In a previous blog, we learned the technique shamans use to track through our past to find the original source of physical or emotional illness. This same technique can be used to track into the future to access a destiny in which you are healed and leading a creative, fulfilling life. You only need to set your intent into tracking possible futures instead of your past.

We have many possible destinies available to us: Think of your lifeline as a solid cord of light reaching from the present back into the past, and extending into the future as luminous strands, like fiberoptic threads. Each strand represents a possible future. In one possible future you might live a long and healthy life, but only if you follow through with plans to move to a certain town, accept a certain job or position, or go through a particular change in lifestyle. A different strand might lead you to a less fortunate destiny.

Some seers are able to assist clients in selecting a destiny that defies their odds for recovery. When working with a client who has a grim health prognosis, I track for alternative futures, among which is a healed state that, although not probable, is permissible within the laws of biology and physics. When I see the healed condition, I can help the odds for recovery become greater. Once that state is identified, the journey toward healing can begin. The story of Steve helps to illustrate this point.

Steve was a physicist working at the Linear Accelerator at Stanford University when he came to see me. He and his colleagues had been analyzing data to determine if enough matter existed in the Universe for it to continue expanding for eternity, or if the gravitational pull of stars was great enough to make the Universe collapse into itself. He took a break from his research to join me in an expedition to the Southwest. We were camping in Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, home today to the Navajo nation. (The original canyon dwellers lived in cliff houses above the desert floor until 1200 CE) When we arrived at the area where we were camping that evening, I cautioned the group to be respectful of the Anasazi burial ground that lay along one wall against a cliff. Over the centuries the rain and the wind had exposed the tombs. In places, pottery shards and bone fragments lay along the arid surface. Not even the current occupants of the canyon, the Navajo, ventured near that spot. They believed bad luck befell anyone who disturbs ancient burial sites.

As I was setting up my tent I heard Steve joking with a few of the members of the group, performing the “Alas, poor Yorick” routine from Hamlet. He was holding a human skull in his hands. I ran to him and asked him to return the skull to the site where he had found it. Our Navajo guides were aghast at Steve’s antics, and suggested he say a prayer when he took back the skull. They advised that we leave the area as soon as possible.

Two months later I received a call from Steve. “How are things on the research front?” I asked. The news was good. The Universe seemed poised to live forever.

“And how are you?”

For Steve the news was not encouraging. He had been diagnosed a few days earlier with a very advanced case of lymphoma. The doctors at Stanford University Medical Center gave him less than four months to live.

Steve was convinced that the incident with the Anasazi skull was responsible for his cancer. Even though he must have had the cancer for months before the expedition, both of us were moved by the synchronicity of these events. An actual connection between the two events was not important. The significant thing was that Steve believed there was a connection between them. Understanding this connection would become part of his healing journey. We began working together immediately after his diagnosis and throughout his chemotherapy. By the end of the fourth month Steve’s cancer was in check. Contrary to his prognosis, he was alive. To us this meant that there was a possibility he would live a great deal longer. Granted, it was not very probable, but nevertheless it was possible.

We began to track to find the face of his healed self. We employed the tracking technique, but with an interesting twist. Instead of my tracking for Steve, I merely sat across from him in stillness. Steve had worked with me extensively and was familiar with tracking. I had him use me as a mirror for himself. We knew that he was the one who had to find his healed self. No one can heal you; you heal yourself. All that I could offer Steve were the maps I had learned, but I knew a map was not the territory. He would have to travel the terrain himself. Every time we met we would track. At the end of each session I performed an Illumination, to clear the imprints associated with any of the wounded faces he had discovered. My own stillness served as a tuning fork so that he would not allow himself to be seduced by the beautiful or terrible images he perceived. Most were the faces of his own past-faces of grief, trauma, joy, and loss. He had two young daughters, and he had just met the woman he considered his soul partner; they were to be married the following summer.

Eventually Steve discovered his own stillness. His waters were becoming quiet and beginning to reflect his healed self. Finally, one morning, I saw myself reflected in his eyes, and knew Steve had found what he was looking for. At the end of our practice we simply hugged each other, tears running down our faces. I asked Steve what he had seen, and he replied that he had witnessed everything. I pressed him to explain, and he repeated, “Everything, with a capital E, and myself.”

When Steve found his healed self he discovered his original face, his essential nature. I ended up performing the couple’s wedding ceremony that summer. Steve lived for another eight years. They were the most important years of his life. A year before he passed away, he sent me a necklace with an orca carved on it, similar to the motifs carved by the Eskimos. The note that arrived with it said that he chose an orca because although they are known as killer whales, they are in fact one of the gentlest of sea animals. They plumb the depths of the ocean, as he had had to plumb the depths of his own soul. They scare the living daylights out of anyone who gets close to them. So too had his cancer, but in reality, it had brought him the gift of life.

Very few shamans attain the wisdom and the skill to track someone else’s destiny. Only when you know your own essential nature, when you have tracked for your own original face, are you then able to assist another with the absolute nonattachment and compassion this kind of tracking requires. Everything in life leaves its track in time.