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Shamanism for the Age of Science

Awakening the Energy Body

Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



About The Book

A practical guide to understanding and awakening the human energy body

• Shows how the energy body forms our reality from the infinite possibilities presented by our thoughts, feelings, and those around us

• Illustrates the anatomy of the energy body, including its connections to the nervous system, chakras, and meridians

• Provides step-by-step exercises to awaken the energy body, expand awareness, and begin consciously creating your own reality

At a time when consciousness and other aspects of our energetic anatomy are finding their way into modern science, Kenneth Smith blends traditional shamanism with cutting-edge research in bioenergetics, neuroscience, and psychology to offer this user’s guide to the energy body--explaining what it is, what its capabilities are, and how to harness it as a vehicle for higher consciousness and heightened awareness.

For more than 5,000 years, shamans of the Toltec tradition have worked with the energy body, learning its structure and perceptual capacities as well as mapping it as an objective, measurable part of our anatomy. Drawing from his decades-long involvement in this tradition and his work in the field of bioenergetics, Smith explains how the energy body shapes our perceptions, determines our state of consciousness, and forms our reality from the infinite possibilities presented by our thoughts, feelings, and those around us. Illustrating our energetic anatomy and its connections to the nervous system, chakras, and meridians, he provides step-by-step exercises to awaken the energy body, expand awareness, and begin consciously building a creative life.


Chapter 11

The Heartbeat of Learning

Regardless of your stage of development, having the basics of learning under your belt is essential in order to consciously awaken. As characterized by working through altered states to discrete altered states to a new baseline, each shift in cohesion represents learning. The more awareness you have integrated, the more you have learned. The greater you plug into the environment, the more awareness you have. And in an infinite world, there is always more.

The heartbeat of learning consists of continually expanding into imagination and then contracting that awareness into practical application. All of the imagination and learning perspectives in this book serve to help you regulate your energy body to permit this form of accelerated learning. As with anything else, you can keep developing these and other techniques to elevate your level of ability.

Components of Learning

The following section provides an overview of a few key aspects of effective learning. They are meant to enhance understanding of cohesional dynamics as they build on the known world while taking into consideration venturing into the unknown. Skills and processes referenced in the previous chapters promote the development of each these behaviors.

In daily use we relate to memory as consciously recollecting the past. Examining how this occurs, scientific investigation has defined memory as “the way the brain is affected by experience and then subsequently alters its future responses.” Memory therefore creates a hinge to look at how past events affect future behaviors. In like manner, don Juan holds that our experience of the world is based on memory. Reality, then, both personal and consensus, is constructed in part from a stream of associated memories that create a pattern, a view of the world. There needs to be continuity of learned relationships in order to make a leap from past events to figuring future responses, and the options for this behavior stem from what has meaning, value, and relevance as these are the forces that collect memories.

In a brain model, continuity of perception results from the formation of neural networks. Repetition of experience and the internal narrative that cements the meaning of experience stabilize these pathways, producing long-term memory. A wide range of associations occur during correlating certain letters to form a word, for example, to how biochemical activity gives rise to cellular interactions and pathways. Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel says this process requires an anatomical change, rendering a more lasting and complex network.

This hardwired network changes as the web of memory changes and vice versa. It may expand due to new experiences or dissipate from lack of use. Having more contexts from which to derive meaning from new experiences adds to how the brain adapts. Part of this neuroplasticity, says psychiatrist Norman Doige, comes about as the abilities and functions of memory change as a person grows older. Children’s memory carries different qualities from those of adults, for example. One might speculate that these types of variances are also found among the stages of awakening, with each new stage reflective of a more enhanced neural network or energetic coherence.

Another portion of these mechanics is that a person can use the same plastic quality of the brain to unlearn their continuity by removing associations that lock memories in place. Remove a piece of the interlocking aspects of an event that gave rise to a memory and the neural network dissipates, thereby changing or eliminating the memory. Likewise, if you can summon a sufficient number of associations, you can restore the entire memory.

In this manner, you can also reshape mind. Just as memory reflects your repetitive behaviors and internal narrative, which give meaning to experience, it conditions perception as to what forms your inventory. Mind is therefore structured in the same manner as neural networks. It then follows that the nature of the network indicates the way mind has been conditioned. Perhaps inventories and neural networks are mirror images.

Possibly even more indicative of the flexibility of memory, imagination can be used to intentionally make changes in the pathways and determine new memories, a purposeful remodeling of networks. This doesn’t mean you changed the event that placed the experience-memory in your neural network; it means you have a new perceived relationship with the continuity of experience, which then alters your narrative, your stream of thoughts about your life. In practice, for instance, you may rearrange facts to establish a new past-to-future continuity and in so doing give yourself a chance to respond more intelligently. Applying this to reality, a consensus view of the world results from people sharing a similar network, and this has the effect of reinforcing specific pathways of perception. Change the network sufficiently and you change reality. It’s a matter of how potential and actual interact. This is a bit of the metaphysics behind the formation of what is deemed to be “real.”

In addition, a person’s affective style influences memory. Candace Pert maintains that emotion is a means of activating a neural circuit throughout the entire body. Therefore your emotional stance helps form memory by developing your narrative, the resulting associations, and then the continuity of your reality. Meditation and relaxation promote emotional fluency and therefore the ability to access other states of consciousness.

About The Author

Kenneth Smith, writing under the name Ken Eagle Feather, has published several books on Toltec philosophy, including On the Toltec Path and Toltec Dreaming. He apprenticed with Toltec shaman don Juan Matus and has served on the staff of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, part of the Edgar Cayce legacy, and also on the staff of The Monroe Institute, founded by consciousness researcher Robert Monroe. He is the executive director for Therapeutic Discovery, a medical science research institute, and lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (July 26, 2011)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591431190

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Raves and Reviews

“Kenneth Smith’s synthesis of Toltec philosophy and energetic anatomy is breathtaking in its scope. Drawing on both ancient teachings and the latest technological scientific advances, Shamanism for the Age of Science challenges contemporary assumptions about the nature of reality, the metaphysical structure of the human body, and the limits of knowledge. His insights break new ground in the fields of philosophy, health, psychology, mind/brain studies, and spirituality. This is a book that deserves to be read widely and thought about deeply.”

– Paul Rademacher, M. Div., executive director of the Monroe Institute and author of A Spiritual Hitch

“This is a brilliant articulation of our limitless possibilities and how to realize them. Shamanism for the Age of Science is based on the history of inquiry into energetics, up to and including the findings of modern science. This book will vastly expand your comprehension of your own energy system and what it means to you and all your relationships. The fascinating journey of discovery described here is the most important story you can know about; it will impact every moment of your life. Prepare to discover the vast if not infinite resources that are available to all of us.”

– James L. Oschman, Ph.D., author of Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis

“Kenneth Smith illuminates the essential nature of being human, illustrates the basic mechanisms that we use to form separate realities, and offers us deeper understanding for establishing a healthier relationship in the world. This amazing book demonstrates the universality of the energy body by relating its dynamics to psychology, physics, sociology, and religion; and it helps to further establish the fields of bioenergetics, Energy Psychology, and Transpersonal Psychology. I can imagine the Toltec shaman don Juan announcing that Shamanism for the Age of Science offers us more than an ordinary path through the woods, since this is a path with true heart.”

– Fred Gallo, Ph.D., author of Energy Psychology

“If you want to change your life, simply change your mind. This simple truth is perhaps the greatest tool for personal change that remains unknown by most of the contemporary world. My hope is that Shamanism for the Age of Science might contribute to the understanding that we truly have a major role in co-creating our lives and our world, and it is a role that we can no longer neglect to take seriously.”

– Kevin J. Todeschi, author of Edgar Cayce on Vibrations

“[Smith] has made an important contribution to awakening a slumbering West, as the rest of the world starts to rediscover and reinvent riches from diverse pasts.”

– Reg Little, New Dawn

“The author blends traditional shamanism with cutting-edge research in bioenergetics, neuroscience and psychology to offer a user’s guide to the energy body, explaining what it is, what its capabilities are, and how to harness it as a vehicle for higher consciousness and awareness.”

– Odyssey Magazine, October 2013

Shamanism for the Age of Science presents a natural way to explore one’s awakening potential as well as expand one’s ability to heal themselves or others. If you’ve ever wanted to pick up an easy to understand guide for following in the footsteps of a Toltec Master, this is it.”

– Joseph W. McMoneagle, author of Remote Viewing Secrets

“In the tradition of Carlos Castaneda, Kenneth Smith applies the energy body concept to a broad expanse of the academic landscape. Wisdom is a broadening and deepening of understanding, and the reader who participates in the spiritual exercise of this book will see the world differently.”

– James F. Drane, Ph.D., Russell B. Roth Professor of Bioethics, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania,

“Kenneth Smith eloquently reveals what we all need to know regarding the energy body--its nature, functions, and purpose. By embracing this perennial wisdom we are offered the rarest of opportunities: to once again experience the practical philosophy of the sage, the seer, and the shaman.”

– Simon Buxton, author of The Shamanic Way of the Bee

“Kenneth Smith has methodically and thoughtfully written what we may be looking for to help lead us toward a revolution of thought and consciousness. Whether or not you are a scientist, practitioner, or lay person this book has something for you. I wish I had it years ago.”

– Erik Fisher, Ph.D., author of The Art of Empowered Parenting

“Dipping into this book, I’m fascinated, sometimes uncertain, and occasionally have my buttons pushed, thinking: that really couldn’t be true, could it? But if it is . . . What a great mind-stretcher. Or, perhaps I should better say a great energy-stretcher.”

– Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology, University of California, Davis, and autho

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