It’s been a long time since I’ve seriously pondered issues of conflict beyond my own personal ones. I used to be an activist/documentary film maker and I was admittedly a rabid activist – always angry and ranting about something. In fact, I was in such an unhealthy state that ultimately I had to walk away from these endeavours to find a way to address my depression. It was the best thing I could have done and it has changed my life for the better in every way. It was at this point in my life that I discovered shamanism and plant medicines. Once I began to focus on healing, I carefully chose what media I was exposed to and although I had always been very selective in this regard, I became even more so and the effect was a very calming one. It allowed me to keep my attention where it needed to be.
I have been engaging in shamanism for some time now and working with various medicines and doing the most important work of all: integrating these experiences. In other words, I have been taking the lessons I’ve learned through this medicine and shamanic work and applying them to my life. In doing so, I have improved my health, my relationships and my outlook on life. This integration work continues and it will continue for the rest of my life. It has become a way of life for me. And now, I find myself in a community of people who like me, are working towards a better world. All of us do this in our own unique ways. Within this community it has not been possible to avoid the kinds of conversations that arise from the events that have been prominent in the news media lately. I skillfully (although not always successfully) avoided conversations about Trump but now, I find it increasingly difficult to refrain from involving myself in conversations about the attacks arising from Islamophobia. I have come to fully appreciate what it means to ‘be the change’ and yet in the face of these disturbing issues being discussed all around me, I found myself conflicted and felt the familiar disturbing feelings rising inside me. Although they are not anywhere near my old feelings of rage, I still found it difficult to sort through what I felt and so I asked for guidance.
I have been very fortunate to receive a great deal of guidance from an incredible source of wisdom and recently, Ayahuasca asked me to ‘put pencil to paper’. I have done so and not only received answers to my questions but I began to engage in writing some very unique material that doesn’t in any way resemble my style of writing. It’s familiar to me however, from my experiences with plant medicines, Ayahuasca in particular. It was Ayahuasca who used this technique to reply to my dilemma about how to respond to this disturbing feeling I had about the conflict that seems to be ever encroaching these days. Here’s what came out when I did as I was asked and put pencil to paper:
The beast within you knows that outer beast. They are friends. They work together to stage battles that we attend. If we were to change the rules and no longer allow these beasts an arena in which to hold these battles, the audience would leave and the show would be over. No more spectacle to engage in.
Our beast, the beast within us, answers the battle call always in the name of peace. If we vanquish the beast within, we will have fought our last battle. When you hear the call to battle, seek out the beast within that responds. This beast needs your love and attention. It’s the only way to end the battles.
These battle cries and responses are symptoms of a deeper problem that we’re not addressing. We never will address the deeper problem if we allow these battles to continue. We have proven this time and again.