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Ep. 32 - Into the "Big Bright" - An Interview with Alberto Roman

by Hearts Rise Up
September 7th 2020
Alberto Roman is an artist, musician, philosopher, Shaman, and Transformational Healer.  He is a magical being who offers a unique perspective on the world – both inner and outer. Alberto is a humble ... More
Thank you for tuning your heart's in for another episode of the Hearts Rise up podcast. I'm carol chapman, your host along with my co host and Siri and Concetta antonelli. We share our own personal experiences tips and strategies along with powerful stories and compelling insights from guest interviews. We're here to inspire and empower your conscious evolution, help you tap into your inner wisdom and rise to your heart centered higher self together we can rise to a higher level of consciousness, an elevated state of being and experience more love joy and freedom. Yeah, thank you for tuning your heart's in for another episode of this podcast. I'm carol chapman, your host for this episode.

I am just delighted today to introduce our featured guest Alberto roman. Alberto has led transformation practices for over 30 years. He has studied with renowned spiritual leaders to deepen his ongoing relationship with transcultural shamanic paths. He's had two documentary films and a book chronicling his studies and practices and, and theo shamanic wisdom and trans personal rituals. The shaman and Ayahuasca is a film and a book. The other film is bali talking to spirits. Oh, I love that title. Alberto is also Apache Cootie Mesa carrier and you're gonna tell us a little bit more about that unesco art award recipient and a fabulous musician. Music is the basis of everything in his life. Alberto also leads transformational retreats with a focus on healing meditation and plant medicine.

He has degrees in philosophy and psychology and he's worked with marginalized populations such as the homeless abused women and Children. Welcome Alberto to the Hearts Rise up podcast. Thank you for having me on your show And I want to thank your audience who are walking a path that brings benefit to themselves, the ones they love and the planet may all you love. Dr thank you. Thank you for that. I think our audience will definitely appreciate that because that's really what it's all about. So I'd love for you to share a little bit more about your background and your journey where you got to where you are today. I love the question. It gives me a chance to review the decades of my experience in existence on the planet. Thank you. I was born in Costa rica many, many decades ago and I was born to a beautiful time in the history of that country.

There were sloths and hummingbirds and all sorts of birds and orchids when I grew up. So I was affected by that climate, that condition. It really influenced my imagination and my sense of belonging and well being. I had two sets of parents growing up. My biological parents, my father was from Nicaragua. My mother was from Costa rica and they were only able to hold their marriage for maybe five years and then my aunt and uncle took us under their wing and they were responsible for bringing me to the States and studying here and throughout my life. I have been going back and forth between both cultures and both landscapes. I studied in Costa rica and I studied here in the States first in psychology and then I went into philosophy, but I always kept in touch with a certain kind of sensibility that I have deep in my heart and the challenge has been to you are all of those different interests that I have.

So I've been doing this for a long time. The impulse to heal and to bring balance is obviously rooted in my own personal ordeals and questions on how to integrate all of that. Because those were traumatic experiences. I mean, coming to a new country family of origin breakup, adapting to a new family. So it's been a very rich and challenging journey how to bring it all together. And I have found that the shamanic path, which is a way of being in the world. There's a lot of ways to be on this planet, you can be a materialist, an idealist nihilist agnostic or belong to several religious affiliations. There's a lot of ways to be here, but I found that the shamanic path is a choice brings me the kind of balance at all levels of my being that I find the right tone. How were you introduced to the shamanic path? And you mentioned to growing up in Costa rica and that environment played with your imagination.

There was something you mentioned about your imagination. So did that have any influence on heading in the direction of a shamanic path completely. I mean any of us who have gone out to a beach or a mountain or have seen something that just moves you that grabs your imagination that we might even call beauty. And beauty's accomplice experience growing up in Costa rica. I was embedded in that. So it's like a motive being a mode of perception, a heartfelt resonance with the world. It's an aesthetic sensibility. So that has impacted my way of being in the way I show up also when I offer transformational work. So definitely so because I do think environment matters, living in a farm is very different than living in a in a city or living in a desert or living in a deep african space or in the cold. It sets up imaginative narratives. So you mentioned that you have had some challenges along the way.

Having grown up in Costa Rica and coming here to the US and two sets of parents share a little bit about challenges that you've experienced. The list is long. I will definitely say that learning to speak a new language is learning to inhabit a new world. So language does beget reality. So having to adjust the perceptions and the way I conceptualized experience in spanish and then trying to accommodate that or shift that or understand how that operated in the english language was a challenge that is still part of my path. Because if language begets world, then it's important how we speak to one another and how we define what's going on. So there's been an ongoing practice that I do like, The other one I think is having to deal with loss. Because I think my personal challenge ordeal has been having to understand what losses, because coming to the States, it was losing Costa rica, losing my parents and so belonging and solitude have been the ongoing ying and yang of my own personal path.

When do I need to belong? When do I need to be in solitude? And I think that's a universal question overall, but for me, that's been the emphasis of my path, it still goes on. Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. So share with me a little bit more about some insight as a result of that experience that you have had a man. Well, when I'm in ah let's call it a reactive space around laws. The most important thing I've learned through these traditions, philosophical traditions and practices is how to be spacious enough to not collapse into the content because I have collapsed into the content um growing up or is that still something that you struggle with? No, I'm pretty good now at allowing the content to emerge and being skillful about playing with it and releasing it. So now I have a choice as to whether I will back off, confront, leave it alone, keep moving.

You know, So that's something that I was sort of an intuitive thing now. Yes, yes. You've really have kind of honed in and perfected more of your intuitive abilities. That's an excellent way of framing it because that is the fruit, there are many fruits to these paths but that's one of them and that ability to flow and to be open enough to be sensitive to the evolutionary needs of the moment and that's intuition and being able to not only see it and experience and feel it with yourself but anyone else that's in your environment and that you're interacting with. Yeah, we call it clear sentence, right clear feeling. That is one of the fields of virtue and power that emerged in all of these practices in emergencies, shamanism but it can emerge in any transformational work. There does seem to be a universal or human wide experience that's spoken about, gotten to in different ways but we do obtain certain kinds of powers. Yeah why didn't you just going to shift gears?

Why did you pursue philosophy and psychology? What drew you into? Those are natural born tendencies Because obviously I mean you use that in your work for 30 years having that foundation. I'm curious as to what drew you in that direction. I'm more like Fernando bowler, I like to sit under a tree and just be astounded and astonished by what's going on in front of me. So I prefer that than having to go into the bullring but I will go into the bull ring of course it's a natural tendency. I mean all I'm astonished what is going on here. I think that's really basically the three fundamental questions are we are here something's going on because you're not talking and it seems to change and evolve and from there we create all kinds of beautiful things around it. So I love, I love the mystery, just the mystery of being here, this happens and we could participate in it that in itself.

I find intriguing and more sweeter now as I get older because I'm less tempted to believe in my own interpretation as an absolute, that's a gift, that openness, that spaciousness and buoyancy. So at one point in your life do things begin to shift for you? In which way? Because I felt a lot of shift, I think well in terms of the work that You spent 30 years working with marginalized populations, so that takes a lot of hard work, there's a lot that you have to dig deep within yourself to help others and at some point you have to make sure that you're nurturing and nourishing yourself as well? So I'm just wondering at one point in your life, did you start to see some shifts that kind of moves you in the direction beyond what you were doing to help other people? But now you're doing it on, I think even a bigger scale with this transformational.

First of all, let me thank you for acknowledging and appreciating thousands of people that walk with other people and bring him love and peace and some sort of healing. So thank you for acknowledging that it takes a lot out of you to be able to do that. It can, if you're not balanced. But I think people like social workers and teachers and nurses and other people that are not as recognized, I just want to say thank you to them too now whoever is listening. Okay, so language begets reality, nature begets purpose and I did not feel complete after doing all that work. I felt I still wasn't expressing my music enough or expressing my art enough. And I felt that regardless of where I was, I had to take a leap. And so one day I took the leap, I quit work and at that time I was, I was meditating at the local buddhist monastery here in Atlanta drepung lowest link, which is the seat of the Dalai Lama for those of you who are in the buddhist path.

And I finished my meditation and I went to put my shoes back on on the board was driver needed for tibetan monks tour and I said, well why not? So I went in and talked to the administrators, they gave me an interviewed and they said, okay, drive them and from then on all kinds of stuff opened up. Oh, I absolutely love that. So that was really a big, a big shift for you, no matter where you're at. No matter what your fear is. I think not listening to a deeper call. If you feel that you're still incomplete with what you have to bring to the planet. Be smart about it, protect your interests. You know, you don't need to like jump and sell your house and you know, you know, divorce or whatever be mindful but also be aware that if you don't do that when you die, your mind is going to ask your soul. Did you live up to who you were supposed to be? I think that's a big question that all of us need to answer and maybe we'll have to answer that at some point.

Yeah. Yeah. And it's an ongoing thing because it's an ongoing thing I think for everybody. But you know, as you fulfill it more and more, I find that there's also an ease that comes with it from having responded with heart and with intelligence to those deeper calls. Mm hmm. So when that shift occurred for you, what happened from there really explored more of your music and your art. When you said you really weren't doing as much or not as much. Several things together before that I had rolled a little bit with some famous curandera, some famous shamans. That was a shamanic musician. Once I did the thing with the tibetan monks, I was at a ceremony in Asheville. I was singing my songs. You were having a great time and I didn't know who that a participant. There was a major filmmaker. Yeah, that's how I got to do all of this man. I love what you're doing in ceremony. Do you have a cd? I go as a matter of fact I do, because previously I had done a cd with a local studio here called Intuitive Sound Beautiful.

He gave it to him, he goes, well, I'll send you something in a couple of weeks. And so the next thing I get is this DVD and this man has been to Tibet and I've done all these amazing things, is a bigwig and music production and wow, great and so beautiful. He calls me up about a month later he goes, man, I have an idea, are you up for this? You want to go to the amazon and do a documentary on ayahuasca and shamanism and we can enroll our friend on Jose, I think you can enroll him and I go, wow! So I called on Jose input, Alpi Jose man media is to start with and he goes, yeah man, let's do it. So we make the documentary and a book which was a beautiful journey being in the, in the book, yeah, in the amazon, those are the books we referred to earlier on, it was fantastic and that does very well. And then he said bro, been to bali, you gotta go to bali, I know everybody in bali because I was in bali before it became this thing.

So my friend Michael, wheezy new all the battalions, all the healers, all the artists, you know who are now and by then they were now in their sixties and seventies and so let's make a documentary of that other bali with the balinese experience, the animism, the rituals. So we made a documentary there too and then things just kept opening up, you know, hey man, you want to do a ceremony Okay. And then people solicit me or every now and then I'll open up a group. So it's been going on like that. I have a chance to go to Thailand the next couple of months and open up some groups, their groups in Guatemala. So my approach has been okay. I'll keep walking this path until the path tells me thank you, you're complete, go watch the sunset. So it's been evolving well for a while there. I thought, okay, I feel complete, I feel that a bit of service because higher awakened visionary mind has to have a pragmatic service function.

You can be, it can be in all kinds of superb states. But if you don't bring it down to something tangible, then it's just like a spiritual bypass to me. So I felt it was okay. I'm kinda cool. I've done some ceremonies turned on a few people and then I thought I was done and then people kept coming requesting and now it's actually taking another kind of level. So we'll see what happens with that. And by level. I mean I'm getting invited to Biggest places and I'm dreaming also of redesigning the ceremonies and there's 1000 ways to do it and they're all beautiful and good. But for the folks that show up here for me and in the States and other places, it's a specific set of folks who is your ideal participant. My ideal participant is anyone who understands that life, their life is still bigger than they ever dreamed and they walk with that and be part of that.

So there's usually some healing, you know, healing takes place at all kinds of levels. There's that interpersonal stuff. How I think how I organize my emotions is that interpersonal stuff. I relate to my people society, the transportation all but most of the time it's the trans personal that grabs them even though they're doing their own psychological developmental healing. Is that broader awareness or recognition. This is vast. And that the way we perceive it at this point is just one way of perceiving it. So one of the things that the antigens do or what I call now, anthea elixirs is that they give you immediate access to the vastness of the cosmos and all the possibilities within it. So people get inspired and yeah and okay I need to do this, I need to talk to my daughter and my son and say this I need to talk to my boss. I need to take a vacation. I'm done retirement package I want to travel. I want to love, I just want to be fully fully present. That often happens. So those are the kinds of transformational changes that occur in people when they have gone through your ceremonies.

Yes. And I say that with a couple of qualifications because you know you you might have the realization, the big awakening, the big bright. Nevertheless in order to get to that in order to have positive performance outcomes takes practice like that. Well everything takes place exactly. Being the musician that you are and the artist that you are and the transformational change leader that you are. It takes practice. It hasn't happened overnight. So what do people do when they've gone through your experience and they need to put things into practice. I know you're kind of coming into the field a little bit and or this way of being on the planet and but that's the ongoing question. The language that uses integration after ceremony. People get together and talk about it and they call that integration. But I'm thinking that it's better to call it an initial grounding and then the integration takes place and the integration. I always leave that very open because people have different sensibilities and you know, a cognitive behavioral model might be the way a coaching model might be the way they might need to go to a meditation retreat or change their diet.

So I keep that very open. You definitely will benefit from having some sort of process that brings the experiment you just underwent together and it just gives each individual the opportunity to take it learn from it, grow, evolve at their own pace. That's the shamanic wisdom, shamanism is an evolving wisdom culture and one of the things that is recognizes everyone's got their own unique unfold, Mint, their own unique way of doing it. So there's really not an investment in trying to colonize you into a particular tradition or a way of being or indoctrinate you. There's always this trust that your own organic intelligence will lead you to your highest good throughout my life. And particularly in later years I've had to trust that myself. There have been times in my life where I wasn't trusting of it or I wasn't in tune with it. Can you give us an example of that? I would question and doubt myself, But I think the more that I have gotten back into meditation over the last several years, the more I understand myself better.

I'm more in tune with what is going on with myself because I'm more present in the moment and more mindful of that and more mindful of my own awakened state as it is unfolding. It takes time. I'm still on this journey of enfold Mint myself and I love that you brought back the quality of silence and expansiveness because I think One of the qualities that Cynthia elixirs bring is the immediacy of those experiences. I mean some people might meditate 20 years, 30 years or be in therapy, 2030 years and all of a sudden they participate in this community in this ancient ritual. And it's like, oh yeah, there it is the vastness and they see themselves, they see what they have to do and that's part of the allure of the medicine. But I also think there's very few opportunities in our lives where we just get to sit with a group of people being community for four hours and share that also is part of a larger healing that takes place without the anthem elixirs.

It's a totally new way of experiencing being in the world. There's just so much that we're dealing with externally that we don't have time to be with ourselves. When do you have time to sit for four or five hours by yourself and be in community and be receiving information that you inherently know is good for you and come out at the other end with a vision of beauty and all and acceleration and inspiration. That doesn't happen very often. It's all about our perception of reality, perception is conception. You mentioned that there's some new things that you're evolving into, what's on the horizon as far as this kind of shamanic work goes, I'm talking to some people who want to provide the ritual experience at a larger scale, which means bringing in other modalities and other practices before the ceremony and after the ceremony to give it a more complete or open up different venues.

The fact that I'm going to go to Thailand and open up some portals there. That's intriguing to me, Guatemala and that'll take on its own life. So there's some kind of reward in that. And seeing I just activated something. There's a good friend of mine named Christopher drummond in Atlanta and he and I are working on some music. I have an idea for a cd experience. So it's been a while since I've been at the studio, so I'm looking forward to doing that. It's good stuff. That sounds exciting. Oh man, The one I want to do. Okay, I've been working on this for a while and I haven't been able to get it the way I don't, what I want to do is a collective ritual in Atlanta where I'm located right now there's displaced called stone mountain from what I understand it used to be, where all the female shamans would gather and that was their portal. A good friend of mine tom Blue wolf. Beautiful, lovely man was just telling me about it. He goes, this is the perfect spot brother. We've got to do this with all the female shamans would get and communicating with each other throughout the southeast.

So what I want to do is do a collective city ritual where we go up to the top of the mountain and do a shamanic ritual that will create this floating imaginable pyramid over Atlanta. And so whenever you're driving or whenever you're doing something, you can connect with the pyramid and know everything is okay. It's performance art, but it's also high magic. Exactly. That's what I'm up to. That's like the big project. It's all about protecting the space because it's sacred space. Yes. And it brings it back to another kind of history. Its first history. I've never heard of that before. I almost had it and then apply for some grants and the people are not seeing what I'm seeing with it. So it'll happen. You seem like a very humble person, but I know that you've had some impact on some people in your life. Is there something you'd like to share some influence and some impact? I'd love to learn more. There was one time when I was talking to somebody from the african american community when I was in treatment and I could see his heart of a warrior of a noble warrior, just acknowledging that and his response of crying and being seen that was great because I saw him and it made him want to change and live up to that.

Yeah. Moments where I've seen people and we've seen each other and in that intimacy, there's this expansion and affirmation that's lovely. I've had a lot of those in my life and it's like a certain vulnerability for them to be seen and for someone to be there and hold space from the shamanic work I really appreciate and enjoy the light in people's eyes when we're done. They'll thank me to me. They're overly generous. I'd show up. I try to organize it. I try to give it an aesthetic from the traditions that I love, but it's their own self beauty that's manifesting. So I create a space for a space to show up. That's really what I do. Oh, I love that. And this is something I probably should have asked earlier to help our listeners. What is shamanism? Shamanism is From my perspective and evolving wisdom culture, which means that it moves it adapt. Let's say we're in the 21st century for some, so we are able to bring all kinds of different traditions into our practice.

It is a series of knowledge gathering practices that are applied to a specific habitat who has its own agency and power. And I know it's a very broad answer, but I think it is controlled, transcendence. You go into a certain kind of altered sentence, but you're able to move it and guide it so you don't totally collapse in some Dionysian frenzy. It's that and it's based on love when I'm a ceremony. One of the things that I'll do is I sing this song and did I interpret what the words are in spanish and as that is, I asked him to go back to that first shaman, that first curandera in their lineage and ask them why they started doing why that could Sandra started doing the work and it's always love, Love begets the universe. They will always come back to that. Yeah. And there's a lot of philosophies and ways of life that are based on love. Yes, the art is getting us all to see the way we're all loving each other and we need to be more loving of one another because that's what the universe is all about.

And I think for people like yourself and myself, we are the people of the bridge. Our response to this planet right now is to bridge or to heighten the momentum to a more positive way of balancing all of this because we do have to regulate resources, mined the waters, mind the animal's mind how other humans are living and that's a complex task. But if you're working with a vision of the greater good, it'll happen, we can make it happen. I think that's a great way of putting it being a bridge, a bridge. Too many things, being able to commune and share with one another, a bridge to broader awakenings and unfold mint, where we're at with in this space and beyond. Do you have a particular philosophy or mantra that you live by, there's a scene in Costa rica and we say pura vida. Pura vida means pure life and catch wa sumac cows. I which means what a beautiful way to live.

What a beautiful way to be. And it's a sensibility. A lot of what these traditions get you to be with. It's a sensibility. It's a way to respond for yourself and the environment. So that pura vida suma cows, I way of being is very deep in me. How does it show up in your life? Well, sitting here with you, that's sweet, unexpected. You're a lovely, lovely person. Oh, I like it. Thank you for me. That's pura vida. That's like, wow, it's unexpected. It's sweet. It's like an orchid. You're walking. You see an orchid or my God, listen to that. The texture and the velvety song of that bird, that kind of thing. Yeah, I love the term that you use pure life. Anything else before we get into what I call our lightning round that you'd like to share? Experience yourself as an exalted creature of pure wisdom, magic and of open ended knowledge, creating benefit in always my beautiful friends.

Thank you for that. What's your favorite pastime? Sitting underneath a tree, doing nothing and watching it all go down. I had a feeling you were going to say something like that. What lifts you up when I'm involved in some kind of creative enterprise that I feel totally engaged in it. I see it. I feel it. I know the notes. I know what it's supposed to look like that helps out, but also people loving each other. I know it sounds a bit, you know, but watching that kindness tender mercies somebody, there's a simple gentle gesture. You see it, you see the light happening, That's cool to me. We need more of that in the world. We need to just really opened our eyes to it because it's all around us. There's a story about frogs in Wells and the story is that this frog in a little well and all it hears is its own right and it's completely fascinated by its own ribbit. But then one day the frog is a little bit quiet and here's something else above.

And somehow after a while it manages to leap up and get on the ground and it starts to hop around and looks and see that this other bunch of silos with other frogs going red and the frog goes wow and decides, no, I'm moving. So it keeps hopping through the field until it moves through the little forest and it runs right into the ocean and its head explodes. It didn't know it was that awesome. I love that. What helps you feel grounded and centered? Who it might not be sitting under a tree. It's not, it's not, I'm just grounded and centered. Well, that's a good response. We just naturally are. Yeah, more than ever. It must be all the shamanism practices that you've been doing for years and years. My neural wiring has been re patterned. That's awesome. What favorite book would you like to share? Or is there a particular go to resource that you could point people to?

Oh, well, that's different. I must confess, I love the french continental philosophers, so I think that's a very rich vein for all of us, especially feel like theory. But as far as the shamanic tradition, the pachinko team essa people are doing some interesting stuff because they are able to integrate Western esoteric practices with contemporary shamanic rituals. So it's a very rich tradition. I like them. It's gentle, it's based on love is based on reverence is based on community is based on balance. We've been talking about Superlative, altered states, but in reality, the shamanic worldview is very simple. It's about balance. Get yourself in balance. If you're feeling a little dense, a little heavy, a little weird, how do you feel lighter and how do you feel like you're in groove with wherever you're supposed to be? That's really it. So there's little rituals for it. I'll offer something to the mountain or I'll pet my cat. It's really more basic than some of the outrageously beautiful claims that are made for it.

It's just being in balance almost Taoist. I would say I like that instead of woo woo is wu wei, you know, allow be with balance, skilled. Yeah, I never really liked the term woo woo. Nothing is woo woo woo way. Yes. The Taoist term open bone, you know, hollow reed. Well, all along your journey. I'm sure there's been people that have influenced your life. What's the best advice you've received from someone? My um, there's so many. When I call my aunt Leila was my second mother, she taught me the virtue of just staying humble to stay with where you're at and be grateful for that. Isn't it interesting? I picked up on that and it's come through. That's wonderful. Tokyo. That's okay. Those are beautiful tears. What Shamans are warriors, man. It's love for her though. It is that you have. Thank you for seeing that. Absolutely. It's love. What advice might you have for others?

You are made from an inexhaustible source of power and love in this planet. The ordeal will come the night in the desert, yellow fog, violence, confusion. Stay with that deep, deep, deep intelligence in your heart that is based on love on compassion and kindness. Be kind, be kind and you'll move through it. You'll move through the mirage. You'll move through the aggrandizing the inflation, the resentment. But you've got to have a practice. You've got to have a place where you are listening to that. That's beautiful. That's great advice. A much better world. Can you imagine where we'd be at the party, the festival, the carnival we'd be celebrating all the time because we'd just be practicing loving kindness. One last question. If you were to leave this earth today and be reborn, what would you like to come back as to come back to this earth?

Because I can locate my consciousness with my fellow Mayans in the seventh dimension, wherever you want to be. Where would you go? Or what would you come back? As I think I would come back as a hummingbird somewhere like Yeah, somewhere in the jungles of Costa rica, me and my pack. Beautiful. I love hummingbirds in the Andean tradition. It is only the hummingbird that can see the face of the divine is the only ally animal and then the humming man brings it to you. So it's an ally of love and surprise and gift endurance, all kinds of qualities. Alberta thank you so much for being on our show. This has been an awesome conversation and I'm hoping that in the future we can bring you back after you have explored and done some other things that are in the process of unfolding. I'd be honored. Thank you for being such an awesome listener and intelligent person.

You ask really good questions. I've done a lot of interviews and this is probably my favorite. Thank you. Thank you for that. It's been my pleasure. We hope today's show helped to bring a bit more joy and happiness into your heart. We hope it inspired you to unleash your inner power and rise up to your best and loving heart centered highest self. We'd be grateful if you'd leave us a review on ITunes. Those reviews are important to spreading this valuable message. We'd love for you to subscribe to our podcast and share the show with others, visit hearts rise up dot com for heart centered courses, guided meditations and are popular notes from your higher self right until next time. Follow the path with heart. Be a light to those that need it and may all that you love thrive.

Ep. 32 - Into the "Big Bright" - An Interview with Alberto Roman
Ep. 32 - Into the "Big Bright" - An Interview with Alberto Roman
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