raina: The Towns Mirror Special: A Shaman’s Healing Touch


Sahil Raina connects with nature to help people find answers to life and make the world a better place

As most stories go, like many others, Sahil Raina shuttled from one corporate job to another, not sure what he wanted to do with a living, and not quite happy with the results. It took a workshop almost five years ago on a Shamanic Drum Circle to instill the thought that perhaps he was destined to do something else in life.

“I really felt like I was connected to something bigger than myself. But even after this first workshop, things didn’t really change, until I was asked to create a garden from a wasteland as part of one of my master’s classes at Srishti. School of Art and Design.

These one and a half months of creating an autonomous community garden turned out to be the turning point in Raina’s life. “We had to do everything from scratch; go get bricks and stones to put plants – all that. In this process, I connected to the land that I really couldn’t understand. There were certain times when I felt that part of the earth or soil communicated with me; I knew intuitively where to place a particular pot or plant. Although there were times when I felt I was going to say hi, I knew it was all real, ”says Raina.

And so, the journey began. “Through a series of self-explorations, I decided that I wanted to explore this world further, and I continued to travel. I spent about 18 days with the indigenous shamanic community in Sikkim, and a lot of my learning opened my eyes.

So what exactly is shamanism, I ask. The first thought that would cross a person’s head is that of a group of guys sitting around a fire, muttering sleight of hand (courtesy Too Many Movies). But, as I find out, this version is clearly factually incorrect and out of date.

“During my 18-day trip with the Lepcha people in Dzongu, Sikkim, I realized that shamanism is really about connecting with the earth and finding peace there. It is about walking barefoot on the earth, listening to the wind whistle, being one with the wind and building a relationship with nature. It’s about knowing that you are part of a larger ecosystem, knowing that life isn’t all about people. Nature is as important as you are, and you and nature are one and the same.

“After that, I met two teachers who introduced me to the healing practice of shamanism; the way it was practiced in indigenous communities. “It was then that I learned the Peruvian and Hawaiian forms of shamanism. I knew then that I wanted to share it with people.

And so when people started to visit Raina for help – such a mundane problem as wanting to change jobs or not knowing what to do next, Raina – thanks to the help of meditation – sought the help of guides who are human and not. -human form, and present their metaphors and symbols to help these people. “Believe it or not, these metaphors were what they really needed to hear in life,” he says.

Raina then went to Odisha, where he spent time with the Kutia Kondh and the Lanjia Saora tribes – two indigenous communities that still practice shamanism. “It was a shock to realize that the Hawaiian and Peruvian practices that originate from a completely different part of the world, are almost identical to what these healers practice in their community. It’s amazing to know that a community of 12 families, who have hardly ever stepped out of their space, have something so similar.

It’s a question of perception

I ask Raina a trivial question: How does he deal with disbelievers? Pat comes the answer. “The reason they find it hard to believe is because of the conditioning; because they were told it was a shell game. I’m just trying to engage with them and counter that. For those who will stubbornly cling to their unbelief, I let them.

As the conversation comes to an end, Raina reinserts some very valid truths: Energy and nature are what matters. In an increasingly materialistic world, the answers lie in a larger ecosystem. And if not, we can just have faith, at least.

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