Monday, December 13, 2010

just relax

after my last journey attempt, i decided to get a little more comfortable. i wanted my body to be free of the usual things that pester it: cold feet, a bump in my back, worry that someone will walk in and spoil my moment. so i decided that trial two of shamanic journeying would be done in my bed. it's nice and warm, soft, soothing -- just what my body needs to be no distraction for my mind. i collected my tools again, and began as i had before.

this time i was far too relaxed. my mind was so soothed by my relaxed body that i went right to sleep. obviously, some middle ground is what i need. i have to make a space that is comfortable, but not so soothing that i just want to snooze.

i've also come to realize that one can't just do a journey without mental preparation. prior to doing it, i have to talk to my mind. i have to tell it that it CAN do this thing. i have to prepare it for staying alert during this experience. i have to make this experience different in my mind from any other nap or sleeping time. my mind has to understand that it's journey time, only then can i begin.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

first journey attempt

i have a drumming CD so today i tried to do a shamanic journey with it. i got my supplies: a pillow, eye covering, ipod, earphones, privacy, and tried my first shamanic journey (since my recent relaxation exercises).

the first thing i noticed is that absolute comfort is essential, because when you are as conscious as i am, every little complaint brings me back into full wakefulness. laying on the floor on my back was painful unless i elevated my legs. the next time, i will just do it in my bed and maybe even while laying on my side. that's the most comfortable sleep position for me, so it may work for this too.

my blindfold was a fleece headband used for skiers. it also help to keep my earphones in place. the earphones that i used had those little sleeves to go inside the ear canal. this helped to exclude any street noise outside my house that i couldn't control. i also had to put on a sweater and heavy socks to keep my feet warm. i did my best to just relax.

at first i just lay there thinking, "ho hum, here i am with a rather monotonous noise in my head." after the first five minutes, the sound wasn't really present so much. it became one of those noises that one doesn't notice until after it shuts off. it just became a hum at the edge of my awareness.

my mind wandered a bit and impressions began to appear. this felt exactly the same as those moments just before i fall asleep, when my mind is just starting to weave some kind of dream, but it isn't really solidified enough to carry me off for the night. it felt basically like daydreaming.

retaining my lucidity was very difficult and several times i just drifted into the dream without remembering what had happened. i didn't remember very much from my experience, but i was encouraged enough to try again tomorrow. i'm using some exercises from lucid dreaming to try to retain my awareness.

stuck in the conscious

the most recent lesson on my spiritual journey centers around my uncanny ability to remain conscious. trance work and shamanic journeying really doesn't work for me. though i've spent time studying how to be committed to a stage character, become okay with being watched, public speaking, let go of inhibitions, etc., my brain is still rather afraid to let go of the conscious world. i suspect its afraid of the unknown feeling of being floating in the waters of the spiritual world. some days i feel like the kid who stopped his swim lesson because he was too afraid of the water to make his first jump off the diving board.

i've tried many times to just jump in. i've prepared in every way that the writers of such things have advised. but when i finally get down to doing it, my mind just sits there refusing to go. talking someone into jumping off a cliff isn't easy. all of the reassurance that their landing will be soft isn't going to dispel the fear their body feels. no matter how many times i tell myself that the action is safe, i can't deprogram the fear my conscious mind has for journeying.

i've heard that satanists use an "intellectual decompression chamber" in some of their ceremonies to help them leave behind the conscious thinking self. it is a technique that has been recommended to me and i'm going to give it a try, but i'd love to find a more clever way to release this tense mind-muscle.

i'll let you know how this process develops.