*The shamanist has a responsibility of being as healthy as they can be if they are to facilitate the healing of others.*
kathhazel sagely responded:
*One of the best shamanic practitioners I know has a twisted spine (scoliosis) which causes him severe pain on a permanent basis, but this does not stop him from being the best healer I know.*
This is a very good point that I would like to explore further. We humans have a chronic condition: our health. We grow old and die. The health of our bodies is struck by genetic, environmental and age related challenges. I am going to be forty-two this year. My own body has begun a decline in function and fitness. While I don't have scoliosis, I am facing my own questions of physical ability and 'health'. As an aging shamanist, I wonder about the role of physical health and the larger picture of "health'.
Society has a strange concept of body correctness. The young and "fit" are seen as models for what a healthy person is. The ability to do extreme sports is a measure of health. IMO, this is BS. Look around you. The vast majority of the world does not comply with this fallacy of "fitness". In some ways, those held up as a paradigm of health are the true aberrations of society. They are the exceptions of society by either coincidence of age, an all consuming focus on exercise, or luck of the genes. The majority of society struggles with larger body proportions, treatment of disease, experience of pain, and decreased lack of mobility. I say physical imperfections do not make the majority of society more “unhealthy” those models of physical fitness.
There is more to the human than just a physical body. There is the physical body, the energy body and the 'universal' body. The energy body/field, also known as the subtle body, is composed of the aura and the chakra system. The 'universal' body connects us with the whole of the universe. A Buddhist expression of this universal body says:
Divine Body, God's Body, the anandamaya kosha, the causal body (karana sharira), vajra body, rainbow light body, the seed body, diamond heart, and the Dharmakaya vehicle of the Buddhas. Herein we will place the Divine Body, the Hiranyagarbha kosha, the Golden seed body, the tathagatagarbha the womb of all Buddha.The condition of the universal body is difficult to evaluate. Sometimes it is just enough to know that the universal body exists, tying us together in a common reality.
Why does illness exist? Our bodies are fragile, with some damage being difficult to repair. Sometimes physical illness is part of a karmic burden. Sometimes a physical condition makes the afflicted a much wiser person, empathetic to those with similar challenges. It is nigh impossible to determine which "reason" can account for physical imperfections. Only our universal bodies might know.
Health is a multiplexed event, with the physical perhaps being the least important. Back to those people with extremely fit physical bodies. They can be the poster-child of illness at the level of energetic level. The trials of youth, or the obsession with the physical, can lead to extreme energetic crisis. The "beautiful people" suffer from ailments on the emotional and psychological levels. Also consider this, age will have an impact on the body. Age will eventually rob us of our bodies. The parts that have an opportunity for continued existence are our energetic and universal bodies. Some argue that the energetic body passes away too, leading only the universal body. Irregardless of what is left, the focus of being "healthy" transcends the physical.
Ok... now to bring this back to my original statement and response. The shamanist does has a responsibility of being as healthy as they can be if they are to facilitate the healing of others. The health I speak of is more so at a spiritual/energetic level. While the physical is important, I feel that it is the lesser priority. IMO, disharmony at the energetic level can more cripple a shamanist's ability to heal. The other key part of this are the words "as they can be". This brings to mind the Toltec wisdom of the Four Agreements. The last agreement is "Always Do Your Best". When we are doing our best, we will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret. It is in this place of energetic fitness and acceptance that the shamanist facilitates the healing of others on all bodies, physical and energetic.
I know that many of my LJ friends are struggling with their own health issues. I honor them for their facing these trials. My words are my own, only informed by my own experience. I would love to hear my LJ friends' feedback and experiences regarding the role, scope and function of "health".