Monday, January 31, 2011

Modern Day Shaman: Big River Man

I watched an amazing documentary this weekend about an amazing man, Martin Strel, "Big River Man." I was amazed at what a Dude he was. There is nothing pretty about him. He doesn't try to be something he's not. He is, to sometimes a fault (If I can say that), utterly honest with himself even to the misfortune of those around him. For it, he is highly misunderstood, and yet, his presence still commands total attention and respect. After all, he has swam all of the largest Rivers in the World in effort to bring attention to the necessity for clean water, and to save what remains of the natural world.


As the documentary unfolded, I appreciated his down-right honesty and his infectious charisma for his cause. Still, as he swims further down the Amazon, I realized I was not just watching a man with a cause, I was seeing someone on a spiritual jurney. Every paddle of his arm brought him one stroke closer to the center of himself. Every kick of his foot propelled him deepr into the unknown along the river banks of the Amazon, as well as his own relationship to the Earth he was swimming to so desperately raise awarness for.

Far down the river, he transcends into what he refers to as, "The Forth Dimension." I have seen no man with such determination to achieve his goal, even if death was to be the inevitable outcome. He refused to stop. It was as if his expedition had turned into a suicide mission of the highest order. Doing so, he faced the truest depths of what it means to be alive, by way of experiencing the energies of his body as nothing more than reflections of the water and land he had become a part of. Like all deep revelations, it was a truly terrifying and beautiful experience.

This brings me to the ancient days of the Shaman. The Shaman, Witch Doctor, what ever you might call them, often forced themselves into hallucination by ways of Physiological Drugs, starvation, or forcing upon themselves extreme physical distress. These are only the three most obvious ways to transform our consciousness in order to experience visions of insight. This was exactly what Martin Strel endured to the highest order. So doing, he was transported to the mystic realm where the energies of life flow from the roots of the subconscious in effort to relate the deeper nature of the natural order of life. To me, he is perhaps one of the greatest men alive today for his achievements. Still yet, he  is a man's man. He is not some stereotypical, wanker-peon who only speaks and does not act. He is not your standard vegan (Nothing against Vegan's here), animal-rights activist guy, who sits in mens support group so he can better deal with his emotions. No! He is a red-blood, alcohol-drinking, gruff unkempt man of little words. But, when your Martin Strel, you need only to swim the largest rivers in the world and come face to face with the heart of darkness, to prove your greatness as a modern day Shaman of the highest order.

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