Friday, March 18, 2011

Anything Spiritual Can Go "Wrong," Too


Life on earth means playing without rules. Not a "game" – just play. Like grade-schoolers inventing games at recess, or musicians improvising, or a flash mob of amateur actors. The rules may unfold as play progresses. Or maybe not. One way for the Omniscient to play is that It first forgets. I come here to play. I forget what I really am and what reality truly is—I focus on playing instead! Rules come only later...if they ever emerge at all.

Occasionally I forget beyond all repair. The game of forgetting our Infinite self works too well. I get lost irretrievably. My soul goes to pieces, and piece after piece goes flitting off to find shelter from trouble.

Soul loss can come from deep shock during play. A natural disaster, a terrible accident, incurable or disabling disease, a violent beating, the death of your child, the murder of your sister or brother. War and massacre. Abusive parents. Classmates or colleagues bullying you. Trust and love shattered. And these are sample tragedies I've seen just among my own family and friends. Soul loss begins with that most fearsome question of existence: "Why is this happening to me?"

Like a chess game played to a draw, or tic-tac-toe played by most adults, your soul may fragment and flee when no winning is possible anymore, and your only choice is to abandon the match. Without major repair, soul loss often continues for years. Without major repair, it often ends only by sweeping all the pieces off the board, only by total abandonment of the game—in death.

Even just one shocking harsh word, or one horrifying photograph, can derail you for the rest of your life. The disaster we prettify as "childhood." Disasters due to attempts at "exploration," so highly praised in our day. The disasters of unceasing loss. So much loss that YOU are the one who finally gets lost. Parts of you escape from this reality and go missing—have you ever felt yourself slipping? You shed all sense of belonging—is everyone backing away from you? You lose any connection to the One, when it used to comfort you. Life loses meaning. Where did the laughter go? What's even the point of grieving? You shrink from any involvement in play at all. You turn your back on the world.

I think each of us has seen that dark place, has at least visited it. Whatever has harmed me in the wild game of "life on earth"—amputations, bodily assaults, deaths, loveless families, a hate-filled family, no family, poverty, prison, pain—it makes me want to quit the game entirely. I have been through that yawning meaninglessness. I have seen people in my life have invent individual anesthesias, numbing themselves so they never need to feel it when they touch the world, numbing themselves to the terrible wounds that have gone so deep.

And they have my every sympathy. I, too, have looked long and hard down the empty well.

You achieve insensibility through drink, drugs, medications, food, self-starvation, surgeries, self-cutting, avoidance, overindulgence, too much sleep, insomnia. When your soul goes lost...or even just parts of it...or even only on mutely set aside your props and costumes, your instrument and sheet music. You stop the game mid-field and simply walk away from everything you once desired. The world disappears to you. You rot away the rest of your time here. Or you invent your own tiny, boring, new games, in which you permit no one else to play. Or maybe you just jump off the stage.

This is the true disaster. Not the catastrophes and horrors of the past, or other agonizing switcheroos of play. The true disaster is the present loss of your own soul. It occurs inside you: you play no more.

Some people intentionally harm those around them. They bully, they torture, they terrorize. Our age knows too well the terrorists and bullies. Terrorists claim they have some goal, be it politics or religion or vengeance. But their primary intent is to terrorize. They revel in spreading pain. They love to watch agony.

The really "effective" bullies and torturers reach out and try to steal our souls. They are not really after sex or money or drugs. They are after power. They gain power by robbing us of our power. Their thefts reach across oceans, yes, but they also reach into their own families and friends and communities. I've known at least two in my own family! They'd deny it, of course, but the withered, mummified wrecks of humanity they've left in their wake through the years confirm their thievery! An abusive parent steals power from a spouse or from the children; the most "effective" end up killing their own kin. Maybe it's by open murder; maybe it's by injuring children or other relatives emotionally or physically, making them die too young. Other insidious abusers let victims live just enough so they can keep on draining power, like true parasites.

Ours is a monstrously abusive, violent society. We collectively permit amazing levels of soul theft, and we collectively do almost nothing to heal the thefts or to block the thieves. In fact, whistleblowers are most often penalized for reporting their victimizers. Our system repeatedly blames the victims. The victims even revile themselves for the relief they feel when their abusers die. But if they get no help, that's the only way they can feel protected.

Indeed, you and I are personally at risk of being thieves, stealing power, wrecking other people. After all, we are born into a monstrous den of power thieves! We cheer when our team wins, and we mock the losers—ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you! It's completely acceptable to "vote people off the island." Incredibly inhumane! TV offers competitions in fashion, cooking, music, dancing, money-making, beauty, intelligence—they're all about fierce criticism of every competitor. Do you see the theft of spirit? We adulate the winners, yet 95% of the time on-air is about losing. We are entranced by power disasters, and still we adore the "stars" who are in fact professional power thieves.

There is help. I don't have to put up with soul loss. I don't have to suffer the theft of my power. The deathwalkers can go and find those lost fragments of yourself and return them to you. Or you yourself can link arms with your spirit allies and retrieve your soul. There is power out there that wants to help you.

Shamans deal in power. Shamans deal with spirits and souls. Shamans will go searching for lost fragments of souls and bring them back to their proper selves. Or, if you're willing, shamans will guide you in offering your own invitation to your soul fragments. Shamans have done it for me, and I feel much more peaceful, viewing my own flawed self and our big flawed world. With my own allies I've helped retrieve soul parts for others, and the results have been clear, especially in undoing soul thefts, in preventing horrifying dreams, in restoring true personal power.

Retrieving soul parts that have been in hiding—parts that don't even want to be found—can be the highest medicine. Healing and restoring those fragments to players who are still technically in the game is a grand mission. The soul seeker, whether shaman or the actual victim, recovers the power to be well: to leap off the bench and play, to gather up all those abandoned tools and head back building life.


  1. Thank you for the timely coaching that we can rebuild ourselves and get off the bench after an injury - a loss of power. The joy in life is to engage life; the shaman's tools are gifts that put us back on the field, fully charged, with a team to back us up!

  2. Super, Anonymous. Once more, "The game's afoot!"