When you find your sacred dream, the creative power of the Universe─known by the shamans as the Primordial Light─becomes available to you to create beauty in the world, and to heal yourself and others. Like the shamans of the Andes, you become a luminous warrior. You dare to speak the inconvenient truths, uphold universal values that honor all life, and perform daily acts of courage. This is what Dr. Villoldo ─ a medical anthropologist and shaman ─ aims to teach us in his latest book, The Heart of the Shaman: Stories and Practices of the Luminous Warrior.
Villoldo leads readers to a new level of awareness: to understanding why we are here at this time and place, in this life with these skills, this family and these contemporaries. The exercises in the book are simple and effective, but require soul searching.
Q & A with Alberto Villoldo
Q: What is the difference between religious teachings and spiritual traditions?
A: Spiritual traditions, including shamanism, are founded on our experience, not on sacred texts or the experiences of others. Religion on the other hand is founded in faith and belief, not on experience. Some scholars consider today’s religions as a codification of the teachings of the ancient shamans.
A: First, we must awaken from the slumber we live in, and accept that the dreams we believe to be true—dreams of security, permanence and unconditional love—are not reality. Then, we must transform these dreams, and accept that life is ever changing, that our mortality is a given, and that no one can liberate us from a life of fear and insecurity except ourselves.
Q: How do we know when we have found our sacred dream?
A: You will know because it is much larger than you, and may even feel impossible to accomplish all that you hope to achieve. A sacred dream launches you on a mission, like it did with Martin Luther King, and Gandhi. “But I am not Gandhi,” you might say. True, you do not have to set a goal to lead a billion people to freedom. But what if your destiny is to do something far greater than you have imagined until this moment?