Have finally completed all the practical exercises for Unit 1 of the Shamanism course. I really enjoyed doing them and have posted on the relevant boards but am awaiting Instructor feedback still.
Breathwork & Meditation
I have been doing this exercise each day for about 20 minutes each time. I feel I have been able to do it successfully following your instructions, which are very similar to what I usually do in my meditation practice anyway. Each time I have been able to achieve ‘quiet mind’. However, for different lengths of time. Sometimes for only a couple of minutes but at other times for at least 10. Then I find a thought intruding into my mind and I then just go back to focusing on my breath (exhalation) and can then achieve ‘quiet mind’ again. I’ve also notice that any external noises can just be noticed and not thought about. For example, if I hear a dog barking outside I notice the noise but don’t ‘think’ about it. I have also noticed that when I breathe from my tummy I can achieve the meditative state far easier than if I am breathing from my upper chest. If I’m breathing from my upper chest it means, for me, that I’m not relaxed enough and need to spend time just focusing on my breathing for a while. I really like the Taoist method of breath work and the concept of ‘microcosmic orbit’ makes a lot of sense to me. I have been utilising this in my breathwork and feel it really helps to achieve ‘quiet mind’
In Taoist Yoga, the concept of the energy cycle is less complex than that of the Hindu System of Chakras. There are similar energy centres, however. These energy centres are comparable to the Chakras in location, but in Taoist Yoga, the breathwork moves the energy of one’s generative force or fluid of sexuality which it calls ‘the inner fire’ and pushes the energy along a cycle called the ‘microcosmic orbit’. The microcosmic orbit has four points, the first is comparable to the base Chakra, but it is really located behind the sexual organs. From there it moves up the spine to the point between the kidneys. Then it moves upward to the top of the head and this completes the inhalation. From there, as one exhales, the energy moves down the face to the chest and finally, it settles in the dan t’ien (point behind the navel) and returns to the place from which it arose. This method of breathing, which we learned in our meditation work this week, allows for all the Chakra points to be activated by a concentration of the breath in conjunction with a focusing of the mind. This purifies the inner fire and cleanses it so that energy is produced within the physical body. And there you have Taoist Yoga breathwork in a nutshell.
My face began to morph almost immediately into older ‘Caucasian’ faces but with pig-like features; a snout and small eyes. Then a full image of Pig came followed rapidly again by older ‘Caucasian’ faces, mostly female but some male too. I also kept getting glimpses of a Lioness or Puma but just the nose and mouth. After which I had a whole string of ‘Aboriginal’ faces, older but a few younger and also male and female. The Lioness/Puma image kept morphing in and out and then suddenly and very quickly an image of the whole face. Definitely a Lioness because there was no mane, or it could have been a Puma but it was very quick. Then the morphing images became harder to see and my eyes were getting very squinty because I was getting tired. So I stopped. I did this exercise for 45 minutes.
I finished reading the Introduction to The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner. He asserts that it is possible to learn the basics of core Shamanism from a book but I don’t really agree. I guess one could learn the basic methodology but you have no feedback do you. although having an instructor online isn’t the best ideal I do at least have feedback of some kind. Obviously the best scenario is to have hands on instruction from a Shaman. But obviously this might not be available to many who are called to learn about Shamanism. I’m very lucky to have WhirlingThunder to help me and at least to have another Shaman as my instructor online. Of course each persons ‘experience’ in the ‘Worlds’ is going to be different from someone else’s but without some kind of feedback it would be hard I think to learn completely from a book.
On a more mundane level – still no heating or hot water in my house. I’m having to wait until tomorrow for the new part to be ordered. So hopefully it should be all fixed by the weekend. It’s ridiculous though being like this for over a week now. My point about British workmen holds true – a lot of them are crap!!!