It is difficult for professionals and laypeople
alike to make sense of the present array of health care philosophies
and practices. There are so many methods and systems, viewpoints
and paradigms, claims and counterclaims. Allopaths use highly-concentrated
and potent drugs. Homeopaths prescribe infinitesimally-diluted
preparations with, to allopathic minds, paradoxically high potencies.
Surgeons "cut to cure" while acupuncturists merely sedate
and tonify invisible meridians of the human body. And, shamans
and psychiatrists manipulate aspects of the human being even more
intangible and occult.
Every philosophy and technique has its value as well as its supporters. But, are there not ways to integrate the different systems into one greater whole and to make intelligible the variety of jargons which healers mouth - physiological and pathological, natural and mystical, sensory and extra-sensory?
Just as the central truths of the great religions of the world are recognizable to those who search and study, the essentials hidden within the world's diverse healing systems can be discovered and interpreted with keen effort and contemplation.
1) ENERGY IS THE SUBSTANCE OF NATURE AND LIFE.
Scientific investigation suggests that every thing in the universe is energy or a manifestation of energy. This most emphatically includes humans and every aspect of their beings. "Matter is energy, and energy is matter, and the distinction is simply one of temporary state." (1)
Albert Einstein and his twentieth-century physicist colleagues have substantiated the wisdom of the ancients and coax us to look at the universe with new eyes. They support the view that matter - our material world and physical bodies - is really a condensation or agglomeration of high-density energy: "... matter is constituted by the regions of space in which the [quantum energy] field is extremely intense.... There is no place in this kind of physics both for the field and matter, for the [energy] field is the only reality." (2)
Fields of energy create and sustain material bodies. Furthermore, there are increasing numbers of energies/energy fields recognized by science which do not manifest as obvious material fields - Xrays, radio waves, cosmic radiation, etc. The spectrum of energy fields in manifestation, yet beyond our usual awareness, most assuredly includes acupuncture meridians, psycho-physical energy centers (chakras), emotional vibrations, thought waves, spirits, and spiritual forces. Intuitively, we can agree with the proposition of the great theosophist, Helena Blavatsky, who said that, "Matter is spirit at its lowest point of manifestation, and spirit is matter at its highest point."
While we are constantly immersed in an ocean of energies, great and small, we are yet generally oblivious to them. We daily live in a material world and relate to it with our material consciousness. However, a whole order of modern scientists is producing evidence which supports the other-worldly explorations of shamans and saints, medicine men and mystics.
Still, the majority of healers, like the rest of society, lives with a material eye and materialistic bias. Until we begin to relate more commonly and more competently to the world of energies, we are condemned to imprisonment in a repressive world of limitation and restriction, dysfunction and disease.
Nevertheless, mainstream medicine is unknowingly opening to the new energies which impinge upon its borders. CAT and NMR scanners are the gross precursors of sensitive devices which will one day survey auras, chakras, and meridians. Auscultation with the stethoscope and crude palpation of body organs will give way to subtle sensory examination of energy fields. And inevitably, practitioners will develop powers of the heart and mind and soul to support their diagnostic and therapeutic efforts and the needs of their patient/clients.
All practitioners of the healing arts will eventually be trained through "hands-on" experiences. While academics and book-knowledge often have no substitute, living experience remains a great, if not the best, teacher. Direct physical and energetic contact with patients is a sine qua non for the development of greater sensitivity and understanding by healers.
The curriculum of training in the medical school which I attended left much to be desired. The materialistic - mechanical and biochemical - emphasis was so dominant as to make only miniscule room for other avenues of approach to the human being. Fortunately, through my own endeavors, I was able to experience and evaluate such practices as massage, chiropractic, and osteopathy.
These systems opened me up to other levels of awareness and alternate views of the human frame. But, craniosacral therapy, an outgrowth of cranial osteopathy, provided the truest bridge (for me) between the human body as a delicate and intricate machine to the human being as a vibrant, pulsating, multi-dimensional energy field in constant flux within itself and its environment. Craniosacral therapy demonstrates the qualities of symmetry, texture, polarity, and balance of body energy fields. It also shows the wonderful inter-relationships between structure and function, matter and energy, life and motion. (3)
2) DISEASE AND HEALTH ARE MANIFESTATIONS OF
As each living body is a complex of energy, so is its state of health. Yet, physicians and other practitioners persist in naming and labeling diseases as an offering to their patients, as a mental exercise, as a tribute to their professions, and a starting point for the initiation of therapy. While, in reality, there is no single entity such as cancer, emphysema, or arthritis.
Disease, as we commonly consider it, is merely a handle which therapists use to grapple for understanding of human problems. But, it is, in fact, only energy or energy in manifestation - an energy complex acting with and through a human unit. It is not a static, tangible, concrete thing, any more than the patient who identifies with it. Yet, once I say, "I am a diabetic," or "I am an alcoholic," or "I have multiple sclerosis," the energy which we call disease begins to crystallize and take control of my nature and character.
A disease, in the Western paradigm, is a collection
of signs and symptoms which describes a picture recognizable by
a practitioner. The disease-naming process has become a very major
focal point of medicine and many other healing arts. It represents
the material bias of our society and our times. When we turn to
an energetic paradigm, it will be easier to emphasize health promotion
over disease treatment as well as the human factor in the health-disease
spectrum: "It is much more important to know what sort of
patient has a disease, than what sort of disease a patient has."
(Sir William Osler)
If disease represents a state of obstructed energy flows, dysfunctional bodily forces, or inhibited life activity, then health must signify a greater enhancement and manifestation of energetic states within and through the human form. The work of the healer ought one day to follow this pattern:
When consulting with a patient, one of the central questions in the healer's mind will be, "How can the energies of this patient be turned from manifesting disease to producing health?" Disease is an effect of energies which always serves some purpose at one or another level in a patient's life. That purpose must eventually be addressed.
In the latter months of my family practice internship, I became ill. I was excessively fatigued and my whole body ached for days. Inevitably, my skin turned several shades of yellow bronze. My medical diagnosis was viral hepatitis. Yet, there were a number of energies, besides the illusory hepatitis virus, which were involved in producing my illness: marital discord, professional conflict, internship pressures, suppressed and repressed emotions, and underexpressed creative potencies. The health which I, the patient, wanted to reflect in my life required months and years to manifest. I had to recognize, sort out, and move through all of these energies. I had to find my way towards a clearer, truer expression of my total self.
3) HEALING NECESSITATES SHIFTS OF ENERGY.
Movement, change, transformation seem to be the obvious requirements for one desirous of overcoming disease, of achieving greater health. But, all too often practitioners endeavor to "Get you back to feeling like your old self, again." Yet, isn't the old self a major cause of the problem?
Stagnant thinking, clinging emotions, aged ideals, and encrusted, static lifestyles are definite contributing factors in disease development. To return a patient to old ways and obsolete thinking is to put that person in double jeopardy. The liberating forces which create health must expand horizons, alter mindsets, release emotional hindrances, and set the inner being on the road to greater freedom.
This process can be initiated by practitioners and laypeople alike in many ways. It only takes a spark to set the fire of healing energy into radiant action. As the human mechanism and being naturally tend to fluidity, circulation, and rhythmic vibration, greater health may be easier to "catch" than we generally imagine. If only we would allow our bodily forces to express the more optimum functions and abilities of which they are most certainly capable.
On a workday afternoon in November 1982, I attempted a left turn at a busy Phoenix, Arizona intersection. The result was an automobile accident, a traffic ticket for "failure to yield the right-of-way," and a bruised ego and disoriented state of mind. While I brooded for some days over the significance of my "failure to yield," I put my body in the hands of Dr. Peter Armitage, a talented cranial osteopath from the United Kingdom. During a single session, I relived the sensation, motion, and emotion (anger at myself) of the accident. In addition, as I passed through a replay of the episode while on his manipulation table, I sensed the releasing of energies by which I had been entrapped for some time.
The means to releasing, balancing, shifting body energies are numerous. Allopaths, with their high-powered medications and machinery, often take over the body's work in an effort to relieve it of intimidating challenges. Homeopaths try to stimulate, through potentized remedies, the body's own healing forces. Surgeons commonly remove diseased and degenerated organs which obstruct normal bodily functions. Acupuncturists directly, but mysteriously - to Western eyes, seek to normalize bodily energy flows. The shaman and the psychiatrist activate or irritate the subtler, but truly more powerful, forces of the emotions, mind, and, sometimes, the soul itself.
All of these healers utilize energies, gross or fine, to influence, supplement, or dominate their patients' own forces. Yet, most of these practitioners think and speak not in terms of energy, but in narrow professional and/or materialistic terminology which often denies the multi-dimensionality, the hidden potential, and the existential unity of their patients. Fortunately, there are greater and greater numbers of practitioners who are becoming energy-literate. When experiences of healing energy can be married with the best attributes of Western science and medicine, a new and exciting era in healing practice will arise.
Every manner of energies is available for human
use. The subtlest and yet the most profound of these energies
are ones which are part of our own deeper nature. They act upon
us quietly, but potently, from moment to moment to sustain our
existence, nourish us, and animate our souls. We must inevitably
realize the truth of the Psalmist's words: "Man does not
live by bread alone." When we do contact and mobilize these
energies for the purpose of healing, we will have recognized power
of fire within us.
4) CHANGES IN CONSCIOUSNESS MUST SUBSTAND THERAPY.
One of the major shortcomings of medicine and other healing arts is the tendency to see the body and its ailments as separate from the dweller in the body. The human being is not a simple mechanical device, but rather a wondrous network of lives, a magnificent hierarchy of forces, and an expressive microcosm responsive in some degree to the greater world.
It is relatively easy to demonstrate, if not prove, that the human body is not only an agent of consciousness, but more significantly a reflection or crystallization of it. "This organism [body], according to Buddhist conception, is so to say the coagulated, crystallized, or materialized consciousness of the past. It is the active principle of consciousness which as effect steps into visible appearance." (4) The body can be viewed, and rightly so, as a puppet on a string, like Pinocchio was to the toymaker, Gepetto.
Life, health, and expression are not chiefly dependent on the body, the nervous system, or the brain, but rather upon the mind, the soul, and consciousness. So too, disease and injury are effects of consciousness and how it is or is not expressed in the world. Consciousness - thought, feeling, idealization, and will - determines health, level of function, and longevity.
It is also very important to recognize that consciousness is not merely expressed through the brain, but rather through the whole body. Modern scientists are finally beginning to support the ancient Hindu axiom that, "The mind is not in the body, but the body is in the mind." While, for centuries anatomists and physiologists have tried to pigeonhole thought, feeling, and consciousness into the contents of the brain alone, we can now appreciate that, "The entire body appears to be the substratum of mental and spiritual energies." (5)
Through research into the placebo effect and the endorphins thought to mediate that phenomenon, scientists are coming very close to a new (old) thesis of mind-body inter-relationship. One researcher in the field, Dr. Candace Pert at the National Institute for Mental Health has recently made major statements revealing some of the intricacies of human psycho-physiology. She has said
|1) "[Emotions] are really
in the body as well [as in the brain]."
2) "A mind is composed of information, and it has a physical substrate, which is the body and the brain." (6)
The work of healing must become more that uni-dimensional,
whether that work is materially or energetically oriented. In
every ill, there is a subjective and an objective component. Emotions
and mind, soul and society as well as flesh and blood must be
addressed if we are to advance from therapy to healing.
We may make adjustments for bodily ailments
at the visible, tangible, sensory levels, but inevitably there
must be some attention directed to the inner dimensions out of
which disease and dysfunction emanate. The body and the material
world are not the source of goodness or health, evil or disease,
but the projections of it. Consciousness underlies, guides, and
mobilizes all energies in nature.
Concurrent to my therapy session with Dr. Armitage, I discovered in my own private musings that the inner problem which precipitated my auto "accident" was not a "failure to yield." It was really due to my allowing people to "run over me," to manipulate and abuse my helping nature. The nice guy had to learn to say "NO" and how to help others without harming himself. Without this revelation, I believe my physical and sensory disorientation would have returned and incited additional problems. However, with this awareness, I was able to implement some actions in my life and make a small stride in consciousness.
5) TRUE HEALING IS SPIRITUAL IN NATURE.
We must inevitably recognize that all of nature, all of humanity have divine aspects. Even the tiniest pebble is a sacred creation. Every thing has a spiritual essence at its core which sustains its animating consciousness and its manifesting form. Every thing is spiritual in nature.
It is, however, possible to utilize these things with greater or lesser consciousness. As healers, we may make applications which only touch the surface and merely make superficial adjustments. Alternatively, we may mobilize the essential vibration of a remedy to stimulate the very heart and soul of one who is in need.
The work of the true healer is not simply that of a technician or mechanic, of a feeler or a thinker. Rather, it is the work of one who relates and experiences deeply and of one who knows.
To know, the healer must live his or her own pains, sorrow, and short-comings. The trials of one person's life must be viewed as exemplary of, if not identical to, every other human's. The healer is merely one who has advanced a step, recovering from wounds a few moments ahead of those who seek aid.
The healer must learn of the radiant energy
- the spiritual power - which lies within. That power must be
known as the ultimate cause of disease as well as the true source
of healing. Spiritual power causes disease when misdirected through
consciousness, just as therapeutic energy can be misapplied. It
then falls short of the intended mark often causing side effects
and even iatrogenic illness.
The energies within us must be discovered in their various types, frequencies, and potencies. They manifest in so many ways and demand the vigilance of eye, heart, and hand. The factors of consciousness and spiritual attunement must guide the healer into right effort.
The one most important practice in my own path of healing has been the discipline of meditation. The regular investment of time and devotion to the silence has allowed me to reap uncountable rewards. It has also released more energy into my life than I was sometimes able to properly handle.
The greatest benefit of meditation has been to lead me toward the Soul, to heal my self by coming to know my Self. There is no greater mission to be accepted than to: "Be still and know that I am God."
The Soul is the chief energy upon which the healer must eventually focus. The Soul is the true agent of healing and the redeeming force in the body and in the world. As we uncover its radiating and illuminating power within us, we find the path and potency of Love progressively opened to us. The planet itself awaits the revealing of the power of Love which lies hidden within all healers.
1 & 2) Barnett, Lincoln. The Universe and Dr. Einstein, Mentor Books, NY, NY, 1948.
3) Upledger, John, and Jon Vredevoogd. Craniosacral Therapy, Eastland Press, Chicago, Il, 1983.
4) Govinda, Lama Anagarika. Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, Samuel Weiser, NY, NY, 1975.
5) Carrel, Alexis. Man, The Unknown, Harper and Brothers, NY, NY, 1935.
6) Pert, Candace. "Neuropeptides: Emotions and Bodymind," Noetic Sciences Review, IONS, Sausalito, CA, 1987.
Cayce, Edgar. The Edgar Cayce Readings, The Edgar Cayce Foundation,Virginia Beach, VA, 1971.
Chardin, Teilhard de. The Phenomenon of Man, Harper and Row, NY, NY, 1965.
Gerber, Richard. Vibrational Medicine: Bear and Co, Santa Fe, NM, 1988.
Grossinger, Richard. Planet Medicine, Anchor Press, Garden City, NY, 1980.
Katz, Richard. "Education and Transformation: Becoming a Healer Among the !Kung and Fijians," Harvard Educational Review, Boston, MA, February 1981.
Pierrakos, John. Core Energetics, Life Rhythm, Mendocino, CA, 1987.
Weil, Andrew. Health and Healing: Understanding Conventional and Alternative Medicine, Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston, MA, 1983.