The world of news, politics and advertising is all about generating psychic noise designed to pull you away from grounding yourself in your personal power. Team Trump is expert at noise, and superb at bumping us off of our center. He says something outrageous, the TV heads foam at the mouth and so do we, for days. Just when the foam starts to thin, he offers us more noise.
People bumped off their center buy a lot of crap they don’t need because they are depressed and cynical and filled with meaninglessness. So capitalism loves spiritually off-center citizens. Depressed, cynical people loaded with debt and meaninglessness don’t rise up against the prevailing orthodoxy, because they are too tired from all the noise – the fear, rage and envy perpetrated on them by the prevailing orthodoxy. So psychic noise is great for the prevailing orthodoxy.
The noise damages us and makes us ill, psychically and often physically. Yet we can’t seem to break away from checking our device an average of 46 times per day. Why?
Part of the prevailing orthodoxy’s noise game is to convince us that we must stay “engaged” or we are “part of the problem”- that reality is moving quickly and we must not be left behind, that being outraged means we care, and that we are knowledgeable of the issues and therefore part of the solution. None of that is true.
So it’s hard to break away. And we joke about our addiction to the device. But it's really not a joke.
Shamanic practice is all about forging a relationship with your own power as it is connected to the Great Un-name-able, Un-tame-able Power. If you want to connect with Spirit more deeply and if you want to help build your personal power rather than have it leak away (or stolen away), I took on a simple discipline a few months ago that has really helped me.
First, I took a vow to not look at my device when I first wake up. This remarkably simple act can be utterly transformative. So, job one is so simple: give yourself space when you first wake up. Don't go to work yet in your head. Don't plan how you'll win that argument that's coming today. Don't step into the old frenzy. Give yourself space to be a human being. You've just come back from your nightly healing and teaching session with Spirit. Let it sink in.
Then, in that space you've created, try one of these, or do them all in a series. Do them "before your feet touch the ground,” meaning while you are lying in that dark, half-asleep state, or at least sitting on the edge of the bed.
- Remember who you are. You are not your job. You are not your income, your possessions nor your debt. You are a human being on a spiritual path. Say it to yourself: “I remember who I am. I am a human being. I am Spirit embodied temporarily in this form. I am made of mystery. I am nourished by beauty…" I like saying these things at least three times, and saying them out loud is best. And, of course, add any other words that are right for you.
- Place your hand on your heart center and address Spirit: “Thank you for making me a human being, with all these capacities for love and wisdom. Help me open more to love and more to wisdom today.”
- Thank the land you live on. Especially in the urban environment, we hardly ever bless the land. For me, the land is my 120’ x 60’ urban lot with my house on it: “I send thanks to this land which lets me live on it, which holds me, and supports me.” As you bless your spot of land, you can stretch that thanks outward, to the land around you, in larger and larger circles - the city, the Great Plains, the continent, the planet. I like to also bless the hands of the people who built my house, and the hands of the family members they were supporting with this work, and I like to bless the people who have lived on this land before me, and all the creatures who live on this land with me.
- Visualize a line of connection between your heart and several parts of the landscape. Some should be close but others can be father off. For example, this morning I drew lines of connection between my heart and:
- the two tall Norway pines by my driveway,
- the ground in my backyard underneath my ceremonial bent-willow house that I use for prayers and healing work,
- the crows I could hear flying overhead, squawking,
- the few visible stars remaining in the dawn sky,
- The sun which will rise in 30 minutes,
- The Mississippi River which feeds us all,
- And a faraway mountain top I’ve been on.
- You can change up the connections each day, although it's really good to connect to sun each day.
After drawing the line of connection between you and several of these living entities, give it time to become solid. Don't rush. You can visualize the connection as silver or golden light between you and these living helpers. Then, ask them to give you some of their power. Ask them to help you be human today. You can ask them to help you be more wise and loving, and you can also ask them for specific help. For example, today I asked those living entities to help me be focused and not overwhelmed by a project I'm working on – to let me be free of voices of self-deprecation and fear, and to help me open my creativity, to help me cut down extraneous snore-inducing writing, to nourish my eloquence, and to eliminate the recent pain in my gall bladder.
Let that power flow into you, and let it take some time. Nature is happy to deliver power into you so that you can be more human. Nature wants us to be the best human we can be, to come into our fullness. Nature wants everything to come into its fullness.
You can do all of these suggested acts or select one or two. The point is, you are giving yourself time to come into your true humanness before the noise (otherwise known as "the world") takes you.
There is a next level to this also, and involves memorizing short poems. Memorizing is hard for me and I detest it, but there is a great power in having poems living inside you, because they are like slow-release vitamins and pain killers. I often (only half-jokingly) say that the worst thing to happen to our spiritual lives was the invention of the printing press. It heralded the decline of the human memory - exponentially exacerbated by the internet. Memorizing short poems and fairy tales not only infuses you with Spirit-light, it's also good as a defense against dementia.
There are thousands of poems for you in the world. Below, I offer you my adaptation of an ancient Irish prayer of protection called St. Patrick's Lorica (lorica means "body armor"). The St. Patrick version is a Christianized gloss of an indigenous Celtic protection charm, and I've restored it in my own way. If the long version puts you off, I follow it with a simplified version easier to memorize and adapt in your own language.
By the way, I'm completing an educational packet of essays, poems, meditations, audios and prayers to be used during springtime. This blog piece is part of that packet. More information here.
I arise today, through
The strength of Creation
The light of the sun
The radiance of the moon
The mystery of stars
The splendor of fire
The speed of lightning
The swiftness of wind
The clarity of air
The depth of the sea
The wisdom of tides
The stability of the earth
The firmness of rock
I summon today
All of these powers between me and every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul
Against curses and incantations of the fearful, envious and angry
Against poison, against burning
Against drowning, against wounding
No arrow shall pierce me
No fire shall burn me
No water shall drown me
No rock shall crush me
Power before me and behind me
Power above and below me
Power all around me
Power within me
Power within me
(If you really want to have deep fun with this, memorize it, and then as you recite it out loud, get louder and louder and shout the final nine lines!)
Here is the simplified version:
I arise today wrapped in the strength of sun and moon, stars, earth, fire, wind (just keep listing Earth Beings until you run out).
Wrap yourself around me today, wonderful powers,
So that I may walk in your power.
So that I may bring blessing to this world in my own way.
The actual goal of all of the above is to extend the morning moment between sleep and waking - to extend the "in-between" time - not quite this, not quite that - where, according to Celtic tradition, is the place we meet Spirit, and therefore our own humaneness.
So, try the first couple of things in the above list while you're in bed, waking. Then get up and pour your coffee or tea, sit in your chair, and do the “drawing connections” part there. The goal is to stay free of the device ("the world") as long as you can in the morning - to give yourself a morning discipline that sets your energies for the whole day. And the goal is to substitute the compulsion for the device with prayer work. Doing this, even minimally, will shift your life.
That compulsion/addiction to glance at the device whenever there is any kind of lull in your attention is a learned behavior whose intention and result is to leech your energy. You are, mythically and in cyber terms "opening your fortress and inviting the Trolls in." This list of practices offers you new learned behavior which strengthens your core spiritual powers.
You can extend all of this this work by turning to the poem work instead of some of the 46 times of glancing at the device during your day. I put the poem I’m working on memorizing in my notes app on the I Phone. So when I get that jolt of need to glance at the phone - while in line at the grocery store, or at lunch or while pumping gas - I can call up the poem and continue the memorizing. The great thing is, to the world, I appear to be like everyone else - wrapped in the hypnotic miasma of my device. But in reality I’m acting out my rebellion to the prevailing orthodoxy by memorizing poetry. Yes, shrewdly subversive.
Blessing to you, dear Humans.
Join me in Peru in May! There is still time to reserve a spot.