So glad to see that slowly, but surely the true nature of meditation is being talked about more openly. It unfortunately is still generally sugar-coated and romanticized in the mass-media. It can certainly bring many wonderful understandings and wellbeing into ones life but not without one being also willing and able to face the dark side of life as well. One cannot pick and choose. Real meditation is real life and opening up to it requires that one embrace both that which gets interpreted as beautiful and ugly.
By Will Hall: Shamans are the magician spirit healers in tribal, non-technological societies around the world. Anthropologists use the word "shamanism," from the Tungus people of Siberia, to mean the commonalities between different traditions. Shamans find their calling through a life-threatening initiatory illness or crisis, go into visioning and trance to connect to other realities, shapeshift out of their regular identity to identify with animals, spirits, and even illnesses, and return to the ordinary world to share skills of healing and creativity. Living at the edge of society and defying conventional norms, conduct, and even gender, shamans are respected as a powerful community link to the divine.