I tried narrowing down the definition of a “Saint”, but feel I wouldn’t do it justice or might be biased. In short Wikipedia says: “A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God”. I think Shamans could have “saintly” attributes, but our lifestyles would overall be in great contrast to saintly ones. Living the Shamanic Path, means being a “life” researcher on the edge of humanity. It is like an instant practical and undefinable philosophy. It compels you to explore and exploit all areas of life. Pushing boundaries is a necessity to really understand the workings of energy within the cycles of this matrix.
One very common “medicine” we use in the Andes to manifest (or to unmanifest) a condition is to adopt a completely abstract/unrelated everyday habit. For example, if you want to stop arguing with your significant other, go to work using a completely different route. It is understood that these actions don’t significantly influence each other, but in Shamanism we stimulate energy. Driving in a different pattern will influence everything else and among these minute discrepancies, the conscious mind will be granted moments of clarity to solve other issues it is dealing with.
This is why I put so much emphasis on the need for more shamans in modern society. A conventional community needs someone unconventional to be complete; and also to allow avenues for unconventional improvements within its structure.
From a personal level, sporadically in my everyday life, people that know my profession will say things like: “You can’t say that, you are a shaman!” or ” I thought better of you, that is not spiritual at all!”. I must admit, I foresee and even provoke these reactions from certain people as a way to keep my spontaneity in check, but also to demonstrate how useless it is to cling to generic expectations from Life. Each one of us is a Universe and as such at all times we should have absolute freedom to expand in any direction we feel an impulse to. We should also accept, that the mechanics of this existence are not bound to an exact mathematical formula, but rather are gleaming with magical potential at all times. Try embracing this type of thinking and even act it out for a bit and you’ll perceive an immediate excitement. You’ll see life as the adventure it used to be when you were a child. What is even more awesome, is that Life itself will correspond back to you. This habit will also prepare you for those unexpected actions of people around you and the surprises that Life inevitably has in store for each if us.
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