Walking Through The Doorway Of Questions
It's always an amazing increase in awareness, when the right questions are asked and then the doorways they lead us through are passionately gone through with all we have. In a totally inclusive world view such as A Course In Shamanism maintains, how then, can a question be deemed right? Does that mean that there are wrong questions? Right answers? Good questions! Let's back up though. It isn't really a "right" question we are looking to ask, but a "right for" question the practitioner is looking to explore. Right for what? Right for being a doorway that once unlocked, allows us to enter into a larger, more expansive room. With awareness, that room would be in line with an inclusive world view, and therefore would contain more things that we then become aware of out of having walked through that doorway. All well and good, sounds great, right? But how? How do we increase our awareness by walking through a doorway we are calling a "question?" Another great question, so in order to explore that doorway, let's start walking through it.
If you have studied philosophy to any degree whatsoever, you have heard of the first and standard question all philosophers begin with regarding asking about the human condition. "Who am I?" And then, if you continue to study the many writings on this who discovery process, you come to be told a thousand times over that "who you are is everything" or something similar to an answer that really for most of us answers nothing. You are even told by a myriad of organizations, hierarchies, and institutions, that you can find out "who you really are" if only you follow their path and do all these rituals involving enormous amounts of time, money, and energy, your time, money, and energy by the way, in order to:
a) Save yourself
b) Absolve yourself
c) Be forgiven for your sins
d) Enter into paradise
e) Get better
g) Had enough examples? Sound familiar?
With the irony being that the "who" you are, you are trying to save by doing all these "belief gymnastics" since it's "everything," is also "nothing," and so doesn't even exist, except for in your mind. In other words, whoever you are in the present moment, you're making it all up, Buddy! And we are. What irony!
What if, instead, we ask another question, one that isn't intellectually oriented around philosophy, hierarchy, "education," domination, control, or the R word (religion) but is oriented around the other R word: reality. That's right, whether ordinary or non-ordinary, it's still reality, and that's because reality is simply that which you can be aware of. So what's the question? Simple. It's the most powerful and enlightening question you can ever ask about who you are, because it's a doorway that the unlocking of, puts you squarely into your freedom, and on a path toward truly discovering not only who and what you really are, experientially, but as well, toward a discovery of your totality of self, and that question is:
Where, are you?
That's right, not what, but where does the "who you are" actually exist? Why is this a power question, a doorway into the unknown? (With the unknown simply being all that which a human being can know, but you don't necessarily know yet.) And why desire to plumb the unknown? We desire to plumb the unknown as Steel Shamans (from the book of the same name: The Steel Shaman) because for whatever our lives look like right now, in order for any of us have them look any other way, ever, we are going to have to draw from that which we do not know, or have not experienced yet, in order to bring that information into the known. Whether happiness, success, satisfaction, riches, experiences of non-ordinary reality, increases in awareness or unconditional love, more money, or better relationships, if we don't yet have what we want, it's got to come from somewhere. The somewhere "it" comes from is always then, what we haven't known yet, or the unknown. Hence the great desire the Steel Shaman has for opening up doorways into the unknown and then walking through them. In A Course In Shamanism, the unknown behind door number one is a portal to an ever-expanding increase in unconditional love and awareness which automatically generates the experience of experiences, that of awe. The good news is that regardless of what it is you seek, exploring the "where are you" question will allow you access to much more of the unknown than you currently are experiencing. How?
If you think about it, have you ever discovered where you are? I mean, you know who you are from all the names you give things, "I am Joe" and so on. And you know what you do, "I'm a business owner" or "I teach kids." And you know all about where you come from, "I am from Cincinnati" and so on. We may be illusions in that we don't last forever, but given that we do last for however long that we do, then it's nice to be centered around a picture of who we are, where we came from, and basically what we do in life. That's the societal who we are. But where is this "societal" who? It's in the middle of your head, and nowhere else. What? That's the "where we are?" You bet. Who do you think makes up all the preferences you have, regardless of the influences that have borne down upon your life? You did. Who is it who decides how you will react to a particular circumstance in whatever special way who you are, reacts to that event? You do. And the you who does this preferring, where does it exist? Again, in the middle of your head, right where who you are lives, in totality. In totality? That's right. "But what about all my stuff?" Well, that's your stuff, not who you are. It's the car outside in the driveway, it's the house you live in, all of which are great, but they are not who you are. They are, well, your stuff. They don't exist inside your head, they're what we call "reality." But the irony is that the who you are who accumulates that stuff is more real than the stuff you gather unto you! Because have you ever noticed that those famous people who fail miserably, often come back so quickly with more stuff than before they failed? Why is that? Because who they are doesn't exist in their stuff, but in the middle of their heads.
Now what's the purpose of the pathway this particular question of "where are you" will lead us to achieve? One and only one: personal power. The personal power to choose how our lives look like, feel like, and what experiences we desire to have, in total. If we desire to become more aware, to become more aware. If we desire to become rich, to become rich. If we desire to be surrounded by loving family, then to be surrounded by loving family. Or in the work of A Course In Shamanism, to ever-expand in unconditional love and awareness, in order to both maintain and expand our experience of awe. Why do this? Why access our personal power in this way, so that we can actually use it? Why, because we love living lives of choice like this. Do any of us really even have to ask why?
Okay back to where we are. If where we exist, isn't "out there" in our stuff, including our jobs, our cars, or our houses, as they are but manifestations of who we are, not who we are, then where does knowing this through the doorway of the question "where are we?" come into play? Ah, great question! It's one that's like oil on the lock guarding that doorway of "where are we?" The play comes from the discovery that once we know where we are, totally in the middle of our heads, then who and what has the power to change that who into anyone or anything we desire to be? In other words, if we only exist in this nebulous place of mind, whatever that is, and we have the intention to change our minds, can't we create ourselves in any one now moment into anyone we desire to be? For instance, if we have thoughts, feelings, and actions, all aligned with someone who is poverty stricken, and instead of staying in that mindset, we change the stuff in the middle of our heads, and develop an abundance mindset, can our lives change? You bet they can! I am always reminded of the story of the little boy in Jamaica who was born into a family of eight brothers and sisters that Wayne Dwyer tells about. That little boy's grandmother talked to the middle of his head, and told him he could be anyone and do anything he wanted to be or do. Of the eight, he was the one who actually listened to her apparently. Because all his siblings are still back in Jamaica, in poverty, wondering where their next meal is going to come from, because they refused to move away from where they were, and instead, kept on maintaining who they were, when he did not. What he did, was to eventually get an education through changing the location of who he was, from poverty to riches, and became a doctor who now has a successful practice in Miami. How's that for knowing "where you are" and then moving that to another place!
And it's not like we don't all know how to do this. We do. Affirmations, visualizations, vision boards, mentors, courses, seminars, books, tapes, audios, videos, and information, tons of which is totally free, and abounds everywhere all around us, all of which would, if we but align our energy with those teachings, shift us from where we are, to where we would like to be. You name the game, and then you get to claim! And what you get to claim is the life you would like to have. And if you don't? It's not because you can't, it's because you won't. Nope. Not going to buy a darn thing but that. Too many people have gone too many places they wanted to go, by the sheer will of their intentions, for that not to be a tried and true method of changing their lives, through changing the person they were holding in the middle of their heads from whatever it was, into whoever they decided to make themselves be. It's called recreating yourself. And it's a whole lot easier to do, if you are suffering and in pain, because you certainly have the motivation to recreate yourself all around you then. That's why the inmates I have done this energy work with inside of the most secure prisons imaginable, have always been the most eager to learn how to change their lives. How again? By first discovering where you are at, and then getting a move on. It's all in the middle of your head anyway.
As a aside, this middle of your head observation about where we really exist, is not some airy fairy example that does not have real results in real lives. I have seen too many people recreate their lives by first finding out where they were and then getting a move on toward where they wanted to be. In order to do this movement, it's always easier to travel that path as light as possible, and that's why in the first part of the three parts of A Course In Shamanism, we spend so much time cleaning up or lives, literally throwing out all that heavy junk we don't need anymore. The "where we are right now" stuff. If for nothing else, and it's most definitely not for nothing else, cleaning up our lives feels so good. It also produces some astounding results, real stuff, in the real world, all from discovering a simple question that unlocks doors, asking it with all that we've got, and then walking through that doorway once opened. You go!