ridged and fixed on/off switch.
Allowing life to flow through without interpretation, makes room for a simple but dynamic shift of attention from the personal to the transpersonal, which frees us of time-bound fixations and restrictive commentary about how life should or should not appear. It is also clear that within the serenity of a moment fully experienced, all practices or strategies designed to get to us to a place other than here and now, are both misguided, and futile. We can never fully forget who we really are, only who we imagine myself to be. What particularly inspires and nourishes my healing practice is a sublime blend of Non-dualism (direct inquiry into the core nature of reality), Classical Shamanism (maneuvering through the unknown, assisted by nature spirits), Shamanic Meditation (Just Watching – without a personal perspective), and devotion driven Hindu Mysticism (openly acknowledging and celebrating our unified nature). Essentially, they all point to the simple truth that we are not here to awaken to, but as the eternal presence that illuminates the world.
I live and work at the Two Eagles, Horse & Wolf Retreat Center in Tucson, Arizona, where I gratefully share my love of the Sonoran Desert with the local flora and fauna. My ongoing commitment to the retreat center is to create an atmosphere congruent with being attentive to any pull of attention away from the presence of the moment. Allowing all objects of attention to flow through awareness without labeling them, gathering more information about them, or comparing this moment with another, is the bottom line. Rather than reaching out for what I get or gain from life, I have learned that when I judge one thought, sound, or sense perception to be more worthy than another, it divides attention. Now is the only time to invest in smelling the flowers, to hear a bird’s song, and to open my eyes to the luminous glow of yet again another incredible sun-filled day. In the vast stillness between objects of attention, mind chatter dissolves into a highly relational irrelevancy; there is no specific point of reference. There is just a sense of arriving home; ironically, to a place that I never left.