Shamanism, Mysticism, and Quantum Borders of Reality: Part 3

WaratahToday I conclude this three-part fascinating article on Shamanism. If you missed the first two parts, here are the links:

Shamanism, Mysticism, and Quantum Borders of Reality: Part 1

Shamanism, Mysticism, and Quantum Borders of Reality: Part 2

The World of the Mystic and Shaman

Once we understand this basic concept, that the mind and consciousness transcend normal boundaries and spread beyond four-dimensional space-time, we can begin to understand more fully the world of the mystic, the world of nonordinary reality and the world of the shaman. Traditional cultures, unencumbered by the weightiness of analytical thinking, have always accepted these worlds. Westerners are just coming around.

Yet at the same time, taking these traditional worldviews and synthesizing them with progressive scientific thinking can only bode well for all. We can start to get a better understanding of how the shaman operates and how he or she effects a cure.

I have undergone shamanic journeying and have been awed by the insights gained from them. Are my insights mere fragments from a fertile imagination? I don’t think so. I tend to believe that I am tapping into the larger universal field of consciousness. All it takes to reach into that field is a shifting of the mind.

rainbow+serpentTrance Ritual

The shifting of the mind in shamanism and mysticism is generally achieved through some sort of trance ritual. Drumming, dancing, chanting, singing, meditating and other modalities are often used.

A Bar Mitzvah. I remember a few years ago, attending my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. As the service went on, the rabbi and his assistants started speaking faster and faster, repeating the same phrases over and over, building the energy in the room into a crescendo.

At a certain point, as they continued with their ritual, there was a certain shift in energy and consciousness. A few people sighed and started crying; I could feel in myself my heart opening up and a sense of lightness within. Shortly after, the ceremony ended and the rabbi declared my nephew to be blessed.

Excitation of electrons

highres_5902693I believe that ceremony was a trance ritual. It worked up to a feverish pitch whereby the energy in the room palpably shifted. I have speculated that what they did was excite the vibrations of the electrons in the room until they were moving at a rate that allowed them to resonate more effectively with the quantum state. Since the quantum state is akin to the state of Spirit, in essence through the ritual they were able to make us closely connected to Spirit; or perhaps for a moment we became Spirit.

Perhaps this is the key to entering nonordinary states of reality. If one excites their electrons in whatever way one deems appropriate, they will then be further aligned with the quantum world. By being aligned with the quantum world, they will transition from the world of everyday reality to the quantum world of nonordinary reality, a reality that exists everywhere and anywhere, at a panoramic setting of 360 degrees.

The Path of the Shaman

Technicians of the Sacred

The ability to enter a nonordinary reality is the hallmark of the mystic. A shaman fits into this definition of a mystic, for a shaman readily traverses through various worlds as a great specialist in the human soul. The path the shaman takes is first and foremost spiritual; they are technicians of the sacred.

wolfShamanism is the oldest and most widespread method of healing with the imagination – over 20,000 years old. Shamans induce a state of mind that transcends ordinary reality, allowing them to access inner intuitive wisdom and bring it back for the benefit of others.

The Lama as Shaman

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Lama is the shaman, the psychic healer and guide of souls. Reciting chants from ritual texts from the secret books of Guru Rinpoche, this allows the Lama to enter into an altered state of consciousness, leaving his body behind to seek passage into other worlds, the hidden lands. He returns with treasures of knowledge and power and thus is able to restore lost souls to wholeness.

Maintaining a Foot in Both Worlds

Yet at the same time, just as quantum reality and everyday reality together form the entire panoramic view of reality; the shaman must keep a foot in both worlds to understand the fullness of human existence. The shamans who completely go off, who can’t keep operating in this world while they’re in an altered state, are considered fools or incompetents, or neophytes. The shamans in the Amazon who take ayahuasca and other extremely powerful hallucinogens can actually do surgery under the influence.

Trance Surgery

Speaking of performing surgery while in an altered state (this reminds me of a story I was recently told by a retired nurse about doctors in the hospital she used to work in who performed surgery while inebriated), in Brazil there are people who perform what is called trance surgery. To perform surgery while in a trance state is a very concrete representation of maintaining a foot in both worlds. Within a manner of minutes, the surgeon (who is generally not someone trained in Western medicine or surgical techniques) goes into a trance state in which their body is used by a possessing spirit or intelligent entity as a vehicle for its own medical purposes. Healing skills supposedly unknown to the healer are manifested during trance behaviors. These trance surgeons usually perform no rituals; they work with their eyes open, conversing with those present.

xii_1One of the most incredible aspects of these phenomena is that the surgical instruments are not sterilized, nor are the patients anesthetized. Yet accounts of infection and inflammation are rare, and patients generally appear to experience little or no pain and minimal bleeding. And furthermore, many patients experience either temporary or permanent cures of their ailments.

Sai Baba

A trance surgeon who practices in England, a man by the name of Stephen Turoff, claims that his inspiration comes from the Indian mystic Sai Baba. Sai Baba is considered a “national treasure of India” and at age 13 declared himself an avatar, an incarnation of God on earth. He has performed many miracles, which he calls mere calling cards, toys and tricks to gain our interest and to demonstrate the illusion of our physical bodies and the material world to which we are all so attached.

A psychiatrist who has witnessed Sai Baba first hand reports that Sai Baba has manifested objects out of thin air, resurrected the dead, and healed people of cancer. He writes, “there is no miracle known to humankind that Sai Baba has not performed.”

The Babalawo

To the Westerner, these stories seem preposterous. There is just no way something like this can be true, as it eludes rational and linear common sense.

Phillip John Neimark is one person who can vouch for the illusion of rationality and the sanctity of the sacred. A white, Jewish middle-age businessman who lives in Chicago, he made his first million at the age of 30; now he is also a high priest, or babalawo, in the Ifa religion. As Neimark tells it, “I was totally committed to the Cartesian, Newtonian universe and I lived my life absolutely on that basis. If you couldn’t prove God, He didn’t exist. In fact, I militantly attacked and dismissed any other paradigm.” His antique Jaguar had a license plate bearing Aristotle’s empirical dictum, A is A.

Through a series of life and spiritual crises, Neimark found himself inducted into the Ifa religion and became a high priest of the religion. Now he says “I don’t care how you do it. I don’t care how anybody does it. Just connect to that divine energy. Otherwise you will not get out of this lifetime nearly what you should.”

colleen_wallace_nungari_dreamtime_sisters_image1Into the Mystic

As Phillip John Neimark has shown, one doesn’t have to be of a particular culture or background to live the life of the shaman or mystic. All it takes is an innate understanding that the world is full of Spirit, and that Spirit controls the invisible forces of nature.

Who knows the mysterious ways of the invisible forces that control our lives? This is what the shaman, the mystic and the forward thinking scientist are all trying to ascertain.

Shamanism, Mysticism and Quantum Borders of Reality: Part 2

s1I continue now with the second article in this multipart series on shamanism. Yesterday was the first part, Shamanism, Mysticism and Quantum Borders of Reality: Part 1.

Dreams and the Soul

Westerners do not fully understand the realm of the psyche, the soul or the transcendent; to many it is a deep, dark chasm that is best maintained with a padlock. It is better to sweep it under the rug, to not delve into it and understand it. It may rear its head in dreams, but because Westerners are not sensitized to their dreams, it will be quickly discarded.

Many traditional cultures look to their dreams for guidance, to help them shape the lives of their people. Central to the practices of many traditional cultures is the pre-dawn ritual of dream sharing. Dreams are shared and used by the entire community and individuals dream not only for themselves but also for the community as a whole. In their dreams they will find access to forces that are not revealed in everyday awareness. They believe that something akin to a soul-body leaves their physical body to travel within a parallel world.

Traditional cultures use their dreams to develop both individually and collectively, whereas Westerners have no similar protocol, as the dreams of Westerners don’t develop with age; instead their dreams stay at the level of a child. One member of an Amazon tribe said about Westerners, “I didn’t know people in the north dreamed.”

And to traditional cultures, it is understood that people are not the only ones who dream. The Bugi, who have inhabited the coasts of Sulawesi since before recorded time, sail in large wooden-hulled schooners with enormous black sails. These ships are called prahu. Prahus have no motors, navigational equipment, nor modern technology of any kind, yet they sail great distances. Their belief is that every prahu has a dream and that this dream exists before the ship is built. The prahu builders will enter the dream of the prahu to see where it will sail and what storms it will encounter, so they know how to focus their work and what parts of the prahu will need special attention.

SoulTravelerWesterners consider the waking state the only reality and dreams to be unreal and unimportant. Traditional cultures believe the dream state to have greater potential for understanding and spiritual progress than the so-called waking state, and both states to be equally real or unreal.

In Tibetan Buddhism there is a form of yoga called Tibetan dream yoga. It consists of four stages:

1. Comprehending the nature of the dream (i.e., that it is a dream and thus, a construction of the mind)

2. Practicing the transformation of dream content until one experientially understands that all of the contents of dreaming consciousness can be changed by will and that dreams are essentially unstable

3. Realizing that the sensory experiences of waking consciousness are just as illusory as dreams and that, in a sense, “it’s all a dream.”

4. Meditating on the “thatness” of the dream state, which results in union with a “clear light.”

The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science

Logical Empiricism

Within Western society there are certain precepts, which we can call metaphysical foundations. These are assumptions of the way the world operates that are based not on research or scientific theory, yet are neither articulated nor brought into question during the course of modern research. These assumptions do not reside within the material world as such, nor can they be proven by empirical experiments, but they form the ground out of which all our conceptual ideas about the physical world reside.

Like Ken Wilber’s Flatland, which you read about in Part 1, these metaphysical foundations are based on the premise that if you can’t experience it with your senses, it doesn’t exist.

The most important of the metaphysical foundations are objectivism, positivism and reductionism. These lead to the assumption of logical empiricism, which is the belief in the premise that the basic stuff of the universe is what physicists study: namely, matter and physical energy – ultimately, “fundamental particles,” their associated fields and interrelationships.

Anomalies

aps_timespaceYet as science studies things large and small, from the depths of the submicroscopic to the infinite expanse of the cosmos (and everything in between), there are areas that do not easily fit into these metaphysical assumptions. These are such concepts as non-local causality, self-organizing systems, nonlinear dynamics, turbulence, consciousness, synchronicity, superpositioning, and more. There is even some evidence that the speed of light is capable of going faster than what Einstein has postulated to be an absolute.

Some would point to all these areas as anomalies, statistical warts that fall outside the normal purview. But the reality is that these so-called anomalies are not so much demonstrations of shortfalls in our knowledge of mechanisms as much as indicators of the inadequacy of the present day scientific approach and the metaphysical foundations and principles it adheres to.

The Incorporation of Quantum Thought

When we extend our borders of everyday reality to include quantum thought, much of the anomalous areas then begin to make sense and can be explained through scientific terms. Science can then be used to help us probe deeper, to question, to analyze, to criticize, to synthesize. Instead of a science that thinks in an exclusionary manner, quick to dismiss that which doesn’t fit into its narrow paradigm, we can have a science that can think in an inclusive manner, that can help to explain things which seem to be beyond comprehension.

Zombies.
zombies-1For instance, in the country of Haiti, in the year 1962, a man by the name of Clairvius Narcisse died. Eighteen years later, in 1980, Narcisse was found walking in a marketplace, claiming to be a zombie. There was no doubt that he had died, nor was there any doubt that he was who he said he was. Because of the publicity surrounding Narcisse, other Haitians surfaced with similar tales, also claiming to be zombies.

Scientists from the U.S. researched the matter and determined that Voodoo priests and sorcerers created herbal decoctions that could paralyze a person’s central nervous system; after the person was buried the priest would come and give them the antidote, which would revive them, yet keep them in a drugged state. The priest then would give periodic doses of the decoction to the person to maintain the drugged state. Thus the person perceived of themselves as zombies, controlled by someone they considered being their master.

360 degrees.
Not all scenarios can be explained so readily; yet there can still be open-minded scientific discussions on them. As long as science starts with the assumption that reality goes far beyond our senses, then our metaphysical foundations can be much broader. With the understandings of superpositioning, coherence and decoherence, non-local causality, and nonlinear dynamics, the scope, depth and breadth of science can virtually cover all areas considered anomalous.

What these modern sciences tell us is that true reality exhibits a 360-degree nature. What this means is that reality exists twofold: both in a linear fashion, neatly laid out from past to present to future; and in a nonlinear fashion, with the past, present and future all around us, occurring at all times, in many dimensions.

Superpositioning has shown us that in the quantum realm, electrons exist in all possible states at all times and communicate to one another about their positions. Although in our macroscopic world the electron takes just one position of density, the communication continues, non-locally, between the electrons of the macroscopic world and the quantum world.

The electrons of the quantum world inform the electrons of the macroscopic world that it is possible to continue to move and be in many places at once.

Gravity and thermodynamics offset this information by informing the macroscopic electrons that they cannot move and that they are dense and absolute. Yet what the macroscopic electrons do, in its attempt to mirror the quantum electrons, is follow a path of nonlinear dynamics, of creating fractals and strange attractors.

In this way, the electrons of our everyday world open the floodgates of uncertainty, to show that even in our everyday reality there are movements that happen that are beyond linear mathematical formulation. Thus, all around us, at all times, exists a world of each and every possibility.

Non-local Causality

Electrons talk in an indigenous language of wavelengths and frequencies in the superpositioned state. And as I said above, the communication continues even when electrons transition into density. The ability for electrons to communicate across boundaries of space and time is considered non-local causality.

Even consciousness follows these rules. It is a quantum system that decoheres into density. Each of us has our own mind, with its own level of consciousness – this is the result of quantum decoherence into density. At this level we experience ourselves as separate from others.

REALITYYet at the root of our individual consciousness is a non-local mind, a universal consciousness, in which our thoughts are ultimately connected into a universal mind. It is most probable that the electrons of local and non-local consciousness, or individual and universal mind, communicate in the same indigenous language as all other electrons.

As physicist Arthur Eddington said, “The stuff of the world is mind-stuff…The mind-stuff is not spread in space and time…Recognizing that the physical world is entirely abstract and without ‘actuality’ apart from its linkage to consciousness, we restore consciousness to the fundamental position.”

To be continued next time…

Shamanism, Mysticism, and Quantum Borders of Reality: Part 1

shamanThe last article I wrote during this series on healing was a three-part article entitled Spiritual Healing: The Roots of Healing.

I now want to take it a step further. I said in the spiritual healing articles how spiritual healing is at the root of all medical systems and at the root of traditional healing.

Well, closely aligned with spiritual healing is shamanism. Shamanism is a healing form that has been documented to be at least 20,000 years old.

In today’s article, I want to explore shamanism in conjunction with mysticism, and also integrate the quantum sciences into the equation.

A tall order, to be sure.

Like the article on spiritual healing, this also will be a multi-part series, so fasten your seat belt and get ready for the ride, cause here we go. This will take you deep and wide, so get ready to open your mind and be challenged.

Not too long ago, I had a dream in which I was in a large Victorian mansion that had many floors and many rooms on each of the floors. I was running from floor to floor, going in and out of the rooms. I then passed a room that was on a landing, next to a flight of stairs. This room was padlocked, chained to let out any intruders. A voice in the dream then said to me, “This room contains the secrets of your psyche. No one is allowed to enter, including you.”

This dream had a little bit of an edge to it, as though it was a scene from a horror movie. But the image stood clear in my mind the next morning as I woke up and clearly remembered it and wondered about its meaning.

shamanism-imageI’ve always been a more closed person, not comfortable talking about my deepest feelings, and desirous of pushing my deeper angst well under the rug. So here I was confronted by it in my dream. But I was curious to find out what was behind the door.

A day or so later I lay on my bed and allowed my mind to take me back into that house. The imagery appeared in my mind and I was transplanted back to that place. I approached the door, turned the doorknob and the door opened. There was a ring of fire and I jumped through it. At that point I just started falling through space. I continued to fall – or perhaps it was floating. I got the sense that I was now outside the boundaries of space-time and that I had entered another dimension, one that some call the dreamtime.

That was the extent of my imagery. The sense I got was that in entering the land of my subconscious, I was going beyond the linear, rational world into another world, a world of nonordinary reality, one where the normal boundaries of physical laws are altered. I got the sense that this world bordered on the infinite and that there was neither a beginning nor end to its depth. It was just emptiness and I was floating through it.

Ordinary and Nonordinary Reality

Dreams of Butterflies

transparent-butterfly2-smThere is a famous story about the legendary Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu once dreaming he was a butterfly. As he writes:

Once I, Chuang Tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself, but I did not know that I was Chuang Tzu. Suddenly I awoke, and there I was, visibly Chuang Tzu. I do not know whether it was Chuang Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that it was Chuang Tzu.

Chuang Tzu was wondering whether in his life he dreamed of himself being a butterfly; or was it that his life was the dream of a butterfly? Either way, as you ponder his story, you come to the awareness that at a certain level of human existence there is a blurring of the line between our everyday world of reality and the realm of nonordinary reality.

Flatland

How readily accessible is this nonordinary realm? It is possible to spend one’s entire lifetime without ever experiencing these realms or even without being aware of their existence..

flat-land-typographic-logo-inspirationKen Wilber calls a reality that ignores the existence of inner realms as the world of “Flatland.” He defines flatland as the worldview that has the idea that “sensory and empirical and material is the only world there is – there are no higher or deeper potentials and what we see with our senses is what there is.” Sad to say, this is the worldview of the great majority of Westerners.

The Nierika

A fundamental tenet of traditional cultures is the knowledge of these inner realms. The Huichol Indians believe there is a portal between the ordinary and nonordinary worlds. They call this portal the Nierika. It is considered both a passageway and barrier between worlds, and usually remains hidden and secret until the time of death.

Death is considered one of the primary ways that people learn of the nonordinary realms. Ancient books of the dead are actually maps of the inner territories of the psyche encountered in profound nonordinary states of consciousness; included in those states are those associated with biological dying.

Near-Death Experiences

The greatest proof we have of the relationship between nonordinary states of consciousness and biological dying is research with people who have had near-death experiences. The most profound of these experiences occur to those who for a few moments actually clinically die and have an experience of going out of their body. Research has shown that these people go through an event with transcendental and mystical elements. Elements that are common to the near-death experience are:

* Feelings of peace and quiet
* Hearing unusual noises
* Seeing a dark tunnel
* Being out of the body
* Meeting spiritual beings
* Experiencing a bright light as a being of light
* Panoramic life review
* Experiencing a realm in which all knowledge exists
* Experiencing cities of light
* Experiencing a realm of bewildered spirits
* Experiencing a supernatural rescue
* Sensing a border or limit

Coming back into the body

near-death-experienceFor some Westerners who undergo this experience the return to ordinary reality can have dramatic repercussions. These include long-term depression, broken relationships, disrupted careers, feelings of severe alienation, an inability to function in the world, long years of struggling with a keen sense of altered reality, and a divorce rate as high as 75%.

I would venture to say that the reason some of the experients go through this is that our Western culture does not encourage the exploration of the inner transcendent realms, and thus many of these people return to a world that they feel they no longer can fit into.

A few years ago I almost drowned and went through my own near-death experience. The day after my experience I had a business luncheon with a lawyer friend of mine. Because we had tried for months to get together, I did not want to cancel the lunch. I went through with it; I did not tell him a word about my recent experience, as it seemed inappropriate. The entire lunch seemed somewhat surreal, although I carried myself normally and I’m sure from his perspective nothing seemed amiss.

Because the people I hang with share similar values with myself, I was able to share with them what I was going through over the next few weeks. This helped immensely as I processed my experience, allowing me to function normally. Because of the assistance of everyone in my support network, I didn’t go through the repercussions that were described above.

Because Western culture doesn’t have a paradigm that enables the transcendent experience to be synthesized into everyday life, it has to be shocking to those who involuntarily are pushed into that realm, as happens to those who undergo a near-death experience.

To be continued tomorrow…

Spiritual Healing: The Roots of Healing, Part 3

spiritual-healing-yugahealing-com-the-caduceusToday is the final installment of this three-part series on Spiritual Healing and its place as the foundation of all systems of medicine. If you missed the first two parts, here they are:

Spiritual Healing: The Roots of Healing, Part 1

Spiritual Healing: The Roots of Healing, Part 2

(Also, as a quick aside, I’ll be on hiatus next week, the week of July 19, 2010, so there will be no articles next week – this will allow you to catch up on this series on Spiritual Healing, along with reading any articles on the website that you’ve missed.)

In the second article of this series, I discuessed what Lawrence LeShan identified as the two types of healers, Type I and Type 2. Type I healers use spiritual healing methods, while Type 2 healers use intent through physical or mental actions to manipulate another person’s physiology or energy flow.

As LeShan puts it, “In Type 2 the healer tries to heal; he wants to and attempts to do so through the ‘healing flow.’ In both Type I and Type 2 he must (at least at the moment) care completely, but a fundamental difference is that in Type I he unites with the healee; in Type 2 he tries to cure him.”

Perhaps the most accomplished healers use a combination of Type I and Type 2. They access higher states of awareness to bring the healing powers forward, and they also channel their own energies. This would be using the advantages of both non-local and local medicine.

Non-local medicine sends a healing message while local medicine sends healing energy. The ultimate healing message that comes from non-local sources is universal love. That, combined with the healer’s innate source, may be the correct formula.

monde[1]To use this formula, and to develop as a healer, the healer must go through their own transformation and do their best to shed the trappings of their ego desires and their heart. If within the healer is a tangled web and hidden agenda of lies, petty jealousies, secret motivations, and so on, the healing message that stems from the Ultimate will be blocked.

Abraham Heschel, a 20th century Jewish philosopher and theologian, once said in an address to the AMA, “To heal a person, one must first be a person.”  To truly become a person is a commitment to maturity and an evolution of consciousness.

In this way, a healer can then evolve as a person. This evolution can lead to an expansion of LeShan’s typology to include a Type 3. This would be the type that I suggested above, where a healer aligns the universal energy with themselves and the patient, and then from the depths of their own heart and soul channels their own clear energy. Some healing modalities attempt to teach this method. Reiki healing and Therapeutic Touch are two energy modalities in which the training of the practitioners include concepts of altruism and compassion.

Barbara Brennan, in her book Light Emerging, discusses the process of healing as a means to shedding the blocks that stop the flow of creative healing energy. Her point is that the more we open ourselves up to the flows of the universe, the more we can channel that source for the benefit of others.

alex-greyOthers say the art of spiritual healing lies in the ability of the healer to elevate their consciousness to merge with the Divine. In the book The Art of Spiritual Healing, the author points out that “anyone who practices spiritual healing must rise above the level of appearances – above the discords of corporeal sense, or personal sense – to a higher plane of consciousness where there is no person to be healed and where there is room only for the Spirit of God.”

Qi gong as a healing tool would be another example of Type 3 healing. With qi gong, the practitioner is seeking to unify themselves with the universe. It is believed that when a person is completely relaxed and in a meditative state the body can resonate with the fields of the universe and the two will interact.

yin-and-yangIn China, qi gong masters do healing sessions where they emit their qi to those in need of healings. One qi gong doctor, Yan Xin, has said, “Early-stage cancer is curable as easily as the common cold. If the patient works with me, I can reduce mid-stage cancer, and control the spread of some late-stage cancer.”  People such as Yan Xin and other qi gong masters even perform group-healing sessions, where they emit their qi to the entire audience in order to help heal them.

The reliance on others to perform the healings may be an important part of someone’s recovery, but if the expectations are for someone else to totally do the healings, an important piece of the puzzle is then absent.

That is the ability for self-healing, to be reliant on our own innate healing capabilities and to use them to the best of our abilities. This self-healing potential can lead to a further expansion of the typologies. We can call these people Type 4 healers.

Type 4 healers would use as their foundational approach spiritual medicine, whereby they align their hearts, minds and souls with the Divine.

Type 4 healers are the types who are classified as spontaneous remissions. These are the people who go through extraordinary healings and remarkable recoveries. These are the people who have been blessed by miracles.

Some denigrate these types of healings, and believe them to be random acts of fate. One prominent oncologist says, “I think you’d have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than of having a spontaneous remission of cancer.”

Healing-abstractOthers are not so smug. In the book The Spontaneous Regression of Cancer, the author William Boyd writes that the term spontaneous regression “has a suggestion of something happening without a cause. That, of course, is absurd, for everything has a cause, apparent or inapparent. On consulting the dictionary we find spontaneous defined as ‘without external cause.’ If we add the subjective ‘adequate,’ we have a concept which we can use in our own thinking.”

Many of the people who are self-healers find themselves venturing down a path of reconstructing and renewing their life as they head towards self-healing. The inner life becomes intensified, epiphanies large and small are experienced, and cathartic episodes occur. This is what can happen to those who spiritually heal. The old coat is shed and a beautiful swan is born. The connection to the Divine is a trip into the quantum vacuum, where infinite powers reign, and where anything is possible.

Spiritual medicine is not about denying the physical and biological aspects of medicine. Sometimes it’s surgery that is the only answer, sometimes it’s a drug. From my experience, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine often can change a situation. At other times, nutritional changes can be the key factor.

But what spiritual medicine can do is unite the disparate forms of medicine into one medicine, a medicine that stresses a binding connection with the Infinite Oneness of the Universe. To connect to this unity takes both the objective and subjective, the cognitive and the intuitive.

In the teachings of Zen it is said “the organism is regulated by the timeless original mind, which deals with life in its totality and can do ever so many things at once.”

hand_projecting_prana_energy_pranic_healing_chakra_therapyThis timeless original mind that regulates the organism is the realm that spiritual medicine delves into. It contains every potentiality of the universe, it contains the capacity to self-heal, and it contains the capability for self-transformation. With so many people clamoring to touch this realm, and desiring a spiritual connection to life, it is necessary that medicine follows suit and not cut people off from their souls.

In his book, Reinventing Medicine, Larry Dossey states that medicine has always been a soulful endeavor. “Serving people who are undergoing these life-changing events is one reason why medicine has always been considered a priestly function and why becoming a physician has always been regarded as a spiritual path,” Dossey writes.

Holistic medicine has always been comfortable wandering down the spiritual path. Western medicine needs to let down its guard and follow suit. When the two paths concur, it is possible they can then integrate. This can lead to a lessening of tension between the two groups. When this occurs, a chasm will be bridged and a healing will have taken place amongst the disparate fields of medicine.

This healing will be a spiritual healing; like all spiritual healings its resonances will be felt profoundly, touching many lives in the process. And this healing can then lead to a transformation both in medicine and in society.

Spiritual Healing: The Roots of Healing, Part 2

placebo spine cutYesterday was the first part of this series on Spiritual Healing. I continue on today with Part 2.

One of the most fascinating realizations, and something that has profound implications for the future, is the field of non-local medicine. This can be seen as spiritual medicine. Spiritual, non-local medicine helps distinguish between curing and healing.

Curing is a medical process aimed at relieving symptoms. Healing, which is a spiritual experience, is aimed at tapping the inner source of healing, and trying to open the inner processes that are blocking both healing and curing. The importance of the healing process in medical care has led the Canadian province of Manitoba to name a Spiritual Care Coordinator to oversee spiritual medicine in the province’s hospitals and institutions.

Non-local medicine is the medicine of the past, the present and the future, all rolled into one. Non-local medicine tells us that the mind and consciousness reaches out beyond the boundaries of the self and stretches outwards infinitely, into realities that we have yet to totally comprehend, ultimately extending into the quantum vacuum, which contains the potentiality of everything in the universe.

Larry Dossey, M.D., has written many books that discuss nonlocal mind and the scientific proof of it

Larry Dossey, M.D., has written many books that discuss nonlocal medicine and the scientific proof of it

You can also see examples of non-local medicine, and non-local mind, in the everyday experiences of millions of people: the synchronicities, the intuitive understandings, the healings, and the miracles that many people have either experienced or witnessed.

Some may call all of these miracles, but on closer examination, all we are doing is tapping into the powers of non-local mind to create a transcendental form of medicine.

By going beyond the realm of four dimensional space and time, we enter into a world where we begin to touch upon the unitive consciousness, the place where all minds merge as one.

This is what spiritual healing touches upon – the eternal. Tasting the eternal is what mystics call direct experience and what they understand as ecstasy. Experiencing ecstasy generally is fleeting, but often that is enough to create a profound experience.

To delve into the realm of spiritual healing is to touch upon the ultimate Absolute. If this is a place where the potentialities of the universe reside, then it is possible that we can tap into its powers and use them to heal either others or ourselves. Because these powers are unlimited and contain the secrets of the universe, it is possible that they can be accessed to create what seem to be pure acts of divinity, or miracles.

The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine is a Taoist classic and the first book written about Chinese medicine

The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine is a Taoist classic and the first book written about Chinese medicine

People have been fascinated by the seeming possibility of miracles since ancient times. In the classic text of Chinese medicine, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, it is said that “not too long ago there were people known as achieved beings who had true virtue, understood the way of life, and were able to adapt to and harmonize with the universe and seasons…these achieved beings did not live like ordinary humans, who tended to abuse themselves. They were able to travel freely to different times and places since they were not governed by conventional views of time and space.”

In the Bible it is said that Jesus performed at least 35 miracles – walking on water, healing the sick, multiplying the loaves and fishes, turning water into wine, raising the dead.

In science, one of the ideals of uniting all the forces of nature into a superforce in hyperspace is the ultimate power that might reside. One physicist commented that “we could change the structure of space and time, tie our own knots in nothingness, and build matter to order. Controlling the superforce would enable us to construct and transmute particles at will, thus generating exotic forms of matter. We might even be able to manipulate the dimensionality of space itself.”

The late scientist Lewis Thomas remarked “the possibility that medicine can learn to accomplish the same thing [miraculous healings] at will is surely within reach of imagining.”

And Larry Dossey has proclaimed that to unravel the mysteries of miracles may take a Manhattan Project for Miracles or a National Institute of the Miraculous.

The term miracle itself is derived from the Latin “mirari,” which means to wonder or marvel. Miracles create a sense of awe or wonder, an amazement at the awesome powers of the universe. Any miracle, big or small, that occurs should be an inspiration to everyone.

Perhaps one of the miracles of miracles is the inability to always predict when they will come. If we could predict, then every prayer, whether sincere, sublime, or outrageous, would be answered.

It’s usually when we surrender to the universe, when we don’t make any requests but accept what is to come, that we leave ourselves open to the possibility of a miracle. For example, people who are looking to get into a relationship often find that it occurs when they are not looking for it. And the act of finding someone to possibly share your life with, especially when you are not looking, is truly a miracle.

adi_da_by_alex_grey2Spiritual healers understand the aspect of surrender in their work. In Lawrence LeShan’s book The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist he describes the way spiritual healers work as an attempt to aim for a unity state of consciousness; by doing this they merge their mind with this Infinite state, as well as with the recipient of the healing.

There is no focus on techniques or sensing of energy. Instead the healer surrenders all desires and thoughts in order to unite non-locally with the universe and patient. In doing this, the healer lets the healing happen as opposed to trying to do something to the person’s body to make the healing happen.

In his book LeShan differentiated between two types of healers, Type I and Type 2. Type I healers uses the spiritual healing method mentioned above, while Type 2 healers use intent through physical or mental actions to manipulate another person’s physiology or energy flow.

As LeShan puts it, “In Type 2 the healer tries to heal; he wants to and attempts to do so through the ‘healing flow.’ In both Type I and Type 2 he must (at least at the moment) care completely, but a fundamental difference is that in Type I he unites with the healee; in Type 2 he tries to cure him.”

This distinction could be used to understand the difference between spiritual medicine and energy medicine. Energy medicine can be an attempt by the practitioner to change the person’s energy fields, either through their intent, or by the physical manipulation of energy, as in acupuncture.

In spiritual medicine the healing current comes from a greater source than the healer, with the healer allowing themselves to be a clear channel for that source of healing energy. With this type of medicine it is then possible for a person being healed to experience a sense of their blockages being opened up.

This is not to say that energy medicine can’t do the same thing. I have seen some dramatic cures with acupuncture. In these situations the people are obviously opening up the areas in their body where energy is blocked. I believe that acupuncture helps align a person with the greater energies of the cosmos. And as an acupuncturist I stand in firm belief of my work. Yet it is only one way among many.

Even Chinese medicine recognizes this. Chinese medicine has a hierarchy of medicines from most to least superior. The most superior medicine is spiritual medicine. Then comes dietary medicine and herbs. After that is the exercise therapies, which to the Chinese mean qi gong, t’ai chi, and the martial arts. After that comes energy manipulation, such as acupuncture, tui na, acupressure, and so on. After that come drugs.

And the lowest form of medicine is surgery. Each has its time and place, but they considered the most profound medicine to be spiritual medicine because it had the potential to be the most transformative.

As Elmer Green, in his book Beyond Biofeedback, has said, “We have concluded from our work with hundreds of patients that anything you can accomplish with an acupuncture needle you can do with your mind.”

Spiritual Healing: The Roots of Healing, Part 1

Papa Henry Auwae

Papa Henry Auwae

“Healing is 80% spiritual and 20% medicine.” – Papa Henry Auwae, a po’okela, or master of Hawaiian herbal medicine.

Spiritual healing is at the root of all medical systems, and is also a core component of traditional healing methods.

This week, in a three-part series, I will take an in-depth look at the realm of spiritual healing and explore what it is.

One of the strongest examples in everyday life of the powers of spiritual medicine is the placebo effect; by itself it asks questions that can’t be readily answered within the framework of modern medicine.

Papa Henry Auwae, the Hawaiian healer quoted above, died a few years back at the age of 94. He had said that to attain his connection to spiritual dimension and spiritual healing, he meditated and prayed everyday in order that he could have a level, free mind.

He said the meditation and prayer work also aided him in maintaining his honesty and integrity, and feeling compassion and love towards others. By practicing these simple ways, he said it enabled him to develop a relationship with the universe that allowed him to access a power greater than himself.

chakras_alexgreySpiritual medicine is a healing modality that has existed since ancient times and is still a foundation of most traditional healing modalities, such as the medicine of Papa Henry Auwae. It is a form of medicine that is based on an attunement to higher states of consciousness; its use requires a different way of viewing primary reality. In traditional societies it is the way of the mystic and the shaman.

Ironically, some schools of western scientific thought look upon these types of people as delusional madmen.

This just goes to show that one societies mystical way of seeing is a threat to another societies paradigms. It was Sigmund Freud who sounded the death knell for the mystical experience when he proclaimed that it was “infantile helplessness” and “regression to primary narcissism.” Furthermore, he called religion a “universal obsessional neurosis.”

Thanks to the open-minded opinions of Dr. Freud, many psychiatrists have discounted religious and spiritual concerns in people’s lives – or brushed them off as a symptom of irrationality. According to a poll cited by psychiatrist Robert Turner of the University of California at San Francisco’s School of Medicine, 50% of all psychiatrists are atheists or agnostics, while at most only 5% of the general public is. And Dr. Turner says, “There’s been a long-standing practice for psychiatry to pathologize or ignore religious experience.”

So maybe the medical profession doesn’t know what to make of people who hear voices, or have psychic experiences, or claim they can talk to God, or think miracles are a part of life, but the American public, and people the world over don’t care. As Joan Borysenko puts it, “We are a nation of closet mystics.”

We want to believe. We want to believe that life has meaning, that there are no accidents, nor random events. We want to follow the words of Albert Einstein who said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

The floodgates of spiritual acknowledgement have been opened full thrust, leaving Dr. Freud to spin in his grave a couple of rotations.

Many people turn to the spiritual dimension when faced with a life-threatening illness. It is at this point that many people prefer to see medicine’s spiritual side, to comprehend spiritual medicine, and to see if it is possible that a miracle may occur in their lives.

On the other hand, there are people who are not readily suffering from a life-threatening illness but instead are desirous to use the art of medicine and healing as a tool towards self-transformation.

Either way, both of these groups would be inspired by the words of the Arabic physician Ali Pul who once wrote, “The medicine of the soul is the medicine of the body.”

Indeed, the art of healing is first and foremost a spiritual endeavor. Take away all the trappings of technological medicine and what you are left with is a sacred trust between healer and healee.

Yet unfortunately, western medicine has no interest in taking away the trappings and prefers staying within the realm of scientific materialism. This has allowed practitioners of integrative medicine to gain a stronghold in the realm of spiritual medicine.

handsSpiritual medicine is a much more synergistic fit with holistic medicine, and some would say spiritual medicine is holistic medicine. Yet spiritual medicine is also about being inclusive, not exclusive. Thus, in a perfect world, there would be only one medicine and it would be a spiritually based medicine.

In a spiritually based medicine, one important understanding is that thoughts and consciousness play an important role in healing. This be seen with the placebo effect.

A couple of years ago I went to a Halloween party dressed as a pothead. The key to my costume was the bogus marijuana I was showing off. I had purchased some dried celery, bagged it up, and led everyone at the party to believe I had the real thing. I started rolling joints and passed it around. A lot of the people smoking commended me on my weed; a lot of people got high off the celery.

Now besides the fact it will create an interesting debate if I ever run for President (I knew that party would come back to haunt me, as who will believe my assertions that the stuff wasn’t real – can I just claim I didn’t inhale?), it also creates a lively discussion about placebos. How can people get high off dried celery?

I didn’t realize that I had done a placebo experiment, I was just having fun. But experiments in the placebo effect have used similar methodology.

In one study, participants were given a drink they were told contained alcohol. Even though there was no alcohol in it, many felt and acted drunk and even showed some of the physiological signs of intoxication.

placeboIn another study, patients with asthma who were given an inhaler containing only nebulized saltwater, but were told they were inhaling an irritant or allergen, displayed more problems with airway obstruction. When the same group was told the inhaler had a medicine to help asthma, their airways opened up.

The placebo effect always shows up in drug trials; often times the group taking the dummy pill, the placebo, have better results than the control group taking the drug.

And even when the control group taking the drug does better than the placebo group, the results may be explained by the placebo effect.

That’s because subjects of a drug trial often know which group they are in, as people generally will experience physical sensations and side effects from taking the medication. This will lead them to rightfully conclude that they are taking the drug and then have higher expectations that the medication will work. And people in the placebo group, by not having any side effects, will have fewer expectations that the medicine will work, thereby lowering their success.

It may be that the most active ingredient in a placebo is belief. As the Greek physician Galen noted, “He cures most successfully in whom the people have the most confidence.”

For every healer, how to instill that confidence is a matter of choice. Some choose to wear lab coats and stethoscopes, some choose to dress as clowns (think Patch Adams) and give items that they imbue with magic and charisma, some perform rituals and wear the costumes of their culture, and some dress plainly and appear very down to earth.

The practice of medicine is truly an interpretative art in which there is a place for both objectivity and subjectivity, just as there is an objective and subjective realm in our personal lives.

To be continued…Part 2 tomorrow.

Health, Inc.: How Modern Medicine Became a Monopoly

The symbol of modern medicine

The symbol of modern medicine

Today I give you the true story about how modern medicine became the only show in town. This is an important lesson to know, because it will help you to understand the business of medicine better, and the unsavory and corrupt beginnings of our current system of medicine.

When you are sick and go to the doctor, you take it for granted that you are going to the person who knows what to do to help you get better. When the doctor diagnoses what your problem is, and then pulls out his or her prescription pad and writes you a prescription for a drug that will take care of the problem, you then feel relieved.

But how would you feel if the doctor’s prescription was for an herbal or homeopathic remedy, or instead of a prescription the doctor gave you nutritional advice, and/or performed acupuncture on you?

These days, you might like this second scenario better. With the growing popularity of integrative medicine, more and more people are embracing a holistic model of medicine. But not too long ago, there were no choices, and any health provider who didn’t practice the modern medicine approach was labeled a quack and run out of town as soon as possible.

ModernMedicineModern medicine often calls itself “Traditional Medicine,” and other systems of medicine “Alternative.” But modern medicine has been around a little over 100 years, while traditional medical systems such as Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine have been around a few thousand years. Even more recent medical systems have been around as long or longer than modern medicine—Homeopathy has been around over 200 years; and Chiropractic and Naturopathic medicine have been around over 100 years. And of course, people have been using herbs and dietary remedies since the beginning of recorded history.

So how did it come to be that modern medicine grabbed such a stronghold on the field of healing, essentially becoming a monopoly called Health, Incorporated?

Let’s take a look.

In the nineteenth century in the U.S., there were two different types of doctors—the allopaths, who prescribed drugs and crude surgeries, and the alternative healers, who prescribed various natural approaches. Neither of the two different types of doctors dominated the marketplace, and because it was easy for a person to become a doctor, most people practicing the healing arts were poor.

The allopaths weren’t happy about all the competition—both amongst their fellow allopaths and amongst the alternative healers—which was keeping them poor, and began agitating in order to do something about it. They had already formed a trade union, the American Medical Association, in 1847; started publishing a journal, The Journal of the American Medical Association, in 1883; and then in 1897 the trade union was incorporated.

American-Medical-Association-logoThey started studying the matter to determine what they could do to fix the situation, and in 1901 the Journal of the American Medical Association released the following statement: “The growth of the profession must be stemmed if individual members are to find the practice of medicine a lucrative profession.”

Next, the American Medical Association asked the Carnegie Foundation, the foundation founded by Andrew Carnegie, the billionaire steel magnate, to survey all medical schools and issue a report as to how to fix the system. The Carnegie Foundation commissioned Abraham Flexner, brother of Simon Flexner, the head of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, to write the report.

The Flexner Report, as it became known when it was published in 1910, echoed the belief of the American Medical Association that there were too many doctors, and also echoed the belief of the American Medical Association that there were too many doctors of “non-scientific medicine.”

The aim of the Flexner Report was to standardize the field of medicine, to determine what adequate training of a doctor should consist of, to eliminate alternative doctors, and to limit the number of doctors practicing allopathic medicine.

Based on the Report, medical schools that offered training in various alternative disciplines including herbal medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy, were told either to drop these courses from their curriculum or lose their accreditation and underwriting support. A few schools resisted for a time, but eventually all complied with the Report or shut their doors.

Drugs - the main thing that modern medicine has to offer

Drugs - the main thing that modern medicine has to offer

By the time the dust settled from the aftermath of the Report, there was an enormous shakeout in the number of medical schools. In 1904, there were 160 M.D. granting institutions with more than 28,000 students (with many of these schools teaching alternative therapies). By 1920, there were only 85 M.D. granting institutions, educating only 13,800 students. By 1935, there were only 66 medical schools operating in the U.S.

Furthermore, diversity also came to an end in the field of medicine with the publication of the Report. At the time of the Report’s publication, there were seven medical schools solely for African-Americans, and three solely for women. Of these, five of the seven African-American medical schools were closed, and all three of the schools for women were also closed.

But the American Medical Association wasn’t done asserting itself. Having gained a stronghold on the field of medicine by limiting the number of medical practitioners, it wanted to stamp out all alternative practitioners for once and for all. It was the work of George “Doc” Simmons and Morris Fishbein that accomplished this task.

Both men were editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association and heads of the American Medical Association; Simmons headed the organizations from 1900-1924 and Fishbein from 1924-1949. They both derisively labeled as “quacks” any alternative practitioner, and used the full weight of the Journal to expose the practitioner as a fraud and get their work stopped.

Morris Fishbein, head of the AMA from 1924 - 1949, on the cover of Time magazine in 1937

Morris Fishbein, head of the AMA from 1924 - 1949, on the cover of Time magazine in 1937

But both of these men were petty, vindictive and corrupt, and were only looking out for their own best interests. Simmons was never a doctor, although he spent years in medical practice – he obtained a diploma by mail from Rush Medical College, a diploma mill. Fishbein did complete studies at a medical school, although he never completed his internship, never received a diploma, and never practiced medicine a day in his life.

What Simmons and Fishbein had in common, besides a complete dictatorial control of the AMA and a hatred for all types of alternative modalities, was a desire to use their position to fatten their wallets through extortion.

They had a deal with pharmaceutical companies, whereby they would give the AMA Seal of Approval on various drugs, if the drug companies made a substantial donation to the AMA; a portion of the donation went into the pockets of Simmons and then, after Simmons was forced to retire from the AMA, Fishbein. Since the AMA had no labs, no testing equipment, or any research staff, it was by the whim and decree of these two men what drugs got the Seal of Approval.

Another ruse they had was to buy up huge sums of stock on drugs that they were about to give the Seal of Approval to. Once the approval was released, the stock price would go through the roof, and Simmons and Fishbein would reap the rewards.

Simmons was forced to retire in 1924; Fishbein kept his stranglehold on the AMA until 1949, when he was kicked out.

But the damage was done, and promising natural and holistic therapies were left in their wake. Instead the public got Health, Incorporated, and was lead to believe that only a doctor who practiced modern medicine knew what was best.

Things are changing now for the better, but for many there still is a reliance on the doctor of modern medicine to be the trusted final word in helping us to get healthier.

It is important to understand this little history lesson in order to understand better how the field of medicine has come to be what it is now, and to help us realize that we are the ones who should be the final arbiter of our health. To do so means to empower yourself.

Health is the Greatest Wealth, Part 2

secrets-life-healthy-product1In yesterday’s article, Health is the Greatest Wealth, Part 1, I discussed that health is a commodity that, while much in demand, is hard to grasp. Everyone wants to be healthier, but the way most people go about it, is hard to attain.

I said that here in the U.S., there is not a healthcare system; instead it is a sickcare system. The goal is not to help people become healthier and develop a state of wellness; it is about managing illness – and even at that, the U.S. sickcare system does not do a good job.

Unfortunately, there is big money to be made in sickcare, what with the endless tests, procedures, drugs and surgeries that can be done. And there is not a lot of money to be made in helping people to become healthy, because when that happens then there is less or no need for doctors, hospitals and drugs.

Now I know the last thing you want to see is any segment of our already battered economy hurt by a lack of discretionary spending, but let’s face it, excessive spending on the sickcare system, which is the case at this point in time, is not going to be the way to any type of economic recovery.

Just as  green, environmentally sound, based technologies, energy policy and lifestyles are the wave of the future and the blueprint for an economic renaissance, so is a holistic-oriented health care system in which people are empowered to know how to seek and attain better health.

healthy lifeNow, achieving better health may require you to see a health provider, but this health provider does not have to be a physician. They may be an acupuncturist, naturopath, homeopath, herbalist, chiropractor, body worker, energy worker, therapist, or a practitioner of some other treatment modality. Or you may see a few practitioners, including a physician, to meet your needs.

Whoever you see, it’s best if you envisioned them as part of a team, and that you, as the person who knows you the best, as the director of the team.

Often, the body seems to work in mysterious ways that seem confounding for someone not trained in medicine and health. But the body is not that complicated; you can train yourself to think in the same way that outstanding health providers think and learn to figure out what is going on when you are not feeling well.

The good health providers think like detectives and try to decipher what is going on in the body by trying to understand what it is that the body is attempting to communicate. The detective work will investigate diet and lifestyle and see if these factors are playing a primary role in causing illness.

By carefully going over the diet and by looking at the various aspects of someone’s life—their work, relationships, stresses, attitude, passions and other things—the answer is usually found.

If you are willing to take the time to honestly look at your life and assess it, you can figure it out on your own, although often times an objective person is required to help you to understand your life and get you standing back on your own two feet.

healthy beachIf you are willing to go this route, you will become healthier and be immersed in a Low Density Lifestyle. Once you are in this mode, your health approach will change to one oriented towards wellness and prevention, and when you see a health provider, that person will most probably be a practitioner of holistic medicine, and your visits will be wellness oriented.

For instance, in ancient China, people traditionally saw an acupuncturist once every season, for their seasonal “tune-up.” This helped keep them healthy through the season. Ironically in our society, we take our car in for a seasonal tune-up so that the car can run well for the duration of the season, while neglecting to do anything proactive for ourselves.

If you take care of your health by taking a proactive stance, it will pay itself off in huge dividends. You will feel physically and mentally better, and be capable of living more in the flow.

An Arabic proverb says it well: He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything.

Health is the Greatest Wealth, Part 1

HOLISTIC_HEALTH_LOGO_310150107_stdThe first wealth is health. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Please keep in mind the distinction between healing and treatment: treatment originates from outside, whereas healing comes from within. – Andrew Weil

The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, and in the cause and prevention of disease. – Thomas Edison

As of today, we begin a new series, shifting the focus from sustainable/green living, which was the topic of the last series, to health.

Health is the greatest wealth, but it seems to be a commodity that, while much in demand, is hard to grasp. Everyone wants to be healthier, but the way most people go about it, is hard to attain.

In the U.S., medical costs are skyrocketing, as are insurance premiums. At the same time, all that money spent is not doing much good in helping people become healthier; sickness rates across the board keep going up, up, up.

The U.S. medical system is a sick care system, not a health care system. It knows nothing about how to help people live healthier lives; it is all about trying to arrest illness – and at that it’s not doing a great job.

And so, over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about health and how to be healthier in a variety of ways.

HEALTHY LIFE STYLEI’ve discussed on these pages many times the importance of a whole foods oriented diet, one that’s not heavy in animal protein.

Eating well is the foundation for being healthy, but the cultivation of overall good health and wellness includes other factors, and is ultimately about developing the right approach and mindset. If you do that, good health becomes easy to achieve and maintain.

Being in good health allows you to easily live a Low Density Lifestyle, while being in ill health is not conducive to it. Unfortunately, most people are walking around in poor health, and are taking medications in order that they can function, be productive and carry on in their daily routine.

Medications have a number of inherent problems, and do not help to restore health. All they do at best is arrest symptoms and keep you functioning. They can cause side effects that range from mild to severe, can be toxic to the liver, can depress the immune system and can lead to other long-term health problems.

The key to developing good health is empowering yourself and being proactive. If you are not feeling well, this is a signal from the body that something is amiss. If you learn to listen to what the body is saying, and take that message to heart, you will start becoming healthier.

One of the inevitable side effects of a High Density Lifestyle, which is a lifestyle of high stress, is illness. Just the stress of living this way will sooner or later catch up to you.

yoga201But if you start listening to you body, you will start to understand when the body is telling you that you are overtaxed. Instead of rushing to take a drug for the symptoms you are experiencing from living a High Density Lifestyle, if you learn to slow down, that by itself may do you wonders.

Now, I’m not saying that you should never take a medication—there are times when they are necessary, but they should only be seen as a bridge, a temporary remedy while you work on the permanent solution.

The great majority of people seek out a doctor when they are not feeling well, with the hope that the doctor will have the answers. But did you know that most physicians are immersed in a High Density Lifestyle? A study published in the September 2008 medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that when physicians are in medical school, 50% suffer from burnout and 10% consider suicide.

If this is what they go through when they are trained, how can the profession be of help in understanding how to help a person get off the treadmill of a High Density Lifestyle?

I’ll continue in this vein tomorrow, talking about health and how to achieve it.

The Low Density Lifestyle Out at Sea, Part 3

July 2, 2010 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Environment, Featured

Today is the final part of the 3-part interview with Andrea and Karl Matson-Dekay, intrepid sailors, having lived on their sailboat for the past 5 years with their two boys.

It’s a great tale they tell, of a simple life and a good life, living in a sustainable way, and a Low Density Lifestyle way. They’re happy, healthy, and doing it their own way.

As a postscript, Andrea and Karl, as of this writing, are back at sea, sailing their way to the U.S. where they will be staying in Southern CA for the next few months as they ready themselves for their next adventure. After their short U.S. hiatus, they will be heading to Costa Rica, where they will be living with their two boys for the next year.

I’ll be visiting with them in the future, so you’ll get to hear more from our intrepid travelers – and foreign correspondents.

I hope you’ve enjoyed all segments. In case you missed it, here are the links to the other two parts:
The Low Density Lifestyle Out at Sea, Part 1
The Low Density Lifestyle Out at Sea, Part 2

SailboatThis closes the series on sustainable/green living.

Before I close, I want to tell you that I have very sad news to impart to you.  If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I was talking about the Monsanto corporation and how important it was that we show our love to them, with the article Don’t You Just Love Monsanto?

In a separate article, I discussed Monsanto’s Roundup product, and talked about how it was creating a new generation of superweeds.

Well, the sad news is that sales of Roundup are down, and it’s hurting Monsanto’s bottom line. They announced the other day that their fiscal third quarter net income is down 45%.

So grab that box of tissues and wipe the tears away from your eyes. We can only hope the makers of DDT, Agent Orange, Nutrasweet, genetically modified seeds, bovine growth hormone, PCBs, and all kinds of other really cool stuff will come up with some new product that will increase their profits while once again improving our way of life.

I propose that all of you go out now and buy some Roundup, as a way to show your support to this beleaguered company.

Furthermore, I also propose that this summer a benefit concert be held, in the style of Farm Aid, to also help out Monsanto. After all, they have done so much for America’s farmers. I’m going to be contacting Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, the originators of Farm Aid, and see if they would be willing to get involved for this worthy cause.