Over the past several decades Joan Halifax has provided wisdoms on the teachings of Buddhism, Shamanic work and Native American tradition. She tells stories of her own personal reflection in 'The Fruitful Darkness', a path of discovery in 'Being With Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death', as well as many more works of literature. She holds the seat of Abbott at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is essentially a heartfelt force to learn from.
In this age of spiritual consciousness it is important we open to the teachings of our teachers teacher, and those before them. Their wisdom asks to be fed through the experience of our own lives and to simply carry on the work of healing ourselves and others.
"I was much more involved with Buddhism before I got interested in shamanism. But I was an anthropologist, so I had an opportunity to spend time with indigenous cultures. I discovered the world of shamans, which can be characterized by encounters with a lot of suffering—the idea of a wound healer, which is typical for many shamans. Not all, but many. I became fascinated with that model. It was about looking at how a breakdown can actually create the conditions for robustness. In the case of the shaman, a healer can emerge, or any living system can become more robust, as a result of a breakdown. It made sense to me in terms of how we could reappraise the nature of suffering, not seeing it as such a victim’s story, but rather as an opportunity."