Rob is now teaching meditation twice a week at a local yoga studio. I don’t make the morning classes – way too early for me – but I usually make the evening classes, especially when it’s a shamanic meditation.
It took Rob about fifteen minutes to set up this evening before class because he had to make a medicine wheel. And since we have such a bumper crop of mangos, the wheel was made of – yes, mangos!
The class was divided into three parts. In the first part, he played a Sandra Ingerman CD. Right from the start of the CD, there’s music – rattles and drums. The monotony of the rhythm is strangely compelling for me. I immediately find myself drifting into an alpha state, then into theta. Ingerman provides brief explanations for what each direction means and the animal associated with it. The one irritating thing with the CD is that she started whistling – calling the spirits of each direction. That first whistle snapped me out of my relaxed state so quickly that I thought an alarm had gone off outside.
In the second part of the class, Rob takes us through a guided meditation for each of the four directions. We move around on the mat so we are facing the direction we’re working on. Bringing your body into alignment with the direction you’re addressing is particularly effective. It’s as if the energy contained within that direction becomes more focused.
The third part of the meditation was short and actually part of a larger meditation that we didn’t do because of lack of time. We lay with our heads to the south and Rob asked us to create our own definition of what the south means, a rather advanced shamanic technique. I was so relaxed at this point that I got lost.
I would love a class where we do this with each of the four directions. He addresses this in his meditation book, The Jewel in the Lotus: Meditation for Busy Minds, and a lot of the material for tonight’s class came from the book. It will be published this fall.
If you’d like to do the medicine wheel meditation on your own, put on a CD with rattles and drum music on it, then you can follow these guidelines, excerpted from Rob’s book. He uses the tradition of the Q’ero Indians from Peru, an indigenous tribe descended from the Incas:
In the Q’ero tradition, the journey begins in the South, which is considered the home of the Serpent. That’s where you heal old wounds and traumas by learning to shed the past, like the Serpent sheds its skin. Understand that you can let go of emotional wounds and old personal stories.
If you have recurring memories of incidents in which you were hurt or offended and still feel anger rage, that’s where you begin. You might immediately recognize the anger and toxic energy that you are carrying related to certain matters from the past.
Take at least fifteen minutes to allow one or more such memories to surface. If nothing occurs to you, don’t force it. Don’t look for troubling matters from the past. Let them surface on their own.
If your mind strays, imagine a snake meandering slowly past you. Or visualize it curled several times forming a spiral, turning inward, a symbol of wholeness, of the inward journey. You have no fear of the serpent, because it will do you no harm. You’ll know that you’ve completed your journey to the South when, in your daily life, you are reminded of an unpleasant incident and you don’t react in the usual manner.
The journey moves to the West, where you encounter the Jaguar, who teaches you about life, death, and rebirth. Visualize the Jaguar. See its glowing eyes. Notice its power and agility.
The West is about moving ahead and embracing what’s new, what’s coming into your life. It’s about moving beyond fear, anger, guilt, and shame. You learn to face fears and overcome them. You let go of relationships that no longer serve you. You cross a bridge from your old ways to your new life. Old, outmoded relationships fall away. You can now speak your truth without fear.
You move ahead with power, as a peaceful warrior. You no longer need to engage in battles within or outside of you. Instead, you are able to support yourself as you ask and receive what you desire so that you can leap into the person that you are becoming and journey into your creativity and your journey of love.
In the North, you meet the Hummingbird and engage ancient wisdom and knowledge. We learn to manifest the impossible, and to receive help from ancestors. In doing so, we reconnect with nature.
You step outside of linear time. You can influence past events as well present and future ones as you become a co-creator of reality. You step inside the person you are becoming. You act with power and love. You release all the roles that you’ve identified with so that you have nothing left to defend. With your new knowledge you move through the world with freedom, flowing with ease, close to nature.
Finally, in the East you encounter the archetype of the Eagle as you summon your destiny, and more. It’s about the big picture. In essence, you dream the world into being. It’s the way of the visionary who sees all the possibilities. It’s about developing your vision of peace.
The Eagle guides you fully into the role and responsibility of co-creator. You take all that you have learned and bring it back into your everyday world. See the Eagle gliding overhead, soaring. Imagine that you are soaring with it.
At the end of the class, everyone selected mangos to take home with them.