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What it means to be a Master. Options
 
Jupitor
#1 Posted : 1/11/2019 8:37:56 AM

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This is something that I have wondered extensively about. In an Ayahuasca circle I am familiar with, the shaman has taken on many "apprentices". Now, I have my issues with this guy. And I don't feel comfortable doing ceremony with him again. Anyone who calls themselves a shaman draws my extreme skepticism. In any case, his assistant refers to him as a "master" or "maestro" quite frequently.

My question is this- in a shamanistic master-apprentice relationship, is it the Master who tells the apprentice he has reached mastery, or is it the apprentice that decides the master can't teach him anything else and so takes upon himself the mantle...?

Any thoughts you all have on what it even means to be a "Master", and who decides when a person has attained it, would be most appreciated.


The only thing I've heard him (the shaman) say about it, is that it is for the patient to be healed, and for the apprentice to heal himself. So... maybe once you feel like you've healed yourself, you're it?

 

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obliguhl
#2 Posted : 1/11/2019 10:13:15 AM

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Quote:
So... maybe once you feel like you've healed yourself, you're it?


From an enthnological perspective, the ability to go through a healing crisis and having to heal yourself is part of becoming a shaman. I doubt that would make you a master in the sense of being a "superior" shaman. To my knowledge, in some amazonian cultures like the shuar/jivaro, shamans are people with status. With that comes competition and hierarchy. So it would make sense that shaman want to be seen as masters.

But what if your guy really is a master? You can be a master in anything that affords skill and that is also true with mastering shamanistic techniques. That does not make you a guru.

It is easy to see amazonian shamanism from a western perspective or "spiritualism" while in reality it might just be a practical skill for amazonian peoples. Nothing to to do with becoming enlightened or egoless.

Or are you talking about a circle outside of the amazon?
Then, i would be very sceptical too because one can't simply adapt a foreign culture without understanding it fully and there might be alterior motives besides healing.
 
Jagube
#3 Posted : 1/11/2019 11:50:00 AM

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I don't know about traditional Ayahuasca cultures (neither am I much interested in those), but in the context of modern Ayahuasca use, I would say only the apprentice can decide when they've reached mastery enough to teach others. By the time they've reached it, their relationship with their teacher will most likely have ended anyway. Indeed, it takes leading circles for several years on one's own, without the presence of the teacher, before such mastery can be reached.
When a ceremony leader is highly regarded by those who have sat with him, that's more important than what some 'master' authority says.

I, too, am skeptical of Westerners calling themselves shamans. The word has a heavy load and is entwined with culture. While it's pretty clear what it means in the context of, say, indigenous or mestizo shamanism of the Upper Amazon, it's not clear at all what it means in a Western context. So it only adds confusion and may indicate cultural appropriation.

obliguhl wrote:
It is easy to see amazonian shamanism from a western perspective or "spiritualism" while in reality it might just be a practical skill for amazonian peoples. Nothing to to do with becoming enlightened or egoless.

I wouldn't want to sit with a ceremony leader who is very far from being enlightened; who has a big ego, pride, a superiority complex, or poor integrity and abuses his position.

I have a problem accepting this so-called shamanism as a trade, a practical skill. Ayahuasca is not like allopathic medicine, a pill you give to someone to cure physical illness. It's a healing modality where matter and spirit work together, and to work with spirit for healing, you have to radiate Light.
 
AikyO
#4 Posted : 1/11/2019 12:47:18 PM

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Indeed if you have healed yourself, if you went through the process, you have something to communicate. This is true of many things in life, so we will speak broadly.

The master never stops being a student or he cannot have students because what is teaching, the true master, is beyond "me". You cannot separate master and student and you never learn alone (on your own). That means, the master already is you.

The issue of a true master will be about communication. If he is able to communicate selflessly and to blossom awareness in the minds of his students, then I would say he will be rightful in his teachings. If he creates attachment to his way and do not let them find their own eventually, it will not heal and they will not see themselves for who they are. If he glorifies himself or whatever.

All can have an healing experience or live through something akin to enlightenment, but to communicate it well is a different matter. It demands the ability to be centered and having applied what you experienced to all aspects of your life, to *be* your own teachings before you speak them out and influence others.

So it is in presence most his said. Words are fallacious, and so especially when they are written. They do not teach much.

(Can you hear or see me? Very tricky)

Him saying he is a shaman can be interpreted badly in our day and age - and I would tend to say, he should chose his words more carefully - but if he is confident in what he does and actually does it in *the way*, then words don't matter all that much.

A good teacher will show the way and allow one to grow on his own, like nature does.

Him saying he wants to let the apprentice heal himself is something I would say psychedelics teach and is important to remember, especially in the context of healing through the plants.

Anyway ... What I mean is, if he looks like a windy morning or the chunky tree, then he is probably a master.
The world moves for love, it kneels in awe before it

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.°o;;;^`^_<<<8>>>_^`^,,,O.°


 
tregar
#5 Posted : 1/11/2019 2:03:51 PM

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I like the way Dennis Mckenna describes the Shamans at his retreat in Costa Rica:

"We are not gurus, preachers, or enlightened beings – our shamans are healers who humbly transmit the knowledge and healing energies of the plants..."

Don't see the words "master", instead the mastery is ascribed to the plants.
 
dreamer042
#6 Posted : 1/11/2019 5:11:12 PM

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It may be helpful to step outside the ayahuasca culture and look at how "master" is defined in other contexts.

In Japan there is a very specific course of training one undergoes to learn to correctly pour tea. It usually takes many years of training and the methodology is very exacting, every movement is ascribed and must be performed meticulously throughout the many hours long ceremony. Only when one can perform each and every action flawlessly is one able to take on the title of tea master.

In Buddhism mastery is applied in the context of a teacher-student lineage that can be traced directly back to the Buddha himself. As in the story of the Flower sermon in which the knowing smile of Mahākāśyapa can be traced directly to the currently living Zen masters of that lineage.

One can take a few courses and get a master gardener or master herbalist certificate. You can become a reiki master in a weekend workshop for a low low price.

In yet another context, when can someone be said to have mastered playing the piano? or javascript? or the perfect sushi roll?

Perhaps teacher is a better way to look at it, I expect most people that have truly attained mastery in an art would opt instead for that title. Ask yourself, does the "maestro" display a demonstrated competence in their art? Do they willingly and openly share their knowledge and acknowledge their own teachers? Do they stand humble before their students? Do they aim to serve? If you do not find genuine integrity in the conduct of the master, simply turn around and walk away.
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Visual diagram for the administration of dimethyltryptamine

Visual diagram for the administration of ayahuasca
 
Jupitor
#7 Posted : 1/11/2019 10:30:15 PM

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I like the teacher-student model for looking at this. Here's the question- how does one go about finding the right teacher? I've heard it said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And vice versa.
 
tregar
#8 Posted : 1/16/2019 2:54:19 PM

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It seems a large percentage of people & couples are spending thousands of dollars to go to the Amazon to visit retreats (at least this is what I can tell from reddit forums)...don't quite understand when a UDV or Santo Daime ceremony donation was quoted as costing a person about thirty to forty dollars or less in dream materials. The dream is as easy as Caapi + 25 to 30g of hawaiian psychotria or less (always ornamentally potent). The dream: simply brew lots of hawaiian psychotria at once and divide into portions, try a single portion 1st with caapi, then adjust the future dream doses up or down when adding to caapi depending on how the 1st journey went.

Nothing wrong with retreats, but at a retreat website I visited in Costa Rica, I saw it costs a couple about 5 grand, at site, clicked on "our story" then "our team" and saw retreat employs over 15 people! (see pic of all the team people)...and all the people obviously have to get paid. I would rather keep the money in savings personally, and go on a cheaper vacation nearby.

Do you really need a Shaman?

Why you Should drink Ayahuasca alone: http://julianpalmerism.c...-drink-ayahuasca-alone/



 
AcaciaConfusedYah
#9 Posted : 1/16/2019 5:23:28 PM

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Hey folks,


When I read the first post, before reading the replies, I was given the impression that Jupitor has lost a sense of respect for the shaman. That immediately started forming biased opinions and impressions - from my point of view.

When I hear the word master, I often think of people who call themselves the "master" of a pet - such as a dog. Most Westerneras use the word master to imply the sense of superior status that cannot be surpassed - the dog will never become "more human" than the "master." On the other hand, the dog may also live a relatively healthy and carefree life - if their master assumes the dog's live as their own personal responsibility. The dog, in perspective, may even live a "happier" life than the "master."

In a less ideal situation, the master may mistreat the dog - skip feeding it, skip playing playing with it, severe punishments, abusive yelling, etc. In this case, the master expresses their unhappiness on the dog, and the dog has a lower quality of living.

In the earlier formation of the USA, the people transitioned from the rule of a master (the English Monarchy) to a sovereign nation. The people wanted to be freed from their master.... yet failed to realize that they had become the masters that they had hated. An example is slavery. I'm not going into detail, here, not the right time or discussion. But, many self proclaimed "masters" mistreated many people who were taken away from their homes and families, told that they were inferior, and forced to do manual labor. Not all of the slaves owners mistreated the people that they considered slaves; yet they never wanted to allow the people that they call slaves to have a sense of self worth or self identity. This allowed them to hold their positions until the civil war. It has taken many years for this mentality to diminish - and it's still present in some areas.

On a humorous note - when I finished reading the first post, I had one thing that came to mind - Star Wars and the Sith's rule of two. One master and one apprentice. They were still able to access the force - like the Jedi, who were a collaborative council composed of many people of differing planets, races, genders, and skill level - but they always followed the rule of two. The rule of two was important to the Sith, because the apprentice always desired to be the most powerful. They are made to believe that the only person more powerful than themselves is the master. Therefore, after they felt that they had reached a level that surpasses their master, they try to kill the master and assume that position. The master is always aware of that, and that's why they only have one apprentice. (Apparently, it's easier to maintain control [or not] when they only had one apprentice to monitor.) The master always has the assumption that they will be more powerful - so when the apprentice tries to become the master - there is some kind of battle, with light sabers or force energy, that will end in the apprentice either killing the master, the master killing the apprentice, or neither die (yet) but the apprentice is severely punished.

The Jedi also have masters and apprentices - though the dynamics are much different. There are many masters, none of which wish to harm each other, aside from the Sith that are buried within the pile... (Anakin). They work together, collectively, to teach and train. They try to maintain a positive perspective, and only engage in battle when there are not other alternatives. There is no rule of two. Though the masters have higher "status," they don't enforce the mentality of an egotistic, all powerful, singular person that is THE master. The apprentices will become masters, in time.

Is Star Wars a good representation of shamanism? - probably not. It's just the thought that came to mind when I hear "master and apprentice." I know very little about the cultural use of ayahuasca through out the world. Nor do I know how another culture perceives what it means to be a master. Are they Sith or Jedi? Are they a little bit of both? Are they neither?

Other folks have presented differing views of "master and apprentice." It's probably wise to read them all and then review the practices in the Ayahuasca circle that you're familiar with. I've never been to a ceremony and I've never met a "shaman." (if I have, they didn't let me know, and didn't refer to themselves as a master).

When does the student become the master? I'm not sure. Maybe life is the apprentice, and death is the master? Through life, we're continuously learning. Upon death, we're no longer in this life, and it's undetermined what happens after you cross that boundary. Upon death, do we become masters of the life that we lived? We're born, we go on this wild journey, and then it comes to an end. When we no longer wish to learn, then we are finished. However, no one will have lived your life exactly as you have. You may be the apprentice AND the master. After all, no one can master your total life experience "better" than you. No one will have gone through the exact same joys or hardships. No one will have the dreams that you have or love the way you love. No one will feel pain as you've felt. We can all relate in some fashion, but in the grand scheme we're going to relate differently.

Anyways, enough rambling from me.

Take Care!
ACY
Have a great day!
 
Jupitor
#10 Posted : 1/16/2019 8:21:42 PM

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You are correct, AcaciaConfused. I have definitely lost a sense of respect for this "shaman". He is not someone I wish to learn from or emulate, even though he more or less declared me his "apprentice" after our sessions together. LOL.

Maybe I'm looking for something that isn't there, but I still feel like there has to be something to this master-apprentice relationship. Maybe this comes from my own desire to gain more knowledge than I have... my desire to find a real life teacher and mentor.

I sincerely feel that part of my calling in this life is to be some sort of healer type figure. But I know that I have far to go before I take this mantle upon myself. There are many out there who do so who shouldn't. These are the "sham-mans" and other false gurus. I wish to avoid these types. And I absolutely wish to avoid being this type of figure myself.


So am I alone in my training? Or must I find a "master" or teacher to help me along my way? Where do I find such a person? Or is it even necessary?

So many questions.
 
DmnStr8
#11 Posted : 1/16/2019 11:51:27 PM

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mas·ter1
/ˈmastər/
noun
noun: master; plural noun: masters
1.
historical
a man who has people working for him, especially servants or slaves.
"he acceded to his master's wishes"
synonyms:
lord, overlord, lord and master, ruler, sovereign, monarch, liege, liege lord, suzerain; More
overseer, superintendent, director, manager, controller, leader, governor, commander, padrone, captain, head, headman, boss, principal, employer, foreman;
informalchief, top dog, honcho, head honcho, Big Chief, Big Daddy;
informalgaffer, guv'nor;
informalkahuna, sachem
"he acceded to his master's wishes"
antonyms:
servant, underling
a person who has dominance or control of something.
"he was master of the situation"
dated
a male head of a household.
"the master of the house"
the owner of a dog, horse, or other domesticated animal.
synonyms:
owner, keeper
"the dog's pining for his master"
a machine or device directly controlling another.
"a master cylinder"
2.
a man in charge of an organization or group.
British
a male schoolteacher, especially at a public or prep school.
synonyms:
teacher, schoolteacher, schoolmaster, tutor, instructor, pedagogue; rarepreceptor
"the geography master"
antonyms:
pupil
the head of a college or school.
the captain of a merchant ship.
synonyms:
captain, skipper, commander
"the master of the ship"
3.
a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity.
"I'm a master of disguise"
synonyms:
expert, adept, genius, past master, maestro, virtuoso, professional, doyen, authority, pundit, master hand, prodigy, grandmaster, champion, star; More
informalace, pro, wizard, whiz, wiz, hotshot, ninja;
informaldab hand;
informalmaven, crackerjack
"he's a master of disguise"
antonyms:
amateur, novice
a great artist, especially one belonging to the accepted canon.
"the work of the great masters is spread around the art galleries of the world"
a very strong chess or bridge player, especially one who has qualified for the title at international tournaments.
"a chess master"
(in some sports) a class for competitors over the usual age for the highest level of competition.
noun: Masters
4.
a person who holds a second or further degree from a university or other academic institution (only in titles and set expressions).
"a master's degree"
a postgraduate degree.
noun: master's
"I had a master's in computer engineering"
5.
used as a title prefixed to the name of a boy not old enough to be called “Mr.”.
"Master James Williams"
archaic
a title for a man of high rank or learning.
the title of the heir apparent of a Scottish viscount or baron.
6.
an original movie, recording, or document from which copies can be made.
"the master tape"
synonyms:
original, archetype, prototype
"you can make a copy from the master"
antonyms:
copy
adjective
adjective: master
1.
having or showing very great skill or proficiency.
"a heart-warming story from a master storyteller"
denoting a person skilled in a particular trade and able to teach others.
"a master bricklayer"
synonyms:
expert, adept, proficient, skilled, skillful, deft, dexterous, adroit, practiced, experienced, masterly, accomplished, demon, brilliant; More
informalcrack, ace, mean, wizard;
informalcrackerjack;
vulgar slangshit-hot;
archaiccompleat
"a master craftsman"
2.
main; principal.
"the apartment's master bathroom has a free-standing oval bathtub"
synonyms:
principal, main, chief, leading, prime, predominant, foremost, great, grand, most important, biggest
"the master bedroom"
verb
verb: master; 3rd person present: masters; past tense: mastered; past participle: mastered; gerund or present participle: mastering
1.
acquire complete knowledge or skill in (an accomplishment, technique, or art).
"I never mastered Latin"
synonyms:
learn, learn thoroughly, become proficient in, know inside out, know backwards, become expert in, acquire, pick up, grasp, understand; More
informalget the hang of, get clued up about, get off by heart
"it took him ages to master the technique"
2.
gain control of; overcome.
"I managed to master my fears"
synonyms:
overcome, conquer, beat, quell, quash, suppress, control, repress, restrain, overpower, triumph over, subdue, vanquish, subjugate, hegemonize, prevail over, govern, curb, check, bridle, tame, defeat, get the better of, get a grip on, get over, gain mastery over; informallick
"I managed to master my fears"
antonyms:
give way to
3.
make a master copy of (a movie or record).
"In the universe there is an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link." ~Carlos Castaneda
 
AcaciaConfusedYah
#12 Posted : 1/17/2019 2:22:48 AM

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Jupitor wrote:
You are correct, AcaciaConfused. I have definitely lost a sense of respect for this "shaman". He is not someone I wish to learn from or emulate, even though he more or less declared me his "apprentice" after our sessions together. LOL.

Maybe I'm looking for something that isn't there, but I still feel like there has to be something to this master-apprentice relationship. Maybe this comes from my own desire to gain more knowledge than I have... my desire to find a real life teacher and mentor.

I sincerely feel that part of my calling in this life is to be some sort of healer type figure. But I know that I have far to go before I take this mantle upon myself. There are many out there who do so who shouldn't. These are the "sham-mans" and other false gurus. I wish to avoid these types. And I absolutely wish to avoid being this type of figure myself.


So am I alone in my training? Or must I find a "master" or teacher to help me along my way? Where do I find such a person? Or is it even necessary?

So many questions.


Jupitor,

Unfortunately, I am unsure that know the answer about the master-apprentice relationship. I know that some folks go through that as they learn a trade; but I've only had mentors - rather than masters.

I like the idea of a mentor, rather than a master, because it leaves room to develop your own unique skills and methods of application. In my path, mentors have given me guidance and helped me find my own way, without needing to do exactly as they've done. You can gain inspiration from their work, yet find a way to turn it into your own interpretation.

As far as a healer - again, no formal experience - but healing can occur through many forms. I'd imagine that there are many "healers" that don't even know that they are helping another person heal themselves. If you want to avoid being called a shaman or guru, don't tell anyone! Just apply your method of healing into everyday life, and you'll start to see some changes around you. Sometimes it's fun to entertain the idea of, "I am providing a service." But, if you can provide that service without people even knowing, then they will most likely feel that they've healed themselves. This may be a confidence boosting experience, and the person may in turn, learn how to heal themselves! Smile

Anyways. Take what I say with a grain of salt. I know nothing in this department. Smile

Take care,
ACY
Have a great day!
 
Jupitor
#13 Posted : 1/17/2019 3:37:31 AM

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Thank you for your words. They resonate.
 
tregar
#14 Posted : 1/17/2019 1:19:01 PM

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From "Why you should drink Ayahuasca alone" by Julian Palmer [on "the master"]:
http://julianpalmerism.c...-drink-ayahuasca-alone/

Quote:
Not everyone who does this work is lucky/unfortunate enough to have a “master” to guide them in the process. Actually, only very few people I’ve found ever find such a fabled “master ayahuascaro” in the first instance. It is also true that many, if not most of the “masters” are self taught or learnt from a teacher who was self taught and/or taught by the plants and spirits, not some tradition passed on from father to son for many generations, like a lot of people mistakenly believe.

My view is that the primary teacher is the plants, and the spirits we can meet in the space, who we can look to as teachers and healers. The primary wisdom and learning really is inbuilt into the medicine itself. It doesn’t come from “the master ayahuascaro” in his powerpoint slides, youtube videos or even in his songs, or in any kind of transmission. People are so desiring a human father figure, teacher, like they would have been seeking a guru in the 1960’s and 1970’s, when the fact of the matter is that most of these gurus were fake and scamsters. The same is unfortunately true in the amazon today.

One thing I am having to continually point out to people, which is that there is no singular South American “tradition” in South America. You have many indigenous tribes, whose ways are quite relaxed and down to earth when it comes to taking ayahuasca. They generally just drink the medicine and typically don’t make such a structure around it. But westerners have these ideas of a singular shamanic craft which exists throughout the Amazon. The closest that comes to this, is a largely Peruvian mestizo model, which is a newish model designed to suit a post-conquered, mixed race Amazonian peoples, often with elements of christianity, witchcraft and sorcery typically taken out for the tourists.

If you are unprepared to meet “the wilds”, then maybe you should not drink ayahuasca at all. Or maybe you should only drink only pissweak ayahuasca with a shaman who claims to keep you protected from “the wilds”.

The deal with ayahuasca if you drink a non-pissweak dose, is that it tends to show people their shadow, to reveal the darkness, and to propel people deep into potentially very chaotic and crazy mental and emotional states. Therefore with ayahuasca, it is necessary is to face the darkness and demons, whether within or without, and there is often lot there to be faced. Why should we need someone else to protect us from our own darkness and demons? A lot of people want to coddled form their own negativity (or the negativity of the world), but I’d say one of the primary purposes of ayahuasca is for you to see your own negativity so you can realize it and work through it, so that you can be sober and consider how best to act in the world. That is often really hard work and nobody can do it for you. Only in this raw space are people going to realise what egotistical arseholes they are being in their life, something I find to be a common revelation, the ayahuasca itself working through people’s denial and barriers to realizing their own errant behavior.

So much of how people take ayahuasca in the modern day is just feeding “spiritual bypassing”, which is bypassing that deep investigation which clearly bears the most fruit. And to do that, I believe you need space and not all the obscuring and often quite external factors of “ceremony” and “tradition”, which can often act to block out the personal revelations. Yet, the truth is very confronting, and for many just being aware of their real position within the matrix may be extremely confronting in and of itself.

When drinking with yourself, there is nobody and nothing there to obscure you from yourself, there is only you. There is little chance to practice too much ceremony or tradition, as this only becomes most apparent when there are a group of people are witnessing that. I also highly recommend low dose mushrooms in the float tank, in that case, there is only you. In such a situation, where is the possibility for ceremony or “tradition”? or even technique? You take the low dose of mushrooms, get in the tank, stay as still as you can, and actively surrender into yourself. And so to bypass all this structure and tradition, there is an easy way, just drink by yourself, maybe with some music playing, or just in silence.

Never had a Shaman or master, always drank in dreams by myself, made many mistakes in the beginning, but learned from those mistakes. Attribute the plants to helping me find a divine space that is religious or spiritual where can be at peace and come in contact with divine transpersonal realms, it helps to transcend this reality, even if for a short time, to be in contact with something that is higher one's self...also lift weights in a gym -- this helps me to release pent up energy -- work full time in a demanding job with a super long shift that allows virtually no sick time -- don't like the way "the man" has dictated his ego on me, everything at work has to be "in it's place" even a stapler out of place is grounds for dismissal, we live in a sick world, and the plants help me to see that there is another world beyond this one, the spirit world, that makes sense to me. The plants also allow me to see the infinite beauty and love in this world, that there is a purpose for everyone in this world. I believe the plants are the true "master" and teachers. As Palmer mentions above, Ayahuasca shows you "the wilds" whether with a master or not...like his views on ceremony & structure vs your own space: highly believe in this personal space...
 
Swayambhu
#15 Posted : 1/23/2019 9:50:59 PM

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Maybe relevant, maybe not- I work in a craft, many thousands of years old, and have worked around masters, and have worked around people who claimed to be masters but weren't, and I have learnt much from both.
Mastery of one's craft is definitely a thing, and sometimes it takes a degree of knowledge to recognize mastery in others. There are also many degrees of mastery, from jobbing competence, to past master Jedi zone.
There are also many degrees of bullshitter claiming to be masters, or allowing others to place the mantle of mastery upon them. Some are okay but just don't really care about the work, some come in various flavours of personality disorder.
One thing that's important to note is that no matter how good or bad the "master", the apprentice must have a degree of innate ability. And again, that degree will come in a spectrum, from the naturals who pick it up straight away, to the hard luck cases who want it so bad but just don't have it in them. The more innate ability you have, it is likely you will more easily spot the bullshitters.

Whether this applies to ayahuasca shamanism I cannot say.
 
hug46
#16 Posted : 1/23/2019 10:21:51 PM

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Swayambhu wrote:

There are also many degrees of bullshitter claiming to be masters,



What about master bullshitters? Quality bullshitting is one of the most difficult and ancient disciplines known to mankind.
be safe

my music
 
Swayambhu
#17 Posted : 1/23/2019 10:35:53 PM

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hug46 wrote:
Swayambhu wrote:

There are also many degrees of bullshitter claiming to be masters,



What about master bullshitters? Quality bullshitting is one of the most difficult and ancient disciplines known to mankind.


There's no such thing as a master bullshitter. They are mutually exclusive modalities.
 
 
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