Saturday, 1 November 2014

What should we think about death? Any damn thing we like.

Apart from the fact I disagree with the sentiments expressed as Stephen Fry tells people what they should think about death, the whole thing comes across as pompous and patronising.

What is the 'should' about Tonto? And who are you to tell anyone else what they should think about anything, let alone death? There is an arrogance to atheists that I can only believe is sourced in deep and abiding fear and a belief that anyone who disagrees with them is less intelligent.

The overwhelming evidence throughout the centuries that mind and personality can function beyond the material is, applying Occam's Razor, more likely to be because mind functions through the material body but can do so without the material body, as opposed to it being some enormously complicated, convoluted, meaningless 'function' of the brain.

Research into NDE's, increasing in recent years, demonstrates that people can be conscious when their material body is clinically dead and the simplest answer to the Why is because we are not our material bodies and they are merely vehicles necessary for this material world.

And while human beings may be many things, they tend to be, in the main reasonably practical and sensible and the fact that stories and beliefs regarding this life being merely part of a life beyond the material exist in all cultures, societies, belief systems and have done so since the beginning of recorded history, suggests that it endures for a reason - it has substance.

Another factor is that Nature may be prolific but Nature is not wasteful and everything which happens does so for a reason. The simple reality is that consciousness as we know it as humans serves no evolutionary purpose - ants get by just fine without much at all as we define it and many people live long and productive lives with little time spent in conscious self-awareness. So, why do we have it? The simplest answer is that we have it because it allows us to be part of a co-creative process in this material world with some sort of organising, intelligent entity which manifests this world, and it is the one thing we can take with us beyond the material body, as NDE's so clearly demonstrate.

Logic and common sense also suggest that beliefs of any kind need serve only one purpose, i.e. that they create for the individual a greater capacity for a fulfilling life. If it works for you to believe there is nothing but seven score years and ten and then you disappear in a mouldering heap without point or purpose, great.

If it works for you to believe that this material existence is just one part of a long and interesting life as a spiritual being, great.

If it works for you to believe neither and to remain unsure, also great.

Because the simple reality is this, that if there is nothing then you will know nothing about it and so it is irrelevant. If there is something it will also be irrelevant because most religious teachings on God and the afterlife are just so infantile and silly that they will not be true. So it won't matter a toss what you believe.

If you step out of your material body and say:'Shit, I was wrong. I am still here and there is a life beyond material death,' you will be greeted with laughter and compassion and it won't matter a toss if you have lived your life in a fulfilling way believing that it was material meaningless.

The only thing which does matter is that whatever position you choose that works for you is no more than your opinion and you have no possible way of knowing that you are right and no right to tell others they are wrong.

What should we think about Death? Any damn thing we like!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Time to bring back orphanages?

Removing children from abuse and neglect may well create other problems, but perhaps those problems are being created because we need to rethink how we care for such children.
I suspect the problem, once again well-intentioned, is the attempt to 'create' a substitute home for children who need to be removed from their parents, with foster 'parents.' The simple reality is that nothing can replace your parents and foster care is hit and miss. No doubt there are some excellent people who opt to become carers but there are also those who are doing it for the wrong reasons and who are less than adequate as substitute parents.
What is worse is that a child can be shunted from pillar to post with moves from one set of carers to another, creating even more trauma and dysfunction perhaps than the original circumstances from which they were removed.
In this less than perfect world with less than perfect human beings, I suspect many kids get far less than perfect foster parents. Instead of trying to replace something which can never be replaced, perhaps reworking an old approach might be the way to go.
Perhaps it is time to rework the old idea of orphanages. What children need when they are at risk is to be removed from risk and placed somewhere they feel safe. Preferably it is somewhere they can stay for however long they want or is needed. Somewhere that they can find stability.
The next thing children need after safety and security is to be fed and educated. With stability of their living environment this is easier to provide.
In addition, in this day and age, creating enlightened, optimal, happy, healthy, constructive orphanage environments is more than possible. The best of orphanages will never be a substitute for the best of foster parents but I would be prepared to bet that it is easier to create and maintain the best of orphanages than it is to create a situation where the majority of foster parents are of optimal quality and function.
The other thing about an orphanage is that there is no pretence. It is not a substitute for your parents and so children do not have to feel conflicted if they prefer to be there or even come to love those who are caring for them, as, no doubt, many might with foster parents.
The other advantage is that a child could be given a number of opportunities to return to their parents without sacrificing a happy foster home, i.e. they can always return to the orphanage. They have stability and they have certainty in a world which is uncertain and unstable on so many other counts.
Children are also sensitive about being different and never more so than when coming from dysfunctional homes. In an orphanage they are all the same. There is no 'foster sibling' who they might see as 'better' or 'luckier,' the children with whom they live are facing the same issues and problems and this offers opportunities for bonding more readily than being in so-called 'normal' homes. There is nothing 'normal' about a foster home no matter how good it might be.
It would be interesting to balance costs of orphanages compared to foster parenting and I would be surprised if the latter was more expensive. Even if it were, the crucial thing in trying to help children in need is providing them with what they do not have - safety, stability, certainty and the familiar.
Most people reasonably assume there is evidence of good long-term outcomes for children who come into contact with child protection systems. Why else would we...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Wet brings wealth and woes...

We left after lunch for the drive north to Mzuzu and wondered if the recent early break to the Wet for Lilongwe would remain as we headed for Kayelekera. It did.

There is a sigh of relief, almost palpable in Malawi when the Wet Season arrives because without it there is no maize crop and no money made and people go hungry unless the Government buys grain from elsewhere and just at present, the Government does not have much money. Well, it does for trips around the world for those in power but they are seen as needs-based, as in more necessary than repairing roads and feeding people, and so money follows power.

You do shake your head when you hear the President is spending a week or more in the US with an entourage of sixty and they are all staying at the Ritz, or was it the Waldorf Astoria,  in New York, where the Presidential Suite is $17,000 a night for the leader of the poorest country in the world.

But the President becomes a supreme being on election, the chief of all chiefs and the chief system is entrenched in this society like aristocrats and monarchies of old. No doubt the ordinary people do not mind if traditions are being honoured. One just wishes that those with power minded for them.

Having said that, with the new Government in place there are some signs of money being spent on ordinary people with some repair work to roads and new drains being built to carry away safely the huge amounts of water nature dumps on the country in the wet.

It was raining as we drove out of town but eased an hour or so on the road, only to break through in determined fashion as we drove up higher into the mountains outside Mzuzu,  some four and a half hours north of Lilongwe.  It is a logging area, the pines planted decades ago, and not well managed, but remaining still.

There was low cloud and mist along with rain as we made our way along largely empty roads. The price of diesel has risen dramatically in recent times and is close to what is paid in Australia, which, when compared to the amount people earn here, is an absolute, impossible, fortune.


So there were less private cars, less mini-buses, lots of bicycles and a few trucks and semi-trailers. Sadly, of the latter, more than six in recent days had not completed their journeys and lay overturned, some consumed by fire, on the side of the road. How many dead it was hard to say but it would be a few in that most semis would have a driver, his girlfriend and a mate and perhaps a hitchhiker, and a few crushed cabins made it clear that no-one got out alive and may well have been still entombed as we passed.

They drive too fast and the roads are not too bad, but far from good with the edges eaten away by rains in every Wet. You never know what is around the corner but, the local warning is to place tree branches from some distance on either side so you know the road will be blocked. There were a few stalled semis and trucks as we climbed through the mountains, no doubt because of poor servicing and all of the other problems which breed in Third World countries like Malawi.

The rains meant also less people on the side of the roads which makes the drive easier. Avoiding cyclists and pedestrian being perhaps more of a challenge than careering cars or trucks. There is nothing more off-putting than a woman on a bicycle in front, a baby strapped to her back, as she gets the wobbles, as they often do, and starts to weave around trying to remain upright.

The locals must have known the Wet would be early this year because the fields had been prepared for planting maize. In that 'needs must' way of Africa, the fields often run willy nilly, with trees and stumps left where they stand and the furrows dug around them. Why put all that effort into moving something when you can go around it? On the bright side, although it remains to be seen how effective it can be on the corruption continent, Malawi has brought in a ban on plastic bags.

What I do not understand though is why the plastic bags are not removed as they work! Surely that peep of blue plastic might, could, will interfere with the growth of precious maize. But the plastic weed of Africa is endemic and perhaps the corn has learned to grow around it or through it in that way of things in this part of the world.

It's can't be much fun for the locals in the wet. Some houses have iron rooves but most have grass and it must leak. The dry, red earth turns to mud because the rains are torrential. Even more, the talc-like consistency of the soil means much of it is just washed away into drains, onto roads, and where it should not be.

People sit around a lot in Malawi. It seems common in Africa. The men more than the women for needs must as a philosophy means people need to eat, clothes need to be washed, water needs to be fetched and children and men need to be looked after. But beyond what must be done, there is a lot of sitting around and talking. No doubt in such places people could, in ways they could not, in more severe climates where sitting around and talking all the time would have you dead in winter.

And so there is a lack of industry in the culture, a lack of effort expended without necessary gain. You see it even in the offices where people go to work, but not as they go to work in Western cultures - they go to work to do the minimum which is required, sadly not much and not enough, and then they sit around drinking tea or coffee, talking. They seem surprised at the industry of Westerners. Why would they not be? It is alien to their culture.

It also explains why so many African countries are basket cases. It explains why so many homes are barely maintained, why fields roam around trees and obstacles because the effort required to clear areas properly, would be considered exceptional to that which was needed. It would be considered unnecessary and a waste of time and effort.

And the ubiquitous donor aid industry has turned it into a mendicant culture where now if there is sit-down time, it happens with a hand held out for the international community to provide funds.

Another factor in Africa is that as the local saying goes, if one lobster tries to climb out of the pot, he or she will be pulled back down. You are not meant to be different. So planting more trees around your home or putting in a garden or establishing ordered fields would make you different and you would be pulled into line. A chief can be different. A chief can paint his house, order his fields, establish a garden .... but not ordinary people. And so nothing changes, not even for the better.

For the lack of industry is not because Africans cannot work hard. They can and they do, particularly the women who walk miles with huge containers of water, bundles of wood, sacks of maize or whatever else is needed, on their heads. Often with a baby on their back. And the men cycle up hills with passengers on the back, goats strapped to a frame, huge piles of timber, metal pipes, bags of coal and teetering piles of wood.  But all those things are required and they work hard for what they need to do and then they sit around.

But they can sit around because nature allows them to do it, generally.  The soil here is so rich that food is easily grown. Most of the farming is subsistence because there are now too many people, some 15million, in the small sliver of land which is Malawi. And the chiefs are still gods and hold sway. There is no way of organising farming because there is little spare land and the chiefs don't want things to change and the ordinary people cannot bring about change and so, nothing changes.

It is probably more depressing for outsiders looking on than it is for people living such lives who have never known anything different. HIV/Aids is rife here and cutting down Malawians of all ages, all of the time. A 25 year old Australian is likely to have never been to a funeral while a Malawian of the same age, will have been to many. One 25 year old Malawian I know has been to five in the past twelve months. I won't say it was all, or even any HIV/Aids but it might be. From the ages of eight to about fifty or so, and all relatively close family.

But the people look healthy. They can haul huge loads on their heads and backs and bikes for kilometres and they look robust and fit. Although perhaps there would be more on the roadsides if there were not so many lying ill at home. It is a life of sleep, food, sitting,  some working and sex. There is a lot of sex. Men and women alike seem to be promiscuous .... it is just the way things happen here.

Perhaps with so much death, illness, poverty and corrupt government, people are more inclined to have fun as and when they can. It is perhaps more of a pity that such fun is, for so many, so often deadly if not life-destroying even at higher levels as jobs are lost, careers founder - with Western employers who pay the highest wages - and those who have achieved something, come crashing down.

But then success is considered to be a sign of evil in this part of Africa and good fortune means, not that you are clever or work hard, but that you are in league with witches or the devil, or both. And so perhaps there is an unconscious self-destruct button, a hidden saboteur who will demonstrate that evil forces are not at work, by creating a situation where failure is guaranteed and success impossible.

And people shake their heads, shrug their shoulders and sigh - because it is never ever their fault.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Places between worlds


I don't often wake in the night and when I do, I wonder if it is something I am picking up from my grown-up children, both so very far away and in different time-zones.

In that place between worlds which broods in the depths of darkness, and that way of walking between worlds as we have in sleep, I have no doubt we connect with those we love more often and more easily. And they with us.

I remember many years ago living in Bombay, India, dreaming that my son, then about eighteen, was dying and somehow I was willing him to live and 'holding' him in life. Some hours later I phoned him and learned that at the time of my dream, he was surfing off the Australian coast and was dumped by a wave and was drowning until he managed to push himself to the surface.

Or do we float within the parts of ourselves in that dark cocoon of possibility and silence where fear and joy can appear, disappear and drift through shadows? Then again it might have been a dream.

The days are growing warmer in Malawi as the first damp breaths of humidity begin to creep around, sighing that the crawl toward the Wet Season has begun. Cicadas sing in echoed click and the birds seem more joyful than ever. They know the rains are coming. The time of washing clean the dust and grime of the dry days and more so after the burning season has been, when dry grass is burned black because they say, it brings fresh green shoots for stock to eat. But they do it in Africa, even in cities and where there is no animal grazing. Habits are hard to break.

This time of waiting for the rains is also one of those places between worlds where expectation sighs alongside and the heat increases until one begins to crave in desperation for the salvation of the healing rains. It is the way of the tropics and the sub-tropics and while I have never come to love such climates, I do know them intimately and appreciate them for what they are. I am at heart a dry climate person and perhaps that is because, as a Virgo, I need my boundaries defined in seasons as well as in other ways.

We are all different and in a way we live in worlds of our own making and worlds which have made us and we connect in the places in between, if we can. Living in different cultures allow practice for this but how much we master this living in the spaces between worlds depends, I believe, on our inherent natures.

The more fixed our boundaries the less we move and are moved by our environments. But then living in a different culture ensures that however fixed our boundaries may be as part of our nature, they must learn to bend and move and flex if we are to not just survive, but to thrive.

I have noticed here in Malawi that people often seem to enjoy the misfortune of others, particularly where the person has done some 'wrong' or possibly done some 'wrong.' It is as if there is great satisfaction in seeing them 'brought low' and perhaps there is, because in much of Africa, including here, there is a belief that good fortune means one is in league with the devil or evil forces, which suggests that ill fortune must be seen as positive.

Or perhaps when things go wrong for others they feel safe because there is only so much evil doing which can be done at any one time. Witchcraft has a deep hold on Africa and where it is combined, as it so often is, with the fanatical evangelical form of Christianity, there must indeed be much to fear.

Africa holds more places between worlds than perhaps anywhere else.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The simple answer is usually the right answer

It is very clear that many of those with a scientific bent are prepared to twist themselves into knots and 'nots' in order to find some way of explaining this world from the current scientific paradigm, hence theories about multiple worlds and parallel universes.

Applying Occam's Razor, one suspects that it is all far simpler than science or religions have theorised. Things generally are.

Many spiritual teachings posit that we are spiritual beings, i.e. we have a 'body' which operates at a higher, non-material frequency and the mind and consciousness inherent in that soul or self, incarnates in this world, in material form. NDE's and OBE's suggest that it is possible for the astral body to 'exit' the material body, while remaining linked so return is possible, and function in other non-material dimensions.

And given that death comes to all of us, at different ages, stages and levels of intelligence, why would not death be no more than the 'astral' or spiritual 'self' exiting the body once and for all and continuing on in it's natural dimension, i.e. home. This material world being no more than an experiment in which each of us has chosen to participate, at least once and perhaps for some, many times?

As Above, So Below. As Within, so Without. The constant is 'mind' which can and does operate through a material brain partially, but not completely and which, when released from the confines and limitation of material brain function, returns to its true and greater self.

If a child or cretin can die then neither material consciousness or intelligence are required. This is of course based on the theory that we are more than our material selves and that we exist beyond this material world.

If we do not it is all rather irrelevant. But if we do not then this universe has no purpose or meaning and that runs counter to everything we learn about this world. Every cause has an effect; there is meaning and purpose in every action and to me that says, there is meaning and purpose in our lives, which, given the fact that they suddenly end, means there must be a greater and ongoing meaning and purpose.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Live, love and laugh....there is only now.

Life is short and unpredictable.  We all know that and we are constantly reminded of its reality.

While I do believe there is a world beyond this one and we can understand better than we do now, when we cross over,  for the sake of others and ourselves, it is wise to deal with personal issues before one exits this mortal coil. As the saying goes, 'don't go to bed on an argument,' and I would add, don't go to death on a disagreement.

And since none of us know when we will exit, that means, do the work now - make a gesture, make amends, sorry if you have to, it is just a word and if it is important to someone else it is such a small and important thing to offer. Who cares who 'wins' or 'loses,' who cares whose position is validated or invalidated,  because when we have troubles in relationships with those we love and who love us in return, no-one wins - everyone loses.

And being 'right' or holding some mythical moral high-ground, retaining anger for wrongs real and imagined, refusing in fact to offer love to those you love harms you more than it does them. And is not a lesson you want your children to learn.

Live, love, laugh for it is not just tomorrow that you may die but today. There is only Now.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A healing path


 Forest and Distance, Watercolour, Roslyn Ross, 2013.
Because every human being in the world is unique there is no one path to healing, but many, and this is no more than thoughts on one approach.

We all need to find The path to healing for ourselves, at some time or another, whether disease is physical, psychological or a combination of both,  but there is not one way, just the way which works for us.The path to healing can be long or it can be short, but it always is a path and one on which we can find ourselves at any time and one which will be unique to us. There is a phrase used for when we are unwell and that is, ‘we feel out of tune.’

Dis-ease or a lack of ease in terms of bodily health is a sign that we are operating with a discordant tune, or rather, not with or through our natural tune or ‘song.’

The belief that the universe has its own ‘song’ has been long-held, and if the universe has its own ‘song’ or ‘songs’ then why not we?

Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher, is credited with saying, “There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacing of the spheres.” This idea of the “Music of the Spheres” has endured over the centuries, ultimately informing how Kepler visualized the movements of the planets, which led him to formulate his laws of planetary motion. The notion that the stars, planets and galaxies resonate with a mystical symphony is a rather appealing one.
Depending upon how well, and there is a pun in that which is apt but not intended, we know ourselves – in other words, depending upon how ‘in tune’ we are with ourselves – then so is our health reflected. When we are ‘at odds’ with ourselves, for whatever reason, and whether it is inner forces or outer forces, or a combination of both, then our body, striving always for balance, will seek to create some level of order or harmony.  Many healing methodologies believe that this is what symptoms are: a language the body uses to communicate its dis-ease to us – to speak out and speak to us.

When we are unhappy about something we use words because we can. If we do not have words, like animals, we use expressions or actions. The body can use words in our dreams or in Freudian slips but generally it uses symbols. Psychiatrist, Carl Jung, said ‘symbol is the lost language of our soul,’ and when our body speaks it is often because our soul is calling.

The language of the body has been largely forgotten and ignored in this age of materialistic and mechanistic medicine, but seeking to understand what the body is saying and trying to communicate is not only a wonderful adventure, it is an invaluable practice for health.

You are not just your body and disease is never just physical. It does not matter what genes you have, the fact is that nothing is predetermined and as science now knows, a hundred people with the same predisposing gene might provide one person who actually develops the disease. Why that happens is not just physical or even environmental but is a combination of all that we are and all that we experience. Understanding as much as we can about that, is a part of this path to healing.

Nothing happens without good reason. Everything has a purpose and in terms of physiology, it is the purpose and meaning of the body function which says, to me anyway,  that it is pure common sense that whatever the body does, no matter how trivial, is important. We are, each and every one of us a universe in our own right and utterly unique. And never more unique than when we manifest symptoms or dis-ease.

More than one noted doctor writing about health and disease has remarked that ‘in a strange way’ diseases seem suited to people. In one cited instance it was noted that those suffering from Crohn’s Disease were invariably difficult patients, irritable, testing and often annoying. Were they that way because of the disease or did disease manifest in this way because of who they were? The general view seemed to lean toward the latter. Who is to say but perhaps if the patients had studied their symptoms as symbol they would have both learned and healed. And no, it is not that simple and the comment is offered merely as reflection in terms of changing the way that we see our symptoms or condition.

I  also, suspect that such observations were more common in the days when doctors were physicians and actually took the time to study the patient and gather knowledge about the individual in ways which seem rarely to happen today. In other words, you were not just your symptoms or your disease, but your symptoms and your disease are expressions of your state and of who you are and the reason that they exist is because who you are is not who you are meant to be. There is dis-ease or a lack of harmony between who you ‘are’ at this time and who you really are.
An Australian doctor, John Harrison, wrote an excellent book exploring this in the late 80′s called, Love Your Disease It’s Keeping You Healthy. His book was controversial and he was in time brought ‘down’ by the medical establishment in questionable circumstances.

He was misinterpreted and misunderstood although reading the book at the time I never saw evidence of the charge later laid against him, that we were to ‘blame’ for our dis-ease. I saw it as him saying we had responsibility to lesser and greater degrees for our diseases, symptoms and dis-ease and that only in gaining understanding, could we play the necessary part in healing.

Questions we can ask ourselves in regard to our symptoms or disease are:
What does this prevent me from doing? It might prevent you doing something you like or something you hate.
What does this enable me to do? It might enable you to do something you enjoy.
What do I lose from this condition? Power, freedom, responsibility, obligation….?
What do I gain from this condition? (And surprisingly disease often provides positives as well as negatives.) Freedom, dependence, sympathy…
How does it make me feel? Depressed, powerless, peaceful, safe….
How does it make me think? More thinking, less thinking, time to think, fearful ….
How do I see myself as a person because of this disease? Ugly, crippled, unworthy, safe, free….positive or negative.
What could or would I do if I did not have this disease/condition? The answers are not dependent on possible, physically or financially, anything goes to show you what you would wish to be….
Who would or could I be if I did not have this disease/condition? Again, what does the condition prevent? It might be positive or it might be negative.

But Harrison would not be the first or the last person to be burned at the metaphorical stake for questioning the position science/medicine takes toward the body and disease. The scientific paradigm from which modern medicine emerges creates, almost by necessity, a ‘war and battlefield’ approach to illness where the body becomes a dangerous enemy, not to be trusted, often to be feared if not hated, and always the ‘other.’ The tragic irony of course is that it is this same ‘enemy’ that we need to be our friend, our healer.

How many friends would we keep if we mistrusted them and saw them as a dangerous enemy? Not many.
How many relationships would endure if we believed that we were in a ‘war for survival’ against our friend as so many believe about their body? Not many.
How many people would be crushed to be feared if not hated? Most.
And yet this is how many people react to their body frequently, and when they are ill, much of the time. As a position it is not only counter-intuitive, it is oxymoronic.
It is only in finding purpose and meaning in our symptoms and disease that we can convert them from enemy to friend, which was the core of what Harrison tried to say, and in the doing, create an alliance for health.
It is not that we are to blame for ill health or that we create it, although we can act in ways which compromise healthy body function,  but that the disease and its symptoms reflect perfectly who we are and why, and, as healers throughout history have believed, offer us insight into why we are ill and the path to health.

The better you know yourself the better choices you will make on a path to healing. And everything can be important. Not in an obsessive and agonising way, but in a self-aware, reflective way.
In the same way that compiling a list of the most common sayings in our family when we were growing up, often phrases we still use without thinking, can offer insight into what we believe unconsciously even if we tell ourselves we do not believe it consciously.
For example, a common one as I grew up was: ‘It’s a great life if you don’t weaken, once you weaken you are gone,’ is a belief that life is dangerous and unless you remain vigilant and strong you will be destroyed. It is often in the colloquialisms our parents used and which still litter our life unconsciously, that we can often pick our way through to the truth of who we really are.
And with that understanding you will better know if you are someone who should pursue a purely Allopathic path; someone who should pursue a purely non-Allopathic path through some or many of its various forms, or someone who should combine all medical methodologies as and when they seem suitable.

In a process of broadening options there is sense  in a position which holds that anything should be considered and possibly explored when it comes to health and no-one is going to deny the material/mechanical skills of modern medicine in surgery and trauma. Being open to anything and everything, which is actually the approach of the newly emerging field of Integrative Medicine, makes most sense to me. But we are all different and that remains the salient point.
There are a wealth of methodologies which can play a part in healing depending on what suits you, beyond a conventional Allopathic approach and most if not all of them, can work hand in hand with that anyway. Explore Nutritional Medicine, Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, Ayurvedic Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Kinesiology, Reiki, Yoga, Aromatherapy – anything which works to comfort and/or heal the body.

One other reason to consider incorporating non-Allopathic treatments is that as treatments they are generally benign, not unpleasant, in fact often very pleasant and even a delight sometimes. Most Allopathic treatments involve clinical situations where you are more object than person, even when medical staff  are warm, caring and kind, and levels ranging from discomfort to pain. Some treatments are very painful or unpleasant and most involve levels of fear. Even Allopathic drugs are, more often than not, the source of unpleasant if not frightening side-effects.
While it is not always possible I have often thought no doctor should be able to order a procedure that he or she has not themselves experienced. More than one doctor on becoming seriously ill has gone on to write insightful books about their traumatic experiences as patienst in ways that they had never realised or appreciated until they experienced it. I am sure they came out the other side better doctors but the fact remains that Allopathic or modern medicine is one of the least patient-friendly methodologies ever created.

It is however, the way it is because it has come out of a scientific paradigm which believes everything, including the human body can be approached as if it were a piece of equipment and ‘repaired’ accordingly. This can work brilliantly with the mechanics of surgery and trauma but has a negative impact everywhere else. Some surgeons and nurses realise this, and use Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Reiki and other such methodologies to treat the negative impact associated with their procedures.

There is no doubt that modern medicine often involves high levels of fear and where there is fear there is resistance and with resistance comes separation and none of it is conducive to healing. That is why it is so important to change how you think about your body and your symptoms and/or condition.

In fact the military mindset of the Allopathic approach works against healing because the ‘battlefield tactics’ of ‘destroying, removing, killing, or poisoning’ the ‘enemy’ serves to trigger resistance in the object of the attack, which invigorates and stimulates a desperate response and bid for survival.
In years to come no doubt, both the ‘battlefield mentality’ of Allopathic medicine and the part the mind of the doctor plays in treatment and healing will be seen as major factors. Many patients both fear and dislike their doctors but ‘do what they are told’ because of fear. No doubt many doctors dislike their patients and fear failure and loss of ‘prestige,’ so the fear factor is present and often too powerful. The more you can do to remove fear from the equation, that of yourself and that of others, the better.

And for some people who are seriously ill, it might be a case of the less people you know the better because what they believe and think about you and your situation, no matter how many expressions of love there may be, and no doubt how sincere they might be, what they think will be felt, known, intuited and picked up by you. And the less people you tell then the less advice you will get and that is generally a good thing. It is one thing to pick up a book or an article to read of your own free choice, and quite another to have advice inflicted upon you by all and sundry once they know you are ill.

Having said that, some people like, need and want all the advice and sympathy they can get which really just takes us back to the core premise of what works for one does not necessarily work for another. But as a general rule, the more you can do to help you and your body feel good the better. Illness brings enough ‘cold pricklies’ as it is and they need to be countered with even more ‘warm fuzzies.’

On the path to healing it helps you and your body to feel good as often as you can and many of the medical methodologies dubbed alternative, or complimentary, although they are medicine in their own right, are pleasant and comforting to experience. What comforts you comforts your body. What makes you feel better makes your body feel better. The more relaxed you and your body are, the better your health and the better your chances of optimum health.

And there may not be many of them but there are MD’s who are open to or even trained in other medical methodologies and who work with them alongside conventional treatments. This is more common in Europe, those very sane and sensible Europeans, than it is in Australia or the US or UK for that matter and one of the things I loved about living in Europe was having an MD who was just as likely to recommend herbs, homeopathy or acupuncture as a FIRST step before more interventionist procedures and toxic drugs.

But more than anything what you do for yourself will bring the most dividends and understanding your symptoms and condition is crucial toward that end.
Every symptom has meaning and every symptom will manifest as a collection which is unique to you, although there are shared patterns. One medical methodology, Homeopathy, has combined art with science, and I use the word science in its pure definitive form, in using symptoms as a guide to healing.

This  is a medical methodology sourced in noting and working with these patterns to find a remedy, whose ‘signature tune’ will resonate best with your true ‘signature tune,’ and, in the doing, ‘cancel out discordant frequencies’ to re-establish order. In essence and in modern parlance to ‘reboot’ you back to a ‘default’ position which represents your own unique truth, or ‘song.’ Where there is harmony, then there is health.

A core premise in Homeopathy is that when healing is triggered, the body will move slowly backwards through various disease states until it reaches balance. This can happen quickly or it can take weeks, months or even years. Generally with chronic illness the longer you have had it the longer the healing process. And vice-versa for acute conditions. But basically Homeopathy treats the individual as opposed to the Allopathic focus which is the disease or the symptom or symptoms.
This is why with a hundred people consulting for the same presenting disease, or major health problem, there will be potentially a hundred different symptom patterns and a hundred different remedies selected. Homeopathy also believes that simply repressing or removing a symptom can serve to drive dis-ease deeper which is why the Allopathic approach often does not or cannot cure despite the enormous knowledge gained of the material mechanics.

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a similar approach but symptoms, as a diagnostic tool, has been taken by Homeopathy  in particular, to brilliant levels. Acupuncture, which is 3,000 years old and which also works at the ‘frequency’ or ‘energy’ level can also be highly effective. Medicine is like any ‘tool’ where the right tool in the right circumstances used in the right way will bring the right results, and there is no one-size fits all, instant fix, or magic pill for everyone despite common belief.
Just as no two people have the same disease in the same way, so no one treatment will necessarily work for both. We are all different and finding the methodology which best suits us, or the combination of methodologies which best suits us, is a crucial stage on the process to healing.  But here again, everyone is different. Some people will do it quickly and instinctively or intuitively, and others will do it slowly and with painstaking analysis and consider

However, because all medicine has both placebo and nocebo factors, all people benefit from having a level of trust in the treatment that they choose. You do not need to understand how it works and most people have little understanding of how most Allopathic medicine works, they are just assured that it does and it can.  In truth, many doctors and drug manufacturers do not fully understand how or why something works either. So knowing, or not knowing,  how something works is unimportant in the scheme of things.

With Homeopathy for instance, there is no absolute theory of how it works, but work it does and neither is there for Acupuncture, but work it does. But it does help to have a level of trust – not faith, just the sort of trust which comes from having a treatment make sense to you – consciously or unconsciously and preferably both.
Which takes us back to knowing yourself as the Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece forever admonished their initiates. If you believe in a rational approach at a conscious level but unconsciously hold the opposite view, no treatment is likely to work. And vice versa.
All of the faith, logic, reason, trust and belief at a conscious level,  in the world, will not bring cure from a particular course of treatment if you do not also believe the same at an unconscious level. And few if any of us know exactly what we believe unconsciously. Gaining insight comes through studying symptoms, dreams, feelings and even thoughts.
Likewise, if you are totally opposed to a form of treatment at a conscious level, and consider it cannot work, or is even a fraud, it can still bring cure if you believe differently at an unconscious level. And where a treatment does not work, particularly if the doctor believes it should work, it is an indicator that what you believe at a conscious level is not what you believe unconsciously.
This is why some people can believe powerfully at a conscious level the treatment will work and they will live, and yet they die and why some can believe powerfully there is no hope and the treatment will fail, and they live.

And because some of us may never truly know ourselves at an unconscious level and all of us will succeed to varying degrees, it is important, where healing is required, to keep an open mind. Perhaps even more important than trusting the healing process you choose is not just trusting your practitioner, but liking them. If there is no connection between you and your medical practitioner, whether Allopathic or not, then the chances of cure will be diminished. One of the most powerful factors in any medicine is nocebo and given the often toxic forms of Allopathic treatment, never more so than in modern conventional medicine.
At the end of the day the body heals and the body can heal anything. Any medical treatment is there to support and assist the body in doing what only it can do. Miracles of cure and healing are only miracles as a definition. Miracles are no more than that which we do not understand.
So, if you want to be healed from any disease and be ‘singing your song’ as robust health, bearing in mind that we are not all created equal and some people can attain levels of robust health which are a part of their physiology and nature in ways others will not, then the first thing is to make friends with your body.

Too much of modern medicine is sourced in a fear, if not hatred of the body and certainly in high levels of mistrust where symptoms and disease are seen as betrayal and the body as an enemy. If we treated our friends the way many treat the body we would have no friends.You only have one body and you and your body are in this for life.
Beyond you and your body there are the medical practitioners you choose as companions on the path.  You all need to get on and trust is the glue in that relationship. It is particularly important with Allopathic drug treatments because apart from often being toxic to varying degrees, they are generally synthesized versions of natural ingredients which are designed to ‘trick’ the body to bring about a desired effect. Many drugs work as ‘imposters’ and their effectiveness requires deceiving the body.
I happen to believe that consciousness exists at all levels, including cellular and that just as we become confused or fearful if we are tricked or if an imposter gets into our home, so too there is a similar effect for the body at micro and macro levels. The physiological and chemical deception needs to be countered with levels of trust elsewhere and that makes your relationship with your Allopathic doctor more important than it might be with natural and harmless and if you like, ‘honest’ medical methodologies like Homeopathy, Acupuncture or Herbal Medicine.
So, a few guidelines to be applied flexibly and as they suit because if you hate doing something even if you think it is good for you, or are told it is good for you, then it is not going to do much good for you. Every mouthful of tofu or swig of wheatgrass juice that you loathe is doing harm, not good.
And if you hate being told what to do, or being held to rules and regimen, then apply ‘rules’ in moderation. Use a 9-5 approach to it all and give yourself the night off, or, apply the rules during the week and forget about them at the weekend.

The only rule which is best applied in all circumstances is ‘moderation in all things,’ and for the rest, what works for you is all that matters. So, just some thoughts:
1. your body is your best friend and you are in this together. Whatever you can do to help your body needs to be done. That means eating food you enjoy but generally food which is as natural and freshly prepared as possible for this is where nutrition lies and nutrients are the true medicine which keeps and makes us well.Variety is important and if there are nutrient deficiencies then put some focus on foods rich in these.

Sleep is also crucial and with any illness sleep is even more important because this is when the body repairs and restores. Sleep is a habit and the habit you establish and maintain will bring better sleep. Again, everyone is different and sleep patterns range from five to nine hours a night. If you are ill you  will need more sleep so try to get seven hours solid sleep, keeping regular hours.
Drugs to help you sleep do more harm than good because they interfere with sleep patterns and therefore with the ability of the body to repair and restore. Study the functions of organs during different stages of sleep in Traditional Chinese Medicine and where you have identified organ dysfunction, then act accordingly.
Reduce toxins in food and drink and environment. Sleeping in a room with electrical equipment not turned off at the socket is a source for toxicity. It might not matter a toss when you are well, but everything can help when you are not. In fact, with any serious disease it can be a good idea to move your bed because where we sleep can involve detrimental factors in terms of feng shui principles.
2.  Symptoms are your body’s attempt to establish some level of balance in ways you do not understand and also an attempt to ‘get your attention’ and communicate with you. If you do not listen they will get louder and louder and ‘shout you down’ in even more disturbing ways.
Listen contains the word List, so List your symptoms and try to understand them symbolically. That means all symptoms – emotional, psychological, physiological, circumstantial and if it applies, spiritual. When you take the time to ponder the meaning of a symptom you honour it and your body.  Everyone likes to be appreciated whether it is a heart murmur or dandruff. It all matters.
If you are creative then write or paint your most troubling symptoms. As with dreams, you don’t have to interpret or even understand, you just have to record them which honours them. We all feel better when we are heard.
Write down your dreams for these also constitute symptoms and a language the body and psyche use to communicate with you.
3. Creative expression is more important for some than others but it helps everyone to express their feelings, thoughts and fears creatively. Music, painting, writing are creative but so too are  reading novels or poetry, gardening, cooking, meditating, knitting, embroidery, carpentry, furniture restoration and hobbies – even collecting barbed wire as some people do. Creative expression takes you out of yourself and beyond disease, at least for a time.
4.Resistance will always make things worse.  If something does not suit you then don’t do it. Don’t force yourself to meditate if you hate it or go on a diet which supposedly has cured other but which makes your life miserable. What you hate creates resentment and resistance and that is not the way to healing. If your dis-ease stops you from doing something you love, try to find something else you can do that you love or, sit awhile with your symptom and have a chat about what it is trying to tell you. Co-operate, or, as Dr Hamilton said, ‘love your disease.’ If your gall bladder or any organ is acting up, don’t hate it, turn to it with compassion and send it love. Be kind.5. Exercise is vital for some and a bore for others but again, moderation matters and if you are spending most of the day sitting then moving in some way is a good idea. Particularly outside. A walk around the garden is enough. Standing in the kitchen cooking for a few hours is exercise.  The idea that active, formal exercise is the only exercise is delusional. If you don’t love jogging then don’t do it. If you don’t enjoy yoga then don’t do it. But give them a try if you feel like it. If you don’t then don’t.6. Find a medical practitioner you like and to whom you can relate and who can relate to you as a human being. Remain open to your choices for healing. And the reason you need to like them, although you don’t have to ‘take them home’ or become friends, is because liking is a determinant of connection and it is only through connection that we find healing. At the end of the day connection is a form of Love and Love always heals. Your medical practitioner may be charming, polite, even witty but their unconscious beliefs and their unexpressed conscious beliefs will also be major factors in your healing. The nocebo effect of doctors has prevented more cure than probably the placebo effect has ever aided it. You and your medical practitioner need to be on the same page. Every medical treatment involves placebo and nocebo effects.
7. Humour remains the ‘best medicine.’ Remember to laugh. If you don’t know people who make you laugh find some. Watch comedies. Read humorous books and cartoons and try not to take any of it too seriously, even when it is serious.
8. Moderation in all things applies to all things including medical intervention. Less is more when it comes to subjecting your body to medication because all of them have side-effects and unless they are absolutely crucial and not a part of the ‘maybe medicine’ movement where you take a drug for a disease you do not have and may never get, try to keep them to a minimum.
The less your body has to deal with toxins of any kind the better. This also applies to vaccinations and if you believe they are useful then by all means have them but keep them to a minimum. Vaccines contain a variety of toxic chemicals along with synthesized diseases which challenge the body on many levels and increase the number of ‘medical tricksters’ which need to be dealt with.
9. If you can, then do your own research and as much as possible make up your own mind because this is not just informing it is empowering and it is also one of the most effective forms of ‘preventative medicine.’ Some people will research a lot, some a little and some none but given that few of us would buy a car or take out a mortgage without doing some research, when it comes to our health it makes sense to do some. In the internet age, while one needs to be cautious and read across the spectrum, there is little excuse for not finding out something about your condition. And even if you are committed to one approach or the other try to read across the spectrum to provide balance. No-one gets it all right and there are plenty of extremists on the non-Allopathic side of medicine as well. A large dose of the ‘tonic’ common sense will stand you in good stead and take as needed.
Beyond that, as with everything in life there are always other factors involved and plain old-fashioned fate and destiny. No medical practitioner can ever gaurantee cure and so, even doing all that you can there may be only partial cure or no cure. But, you will have done your best which is all any of us can do, and with any luck, learned a lot about yourself along the way and learned to love your body, whatever happens.