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Shamanic Wisdom: The Meaning of Life

Shamanic Wisdom: The Meaning of Life Jan Engels-Smith

We all seek meaning in life, and we have different reasons to believe we have found it, or we resign ourselves to an existential belief that there is no meaning to existence. I cannot subscribe to the latter because my life has meaning, and it is significant. I pondered this idea after being asked to express my understanding of the meaning of life for a website that was gathering the thoughts of people involved in spiritual quests and healing work. Seeking is difficult enough, but verbalizing the definition is very challenging. The obvious problem lies in the recognition of the limitations of language. We acquire meaning through many receptors in our bodies and souls, and all do not come to us in words but are often relayed in feelings, sensory perceptions, and mystical experiences.

A student once asked me how I knew I was right. I laughed and replied that the thought has never crossed my mind. Being right means nothing to me. What I base my teachings on are my healing work and the results I have witnessed. I have witnessed changes in people’s lives and relationships and in their health and happiness. They have displayed absolutely amazing transformations. These miraculous healings have more meaning to me than any doctrine.

I remember a reference in A Course in Miracles, a study program I participated in many years ago. (Many of you might be familiar with it.) The course raised the question, “Would you rather be right or happy?” Choosing to be happy was easy. Happiness heals the mind, the body, and the spirit. If that is true, then being happy must have rightness to it. The mysteries of the universe defy most expectations of correctness if, by that, we mean purely rational proof. And being right never really changed a life for the better. Being right implies a sense of superior thought and suggests that there is someone who is wrong. The concept creates divisiveness and can even lead to a sense of self-righteousness that may become ego driven and create a close-mindedness that limits understanding. So with the caveat of limiting expression, I will attempt to convey my attitude of understanding derived from my experiences and spiritual teachers.