Empowerment Through the Shamanic Mesa Path


Mesa is the Spanish word for table, or altar. In the Andean spiritual teachings, the mesa is a medicine bundle. It represents the holders healing and spiritual growth. It is a collection of sacred objects that have been collected and worked with over a period of time.

Often these items have been gifted by teachers, or have come from a sacred place, a place of personal or earth’s significance- such as a certain mountain, or river, a holy place, such as a shrine or cathedral. In some way the object has significance to the person. The significance is the connection between the person and that place, person or energy. In this way, the object is like a sacred souvenir, that helps the us to stay connected to the importance of the place person or event. Sometimes an object comes to the holder with its own inherent teaching or message.

The mesa may contain holy relics, statues, or symbols from other religious and spiritual practices. Often it holds objects from Nature, such as stones. These are considered gifts from the Earth, Our Mother.

Ultimately, the source and nature of the object are not as important as the connection the item has to its holder. Each item in a mesa has a significance, a teaching, for the holder. Or it represents a powerful experience or teaching they have already experienced on their healing path.

In this way, the mesa is a physical representation of our healing, learning and growth. This is very empowering in and of itself. These are things that are intangible, and difficult to quantify or symbolize. The mesa is a little like the souvenirs that we collect that represent important times and places in our lives- events that empowered us. Additionally, the mesa has an internal structure. It helps to organize our lives and worlds, both physical lives and spiritual or emotional lives. In this way, it embodies both the outer and the inner, which reflect each other.

There are many different ways to build a mesa, different approaches and techniques. Generally it is an ongoing process, which takes a few years to complete, after which it is refined, added to, etc, as it evolves along with the mesa carrier’s growth. The exact method used for building a mesa, or medicine bundle, is less important than the function it serves for the holder or carrier.

Building a mesa teaches many spiritual lessons at the core level or direct experience. We may understand that everything is energy, or that we create our own realities. We know this as words and ideas. It is one thing to know and agree with something as a concept. Through the work of building a mesa, this becomes direct learning, at the soul level. The ideas have become direct experience, personal knowledge.

In the same way we have physical bodies, we each also have an energy body, or emotional/spiritual body. We know our physical body needs food, needs to be nurtured and nourished. Our energy body also needs to take in sustenance. The mesa helps to teach us what kind of “food” we are eating, at the energetic level. Are we eating good whole organic food? Or are we eating junk food and fast food and candy? Are we nourishing ourselves with good positive energy that keeps us healthy, happy and productive, or are we eating things like “fear,” “sadness,” and “grief?”

In Healing terms, we say this is where we are “sourcing” from. This might be reflected to us by the people we associate with. What is their story or stories? Is it a story of anger, betrayal and resentment? Or is it a story of empowerment, opportunity, contentment and joy? What does this story tell or teach us about the way the world is? What are our own stories? What story or moment or emotion do we keep nourishing, feeding?

What we keep revisiting, going back to, is feeding that story. By revisiting and retelling it, we are strengthening that reality, that truth. In this way, it becomes like a map. That story, feeling, emotion, is like a destination.

The big difference between the physical and the energetic levels, is that it is much easier to know, to track, what takes place at the physical level. We can identify the food we eat, as healthy or junk. The energetic levels can be a little more subtle. Often there are no visible reminders or evidence to indicate desirability. And more, often, we do not realize a long held behaviour might not be healthy. Children, who grow up eating fast food, may not readily realize it is not healthy. To them, it is absolutely normal and accepted. In this way, the energetic levels are a little more subtle, harder to tune into and become aware of.

This is really the key to most spiritual work. It is about learning how to tune in, and learning how to recognize what it is we are seeing.

We can learn how to see our stories, as they reflect our own unique inner dynamics. In this way, we can release the emotions behind the stories, and also, select which stories serve us in a good way- which ones are good gourmet food. This is done by understanding that most stories represent deeper dynamics, such as fear, betrayal, or anger. By identifying the dynamics, we realize that we don’t have 12 stories overwhelming us. We might have 1 dynamic. It is like following a trail of fallen dominoes, back to the first one, to understand what it is that made the rest of them fall over. There really was only 1 domino that caused the “problem.” Not 12.

By working with these new awareness and tools, it is easier to see our stories as maps of who we are as people. And we can begin to understand and address the underlying causes of our stories. Our stories are just reflections, or symptoms of those repeating dynamics. Recognizing that, and healing the root causes, allows them to be healed, and released. They can now serve as learning opportunities. We can move beyond them and allow them to empower us. In this way, we release them, or their hold over us, so that these dynamics are no longer choosing the directions of our lives. Like childhood toys, there is a time to let them go and open our lives for the new and rich experiences that come with growth. We may have had a specific object we used to symbolize this issue or dynamic. That item would go into the physical mesa, representing that part of our healing.

In this way, we are learning how to identify, or track, and to clear past experiences that have been continually resonating throughout our lives, adversely affecting us. Additionally, working with a mesa, in a structured setting or program, helps us to understand how many experiences and tendencies can be inherited. On the physical level, we can inherit things, like blue eyes, or food allergies; or a relative might die and leave us things with a will. In similar fashion, we inherit many things energetically or emotionally, habits or patterns.

Perhaps one of our parents had a difficult life, filled with struggle and disappointment. At some point they became cynical, pessimistic, living from a place of fear or failure, instead of love. We, as their children, can learn these behaviours without ever having had the personal experience. Our parents perception, based on their experiences, becomes our world view. Their truths, or contracts, become ours, long before we ever have the chance to experience the world directly for ourselves. And these truths, or contracts, can be like a scientists theory or hypothesis-that will continually attempt to “prove itself” true. If a parent “taught” us that all men cheat on their wives, or “never trust a cop.”… we will engage with the world as though these things are true, and by believing them, we will find ways that make those things play out.

These are the patterns of our ancestors. But we can apply the same approach to these larger deeper patterns, as we learn to apply to our own individual experiences. In this way, we can choose our own emotional or energetic paths, the same way we choose our physical career or life paths.

In this way, relationships between family members are often healed, improved. We are able to step back from the emotional “hotspots” and understand the other side. We can learn to hold love, compassion and healing for those around us. We don’t need to change, nor do we need to change them. It is no longer a tug of war. When one person puts down the rope, the other person has no one to pull against, no one to engage with. And when we put down the rope, the other person can n longer pull us off balance, off center. Note that releasing the rope, is not quite the same as refusing to engage. Refusal to engage can still be an action of engagement, albeit passive. Often it can be done to assert our own power over the other person, or in an attempt to further anger or offend them.

As we heal our own issues, and connections to events, something deeper is released. The need to engage disappears. It can be like running into an old flame. The breakup may have been sudden or harsh or long in coming. It may have been traumatic. But much later, you run into them again, and something is no longer there. The old feeling, of attraction or anger or emotion. Seeing the person again, you almost wonder what it was that you were so drawn to. No anger, no guilt. Just closure.

This is the healing that allows us to experience stillness and peace. The little voices of our inner demons no longer drown out the song of our angels, our better selves. In Healing traditions, this is thought of as sourcing from Spirit, or God, or the Universe. We can hear the higher levels, like a violin or harp, now that the loud music has been turned down inside.

In this way, the mesa is not a random collection of objects. It organizes and reflects who we have been and who we have become. It develops its own innate structure. The mesa is like having a larger road map, with many possible destinations for us to choose. And we can choose actively and consciously where we want our lives to go. We can act, with love and compassion, rather than reacting, from fear anger or guilt.

Some people make significant changes in their lives, improving their situations dramatically: leaving unhappy relationships, changing jobs to something that fulfills them. Often, people just come into a harmony with the world around them as it is. Their present circumstances become fulfilling, joyful as they proceed through their lives on a smoother path.

Source by Teri J Dluznieski

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