“Make no mistake about it – Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or becoming happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It is seeing through the façade of pretense. It is the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” ~Adyashanti
Finding purpose in life is no easy undertaking in a culture as distorted, confused and mechanistic as ours. This is especially so when you consider how little emphasis and value we place on ritual and rites of passage, for, as young people come up in this world, there are very few opportunities to shed the old self and step into the new person whom one must become in order to be a happy and productive member of society.
Self-actualization and individuation are given little attention, and when you add to this the influence of corporate interests, the confusion is exacerbated. When the confusion reaches a peak, we are diagnosed with psychological disorders and all-too-often drugged into conformity, when no one really knows what exactly is happening to you.
“You become completely lobotomized by a culture that doesn’t know what really the hell is going on with you.” ~Malidoma Patrice Somé
Author and spiritual leader Malidoma Patrice Somé is a Dagara elder of Burkina Faso, Africa. His insight into the challenging spiritual journey of healers and shamans in our contemporary world was described in the article, What a Shaman Sees in a Mental Hospital, which discusses the vastly different ways cultures can look at a person who seems to be going ‘crazy,’ or experiencing a mental crisis.
To Somé, a crisis of this type is akin to receiving a call from the spirit world, which serves to disrupt ordinary consciousness and compels the person on a journey of discovery to find out how to reconcile the material and spiritual energies at play in their life. If the call goes unanswered or is ignored all together, the crisis appears to deepen as the person is driven mad by the refusal to integrate spiritual energy in a way that serves them and their community.
This type of enlightenment is a type of awakening to one’s inherent healing powers, and they must first heal themselves, then turn their constructive energies toward the service of their community. At first it does indeed appear to be a destructive process, but experienced elders and healers rally to help the individual, their unique purpose can be fully recognized, and their sickness becomes a gift which can help other people.
This is vastly different from modern Western culture, where behavioral and psychological anomalies are perceived as chemical imbalances, neurosis, and other problems that need to be ‘fixed’ in order to achieve conformity and uniformity in behavior and identity.
The short video of Somé speaks to the cultural differences in how these disturbances are viewed, and to the sincere value in paying attention to and answering the healer’s call.
Read more articles by Dylan Charles.
About the Author
Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and host of The Battered Souls Podcast, both dedicated to ideas of personal transformation, societal awakening, and planetary renewal. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.
This article (An African Shaman Explains What it Means to Answer the Healer’s Call) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.