They asked a Shaman
What is poison?
Anything beyond what we need is poison. It can be power, laziness, food, ego, ambition, vanity, fear, anger, or whatever.
What is fear?
Non-acceptance of uncertainty. If we accept uncertainty, it becomes adventure.
What is envy?
No acceptance of good in the other. If we accept good, it becomes inspiration.
What is anger?
No acceptance of what is beyond our control. If we accept, it becomes tolerance.
What is hate?
Non-acceptance of people as they are. If we accept unconditionally, it becomes love.
I have seen this message around and am not sure of its author, nor where it comes from. It may be real, or something made up.
However, it piqued my interest and I decided to spend some time inquiring into this message and exploring how it has related to and still relates to my life.
What Is Poison?
Anything beyond what we need is poison.
It can be power, laziness, food, ego, ambition, vanity, fear, anger, or whatever.
When I was young, I learnt that lying, cheating, stealing, and holding onto anger was all poison to me.
Whether it was through my experience of those things or from what I observed of those around me, I don’t remember. But I do recall that I shaped my life around this concept. I even recall sharing this with others as I grew into adulthood.
Later in life, I can see how I poisoned myself to the point of my physical, emotional and spiritual health suffering greatly.
I spent greats amount of energy on things that did not truly matter in my life and allowed those things to take me further and further away from my true nature.
So, for me the answer to “What is poison?” is: That which distracts me from living in alignment with my true nature every day.
When I feel a heaviness in my body, my health starts to suffer, or I start to feel out of control, I know that – somewhere in my life – I am not living in alignment to my true nature. This helps guide me to explore that which no longer serves me. And to release, transform, or heal it. To be rid of that poison.
What Is Fear?
Non-acceptance of uncertainty.
If we accept uncertainty, it becomes adventure.
Except for fearing spiders and snakes as a kid (not anymore) and having a short-lived fear of frogs and the colour green after my older brother put one down my shirt one night, I never felt that I feared much in life.
However, when I think of fear as non-acceptance of uncertainty, I realise that I spent a large percentage of my life missing out on opportunities because I could not predict the outcome or there was a lack of certainty. Was this fear?
When I was younger, my perfectionistic nature also prevented me from choosing different paths in my life. And this perfectionism – this fear of failing or doing the wrong thing – ultimately led to limiting myself in so many ways.
The Different Faces of Fear
Looking back, I also realise that my own perceived idea of what Fear is caused me to miss the more subtle ways I danced with fear throughout my life.
So yes, fear has played an interesting part in my life and how I became who I am today.
Accepting the unknown and surrendering is not something that comes naturally to humans. Our egoic nature wants to know and be sure.
Today, I teach people that life is an adventure and to surrender to the uncertainty. And while this was something I restricted myself on in my early years, it is something that I now embrace in my life.
When we view everything we experience as an adventure, our perspective can be really transformed. And it can help us not take everything on or consider everything as personal.
What is envy?
No acceptance of good in the other.
If we accept good, it becomes inspiration.
I was taught at a very young age that envy is a green-eyed monster and to avoid coveting what others have. Never have I thought of envy being “non-acceptance of good in another.” This puts an interesting spin on things.
In my time, I have learnt to be grateful for what I have and not to think the grass is always greener on the other side. I have always sought to be different and to choose differently. So I haven’t felt the green-eyed monster appear much in my life.
The illusions we experience in life reinforce energies like envy. When we see someone who is successful and winning at life, we may start to compare our life with theirs. Which perhaps may lead to thoughts and feelings of wanting what they have.
When that happens, we need to remove our judgements and perceptions of others and how they came to be where they are. Because the true reality may not be what we see from the outside.
Inspiration in itself is not dangerous. However, when envy appears, it can become destructive. Instead of feeling resentment, we need to transform that feeling into acceptance and gratitude.
Acceptance and gratitude of where we are in our life. That we have everything we need to be who we want to be. That we are enough just as we are. And that we are a whole being in every moment.
When we accept the good in our life, we can accept the good that is happening in the lives of others, also.
What Is Anger?
No acceptance of what is beyond our control.
If we accept, it becomes tolerance.
Anger is one of the emotions I have struggled with most in my life and still struggle with today.
It appears in my life when I feel things are out of control. When I have no clear way forward. Or when I am triggered by the silliness in the world.
And yes, I have been a self-confessed ‘Control Freak.’
In one of my early job interviews, they asked me what my weakness was. I said, “I am a bit of a control freak. I like to have everything organised and make sure it’s right.” They laughed and said they thought I would be perfect for the job.
Unfortunately, combining perfectionism with being a control freak turned out to be a great recipe for pent up emotions that I failed to release appropriately growing up. There were bursts of anger, but mostly I kept to myself behind closed doors so that no one ever knew. On an odd occasion, I would show my anger in public and become a dark little cloud that everyone avoided until the storm settled.
I admit that I still have not mastered this part of my life. However, I have learnt to express my anger and release it in far better ways.
Instead of holding onto my anger, which has caused many health issues for me, I am now sensitive to the signs and able to address the anger before it explodes or is withheld for too long.
The Locus of Control
My early days in leadership development training also taught me the Locus Of Control. There are two circles, one within the other. The smaller (inner) circle is labelled “The Locus of Control” And the space between the inner circle and outer circle is labelled “The Locus of Influence.”
Those things we could control in our lives are put into the smaller circle. Things that influence us but that we have no control of go into the larger, outer circle.
This is a useful exercise to put into perspective what is real. That is, what you have control over that is up to you to change, versus things that may influence you but you have no control over.
Those things that you have no control over are the things you need to let go off and not focus your attention on. Focus your attention on what you can control and change.
Using this exercise helps me recognise and let go of what I cannot control and keep my focus on the things I can.
And thankfully, my need to control has also been lessened as I practice surrendering to all things in my life. Embracing the unknown, and trusting everything is just the way it needs to be.
What Is Hate?
Non-acceptance of people as they are.
If we accept unconditionally, it becomes love.
Something I teach a lot about is unconditional love.
When I was 12 years old, I remember making a declaration that, “I am going to discover the true meaning of love.”
I’m not totally sure why this was something I decided to pursue and make it a lifelong discovery for me. However, it is exactly what has happened.
Around that same time, I had started reading fantasy novels by David Eddings, Raymond E Fiest and others. And there was always something tragic about any love being realised between people.
Based on the adults I observed as a child, I was also confused about what was and wasn’t “love.” And I was also taught at a young age that the word “hate” was a very strong word and should never be used. Then add in the religious aspects of God’s unconditional love in the bible stories. . .
Fast forward to now and I am happy to say that uncovering, experiencing, and embracing unconditional love is still something close to my heart. And yes, it begins with accepting others, situations, and events unconditionally.
I have been fortunate enough to experience a friendship that had all the hallmarks of unconditional love. An experience that neither of us could explain. That experience has helped me on my journey to be able to express unconditional love to others as well as for events and circumstances.
Self-Reflection Isn’t Easy
Self-reflection like this isn’t easy because it requires consistent practice and remembering. Remembering that we are all one and we are all here for a purpose.
When you learn to see yourself in others and them in you, gap of separation begins to close. You begin to realise that hate is not a productive or useful energy. It becomes something you no longer want in your life.
If we focus on seeing and accepting people just as they are and stop seeking what makes us different, we will start to dissipate hate and embrace love.
What Did I Learn From This Inquiry?
Working through this exercise has shown and reminded me that:
- There are areas of my life I am still working on – and will continue to work on – as I become more in alignment to my true nature.
- Acceptance and gratitude are a big part of releasing unwanted energies, thoughts, and feelings that harm us.
- Choosing NOT to judge others, yourself, events, or circumstances is key. To accept that everything and everyone – including yourself – is perfect, whole, and essential. All as it needs to be right now in every moment.
- It’s important not to beat ourselves up when inquiring into our shortfalls. It’s okay and we are okay. The important thing is to recognise how we can show up better next time and seek to do that. And if we fall, pick ourselves up and try again.
Those things in our lives that do not serve us will poison us and so it is important to shed what no longer serves to make way for that which will lift you up and help you live in alignment to your true nature.
Letting go and surrendering – whilst not easy – is essential for living a life free from suffering.
If you are seeking a place to explore your true nature and to live a life more aligned to it, I would love to invite you to join our community. It is a welcoming place where you are free to explore your spiritual and personal development with other likeminded people. To grow and learn from one another.