I stood on a steep embankment below a massive felled tree that had been cut into large rounds, ready to be split into firewood. I’d carefully been rolling down one heavy round at a time to a more level spot where I could split the wood. Three large rounds were pressed together at the top of the hill. I reached up, placing my hands on them, and started to rock them. They rocked as a group.
I got excited at their stored energy coming to life and the prospect of rolling the three together, as a unit. A voice inside said, “that’s a bad idea.” Too late. I rocked them and they started to roll toward my head at full force. Somehow I leaped out of the way as they picked up momentum. One crashed into a tree and stopped. The other two speedily descended hundreds of feet to the stream at the bottom of the mountain.
Truthfully, I have not been able to fully recapitulate how I got away. My ego consciousness was instantly supplanted by a more seasoned High Self that took command of my body and applied instinctive knowhow to jump out of the way and survive.
Trauma shifts one into a state of heightened awareness, which records one’s non-ordinary experience and where one is introduced to knowledge and abilities that defy the ego’s rational sensibilities. Oftentimes people have an out-of-body experience during a traumatic situation, as the High Self shields the vulnerable ego from an experience it is ill-prepared to take in.
Four indigenous children were rescued this past week, having survived for forty days in the Amazon jungle after their plane crashed, killing their indigenous leader and their mother four days later. Forty days is the archetypal eon for meeting a great spiritual challenge. In the heightened awareness of their trauma they were surely guided and protected by the spirits of their mother and leader, steadfastly present with them until they were rescued.
Master shamans teach their students in states of heightened awareness. The task of the student is to fully retrieve a memory of an experience, at the level of ego consciousness, in order to be ready and worthy of the knowledge being recapitulated. The same is true in trauma work. When the victim is ready they will become enlightened to the fullness of their previously dissociated experience. That’s when we fully learn our greatest lessons.
It would be convenient and partially true for me to identify an ego inflation, or influence from a parasitic entity, to explain my decision to rock and roll. However, the truth is that I quite knowingly signed up to have that experience. I fully own my impulsive decision.
What wants to be communicated here is that we are both good and evil, devil and angel. To truly become our whole self, we must own and reconcile with all the oppositions within the self. “Resist ye not evil,” said a great Master.
That evil within flirts with adventure, sometimes high stakes adventure. If we never take a risk we’ll be safe, but we’re sure to be saddled with regret. If we don’t approach, we won’t be rejected, but we’ll surely be alone. Everyone is told to be good, but truthfully, good can also be boring.
The human shadow is largely composed of characters and attitudes that compensate for our whitewashed conscious attitudes. So, for instance, if we are shown a highly desirous character in dreaming that we cannot consciously identify with, that character is most likely balancing out a rigid, morally bound, conscious definition of self.
It’s not so much that we secretly are that exaggerated character, but a part of us, that is more honest with the fullness of who we are, resorts to this persona to demonstrate to the ego the depths of its one-sidedness.
Reconciliation of this opposition would be the ego accepting the truth of its fuller self and its fear of living it. This acceptance of the shadow invites the shadow, with all its desirous energies, into a greater partnership with the ego and opportunities to find ways in life to live its fullness. Wholeness is truly a reconciliation with, and inclusion of, all the opposites that we are.
I’m quite certain my crazy stunt with the heavy tree rounds was not a hidden dance with death. Though, at the same time, every moment of our lives might be our inevitable appointment with death. For shamans, keeping this knowing in the forefront of consciousness gives living its fullest realization.
My tale of power and stupidity insisted on being shared to demonstrate that we are all devils and angels. Finding the right balance and creating a working relationship with these component selves is the key to refined, integrated wholeness, and spiritual advancement.
Time to chop some wood, and I promise to be careful,