Shamanic Experience: The Fields of Potential

My own knowledge of Potential comes through experience.  I believe Potential is one of the variables for variations in the depth and availability of psychic experiences (such as intuition, telepathy, and divination), as well as the backdrop to available experience generally.

I’ll begin with observation.  I’ve participated in a great many shamanic circles over the last 27 years. I’ve observed that with less experienced practitioners, journey-found answers to queries could vary widely, and were occasionally contradictory.   Following up with outcomes, sometimes answers were helpful or predictive, other times not.  I pondered on this.  My first thought was that some practitioners were just better.  I also considered that sometimes answers filled in different aspects of the same question.  Another possibility was that practitioners (consciously or unconsciously) wanted to avoid being bearers of bad news – providing a hopeful response to a negative prognosis. Hope is sometimes kinder than harsh potential (and it is possible the helping spirits saw it that way in their communication). Besides, who wants to be the Cassandra of myth?  I concluded that individual differences in ability and style may account for some of the variation of results, but I wasn’t satisfied that I had arrived at understanding.

Take the following (perhaps common) shamanic experience: sometimes retrieving a power animal for someone was easy, sometimes difficult.  Sometimes I had to travel a long way into Dream.  How come?  Something slightly out of the reach of my consciousness seemed to be telling me that there was more to the story.

As I became more experienced I began to refine my observations (especially in a ten-year period in the 1990s working regularly with the same group of practitioners).

I noticed there were times everyone had, more or less, the same shamanic answer to a query, and that the answers came relatively easily. My conclusion was that these situations were addressing potentials that were likely to manifest in reality, fairly close the surface of expression – the readiness of fate. In this set of shamanic inquiries, various practitioners divined the same positive potential in strikingly similar symbols or described outcomes.  There were synchronicities amongst the shamanic journeys, and validity in the predicted or suggested outcome.  Good fortune, or at least the shamanic predictions, did indeed follow. One might account for this by suggesting everyone already knew the answer.  But some of the outcomes were unknowable, like an outcome to proposed surgery, or a path that the individual seemed somewhat averse toward.

At the next level of difficulty there were situations for which it seemed like it was more difficult to obtain reliable divination or potential outcome.  The answers seemed farther away, and the success of accurate divination went down. Individual practitioners seemed to find pieces of the answer or reliable directions of pursuit – suggested avenues of exploration.  The potential for a positive outcome seemed to be available, given a process of continued focused gathering.

At the far end of difficult, some situations seemed very distant indeed, beyond divination. Practitioners in a group would report very different waking dreams on the subject.  At best these divinations came out myth-like, a certain complexity to the symbols that might suggest riddles or processes to be worked on over time. Practitioners sometimes admitted to being stymied, or unable to provide a reliable divination. A lack of quality divination or healing potential seemed to define the outer reaches of Potential.

In these difficult divinations – problems that were chronic or long-term, problems that had seen the light of advanced shamanic techniques – sometimes I would travel a long way into Dream without sight of a course for healing.  But I could feel the situation just beyond my consciousness.  If I became very determined, I could journey to the farthest edge intention, and begin to see the shadows of resolution.  With the help of Power, I would will myself a little further, see just a little more.  I came to call these distant edges of intentional dream the furthest reaches of personal potential.  It felt like that.  In other words, I came to understand that the further and more distant into the mist of Dream one had to journey, the less potential it held within a given field of personal potential for a renewed manifest outcome in the foreseeable future.  Solutions seemed too distant to coalesce as desirable outcome in the foreseeable future.  There was no coercing Potential to follow me home.  Of course, some problems exist for their own obscure reasons, or as a personal process of discovery.

Finally I asked Power: “What is the nature of my searching.”  The answer: “You are searching in the fields of Potential.”  At the time, I did not know whether or not potential should be capitalized, but eventually came to understand the distinction is like Soul versus soul.   The potential with which we have (even peripheral) awareness is potential with a small p.  That potential that is undiscovered, but nonetheless available, is Potential.  Potential and Soul are linked.  “If it’s not in the field of one’s Potential, it is unlikely to manifest.”

In other words, when our potential is no longer waiting for us at the surface of our lives, it may involve a process of exploration and discovery to find it.  The road may be short, or the road may be long.  We are travelers in time.  When potential is lining up with our lives, outcomes can manifest in the most ordinary or in the most magical of ways.

I also discovered, the field of Potential is vast, far wider than most people realize.  I have also discovered that many problems are intended to be more challenging, to become a personal task like an Arthurian quest – a process of personal discovery through one’s own effort over time.  Like the building of a house in a new land.  You may own the land, but the land may be distant and difficult to access and to build on.  If the land can be found and “purchased,” it exists in a given field of Potential, and a house can be built.  Anyone who’s built an actual house knows that the process doesn’t usually go as smoothly as planned.

To summarize:
The proximity of Potential influences the perception that is outside the senses (shamanic vision, intuition, and psychic phenomena), as well as the likelihood of unfolding experience.  Situations become more available to intuitive processes when they are less hidden or distant – closer to manifest reality.

Next blog: Further exploration of Potential

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