On Permission

In core shamanism, practitioners and teachers emphasize the need for strong intention and for permission when doing our work. Strong intention allows the sending of power to a very specific target or goal. But without permission, that power may be sent and spent to no or even detrimental effect.


Imagine a story I read a few years ago, which I am bringing loosely from my memory, of a group of shamanic practitioners who got together to send power to change the trajectory of a wave that was bearing down on a coastal village. But they did not have permission from the wave or the weather spirits, and though their intention was "good"- let's save this village- it backfired. Saving that village was good only for the village. The wave became larger and instead washed over a neighboring village that had no knowledge it was coming.


Permission. We can give ourselves permission to change any aspect of our lives, and can send power, or give permission to others to do so, toward our specific goal. This is the kind of action that takes place in a healing circle, for instance. On Tuesday, a small group of practitioners who gets together regularly sent healing power to my arthritis. Very helpful!


Applying the concept of permission to the larger world around us becomes tricky. We want to do "good," to help others, to bring peace. But without the permission of those we wish to lay down their arms in a way, to not walk into a school and shoot innocent children, to find peace on their own spiritual path, efforts are at best useless and can in fact be more "harmful" than good.


We can make decisions on our own for our selves, and for those who ask for us to help. We can become skilled in asking for permission from others, including living beings that are not human. We can invite all those living beings around us to offer us permission to build power and with strong intention act on their behalf. In the meantime, peace, love and compassion begin within. If we deny ourselves permission to bring peace, love and compassion into our own lives, then we are doing a disservice to all. By bringing peace, love and compassion inward, we radiate it outward in this world.


Walk in peace if you want to inspire peace in others. Walk in love if you want to inspire love in others. Walk in kindness, in compassion, if you want to inspire kindness and compassion in others.






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