There is an ancient Mayan greeting, that roughly translated is, "I am another yourself."
When I first heard that, I kept thinking about it, and what it actually means. And as I continued down that rabbit hole I realized that within that simple statement sits the core of all the forbidden, secret spiritual knowledge. Because, if I am really you, then I know everything about you. If I know all about you, then I know all about your life. If I know all about your life, then that means my experience of life is what I'm creating.
People fight this idea, and god (literally) knows I certainly have. We fight it because we fear ourselves--we fear what we create, and usually with damn good reason. Add up all the pain, suffering, injustice, catastrophe, drama, and tears, and who would want to cop to creating all that?
Well, the good news is that when you finally DO start to cop to it all, it starts to look more and more like a game you can win. But the game is really multi-handed solitaire, with all the players being different versions of yourself. Life really is a game you play with yourself.
Not surprisingly, at the heart of shamanic knowledge is this core Reality that everything you sense (that means everything) is something you have created. During my shaman training, I had to be broken of the habit of rationalization on this point. I'd say, "Well, OK, I can see how I helped to create what I perceive--I can see that as being reasonable." Then the teacher would snap back, "No. The 'others' creating your experience are you, too." So then I'd say, "Well, we share a mutual experience." Then the retort, "No. There is no sharing. This is you." At that point, I'd usually get my mind blown and shut up. But within a few days, I'd re-embrace the societal norm of individualistic separatism, where everyone you come in contact with has their life (that you know little about), and you have your life that they know little about. It's all about feeling safe in the not-knowing of it all.
This thinking is, of course, dis-empowering and completely unacceptable for any kind of shaman certificate you may be studying for. Shamans call it the Art of Impeccability. And this is, for me, the hardest part of accepting my own creation.
Impeccability means being impeccable with your awareness, so that you at every moment are aware of what you are aware of. It's easy to lapse into an illusion of spectator, or victim, and that is the societal norm--or even requirement in some circles. "This was done to me by forces beyond my control." Boy, say that to a shaman and you're likely to get slapped upside the back of the head. There is no such thing as "beyond your control." There metaphysically cannot be, because the basic assumption (when you incarnated) is that you're creating your experience of time, dimension, body, life. The first lie we buy into is that it is a "participatory reality," or a "consensual creation." Nope. It's all you, baby!
But, but, but... I couldn't possibly know what my friend ate for breakfast--I wasn't there. Well, I've got news for you: because you asked the question, you were there, and can answer it accurately, as long as you maintain impeccability long enough to receive those perceptions.
What we as humans are really good at is separating ourselves into "conscious" and "subconscious." The conscious part is what we are aware of, and the subconscious part is what we are not aware of. Therefore, for spiritual progress to happen, the task is to find out what it is that we are unaware of. How do you do that? Well, every technique taught in any spiritual modality will do--they are all just ways of discovering what you are not aware of.
Patterns are an excellent place to start. Who hasn't had an "a-ha" moment when spotting a pattern in their own behavior? In fact, the human mind is all about patterns. Without the ability to render the senses into patterns, nothing would materialize. The mind IS the pattern-making device we use. The reason the "a-ha" happens from noticing a pattern is because a part of yourself was creating that pattern, and now that you recognize it, you reclaim that unconscious part of yourself, so it feels like a revelation. What's great is that revelations feel good, which, as far as I'm concerned, is the saving grace of the human race.
Once you make this pattern search a regular discipline, all sorts of other patterns will emerge that you had no idea had been related. For instance, I noticed a pattern happening around the change in seasons last week where my body started looking for a cold or allergies or something that I usually would experience from summer to fall. I traced this back to my mom telling me to watch out for the autumn cold. It's reinforced by signs in grocery stores hawking "Flu Shots", and every other myself running around looking for the first signs of a cold or flu. It's an unconscious pattern that gets accepted without awareness. That is what is called NOT being impeccable.
Adopting a Sherlock Holmes-ian attitude of exuberant investigation into anomalous patterns helps to flush some of these buggers out. What is the energy going on around that ache in my leg? Why am I slightly on edge today? Why am I grumpy? Why am I broke? These are valid investigatory lines and will bear fruit as long as you impeccably proceed without any attachment to what you may or may not discover.
Asking life in general for answers is always a sure-fire method. There are so many participatory layers of awareness available to you, you can literally ask any question and get a meaningful answer--sometimes it takes some time, but I've never seen that fail. I have, however, failed to continue to ask until it is answered, but that is all a part of impeccability.
Another good tool is "Noticing What You Notice." It's a part of the game of being aware of being aware. When you are investigating for patterns, notice where your attention goes and what your mind does while on the investigation. You'll be amazed sometimes at just how much you really can be aware of, and how your mind works to create a recognizable experience for yourself.
One of my spiritual guides, Anttarr, got me going on this particular article after reading his book, "The Forbidden Gift." Anttarr talks about projections, and how humans project out into their creations parts of themselves that have no outlet within their standard inner experience. We might project out our friend being sick, because we already know we are healthy, but something sick inside of us can't express itself, so it projects out into the form of a sick friend. This is at the core of the Hawaiian technique of Ho’oponopono, where the Kahuna searches within herself to find where she is creating this disease or discomfort sitting in front of her in the form of a client.
Anttarr further sums up, "In all circumstances, the self meets self. So one will find exaggerated features of their own psychology represented by all others in their lives."
Focus on all circumstances and all others. We are all mirrors of our total psychology. Anttarr continues, "Again, self meets self at every turn, and there is no escape. Because it is within, wherever you go and whatever you do you will always recreate the experience in one fashion or another..."
So, as I tend to do, the take-away bumper sticker is, "Wherever you go, there you are."