A new José Stevens Article


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This next year is an important development in a short or long process of transformation, depending on how you see it. Everyone is reaching a state of saturation and exhaustion regarding the oncoming variants of the pandemic, the insane fascist politics, climate change, the spiraling levels of gun violence, drug addiction, self-destruction, and bad behavior. However, this is just the beginning not the end. This means that you cannot afford to be exhausted yet or you will not be able to see it through to the other side. More than anything you will need stamina, perseverance, resilience, and the only way to get in touch with these ways of being is to staunch the energy leaks and find a more neutral stance that allows you to carry on without exhaustion. You will have to release your fear, your anger, your outrage, your feelings of victimization. Those are energy leaks exhausting you.

Although there is no immediate end in sight for our transformative process, there are chutes and ladders on the way and this next year, while not easy, will have some definite moments of relief, inspiration, and reinforcement. Little by little the tendencies toward destructiveness will take their toll in the sense that those that are self-destructive will be the reapers of the consequences of behaving badly. Those that want to destroy what has been so painstakingly built will fall into disunity and conflict and cracks will begin to appear in their effectiveness at moving the world toward their own nefarious goals. There will be inspiration, relief, and hope. However, these external forms of relief can only go so far. They are not enough to carry you through to the other side. For this you must have personal resilience, a sense of belief, and a philosophy that can carry you and not let you down. That is where the work is.

If you are too passive you won’t make it. If you are too stunned and paralyzed you won’t make it. If you are just waiting to see which way the wind blows and relying on others to provide support and relief you won’t make it. You yourself must be the one who provides support, who is able to inspire others, one who can point the way. This is called leadership. If you are too beaten up, then you may need to step aside and allow those with the energy to be the pathfinders, to forge the way. We don’t need to make their task harder by complaining and whining and bringing everyone else down.

What you see with your eyes, what you hear with your ears is not the truth.  A good hypnotist can get you to see anything, can get you to hear anything but that does not mean it’s true or is real.  We are all hypnotized and conditioned to believe nonsense. We’ve been programmed for centuries. We think our narratives are the only truth, we believe in unimaginable limitations, we see ourselves as victims and as helpless. We see ourselves as without value, without worth. We see ourselves as only human. A pack of lies but no blame.  Time to open our minds and hearts to something dramatically new and different. Yes, we can move mountains but not with these personalities, these egos. That is not going to happen. An ego is incapable of moving even a grain of sand and never will.

Let us take a look at the magnitude of what we are faced with. A good example would be to look at our dilemma about how to overcome climate change without wrecking our economies. It’s a perfect metaphor. We know what it will take to spare this planet the worst of what is to come. So, we make breathless promises to the world about what we are going to do. Yet year after year we don’t do it. Why? Because we firmly believe it would destroy us economically and that it would cause us to lose our superpower status and competitive edge with the other superpowers of the world. We don’t trust that any other country will follow through with their promises and if we are the only one that does we believe we will be taken advantage of by the other superpowers who we believe will destroy us. So even as we promise the sky we sell drilling rights in the United States, open up massive new open pit coal mines in Russia, develop new coal plants in China and India, and buy coal and fossil fuels all over the world from the superpowers.

Now remember this is a metaphor for a much more personal process. We each cling to our personal narrative, insist on thinking of ourselves as separate selves encased in personalized skin containers and we research where the safest places in the world are to live as if there were some place like that. In other words, we insist upon seeing ourselves in an old, dead paradigm way that is completely unsustainable, leading us inevitably to our ultimate demise. It is as if we were still insisting the world is flat even while sending rockets to the moon and mars and all over the solar system. We want everyone else to change but we don’t want to change our own fundamental flawed paradigm. That can’t work.

The only possible hope of correcting our current course is through a radical re-understanding of what we are and who we are. In this short article I will be very cryptic about this but in articles to come we will go into much more detail. Let’s just say for now that there has been a way of seeing ourselves that has been described by a few mystics, shamans, alchemists, spiritual masters, Zen masters, Toltecs, Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists, Islamic, Judaic, and Christian mystics each in their own way but with common threads. The common threads are these: we are non-dual beings who have become lost in the belief that we are in a dualistic reality.

We can correct this distortion in a very simple way: by re-seeing ourselves, one another, and the world at large. There is only one of us and we could summarize that way of seeing by calling it Spirit, Presence, Awareness, or Consciousness. Even though the term has become horrendously distorted we could even call it God. When we re-see and reclaim the world in this way the truth of it resonates everywhere and corrects all other distortions. This way of seeing ourselves and the world is set to become the next major paradigm. No longer will it be the purview of the very few. This different paradigm is the great wake-up call and it has already begun. Within a few centuries this paradigm will become dominant. There will still be distortions but they will be vastly shrunk compared to what exists today. After all there will always be lessons to learn.

Denial of this new paradigm through resistance, fear, and craving personal ambitions and goals will create enormous unnecessary suffering. Right now, we have basic foundations for this new paradigm springing up around the world but as usual in a dualistic paradigm they are antagonistic to one another. Let’s take some examples. In Asia there is a much greater understanding about group belonging and giving up some personal freedom for the benefit of the entire society not unlike what we see in a beehive, ant colony, or termite mound. However, this way of understanding oneself is horribly distorted and abused by the restriction of personal expression by authoritarian governmental systems that seek to crush individual freedoms and alternative viewpoints.

In the West individual freedom of expression is held as a great value but it is so exaggerated that what we end up with is extremely selfish and narcissistic behavior instead of cooperation and consideration of the common good. “It’s a free country” has come to mean I can do whatever I want when I want and the rest of the people be damned. “Don’t tread on me” means I will fight back with weapons if anyone blocks what I want to do. Of course, these are terrific distortions fed by the old dualistic paradigm. Yet you can see the seeds of a new paradigm within them. What if people understood that other people were essentially differing expressions of themselves and that everyone can be shown respect, love, and concern without any loss to themselves? What if people understood that everyone can express their creativity within reason and that there is no threat to the whole when people are able to express who they are? What if people understood that any violence toward others is always violence toward themselves and any abuse or attempts to oppress always has personal unpleasant consequences?

Now that right there would be a totally new paradigm for humanity. However, that is just the beginning of what awaits us. What is awaiting us is a total revolution in our awareness that will impact every facet of life, from economics to science to education to philosophy, technology, medicine, politics, government, and all the rest.

When you think you are too tired and exhausted to take any more of the chaos we now are seeing, relook at the stakes in this game. It is way too soon to throw in the towel, to feel sorry for yourself, to be in a helpless rage. Everyone is going to have to do their part to support this transformation. You will need stamina!  Gandhi was right when he said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” When you are that change you become extraordinarily powerful even if you think you are unknown and helpless. You don’t need money or conventional tools to support this change. All you need to do is reposition yourself, see the world differently as you would like to see it. See it with love in your heart. That is the beginning right there. It costs nothing but your old viewpoint. You will be joined by millions of others. How will you know? Because it is time and you will sense the change.

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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.