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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 8

The Reluctant Shaman

Healing Spirits





  “OK, you old hallowed teachers, you.” I blurted out. “I’m sure not getting it here. What is this all-mighty-most-important-thing?”

I don’t think they were expecting me to say anything. Their heads popped up like two Jack-in-the-boxes. Domano stared at me through his right eye like a giant parrot. “You are saying your elders are wallowers? No French coffee for you. Don’t they teach you respect in this country?”

“’Fraid not.”

“She’s just talking about your big old holes in your head,” said Chea. Domano looked at her with disbelief. “Holes,” she repeated. He laughed and they smiled at each other.

“Kay,” he said turning to me. “Sometimes I sure have to tell you many times. It is a good thing I am so patient.” Chea poked him with her elbow. “This is serious here.” He looked as though he was shooing a fly the way he was flapping his hand at her. “I have to be serious.”

“This thing,” the smile slipped off of Domano’s face, “is something nobody wants to see. Its importance must step in front of everything. If you really ‘see’ this, nothing will be the same. I tell you again. This thing is about your world. You know very well your world is collapsing in a cycle that feeds on itself: disrespect-force-revenge. How does that happen?”

“Yea.” I was fishing for their sympathy. Maybe they would take pity on me and just tell me the point. “That’s kind of hard to not admit to. About our world and all.”

“How does that happen?” Domano said again. “Think. Look at it. What do you feel in there?”


“No,” he directed. “You are letting it suck you in and control…”

“There’s nothing I can trust there.” I interrupted him, a habit that was getting worse with time not better. I always felt so childish when I did it.

“Underneath. Under all that garbage. Not splashing around in it.” Domano thrashed his hands as though he were digging something out from under a huge, smelly mess. “Playing in the pucky is not it.”

I couldn’t help laughing. While he was busy teasing I wondered what he meant by “underneath the garbage.” What could possibly be under there?

Chea and Domano had always said that to perceive something accurately one needed to clear the jabber out of the mind by turning one’s attention into the feeling experience of one’s own spirit or essence, “one’s own Song” as they called it. This feeling state then becomes one’s center and place of clear perception. I tried to clear away my thoughts once again and feel my Song, to perceive from there. My mind kept burping up a long parade of ridiculous items that could be under that garbage. It was hard to be serious. I tried to hold back the giggles but couldn’t.

Domano just ignored me. After a few moments as I watched him digging away at his slime heap it seemed as though there was something heavy in the air above his arms. I strained and refocused my eyes and it was still there. I could actually see his slithering mountains of garbage. There were thoughts inside - millions, no billions, of people’s thoughts woven as the fabric of this cycling creation. And there were many thoughts and ideas outside the amassment feeding it - an endless trail appearing and moving eventually into the great bulk that was our culture.

Bits of haze from the refuse began to drift through the air. It was disgustingly foul. I couldn’t avoid the taste of it getting in my mouth. My tongue twinged. It was pushing my gag reflex.

I was starting to feel very uncomfortable. The noise of it was relentless, grating, assaulting. It made me feel dirty just watching it but I was so mesmerized at what I was seeing I couldn’t stop. Unexpected scenes popped into my head complete with driving, insistent emotions.

Inside the scenes of the weaving there was strong agreement to purposefully take actions for personal convenience or gain at the expense of others even when it meant their victim’s total annihilation. Images of wanton destruction with no notice or remorse were disturbingly common. Condemnation was used to manipulate people sometimes overtly but more often in the most constant and subtle of ways. I detected purposefully and strategically placed fear and paranoia worming its way through the mass. I couldn’t find any feelings of respect for one’s self or anything else. Everywhere I looked there was a desperate craving, like the withdrawal of an addict, for enforcing control over others. Everything bent toward gratifying the grasp for control, convenience and wealth in the present with no concern for what would be left behind for the future. To think outside this “box” was not an option. There was purposefulness here. Deliberateness.

“Ugh!” I gasped. “Ugh! It’s been planned! Directed! It’s all been orchestrated!”

Domano calmly asked again, “How does that come about? How do they succeed?”

“I don’t know. Why would anybody create that on purpose?” As I broke away from the experience my own feelings came to the surface. I felt tricked and violated by my culture. My sadness distracted me.

“How do they do it?” Domano persisted.

“Who cares?” I knew our society was unstable and had a lot of problems but I had never seen it quite from this perspective before. I felt like I didn’t want to waste my time with this endeavor any longer. “What’s the point?”

Chea held up a pen. “When you know the workings of a thing, you know how to control it or change it.” She wiggled the pen in front of my face. “You have its power.”

I was feeling especially powerless and impotent at that moment. We were all caught, stuck in the middle of this perpetual garbage heap. “That cultural construct is immense. I’m small. End of story.”

Domano tapped his fingers on the table. He wasn’t at all concerned about what I said. “How do they make it?” he said again to me. “How do they keep it going? What is under the garbage?”

Right. Underneath. The image came back in my mind even though I was fighting it and as I contemplated its structure and movements my attention kept returning to how the participants of the weaving adhered to its tenets with such fervor and without question. The mounds behaved like a living creature consuming the forms outside the main body. Then I realized that the forms outside the weaving were actually being emitted from the main body in what began as barely visible precursors to their final shape. As more of this ethereal material was emitted the precursors assumed their final form and were eventually assimilated.

I mumbled out loud, “There must be a correlation.”

“You are not making sense,” Chea said.

I was too deep in the experience to answer her. The picture was making sense. The woven mounds were thoughts. The outside forms were thoughts. The participating people created these thoughts. The thoughts were full of ideas and the participants held to the ideas as if it meant their very existence. These ideas were all they knew. This was their entire world, a world created from their unshakable belief in these ideas. This was carefully nurtured, dogmatic, blind belief - a believing that kept them in a kind of unaware, drugged half-sleep. This was an ingenious machine systematically maintained by a knowing elite.

“I got it.” I said. “The controlling factor sees that the necessary ideas are always fresh on the minds of the participants and that they hold such a charged belief in them that they can’t see anything else.”

There was silence.

Chea finally asked, “What are the workings? Where is the power?”

“The key to the workings of the machine is blind belief. The stronger the better. That way they won’t be able to wake-up,” I answered. The full experience, the full understanding, of it all was still hitting me. I think I was slipping into shock. “Why?” I added. “Why would anybody create this?”

“That’s the lesson for a later time.” Domano patted Chea’s leg. “Let’s go now. Let’s find some of that French espresso coffee.”


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