Shamanic visualisation and journeying stimulates visual, holographic imaging and it involves all senses. It aims at stimulating your in-tuition, your tuition from within, rather than stimulating intellectual reflection and imagination. I saw that the balancing effect and the release and the healing were much deeper when intuitive images are allowed to appear freely without being filtered by the mind. When I was in schools, hospitals and child-care centres I just played around and came up with my own versions of journeys based on what I had learned from my shamanic teachers. I wanted the journeys to provide a kind of inner screen that could be used for the projection of own images that would arise. And not pre-formed stories that don’t leave much space for own unconscious images to come up.
My approach was and is not about guiding the children through a set story but to support and inspire them to access their inner wisdom and power. What I played around with goes a little deeper. I want to enable the children, and anybody else for that matter, to access that inner place of power and balance where they can gain insights and new energy. Through the connection to this place they are able to face life’s challenges, they will find inner peace and they can communicate their visions.
That is, in my view, the power of shamanic journeys: They guide you to a certain place within-without, and leave space for any images that come up.
Visualisation is not something that children have to learn. They do it all the time! When they play pirates, prince and princesses, and whatever role play they might choose. Children meditate and visualise in their everyday life when they are young. It’s a natural state of mind and an ability we all have when we are born. When you observe newborn babies up to the age of 2, they usually spend long periods of time in a contemplative state of mind that we could call meditation. I just saw a 2 year old boy sitting in the shallow water on the beach, playing with his fingers in the sand and in the water for almost 20 minutes, completely content and fulfilled within himself. That’s meditation.
Our modern society and lifestyles usually counteract this natural way of being. As we grow, we are systematically and constantly thrown out of this state. “Come on, get ready, we have to pick up your sister!” “Hurry up, we have to be at the dentist in 5 minutes!” Without realizing it we interrupt these precious times of contemplation again and again – and by the age of 4 most children are unable to focus on something by themselves for longer periods of time. They expect somebody to tell them what to do or to entertain them. They are used to schedules, rules, instructions, programmes that structure and regulate their lives. When they are adults they book meditation courses to learn how to access their inner source of power, this place of stillness and contemplation where they can find balance.
In the last few years, more and more children come into the physical world who show us the imbalance of the systems we have created. They do this by not functioning or rebelling or resisting against these systems. Over 70000 children in NZ are labelled dyslexic. The list of dysfunctions seems growing day by day: ADHD, nature deficit syndrome, autism, sensory disorder, but also physical disorders such as obesity, sleeplessness, etc. Suicide and crime rates amongst young people explode. This happens all over the world, and the numbers rise dramatically. And we usually react by trying to make them fit into the existing systems. We try to get them "back on track" in order to enable them to lead a "successful life".
I have been lucky to meet and play with a lot of these messengers as I like to call them. Messengers, because in my understanding they carry the message for us to review our systems, upgrade/update them or create them anew. From my view, the children who are born now – no matter if they show behavioural peculiarities and dysfunctions or not – do not have to be guided or educated in the ways we have established in Western societies. They already have a lot of skills and knowledge on board that they could share with us. They come with a whole range of precious abilities that offer a different perspective and approach and go far beyond our limited perspective of reality.
If we would choose to listen and open up to their ways they would possibly present us with unexpected refreshing new answers and solutions! This would require a change of direction in the ways we think. We would have to let go of the need to teach them and to guide them. We would have to learn to follow them and be receptive. I have seen myself the amazing results when I managed to do this. It needs a kind of de-programming, unlearning and clearance of old thought patterns, it needs trust and faith in the unknown and in the power of life represented in our children. And it needs will-power to allow for a change and to face our fears and worries that go along with many change processes.
The son of a friend of mine is dyslexic and he possesses an amazing ability to perceive things visually. He can grasp and recall any detail of complex construction plans within seconds. It’s absolutely fascinating. In Silicon Valley a high percentage of the employees is dyslexic because of their ability of visual imagery. Thomas West, author of In the Mind’s Eye: Visual Thinkers, began to research new ways of learning and presenting data through visualisation. This new approach opens information to people who couldn't handle it in the old way. People at the bottom of the class who were before restricted to words and numbers may be at the top of the class in this new world of images and rich information.
Geniuses in many fields of science, like Einstein, have used their visual imagination. Einstein would play with images in his mind, move them backward and forward and look at them from different viewpoints. In time, he understood an image or problem sufficiently to visualise it whenever he wanted. Only then would he begin the work of translating the images into words, numbers, and formulas. Some children who appear not very proficient in the conventional school system fly to the top of the class when put in a more visual system.
Eve Hanf Eno, an author I met through a Japanese friend of mine, is autistic. She can grasp the essence of a book just by placing her hand on the pages. She communicates through automatic writing with a keyboard. A lot of autistic children I met can perceive atmospheres, feelings, etc. and communicate via holographic images or telepathy – we often just don’t understand them because we did not develop and practise these ways of communication.
These children’s message may be: Look beyond your world of words and numbers. There is much more to life and this world than words and numbers can express and grasp.
Instead of giving them drugs and thinking about ways how we can make them fit into our systems, we could choose to open up to their way of being and learn how they perceive the world - and expand our consciousness.
And here the circle closes: One way of sharing and connecting is the old practice of shamanic journeying. It is a tool or skill for us to connect with our children as well as a tool for them to keep or regain their balance. Because visualisation and music is a language they will understand. It is a universal language that connects us with the source of all life and therefore with all beings, all life; animals, plants, people who speak other languages or don’t speak at all.
As I mentioned before, for our children all this is not “new”. From my experience, they do not have to learn it. It’s more a re-connection and stimulation of this ability for the older ones and an encouragement and support to keep this ability for the younger ones. In my view, it’s an essential tool to keep the balance and to communicate with each other and our life force.