What is Clear?
An Open Space Where Something Can Happen
When my work table is empty, there is an
invitation to work there, as if a space has opened up and calls me to use it or fill it in
some way. When it is full and cluttered (as it often is) the only call is for me to clean
it or "clear" it, so that a new process can begin. This corresponds directly and
precisely to what we want to be able to do, both with ourselves and with the space in
which we want to work. Our "machine" won't be able to reach shamanic spaces (or
stay in them for long) if it is cluttered with "issues", "problems",
"worries", etc. So we must do some work on clearing it in order to proceed to
function as shamanic radios. The same can be said of the space. In both cases the cleaning
can be literal (as in using a broom on the floor of the place where the invocation will
occur) as well as "mental", "emotional", "spiritual". The
approach to these different areas will be described further in the chapters that follow.
For now it is only relevant that you understand why "clearing" is important and
how it applies to this work.
An open and empty container
where something can be placed
If your mind is constantly chattering about other things,
worrying about money or about your spouse's fidelity, thinking of things that happened
years ago, going over the latest news, etc how can there be space for a new entity to
enter and inhabit for a little while? If your body is in constant pain or its habits are
so ingrained and so unconscious that they can't be set aside even when an inner will wants
it, then how can the Shaman take ahold of you and move you to dance? If your emotions are
constantly in an uproar, rushing from deep sadness to intense anger to burning desire, how
can a visitor feel welcomed into such chaos? In order for our work to proceed, we must be
able to temporarily (and notice that it says TEMPORARILY) set aside our inner
"mess" and leave a calm space for something new to enter. This is of course
easier said than done!
The quality of being unobstructed
If there is something "out there" that
will come "in here" it must travel along certain pathways, there must be a
bridge through which the "other" moves into you and becomes you. This
"pathway" must be cleared, it must be cleaned off from all remains of memory,
conditioning, traumas, etc. The pathways, in their organic form, are your nerve cells
which have formed particular networks around which you loop endlessly, coming back to the
same place, over and over. This networks will gently be reconstructed so that the loops
are broken and something truly "new" can happen. The "new" is
frightening and unpredictable, but nothing is as frightening as endless predictability,
the same experience, slightly modified over and over. So we must do some work on clearing
these pathways that stand between you and the "other", the subtle world which
you have been seeking and which is yours to have... if you are willing to put in the
A clean, unobstructed view
Before we can see and fully experience this
"subtle world" or "shamanic reality", we must clean our viewing
lenses. We see through so much garbage that has accumulated in our nervous systems through
years of conditioning, prizes and punishments, which have shaped us into only being able
to see the world in a certain way... and in no other. And yet, we continue to feel this
strange desire, this unexplainable wish, to see something that we are not seeing, to
experience something that is "otherwise". The wish brings us to the doorway but
it isn't enough to make us go through. The clearing of the viewing mechanism must follow
and it is a gradual, methodical process. It can't be forced or it will simply reinstate a
new set of conditionings instead of the old. It must be gentle yet constant. A slow
clearing that will allow us to see "out there" is one of the greatest possible
achievements we can hope for... and so it has to be one of the toughest, by necessity.
An ongoing process
Another very important aspect of this
"clearing" is that it is not a "permanent" state (nothing is permanent
in fact! why should this be?), which means it has to be constantly renewed. You have to
come over and over through this process of clearing, and pass through into the
"clear" spaces that will allow you to work... only to come back and start all
over again. Don't seek a permanent state, this is only ultimately a sign of laziness and
ambition. Instead work for today. Clear yourself today for what you will do today... and
then use the space for your shamanic work. Then wake up tomorrow... and start over. Don't
look forward to an final state, an "enlightenment" or "samadhi" or
"satori"... if something that fits this description happens, use it in your
work. Then wake up the next day and... yes... start over!!!
A State Beyond Conflict or Confusion
The state of clarity allows you to act free from conflict or confusion. This statement,
however, is one of the most misleading in the whole book. It can easily be taken as
meaning that the clear being acts with conviction, true faith, or inner assurance of right
doing. Nothing further from the truth. The clear state doesnt give you any assurance
of being right. It doesnt even give you certain knowledge or virtue of action.
Moreover, belief in itself is an obstacle to the clear state. Conviction is sure to kill
the very possibility of clarity. So, the religious zealot who acts without inner conflict
or confusion is far from a clear state. The conflict is there in the belief itself, in
thought. This confusion translates into action. They act with determination and
undeterred, but not with clarity of vision. Why do we say, then, that the clear state is
beyond conflict or confusion? It is because the clear state is an awareness that is
uncontaminated by the confusion. It is not certainty, just a levity in the approach. You
act without the interference of thought, without the need to escape from your present
condition, and without lust for results.
Definition of "Clear"
- An open space where something can happen
- An open and empty container where something can be placed
- The quality of being unobstructed--applied to a path,
causeway, road, rod, or channel.
- An atmosphere offering a clean, unobstructed view of what is
beyond the immediate surrounding.
- The quality of being transparent, allowing the light to pass
through without distortion.
- An inner state where doubts, contradictions or other
distracting factors do not operate, allowing for clear action and right thought.