You educate your limbic system (subconscious mind) by exposing yourself to different feelings and sensations. The subconscious learns through repetition, so the downside is that in a normal conscious state it takes a long time to shift an established habit. The longer you had that habit or conditioning, it will require a lot of repetitions to turn the tide around and reprogram your behavior.
The Ceremony is a practice space for your subconscious where you can speed up this process by entering a receptive state and consciously plant your intentions using the only language that the subconscious understands – actions, feelings and emotions.
The effectiveness of this process depends on the depth of trance you are willing to travel and the clarity of your physical actions used to communicate your intentions to the limbic system.
On the practical level the Shamanic Ceremony starts with your intention to invite a new experience or ability into your life.
Many times is just about removing the obstacles within you that hold you back from making the change.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before a ceremony:
What can you change in your habits that can completely change your life?
It’s the little actions within our reach, changing our immediate experience, that will end up having the biggest impact on our lives on the long run.
In which areas of your life do you hold back because of the fear of not being accepted?
Could be things like:
- I find it hard to initiate a conversation with a stranger or
- I get petrified and anxious when I think of meeting a new group of colleagues. What are they going to think of me?
What experiences from your past are still generating fears or make you lose confidence?
There could be situations like:
- I tend to shut down in fear when it comes to connecting deeply with another person
- I have an exciting project in mind but each time I get to the point of doing something about it, my mind kicks in with alarming thoughts like:
- Am I good enough to do this?
- What if I’m wrong?
- What if it doesn’t work?
- and surely within the first 5 seconds of all these thoughts spinning around my head, I pull the emergency break and I never get to do anything, effectively killing my dream.
You break the vicious cycle by breaking the silence first, and state your intention out loud in the opening circle. In this circle we are all equal and we are following our own authority. Nobody has the right to interrupt your prayer when you have the talking stick. This gives you the power to put out what really matters to you and having it amplified in the consciousness of everyone in the circle.
Your intention could be something as simple as this:
- I want to be able to engage in conversations with the people I find interesting
- I want to keep my heart open when I start to have deeper feelings for someone
- I want to be at ease and choose to participate at group activities when they spark my interest
- I want to stop procrastinating and get to act on my project
To make this possible in my life I am letting go of:
- The fear of being judged
- The fear of being hurt like before
- The fear of not being good enough
- My habitual way of looking at things
I conclude by connecting with my feelings of gratitude for what works well in my life and end it with “So be it!” or “Aho!” in the native American tradition. This is the moment when you give the others the chance to wish you well by responding with another “So be it!” or “Aho!”.
After setting the intention with your mind, we move to the second stage of the Ceremony – the trance induction.
The trance state involves walking between the world of the conscious and subconscious mind.
Conscious mind – Beta (15Hz – 40Hz) is basically the most normal state for us to be in throughout the day, where are aware and doing things normally. By slowing down below 15Hz, the mind enters the trance realm – the lower the frequency, the more receptive the subconscious mind becomes.
There are 5 levels of altered states or trance:
Level 1 – Meditative trance – Alpha waves (10Hz – 14Hz)
When you sit in a relaxed state of mind where you become more aware of your thoughts, physical sensations and emotions.
Level 2 – Daydream Trance (8Hz – 10Hz)
When you are doing something on automatic pilot like reading a book, driving a car without remembering the trip or watching TV. In this state we drift in a light daydream with open eyes.
Level 3 – Zoned out Trance – Theta (4Hz – 8Hz)
When you are completely engaged with what you are doing to the point of losing awareness of your surrounding, you lose track of time and when you come back you feel like you just woke up from a light dream. It happens in deep meditation, hypnosis or when you start to fall asleep.
Level 4 – Deep Trance – Delta (3Hz – 4Hz)
This happens when you are in high REM sleep or deep trance hypnosis. There is minimal interaction with the environment.
Level 5 – Very Deep Trance (0Hz – 3Hz)
Resembles deep sleep.
The most efficient way to reprogram the subconscious during a ceremony is to work in the Zoned out Trance, where you still have awareness to keep the body engaged in the process.
Keeping the physical body connected to your inner vision will bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. A fantasy becomes creative imagination when we connect the body and allow it to do the talking. Bringing emotions into physical expression is the first step in making a dream come true.
A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.
– Greg Reid
In the next chapter, I will present non-verbal communication methods suitable for subconscious imprinting during a ceremony.