Martha Beck explores ways the role of traditional healer could be reprised in today’s world in her book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim your true nature to create the life you want. It’s a very playful and accessible book that sweeps across many approaches practiced by ancient shamans and confirmed by modern physicists and neuroscientists.
Lessons for Yogis:
Beck identifies four tools that, when used sequentially, can help you create change for your true self:
1) Wordlessness – “dissolving verbal attention into pure movement” is what yoga can be all about, a practice Beck calls “one of the most ancient and powerful paths to Wordlesness.” When we’re on the mat, we can move beyond language into direct experience.
2) Oneness – Sensing a connection. This is something you can sense once you’ve dropped into wordlessness, so it might be a natural bi-product as you move into shavasana. In Kundalini yoga, there’s a sequence dedicated to oneness. Beck explains that oneness is now confirmed by science: “We are basically energy vibrating at different frequencies, unbounded and overlapping.”
3) Imagination – Allowing the mind to create something new. With visualizations, and other sixth chakra work, we activate imagination. Operating from a place of wordlessness and oneness that yoga can facilitate, we can be free to solve problems in a new way through imagination.
4) Forming – Allowing changes to manifest in the world. On the yoga mat, we may set intentions, and imagine a way of being. After class, we keep this in mind, and bring a new awareness to our daily life. We may observe opportunities we couldn’t see before… perhaps they will seem to appear now that we are ready! A yoga practice is one way of using these tools to become more fully ourselves, the intention of the mantra “Sat Nam,” “Truth is my Identity.”
I have this as an audiobook, so I’d be happy to lend you my old ipod nano if you’d like a listen. Sometimes her language got too cutesy for me– it is extremely cheesy — but despite that I was very moved by such a sincere and relatable book. I’ll definitely use it for our May/June work on Creativity and removing blocks. If you’d like to buy yourself a copy, used copies are five dollars & the kindle is ten, so those are tree-friendly, budget-friendly options!