Final Introductory Comment

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As I see it, the most important issue is that the spiritual path you choose must make you into a better human being. If it doesn’t, it isn’t worthy of being your spiritual path. On the other hand all spiritual paths are valid for all people following them, assuming that they make their followers better human beings, and all spiritual paths are therefore worthy of our respect.

You may wonder what I believe. Personally, I believe there are only two existences: God and God’s creation. The creation is a reflection of God and while God is an integral part of each individual part of creation, God is also above and beyond all of creation. In creation, all parts are interconnected. The health of each part affects the whole. When we do good deeds, creation benefits. When we do harmful deeds, creation suffers. But what constitutes a good deed? How should we conduct ourselves? I believe that Jesus summarized it best. We must love God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength and all of our will. And we must love our neighbor as ourself. Our neighbor includes all human beings. I also believe it is important for us to respect and develop a personal relationship with the earth, the animal kingdom and everything in the universe because everything is a part of creation.

Next blog: My Spirit Walking adventure begins in Hawaii!

Blessings!

Paul McAllister.

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Is Spirit Walking Real?

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Am I imagining this experience? How does this compare to reality, you know, what I see in our physical world? As they say, seeing is believing, isn’t it?

Well, yes and no. Let’s compare what we call seeing to Spirit Walking.

For our eyes to see we first need light. This light enters our corneas, passes through the aqueous humor (liquid) in the eye and reaches the retina. At this point chemicals are produced that cause electrical impulses to be sent out of the optic nerve, across our neural highway and into the area of our brains associated with sight. Next our software takes over, reviews the information, compares it to past experiences and interprets the experience as seeing the sunset, or whatever it is we are watching. In short, there are physical and learning (software) interfaces between the real world and our perception of what we are seeing. The experience is not as direct as we like to imagine. However, it works well, allowing us to interface with our physical world.

How about our brains? They are reliable tools for perceiving and determining what we are experiencing, aren’t they? The truth is that our brains never consider the majority of sensory information they receive. It is as though our brains work at Megabit speed but that our senses enter data in Gigabyte proportions. If our brains had to review every bit of data that comes in they would be overloaded. We couldn’t function. Fortunately that doesn’t happen and our brains adjust to focusing only on what is important.

Now consider Spirit Walking. We set our physical senses aside and perceive the spirit world with our minds only. This eliminates all of the physical filters and data input limitations. We must still use our mind’s software to decide what we experienced. But the experience is all inside. There are no physical filters affecting the experience. I believe it can be argued that Spirit Walking is a more direct experience than seeing the sunset. But the most important point is that you must make the decision. You must decide if the experience has value. You must decide if this is the spiritual path you wish to follow. All I can tell you is I have no regrets choosing the path over two years ago.

Next blog: A final word before sharing my Spirit Walking experiences.

The Three Worlds

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Before I begin, and assuming you are interesting in making a journey, I want to recommend that you buy one or more of the books I recommended in my last blog. These books have much more detailed information than I can possibly present in this small introductory guide. I started journeying with the CD found in the book Awakening to The Spirit World by Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman. Read chapter three of the book before journeying. It explains everything in wonderful detail. Then use the accompanying CD. I did and my first journey was a success. I still use the CD frequently although I am starting to drum or rattle for myself. Another good book that includes a CD is Sandra Ingerman’s Shamanic Journeying.

There are three worlds: the Lower World, the Middle World and the Upper World. Logical, eh? Actually there are divisions within each world but such a discussion is beyond the scope of this introduction. Entrance to each world is obtained by imagining an entry way which will get you there. Travel to each world using a different entrance for each. You choose your own entrances by making one up for each world. You may use some place with which you are familiar, one that really exists. Choose what is easiest and most appealing to your tastes.

The Lower World contains spirits of plants, animals, rocks and human spirits who are connected with the earth. The Middle World contains the spirit aspect of the world in which we live; in other words, it resembles our physical world but is spirit, not physical. The Upper World is where higher teachers reside and looks different than the other two. The Upper World may be very dark or it may appear very light and even translucent.

Two things are important to note. You usually don’t experience what you think is going to happen. And spirits don’t behave how you expect them to behave. These aspects of Spirit Walking make you realize you are not making it up. It is happening in your head, but it does not occur according to your expectations. And this thought leads us to the last blog of this Introduction: How do we know our Spirit Walking experience is ‘real’? That topic will be my last introductory blog and then I will start sharing my personal experiences from my own journal.

How to Spirit Walk

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Brainwave Activity

We are able to journey into the spirit world to access helpful spirits while still remaining conscious of our physical surroundings. This is easy to do once you know the simple technique. But before we talk about the technique, let’s examine the activity that occurs in our brains every day. Look at the table below. It shows the four levels of brainwave activity associated with our activities.

Brainwave State Cycles per second Activity
Delta 1 to 3 cps Sleep and dreaming
Theta 4 to 7 cps Spirit Walking
Alpha 8 to 13 cps Resting but awake
Beta 14 to 20 cps Awake and active

Normally we move from Delta to Alpha quickly, not stopping in the Theta state. However, it is possible for us to focus on rhythmic beats, going at 4 to 7 beats per second, and allow our brains to settle to that level. Simply put, that is how it’s done. We use rattles or drums or other rhythmical instruments to create the correct number of cycles per second on which our brains will concentrate. If you’re like me, you never guessed that this was the technique indigenous people were using in their rituals and ceremonies.

The Journey

There is more to the journey than drumming. Drumming is an important tool, but only a tool. We must also form an intention to go on a journey and know why we want to make a journey, that is, know what we want from the journey. We must pick a time and place which will help us relax for the journey; and we must have a way of knowing when our time (15 to 20 minutes) is up.

Journeying is not something we ‘slip’ into. We must make some simple plans. First, find a location where you will not be interrupted for 20 minutes. Sit in a comfortable position; if you sit upright on a couch or chair make sure your back is straight, feet flat on the floor and hands folded comfortably in your lap. Dim the lights. If you journey in the daytime, use a bandanna or other covering over your eyes to keep out the light as much as possible. You can use a drum or rattle yourself but it would be easiest to have someone else drum or rattle the first time. That way they can keep track of the time and know when to stop their drumming. An easier, yet effective, way to journey is to use a CD with drumming and or rattling on it. Pick one that is designed for journeying. Two books I recommend, Awakening to The Spirit World, and Introduction to Shamanic Journeying, come with CDs for this purpose.

Now you are ready to journey. Where do you want to go? What? You didn’t know you had a choice? That’s in my next blog.

Spirit Walking – A Simple Explanation

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Spirit walking is the most universal aspect of what is called shamanic practice. As explained in the Introduction, it is the ability to meet with and communicate with helpful spirits in the spirit world and receive helpful guidance and, sometimes, healing. I’ll discuss the spirit world in more detail in a later blog.

First, let’s briefly discuss shamanism. The term shaman is like a large umbrella which covers a large variety of beliefs and activities which are usually related to specific cultures. Basic to all these beliefs is the understanding that it is possible, and desirable, to contact helpful spirits. In her book titled Awakening to the Spirit World, Sandra Ingerman writes (page ix) “… shamanism teaches that there are doorways into other realms of reality where helping spirits reside who can share guidance, insight and healing, not just for ourselves but also for the world in which we live.”

Shamanic practices have been around since prehistoric times. In the same book, co-author Dr. Hank Wesselman cites a paper (page xvii) published in the American journal Science which states that “ … the shaman’s path may date back to at least 77,000 years ago.” While this date is questioned by some archeologists, most would agree that shamanism has existed for at least 40,000 to 50,000 years. In fact, it still exists across each of our continents today, especially where indigenous peoples reside.

What is the experience like? Each journey is different for each individual. Some people don’t see or hear or feel anything; they just acquire a knowledge and know in their hearts that this knowledge is true. Others have auditory, sensory or visual experiences. These experiences may need interpretation. For example, a visual experience may involve examples or metaphors which need to be analyzed for complete understanding.

Most people have had dreams that seem lifelike. I’ll use my own experience as an example. Many realistic dreams occurred after my wife, Marilyn, died of cancer in 1998. In the first one, early October, I saw her and held her in my arms and she said to me, “I am only here in spirit.” The dream was sad and I cried. But after a while I found I kept having more dreams of her, not reliving past events from our lives, but talking to each other and keeping each other company. I still dream of her occasionally but not as frequently as back then and I do believe she is communicating with me.

Dreams like that are similar to spirit walking. I’ll give another personal example. When I was seven I got a bike for my birthday. I found it was difficult for me to ride without my big brother or father helping me get on. During the night after my birthday I dreamed of a solution which worked. By putting my right foot over the horn box and pushing up with my left foot, I was able to get the bike upright. Then I pushed forward and down with my right. I got the bike going forward and was able to ride by myself. The dream provided the solution to my problem. True, it’s possible this was just my brain working on the problem, but the experience is similar to what happens in spirit walking.

What does a person have do to journey into the spirit world consciously, with intention? You will read about that in my next blog.