Meditate in the Direction You Want to Go | Omega

Shamans learned how to wire the brain for bliss, says medical anthropologist Alberto Villoldo. Learn how modern science confirms ancient shamanic practices and how you can access them for greater health, wisdom, and happiness.

Omega: We are starting to see more advanced scientific research coming out to validate ancient lifestyle practices, especially when it comes to meditation. Can you discuss some of the specific findings that are most relevant to your shamanic teachings?

Alberto: One of the findings most relevant to shamanic teachings is switching on the genes for health and longevity. Science is now showing that meditation results in better brain health and longer telomeres, the end-caps of chromosomes that protect the integrity of DNA and determine health and longevity.

Amazon shamans discovered ways to protect the brain as we grow older, without being able to explain the science behind what they learned. They found that certain plants eliminated the debris inside brain cells and repaired the mitochondria, the power centers in the cell, so that their elders remembered the teaching stories and songs.

Working with plant medicine (food) and meditation, like these wise elders, we become more likely to enjoy a long health span with our brain and memory intact by switching on our longevity system.

This begins by repairing our cells’ power factories: the mitochondria. Science shows that our mitochondria are tiny organelles inside every cell, and their main job is to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy in the process known as metabolism.

Of course, our ancestors didn’t have a clue what mitochondria were. They referred to whatever prevented aging and decline as “the feminine life force.”

In shamanism, we can access this through the luminous energy field, or LEF. The LEF informs our cells and biome—the community of microorganisms in and on our body—about how to live in harmony. The LEF can be thought of as the software that instructs your DNA, the hardware, to repair your body. It does this through your brain and nervous system, and the chakras or energy centers in the body.

You can upgrade the quality of your LEF through meditation and walks in nature. But if you do not update your LEF, or if your brain is full of toxins, and your field cannot upgrade your body, then you simply create your health according to default programs inherited from your family.

In shamanic practices we use the experience of the medicine wheel and the sage teachings to target dysfunction and liberate ourselves from pre-determined fate.

We meditate with the Serpent of the South, the Jaguar of the West, the Hummingbird of the North, and the Eagle of the East to work with our LEF. This is done to transform dysfunctional emotional patterns founded on anger and fear, to support in the process of letting go of old, unhealthy ways of thinking so that you can experience healing with One Spirit Medicine.

Through these shamanic practices, we also learn to shed outworn narratives about the past and remove stressors in our life, which are the cause of many diseases in the world. We do all of this in conjunction with science (including food) to reset the cells’ death clocks and switch on longevity proteins.

Omega: It’s been said that the longest distance in the world is from the head to the heart. What are ways we can begin to connect these two important centers of the body?

Alberto: One of the most important shamanic practices that not only links head to heart but you to the Universe itself, is the vision quest.

The vision quest is an age-old ritual for connecting with Spirit and our own deepest purpose. It is traditionally a solitary pilgrimage—similar to the retreats undertaken by Jesus and the Buddha—preceded in many cultures by fasting and meditation.

The seeker then goes deep into the forest or another natural setting and opens to divine guidance. However, a vision quest requires fasting to awaken the body’s self-repair systems and stimulate production of stem cells in the brain and every organ in your body.

Additionally, an upgrade to your brain must happen first, which I talk about in-depth in my book One Spirit Medicine, or the vision quest will be nothing more than a camping trip.

I feel it’s been so challenging for people to connect head to heart because there’s a missing scientific element which makes it easier—detoxing your body first. After detoxing and powering your brain with superfoods, the quest can be a face-to-face meeting with your destiny, where you discover your ability to cocreate with Spirit and link head to heart with more ease.

Omega: What shamanic practices can everyday people incorporate into their daily lives?

Alberto: One of the greatest shamanic practices is that of the giveaway. Practicing this daily will help transform the three dreams, remain awake, and dream your world into being.

The village people of the Andes live the principle of the giveaway in their everyday affairs. The word used to describe it is "ayni," which scholars loosely translate from the Quechua as “reciprocity,” meaning “today for you, tomorrow for me.”

Yet ayni is much more than a business transaction between humans. In its most profound sense, it means sharing the generosity of the Primordial Light, which is boundless and expects nothing in return.

In practicing the giveaway in three key ways, it is likely that you will experience greater happiness and well-being in your daily life, however the goal of this sacred practice is transforming the world by bringing beauty and healing where there is ugliness, alleviating the suffering of others, and creating peace where there is conflict.

The first giveaway to practice is truth. Speak your truth freely because your truth encourages you to lead from vulnerability.

The second giveaway is beauty. See beauty everywhere you go and point it out to everyone. As you practice beauty you get to taste infinity and touch your own immortality.

The third giveaway is love. Love is the most powerful force in the universe and the universe always mirrors back to you everything that you offer it. It is the practice of paying it forward, without expecting anything in return.

Paying it forward means giving thanks when there’s nothing apparent to be thankful for. It means being appreciative when life dishes out the bitter herbs as well as the sumptuous feast.

Omega: Many people are feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of challenges in the world and the pace at which life is moving. What ancient advice can people apply to help cope with the realities of today and dream a better world?

Alberto: Perceive beauty even when there seems to be only ugliness around you. When everyone sees only darkness, point out the flickering flame that lies hidden in the shadows. Beauty requires stillness, pausing, stopping in your tracks at the sight of the new blossom in the almond tree or by the cactus flower that only blooms for one night.

Seeing beauty is not a passive act. It is one of the most active and empowering deeds because by perceiving only beauty you are dreaming beauty into creation. When you see beauty above all else, you are transforming the map you carry of reality because even though we are all searching for the beautiful, we are conditioned to see ugliness and to be fascinated by bad news.

Speak words of beauty, including the words, “thank you.” It is in those acts that beauty will seek and find you. Your outer world will also be infused with splendor as you tap into the power of beauty, which is the ability to cocreate with the Primordial Light.

Beauty is the colors, reality is the canvas, and you are the brush with which you splash the light of many shades and dream the world into being.

This is your sacred task, to complete creation with beauty, in beauty, from beauty. Give your beauty freely unto others, and beauty will surround you until the end of your days.

Omega: Is it enough to "dream a better world" or do we need to take action?

Alberto: Before we can dream a better world into being, we must first understand there are three daydreams keeping us from experiencing our sacred dream: the dream of security, the dream of permanence, and the dream of love that is unconditional.

When we are still in those dreams, which are really nightmares, the world we are dreaming into being is one of fate or a life pre-determined by our genetics and our family history.

Transforming these dreams-turned-nightmares requires action. It means facing each of them to uncover the divine Truth.

So yes, we must take action before we can dream a better world into being. We must first personally transform these dreams because as we do, we are actively participating in choosing a new vision for the world.

As we wake up, we help others wake up and together dream a world of peace, healing, and beauty where we live in harmony with the Earth.

© 2018 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

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