Ancient Wisdom: Brain Waves

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According to Wikipedia, brain waves were first discovered in the early 1900’s. Alpha waves were discovered first (thus the name). The other three types of waves were discovered later. In descending order, beta waves (14 to 30 cycles per second) are where we spend our waking or fully conscious state; alpha (8 to 13 cps) occur when we are relaxed with our eyes closed; theta (4 to 7 cps) are the level where people have psychic experiences like astral travel; and delta (0 to 3 cps) occurs when we are in deep, dreamless sleep or unconscious (source:

Although ancient people did not express thoughts about brainwaves, they understood the importance of entering into a trance state in order to experience what they referred to as the spirit world. They entered the theta state through rituals that included the use of drums and/or rattles beaten at the theta rate. Perhaps this was accidental. Perhaps it was at the urging of helpful spirits. Regardless of how it happened, it became a common practice for people throughout the world thousands or tens of thousands of years before electricity and modern medicine were invented. Modern science is only recently catching up to this ancient knowledge and it has yet to officially recognize the importance of the theta brain wave connection to the spirit world.

As with all shamanic practices, spirit walking is evolving over time. In the past it was used to primarily to find food and the other necessities of living. But times have changed. The quote which follows is from Awakening to the Spirit World, page 19:

“By comparison today, we see a wide range of people integrating shamanic practices into their lives. More and more people of today’s world are beginning to realize that the path of direct revelation brings us into relationship with the world of things hidden, through which we may learn that everything that exists is alive and has a spirit (and a voice), and that there is a field of energy that connects us to all of life. This awareness is shared by tribal shamans at one end of the human continuum and by quantum physicists and Zen Buddhists at the other.”

How will we use this knowledge? While it is up to us to decide, the most obvious, and beneficial, conclusion is that we must use it to improve ourselves and our world. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new age where the concerns of materialism and ego will be set aside in favor of creating a world where the needs of all people are met, where all people work together for the common good of mankind. I hope so. If I knew how to add audio to this post, I’d end with John Lennon’s song, Imagine.

Let me know if you enjoy reading about Ancient Wisdom (below). Thank you.

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Intro: What kind of healer should I be?

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In the afternoon we had time for two more journeys before class ended. Lauren instructed us to pair up because we were going to journey for our partner. I was lucky to partner with Razena, everyone calls her Ze. We chatted briefly and it turns out we both had a strong interest in Tarot cards as well as journeying. Ze founded a Goddess Group in the western suburbs of Chicago. She travels into the spirit world with the help of her friend, a dragon. Dragons and other animals we consider ‘mythical’ are also wonderful power animals. Like me, Ze wanted to know what her role as healer would be.

I journeyed first. I went to the lower world and met with my new teacher. He said Ze should be a soul healer. I didn’t understand that but remembered it. I saw a vision of a cut on a hand and saw Ze touch it and heal it. Then I had a vision of a friend, who had disruptive family issues that she worked on, healing various people within her own family. The friend worked with Foster Children and helping them. After the journey was over I relayed this as best as I could to Ze. Ze thought about it and said she believed it answered her question. She thanked me for journeying on her behalf.

Next it was Ze’s turn to journey for me. After the journey was over she said she traveled with her dragon, Nu Kua. The dragon flew her to Hawaii. She saw me there. There was a fire nearby.  I was sitting at a table doing something with my hands. She thought I might be using Tarot cards. She said I was in a huge garden with limestone containers used for growing plants and herbs. She said that toward the end she was confused. She kept seeing words, words, words flying everywhere. She asked me if this made any sense. I felt energy flow up and down my spine. I told her how (at the time) I was writing my childhood autobiography and that I believed I was supposed to become a writer and help people with my writing. I was excited! When Ze heard my explanation, she was excited too! Ze and I exchanged email addresses and promised to keep in touch.

I was sorry when the class ended. I found that the energy of all the participants enhanced our ability to spirit walk. I decided to take another class from Lauren.

Next blog: Ancient Wisdom – brainwaves

Intro: Meet a new teacher

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After more discussions about our first journey, Lauren got us ready for our second journey. This time our intention was to have one of our power animals take us to meet a new teacher. We got settled and she again lowered the lights and beat a quick rhythm on her drum.

Again I went to the lower world and met the beaver at the entrance. We entered the cave. Only the fox was there. However the inside of the cave had changed quite a bit. There was a bright light shining in the center of a large chamber. When I looked up I saw the blue sky, with clouds and a sun shining. It was like the roof disappeared.

In the center of the chamber was a large pond of water. It had water lilies growing in it and was fed by a spring. I repeated my intention to meet a teacher. Immediately he walked into the area. He was a tall man with long grey hair that had ornaments woven into it. He wore buckskin clothing and had a head band. He was younger than the Ancient One.

We sat next to the pond. He said he can communicate directly with me. I understood that I didn’t need to make a journey to talk with him. I realized that this was a blessing and a privilege. I thanked him. He smiled and nodded his head. He told me to keep on keeping on the path; ask questions and I will get answers right away. Then he got up to leave.  As he walked away I realized I forgot to ask his name. I called after him. He looked over his shoulder, smiled and gave me his name. It was a normal sounding name. I liked that.

At this time the journey was over. Again we stretched, sat up, and discussed our experiences and again each was unique. Then we broke for lunch. Per instructions from Lauren, we each brought our own lunch and got pop from a vending machine. We sat in a lunch room and talked together about our experiences.

Next blog: Journey #3, What kind of healer should you be?

Intro to Shamanic Journeying

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The introductory class was held September 9th, 2011 on the main campus of Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois.In addition to our teacher, Lauren Torres, there were six women students and two men, including me. Lauren explained that we would have an initial discussion and then make our first journey. We would lie on blanket we brought, place a covering over our eyes; she would lower the lights and then beat her drum to help us journey. She started with a discussion of how to journey and stressed that everyone’s journey would be unique to the individual. She told us that it was important to bring harmony and balance into our lives if we decided to proceed with a regular shamanic practice. Note: that was the same advice I got on my August 3rd journey.

Lauren had set up an altar on the classroom floor. On top of a couple of blankets she placed large black stones (lingams), large crystals, and many other shapes and sizes of stones. She did this to help bring positive energies into the room to help with our journeying. After answering our questions, Lauren had us lay down on the floor on our blankets and get comfortable. She told us she would keep beating the drum while we journeyed. When the journey was over she would stop, then beat it in a series of seven beats to let us know time was up. Our intention on the first journey was to meet a power animal who would take us to a place where we would receive energy. Since we had no more questions, she told us to start, lowered the lights and beat her drum.

The drum was loud. It seemed to penetrate through my body and enhanced my ability to journey. I went to the lower world. The beaver met me outside the cave and we went inside. I wasn’t sure which power animal would lead the way until the fox suddenly jumped up and started running down an underground corridor. I ran after him to keep up. We traveled down a gently sloping path which turned different directions. Finally we came to a large underground chamber. I understood this was the place and sat in the middle of the chamber. Soon a fine, pink colored smoke enveloped me. Then it changed to black and then white. It swirled around me. I could feel energy entering my body. I stayed there until I heard Lauren’s series of seven beats reminding us to come back. After we stretched and sat up we each described our journey. Each journey was different. Everyone enjoyed it and felt refreshed.

Next blog: Journey to meet a new teacher.

Guest Blog: Lauren Torres


Paul has invited me to post on his blog. I am one of his teachers and focus on spiritual work and healing work through Shamanic practice. I think that every spiritual practice which has true power will connect you more deeply with yourself. But in this, I am not talking about focusing on yourself in an ego way.

The ego is your sense of separation from other people. It has a wonderful gift to give you, in that you get to experience yourself as an individual. The deeper truth is that we are much more interconnected than that. So when you make a deeper connection with yourself, you also connect more deeply with the world.

I’ve been reading a remarkable book by Erich Fromm called The Art of Loving. He points out that we call many things love, which are not love. Love, when real, should always bring us in to loving more than the object of our love. So, for instance, by learning to truly love my spouse I will also feel love for other people and for other things in my world. That is because love is about connectedness, rather than isolation. Love is not love, if it’s not inclusive. Therefore, if I do not also love myself, then what I am feeling is not love.

In one of his many excellent explanations, he says:

“If I perceive in another person mainly the surface, I mainly perceive the differences, that which separates us. If I penetrate to the core, I perceive our identity, the fact of our brotherhood. This relatedness from center to center-instead of that from periphery to periphery-is “central relatedness.”

I agree that true relatedness is about relating center-to-center with something else or to someone else. That is why self growth and understanding becomes so important. If you cannot know and find your own center, it becomes that much harder to live a life of center relatedness. As a shamanic practitioner, I find that this is a continual learning experience. There is always a deeper layer to explore within myself. There are always new places of disconnection that need healing. But each layer that I develop opens me more fully to the beauty of the world around me. (Even if the deepening process can be unpleasant some of the time!)

Many good wishes to you the reader. I hope you are enjoying Paul’s wisdom. I also write my own articles at

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