Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Healing Dimension

Healing involves a cooperation of multiple aspects of reality. The physical (the body, the so-called "real-world" restraints like jobs, family obligations, schedules etc.), emotional content, and cognitive processes (including belief systems, expectations, and thought patterns) are all implicated in periods of dis-ease or illness. There may be certain exercises or drugs that help to alleviate some of the expressions of illness that are most easily observable, and often the most pertinent to people; things like pain, fever, distracting thoughts or imagery (often in the case of depression, PTSD, OCD, Eating Disorders, or other primarily mental/emotional ailments) can, and in many cases, I would argue, should be attended to in a medical approach. I certainly would not be where I am today without the help I was afforded with medical intervention.

However, this should not, and let me clarify, cannot be the only treatment method, if the goal is healing for true health. Without a holistic approach of health, healing, and illness, mainstream medical treatments only serve to push health further from reach; out of sight, out of mind. The aspects of illness and disease that are treated in the medical field are the symptoms of bigger issues; they are the messengers telling us that something is wrong. Simply ameliorating the symptom, is just muting the messenger before the message is spoken.

Pip Waller discusses in her book, Holistic Anatomy, the dangers of treating mild fevers in children on the basis that the fever, in most cases, is a message, and using Tylenol or Asprin as a "treatment" for the cold, is hugely detrimental for the child in the long run.

Any therapy or technique that claims to "cure" any ailment without a holistic philosophy that incorporates the physical, emotional, and mental integration strikes me as a hoax- it's just not that easy.

Robert Waggoner, President-elect of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) and a graduate of Drake University with a degree in psychology, who has done incredible scholarly work in the area of lucid dreaming, lectured today at my school. One of the many incredible stories he told today left me both in awe, and a bit uneasy. Waggoner recounted the story of a woman who had been admitted into the hospital for open heart surgery due to mitral valve failure. However, the surgery had caused a significant amount of draining around her heart, and she lay in a hospital bed for 10 days with hoses in her chest channeling the drainage out of her heart cavity. After the 10th day, she had a dream in which she become consciously aware of being in a dream state (ie, lucid dreaming). It is at this point, that she lucidly makes the decision to heal herself. Here is the woman's own description of her dream: (http://luciddreamingrobertwaggoner.blogspot.com/)
“I look down at my dream body and pull the hospital gown open. There are the four tubes, and I can see the fluid draining out of them into my “briefcase”[drainage collection device] beside the bed . . . I concentrate on the tubes and slowly the draining fluid starts turning into different colored flowers. The tubes pull out of the briefcase and wave slowly back and forth in the air in front of me, like octopus tentacles. Then flowers are pouring out of them, floating gently in the air, until I am surrounded by color and soft flower petals. Other colorful things flow from the tubes, like hearts and balloons and ribbons. I laugh and smile and enjoy the show."
The next morning, to the surprise of the doctors, the drainage had stopped, the tubes were removed, and the woman was discharged.

There are many, many more stories like this. I was amazed, having heard stories of energetic healing, having experienced psychosomatic healing, but never to such an effect as this or in such a short time frame. I was simultaneously baffled. How did the physiological changes take place? How did she access the interface between waking reality and dream reality? And why did it work? It seemed too easy.

Despite the fact that I cannot personally and thoroughly explain the physiological changes outside some limited knowledge of anatomy and the processes of cellular and tissue repair, I can draw on my understanding of the relationship between our beliefs and the physical structure of our cells to help piece together how this healing process may have more to it than it may seem at first.

First of all, this woman was a practicing lucid dreamer, meaning she had trained herself to recognize when she was dreaming, and stopped the automatic reactions we often have in dreams and engaged, instead, in being critically aware of her dream-state. In that state, she was able to direct her dreams and access an alternative realm of consciousness, outside of the confines of space and time as we know them. In order to do this, she must have made the initial "leap of faith" in believing that she could, that it was possible to access that realm of consciousness. Waggoner spoke about the requirements for lucid dreaming; stating that it is important to be able to control one's emotions after becoming lucid so as not to "shake oneself out of the dream," to maintain focus on being in a dream so as not to simply fall back to passive dreaming, and to express the intent of your lucid dreaming; what do you want to accomplish, do, or learn? In order to achieve a successful lucid dream, this woman had to have the emotional control, the focus, and the intent to heal herself all operating against the flow of passive dreaming.

It is in the process of achieving the level of skill in lucid dreaming to be able to affect healing for herself that the cognitive and emotional aspects of healing come into play, and with the strength of those skills, she was able to transform her physical reality. We know, based on the physics and quantum physics of biochemistry that thoughts and beliefs can and do impact the physical structure of our cells. Bruce Lipton's Biology of Belief goes into detail about the means of these processes. By the power of the emotional and mental effort of this woman, she was able to drastically change her physical state of health through her lucid dream. No doubt there will be future work for her to continue to nourish, challenge, and balance herself physically, mentally and emotionally to maintain her holistic health.

I wonder if this realm of consciousness of the dream-state is a potential foundation for true healing- a platform we all have the capacity to achieve. To take a conscious and critically aware stance in this dream-state realm may open more doors and windows into the nature of consciousness and reality than we could foresee.

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