Monday, June 23, 2014

What a Shaman See's in a Mental Hospital

The other day while I was hovering around the internet I came across this article on titled,
What a Shaman See's in a Mental Hospital. Now, possibly dodgy sourcing of the website in question aside, it was a very, very interesting piece and kind of blew my mind apart.

Kristopher Love's article is a stunning description of what a Shaman (Dr Malidoma Patrice Some) from Dagara culture saw when he visited a mental hospital in America while studying for his graduate degree. The article talks about the idea of mental illness possibly being a kind of 'sponsorship' from another realm, attempting to teach those of us who haven't yet been desensitised to certain aspects of our world how to combat them and become leaders. What an empowering notion. It ties in with many philosophical ideologies (such as Nietszche's idea of wanting to embrace chaos) which attempt to teach us to learn from unhappiness, despair and calamity in order to help others.

I find this idea empowering because if you can see a pattern in the world that others can't you should talk about it, discuss it and research it. Open up the conversation! Doing so might help you form a clearer picture of the world and what you might want to change (if anything!) about it. Acknowledging these patterns and ideologies could then open up a whole slew of creative combatants - creative ideas which you can put out into the world in order to combat outdated ideologies which restrict and CONSTRICT us in our mental, physical, spiritual and psychological growth. In short; ideas which make us question and THINK about certain 'norms'.

To write, draw, dance, act or create in any way in protest of the past and acceptance of the future is, I believe, a fantastic way of opening the minds of others and introducing change into the world.

Your creativity gets the ball rolling for others. It makes them more willing to try something new - whether they are inspired by how cohesively you've made your point, or your commercial or critical successes, even on the most microcosmic scale - this helps others find their best and most accessible expressive language. This also ties into the idea of mass-thinking, but of changing mass-thinking so rather than being presented with a view and accepting it we experience it for ourselves and form our opinions based on these experiences.

This idea of 'expressive language' is the way we help ourselves gather and collect our thoughts and ideas and pass them onto others as something positive - rather than let them tear us up from the inside out. I.e. Write books, paint paintings, write music, whatever feeling or idea we need to let out we can with the right expressive language skills.

In a sense it's kind of like raising your hand and asking for a bit of help, to discuss creative ideas critically and analyse them, make them better and make them more positive or helpful.

Sometimes we like to bury our heads in the sand, life often seems easier that way. Ignorance is, after all, bliss as they say. But I like to (in times of need) turn to Harry Potter quotations and remember Movie-Dumbledore in all his wisdom saying, 'soon we must all face the choice between what is right, and what is easy.'

It's easy to ignore things, to slip into apathy and to believe it when we say, 'I don't care'. However, it's not 'right'. Of course 'right' and 'moral' is defined by who you are and the motley collection of beliefs you choose to live your life by, but if we were to trust in philosophy and the idea of 'good' and 'bad' then it's probably worth choosing our lifestyle conforms based on that question posed here about whether or not what we are about to do will help or hinder the poorest person we know.

Remember that the poorest person we know may have much in economic wealth and assets, but they might be spiritually devoid, they might have no love for others or constantly berate and belittle those around them. It's not physical wealth and the accumulation of things that often matters when we consider this question, but what ideas we are lacking in in our society.

If identifying certain patterns in our lives leads to depression, anxiety and other mental 'illnesses' perhaps it's time we began to open up, to question what we are able to recognise in the world. To turn to art and philosophy, psychologists and shamans, great and open minds, and open the discussion without stigma, without fear of how we describe our feelings. I think it's worth the risk of putting them out there, it just might change someone's opinion, and that someone could be extremely important in terms of influence. It's okay to not be okay, to be confused, to not know how to explain our feelings or understand them in a language we can make heads and tails of. That's what communication is for. We have the ability to be open, to say, 'I see this occurrence in daily life, what do you think?' And we should.

In other news, here's my latest youtube video: THE WORLD CUP IS EVIL!

Xo, Ellen