Sunday, June 21, 2015

Life, Death and Freedom

At a recent cybergathering, a seeker asked me the following question:

Do you believe that if you do not have a shamanic death, you will be not be immortal?

My response was as follows...

Basically, I think a lot of folks will make it past the eagle, into some form of "immortality", but I've *seen* that there is "existence" (a form of awareness without much ability to do or to evolve beyond that point), or there is an actual evolution of consciousness into what don Juan called the "state of freedom".

The path of the warrior is largely about acquiring and developing the ability to evolve into that state of freedom where one would be not only ubiquitously aware, but also possessing sufficient power & individuality to maintain what we think of as an "identity" that is both a part of and yet distinguishable from All sentience. My personal understanding of the "state of freedom" is that one would have ubiquitous immortality (existing in all places and times simultaneously), but at the same time would maintain one's own individual cohesion. One would be "I Am" rather than "it is" or "we are".

As for the idea of a shamanic death.. I think all creatures have it within themselves to live a shamanic life, even if they have never heard the word 'shamanism'. At the core of every living thing, there is what don Juan called "the right way to live" -- an instinct that brings us into alignment with the evolutionary mindset of the sentient all. So, in that regard, the old adage of "there are many pathways to the bardo" is very true. But at the core level, I think each individual either does the work of spiritual evolution, or doesn't do it. If it isn't done, then the "individual" is most likely discorporated after death. The energy would remain, of course, as part of the universal sentience, but the I-Am would most likely be lost, dissolved into information (impersonal) as opposed to Knowledge (Knowledge itself implying there is an I-Am based in experience - iow, there is "one-who-knows").

For obvious reasons, this isn't a particularly popular opinion, which is why most organized religions take the more palatable approach that the "soul" is immortal no matter what. While that is true at the level of energy, most shamanic cultures recognize that the individual's life and how it is lived have a direct influence on how one spends eternity. From personal vision quests, I have come to See that Christianity's concept of Hell undoubtedly originated from the same basic core realization that, without some form of "redemption", the soul is cast into limbo after death. Unfortunately, all too many religions seek to place the idea of "redemption" into the hands of an external deity, whereas shamanism (and nagualism in particular) recognizes that the evolution of the Self is the only possibility for redemption from that discorporated awareness-without-identity (aka "limbo").

I've been to both "places" in vision quests - the place of sentient awareness without identity, and the state of ultimate freedom. While words cannot describe either one adequately, one thing I'm sure of is that without the I-Am, there is only a sense of eternal "limbo" -- awareness without cohesion. Personally, I found that discorporated state of ubiquitous observer to be less than desirable because there was no sense of differentiation - and without that, all is virtually sameness, the universe looking at itself through its own eyes and finding nothing new under the suns. It is the I-Am which gives meaning and enables the love affair between Self and Spirit.
Copyright 2015, by Della Van Hise
All Rights Reserved

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