The Shaman’s Body

“Instead of fighting these forces or trying to explain them, the shaman gives up trying to change what he cannot grasp and reorients himself by adapting to their direction.

The average person {… a “phantom”} attempts to hold these forces at bay and refuses to sense his own impotence. The average person, your own naive consciousness, leads you to believe that medicine will heal your body, that psychology will make you more reasonable, and that being nice will help you in your relationship problems. Prayer should reduce the impact of fate, and technology will tame the universe. Whatever happens, you cling to the belief that you will either be saved from the unknown or discover new solutions to your problems. You believe that you are the center of a world that belongs to you.

Only your momentary terror and insecurity betray your impotence. The wiser part of you, your sorcerer, realizes that life is ultimately something beyond your mind and changing body. No one theory can completely explain anything, and the origins of even your simples impulses seem to be connected with the universe itself. In light of this, the apprentice tries to befriend the unknown.”


Arnold Mindell