Several years ago when I first started studying the more esoteric healing art of Clinical Qigong (wai qi liao fa), my Qigong Master spoke at length about the the commonalities that Taoist Qigong, and Native American Shamanism shared. For instance, he would learn some practices from a Native American Shaman, and then fly to China to visit his Qigong Master to show him what he learned. His Qigong Master would nod his head in delight and do virtually the exact same thing that’s already within his own Qigong technique. There’s a universality in Taoist Qigong practices and Native American Shamanism: It’s all Shamanism.
At that point, I’ve been studying Taoism for several years. It wasn’t until a year ago when I decided to research more into the Shamanic realm. Since I didn’t really know how to get in touch with a Shaman here in Chicago, let alone find someone who’s legitimate, I opted to purchase an audiobook by Sandra Ingerman called “Shamanic Visioning,” where she leads the listener through journeying into the spirit world.
The meditation track included a guided meditation along with a constant drum beat. That drum beat was a bit jarring at first but as I started settling into the meditation, I started becoming entranced by it. Then all of a sudden in a great big woosh, everything turned white and I was on a journey into another place to meet my spirit guide/spirit animal.
And there he was, a large anthropomorphic wolverine, standing up on his hind legs, powerful and unpredictably tall.
“Finally, dickhead.” He said, as he came closer into view. “You know, I’ve been trying to reach you for fucking ever. You’ve always known I was your spirit animal. I’ve heard you tell people that I was your spirit animal, but you’ve never come down to say hi.”
I stood there, unable to speak.
“I’m the reason why you’ve always had a fascination with the Wolverine comic books. Most people love Wolverine because he’s an interesting and exciting character, but you love Wolverine because you embody him. There’s no denying it. And the comic book is the only way for me to get you to listen to me. The comic book was just my calling card to you.
“I’ll always be here for you,” he said. “Just not all the time. You’ve gotta figure shit out on your own sometimes. And you can do that. You’re exactly like me – you’re persistent, and although you’re a small guy, you’re ferocious. You feel a great honor and duty to heal and protect others, especially those whom you love. And most of all, you’re a loner… a true fucking loner. Use that all to your advantage, and you’ll do great. But remember, drop your fears and take control of that fucking anger.”
And at that moment, the journey ended.
LOL… WELL! I guess it’s true when they say that your guides always speak to you in a manner that you can understand. And having a military background, I do respond well to tough love.
But my encounter with him made things much more clear to me. I have always been at peace with the aspect of me that is resilient, adaptable, honorable, and courageous like a warrior… but have always been at odds with the aspect of me that can be ruthless, furious, and an absolute loner. The fact that every one of my characteristics are combined in an all encompassing totem like my spirit guide allows me to be at peace with every aspect of my own nature.
I understood right away when he told me to drop my fears and take control of my anger. What he meant was that I’m actually scared of my own anger. It’s the main reason why I got involved in Eastern spirituality like Zen and Taoism, was learn how to control my anger. I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble in the past because of my indignation towards people, some of which could have gotten me in jail, or the hospital, or worse. It’s just whenever I see injustice – or even just plain rudeness – I flip the fuck out and want to destroy everything. But there’s other ways of handling that. Better ways. More peaceful ways. That’s why I’ve been led to spiritual practice. My anger is still something I have to work on, it’s a life practice. But I’ve gotten better.
I’ve learned how to be at peace with being a loner. Oddly enough, I have a wife and two kids, so it can be a very difficult personality trait to have. But being the lucky guy that I am, my wife understands this and works with me. If I ever need time to myself, as long as it’s at a reasonable time, then I can spend a few moments alone.
But how to use all of those traits to my advantage, I don’t know yet, but I guess it’s a life practice. We live in a society where looks and status get the advantage, and I’m neither tall, white, handsome, good looking, nor rich. But there are people who are willing to look past that. Plenty. And I’m supposing that those are the people that I should really focus helping.
You can’t help those who don’t want to be helped.
I just answered my own question. Or did my spirit animal just help me out there? Hmmmmm 🙂
I do encourage everyone to do a shamanic journey to speak with their own guides. They’d appreciate it as much as mine did. My spirit guide is always there when I need guidance, whether it’s a hard decision I have to make, or if I need help with treating a patient. That’s what they’re there for. But don’t use them as a crutch.
There are times that even as a loner, I actually do feel lonely. Tremendously lonely. But my spirit guide is there for me when I need him the most. His presence – despite his crudeness and unwavering tough love – takes the edge off life: “You’re not lonely Sonny, especially when the sun and moon shine for you… the trees whisper to you… and the birds sing to you. The Tao is you. Plus I’m here too… COME ON, SONNY GET YER HEAD OUT YER ASS.” – My spirit guide.
Gotta love him.