Last night was the opening circle of the Shamanic Breathwork (TM) Process 8-day intensive*. For a man whose pathway to the rebirth of spirituality in his life has been through Buddhism and Ken Wilber's Integral Approach, the ceremony of the opening circle was a little too staged and dramatic for my taste (mainly because of costuming and props, but also a hint of narcissism). However, it did have the effect of creating a group field, or shared consciousness.
This field was clearly a "state, or "peak" experience for what seemed to be pretty much everyone there, as far as I could tell. While it did not feel as sophisticated as Insight or Bohmian Dialogue, it definitely served its purpose.
This is a very different group of people than I normally find myself around during these experiences, with attendees from what appears to be a broad spectrum of consciousness, from magic to integrated, with a lot of emphasis on shadow, and particularly that there is not much separating the lightness and darkness of shadow: both are opportunities to grow and expand, and to end addictions (to whatever). There are a lot of people here that are using this process to solve problems in their lives.
"Shamanic," as used by our charming and loving facilitators, is an integration of old and new approaches to expanding consciousness, and, while not openly using Wilber's AQAL model, are definitely tuned in to body, mind, nature, and spirit in their approach, and in that, I find I can fully support their work. Aside from the dramatic costuming, I'm not seeing any pre-personal or pre-transpersonal qualities, for which I'm relieved and grateful. Shamanism is also about death and rebirth, which perfectly correlates with moving from one stage of consciousness to another.
So far, so good. Can't wait to breathe on Wednesday!!!!
*Shamanic Breathwork (TM) is 3rd Generation to Stan Grof's work on Holotropic Breathwork, and appears to have a re-integration aspect not present in Grof's work.