Aherm! Two posts in as many days? (Don’t be expecting it regularly! 😉 )
One of the questions that often crops up, is the reality, or otherwise, of the experiences involved in shamanic work. This is true also of meditation, path-working, and all forms of light work in which a trance, or semi-trance state is essential.
“Isn’t it just my imagination?”
The misgiving is quite understandable, and, if I may be so bold, completely unanswerable to the satisfaction of anyone intrigued enough to ask it. I can only offer an experience, of several years ago, by way of explanation.
At the time, way before shamanism entered my life, I was an active member of an online forum. Topics of discussion attracted the serious esoteric investigator. Amongst the membership, there were a significant number actively involved, at various levels, in meditation.
Someone suggested that it would be a nice idea to arrange a specific day and time at which we could all meditate as a group, and post our individual experience for the other members to read. Accordingly, a worldwide network of meditators all sat down at the same moment (GMT) and joined in meditation.
It all started off innocently enough, with a round of some of the simpler meditation exercises familiar to the beginner. We built up, over a period of months, through contemplation of various mandalas, focus on candles, meditations on the elements… It was when we got to “Aether” that some became uneasy.
The individual experiences appeared to be less “individual”, less driven by the disparite egos, and more aligned towards a common, shared experience; in which each individual’s experience appeared to express a unique viewpoint of a singular experience.
I can’t rightly remember the details of the what of that final meeting of the meditation group. The fallout from it, however, was the complete dissolution of the group, as the full import struck home…
A great, shimmering hall, roofed by the stars. The floor is chequerboard, black and white. In niches on the walls are statues of the Gods. There is a crowd around the room. They appear to be here to witness, but not partake. The meditation group find themselves arranged around a central table upon which stands a single candlestick. The candle flickers, there is a crash as the table overturns. The crowd disperse…
The reports start to come in. All see the stars. One feels the pressing of the crowd; another the roundness of the table; another the single, elaborate leg; another is unable to complete the meditation as he accidentally kicked the table in his room; another sees the candelabra fall…
One by one, realisation dawned in each group member.
If this is “imagination” we have all “imagined” the same core elements. Though the details differed (the turn of the table leg, the numbers in the crowd, the Gods in the niches), our collective imagination had somehow merged to form a single experiential narrative.
Not only that, but the accidental toppling of a table in the physical reality of one of the group, appeared to find its reflection in that shared narrative.
Half the group fled, and were never seen at the forum again. Those that remained found themselves in the middle of a maelstrom which saw the dissolution of the group and the slow death of the forum as a serious place for discussion of esoteric matters.
The truth, stumbled upon that night, is too powerful for many.
We like the comfort of believing that the world in which we stub our toe, it hurts, it bruises, is “reality”. The world in which we fly above the clouds, leap mountains, save the maiden in the tower, is nothing but the imagination of “children”.
When these two worlds collide, and appear to affect each other directly, then the comfort of certainty falls away; yet the possibilities, ah, the possibilities, they are endless…
Anyone for meditation? 😉