buryatshamans fromSouthern Siberia
LakotaGrandfatherFrank Fools Crow
Shamanism is based on theprinciple that the spiritual worldmay be contacted through theinner senses in ecstatic trance.The drum, sometimes called the‘shaman's horse,’ provides theshaman a relatively easy means ofcontrolled transcendence.Researchers have found that if adrum beat frequency of aroundthree to four beats per second issustained for at least fifteenminutes, it will induce significanttrance states in most people, evenon their first attempt.
AN ACTIVE MEDITATION
The first thing you might ask is howdoes a drum induced trance differ from a traditional meditation, suchas those practiced by Buddhists?The two forms differ absolutelyin their approach, becauseBuddhist-type sitting meditation isgenerally about emptying one ofthought, while shamanic drummingis very active and filled withcontent. Just like a yogi or amonk, who exists in a spiritualstate most of the time because ofconstant devotional practices, wecan readily induce profound statesof deep meditation and heightenedawareness by using a drum as anaid to meditation. This ease ofmeditation with a drum contrastssignificantly with the often longperiods of isolation and practicerequired by many other meditativedisciplines before significanteffects are experienced.The capacity to enter a range oftrance states is a naturalmanifestation of humanconsciousness; the ability to enter trance states makes us a human -not a shaman.What makes shamans unique istheir mastery over an otherwisenormal human trait. The shamanhas sometimes been described asbeing a ‘hollow bone,’ one whocan enter an altered state withouttheir personal ego. This non-egohollowness makes a way for Spiritto use them as a healing tool. Inthis way, the shaman is a channelfor higher consciousness.
THE WAY OF THE HOLLOW BONE
The hollow bone teaching is anancient practice, found under different names in Buddhism,shamanism, and Native Americanspirituality. It is a way to shift your consciousness to become an emptyvessel for spirit. The idea is tobecome a conduit for spirit. When we can move our ego and rationalmind out of the way to channel thedivine power of the universethrough us, all healing is possible.The venerated, late Native American Holy Man Frank FoolsCrow taught that you must becomelike a hollow bone to be a greathealer. According to Fools Crow,“We are called to become hollowbones for our people, and anyoneelse we can help, and we are notsupposed to seek power for our personal use and honour. What webones really become is the pipelinethat connects Wakan Tanka [whom we could call Great Mystery, Godor the Tao], the Helpers and thecommunity together.”In his becoming a hollow bone,Fools Crow believed that he wentthrough four stages: First, hecalled in Great Mystery to ridhimself of anything that wouldimpede him in any way, such asdoubt, questions or reluctance.Then he recognised himself as aclean tube, ready to be filled withhope, possibilities, and anxious tobe filled with power. He experiencedthe power as it came surging intohim. Finally, giving the power awayto others, knowing that as he isemptied out, the Higher Powers willkeep filling him with even greater power to be given away.
REAPING THE BENEFITS
Meditative practice, of all kinds, isan important part of the ongoing
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In nearly allcultures, bothpast and present,the drum has beenused as an instrumentof healing; from the Minianka of West Africa, to the shamans of Siberia,rhythm has been used for thousands of yearsto address any number of healthissues