Science and Shamanism

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

Quantum physics, and modern theoretical physics, comes to some pretty odd conclusions. You hear of scientists happily admitting that an infinite universe, or infinite parallel universe, necessarily means that everything possible must exist. Yet when we look at these conclusions from a spiritual point of view, they can be used to understand reality in a very complete way. I’ve often joked that there should be a metaphysics expert at CERN (nominating myself, of course), but the truth is that science and shamanism can blend seamlessly together.

It is known that light exists both as a particle and as a wave. The waveform includes all possible paths the particle may take, and the wave is described as being “everywhere at once”. When forced into physical reality by being tested and observed, the waveform “collapses” and its reality manifests (in this plane of existence, anyway) as one of the potential particles, taking a single path. It is also said that this is not unique to light – that everything exists as both particle and wave. Even you.

I believe that the waveform, which is potential, is what we have been calling “spirit” all this time. It exists as a real thing but we can only ever observe the singular manifestations of physical particles in this plane of existence. You have a spirit, which is all your possibilities – and to me that equates to your higher self. Yet you can only physically observe the one manifestation of it out of an infinite set: your physical being as you know it.

Now, if potential is spirit, existing infinitely everywhere at once, how do we get to know it? I have another belief that answers this in a surprising way.

Our imagination is a direct sense of potential. How else can we know what is possible in an infinite universe? Well, everything we imagine is possible – somehow, somewhere. Thus, our imagination is a real sense, just like vision and hearing, but of spiritual things.

People don’t like to think that spirituality is made up or “all in our head”, and that’s not what I’m saying at all. What I’m saying is that through disciplined use of our imagination, we can see everything that is possible, which is the spirit realm.

Shamanism provides one such disciplined use of the imagination. You will hear great shamanic teachers saying things like, “Of course we’re imagining everything. That’s how we create reality.” The oft-used phrase “dreaming the world into being” speaks to this. What shamans do is to go into altered states of consciousness where they can get answers and see potential while feeling like they’re not making it up – the messages seem to come from outside our own heads.

As Pablo Picasso says, “Everything you can imagine is real.”  Shamans use the shamanic journey to see reality in a different way – to see the full power of potential and possibility, which is spirit. And every time a spirit comes to speak to us, it is scientifically true that there must be a real being (somehow, somewhere) that exists who would say this to us. So it’s real and imaginary all at once, and the real trick is just learning to navigate this infinite universe.

Time Alone

Consciousness becomes

you. Given enough time, you know

all stones and bones defossilize,

enliven, and grow

again, again, again, spiriting

in cycles too vast for theories to vault.

You verb

to hide the fact you’re doing

time alone,

and there’s no escape

but to dream that eons entwine,

infinitely packed without a care

for paradox or spacetime. Here, you stroke

the everbefore-and-after

with your little hours; here, you reach

the gods of everything.

Heat Death of the Universe

In the last throes of the heat death

of what was once a universe,

everything flies apart.

Your body undoes itself, gapes

as the galaxies expand, cool, and thin

to mere suggestions.

The cosmos becomes its own

homeopathic remedy,

while your mind dissolves into space

to inoculate

me against your memory.


Little Things


means there’s no going back,

no return to nonexistent homes,

while the universe breathes

out a breath never drawn in.


Truth cannot bear

infinite possibilities, in which a universe must exist

where everything is precisely the same

except your dreams are all real

and your truths are all lies.