Healing: Our Self – Part One

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I’m writing about healing our self because we are the source of much of our physical, emotional and psychological problems. We tend to think that our problems are caused by other sources, people or diseases, but the truth is that the harm is done when we internalize issues, create hateful thoughts, and refuse to give them up. I firmly believe that every thought we have, good or bad, affects our health. They affect health when they become a permanent part of our psyche; a mental recording associated with a person, place or event. Good thoughts create health. Bad thoughts create illness.

In the case of bad thoughts, every time we see that person or place again, we remember what happened and reconnect the thought to our negative feelings. This may happen on a subconscious level. We relive it as though it was happening again, like the replay of an old movie. Eventually these ‘replays’ cause negativity to seep into our physical bodies, down to the cellular level. That’s where the illness begins. If it settles in our immune system, we catch the flu, or worse. If it goes to our heart, we start having a heart condition, etc.

Obviously physical exercise and proper eating help improve health. Exercise relieves tensions and promotes muscular and heart health. Good eating provides the proper nutrients for a lean, healthy body. But what do we do to combat those negative recordings we have made part of our lives? We must understand the mind-body connection in the sense of bad thoughts causing bad health. Then we must realize the thoughts we created, I repeat, the thoughts WE created, are now causing negative reactions in our bodies.

So how do we get rid of these thoughts? There is a Ho’oponopono technique described as ‘cleansing’ that we can use. I will provide that in my next blog, “Healing: Our Self – Part Two”. In the meantime, if you are interested in reading more about it, I highly recommend The Easiest Way: solve your problems and take the road to love, happiness, wealth and the life of your dreams by Mabel Katz. Mabel learned Ho’oponopono over a ten year period and now teaches the subject. This is not a get-rich-quick book. It is a get-healthy-quick book. Healthy blessings to you, your friends, and your family!

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Native Americans: Creation

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In my blog on February 24th this year I wrote how Christian beliefs are time-based and Native American beliefs are based on space, specifically location or place. This accounts for differences between the two groups on the issue of creation. Note: I’m focusing on these differences in order to provide information about Native Americans, not to generate controversy.

While both groups believe in a Creator, they differ on creation. Christianity believes creation happened at a specific point and moves through time until the end of the world and a final judgement. Most tribal religions focus instead on the interrelationship of all things and see our Creator as a kind of tribal grandparent. They do not see a need to establish a personal relationship with the Great Spirit.

In the New Testament, Genesis states that man is given dominion over the rest of creation. We know that this command included the responsibility for the proper care of nature. However it has been misinterpreted all too often as being given free reign over the earth and everything on it and as an excuse to ‘subdue’ it to our human will. This is not what was intended, but is the result of egotistical calculations to gain power and money.

For Native Americans, their relationship with each other and the various manifestations of Nature is like an extended family. It is a recognition of their dependence  on these relationships for their very existence. In his book (page 87) God Is Red, Vine Deloria Jr. writes, “The task of the tribal religion, if such a religion can be said to have a task, is to determine the proper relationship that the people of the tribe must have with other living things and to develop the self-discipline within the tribal community so that man acts harmoniously with other creatures.” He continues on page 88, “Other living things are not regarded as insensitive species. Rather they are “people” in the same manner as the various human beings are people.”

To elaborate on this theme, Deloria later quotes James Jeans in his book Physics and Philosophy, “Space and time are inhabited by distinct individuals, but when we pass beyond space and time, from the world of phenomena towards reality, individuality is replaced by community. When we pass beyond space and time, they [separate individuals] may perhaps form ingredients of a single continuous stream of life.”

Healing: Ho’oponopono (Hawaii)

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Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian method of healing. As with many Hawaiian words, Ho’oponopono is a combination of words. Ho’o means ‘to make’ and pono means ‘right’ or ‘correct’. Together they mean ‘to make correctly right’. There are principles that form the basis of this healing: For every cause there is an effect; Everything is connected to everything else; and, Everything is vibration. If you believe these principles, then you must believe that our every thought, word and action has an immediate effect on everything in the universe. Everything means ourselves, our families and our friends, as well as the world of spirit. Ho’oponopono is a way to heal ourselves, others and the whole world.

The process of Ho’oponopono consists of four sentences: 1.) I am sorry, 2.) Please forgive me, 3.) I love you, and 4.) Thank you. The sentence “I am sorry” includes the  harm we have done and our responsibility in the conflict or problem at hand. Even if we are the victim, we are still responsible for our part in the conflict; we are the only ones who can recognize and dismiss the feelings we have about the issue. Forgiveness originates within us.

“Please forgive me” is recognition that we have acted in ways contrary to love and harmony. If we are the victim, we must let negativity go. If we are the aggressor, we must seek forgiveness for the wrong we have done. Most of the time, we are both victim and aggressor because we have responded negatively to what we perceived as something negative done or said to us. We often fulfill both roles simultaneously.

“I love you” is recognition of the spirit of love and harmony that must prevail. When we say ‘I love you’ we are also saying we love ourselves because everything is interconnected. To love you is to love me. We are One. This love must be the love Our Creator has for us and for all of creation. There are no conditions associated with this love; it is the basis of the universe.

“Thank you” signifies that the issue is closed from the speaker’s point of view. It is a recognition that the miracle of reconciliation is already under way. We give thanks for the opportunity to regain harmony and love for ourselves and for the other party or parties who are going through the forgiveness process with us. They are, in turn, sending love, harmony and forgiveness to us. We are now free from the bonds of negative emotions and thoughts that were harming us. The problem has been settled forever and will not be discussed again.

We must view conflicts and problems correctly, as the helpful opportunities which life sends our way. I say helpful because it is through overcoming them that we become better human beings, physically and mentally, as well as better spiritual beings. Being healthy in body, mind and spirit is how we were created and how our Creator wants us to live.

My prayer: May everyone who reads these words give and receive forgiveness, and live in peace, love, and harmony. Amama Ua Noa! (Translation: My prayer has flown! It is free!)

The Cardinal’s Wife: An Invitation

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About 9:30 this morning a female cardinal perched on a tree branch right outside my front room window and started chirping. I smiled and wondered if she was bragging, saying I-told-you-so-I-told-you-so! But I concluded she was just plain happy with our sunny, thirty-five degree morning.

Ah, then I understood …  she was inviting me to come outside. I couldn’t resist. I hadn’t had even one walk outside since the end of November; too much frigid cold and snow. I put on my waterproof hiking boots, my gloves and winter jacket and a grey hood and went out the back door. I looked at my cell phone; it was 9:49 AM.

As I walked down Greenwood Avenue I could see that most of the sidewalks had been shoveled. Some had snow and ice but that was because Greenwood gets a lot of foot traffic. With so much snow and people walking on it, it’s impossible to keep all of it from icing over. I walked to Union Street and paused. This was my first time out in over three months. Should I go all the way to Vermont and do my two mile walk or should I turn west and head over to Memorial Park?

Just then another cardinal started chirping on Union Street, toward the park. I took that as my answer and headed west. Secretly I hoped I would see one of my hawk friends. I didn’t, but I did hear a house finch. House finches are about the size of a sparrow and similar in color except that they have reddish feathers by their head and on their breast. House finches sound something like robins, except they never seem to stop chirping. When I walked along the west end of the park I looked through the chain-link fence at the marshy reeds and cattails left over from last summer but I didn’t see any red-winged blackbirds. They are the real harbingers of spring because they return two weeks before the robins arrive.

I don’t know how the maintenance people at Memorial Park do it, but they always clean the walkways no matter how much snow we get. As I was completing my circuit around the park I thought I heard a hawk in the distance. I stopped and looked west but never saw any. I headed east on Union. I heard more sparrows, the cardinal and then, a chickadee. All of these birds spend the winter with us, but are mostly silent in the dead of winter. Today they were all chirping to welcome the warm weather.

As I arrived home I checked my phone again; 10:19 AM. Thirty minutes; not bad considering the amount of ice and snow I had to walk on. Usually it would take about twenty five minutes. I’m hoping I can get several more walks in next week. Maybe I’ll see a hawk.

Shamanic Tools for Healing

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Different cultures use different tools for healing: everything from herbs to incense to rhythm, including song. As with all shamanic practice, individuals use the tools they were taught to use and what they feel works for them and their clients. Today I am focusing on the use of the drum and the rattle for healing.

I always start the healing process with drumming because it clears the area of all energies so you can start fresh. Then, still drumming, I invite helpful spirits to join in the healing, especially my healing guide and any healing spirits the client prefers. But the drumming does more than simply clear the space. In his book The Way of the Shaman. Michael Harner notes a study done by Andrew Neher in 1961. Harner quotes (page 66), “The rhythmic [drumming] stimulation affects electrical activity in ‘many sensory and motor areas of the brain, not ordinarily affected, through their connections with the area being stimulated.’ This appears to be due in part  to the fact that the single beat of the drum contains many sound frequencies, and accordingly it simultaneously transmits impulses along a variety of nerve pathways to the brain.” The use of the drum affects the person leading the healing as well as the client. Client friends and family have told me drumming has a powerful effect on them as well.

The beat of the rattle is the same speed as the beat of the drum. It supplements the drum’s healing effect. Again quoting Michael Harner’s book (pages 61 and 62), “The shaking of the shaman’s rattle provides stimulation to higher frequency pathways in the brain than does the drum, reinforcing the drum beats and further heightening the total sonic effect.” Some of my clients have told me they feel a new energy when the rattling begins. There is also a belief among some indigenous peoples that the rhythm of the rattle ‘breaks up’ negative energies in the body and sends healing energy to the area that needs healing.

“The Shaman’s Well”, an online website, carried an article about rattling  in October of 2011, The Shaman’s Rattle. It discusses the various uses for the rattle, including attracting helpful spirits, activating magical properties of special objects, setting up a protective barrier and healing. “The rattle is excellent for doing diagnostic work, for opening up areas where energy is blocked, for re-establishing energy flow, and for helping remove inappropriate energy.”

Whether using the drum or rattle, it is the rhythmic beat, three to seven beats per minute, that leads the brain to that realm of the spirit world where the healing takes place. Using both together can produce an entire spectrum of  healing vibration.

Communicating With Nature: The Cardinal Speaks

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Sunday, March 2nd, I heard our local Cardinal chirping away happily while I shoveled the snow. Therefore Spring is only a couple of weeks away!

How’s that for sticking my neck out? Well,why not? That is my recollection of how it happened in two snowy years past. On those occasions I was shoveling the snow, the Cardinal sang his happy song and viola, Spring came soon after. OK, it could have been three weeks, but it was relatively soon. You think I’m buying more time? Yes, but I am also simply providing my best recollection. Personal observation is empirical, not scientific.

I Googled the topic (animal behavior and the weather) and found an online article (2009) by Jessica Toothman. She notes that some animal senses surpass our own. For example, birds seem more sensitive to changes in air and water pressure than humans. But apparently science has been busy studying other topics and there are no good scientific, peer-approved studies I could find.

The only available evidence is anecdotal. In December of 2004 a tidal wave hit Indonesia. While there were an estimated 200,000 human fatalities, there were no reports of great loss of animal life. But then animals don’t report the loss of loved ones, and the humans are focused on the human condition. Still, one can legitimately suggest that the animals were aware of the danger before the humans were. Human experience over time suggests animals sense things we don’t.

After reading about swallows, I have observed they do fly close to the ground when rain is approaching. Most of the time they fly higher, well above our heads. Perhaps their prey, insects, are hovering closer to the ground. But bird observations are easier to make. Still, observing the swallows can help you avoid the rain.

So my past experience with Cardinals tells me that we should see a major break in the weather just before St. Patrick’s Day. Or … maybe the weekend after that. I know … this is March we’re talking about … but with the way our weather has gone this year I’m still sticking my neck out. As I blog this, our projected high for today, March 3rd, is eighteen degrees and Weather dot com indicates this is going to be a cold March for the midwest. Who is correct? I’m rooting for the Cardinal.

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