I think Tosh might be a shaman.
No, seriously. Hear me out. Your kid might be one, too.
Even if you aren't into that kind of thing, you’ll look at their autism “symptoms” a little differently.
While flying home from our Labor Day vacay, I read a pretty convincing article in Autism Digest written by a shaman who is also autistic. Gonzalo Benard, a Tibetan Bonpo Shaman also known by his shaman name Gon.Sal, was nonverbal until age seven and even as an adult, rarely speaks.
If you’re unfamiliar with shamans, they were prevalent in many ancient tribal cultures around the world, including the native cultures of North America. They’re kind of a mix between a doctor and a priest, using both spiritual and medicinal healing. The internet and social media, along with a renewed interest in metaphysical phenomena and natural health, have raised the profiles of modern day shamans.
Some, like Shaman Durek (who I follow on Instagram and who did a short, remote reading on Tosh) are receiving mainstream media coverage.
Gon.Sal wrote that in many ancient cultures, children with autism were considered sacred and many became shamans. He explained that many of autism’s symptoms, which are considered problematic issues that must be addressed, are qualities that shamans, monks and other holy leaders use to practice spiritual rituals and heal people.
Take, for example, autism’s nonverbal symptom. Think of all the world religions that require their holy leaders to take vows of silence to strengthen their ability to communicate with their god. When you find your silence, you find your answers, he said. He added that speaking creates vibrations that drain energy from the speaker, and for autistic people, who have more sensitive nervous systems, that energy is instead needed to recharge their bodies in today’s over stimulating world.
Also consider how many autistic people hum and rock back and forth. Now think about all the religions that use rocking, humming and chanting to evoke a spiritual connection. Almost all of them, right? Gon.Sal said rocking, humming and even stimming are tools holy leaders use to calm, focus and connect to spirit.
Autistic people are also highly empathic. I know Tosh certainly is. He’s extremely sensitive to the moods and emotions of people around him, and he becomes concerned or upset if anyone is sad, hurt or angry. He becomes distressed if someone exhibits road rage while he’s in the car, and he hates political debate.
And he doesn't just exhibit empathy. Tosh wants to make it all better. He's a hugger (when he initiates it). He hugs people he loves and those who are upset. He also rubs, kisses and blows on any and all ouchies without prompting.
This ability to feel others in a deeper way is a gift shamans and other holy leaders possess. It provides a better way to heal and mindfully spread peace.
Gon.Sal also explained that this empathy also prevents autistic people from understanding today’s social structure, which is based on emotions, not empathy or even logic. That’s why our kids don’t understand emotional concepts like jealousy, greed, envy or justice.
For example, to someone with autism (and, I suspect, many parents reading this blog), why bother with jealousy? If not having something affects you so much, why not focus on improving yourself so you can have or feel the same? I must admit, that sure resonates with me. In fact, it's the underlying philosophy of Autism Oasis.
Our modern society is structured by neurotypical people who impose social behaviors connected to their emotions, rather than the pursuit of a higher consciousness. Neurotypical people are driven by ego. Autistic people are driven by spiritual alignment.
Perhaps the rate of autism is increasing because the world needs to change. After all, our world’s problems – war, poverty, climate change and the demise of our natural system – is all the result of ego-driven policies that use emotional manipulation to convince the masses to support destructive agendas that aren't in their best interests.
Perhaps the neurotypical population needs to start listening to autistic people, rather than change them. Perhaps our autistic children are here to open our eyes to our ego-driven follies, and to ultimately heal the world?
It’s pretty heady stuff, isn’t it? Very mystic and supernatural; and yet, there’s a lot of logical reasoning to support it.
What do you think? Might your child be a shaman? Might they be inter-dimensional protesters and healers, sent here to save humanity from ourselves? Please share your thoughts.
Heather Anderson is a blissfully happy autism mom and lover of life in Southern California who is on a mission to help autism parents rediscover their happy place.
Please join me on this beautiful autism journey. The Autism Oasis is a fun, supportive and educational community where your personal development is just as important as your children's. You are more than just a caregiver!