The word shaman refers to a person who learns to achieve, or is born with the ability to achieve an altered state of consciousness, and, therefore, he or she is able to extend his or her perception into non-ordinary realities. Let us call the shaman a scientist who makes efforts to discover the secrets of the world.
The mainstream explanations of shamanism fixates our mind by suggesting that shamanism is an obscure belief or religious practice in primitive societies, and, therefore, excludes us from the true and deep understanding of the miraculous and mysterous world that surrounds us.
On the one hand, according to the shamanistic worldview, which was formed thousands of years before modern science had been established, the perceived world is nothing else but the shadow of a supreme reality, while on the other hand, modern science seems to have discovered the proof for this ancient statement in the last few years. Consider the theory of the holographic universe, the string theory or the relatively new science of quantum physics.
The most important difference between the shamanistic worldview and the statements of modern science is that, according to shamanistic practice, human beings have the ability to perceive the supreme or non-ordinary realites after hard work and lifelong learning. The path of this lifelong learning to understand who you are, discover your hidden abilites and experience the non-ordinary realm of the shaman requires courage, curiosity, self-disciplin and willpower.
On this path there is no place for believing. The shaman is a scientist, a man of knowledge who does an extraordinary maneuver, and, therefore, learns to see the ultimate nature of all things. In this maneuver the man of knowledge looses his chains that made him a prisoner of programmed life, routines, customs and beliefs of an ordinary world.