Foreword

Spirit Hacking: Shamanic Keys to Reclaim Your Personal Power, Transform Yourself, and Light Up the World - Shaman Durek 2019


Foreword

Have you ever seen one of those movies like The Matrix or Mission Impossible, where one character has an incredible knack for doing something like hacking a computer, something that seems superhuman? It’s a reflection of the world we live in, where some people are amazing artists, some people can sing songs like no others, and others can design the Internet or rockets to go to the moon. Some people can dunk or run faster than any other.

Perhaps you believe, as is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal”? Or more accurately, “all people are created equal” when you take into account the 51 percent of humans who are women.

It’s not true. We have equal rights, yet some people are wired to be exceptional in a special way. For two decades, I have studied these people on my path to become a higher performing, better human being via any means possible. At first, that meant doing the things that are supposed to work. Working out all the time. Diets that didn’t work. Working harder so I could have the things that make you happy. Studying. Pushing. Staying up late. Getting an Ivy League MBA. Making $6 million before I turned twenty-seven. Unfortunately, I was exhausted and miserable, because I thought my brain was in charge of my happiness, and I didn’t know there are emotional and spiritual components to tapping into whatever specialness we carry inside ourselves.

Eventually, I spent more than $1 million to improve my biology at every level, from subcellular all the way to the highest spiritual levels I could find. Along the way, I created the modern field of biohacking, which was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a new word in our language. It is the art and science of changing the environment inside and outside our bodies so that we have full control of our own biology. It even led me to create Bulletproof, my company dedicated to helping people tap into the unlimited power of being human (and butter in coffee), that has raised $68 million in venture funding and served about 200 million cups of brain-enhancing coffee. I’ve written New York Times bestsellers about the brain and willpower, interviewed hundreds of researchers on consciousness and brains and biology on my Webby Award—winning podcast, and started a neuroscience facility for upgrading the human brain.

When I ran out of things that were supposed to work for a computer hacker like me, I decided to try the things that aren’t supposed to work. I’ve traveled to Tibet to learn meditation from the masters. I used ayahuasca with a plant shaman in Peru twenty years ago, before it was trendy or even easy to find. I learned Chinese energy medicine techniques. I studied shamanism, although I am not a shaman. This is not to say I didn’t study mitochondria or hormones or antiaging; the truth is that these things coexist with whatever spiritual energies exist, and you can learn to see both.

I also learned that there is a small number of people out there who see things that others don’t, or sense things that are hard to see, but they can do it reliably, and they see the same things as others like them. In fact, every society has been studying, honing, and pursuing knowledge of these things since the dawn of history. By many different names, shamans have traveled the spirit world, healing sick people, finding lost souls, interpreting dreams, and just knowing things without a scientific explanation. Real scientists are drawn to things without explanations because that’s where learning happens.

In fact, the local First Nations Cowichan tribe, which is located near where I live on Vancouver Island, has an oral history going back more than ten thousand years, recalling how their medicine man had a dream of a great tidal wave. He told his villagers to get in their canoes and paddle out into the ocean. They rode over the top of the giant wave before it crested, while the wave decimated most other tribes on the island as it reshaped the landscape into what we know today. How did he know? Is it possible some of us can do that?

It is not only possible but there are now studies showing that humans are capable of more than we think. I am blessed to know a good number of special humans, some of whom call themselves shamans, some of whom just know they can do or see things that most people don’t. I have also come to know a larger number of people who desperately want to be one of these special humans, hang up shingles calling themselves shamans, and even acquire some of the skills of full-blown shamans.

There are a lot of people who can dunk. There are a lot fewer Michael Jordans.

Shaman Durek is unusual in that he comes from a mix of shamanic lineages and has a powerful ability to tap into things I don’t know how to explain. I’ve seen his eyes roll up in his head as he starts speaking languages he does not know. Not gibberish, but fluent languages, switching rapidly between them as he swaps out healing techniques.

He’s simply very plugged in to a world that is around us but mostly invisible, and he’s been that way since he was born. That’s why he’s uniquely equipped to offer a vision of the world that can powerfully benefit you, one where your spirit is real and matters as much as your brain or your body.

You could even call him a spirit hacker. I do.

—Dave Asprey

founder of Bulletproof New York Times bestselling author of Head Strong and The Bulletproof Diet