Original text: Björk Eiðsdóttir Translation: Elísabet Hafsteinsdóttir Photos: Amir Magal
This article was originally published in Icelandic in Man Magasín, February 5, 2015.
Shaman Durek is a spiritual teacher and healer who lives and works in Los Angeles but is coming here to Iceland in the middle of February to share his knowledge.
Shaman Durek was born in North California but his ancestry is more complicated than that; his father was an African-Haitian and his mother an East Indian Norwegian. Many of his ancestors were spiritual practitioners, Seventh-day Adventists, oracles and spiritual faith healers. He was quite young when his natural talents first became apparent. “I was only two years old when I learnt what it meant to be a shaman, even though I didn’t fully understand it until around five years old. My mother told me that she realized while she was still pregnant with me that I was marked and that I’d always been a very special child. My mother is a unique woman who put great weight on my spiritual growth. When I was an infant she laid me in a basket and sang to me, took me out into nature and told me stories about my future. She played drums and taught me about the mysteries of plants. I fell into a trance and was then able to see my ancestors. I didn’t know them, didn’t know who these people were. I remember one of the women was dressed in white and had dark skin and she spoke to me very clearly, she called herself ‘mamal.’ I later learned that she was my great-grandmother who had also been a shaman, visiting me from the spiritual realm. She would pay me many more visits along with other spirits throughout my childhood years. My mother was artistic, painted and played instruments, and while she was doing those things she would watch me and know that I was communicating with the spirits. Like I said, I would often fall into a trance when she played the drums. In the trance, I would go to this beautiful place where I was surrounded by rocks and water. While there, I would meet different types of people, some of them would have human attributes while others wouldn’t.”
AFRAID TO SLEEP IN HIS OWN BED
Shaman Durek admits that his childhood years were very trying on a young boy. His family was split in two, the part that was closely connected with their origins and spiritual growth and the part that was very Christian and viewed all that as the occult. “I went through a lot of suffering but that suffering has made me what I am today. I would lie in bed at night and be visited by different spirits. Many of them were very loving and entertaining while others were more frightening and would share with me the darker sides of the human race. I feared them and the fear went so far that I started sleeping on the floor and later on I slept on the couch for many years while the spirits sat on my bed and spoke of negative things.” He says he didn’t realize that his experience was unusual until he spoke of it with his classmates in school.
“The road to being a shaman is painful and the spirits will take everything from you and pick at all your wounds that haven’t healed yet. They take you to the places that you fear and have you face them with a heart full of love.”
He then went to his sister for protection against the spirit world. “I remember seeing from one to three people with me in the mirror, every time I brushed my teeth at night. They spoke lovingly to me and said they would be my teachers when I was ready to accept them. I didn’t understand what they meant; they were of a different culture and didn’t look like me. Then, when I grew older, I was baptized into the church of the Seventh-day Adventists. My father belonged to that church so there was a lot of pressure put on him to turn his back on the spiritual world that my mother adhered to and he was told that the curse of the devil lay on our past. This was, naturally, very confusing to a kid.”
RECEIVES CONSTANT GUIDANCE
Shaman Durek says that his talents for sensing people’s feelings continued to develop and that he sensed how his fellow students as well as teachers felt every day. “I experienced their pains and sorrows but this became so overwhelming that I had trouble communicating with people. Within me, my love for humanity struggled with the fear of rejection, loving someone but then not fitting into his or her view of the world. Teachers who saw me as a shaman helped me in developing my talents. I knew I was a shaman but I wasn’t sure what I was meant to do with it, I simply listened to the spirits as I still do to this day.” Durek says that he wanted to honor his family and his origins. Therefore, he decided to study religion and began Shaman training at only twelve years old. “[In my training] I have received guidance from both the physical world and the spiritual and every guide has taught me something unique. I am a shaman of the present time though my mentors are of an ancient world. I am positive, however, that I belonged to that world before, while it may not have been in this body. I receive constant guidance and that makes it easier for me to help others. I’ve travelled to different parts of the world and gotten to know different cultures and different circumstances. I know who I am and why I’m here.”
A PAINFUL WAY
As a shaman, Durek is a kind of broker or bridge between the spiritual and physical planes. He uses ancient wisdom together with sincere application and work to affect results, happiness, and healing in people’s lives. “It isn’t an easy task and demands a lot of sacrifice where it comes to human nature. A large part of the human race goes through life without thought or consciousness but the life of a shaman is always fully conscious and thoughtful and is always meant to evolve and develop. The idea of simply doing things doesn’t come from me, it’s the idea rather of the purpose of what I’m doing [that drives me]. What type of energy I will be facing and what the experience will give me.” Shaman Durek also guides students who want to tread this path but says he always begins by getting them to seriously consider whether this is in fact a path they are sure they want to follow. “I ask them if they are truly ready to surrender their opinions and ideas, even if it goes against every fiber of their beings. If they are prepared to sacrifice their earthly desires to gain qualities to help others. Most shamans, who enjoy a good connection with higher powers, deny themselves alcohol, tobacco, and medication but instead use plants and roots for medicinal purposes. The road to becoming a shaman is painful and the spirits will take everything from you and poke at all your wounds that haven’t healed yet. They will take you to the places that you fear and have you face them with a heart full of love. It doesn’t matter how much pain you have to endure, what kind of learning the spirits intend for you, or how high the mountain ahead, you will undergo all the spirits’ lessons with a smile on your face. You can take what is expected of you to gain the wisdom, clarity, and insight necessary to get through these challenges.”
DIED A CLINICAL DEATH
“On this journey, you have to face your biggest fears and receive visits from 10 spirits, each of which comes from a different place and bearing a different lesson. On the journey, you also find out how much pain your body can take without turning its back on love. The fact of the matter is that drumming, rattling, and burning incense doesn’t make you a shaman, it makes you an entertainer. That which makes someone a shaman is his or her ability to surrender to the forefathers in order to preserve their wisdom; wisdom that has passed down through generations. The process could be likened to being a child and a grandparent at the same time; judging no one and embracing the darkest souls, always showing unconditional love in every conceivable situation.” Durek has himself been through a lot and has had his faith tested. At 30 years old he fell seriously ill and the illness caused his clinical death. After resuscitation, his body was paralyzed and his doctors feared he had suffered serious brain injury. “When I woke up from a month long coma, I was told that I would never walk again and that I didn’t have much more than a month to live. Seven different specialists told me there was no hope. But I received visits from powerful beings who delivered me messages about how I had to set my mind in order to survive this. I call it a spiritual burn when the body wants to give up but the spirit is determined to keep fighting. It’s literally as if the soul burns in order to keep the body on this side, that is the only way I can describe my conviction which kept me here. There comes the time when the body is in such pain that it wants nothing more than to give up and convinces the mind of the same.” Shaman Durek says he is careful about answering the question of whether he healed himself. “There is only one healer and that is the love of God. The only thing I did was move out of its path and believe that it could heal me and that this love is my master, the true teacher that other teachers help me to reach.
“WE CREATE A COMPLICATED REALITY”
Considering the speed of modern society, it is appropriate to ask this spiritual man whether he feels we have become removed from what is most important. “The way modern society is structured is that we live in community with each other but have also moved away from one another. We live through social media, computers, and phones. Communication is filtered through computer screens and I ask if part of the reason is that we don’t want to really experience the feelings brought on by the difficulty and reality of our lives. We exist during very exiting times and while we yearn for simplicity and comfort, we create a reality that is extremely complicated and demanding. The mind is a gloriously beautiful tool if it is used to its fullest. But if the mind doesn’t receive the right information, its senses are limited and it won’t see all the possibilities that are available. Its response is then controlled by fear but that fear is really nothing but the fear of not having control over the unknown. Most of the complications we see in the live of the modern man are there because people don’t have unlimited access to the possible information. When people don’t see different options or paths, they begin to behave in a way that causes them to distance themselves from other people. You can’t expect people who don’t understand themselves to understand others,” he explains. “If you are not in touch with yourself, don’t love yourself unconditionally, don’t nourish your mind with beautiful information, and aren’t the creator of limitless opportunities, then you are really like a person without a voice, a shape, or a name of your own. To change this situation for the better we need to connect again with our selves and with nature. We have to discover who we really are, not who we have been told we are. In that way can we love and connect with other people while loving and connecting with ourselves. A good lesson is to try and see ourselves in others and making peace with all our qualities.”
WHY MAKE LIFE MORE DIFFICULT?
According to Shaman Durek, we all have our spiritual guides although some of us have more than one. That isn’t because that person is more important in any way but is controlled rather by what he or she is set to accomplish here on earth and what kind of influence is attached to that person. A farmer whose only intent is to farm his land with his family, for example, wouldn’t have as many spiritual guides as a political leader or a head of state. A spiritual guide assists you with certain areas of life, whether it’s creativity, parenting, running a business, or getting through a tough illness. The reason that a particular guide is with you is that at a certain time, he or she has become trained in the lesson that lies ahead of you so they can guide you and help you overcome the obstacles that you will confront.”[EH1] None of this is realized, however, unless you open your mind to the signals and instructions that are put in your path. “The signals are different, it can be that a song on the radio describes your life or that a book that can help you through a challenge falls off a shelf. A guide could get you to go out among people when that is exactly what you don’t want to do but the only thing that could help in the situation. Guides can even communicate through other people who encourage you. Has it maybe happened to you that a friend delivers such profound wisdom concerning your situation that even he or she doesn’t know where it came from? Or have you suddenly changed your mind about something that leads you to a place where you run into exactly the person who helps you reach the next stage in your life? This could just have been where your guide works with other guides to lead your life in a certain direction. A spiritual guide is not a guardian angel and not a deceased relative. That wouldn’t work because you’ve inherited from your ancestors what they couldn’t solve during their earthly lives. A guide connects with you in a whole different way and is with you in order to teach you. They can come in different shapes and aren’t necessarily human but can be from other planets or different dimensions. Therefore, it is crucial to open your mind to take advantage of their existence. We are all perceptive to a different degree and everywhere around us we see people who are lonely and afraid and who trust only in themselves for guidance. It’s a silly attitude to have, if you ask me, living on a planet without opening yourself up to the support team that is all around to navigate us through life. We tend to be judgmental and that prevents us from connecting with our guides. I always tell people to do everything they can to connect to their guides, why make life more difficult? Make it as easy as it should be.”
IMMERSED HIMSELF IN THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD
When he was 20 years old, Shaman Durek stopped providing the personal service that was becoming increasingly popular and chose to travel to other countries to educate himself further and gain a deeper understanding of the religions of the world. He sought out the spiritual teachings of Christianity, metaphysics, the art of healing, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Catholicism in Italy. He immersed himself in the theories of The Lavender Group, a secret spiritual society in London where he met influential spiritual people from every corner of the world. He studied Jewish mysticism in Israel and also worked with children with cancer and with hypnotherapy in Greece. He strove to increase the power of women dear to him when he lived in Istanbul. He was taught about healing herbs in the jungle of the jaguars and on the island of Tobacco Caye in Belize, practiced Hare Krishna in San Francisco and studied Bhagavad-Gita as well as Hinduism and yoga. He trained in Reiki under a qualified Reiki-master from India. Durek absorbed himself in Huna in Hawaii, the islanders’ healing art and he fetched knowledge from Maori healers. Durek says that he is himself a skeptic and, having tried all of these methods on himself, he tries to use whichever one best suits the person seeking his help.
Shaman Durek now works with clients from all walks of life. Among them are musicians, CEOs of big companies, and European royalty. Durek gives both private training lessons as well as group workshops. On top of this, he has both a regular column in The Huffington Post on the spiritual sides of life as well has been featured in many Tv shows and has did a movie on world shamans. He is a world wide speaker and focuses his efforts on being a peace ambassador. He co-created his tour “Heal the Country, Heal the World” to spark inspiration and create a movement. He believes if you can influence a country and give them the tools to empower others, than it can impact the entire world.
Shaman Durek will be offering group- and private sessions here in Iceland on February 11–16. Event planner: www.balancenr1.is - bookings by telephone +354-822-2990 or firstname.lastname@example.org
[EH1]The original article did not show where this particular quotation started.