Fear is a volatile emotion. Nothing robs the mind of its power as fear. One does not face death by creating experiences that bring you near to death. Death is the greatest act of power to the shaman. Unordinary reality, the spirit flight, is a journey beyond death. To learn how to die is to learn how to live. If one is claimed by life, one can never be claimed by death. The person of power spends a whole life learning how to die.
The shaman is a spiritual warrior with no enemies in this or the next, free from desire and fear. Desire is formed by our experiences of the past, and the fear of death haunts our future. The Shaman is twice-born, once of women and once of earth.
The way of the West, where the warrior faces the jaguar, the spiritual warrior frees himself to live his present fully. When death comes upon him, it will know him and he will know the way. The West is where the body and the spirit part. By dying consciously, the shaman may leave this world alive. By dying consciously we maintain individuality after death.
The body is a vessel of spirit, of energy, of consciousness. When one dies consciously, one leaves behind the vessel and identifies with what the vessel contains: the divine/God/life force/energy. This is the difference between tonal and nagual. The spirit is an orb, a luminous ball of light.
At the time of the passing of our vessel, we make the final journey to the West. We make this journey alone.
The fear of the future remains. This is faced in the West. The little deaths and the big deaths hold us paralyzed. The present moment is held prisoner to what could be. Change is seen as the enemy. The ultimate change, the passing of the body/mental, overshadows what is happening NOW. The lesser entities, those of everyday change, harass us and wear us down. The combination of the ultimate change and the lesser changes rob the future shaman of unity. Why? Fear of the future places the shaman in the same place that the fear of past transported them to.
The West holds the knowledge that all things must past, and that death and transformation a necessary element of the shamanic path. While we know death comes in small changes at every moment and a larger transformation when we pass, the ego would hold this knowledge in a place of false clarity. The ego feeds false assurance that all is known, that there is more than enough time, and that there is no need to hurry. The ego lives in this place, and presents the enemy of clarity.
The revealing light of the West is the experience of death. We voluntarily experience, with love, acceptance, and understanding, the small and large changes of life. When experienced and accepted, either in actuality or symbolically, the deaths/changes of the future no longer have power over us. The fear is removed as we are born again in a continuous fashion. It is not enough to be born again once. Instead we offer ourselves to die and rebirth at any moment. This makes the moment. This defines the moment. When the present moment is no longer based on the moments of the past, and only recognizes past moments as having their own past rightness, and there is acceptance that the moment will pass away and be reborn, than all is in unity. The unity of the moment, the spiritual, and all things, is embraced.
Strength to face death (jaguar).
You go to meet death and step beyond fear. By facing death and learning the spirit flight, you identify with the transcendent, immortal Self, you free yourself from the grip of fear and claim our lives to the fullest, for you can no longer be claimed by death. You face the unknown, that we fear the most. Fear. It is very common to have visions on the Western path.
You gain the Nature body, an etheric one. The body of the jaguar.
I confront fear. Fear lives in the future and our greatest fear is death. I fear what I do not know, and by experiencing death I learn to maintain awareness and identity after death. If I am able experience myself as a being of conscious energy – as a Children of the Sun – then Death becomes a doorway only. It loses its menace. It is a phase in an infinite lifetime.
Dance of the Four Winds : Secrets of the Inca Medicine Wheel by Alberto Villoldo, Erik Jendresen (previously printed as The Four Winds : A Shaman's Odyssey into the Amazon)
Island of the Sun : Mastering the Inca Medicine Wheel by Alberto Villoldo, Erik Jendresen