Guided Meditation And Shamanic Healing

Dr. Michael Harner

Dr. Michael Harner is the founder and inspiration for The Foundation for Shamanic Studies. He is an anthropologist who received his Ph. D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael Harner Drumming

Michael Harner Drumming

In their book, Higher Wisdom, Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob say this about Michael:

 What Yogananda did for Hinduism and D.T. Suzuki did for Zen, Michael Harner has done for shamanism, namely bring the tradition and its richness to Western awareness. Michael Harner is widely acknowledged as the world’s foremost authority on shamanism and has had an enormous influence on both the academic and lay worlds.

I first met Michael and his lovely wife, Sandra, in February of 2009 at a preview party for the Institute For Health and Healing (IHH) annual event honoring Michael as a Pioneer in Integrative Medicine. At that time, I was a member of the Community Council of the IHH.

I remember sitting on a couch with Michael and talking to him about the teachings of Father Eli, who was one of my root teachers. In our conversation, it became clear to me that there were many similarities between shamanism and the teachings of Father Eli.

I had the opportunity to also witness two live video recordings. Dr. Harner told many tales of the Amazon and his experience with the shamans.

At the beginning of 2011, we were invited to have tea with Michael and Sandra. Jessica was leaving in a few days to volunteer at the Kapawi Lodge in the middle of the rain forest in Ecuador. The lodge was built by the Pachamama Alliance. Jessica was going there to teach English to the native Achuar people who run the lodge.

The year before (2010) I was invited to a friend’s house to hear a presentation by Michael about the Institute for Shamanic Studies. The director of the institute, Susan Mokelke, offered attendees a chance to experience a shamanic journey to anyone who was interested. I took her up on the offer.

My Shamanic Healing Journey

The setting was a beautiful home in Tiburon, California at the end of April. Susan set the stage for our journey with stories about Michael, shamans and drumming.

I was at the beginning of the onset of another bladder cancer tumor and was scheduled for surgery the next week. This journey into guided meditation and shamanic healing couldn’t have come at a better time!

I remember vividly the layout of the room and my position on the floor as the drumming began.

Residence of Thich Nhat Hanh in Plum Village

Residence of Thich Nhat Hanh in Plum Village | Photo Jerome Freedman, 2000

I saw myself lying on the deck of a small hermitage like that of my teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s. I was in the part of the deck exposed to the sun.

I was on a comfortable mattress high above the valley below in a forest of redwood trees. I could hear the sound of the water flowing in the creek as it wandered through the valley.

The air was crisp and clean and the sky was a deep blue. The smell of the redwood trees was strong and wonderful.

As I invited my animal totem, a beautiful, large raven, into my space, it landed on the specially designed platform that was made for it on the deck.

Then I invited the raven to come over to be with me. The raven sensed the tumor and started to peck away at the cancer. The raven dove into my bladder, over and over again, and got rid of all of the cancer cells.

When I heard the staccato of the drums signaling the end of the journey, I expressed my gratitude to the raven and gradually came back to the room.

I was convinced that whatever treatment was in store for me was going to work. So far it has and I go back to my urologist in three weeks for my annual checkup.

Guided Meditation And Shamanic Healing

When I think about my shamanic healing journey and relate it to the guided imagery experience I had on the spring equinox of 1997, I find tremendous similarities.

The most important connection between the two is that they both contributed towards a clean bill of health with regard to bladder cancer. Each guided meditation process helped prepare my immune system to eliminate the cancer cells in my body. They also reinforced my mantra, “Healthy cells grow all by themselves.”

The second connection between the two processes was the state of deep relaxation in which the guided meditation took place. In the first case (1997), I was reclining on a comfortable chair in the cancer center as my guide, Leslie Davenport encouraged me to relax. In the second case (2010), I was flat on my back on the floor.

In both cases, I became extremely relaxed so that my imaginative mind could invoke the healing images, which is the third connection between the two experiences. They came naturally to me based on my many previous experiences with these processes.

In addition, my strong desire to contribute to my own healing was active in both situations. You may recall reading about how guided meditation changed my life. In that story, I told about just one use of guided meditation that won me a job in Marin County, California, partially because of my strong desire to be living here.

Another connection between the two sessions was the presence of sound. In the guided imagery with Leslie Davenport, it was the sound of her voice that helped me relax and conjure up the visual images. In the shamanic journey, it was the sound of the drum beat that inspired the visualization.

In each case, none of the images were premeditated. They came naturally out of the process.

Guided Meditation Can Work For You Too!

Another time that guided meditation made a significant impact on my life was when Mind Stories Helped Cure Cancer.

My son, Micah, was stricken with a kidney cancer called a Wilm’s tumor at age 7. I taught him to do guided meditation the first day he was in the hospital.

I continued to work with him and by myself until I hired Dr. Sheldon Ruderman to take over this work. It was best for me not to be too involved with this aspect of his healing because of my strong wish for him to recover.

I hope these examples have shown you how guided meditation can work for you! I’m convinced that if you try guided meditation, you will like it. You have my support!

Please try guided meditation and share this story with your family and friends.

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