In other spiritual systems, this idea of being pursued by power is expressed far more pleasantly, for example as "God's yearning for communion with us," or as our long journey toward reunion with the divine. I like the sweetness of that language, but I frankly don’t find it that useful on a moment-to-moment basis. I'm glad that we are all heading toward an ultimate reunion, I'm thrilled that we are going through a paradigm shift, a species-wide initiation. But I have problems I have to deal with right now, and I need help.
In shamanic cosmology, the universe is made of power, interacting in a trillion trillion ways, and 99.9999% of those ways are incomprehensible to humans. (Actually physics sees things the same way.) Power takes many forms, many frequencies and shapes. A stink bug is a coagulation of Power, as is Mt. Everest, a palm tree, a virus, and you.
In shamanism, the task of daily life is to become visible or attractive to the Powers that will help you survive and thrive, and help you learn to become a true human being. Our other task is to make ourselves invisible or unattractive to the lower powers that want to kill you or take up residence in you and eat your life energy, without offering you any teaching in how to become a true human.
Every indigenous-trained teacher I've studied with has used the phrase "build your power" in one way or another. A few years ago, an Andean teacher in Cusco Peru, upon our first meeting, took one look at me and said, "You are weak. You need to build power." It was an unpleasant shock to hear it like that, but he was right and he taught me a lot over a short time. Each of us can, and needs to, build our power.
Fear in all its forms (envy, greed, arrogance, self-deprecation, martyrdom, fear of joy, fear of love, fear of life) is what makes you visible and delicious to lower energies which are pursuing you in order to eat your energy. An old fear that’s been with you a long time is evidence that lower energies have taken up residence in you and are eating your energy, and need to be cleared. Therapy can do a lot of this, but healing ceremonies are intended to complete the work that therapy doesn't reach.
One bit of good news is that the Holy Ones (the ancient ancestral spirits of life who prepared us to enter the physical world) are also, in their own way, pursuing us constantly - with protection, advice, and wisdom. They teach us how to make ourselves visible to the greater powers of love, gratitude, forgiveness and joy, and these energies help us become true humans. The ancient Holy Ones are always on our side and cheering for us whenever we overcome the next fear.
The other bit of good news is that Power in even larger forms than the Holy Ones is also pursuing you at each moment, offering you opportunity after opportunity to learn how to be a true human who is inhabited by energies of peace, joy, and forgiveness.
All of this imagery is important and helpful to me because it's how I sense our current times. Tremendous powers are being released in so many ways into the world. Old, unattended to wounds and fears are being released from humans into the general web of energy. We are swimming in these lower energies that want to predate on us. And those powers are being released because a Great Power has stepped forward to work with us, and is clearing out many of those old energies that have been living in people like intestinal worms being passed down through the generations. I had a dream about this Great Power a few nights ago, and it's truly beyond words (or at last beyond my words). That Great Power has also been pursuing us in order to help us open our new vision.
So, we are all living together through a giant electrical storm and all of our hairs are standing on end.
Four years ago, my current teacher said, "We are entering a time where anyone without a spiritual practice to anchor them will get swept away by what's coming." In my view, being "swept away" comes in the form of conspiracy theories, anxiety, blind rage and blind fear, blame, and revenge. There is a great deal of encouragement right now for us to step into all of these – to invite these energies into us to live and eat. We are told that we show our commitment to the cause and our passion, and our deep love of life, by inviting in rage and revenge. But these are predatory powers and they don’t teach us to be true humans; these predators are masters of illusion, deception and enchantment, so they are very good at tempting us to let them in to eat.
We build our power in two ways: by attending to our energy leaks, which are always attached to a fear, and by learning how to call in and work with the Greater Power. If we are to be of service to our own life, to the lives of others, to the descendants, and to the web of life, it's incumbent upon us to anchor ourselves, and that anchor is made of us building our power through a practice that makes us visible to the powers of awe and vision, and less visible to fear in all its forms.