In Celtic shamanic tradition there are three core questions you ask a traveler on the road: Where are you from? Where are you going? What's the purpose of your journey? And there's a fourth question: Who are your people?
There's a link between those two paragraphs, and it comes in the form of Albert Einstein's famous quote: “The most important question you can ever ask is if the world is a friendly place.” This is a teleological question, and working a spiritual path begins with wrangling with that "most important" question, and answering it honestly for yourself.
Einstein's extended quote is valuable here:
Atheists, agnostics and scientific materialists are grounded in the second answer. They value their own personal inquiry and answers, and they are grounded in one part of the human experience: reason. Mystics and shamans occupy the third answer. They marry reason and poetry, logic and dream, emotion with analysis, tradition with direct personal experience.
I suppose each group believes their answer to the question makes the most sense, and they may think the other groups are naïve, immature or downright stupid.
I do know this: how you answer the question creates the kinds of prayers you make (and I declare that everyone, in each of the three categories of answers prays, even if they don't call it prayer!). How you pray determines the decisions you arrive at, and your decisions are the soil from which all of your actions spring, and your actions create your reality. In the third answer (the universe as a friendly place) our prayers are a co-creation with the universe, and this is the most effective way to pray.
So, your life depends on how you answer that question!
If you want to move out of a victim mentality because you've had enough of what it can show you about life, if you want to move out of pessimism and cynicism, then give a try to standing in the friendly universe and answering those four Celtic questions from that place. This is big work, long work, deep work, and it may not be easy for you, so have some patience with yourself. It also can be lonely work, so seek out a teacher and community who can help you. (This answers the fourth question: who are your people?)
Here are two ideas to chew on: maybe the purpose of your life is not about your career or your children or your travels or your "goodness." Maybe your purpose is to become a healthy ancestor - to do your spiritual work now because we have had scores of generations of unhealthy ancestors, and we need healthy ancestors to help us, and all of your spiritual work now, in this life, is preparing you to serve the descendents from the spirit world (or yourself when you come back).
Or this: maybe your purpose is simply to raise your spiritual maturity level in this life. Maybe you were born into that less mature religious tradition in order for you to grow your way out of it in this life. Stepping from level 5 to level 6 in this life is a great purpose, an achievement!
Well, those are just ideas to chew on.
Be honest with yourself and with the world. Be patient. Be committed. Go into the fear. Don't be afraid to claim your power when you feel it. Flowers will come.
Next Drum Circle
Shamanic Healing with Jaime