Saturday, August 30, 2014

This week's blog is on the power of the truth of the diagnosis

Truth versus Denial and Ignorance 

For the full truth we need both forms of knowledge; the mystical and the methodological, the intuitive and the intellectual, compassion and hard facts, shamanic and allopathic.

Without the Truth about the nature of the disease the patient has no idea of the extent of the challenge. There is something especially liberating about the Truth. The most important thing about illness may well be the lessons it brings about our attitudes and our lifestyles. Without knowledge of the Truth, it is unlikely we will learn what we need to know. Even if we are cured we may have to confront our deficiencies at a later date and never get to know who we truly are. We may be cured of a disease but not be healed. Our body may be healthy but still not know the Truth of the Self. A patient may have had his colon cancer successfully removed and return to a dysfunctional relationship and a miserable job. This dis-ease may lead to yet another illness down a road that has bypassed the Self.

Left Brained Allopathic Truth and the Diagnosis: Truth implies a correct diagnosis is made so that the remedy can match the condition. Just knowing the diagnosis can be reassuring and is therapy in itself. The Inner Healer can then come to grips with the challenge and do its job. Most conditions get better without the help of medical intervention. Confusion as to the diagnosis and treatment can increase Fear that inhibits the Inner Healer. Many patients are optimistic when they know what is wrong with them and they can do something tangible about it. Physicians often feel that unless something organic can be found that “nothing is wrong” and the symptoms are psychosomatic. Many patients travel from doctor to doctor with real symptoms only to be told that they have no pathology. Just taking the time to tell them that the condition is not serious and that stress can cause pain in an organ from muscle tension can be vital treatment in itself. The understanding that pain can lead to a vicious cycle of more stress, more tension in the muscle group and more pain, can break or improve the pain cycle. For instance the common complaints of tension headache, the pelvic pain syndrome and the irritable bowel syndrome. Once the patient has been reassured that a serious disease, or even cancer has been ruled out, this knowledge alone may be enough to cure the malady and make the patient feel better. With wise counseling the patient can come to regard the symptom as a barometer of stress rather than some insidious disease that for some reason the doctors are choosing to ignore or have missed. Treatment should include the recommendation of de-stressing techniques such as yoga, exercise, meditation etc. The fact that there is no organic pathological diagnosis does not mean there is nothing wrong. 
Stress can kill and needs to be addressed as real “pathology.”
The Truth is essential when planning a health strategy for a serious problem. Treatment is likely to be ineffective or unhelpful if the magnitude of the disease is trivialized or exaggerated. Trivializing the disease may be like telling a patient to train to climb Kilimanjaro when in fact he is tackling Everest. The energy required for the problem will fall short of the need. On the other hand, exaggeration of the problem will increase the fear factor and nocebo unnecessarily.
"You must accept truth from whatever source it comes." The Ancestors

Right Brained Shamanic Truth: The shaman, by being able to penetrate through the veil of this reality into the "Field," is privy to a more expansive truth than the patient or his doctor. Shamans, and I use the term broadly to include anyone with paranormal powers, have access to information that most of us do not. The medical profession has recognized these practitioners with the polite term, "medical intuitives." They can glean information from the Field or the spirit world that can broaden the perspective of Truth. This has the potential to go to the root cause of the problem and where it began at an energetic level. Physicians usually address only allopathic parameters and have no concept of medicine not localized in time and space. Doctors usually treat the physical but do not address the psycho-spiritual or the social aspects of the disease. Shamanic like healers have access to “soul-ular” technology that can be critical for health and healing, even if not curing. Without their client having to go through years of psychotherapy they are able to say things like; “you are unhappy in your marriage and you will not get better until you do something about it,” or “your job is killing you, you must do something else.” 
There are also spiritual diseases unrecognized by Western medicine that indigenous healers know to be very real. 
They are deriving this from a "non-local" spiritual or Field source that diagnoses and treats according to a less clumsy set of rules than the medical or psychotherapeutic professions. The shaman is the messenger and her job is to pass on the message. This is very efficient therapy. The patient still has the free will to do what they wish with the directive. This is not a mandate since free will is the cosmic law. The patient may choose a compromise such as undergoing marriage guidance therapy or negotiating other conditions of satisfaction with the boss. Whatever the choice, these are factors that need to be attended for more complete health, wholeness and healing.

Friday, August 15, 2014

This weeks blog on a Tree of Health will review some aspects of Hope vs. Hopelessness. Over the next few weeks we will also talk about the others below on this "Tree of Health."

Hope, Faith, Belief, or Trust, all crucial qualities for healing, occur at the deepest level of being. They support the Will to be well.
“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 (see Faith above on the Tree) which is even higher than that of holy wisdom. Chassidic saying

Hope, Faith, Belief, Trust frequently have been connected to cases of spontaneous remissions of disease. This miracle has also been reported following certain religious or spiritual ceremonies and shamanic rituals. A common denominator usually was the patient’s inner knowing and overwhelming belief or faith that they would be well.

Faith, Belief, Hope and Trust
“Faith in the gods or saints cures one, faith in little pills another, hypnotic suggestion a third, faith in a plain common doctor a fourth … The faith with which we work … has its limitations such as we find it, but faith is the most precious commodity, without which we would be very badly off.”
William Osler
“He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When the first white settlers in South Africa encountered the indigenous Bushmen they reported that if perfectly healthy men or women were imprisoned they would die quickly and unexplainably in their cells. Since the Bushmen lived so much in the present moment, absence of any Hope of being freed destroyed the Will to live and dissipated the Life Force. 
Contraction of Hope can be fatal. 
We should never underestimate the significance of Hope on the Life Force and the Will to live. Survivors in extreme situations will attest to that.
         Belief and Hope boost the effectiveness of the Inner Healer -- the “placebo response.” The healer or physician who is aware of the power of Belief on the Inner Healer of the patient can put placebo to good use. The stronger the Belief that the patient has in the healer, the more the Trust, and greater the empathy, the more profound the influence of placebo. Placebo goes to the root of healing, which is the relationship between the physician, the therapy and the Inner healer of the patient. Some doctors exude a sense of unruffled calm, certainty, trust, composure and confidence that augment the placebo effect. Others do the opposite and create a nocebo result. Patients who are gullible, suggestible, in denial or even ignorant may do better with Belief and Faith than someone who is highly intellectual and overburdened by all the negative predictions resulting from research into his or her disease. Powerful rituals and prayer that manipulate belief can enhance placebo enormously. A shaman may go into trance, put hot coals in his mouth (without being burned) and then lay hands on the patient who can feel energy coursing through his body. This is powerful medicine working not only on belief and placebo but also through universal healing energy coming through the Field to the healer’s hands.
         Activation of the Inner Healer occurs within the Belief system of the patient. At one level or another, the healer is also treating the patient's own specific consciousness and conviction. Ultimately this will translate into better alignment of the patient’s energy body. 
Most Western physicians do not have the training or the time to deal with illness in this way. Nevertheless, they need to pay attention to it, in order to more effectively help their patients. If healers disturb the Belief system of the patient by imposing their own belief, they will compromise the magical ability of the system to work. Faith or Belief in the healer is critical and there must be a consistency between the patient’s notion of healing and the doctor’s approach. 
A Westerner may be satisfied with a written prescription and explanation as to how the medication is going to work. A Bushman would Trust a hands on approach combined with some sweat from the healer in a post-trance state.
         Physicians are well aware of the fact that experimental trials on new drugs are often successful when they are first introduced. Hope may have a lot to do with this. When studied later by other groups the success rate seems to drop off. The patient’s Hope and Belief that a new therapy can cure, and the enthusiasm of the investigating team that it will work can lead to spectacular results. When the patient has no prior knowledge that this treatment may not be effective and neither do the physicians. Belief can be total.
         Subsequent trials on the new drug may be less successful since the doctor now has newly acquired facts showing suboptimal results that she has to disclose before giving the patient potentially toxic therapy. Any expressed doubt on behalf of the physician will mitigate against Hope and placebo. Also if negativity is sensed by the patient, nocebo may be invoked consciously or subconsciously. Furthermore, if a physician dispenses treatment that he is unsure of or does not believe in, this weakens the healing effect. Even if the information is not shared with the patient there may still be negative non-local affects caused by contraction of the Field of possibilities. 
Shamans, on the other hand, are brilliant at expanding placebo with their powerful rituals and working the non-locality of the Field to their patient’s advantage.
         When an oncologist tells the patient that he has a 50 percent chance that the drug or chemotherapy might not work, the power of Hope may have been diluted in half. For the treatment to work optimally the patient and the physician must believe in and be hopeful about its effectiveness.  Due to the fact that the relationship between patient and physician is not something that can be quantified, we may never be able to truly measure the result of a treatment because placebo or Belief cannot be entirely extracted and isolated.
         Prayer is strong medicine that bolsters the power of faith and belief. Prayer is a way for the patient to enter the Field and garner some of the healing power of God’s love or universal healing energy which is just love in disguise..

“Some patients though conscious that their condition is perilous recover their health simply through their contentment with the goodness of the physician..”
What exactly is the Doctor-Patient Relationship? This is a special alliance formed, not only between the patient and the doctor, but also between the Inner Healer of the patient and all the physician has to offer. Certain physicians are more influential than others even when the same treatment is administered. This occurs because of a special bond of Belief, Faith, Hope and Trust that arises between patient and doctor. 
A lack of Trust or Belief in the physician could be harmful and even toxic to the patient’s health. No patient should be forced to put up with an interaction that creates disharmony.  The deeper effects of this mal-alliance need to be appreciated more fully during this era of “managed care” in the United States and national health elsewhere. Managed care insurance companies underestimate the Doctor-Patient Relationship and think that any “Doc in a box” form of supermarket care will do. This bottom line idea is terribly wrong!
For the Inner Healer to be most proficient the patient has to make a special association with his or her physician and this requires an active Choice as to who is the best healer for the task. Patients who for financial or other reasons have access to a fixed panel of doctors with few options may have their own special needs compromised. This may not matter for the average medical problem but can become vital when managing difficult health challenges.   
The implications of the word, health care “provider” has succeeded in demolishing the Doctor-Patient relationship that has been crucial to healing for eons. Synonyms given by Thesaurus for the word “provider;” include, pimp, panderer, runner, agent, hustler, supplier, purveyor, and procurer. This kind of loose and insulting business labeling of physicians strikes at the heart of the essence of healing itself. Most of us need the vital healing energy a compassionate healer can give us to help trigger our Inner Healer.
We should never underestimate the importance of the Doctor/Healer-Patient Relationship that is vital to the placebo response. Just as a shamanic ritual is a powerful “container” for healing, a physician’s prescription or words are no different. These containers all come with a healthy dose of placebo within them. The response will depend on the Trust and Belief the patient has in the healer. Hope must never be dispelled!
Hope of course is a serious undertaking because it may require the hard work that Will demands of it. Not everyone is committed to working hard to achieve the Balance required for healing or for achieving or maintaining optimal health. 
A friend of mine once said to me, “Ever since I gave up hope I feel much better!” There is comfort in denial and resignation. We can just let go, believe there is nothing more to be done and let nature take its course. In the most extreme this may take the form of a death request. There are times when this approach is entirely appropriate but there are others when it is not.
At the end of the day we should have profound gratitude for the magical ability of our Inner Healer to heal. If it was not for this power all physicians and healers would be lost.
"Hope  is about believing in spite of the evidence and then watching the evidence change."
The Ancestors

Saturday, August 9, 2014

This weeks blog continues on some basic concepts of a Tree of Health

All spiritual beliefs rely on the notion of balancing polarities; moon/sun/, ying/yang, right/left brain, dark/light, what restrains and what expands. The Tree of Life is also based on this principle. The left side of the Tree restrains or contracts, the right expands, (just as the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems slow and raise the heart rate respectively.) The contracting left sided principle of the Tree is  represented here as blue in color, the right as red. 
These colors will be maintained where practical in the text to emphasize the shift in energy. 
The Center which mediates will be designated pink.
A Tree of Health is a model for healing which is concordant with the balancing principles of the Tree of Life. By staying in the center of the Tree of Health, patients and their physicians or healers can attain equanimity, healing and self-restoration. 
Congruence which also has to do with the polarity of Truth is a useful term that implies being true to oneself, marching to the beat of one’s own drum, not bending or compromising to the will of others, sacrificing Self or becoming a martyr. 
One does not have to be sick to avail oneself of the Tree of Health. We all need to look to the idea of congruence, being our Self, and recognizing our God given Divine gift that we came to this planet to nurture. If we do not find congruence with Self and who we truly are we might get soul sick and this can lead to illness.

“Everyone has in him something Divine, something his own, a chance of perfection & strength, however small, a sphere which God offers him to take or refuse. The task is to find, develop & use it.”
Sri Aurobindo

The polarities of the Tree of Health that will be developed are:
Left: Restrains, Contracts and Inhibits through Denial, Ignorance, Hopelessness, Resignation, Fear, Guilt, Cynicism, Lack of Choice and Inaction and wanting to please.
Right: Expands, Facilitates, Strengthens through Knowledge, Truth, Hope, Trust, Belief, Faith, Surrender, Receptivity, Love, Courage, Joy/Gratitude, Choice, Right Action and Congruence.
Center: Balance and Equilibrium result in inner peace and harmony and support the Inner Healer. Through the Center the patient’s Life Force communicates with the Field. Inner practices facilitate this contact and enhance the Life Force - Prana, Qi, Ruach (Hebrew,) Moya (Zulu.) Willing to be healed creates intention, which with Balance, leads to healing. Grace may enter at any time and its ultimate expression is spontaneous healing. When we find our center or we center ourselves, we are balanced at the core of a Tree of Health.
Grace has more to do with Faith, Hope, Belief and Trust. This is in fact a deep “inner knowing”  a different kind of knowledge or rather a deep inner belief in the Divine or some spiritual faith. With Grace, Faith can be the gateway to spontaneous remission of disease that will be addressed in a later blog.
Central to the Tree is Love. Its opposite is Fear. 
Without the strong will  to be alive a human can be carried into the valleys of death by even the mildest sickness…” Credo Mutwa

Each patient’s connection with his or her Inner Healer through the Field is unique. Therefore different aspects of the Tree of Health may work for some but not for others. This depends on sex, genetics, culture, religion, education and conditioning. For the next few weeks we will chat about some of these polarities and how they can lead to healing (and curing) as well as Self-Realization or the "Becoming" of who we truly should be.      

Saturday, August 2, 2014

This week's blog begins the series on a Tree of Health. 
Just as the Tree of Life consists of energy centers called "Sephirot" with contracting and expanding limbs so too is the Tree of Health based on the universal concept of polarity balance. 
Every week we will talk about some of the factors below.
(For those interested there is also an upcoming talk based on "Messengers from the Ancestors" at the Center for Lifelong Learning, Santa Barbara City College coming up in September, contrasting the Tree of Knowledge with the Tree of Life and expanding on this subject.)

These figures are seminal to the discussions that follow so always refer back to them when needed. 

Balance is achieved by harmonizing polarities.
Dualities come into harmony by negotiating a third or middle path, a path not of assimilation but a path of coexistence.
The Ancestors. 

(The Buddha also talked about finding the middle way.)

The Tree of Life

The left side of the Tree contracts or restrains, the right expands. Self Realization requires that we conquer the serpent coiled around the center of the Tree which represents ego and acquisitiveness. This is what metaphorically kicked us out of the Garden of Eden (The serpent wrapped around the Tree of Knowledge.) Once the seeker reaches the "heart" sephira of the Tree shown here as a hexagon, she or he can teach her/himself and rise up to the crown sephira of the T.O.L. to attain "I am that I am," or the Oneness experience where we come into direct realization that we are made in the image of the Divine. In this way though the T.O.L. we can regain "Eden." 
Similarly through a Tree of Health we can find Healing and Curing. We cannot always be cured but we can always be healed.

The Central limb of the Tree as shown schematically below holds the balance through Will, Intention, Attention, Action and Affirmation. "Words" are key to this as are Faith (sometimes mediated through Grace,) passion, courage, work and joy. A strong inner practice which enhances the life force and the Inner Healer is essential!