We are frequently confronted with the imperfections of this sacred physical body that has been given to for our time on Earth. Our genetics are considerably impoverished by centuries of an artificial lifestyle, genetically modified foods, chemical drugs, vaccines, living far from nature, thus more and more of people suffer from various serious and debilitating handicaps and health problems. Formerly, before the European colonization, people who were different, had handicaps and who yet survived childhood were appreciated for their special gifts and they were invited to discover their differences. In the province of Quebec, one of most powerful shamans who lived on our territory was born without legs. She was considered and recognized in many communities for her extraordinary powers. Her husband transported her everywhere on his back with a specially designed harness. Nobody ever heard her or others feeling sorry for her handicap. On the contrary, she was everywhere welcomed with respect and appreciation. Her gifts made her extremely valuable for the Innu communities.
A handicap can be experienced as a gift
Each handicap is a gift, because it enables us to discover abilities and powers which would otherwise go unnoticed. The keyword here is acceptance. As long as we do not fully accept who we are, these gifts and these powers which are the corollary of what seems to be a handicap, remain out of reach. Any form of revolt creates a inner blockage which prevents the energies of life from circulating and evolving.
When I was young, it’s disease and suffering who were my teachers. The discomfort of my body was such that I learned how to travel in other spheres and dimensions of consciousness with my spirit. There my body did not trouble me any more. I also learned how to appreciate solitude, meditation, contemplation and came to experience the peaceful all-pervasive sentiment of serenity when I understood acceptance. The resignation to my state was not a downer but an elevation, a path to deeper and deeper levels of philosophy. When in the hospitals I sometimes awoke in the dead of night, becoming aware of the suffering and sometimes death of other patients around me. That made me reflect on life, death and many subjects which today enable me to better help people who come to me with their problems. Most Shamans throughout the world became shamans after having of a NDE (near death experience) or serious life-threatening disease.
It is often difficult to be grateful for a handicap. I’ll always remember a group of Native American inmates with whom I worked as a Native spiritual advisor in a high security prison. The first thing I tried to teach them was to be grateful for being in prison. That was of course very difficult for them and it took a lot of time, approximately 5 to 6 months, during which I insisted that they develop within a feeling of appreciation for where they were. As long as they didn’t feel this they could not move forward. But as soon as they did, all became possible, all changed. They became productive and started learning and creating native handicraft. They undertook organising campaigns to obtain the materials necessary for their handicraft and did all the necessary intensive lobbying needed to get them into a maximum-security establishment, not a simple thing. They reactivated the Native Brotherhood that is still there, doing well, many years after. We got a place outside in the prison yard where we installed a tepee, fire, sweat lodge, medicine wheel and had many ceremonies and healing circles. We even invited family members to attend a fall equinox ceremony with us. All of this because the energy of acceptance made room for gratitude. One of these prisoners has become a healer and meditation teacher and guides his brothers towards another lifestyle. An ex-career criminal, who lived in an environment where violence and crime were a lifestyle made a 180° turn. His first step was gratitude for being where he was. It’s the same for any handicap.
Transforming difficulties into the power of realization
After acceptance and gratitude, it’s time to generate energy to transform the handicap into an asset. There probably exists as many methods as individuals. Here are some basic elements to transmute difficulties into abilities.
Firstly, it should be understood that we are masters of our destiny! Our days future days are created by yesterdays’ thoughts, words and actions.
We were created in the image and resemblance of the Primordial Intelligence who created the universe. We are responsible for the situation in which we are, as we are imbued by this creative principle. For many of us this is a given, but some have lost the understanding of their divine nature.
It is possible to live without this understanding. Yet I consider this ignorance as the very worst handicap one can have. I would not like to be afflicted with such a handicap, that of not knowing our divine nature. I will always remember the first time that, as a young boy, when I met my first atheist. My astonishment was without bounds: how can a person face the challenges of life without knowing the Primordial Intelligence which created the world? Since then my feeling has been transformed into compassion. I consider this the ultimate handicap, since the power, strength, the unsuspected resources of our being, the immense unmanifest potential within our psyche is only available to those who know the Great Mystery within.
If we clearly see that we are the result of our thoughts, words and actions, with time, with skilful means and perseverance, we can lead our life to where we wish it goes. Our spirituality must manifest in the material world. This is why we have a body and the necessary tools to co-create our reality according to our desires and our needs.
Secondly, it should be understood how energy develops, to open up and manifests our needs and our desires.
If we are depressed, apprehensive or discouraged, energy cannot manifest. If we know to laugh, to be full of wonder, thankfulness, to sing and dance with joy then the energy to create is present. Understand what inspires and elevates you and what downs and depresses you and know that you are free to choose.
In the greatest trials and challenges, there is also the potential to develop great gifts and formidable talents. If the eyes do not see, the heart is often inhabited by great visions. If the legs do not function, perhaps the spirit can learn how to fly higher and further than the most daring imagination!
How to stimulate joy and enthusiasm?
The foundational sentiments that are joy, love and peace, are natural and spontaneous. If we cultivate them they ultimately give way to bliss and ecstasy but often, especially in today’s controlled and artificial world, they are sometimes dissimulated under layers and layers of conditionings. For example, a very pervasive conditioning in today’s world has us believing that we attain happiness (the stable state of joy love and peace within) from outer circumstances like entertainment, pleasure, sophisticated foods or drink, traveling, sex, or spiritual practices, meditations, ceremonies, etc. Actually, we are naturally endowed with peace, love and peace, its the birthright of all babies. With time, we move away from that state, conditioned by our parents, our friends, our schools, as our experiences and beliefs colour our thought patterns and emotions. (See my article on education.)
Finding our way back to the pristine purity of the foundational sentiments is easier than it seems. It’s simply a question of finding our inner unity where joy, love and peace are constant and stable. In this quest the first thing we need to practice is relaxation. It’s good to understand that we don’t need to do anything to find our way back to oneself. Just turn off the television, the radio and disconnect the phone for a moment, reduce any external source of stimulation except nature, speak with no one and just let go to your natural state of feeling good. Go walk in nature or prepare a place at home where you have laid out natural elements (a bowl with water, plant, stone, crystal, candle), in order to recreate the beauty of nature. If we create in our home a place for relaxing, for finding ourselves, a place of beauty that inspires us, we will be better able to find what our Native Elders call sacred time-space where it’s easier to connect with our inner unity. You don’t need to believe in anything or do anything as we are all at the core made of peace, love and joy! The more we purify ourselves, the more we let go, slow down the rhythm of our lives and simply be ourselves without judgement, the more we try to be relaxed and find a neutral place within, the more joy, peace and love will spontaneously arise.
It is sometimes necessary to use specific techniques to take life less seriously and stop dramatizing daily events. Too frequently our thoughts turn in circles. That’s when we find the situations of our life intolerable. As we become obsessed our thoughts are agitated and never stop. How will we transform this mental state? There are many ways. One way consists of pushing them to exaggeration, excess, by imagining a series of worst nightmare scenarios until we can laugh at it. Don’t dwell too long on these scenarios and don’t come back to the same ones. Use this as one way of breaking the obsession cycle.
The First Nations of America survived during centuries when there seemed to be no hope by always being able to laugh at it all. In this manner they survived the nightmare of the European colonization with its innumerable genocidal policies by being able to laugh at it all. With the noise of laughter and the movement of the stomach and diaphragm which it involves, there is a much easier transformation of our perceptions and thoughts.
If we can sing and dance, we can multiply by ten the effect of this small personal magic.
Let us give an example. I am constantly upset by a person at work who taunts me and makes life difficult for me. This haunts me and destroys my joy. To transform that, I sit in my sacred space-time at home and I imagine that I lose control at the office. I fly at that person and start hitting him repeatedly. I am immediately fired but my anger is such that upon leaving the office running I collide with a woman on the street. She starts to shout at me and a police officer gets interested in the scene and still angry I insult the officer. I am arrested and brought in front of a judge who looks so much like the person of the office that I once more lose control and shout obscenities at him. He condemns me to jail and I find myself in prison. I go on like this in my mind, until I can no longer be serious and start laughing. That’s the moment to stand, dance and release your wildest impulses, to shout and sing. This ordinary magic can completely transform your experience at the office and that person may well become your best friend!
The same transformation can be accomplished for any situation we need to change in our lives. We can dance this situation until ecstasy and trance set in and until sounds and laughter spontaneously arise and often the situation will be transmuted into something a lot more positive.
To say thank you, to physically express our thankfulness for life, also gives birth to joy in our hearts. We can, for example, pray with song or make offerings by giving a little food from our meal to the spirits of nature.
Another technique consists in giving oneself temporarily and internally a new name. If we change our name starting from a happy event of our life, we renew the emotion and joy of that moment when we were in unity with our divine essence. For example, if we felt a great joy the first time on a bicycle, we can, in a difficult situation, rename ourselves “I am the one who flies on a bicycle”. We can also re-name ourselves with anything that catches our fancy in the moment: “I am snow which falls” or “I am the tree dancing”. The word is creative, human speech has great power, its part of the divine ability to shape the world with creative frequencies. Renaming ourselves frees us from the obsessive loops that keep us prisoner of negative thoughts and situations. If we also dance the name there may come a song or a sound. This is very precious as we can internally or aloud repeat this sound or song when we want to transform a given situation or negative thoughts.
Sometimes, people to whom I teach these techniques do not succeed in dancing or singing even when they are alone. They are afraid of being judged and have been judged by their peers either in school, by friends or even in the family, all their lives. This conditioning needs to be transformed. We are all unique, very different individuals. It should be accepted that our uniqueness is desired and encouraged by the loving light that has created us. It is important that we accept fully who and what we are. It is always beneficial to express the enlightened emotions and key situations that have enriched our lives.
It is good to relive the happy and merry moments of our lives. They are key moments, moments when we were in unity with our divine essence. We give ourselves time to revisit them in our sacred space. We give names which describe what we felt in these blessed moments of our lives. These names can be then be used when necessary to transform and transmute difficult situations and emotions.
It is sometimes easier to laugh and take a step back from our difficult circumstances and emotions when sharing them with others. Self help groups of all kinds have been created and can be very helpful. But a word of warning: never allow others to colour your experiences by giving you unsolicited advice. The goal of sharing is not to give your power to others, but to let go of the difficult situations and emotions in a circle of understanding people. In this way you can get it out of yourself, take a step back and look at it from a greater distance. You no longer have to carry it all alone. But we all have the innate wisdom needed to manage our lives. Thus, there is no need for unsolicited advice. Unsolicited comments or advice might be a misguided attempt to help or even a way of using your own weakness to gain power over you. The rule of all self-help circles is that what is said in the circle remains in the circle. But generally, people who participate in self help groups know this. Sharing is very powerful. This is why the healing circles taught by First Nations traditions are so powerful and useful.
There are many ways to overcome our difficulties and transmute them into the energy of life. There are multiple paths to liberating our creative power. This may also lead us to discovering our mission of life. The discovery of a goal to our lives is incredibly powerful, because then nothing can stop us and the difficult circumstances will do nothing but feed our determination and our energy to surmount all obstacles.
Our difficulties, our handicaps, our diseases are challenges and opportunities to better guide us on our paths of learning, realization and accomplishment. There are as many ways and paths as there are human beings to our Co creative inner power. This divine power makes it possible to find unity, the eternal source of joy, love and peace within. Transmute your difficulties into opportunities of evolution and personal development and you will then feel the love of Creator who will rejoice with you in your newfound power and abilities!
Good medicine on your path