A Shamanic Experience at the DMV
Yogis ponder how to live their practice off the mat. Meditators explore how to open their hearts off the cushion. And shamans, too, work with how to bring their ancient practice to the everyday—including in line at the DMV.
Contemporary shamanic teacher and practitioner Pat Heavren had recently taught a Munay-Ki workshop at Omega when she found herself at her local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Munay-Ki are rites of initiation, or energetic transmissions, from the medicine people of the Americas. The shamanic practice is a 9-step process to heal childhood and ancestral wounds.
One of the steps in Munay-Ki focuses on shamanic seeing, an area of mastery developed by those initiated into the path of the seer. In this practice, shamans directly experience a "changed" world as they shift their perception of what they see around them.
With the material fresh in her mind, Heavren decided to practice the shamanic technique of seeing during an uncomfortable and long wait at the DMV.
“I decided to set my focus on seeing the spark of divinity that I knew must be present beneath the mass of impatient and unhappy people waiting with me,” she said.
Heavren began the practice by noticing the details of the people around her—a woman trying to soothe her fussy baby, a young man in a cut-off t-shirt, and many people staring into “smart” devices.
After about five minutes of widening her field of perception, she heard the sound of a harmonica softly playing an old spiritual. She saw other people noticing it, too.
She turned around to find a man behind her creating this beautiful music. As she waited for her number to be called, he continued with one short tune after another, each a little louder than the previous.
“I watched the God-spark, the unifying, creative force of life, ignite and shift my perception of the DMV before my eyes,” she said.
Forty-five minutes later, when she approached the counter, she asked the woman at the window if she had ever had a customer serenade a crowd like that before.
“Not in my 16 years here,” the woman replied.
Much like yoga doesn't need its mat, and meditation doesn't need its cushion, shamanism doesn't need its drums, candles, and feathers to see. In fact, it might be places like the DMV that are most in need of a new set of eyes.
Adapted from an original article that appeared on elephantjournal.com. Used with permission.