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About Shamanism, Meditation and It's Link To Yoga

Aug 17, 2007
Shamanism to some is a system of beliefs. However, the goals of a Shaman are very individualized. Joseph Campbell describes in his survey of Shamanism in his book Primitive Mythology, as people who had a direct experience of power, or of understanding, which gave them power.

Given the structure of the tribe, or any human society, there is an understanding of who is in power and how that power has to be respected. Often a Shaman develops tricks to scare the hunter or villager to keep them from harming them with their greater numbers. A Shaman kept his freedom and administered authority by the social respect and the use of abilities that were observable AND by using 'tricks' to keep the more violent people at bay.

A Shaman, by means of his insights, is able to help people heal. By means of his 'tricks' he can make people use the power of belief and faith to heal. He may use devices to help him/her attain the desired goal. But this doesn't mean that the devices are primitive in themselves. This has more to do with a perspective on technology that it does on what is actually used.

Or the Shaman may have warrior inclinations. A seeker after 'truth and understanding'. Often, manifested as a traveling Shaman who goes from village to village learning from many Shaman's different techniques and perspectives. All these techniques together is 'The Art Of Shamanism'.

There is some debate on the age of shamanism.

Since 'primitive' cultures are considered, well, primitive, they also are not respected as intelligent humans. Instead they are seen as 'savages' which is a remnant of the Victorian perspective of anyone who is NOT a part of their culture.

The sort of intolerance that sees primitives as savages is a very common thing in 'civilized' culture. However, a primitive savage is more likely to be considerate and give the new person the benefit of doubt that, 'yes, this could be an intelligent human being just from a different culture so they look different'. The fact that our 'civilization' is savage while the 'savages' are civil is one of the great ironies of history.

Since primitives are 'savages' any sort of medicinal practice or meditational practice anyone one of the primitives do - also qualifies as barbaric. Meditation does originate from Shamans - the primitives.

Now we know that meditation is powerful. For example check out this article from Time Magazine .

So now the perspective that meditation is a barbaric practice of un-civilized savages cannot be held by any rational human being. As meditation has been shown to increase memory, focus, ability to concentrate, i.e. the very modes of consciousness we associate with intelligence. The Shamans were the first individuals involved in personal development and intelligence enhancement.

Meditation can be traced back to before the Aryan invasion of India which is supposed to have brought India it's 'High civilization". In the Indus Valley cities made of stone, with modern style sewage system and bath houses were found. Dating back to before 2500 B.C. There are no signs of development...i.e. the cities were built from plans. Like colonies by the Europeans in the America's. So they were colonies themselves. Their writing hasn't been interpreted so no one knows from where these people arrived. But they were an urban civilization in every sense of the word.

But the best part? The lotus position of sitting popularized by Patajali's Yoga in 500 B.C. was already well known in this 'Indus Valley' civilization. There is even a seal dated 2000 B.C. from this city showing a person in the meditative lotus position.

In other words, Yogic techniques were already an intrinsic part of this culture 1500 years before the Yogic System we know today was created.

Essentially, a bunch of shamanic techniques, passed down through the ages, was already a part of local mythology in India 2000 years before recorded history begins in this region. (taking into account we still can't translate the seals). These techniques were complied into a system by Pantajali which comes down to us now as the ancient system of Yoga.

Shamanism - or rather s group of shamans from ages past - is the source of the powerful meditative and physical techniques that have been passed down to us through India now known as Yoga.
About the Author
Abbas Abedi - If you want to learn more about the history and practices of Shamanism and the ways of the Shamans themselves, you have to visit my blog on shamanism. You will learn how the shamans influenced the techniques of Yoga, Qigong, Taoism and Tibetan Buddhism and more.
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