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  • Barbara Emrys

Ethereal Double

Some of you might remember the early shamanic days with don Miguel. Maybe you joined him on his extended power journeys, where you had the opportunity to distance yourself from familiar routines and to recalibrate your sense of reality. Maybe you even dared to alter your way of being.

Mexico, Peru, Egypt, Bali…anywhere you went with him, you would’ve been exposed to a life-altering teaching. You may still recall the many magical moments in far-away places…playing with a palpable power that made you return home a changed person.

As anyone would expect from a shamanic tradition, those journeys included spiritual ceremonies and more than a few mystical experiences. One ritual had to do with something don Miguel called the ethereal double. Or was it double ethereal? I’m sure anymore. And, at the time, I wasn’t at all sure how to imagine such a thing.

So what was this ceremony about? Well, it was a very private exercise. Each of us walked alone, imagining an entity that walked along beside us– one that resembled us in every way. Once that being was fully imagined, we would release it…watch it rise into the air and vanish into the sun.

Gone. Whatever it represented– gone. Whether or not we understood it, the ritual left us all with a feeling of lightness, and freedom. Today, don Miguel would call that “entity” the main character of your story. This is the person you think you are– the person you describe yourself as, and the image you project to the world. The is the imagined self that thinks for you, speaks for you, and makes decisions based on beliefs that, for years, you’ve accepted as true. Your human body reacts emotionally to those thoughts and beliefs…and usually pays a price for whatever actions follow.

Releasing your hold on that character is a liberating thing. And, of course, it makes you feel lighter. It leaves you with little to defend or explain about yourself. “What am I? I don’t know. Who am I? Hmm…not what my stories would suggest.”

Faith in a self-image keeps you from realizing the expansive truth of you. You are life’s eternal energy bundled up in the flesh, bone, and electric filigrees of thought. You’re not a character out of a make-believe story, no matter how well you think that character has served you in the past.

Strengthen your faith in the mystery of you. Take a quiet walk alone. Be the shaman that asks you to imagine yourself in elaborate detail…and then let go of the entire image. Let it go. Let it rise into the air and take a ride on the next breeze to nothingness.

And, while you are doing your heartfelt best, understand this: the Apprentice with impeccable intent is you. The trusted master, the Mystic, is you. The welcoming and obliterating Sun…is you. It was never otherwise.


B.E.

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