We all have stories about how life is "supposed to be." There is a certain sense of entitlement deeply anchored in our body/mind that has been transmitted through our culture. These stories often guide us toward destructive choices that may add to our illness, block our appreciation of healing, and even kill us. I refer to those "cultural hallucinations" as myths. I believe that the right healing magic can help break the spell of our illusions, and help us to reclaim our power to heal.
Our beliefs and expectations color our perceptions of life experiences. We experience symptoms, crises, and events by first reacting with our socially programmed "emotional brain." Our physiology has already reacted before the "higher brain" has had the opportunity to process the incoming information and to assess the appropriate behavior. The higher brain determines if what we are feeling or sensing is dangerous or benign.
However, this brain "information processing center" has already been programmed by the prevailing cultural mythology. The emotional or knee-jerk type of response to the situation may override a more appropriate response. In my book Healing Myths, Healing Magic, I divide our beliefs into four categories: Social, Biomedical, Religious, and New Age.
Like all illusions, the power of our healing myths diminishes when they are recognized for what they truly are, stories that we can either accept or reject. I invite you to entertain the possibility that you are more powerful, creative, prosperous, and compassionate, and have greater healing resources, than you have ever imagined. I invite you to share my personal story that all beings are part of one community, that you are not alone, and that your experiences are not in vain.
You do not have to eat primarily from the Tree of Knowledge to survive. You can receive the fruits of the Tree of Life, through which your biology, rather than your understanding, is sacred. Through fully experiencing your biology, you can express spirit more fully and live in a state of grace. From this space, you can gain true knowing, growth, and healing. As I present some myths, you may be tempted to disagree and insist that they are not myths at all. The stronger that feeling, the more likely that particular story is deeply rooted in our culture and ingrained in your personal physiology.
A very powerful social myth is: In healing, to be average is normal, and therefore desirable.
"Non-average" is considered pathological or deviant, something to be controlled by the culture of the physician, therapist, or court. Rather than applauding those who stand out from the crowd for their unique abilities or unusual accomplishments, we are suspicious of who do not conform. Our allopathic view of the body follows the same lines, and its applications are intended to bring everyone to a "safe normal" or average. "Normal" in a laboratory test does not mean "healthy"; it just means "average."
If this myth influences your life, you may respond to a concern by asking a doctor, "Is this normal?" If you question whether your behavior is "normal," or if you wait for the results of a laboratory test to decide if you are healthy or sick, I suggest that you read the following statement, or "magic," out loud and make it your affirmation for a day:
I have no need to be average or normal. I surrender the need to fit into the expectations of others at the expense of my own evolution. At times, upon claiming my wholeness, I may look, sound, or "test" non-average. I joyfully celebrate my loss of normalcy, and claim my authenticity, sanity, and health.
Today, the New Age myths resonate strongly within our culture. New Thought has brought about many shifts in human consciousness in the past forty years. Concepts such as the interconnectedness of life, a desire to heal the rift between our physical and social environments, and the questioning of old paradigms in relation to government, business, education, and religion are all products of New Age thought.
Central to these tenets is the belief that we create the major and minor events in our life through individual intent, thoughts, feelings, and will. When this New Age ideal is viewed through our prevailing or old mythology, where the Tree of Knowledge is our mainstay, serious health consequences occur. What results is the construct that through knowledge, or though proper thought, we can have dominion over our environment. This can be expanded to mean that God, Goddess, or the gods are subject to our thought or will, and presumes that we are knowledgeable enough to know what needs to be changed or controlled.
There is often a desire to replace masculine with feminine, to replace the first and second sexual centers, or chakras, with the heart or crown energies. There is the assumption that being sweet, loving, positive, or pure is more powerful and healthy than expressing anger, resentment, force, or sexual energy. Sweetness, avoidance, intention, and transcendence often replace authenticity, confrontation, action, structure, and experience.
We may not speak with our parents or others because they disempower us, and instead choose to sit at the feet of our guru. We may break up a relationship or quit a job when it no longer feels right or good. We take the full spectrum of experience and eliminate those aspects of consciousness that do not fulfill the mythology of our behavior in this subculture.
If we have pain, we choose prayer, herbs, energy medicine, natural remedies, forgiveness, or love rather than drugs or surgery. However, the same old story remains, although the means or applications we choose to control our experiences have changed. In both cases, the story is that what we are experiencing is bad or wrong and needs to be controlled or eliminated. Often the New Age mythology leads us to believe that being healthy means liking one’s experience, and that the experience needs to be gentle and loving. Therefore we believe that emotional, mental, or spiritual purity has not been achieved if we feel or perceive something that does not fit our picture of entitlement. This New Age mythology can be counterproductive to our healing.
I spoke about this myth at a public lecture. At the end of the talk, a woman in a wheelchair maneuvered herself toward me with tears streaming down her face. She blurted out, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" She went on to say that she was an incest survivor, and had asked herself why she created her stepfather having sexual relations with her. She was also tormented over why she had created her son committing suicide, why she had caused her uterine cancer, hysterectomy, a divorce, a tornado that destroyed her Texas home, and, finally, her multiple sclerosis.
Over the past twenty years this woman had felt progressively more guilty and helpless over a series of events. She bought the myth — you create your own reality — hook, line, and sinker. The power of this myth in her life made her feel responsible for situations that were largely beyond her control. Tremendous damage to every system of the body resulted as she continued to shoulder self-blame.
In that lecture I stated that although we do set forces into motion that can influence certain outcomes, may circumstances are apparently independent of our volition, actions, intents, and desires. At times, the main lesson to be learned is that the universe does not personalize events. Certain events occur within or around us that are, in fact, often in spite of us.
The woman mentioned that as I made these statements, she felt as though a heavy weight was removed from her chest, head, and legs. She told me that something magical had happened to her during the talk. Her thinking was changing, and for the first time in over twenty years she did not feel like a "waste of humanity, a worthless piece of flesh." She looked deep into my eyes as she held my hands and said, "It is not for me to create my reality. It is for me to experience what I experience without having to judge or make up a story about it."
I do not know what has since happened in this woman’s life. I do not know if she regained the use of her legs. Becoming ambulatory in itself would not, however, be "proof" of her healing. I suspect that in questioning our cultural mythology, she was becoming more whole than she had been since her childhood. As she created a new story, the healing process would have led her to different choices, different actions, and a different life.
As an antidote for the prevailing "you create your own reality" myth, I suggest the following healing magic:
I am not responsible for creating my external reality. I am responsible for my internal state of mind, emotion, and vibration. I am responsible for focusing my attention on my inner environment in relationship to my life circumstance. It is my gift to become aware of the state of tension, pain, or ease in my body/mind, and to accept my experiences — pleasant or unpleasant — with non-judgment and love.
Healing is about the person inside. It is not the circumstance of the moment that is of concern. Healing is about becoming more whole, not about a predetermined outcome or type of feeling you desire. Healing is instantaneous, although visible outcomes may take time. Healing can occur 24 hours a day with or without a trained professional, and is free for the taking.
People will tend to seek out practitioners whose procedures are consistent with their stories. As you heal, your stories will spontaneously change. I encourage you to read Healing Myths, Healing Magic and examine the 34 myths that have placed a spell on our healing. I invite you to invoke the magic that can break the spell of these illusions and help you to reclaim your power to heal.
Donald Epstein is the founder and developer of Network Chiropractic/Network Spinal Analysis; an evidence-based, revolutionary approach to enhanced body awareness, self-organization, healing, and wellness. He is also author of the book Healing Myths, Healing Magic, which brings to light new perspectives on healing while exploring the self-limiting effects our cultural and familial beliefs may have on our healing process.
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