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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Despacho Ceremony


This is a traditional Andean shamanic ceremony that is an offering to all of existence. In Andean cosmology the offerings are specifically to the Pachamama (Mother Earth), the Apus (mountains), the Heavens and the Cosmos, and all of Nature. It is a gesture reminding us of how life is a celebration to be celebrated rather than a problem to be solved. The ceremony itself is a living energy that aligns itself with the rhythms of the heavens above and the Earth below and brings all that are involved in unity with the universe. One can imagine it as a living entity, a spirit, or a deva that works towards whatever the specific intention set forth by the participants. One of the most popular types of despacho ceremonies is the Ayni Despacho. “Ayni” is a quechua term representing reciprocity and right relationship. This despacho helps restore order and brings a balance throughout the continuum of energy of those involved helping the release of heavy, dark energies (hucha) allowing an individual to step fully into their lightness. The intention of the ceremony is key.

I recently held my first despacho this past week due to particular circumstances in a few of my clients lives (as well as mine). The intention was to fully surrender to life (to the Present) so as to allow balance and harmony to flow freely and to create right relationship between the mind/ego, the True Authentic Self, and the rest of the Cosmos. In other words, we step out of the way and let Spirit flow through. The despacho ceremony confuses the mind because the mind doesn’t comprehend things of this nature (which is often the culprit of one’s suffering). Instead, the ceremony takes one to a sacred level which is where the soul/spiritual natures operate. I noticed a pattern in my client’s lives, as well as mine, where once every bump in the road of the journey is cleared a tendency to want to go back to where one has already traveled arises. This is like the last temptation of Christ where once an individual gains freedom, newer responsibilities arise and those who are ready to accept them move on and those who are not have the option to go back to “Summer school” and review their lessons.

The above is a picture of the prayer bundle created during the despacho ceremony my client and I celebrated. Later that night I held a solo fire ceremony and offered the prayer bundle to the fire as a way to sign the dotted line and close the experience.

So if you noticed anything significant this past few days or week in your life, it could be your Higher Self trying to bring balance and right relationship into your life. Yes, it is true. If you are reading this, you were included in my prayers during the despacho ceremony.

Tupananchiscama (until our paths cross again),
Michael

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Consciousness is Accelerating

This week Time magazine's cover story by Bryan Walsh exposes on a national level our country's pink elephant which is the topic of the cost of cheap food. The "think big" American attitude has created an efficient food producing industry that as a result of being efficient to produce more for less has become tremendously inefficient if you factor in the costs to the health of the land as well as the individual. This story is riding the tide set by documentaries and books like Fast Food Nation and Food, Inc. and The Omnivores Dilemma. Consciousness is accelerating and for Time Magazine to publish such a sensitive topic, the hundredth monkey phenomenom is set in motion.

A highlight for me are some of the chart comparisons in the article such as the one comparing a grass-fed, organic, sustainably-raised cow and a conventionally-raised, feed-lot cow. Another highlight is about how runoff from chemical fertilizers used in the Midwest produces "dead zones" throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Dead zones are areas in the water that have almost no oxygen for sea life to thrive caused by chemical pollution.

Although this article exposes what industry does not want the public to know it will create a reaction from those tied to the agriculture sector. I find it fascinating reading both sides of the fence and it's clearly obvious to see the cattle and farming industries trying to defend themselves by defaming the author or saying such opinions are nonsense and unvalidated. Regardless of any arguements, which is simply school ground fighting, the article was published, front cover in a very popular media outlet. People are not innately stupid and and much respect is to be given for each individual to come up with their own conclusions.

Below is a website link to Walsh's article from Time.
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458,00.html



And here's a link to an opinion from the other side of the fence. See if you can get a sense of where each side is coming from and decide for yourself. You're not stupid.


http://www.cattlenetwork.com/Jolley--Time-Magazine-s-Cheap-Food-Story---Even-Cheaper-Reporting/2009-08-24/Article.aspx?oid=828872&fid=VN-HOT_TOPICS

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How can you change the world?

Early this morning when I went to take a walk to the local bagel shop (it's nostalgic for me; growing up having bagels on Sunday mornings) I noticed that every single person that I passed by and attempted to smile or say "hi" to, avoided eye contact with me and kept on walking. It reminded me of whenever I go out-of-state how different it is from New York and it's so normal for people to say hello to a stranger. Maybe the people I encountered this morning secretly knew I was picking up some bagels and were judgmental towards gluten-laden food and the people who can eat gluten without any problems? Probably not. This is fairly common in over populated metropolitan areas where people are more on defensive mode and their minds have so much going on at any given instant that the overstimulation distracts them from responding to a simple smile, or "hello", or even a "how are you?". Fortunately, where I live not everyone is like this. When I pass by someone I always try to make eye contact and give some sort of acknowledgment to one's presence and the response is commonly a previously dormant smile or reciprocal gesture. I can not say what effect a simple "hello" or smile does for the other person but I can say for me it brightens that moment and reminds me of living in the present. As a shaman, I can observe how an individual's aura shifts from a somewhat contracted and jagged state to a smoother, expansive form after such a novel act. A person's body, posture, and movements can tell a lot about an individual and I've noticed that by giving a smile every once in awhile can make a difference in a person's day.

I read in a Facebook friend's update a quote from a shaman who advised that we greet everyone we meet as ourselves and to feel with ALL of our heart. Hmmm. Isn't that what it means in the yogic philosophy and spirituality term "namaste"? Nasmaste - "My essence acknowledges and bows down to your essence". Isn't that beautiful?

I challenge everyone reading this blog to try this practice. The next time you come a cross another being, human, animal, or plant, or any other resident of this planet, make an effort to make eye contact and give a smile or "hello" or "how are you?" (or in Howard Beach, where I'm from, the old head nod as if saying "what's up?) without any expectation of reciprocity. This I know can change the world.

Thank You.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Which would you choose?

I recently experienced a client of mine who had a stroke last week. Now before you get your one-sided criticisms, judgements, and opinions of this story, put them aside and listen to the rest of it. My client has been on a healing journey for the past few years to renew a lifetime of pain and suffering from abuse and toxicities physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Earlier this year she made the decision to get off all of her prescription medications because she intuitively felt they were creating more harm than good in that she did not feel alive, or at least did not know what feeling alive was like because all her life she listened to others and the world outside of her to tell her what feeling alive was like, rather than listening to her inner voice. In other words, her soul has been screaming to break out of her numb, mummified, crystalized shell of existence. With each crises we experience in our lives, it is part of Nature's way for cleansing and upheaval and an opportunity for us to step up to finally become Human Beings - the realization that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Existence without acknowledging spirit is called materialism.With materialistic thinking, one may look at her situation as being a case of her not taking her cardiac medications resulting in her stroke and giving bragging rights and the "I told you so" degradations of her doctors and loved ones.

Let's zoom in a little bit more. Like any process there involves a peeling away of the many layers accummulated from a lifetime of bad habits, dogma, and conditioning from our parents, families, society, religion, government, the media, etc. Very few people understand what it is to be truly FREE human beings - "Free beings are those who can will what they themselves hold to be right" (Rudolf Steiner); and this occurs at every given moment. Making choices based upon fear is not freedom. "Take this pill or you'll die" is an enslavement (and insult) of our consciousness. It is when one decides to break free from the binds of conventionality that begins the path towards healing. How can one know freedom if they do not have the courage to move towards it?

Another perspective of this client's situation is that the stroke is symbolic of a wake-up call to completely surrender to the world of spirit; to intensify one's relationship with their soul-spiritual natures. What better time than a physical crises to start a path towards spirituality? What do most people who are facing death and the Grim Reaper unexpectedly say? "Oh my God!" The stroke can be viewed as a spark to reignite what feeling alive is all about. It is true that this client could have died from this brain insult; but she didn't, which further reinforces the urgency and "second chance" she's getting to live a life of freedom. This is what healing is all about. Sometimes you need to hit a few bumpy roads in order to appreciate and understand the smooth ones.

So I leave you with this question:
Would you rather live a life where you are numb, blind, and desensitized to life or to live a life where you experience something like a stroke so that you can feel alive? In other words, many people who appear healthy are actually truly sick because they are desensitized to who they are with respect to their soul-spiritual natures. This is what my client was experiencing from the side effects of her meds. She felt like one of those zombies from the movie "The Dawn of the Living Dead". This is an example of how society tends to keep the dead alive and kill the living. On the other hand, sometimes it takes a crises for one to wake up and smell the roses. And when you smell the roses, you can lift yourself to higher ground to get a better view of your life.

Please keep in mind that there is no wrong answer to the above question. It all depends where you are in life and from where your vantage point is.

What's my answer to the above? I'd rather live a life where my perceptions are filled with pristine clarity so that my mind can make clearer choices rather than be foggy and deluded which can give faulty sense impressions (and thus misconceptions) of life. To be free takes a lot of balls and a lot of responsibility. What most people lack is taking responsibility for themselves because they willingly tend to give it to anything external to them (ie. people, things, situations, etc). Your doctor may be able to save your life but they can never tell you how to live one.