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Invincible, me? Guess not.

I've always wanted to seem strong and confident. Invincible, really. As a youngster, I sought to lift as heavy a load as any man, drink as many beers, outsmart anyone who challenged me, and never ever show any weakness. While running my own business, I always told the suppliers everything was going great. And yes, all this eventually bit me in the ass. Instead of getting help with marketing and securing discounts, my business suffered losses.

It's taken me years to understand that there is more strength in showing weakness than putting up walls and acting superior.

Shamanic medicine (Ayahuasca, Kambô, Bufo, Sananga, Rapé) opened the door to this insight, and meditation has helped me cure this "disease."

We all go through life encountering people who either don't like us, don't appreciate us, look down at us, or make jokes about us. Offhand comments or looks can sting. And in time, we build up layer after layer of protection, pretending that we don't care.

There's no bigger lie than, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."

The thicker our armor, the more distant we are from our true selves, and the farther we are from enlightenment. In other words, the stronger we appear, the weaker we are. Being vulnerable, and facing our deepest wounds, is what creates true strength. Here's how I started my journey.

Have A Candid Discussion With Your Enemies

I learned the following meditation from Tara Springett's book, Enlightenment Through the Path of Kundalini and I have amended it to suit my needs.

Create a sacred space by lighting a candle, burning incense, and putting on nice meditation music. YouTube has great options. Some of my favorites are Tibetan Healing Sounds, Extreme Kundalini Awakening, and Shaman Journey.

Sit in a comfortable position and surround yourself with a bright, loving light. Try to sense unconditional love for yourself. If this doesn't come easy, visualize a blanket of love around someone else that you love dearly, and then shift this blanket onto yourself until you feel immersed in pure, limitless love.

Now think of someone who has hurt you. It can be a parent, family member, lover, friend, or anyone else. Imagine them before you, enveloped by a sphere of loving light.

  • Tell them how they hurt you. For example, you may say, "Dennis, you always called me ugly when we grew up. You laughed at me and made fun of me. This hurt me. And what you did was wrong."

  • Stop further pain by saying, "I understand you did this because you were not happy. And from now on, I will stop any further grudges against you. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you to be happy and healed."

  • Let go by visualizing this person starting a path of self-healing when they realize what they did wrong, and regretting what they did to you. Then see them float away from you in a cloud of love, and you can detach yourself from them.

  • Repeat every day for two weeks and feel the pain grow less and less intense with each day that passes.

You can make a list of everyone you hold a grudge against, and work through forgiving each one of them.

And... Forgive Yourself

Once you have forgiven everyone else, you may notice how uncomfortable memories pop up in your mind of occasions when you have hurt others. None of us is perfect.

And maybe I'm less perfect than everyone else because when I was little, I was a bit of a bully. Or a lot of a bully. While it's no excuse, I think it's because I was the youngest of my siblings, and because I had no power at home, I exerted it in school. I made a girl and boy in my class kiss by pulling on the girl's braid. I called a younger girl "pigface," and I (together with some others) made fun of a horse-crazy girl by mocking the way she played riding horses. I'm not proud of this, of course, but it did happen. And even though I've asked for forgiveness from all of them, I'm still ashamed. It makes me wonder what things I've said or done offhandedly that I don't even remember.

Meditate on It

Sananga (sacred eye drops) can be helpful in clearing "panema," or clouds of negative energy that build inside our bodies over time. Of course, you can also clear panema without Sananga by meditating on unconditional love for yourself.

Create a sacred space and sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Envision yourself surrounded by a sphere of bright, loving light. Now, imagine a deity before you. It can be anyone that appeals to you: Buddha, Jesus, Quan Yin, Krishna, Mohammed, God, etc. Visualize their heart chakra as a glowing, green light that pulsates and grows, it spreads around them and toward you, and your heart connects with theirs.

Accept the unconditional love of the deity and of the universe. See yourself with their eyes, as a perfect, celestial being. Every pain you have caused is forgiven because of your role in the higher plan. Your hurtful words and actions—although they were wrong— were a lesson others had to learn. Forgive yourself and acknowledge you acted from a place of hurt.

Wish yourself happiness and healing.

Forgiveness of yourself and others is essential for enlightenment.

I may never become perfect, or invincible, or stronger than most. But by shedding my armor and revealing my vulnerabilities, I can become a better version of myself. And I can become happier.

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