Jayson Gaddis -- Uplift
April 26, 2018
Looking Through a Different Lens
I am reprinting this from an email I received from Malidoma Some, a West African Shaman whom I’ve had the privilege to meet, drive around Boulder with, and work for. Since I am going through what I believe to be a spiritual emergence, I am reading a lot on the topic. I want to continue to educate others. That what we sometimes call depression, bipolar, psychosis, schizophrenia, might actually be a significant transformation in consciousness and a necessary stage on the path of human development. While this is a long article it’s well worth the read for those interested in the subject. Particularly if you have suffered from a mental illness or treat those with a mental illness. You might also like to read this short post Beyond Medication, Holistic Psychiatry. And, since I get so many private emails about this post, please ask to join our private community on Facebook here.
What a Shaman Sees in a Mental Hospital
In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.
What those in the west view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. Dr. Somé comments:
"Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field."
These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.
One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study, was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to ‘nervous depression,’ Dr. Somé went to visit him.
"I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village."
What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself:
"So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted."
Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the west are not trained in how to deal with, or even taught to acknowledge, the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for, and assistance, in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane. Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.