I went hiking and felt compelled to practice the ‘wonderful madness’ of shamanizing. I walked out into the woods, alone, as I love to do, seeking silence and solitude (S&S), which I so much prize. S&S can be very powerful and magical to me. Often, in S&S, I feel as if I have walked into another world. I seem almost transplanted into another reality.
As I walked I felt increasingly frightened for some reason. Though I made a big deal about animals (which there really aren’t any that are dangerous) I knew it was for other reasons. The S&S brought upon me a fear of a ‘death’, but not a physical death. I speak of a death of another sort: a death of self. I could feel as the “I” was being swept away by the S&S. It frightened me.
I felt compelled to walk off the trail and wander into the bushes and trees, as I often do. I sat on a rock for a while and could feel the S&S as if close in on me. It started to rain so I went under some trees and waited.
Afterwords, I went down the trail a bit and climbed through the brush to sit on a rock by a stream. There I closed my eyes and dreamt:
“I felt myself on the rock and saw myself there. I seemed to somehow ‘unzip’ my back and as if crawl out of this hole in my back. I left my ‘skin’ there sitting on the rock. Being separated from myself I could see myself – the ‘skin’ – on the rock. As I did this, my chest seemed to have a glow in it and it lifted me up, like I was hovering. I then turned into a bird and seemed to fly through the air. I flew and flew into the blackness. I could feel I was farther and farther from myself and I could feel it trying to ‘pull’ me back. But I strived harder and flew harder. In the blackness were many colors and shapes which passed me. Then, out of nowhere, I saw a ledge on a small hill. I landed on it and saw, below me, a pregnant lady. I seemed to know her. For some weird reason I felt compelled to fly into her womb. When I did this I became the person inside. I found myself wriggling and moving about inside, striving to get out. I couldn’t stand being in the contained space in there. I had to get out. I was like in a rubber bag that stretched whenever I moved. I stretched out my arms and legs but the bag just stretched with it. I had to get out. I stretched and stretched and finally burst through. I broke out and flew into the air as fast as I could. I flew and flew going farther and farther away. Then I saw my self there on the rock by the stream. For some reason I burst into my self there on the rock. In so doing I as if destroyed my self. It shattered to pieces. My body disintegrated. But, not only did my body disintegrate but also the image of the world about me. The images that surrounded me, of the stream and trees, disintegrated so that a great empty grayish-blackness was all that remained. Everything became ‘gone’ and I became frightened. There was nothing there. It was as if all existence disappeared. I wondered: “what will appear in this nothingness?”
I opened my eyes. I looked about me and noticed I was in the forest on a rock by a stream. It seemed like it was awhile since I was “here” last. It’s like I had forgotten I was there. The whole dream made me startled and sort of ‘shook up’. I knew, though, that there was still more. I could as if feel it pulling me. I closed my eyes again:
“I saw blackness. I felt removed from myself and seemed to ‘hover’ in the blackness. There was a ‘glow’ in my chest that seemed to get stronger and larger so that I turned into the glow. I seemed to ‘fly’ in the black space. I seemed to be moving to somewhere. The blackness somehow seemed to move past me. And then, faintly in the distance, I saw the rock face of a mountain. The face of the mountain, though, had a ‘face’ on it, a large massive face, 100 or so feet high, as if carved on it. I flew toward the ‘face’. I saw, and felt, its massiveness. I’ve felt and seen this ‘face’ before. This whole area had this ‘cozy’ quality about it, as if I was ‘snug’ and ‘secure’ here. The area around this mountain, and its ‘face’, seemed black, as if there was nothing but this mountain suspended in blackness. And, there, at the base, I saw that a spring came out from the base of the ‘face’. I also saw that there were other ‘glows’ resting on the ground by the stream created by the spring. I seemed to say to myself, “look, these are my former selfs, when I was here before.” I felt that I had been here many times, particularly when I was a child, and these glows were, apparently, their remnant. I rested next to the other ‘glows’. I peered up at the ‘face’ and felt this was ‘right’ and that this is what I should do. It was massive. Then I seemed to hover and moved up toward the face looking at it closely. Passing its nose I peered into its left eye, which was open. It’s pupils seemed dilated and I saw into its blackness. The blackness of its eye seemed to stretch into the rock forever. I could feel this incredible presence. It was very real. After awhile I seemed to hover backwards, always facing the ‘face’. Because of this, I did not look at where I was going. I found myself back to where I began, to me on the rock, and the glow went into my chest where I opened my eyes.”
I found myself, again, on the rock by the stream. Like before I had forgotten I was there.
The first dream refers to the process of shamanizing itself, I think. It refers to a number of common themes:
- Separation from self: death. This is the separation from my skin and the flying away from my self. This, really, is a form of ‘death’. It is a prerequisite to shamanistic dreaming for, without separation, there is no shamanizing. As a result, a ‘death’ is required for each shamanizing.
- Changing forms. I changed into a bird and into a baby in the womb.
- A ‘travelling’. This is a ‘moving away from oneself’. I often feel this as a moving away from where my ‘body’ is located.
- A ‘going into’ something. This is portrayed as going into the womb. All shamanizing must ‘go into’ a different ‘reality’.
- A birth or the coming of a new self. Shamanizing is a product of another self. It is this self that does things, not your ‘everyday self’. Without a change in self there is no shamanizing.
- A breakdown of ones normal conceptions. This is, really, a continuation of the separation from self. By destroying ones conceptions one separates even more from ones self. Shamanizing seems to bring up a whole other conception of things.
All these are seen in the first dream. It was as if to go through the process of shamanistic dreaming.
The second dream is as if to show the ‘revealing’. In the second dream, then, was the ‘meat’ of the matter. Here, I was already separated from my self and changed into a different form. In this state I ‘travelled’ to something that was revealing, an opening of a truth, a disclosing of a reality.
When I looked into the eye of the ‘face’ the power of the presence was so powerful that it made me cry afterwords. It was a weird feeling, as if I had ‘peered into the eye of god’. I can’t quite put into words how it felt. It was like a great secret was revealed to me, one which I have sought all my life. I guess you could say that it was like a ‘finding’ of something that one has quested all ones life. But its more than that. It’s a finding of something I already knew was there. It was the discovery not of KNOWING it’s there but the REALITY that it’s there.
The next day I wondered who the ‘face’ was. I’ve felt it many times before and have felt variations of it even when I was a kid. I generally described it as ‘existence’ or ‘god’. But I said it was different than that. It was more. It had a personal quality about it, as if it was directed to me alone, and that it somehow reflected me.
But, as I reflected on it, I knew what it was.
The ‘face’ could be described as the ‘god in me’ or the ‘me in god’. It is that part of me and god that are ‘united’ and one. It is this part of me that allows me to ‘see’ and be aware of god for we cannot know god if god is not in us already. One then could say that it is the ‘god in us’. Because of this, the ‘face’ only reflects my awareness of god. As a result, it reflects my ‘reality’ and my life. In that respect, it does not reflect all of existence as a whole.
I spoke of this as the ‘personal presence’.
The next day I started to call this ‘personal presence’ by the name of “Eye” because I have seen this eye before in dreams I’ve had before. Later, as I reflect on this, I was struck by the similarity this had with “I” meaning “me” or “my self” which, in many ways, he represents. And, so, “eye” has a double meaning: the ‘eye of the face’ and the “I” of my self.
Over the years I have had these thoughts that there are two ‘gods’:
- God as an abstract concept. This is the god we “talk about”. As a result, it becomes a ‘god of all’, that explains all, that does all. There develops all this information about him and what he is and how he is responsible for everything. In this sense, god is impersonal, an idea.
- God as active awareness and experience. This is the god “as experienced”. As a result, it is limited to our awareness, to our experience, to our life. Because of this, there is limited information about him and we are always learning new things about him. This god is personal. It is the ‘personal presence’.
Now, since a person can only know the ‘personal god’, except by abstraction, it means that the ‘personal presence’ is the only one that is ever really known deep down. I’ve always toyed with this idea that this god exists as a separate entity within each one of us. This means that everyone’s “god” is different, reflecting their situation and experience, which means that we are all associating with a different “god”, in actuality. Though we may say that we are talking about the same god, we are only doing it abstractly. Deep down, within our depths, we are associating with something that is different from everyone elses.
This is more or less saying that ‘god IS personal’. In my opinion, god is as personal as you can get, because it hits to the core of a person. But, typically, the interpretation of god is social. By this, I mean that we associate with the abstract idea of god that society created, and that serves a social purpose: a social abstract god. This is the god normally spoken of as god. But it is not a god suited to the individual person nor is it the one we associate with as a person and a human being.
In the dream, the ‘face’ represented this ‘personal’ god. Looking into its eye I felt a great ‘personal bond’. I could see that its eye and my ‘eye’ were the same and reflected the same reality. In some ways, I was looking into my own eye.
Looking into the eye seemed to show two qualities:
- A bond.
- A reference to what I call the ‘inner sight’. This refers to an inner sense of things.
These reveal an association. To me, it reveals that I have an association with the ‘personal presence’.