What Happened in Haiti

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The makeup of Haiti

Last month someone asked about Tiger Woods and I wrote about how some individuals volunteer to become an icon or symbol for humanity. They live bigger than life and dramatically represent some of the big lessons humanity faces. In the same way certain regions do this for the world. If the whole world represents the collective psyche of humanity then Haiti represents that part of us that is downtrodden, overlooked, ignored, and dismissed.

Since Haiti does not hold valuable minerals nor is it strategically important to the United States it falls to the bottom of the priority list. Settled by slaves who rebelled against foreign rule it has a history of strife and rebellion. Haiti has always had a population heavy with survival and rule-oriented souls with a smattering of relationship oriented souls trying to help out. This is a way of saying that the population of Haiti is generally not highly sophisticated and the lessons there have a great deal to do with surviving and experiencing the rudiments of living in community. Generally they have been ruled by corrupt strong men who often prey upon these types of populations. The life lessons in Haiti are quite difficult and it is typical for younger souls to struggle with the raw power of nature. This is an important part of the human experience and it is usually handled in the earlier soul levels. Mostly you find older souls choosing birth in safer places with less chance of mass destruction.

Some young success oriented souls have left Haiti to pursue careers in sports, music, or other endeavors, usually in the United States. Some of them have experienced quite a measure of fame and have brought their nation some degree of acclaim. Many relationship oriented Haitians have pursued higher education and have become doctors and professionals who care take for the larger population of Haiti.

Why Haiti?

Because of the profoundly devastating earthquake, the whole world is riveted on the loss of life, the human suffering, the rescues, and the first stages of reorganizing the nation. It becomes a kind of challenge for the richer nations to figure out how they are going to deal with such absolute chaos. It is also a rehearsal for what is to come in other places. This is only the beginning of a series of destabilizing events around the globe that may prove extremely costly over time. Haiti has the dubious distinction of being the first in this series. As long as the population there remains the same, there is little chance that they will be able to recover or rule themselves very effectively without massive help. They need some midwifery if they ever hope to transcend their current state of affairs.

These natural disasters are particularly drawn to neglect and human suffering through the basic law of like attracts like. Human suffering begets human suffering. This should be obvious by now. Some people ask, “How could God do this over and over to such a downtrodden people?” Well, it’s not God that instigates this sort of thing. It is the human collective ego that causes these types of events in order to maintain its control. God, if you will, accepts what we choose through our ignorance, resistance, or whatever. Of course God would be totally willing for it to be a different way if we allowed that. God is simply not to blame here, but blaming is a good excuse to decide God does not exist.

Haiti as projection

Large scale catastrophes are always projections of our own collective personal processes. One of these themes is neglect and abuse. Every human being, at some level, whether past or present has some experience with intense suffering regarding shame, abuse, victimization and the like. When these processes are not healed and have collected to the point of overload, there is a mass projection onto a region prone to natural disaster such as Haiti. By working through the large catastrophe, people often get in touch with their own unfinished business and are able to begin a personal healing process.

Now consider the neglected aspect of your own psyche, the part of yourself that has been relegated to the bottom of the priority list. Perhaps it is the part of yourself that is less sophisticated, that you are ashamed of, that has been abused, is more dependent, and suffers from self-deprecation, martyrdom, or even self-destruction. Maybe this part of yourself has been shoved under the bed, thrown some crumbs now and again but certainly not taken seriously. Then all of a sudden this part of yourself causes a mishap, gets a disease, instigates your involvement in an accident so you can no longer hide your pain. What do you do? These outward symptoms force you to ask for help. They bring this part of yourself to the forefront for all to see and it is not pretty. But there is a way it is also humanizing for you to be seen and looked after for awhile. This type of destabilizing event offers a choice. You can pay attention and stay involved or you can quickly rush onward to the next excitement and forget all about your pain until it builds up again to an explosive force. When it is projected outward onto an event like the earthquake in Haiti, the same phenomena may prevail. We as a world can be aware and stay involved or we can quickly go to sleep and forget all about the earthquake once the novelty wears off. This if course insures another catastrophe as soon as the tension builds again.

Perhaps through international cooperation with the Haitians we can begin to set a course for this nation to rise up, rebuild, and create a simple but positive society that works well in the environment there. Just as we all had lots of help growing up from infancy through childhood or we would not have survived, human communities need the same kind of support and assistance to evolve and grow. We are at a choice point once again.

So it is quite natural at this time for many people to ask themselves, “What should I do?” Should I board a plane and head for Haiti to feed people or support them in some way? Should I send money or goods? If I can’t, am I neglectful or a selfish person?” Each person must come to some kind of satisfying answer to all the questions they ask of themselves. This becomes more of a dilemma if we are devoted to seeing things as separate and divided up. However if we see our experience as unified then we know that Haiti is not over there but right here and those people we call Haitians are simply us in different appearing forms. Just knowing this generates a healing process. When we recognize we are in this together in the most intimate way, we communicate our love and support to all those who have volunteered to suffer. What if we were to ask the question, “What would it be like if I were to help the people in Haiti, in addition to sending resources and perhaps instead of going there to help clean up and rebuild?” Since in a unified reality the question is not separate from the answer, the answer is imbedded in the question. Just by asking the question we initiate a healing force that knows no limits. By asking the question sincerely we are part of a loving force that produces real results in ways we cannot imagine.

For example, when I ask that question I might be shown how sweeping the nation with a strong rose color in my imagination could be most helpful as would be enclosing the country in a star tetrahedron. I also might be shown that invoking the assistance of a powerful spiritual master for those people who need it the most, is a very good and helpful thing. In addition I could be reminded that making a gift of tobacco to the elements of weather could be quite helpful in alleviating further devastation by weather patterns and earthquake aftershocks. These simple actions may not seem like anything at all but often like a homeopathic remedy, less is more, and the results may be rather impressive. What if tens of thousands of people acted similarly? Is it possible that, as if by magic, supplies reach their destinations more rapidly and people thought lost or too severely injured are found or healed?

Is it also possible that the greater your upset, the greater the emotional turmoil, the greater the drama, the less effective the help you give even if you have sent over a great deal of money. Could this emotional intensity only add more misery to what already exists over there? Better to send donations with a smile and joy in your heart. Better to use your imagination creatively and playfully to help rather than be anguished for the Haitians.

Help comes in many forms and not always in the ways that are typical. Perhaps there are clues here how to deal with many of the dilemmas that seem to be beyond our ability to do anything about. If we are all connected than perhaps simply closing my eyes and seeing something joyful is better than feeling helpless and doing nothing.


José Stevens

José Luis Stevens, PhD is the president and co-founder (with wife Lena) of Power Path Seminars, an international school and consulting firm dedicated to the study and application of shamanism and indigenous wisdom to business and everyday life. José completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol (Wixarika) Maracame (Huichol shaman) in the Sierras of Central Mexico. In addition, he is studying with Shipibo shamans in the Peruvian Amazon and with Paqos (shamans) in the Andes in Peru. In 1983 he completed his doctoral dissertation at the California Institute of Integral Studies focusing on the interface between shamanism and western psychological counseling. Since then, he has studied cross-cultural shamanism around the world to distill the core elements of shamanic healing and practice. He is the author of twenty books and numerous articles including Encounters With Power, Awaken The Inner Shaman, The Power Path, Secrets of Shamanism, Transforming Your Dragons and How To Pray The Shaman’s Way.

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You may make copies of this writing and distribute it in any media you wish, so long as you do not charge for it or alter it in any way. You must credit the author and include this entire copyright notice. While the text may be shared, no audio files, including lectures, music and/or sound meditations, may be posted on any site for any reason without written permission from the Power Path.

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