Saturday, July 26, 2014

Before closing off on the theme we have been following for the last several weeks, just a mention of what's to come. Future blogs with be mostly focusing on two basic feelings, Love and Fear and how their different manifestations can affect our healing and curing positively or negatively. We will talk about these in terms of a Tree of Health with expanding forces on the one side and contracting ones on the other. 
(These same principles also apply to the process of Self Realization or Enlightenment bearing in mind that this is always dynamic and a process of "Becoming" more and more of who we are. Nothing is static, we are always striving to move upwards on the spiritual ladder.)

Faith is a very strong thing and if a man has faith and a simplicity that does not rationalize, he will be found worthy of reaching the rung of Grace which is even higher than that of holy wisdom. Chassidic saying

Medicine not localized in space and time sounds a lofty concept but prayer is basic to the human condition whether you are praying for yourself or for someone else. If you are praying for yourself or someone is praying for you and you know it, this invokes the placebo response that hinges on faith and hope – powerful medicine. If someone is healing or praying for you without your knowledge this non-local healing that bypasses the placebo response can be just as powerful. We should avail ourselves of  both medicines, placebo and non local effects that work directly or indirectly on the Inner Healer. We need a trustful empathetic doctor to maximize placebo and a masterful healer or “shaman” to potentiate both placebo and the non-local magic of the Field.

         We should remember the negative power of nocebo and avoid those who practice it. If we or our loved ones have a critical illness it may be necessary to eliminate all vexations to one’s equanimity; at work, among friends and acquaintances and even at home. A toxic relationship at work or with one’s spouse or a child needs to be healed or put aside before the power of the Inner Healer can be maximized. We should bear in mind that negative influences in the doctor's office or hospital environment or anywhere can have similar adverse consequences.

         If we are sick we need to tap into our own "shamanic" potential or Higher Self (of which the Inner Healer is part) and be more receptive to the state of our inner being by having a strong, regular, enjoyable spiritual practice. This will give us balance and equanimity and move our life force up the spine into the higher energy centers. Going inward will also sharpen our intuition and help us make critical decisions since hard data may be limited. Our dreams may then come to warn us of ineffectual therapeutic interventions. One does not have to be a trained shaman to gain access to either one’s own centeredness or the Field. Remember always that the scientific method, evidenced based medicine, double blind studies and medical guidelines, though worthy, are fallible ! ...

Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts. A. Einstein

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Allopathic Medicine or Curing versus Alternative and Complimentary Medicine or Integrative Care and Healing

One can be cured without being healed and vice versa. 
Patients who do not attend to their psycho-socio-spiritual maladies may be cured from one condition only to suffer another. Shamans believe that "dis" - ease often leads to disease.  For this reason they strive to go to the root cause of the problem and correct it whether its a toxic relationship at home or at work or even a spiritual disorder such as an intrusive entity. It is also true that someone who has been healed is more likely to be cured since wholeness facilitates the Inner Healer. 

It is unrealistic to expect your doctor to be both shaman (or "alternative") and a competent physician at the same time. It is difficult for physicians these days to be up to date with the latest methodology, grapple with the insanities of the current medical system, run a business, have a personal and family life and try and have a semblance of equanimity. Nevertheless even in the face of all these inequities some still have a decent “bed-side manner.” 

This staff of Asclepius with one serpent for some represents the symbol for the medical profession rather than the more accepted Caduceus with two. The single serpent now more accurately represents the singular rise of the technological aspects of today's medicine but it was not always so when it represented healing in the Asclepian temples of old with the help of dreams.
The Caduceus is a more holistic symbol incorporating  feminine and masculine, moon and sun, ying and yang, intuition and intellect, love (compassion) and ego based goal orientation, healing and curing. Unfortunately most of the medical profession has forgotten that there is a second snake.

There is no question that when it comes to true healing, the psycho-spiritual dimensions need to be attended. If we cannot get this from our doctor then we will need to go somewhere else for it. Sadly physicians are not only short on time but because of all the demands put upon them, also sometimes short on compassion. Hence patients are gravitating more and more towards alternative healers who can give them the empathy and attention that they need. However, these healers are often deficient when it comes to knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology and treatment. 

It is true that the Inner Healer has immense power and can heal most things and will often do so in time. Many of the alternative healer’s results are due to this magical factor coupled with the power of placebo and maybe distant healing rather than anything else. Complimentary and alternative or integrative treatments often fall short when subjected to double-blind controlled trials. Nevertheless there have been healing miracles wrought in magical healing places and by special healers and shamans even causing spontaneous remissions of diseases not curable by Western methods and we should not lose sight of this. However, to rely on these anecdotal cases would be folly when there is usually a good allopathic option. 

         There is a story of a student who came to visit an enlightened master to see if he would teach him further along the path. During the student’s introduction he tells the master how he has been meditating for 10 years and that because of his diligence he is able to now walk on water. He says that he is now so skilled that he can walk across the surface of a river to the other side. The master asks him; “why have you wasted so much time when all you needed to do was take a boat?”

Western medicine is the boat that can usually, though not always, take us over to the river bank of health. When it fails us we should add other methods of curing or healing. Moreover, healing and curing are not the same and even if modern treatment has cured us we may still need to be healed by addressing a wider perspective of wholeness and health such as; job satisfaction, relationships, spiritual practice, destiny, meaning in one's life etc. For these we may have to go elsewhere for our help.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Cosmic Triad and the Field

“Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” Einstein 

It is time science realized that there are serious limitations to data and the scientific method. We need to acknowledge that just as Western technology has brought us much magic there are other forms of magic that we have not yet come to appreciate.

Westerners may have difficulty in understanding how shamans or psychics derive their power. We struggle with assigning communications from the Field to our ancestors or the spirit world. I prefer to think of the information from the Field, in whatever form it occurs, as arising from a “Cosmic Triad” which consists of: The Causal Realms (and sometimes God,)  the Higher Self, and the Astral Realms (and its spirit world.)

The Causal is the place of enlightened beings; the bodisatvas, saints, mystic, spiritual masters, guardian angels etc. Due to their high vibration they usually also provide a higher level of information. 

The Higher (True or Real) Self which can include the subconscious or the Psyche is that part of us made in the image of the Divine and hence can access the mystical realms or Field directly - the more enlightened the person the deeper the access. 
Our higher Self or soul has Divine capabilities. We all have Christ consciousness, Buddha nature or  are made in the image of God and hence must also have supernormal abilities within us. 
Our Inner Healer is linked to this source of energy.
The Astral Realms comprise beings that are not yet perfected and have to reincarnate again and again until they attain a Causal vibration.  Frequently these are our ancestors but Southern African tribes also confirm the presence of foreign or non blood root spirits. Frequently these foreign spirits were ancestors in a past life and are also their to help and guide because they love us. Love is the catalyst that allows them to cross the veil between worlds. Hence it is not surprising that some may have exotic ancestors e.g. Tibetan, African, etc. They provide a more practical level of information to guide us.
These realms may also include non human spirits which in South Africa and other traditions are believed to include Celestial, Terrestrial and Water Spirits. The Astral realm is also the domain of tricksters and dark spirits.
 (Jungian analysts might link Causal and Astral entities to the collective unconscious or the archetypal world.)
In the case of the Causal, Divine grace is extremely rare and can come directly from God, for instance in the cases of Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, the prophets etc, depending on our spiritual orientation.  Kabbalah says of God, “No one shall see my face and live.” A selected few may experience Divine energy in a form dilute enough not to be annihilated. This encounter will be epic and monumental - Moses and the burning bush is a testament to this experience.  Nevertheless many may experience the “word” of the Divine as a soft whisper - only heard in silence.

 Southern African shamans or sangomas hold that the ancestors are the messengers of God. All Bantu peoples believe in the existence of a Great Spirit (Umkulunkulu – Zulu, Modimo – Sotho.) However, God usually is thought to be too remote to be in direct communication with us. Sangomas can be in contact with terrestrial, water and cosmic spirits. Other mystical traditions believe in a more 
personal relationship with God.
 We all have the potential to co-create with the Great Spirit.
The notion of a “Cosmic Triad” may help us account for the source of our intuitive abilities in a way that is comfortable to our belief system.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Out there beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a Field, I will meet you there." Rumi

Simplistically the phenomena of the Field are either Knowable or Unknowable. 
Most of it is Unknowable!

Even Einstein admitted: "Our knowledge is the knowledge of children. We will know a little more than we know now but the real nature of things, we will never know, never," 

 The Field is non-local, and within it is the universal mind or universal consciousness. Carl Jung called this the collective unconscious. From a Jungian point of view the shaman (and others who can navigate the Field) have the ability to access an archetypal world or what shamans would call the spirit world.  It is here one can encounter Jung's concept of synchronicity and other paranormal phenomena.  
Synchronicity occurs when an outer incident coincides with an inner mental or psychic event. For instance you have not heard from someone in 25 years and now you are thinking about her. Almost immediately the phone rings with that person on the phone. This is not a coincidence, rather one is picking up the "vibes" of the person from just their consciousness or intention to connect with you. 

While a healer can heal someone far away, a witch or sorcerer can create disease and even death from a distance with a hex. Light or dark magic has been known for millennia, but is only now being validated by science. Although this sounds implausible to the Western mind, in many non-Western countries traditional healers deal with witchcraft every day. 
(A witch is a loaded term. It should be noted that not all witches work on the dark side. Those who work with Wicca may work for the light.)
These malevolent effects can be local or non local.  Non-local influences work through the field without the knowledge of those who are affected. Local effects work directly with the knowledge of the victim through the nocebo effect (opposite of placebo.)  The key to nocebo and placebo is the belief system of the patient, the lack or presence of hope, belief, trust, and faith.  We are all aware of the doctor/healer-patient relationship and how important it is for healing.  Just as some physicians create a feeling of calm, confidence, and reassurance in their patients, others can do the opposite. Some doctors will engender the healing power of placebo, others, sometimes, the noxiousness of nocebo. An oncologist who tells his patient that he has three weeks to live may unconsciously be applying the nocebo effect which in some can be tantamount to a medical hex.  Sometimes negative information is delivered to a patient on account of our litigious environment and the lack of trust. Shamans are masters of the placebo effect; witches and sorcerers work with nocebo. Distant healing or the polar opposite, the hex, work through the Field bypassing the belief system of the recipient since the patient is unaware of the intention, good or bad. The Field (like the Internet) and like our Inner Healer, is not impervious to bad morals or evil motivation. Guilt is a powerful facilitator of nocebo and distant hexing. Some of us who have delved into indigenous spirituality in South Africa know of at least one example of a perfectly healthy individual who has gone home to die because they know they have been hexed, and they have. Furthermore, if they have done something wrong and believe they deserve to be punished, the witchcraft is greatly magnified. The combination of nocebo, distant malevolence and guilt can sometimes even be a death sentence.  Moreover, guilt, shame, remorse, self condemnation have no place in the healing paradigm. Guilt and shame have also been shown to increase pro inflammatory factors which can lead to an increased incidence of atheroschlerosis (vascular disease,) certain autoimmune diseases and even some cancers.
Whereas placebo is almost a bad word to the Western physician who is always trying to discount it with double blind studies, it goes to the core of any kind of healing which is the relationship between the healer, the therapy, and the Inner Healer of the patient. Shamans are proficient at enhancing placebo with their charisma and powerful rituals. Much of the shaman’s “magic” may reside in her skill at heightening placebo which on its own has the potential to cure and or heal. The rest of the healing comes through the spirit world who are able to facilitate distant healing.

Nearly all the patients studied by the Lourdes Vatican commission who experienced spontaneous remission of incurable diseases possessed a passionate religious or spiritual faith. Prayer, like ritual, is associated with faith, belief, trust, hope, a meditative state, inner peace, feeling loved, enhancement of the life force, switching off the left brain, transcendence, imagery and invoking God or the "Field." These qualities are also all hallmarks of shamanic healing.
Consciousness is unconfined to space and time which may be the reason why prayer and healing from a distance can favorably affect a recipient. Prayer and distant healing have been shown to have beneficial effects on the sick. When patients know they are being prayed for, improvements in health might be explained as being due to the placebo response. However, when they are unaware that prayers are being delivered, we can assume the placebo effect is not involved. The effect of a shaman’s ritual may work through placebo but it also may work through distant influence through consciousness and thought itself that cannot be confined to space and time. The patient becomes linked to the healer and the Field through ritual that is the container for passing along distant healing.  Healers are capable of facilitating (or aggravating) the patient's Inner Healer, using not only words and body language (placebo) but also wishes, and thoughts (distant healing). The affirmations, positive desires, and prayers of a shaman usually accompany the ritual or plant medicine dispensed. 
This does not discount that the plant medicine itself may also have  pharmacological effects.
The healer is able to tap into universal healing energy that essentially is love. The more humble the channel and the bigger the heart, the greater the effect. He acts as a conduit to transfer that loving energy to the patient. Distant healing or laying on of hands may propel energy of a certain frequency from the Field through the healer to affect the patient’s body energy field and the D.N.A. of the cells themselves.

Olga Worrell was a healer and not a quantum physicist but certainly sounds like one.
“The body is not what it seems to be with the naked eye. It is not a solid mass. It is actually a system of little particles or points of energy separated from each other by space and held in place through an electrically balanced field. When these particles are not in their proper place then disease manifests in that body. Spiritual healing is one way of bringing the particles back into a harmonious relationship.”