In traditional Hawaiian shamanism, you think of a human being as made up from three distinct selves- the lower, the middle and the higher.
They are not really separate, but more like different aspects. Your liver isn't really something different than your kidney, it's all you, but they work differently and do different things.
If you know how to direct your lower self, and how to be inspired by your higher self, you can pretty much guarantee that you will enjoy your life, have love, power, material things you need, and deep, deep contentment.
The lower self
The lower self is very earthly. It pumps your blood, moves around nutrients, but also keeps up your connection to earth and other earthly beings, gives you sensory input, and feels. Mind you, calling it lower isn't meant judgmentally- it's just as good as all of your aspects. By golly when it's time to eat pizza, eating pizza is absolutely wonderful, and when it's time to think lofty philosophical thoughts, those are great as well. One isn't better than the other, they complement each other.
Your lower self is your structural aspect that holds your experience in place. It holds patterns and repeats them. Those patterns are partially genetic, and those are the particularly dense ones, and partially memory, not just of you, but of all beings like you, of the surroundings you grew up in and live in, of your parents and ancestors. It can be a bit tribal for this reason. If you go further back, your ancestors get more and more animalistic, and your lower self as this animal nature as well.
I find the best way to think of the lower self is like a something between a pet and a work animal that you dearly love and train. It's not creative at all, it just repeats whatever it's been trained to do. It thinks, but mostly in terms of memorizing and free association. It feels, it breathes, and it runs all your energy, and its purpose in life is to experience pleasure and avoid pain. So you can help it along by setting up lots of pleasures for it, and love it unconditionally, but also set up those pleasures in such as way that your other selves get what they want as well.
The middle self
Such as your middle self. I like to think of the middle self as an out-of-touch scholar. Loves rules, loves knowledge, loves being in charge (is in charge, that's its function). Most fundamentally, the middle self directs attention. And since you can also place your attention on the realm of thoughts that aren't particularly physical yet in your immediate sensory experience, that attention directing also implies that your middle self directs your imagination.
Your middle self is under your direct, conscious control. You think it, it's there. You tell your attention to go over there, and it goes. You can try to control other things in that way, but it doesn't work so well. Control your physical movement, you get awkward. Control your environment, you get stressed and your environment does too. Don't do that, if you want to be most effective. Consciously control your attention, coax your subconscious into doing what you want, and there you go. Your subconscious will happily transport you from one end of the room to the other. Try that- don't put any attention at all on how you are moving, just put your attention on the other end of the room, and imagine yourself being there, and decide that you now intend to go there. You could even film yourself- do this once, on camera, and then consciously move your legs around to go there. See which works better. The former will make you move as elegantly as you can be, and the latter will make things much more clumsy.
Now since your subconscious mind is connected to all subconscious minds (while your conscious mind isn't, unless you particularly place your attention on other conscious minds), you can use your subconscious mind to influence other circumstances and set up incentives for others that you don't necessarily even need to know about. So you can't just manifest yourself to the other end of the room by thinking about it and intending and not interfering, you can manifest all kinds of circumstances, although it does take more energy and focus and motivation. So there you go- the subconscious mind keeps everything running the way it does, and your conscious mind decides what to do.
The higher self
So what do you do? That's where your higher self comes in. Higher self loves the heck out of you and is eager to help, but will only arrive in your life when asked (or when extremely important high self business needs to be carried out, such as averting certain experiences that aren't appropriate for you at this time, but that's rare, so you can ignore that for now if you want to). There's lots of ways to contact it and get inspiration. It comes by itself when you are focused in the present moment and reasonably happy. Walks in nature are the way most people do it, because that tends to focus you in the present moment and make you reasonably happy fairly reliably, unless you dislike walks. You could also dance, or do it the full on shamanic way and imagine yourself climbing a vine into the higher realms until you meed your higher self, and then ask it your questions. That takes reasonably good focusing ability, but I would suggest to just try it anyway, and celebrate any bit of information or inspiring feeling you get as a success. If you seem to get nothing, fret not- your higher self is there. Any blockage you might experience is down to making yourself feel good, and making the experience seem good to your subconscious mind.
So that's it- shamanic worldview in a nutshell. Subconscious acts, conscious focuses, superconscious inspires.
There are many, many, many implications and nuances to this. Here's a few.
- You can know anything there is to know for you - since you have access to your subconcious mind, nothing is particularly hidden to you, although you may need to grow your subconcious mind through an adventurous process in order to fit in the information. You can always have whatever information you can fit in your mind, right now. Just ask for it, and practice receiving it.
- If you can imagine it it can be done, although not necessarily in the exact form you had in mind. The world we are in is a jumble of energies that were a long time in the making, your present input, your ideas, and everybody elses ideas. You can always have an influence, and you can most certainly always get a near equivalent of anything you can imagine, but you might need to be a bit flexible in your interpretation. For example, I decided I wanted a spaceship. I ended up with a 2010 Toyota Prius, which makes me feel like I'm in a spaceship when I drive it! Sure I might get a real spaceship eventually, depending on how fast technology develops, but I'll gladly take help in chosing a car in the mean time! This whole setup and story just made me love the heck out of that car, which is a wonderful feeling. So it might not be an actual spaceship yet but it sure feels like one. I've also had lots of people comment that my car is like a spaceship, which is a lot of fun- which is the point! So maybe I can get a real spaceship in this lifetime and maybe not, but it doesn't really matter- I enjoy a mix of the really great energies I get from imagining, and whatever equivalent is doable in this particular energy setup I am living in. I have also surprised myself in what physically manifest itself, too, so I enjoy not worrying so much about what form an energy equivalent will eventually physically show up in, I just like to imagine things that I think are really cool and let the universe sort it out.
- There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that could inhibit you that isn't really you. No God to grant favors (although you can pretend there is for a while if it suits a certain purpose), no demons to possess you (although you can feel that way if you somehow decided you are susceptible, you can retrain yourself to believe you are not vulnerable in unwanted influence), no other people to inhibit you (although you can be in situations where it seems that way, you can always get yourself out of those situations). There is only you, having found a way to achieve what you say you want or something just as good, or you not having found a way to do so. That is a lot of responsibility! On the up side, that is also a lot of power.
- Nothing is particularly important. Only what you decide is important is important.
- Everything is about attention- both habitually, subconsciously placed, and consciously placed. Whatever you give your attention to is fundamentally what you get. Although there may be many different ideas and themes along something that looks very similar on the outside, so it might take a lot of careful attention to figure out the nuance. You direct your attention to what you want, and also use your attention to take subconscious attention off of what you don't want.
- Once you have power, you heal. Your higher self will likely suggest that if you ask, but you can also cut to the chase and start healing whether you have crystal clear contact yet or not. Because you can always feel better than you do, and have more exciting adventures and wonderful company than you have, and by healing others, you heal yourself.
Practical stuff to do with your ku
In traditional practice, there are a quite a few things that you can do with this worldview. The first is to give your subconscious mind a name. You are going to be spending a lot of time telling your subconscious mind a name, and a personal way to address it is great. Pick something short and sweet and something that you think fits well with someone who you love unconditionally and who relies on you for guidance.
Then you can start figuring out how to influence your mind. Having a dialog is great. Pick some subject where you could use some improvement- some goal, something small and immediate- and ask your subconscious how it feels about that goal.
Then wait, attentively, like you are listening. Which you are. Relax and take whatever comes to mind as your answer. It could be words, but it could also be a symbol, an experience, a dream, or a feeling. Generally, derive a theme from what you get. Say, if you asked, "How do you feel about my friend, Kenny?" and you get a sledgehammer hitting a head on an anvil, well by golly your subconscious mind doesn't like Kenny very much, even if you consciously do. "How do you feel about Sarah?" might giving you a million red roses, which is kind of obvious. It's your memories and your culture, so whatever meaning you already know, that's the one that's meant. You might also get clearer communication, or jumbles. If you get jumbles, you can ask again and insist. Persistence is a great way to get your subconscious mind's attention and cooperation, as is speaking louder and louder in your mind. If you get evasive behavior, you can deal with it just like with a child, or a pet. Be gentle, promise reward. I recommend against punishment, that has too many unhelpful side effects, we want to stick with what works, and that's love.
This is commonly called "ku talk", from the Hawaiian word for subconscoius (as used from by this particular group of shamans the material comes from, not necessarily everybody).
Aside from listening, it's also great to tell your ku how things are. "Hey ku, you are rich!" is a classic. "My hindside, I'm rich", your ku might answer, perhaps using less polite wording, depending how you grew up. If you are rich, congratulations! Try something else you may have wrinkles with, such as "I get along great with my siblings", another favorite. I just used wealth as an example because wealth problems are common. So you make this new true statement, and then you watch your ku argue against you. "No we're not rich, we barely made the rent this month", your ku might answer. You say "yes we are, we did make the rent, didn't we? And, rich people don't have all their assets in cash. Don't worry, we have all these imaginary assets we'll eventually cash in on." Your ku doesn't know the difference between real and imaginary, so use that to your advantage. Imagine it, let it satisfy your ku, talk about it like it's real to yourself (and to others, as much as you can get away with). Then your ku's energy pattern shifts, and when a real opportunity comes along, your ku will take it, because it's already normal, and you will come across magically successful, which might be what you want. If your ku disagrees that you can be, talk him or her out of it.
Yet another great thing to do with your ku is to constantly complement it for everything. It feels good, and a loved ku is a friendly ku, and a friendly ku is much easier to get along with, again, much like a child or pet. Give it the best food you can, lots of fresh water, really nice clothes best as you can, the healthiest neatest environment, friendly exercise. That counts as complements, because if you're so nice to your ku, it must be good! Again, if your ku disagrees, argue right back until it accepts it's wonderful and should have wonderful things. This simple practice is very, very effective at making yourself habitually feel good where, before, you didn't.
Another things that's really good is to take the ku talk and the convincing it a new thing is true a step further and imagine full on immersive experiences that imply that you have what you now want to be true. So with the wealth example, imagine driving the nicest car you can imagine yourself having and enjoying (make it electric or by current standards impossibly environmentally friendly if you like, the universe will sort out the details). Imagine living in a super great house. Imagine directing a huge business that fits with who you are and with your purpose. Or none of these things, and just imagine a fat credit card that will allow you to withdraw as much as you need at any time to go on the next step of your neverending responsibility-free road trip. There is no good and bad here- go for what you want. You might want something different later, that's fine, go for what you want now. What you want now, not what somebody else wants now. You might want to please someone, but if you go directly for what you want (hey ku, please mom) it will be much more effective than if you go the indirect route (hey ku, continue law school in order to please mom). Who knows if mom actually wants you to go to law school or if she just thinks she should want that for you as well. Mind you if you are actually passionate about law school, good for you! The world needs passion and integrity in its legal system. I just chose it as an example of a career commonly associated with being chosen because of external incentives, because it's often considered so respectable. So you could go to please mom, which ku does by just being a bit nicer, and now go on the neverending responsibility-free road trip, which she now tolerates because the good vibes give her confidence in me.
Trash collecting is the most brutally edgy ku activity that you can get. What you do is that you decide you would like to now reexperience some past trauma that you repressed by creating some chronic muscle tension rather than really turning around and integrating and making peace with. Then you can imagine a whirlwind or a blow dryer pumping flowing energy into some part of your body where you think the energy might be stale, particularly your muscles. Keep it up for a while, and you'll know when you created a release, because probably you will reexperience long gone unhappiness and lack of self-worth (what else would be worth repressing? Repressing is hard). Feel it for a while until it either runs its course or you feel it's time to change it into its positive opposite, or reinterpret it in a positive way. When you're done, demand to flow your energy even more, if you are ready, or do something more pleasant instead, to give yourself a rest.
The reason to do this is that the more stuff like this you get rid of, the less resistance you will have in anything else you do, and the more successful you will be, as a shaman, or in your everyday role, no matter where.
Interesting lono activities
Your scholarly middle self, which in the Hawaiian tradition this knowledge comes from is called the lono, could care less about ice cream, sex and music, for the most part, although it might enjoy reading about the science that goes into sourcing the right kind of oils at Ben and Jerries research department, the reason some people are attracted to one another and others aren't, and perhaps the intricacies of certain esoteric types of modern classical music.
Yeah. The lono is a nerd.
Good luck nerdiness is considered a positive these days in terms of family planning, which is interesting to both the ku and the lono. But I digress. The lono is really into abstractions, because it makes it easier to think. It's quite common to abuse the lono in our Western culture to make it try and do stuff it wasn't build to do- like understand every last intricacy of the nervous system while just walking down the street. Don't. Let ku do what it's build to do, and let lono direct. It's much easier for the lono to just focus on a spot around the corner as to overthink the walking process. (You can do anything, it just won't be very effective).
A really great way to use the lono is to decide your philosophy, then pick a purpose, then set a couple of goals and then make a couple of plans, and then tell your ku to get cracking. It's okay if the plans fail- they are just decisions to do something, and any outcome is good if you decide it is. This kind of attitude is common among entrepreneurs, probably because there is no other way to actually build something that wasn't there before, but it's also shamanic, and I would encourage everyone to adopt it. Displayed with persistence and confidence it can also convince other people and drastically enhance your options for achievement. It may be possible to get away with less of that in a particularly conservative environment, but there are certain tricks and loopholes you can keep an eye open for so you can get your experimental freedom without making too many frightening changes, or you can just get yourself a different environment you would prefer, and grow into that- depending what you prefer.
That's it- philosophy, purpose, goals, plans. Lono work. Best kept simple. My philosophy, and I accept it on purpose, is: The World Is What You Think It Is. It doesn't get much more shamanic than that, or more free, or more effective, if you can wrap your mind around it. I'm still working on it but I've never had so much fun, or been so effective, ever before. You can still have facts, they just never get in the way.
My purpose in life is to spread this knowledge and have a really good time along the way. So I can do all kinds of stuff that might or might not superficially relate to it, but any success I have in any area just serves as an example of how effective this knowledge is, and I weave a little bit of teaching it into everything I do. I write computer code for a living at the time of writing, and I structure it in such a way that I think that those programmers who use it will catch a glimpse of shamanism from working with it. I also hope they won't swear too much, programmers tend to do that, but even if they it only means they don't fully understand it yet.
So one goal I just came up with was to create this blog, and it seems to be working out okay. And with "okay", I mean "amazing", I just like to enhance that meaning with understatement.
Do I have a bunch of people cheering next to me as I write? Nope. But I feel relentlessly enthusiastic, and I know this kind of amazing energy flow can't really have a different kind of effect- whether I ever experience it or not, so I'm good. I just want to teach this knowledge, the rest is up to the universe.
So how do I know a plan succeeded? I don't. I decide whether a plan succeeded. This plan here, my intent is to write the darn blog, and give people the opportunity to read it. I don't care, as it is, how many, or who. I might decide to market my blog later, but that's a different plan. Right now, my plan is to do the writing, and I'm doing really great!
I could do a different plan that more classically has an option for failure, but when I really think about it, what would I do that for? I have observed countless times that people will set up plans that purposefully have only minuscule chances of success, because somehow the success only counts then, or only counts when lots of other people lose. Sure you could do that- but what about the people who win a these plans? They spend most of their time losing, and then win once. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me. I would much rather spend my time being successful, all the time, and there quite simply aren't any rules that say I can't decide that to be the case. It also takes a whole lot of tension out of my life, so over time I actually start looking successful to others because I have all that energy now. Yay!
And all that changed is interpretation. That's lono work. You chose your truths, and you keep extending what you consider your options are, and you keep finding better ways to think, and then you convince your ku that they are true. Soon enough, you're flying (if that's what you want, you could also be digging, if you're more of an earthy type).
Soaring with your high self
Your high self is who you talk to when you have a crisis, or when you need urgent advice. You can also talk to your high self just for fun, and I recommend it, but the first two are when the need becomes most obvious. The good news is that when you are taking good care of yourself, emotionally, and you feel good about yourself, spontaneous high self contact becomes more and more common until it becomes the norm for you. It's always a good idea to listen for it, and to constantly be on the lookout for symbolic ways your higher self is communicating in your environment, or special thoughts you associate with certain things happening. This used to be referred to as omens, but it's really part of you, because you did the looking and interpreting when you saw the omen. It's also really important to know you can also chose that a certain experience was not an omen and means nothing.
The best way to be in touch with your high self is to fully sensorily experience your environment, because that's why you came here into this incarnation plane in the first place. If you have no resistance to it, you'll feel good, which will open up the communication. You'll get all the right input automatically. But when there's a special need, you can always just ask questions addressed to your high self. High self, should I go here or there? Oh that's up to me? All right... High self, given that I want a million bucks, which path is more likely to get me there? Both are? Okay, I'll walk both, and I'll take left first because it looks more exciting.
I have found that a pattern in my high self communication has been that I very, very often get "both" as the answer to this-or-that questions, that the answer is never, ever, ever, ever, ever judgmental or negative in any way at all, that is is always extremely broad an applicable and wise no matter how you twist it or turn it, and that is always leads to a positive outcome for everyone involved, no exceptions. I don't know about you but my conscious mind can't come up with stuff like that without inspiration, so that's a great litmus test when you aren't sure whether you got higher self input or just some fear trying to perpetuate itself by lying.
This relentless positivity is what you want to listen for, and copy, and bring into your everyday experience, and let all your lono decisions and your ku activity be color by. Goodness, goodness, goodness. Everything is good, although it might be through a detour (and you don't have to consciously chose the detour, you can go good direct). Especially, you. And if you don't prefer something because it's good for someone else, by golly you don't have to, although it will still exist, far away on a different thread of existence, and that's okay. You are here, you are colored by your higher self inspiration, and you will decide that way, and teach your ku, and you will live in joy, forever- if you so chose.
Bringing it all together
So your higher self inspires, your middle self absorbs that inspiration and directs your attention in such a way as to teach your subconscious to be wonderful. The more of that you do, the more you are what this tradition calls a Kanaloa, a fully integrated human being. Congratulations! Reading this, and knowing this exists, brought you a tiny step closer. Lovingly work with your ku a lot if you want to go there more.