How Shamans Dream the World Into Being
We are what we think.
Everything we are arises from our thoughts.
With our thinking we create the world. — Buddha
Whether you realize it or not, we are all dreaming the world into being. What we’re engaging in is not the sleeping dream we’re familiar with, but the waking dream we craft with our eyes open. When we’re unaware that we all share the power to co-create reality with the help of the universe itself, that power slips away from us and our dream turns into a nightmare. We begin to feel we’re the victims of an unknown and frightening creation that we’re unable to influence or change. Events seem to control us and trap us.
The only way to end this dreadful reality is to awaken to the fact that it, too, is a dream, and recognize our ability to write a better story, one that the universe will work with us to manifest. As soon as you awaken to your power to dream, you begin to flex the muscles of your courage. Then you can dream bravely: letting go of your limiting beliefs and pushing past your fears. You can begin to create truly original dreams that germinate in your soul and bear fruit in your life.
Courageous dreaming allows you to create from the source, the quantum soup of the universe where everything exists in a latent or potential state. Physicists understand that in the quantum world of the universe’s smallest, elemental parts, nothing is “real” until it is observed. But quantum events do not occur in the laboratory only. They also happen inside our brain, on this page, and everywhere around us. When you observe any part of this dream, the great matrix of energy, you can change reality and alter the entire dream.
Modern physics is describing what the ancient wisdomkeepers of the Americas have long known. These shamans, known as the Earthkeepers, say that we are dreaming the world into being through the very act of witnessing it. Scientists believe that we are only able to do this in the very small, subatomic world. Shamans understand that we also dream the larger world that we experience with our senses. Like the Aborigines, the Earthkeepers live in a world where the dreamtime has not been pushed into the domain of sleep like it has for us. They know that all of creation arises from, and returns to, this dreamtime.
The dreamtime, the creative matrix, does not exist in a place outside of us. Rather, it infuses all matter and energy, connecting every creature, every rock, every star, and every ray of light or bit of cosmic dust. The power to dream is the power to participate in creation itself. For the Earthkeepers, dreaming reality is not only an ability, but a duty, one we must perform with grace and love so that our grandchildren will inherit a world where they can live in peace and abundance.
Shamans of the Andes and the Amazon believe that we can only access the power of this force by raising our level of consciousness. When we do so, we become aware that we’re like a drop of water in a vast, divine ocean, distinct yet immersed in something much larger than ourselves. It’s only when we experience our connection to infinity that we’re able to dream powerfully. In fact, it’s our sense of separation from infinity that makes us become trapped in a nightmare in the first place. To end the nightmare, to reclaim our power of dreaming reality and craft a better reality, we need to have a visceral understanding of our dreaming power in every cell of our body and stop feeling disassociated and disconnected. If we don’t get beyond mere intellectual understanding of this concept, we’ll end up lowering the bar and creating a far less glorious and beautiful experience of the world than we’re capable of crafting. It takes courage to taste infinity.
The Earthkeepers believe that the world is real, but only because we are dreaming it into being. When we lack courage, we have to settle for the world that is being dreamed by our culture or by our genes — the nightmare. To dream courageously and be empowered, you must be willing to use your heart and make a conscious decision to dream a sacred dream of joy, peace, glory and having the life you want.
Excerpted with permission from Courageous Dreaming: How Shamans Dream The World Into Being by Alberto Villoldo, PhD. (2008, Hay House)
Alberto Villoldo, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and psychologist who has studied the spiritual practices of the Amazon and the Andes for more than 25 years. Author of numerous best-selling books, including Shaman, Healer, Sage, The Four Insights, Courageous Dreaming and Power Up Your Brain, Alberto is the founder of The Four Winds Society, and directs the Center for Energy Medicine in Chile, where he investigates and practices the neuroscience of enlightenment. Visit www.