The Accidental Shaman: Journeys with Plant Teachers and Other Spirit Allies - Howard G. Charing 2017
Once Upon A Time
The Continuum of Life
We live knowing of the certainty of our death. Would knowledge of our death teach us how to transform our life in the present? This is not as far-fetched as it may seem. In the last one hundred years, our understanding of the very nature of time has undergone a revolution, introducing a totally new scientific, philosophical, and spiritual paradigm. Time for Newton was an inherent constant of the universe, and he knew that time always changes at the same rate for everyone, everywhere.
For us, time, like a river, seems to flow in one direction, always toward the future. But according to physics such may not be the case. Einstein explored the concept of time and discovered the profound link between space and time. Einstein, with his theory of special relativity, unified the idea of space and time into a four-dimensional structure called spacetime. With this profound insight, he forever transformed how we see time. The flow of time, which appears to us as real as the flow of a river, may be nothing more than an illusion. “The distinction between past, present, and future,” Einstein writes, “is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”4 Past, present, and future may all exist in a single infinitely indescribable moment.
What if . . . we could transport or extend our consciousness to the point of our death? What would we learn from this, the greatest of mysteries? Is it possible that this revelation has the potential to transform our lives? One of the underlying precepts of the shamanic journey is that human perception extends beyond the reach of the senses. The practitioner journeys outside of linear sequential time. This is the principle behind soul retrieval, the psychopomp, and divination. I consider, and this is just my opinion, that it if we embraced the notion of our death as an advisor we would gain a transcendent insight with transformational potential. A shamanic journey or a deep meditation can bestow the revelatory knowledge of how we will die, and the wisdom to guide us to change our life if our death is not auspicious.
The following account tells what happened to me when on a shamanic journey in which a Tibetan lama spirit guide appeared and spoke to me. I was doing a simultaneous narration into my tape recorder so I could later transcribe the journey. I find that this is a useful practice, as subtle elements of a journey can be overlooked on returning to everyday consciousness. This is what he said:
“Howard, why do you dice with death? Be at peace with your own death; allow things to flow through you; rise above them.”
“How?” I ask.
“Look upon the true reason of life, meditate upon existence, merge with the reality that is the human spirit, and surrender to the will of that divine nature. Be as the wind: uncontained, grace and movement combined, with gentleness and strength as its nature. It is contained in nothing, yet contains much; it is the nature of wind to sustain life in its purest form, for it holds in it the very element of life.
“The time of the old teachings has come and gone. Humanity finds itself in such a state of disquiet, disease, and self-sabotage that even the wind must rally itself into a force that can be felt, a force that in its wake will sweep up the debris.
“Humans have come to a nexus point, a point of no return, and fear itself holds back our evolution. Those who can stop it must do so now, must speak out, must act and live the life of a humanitarian and be like the wind, blasting a path through that fear and taking humankind into the state of its true being, for without the true willingness of those who can, humankind will be no more.”
I was shown an image of a candle being extinguished.
“Howard, be compassionate with yourself, love the humanity within you, and forgive yourself for your procrastination. Turn your eyes toward peace and God, put yourself aside, and, like me, do your job. Buddha needs a lotus flower on which to rest. Why is it that on seeing the lotus flower, you will not rest within its petals? And why, when it is requested of you to be the lotus flower, do you close your leaves and petals and sink beneath the water? Love is the resting place. Be open and receive it.
“The wind exists for itself, and it exists for humanity. You cannot lose your identity, and yet you have such a fear of beauty and gentleness.”
I saw the image of a lotus flower of light, with humankind resting on it. The guide continued: “The water is absolute calm, and love rests upon calm emotions. The water is so deep, and there is love and compassion. The lotus flower is the cradle, Buddha resting, being at peace.
“The lotus flower stops Buddha from sinking into the emotions, and love stops Buddha from sinking into the depths. Simplicity is the key to the human heart, for within it, there is no room for confusion. Confusion creates a state of fear, which closes down the portals.
“Why do you dice with death?
“Why do you seek to purge yourself of that which you are in order to become that which you already are?
“Howard, live a life to prepare for a peaceful death.”
I then witnessed my own death. I won’t go into the details, but it was a good death.
This journey has continued to be an exquisite inspiration for my life. It offers the great teaching that to realize a peaceful death, I need to live a peaceful life.
Please note, I am not suggesting that you should or need to journey to your final moment on Earth, and certainly not to the exact day or time, as that could generate anxiety, and worse, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here is a way to see this journey of discovery. Do not ask: What did I achieve in my life? What were my failures? What were the things that I wanted to do but never did? That is the rational mind and transient ego speaking. Remember, this is a journey of the soul and ask instead: What is the feeling in my heart? Stay with any sadness you feel, follow the threads of those feelings back in time, and allow the inner stories to emerge and illuminate yourself in the here and now.
Later, allow the realizations to filter through: What should I have done? What did I not complete? What have I learned from these insights? How can I change my life to be at peace?
This is the power of farseeing, which means accessing visionary prescient knowledge that has the potential to benignly influence the present.